I read a news story today that the mentally troubled son of a mega-church leader committed suicide this weekend. His dad is reported as admiring the bravery of his son who ten years ago asked his dad why he couldn't just die now and end his pain.
I like many aspects of Christianity, and I consider myself a christian, but in a very qualified sense. I think Christ was onto something very good that has been usurped and hideously twisted in many ways since his death. One of the most dangerous offerings I think the mainstream Christian Church offers is the idea of self-aware life after death.
I worry that too many people avoid taking steps in the here and now to alleviate their own suffering or the suffering of others because they believe they will have a blissful, self-aware eternity after death. "Kill them all and let God sort out the good from the bad" is an extreme example of this logic.
Self- aware life after death will not happen. With the collapse of brain function comes the collapse of self. The self as I experience it is the biological activity between my ears and throughout my body. When my body dies, so do "I".
People may remember me. My impression on the myriad things of the world will persist. But "I" will not "know" it.
I think the true message of Christ was to guide people to relieve suffering in the here and now. This was clear problem to oppressive rulers who would rather people put up with tyranny now and dream of freedom after they were dead. And so, twisted by manipulative revisionists, or simply by people ignorantly following the persistent tenets of other religions that existed a the time, a happy, self-aware life after death became a plank of the Christian platform.
Everything is connected in Indra's web. Suffering now, sends effects rippling into the chain of cause and effect, now. To ease suffering now is to "calm the web" and bring more peace to the world in all ten directions, immediately.
Address suffering now. Don't wait.