Religion, Irrationality and Life After Death

As someone who went to “Sunday School” from the age of four, became a fundamentalist Christian at the age of 27, rejected religion at the age of 30 and became an atheist by my 33rd birthday – I have a unique view and experience of religion. And my conclusion is that religion (all religion) is a force for irrationality – and gullibility.

Have you ever noticed how many scams are perpetrated by those who claim to “love Jesus”? So ask yourself, “why?”. It’s obvious to me. Scamsters realise that those with a religious bent are generally also gullible, precisely because they have succumbed to irrationality.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism – at the end of the day, belief in a god or gods has the effect of neutralising the rational faculty, and making believers susceptible to all sorts of nonsense.

And I should know, because I was such a person – and am still fighting off the “irrationality” demons from my own past.

Take “life after death” for example – a common thread for religion, whether the heaven of the Christians or the paradise of the Muslims.

The very hope in a life after death is easy enough to understand in a way, because none of us really like facing up to the reality that we all die in the end – that life simply stops. So fantasies about what happens after death are very powerful, and can even be used to manipulate people – by promising certain rewards or punishments after death, based on one’s earthly life.

Whether you’re talking about the Christian resurrection, heaven and hell (or the even more absurd Catholic purgatory), reincarnation or even ghosts – the notion of life after death permeates all beliefs and cultures.

People talk about meeting their loved ones again in the so-called “afterlife”. People who die are said to have “passed on” – meaning passed on to another (presumably better) life. We mourn death at funerals, while clinging on to the idea that somehow, somewhere, we may all get to meet again.

But have you ever sat down for just a moment to consider this idea rationally? Have you ever wondered how you would continue life after death?

For me the question has been settled. When I think about who I am, my identity, my individuality, I have come to the conclusion it’s all about my accumulated memories. It’s my memories that make me who I am. And if you think about it, I’m sure you will also realise it’s your memories that have built your “life” and self awareness. It’s memories that create our identities.

And it’s scientifically proven that memories reside in the brain. We all know that of course, because we all know about dementia/alzheimer’s disease – the wasting away of the mind that robs people of their memories and identity. We know that the brain can be damaged, and loss of identity can often be the result.

When the brain dies, its memories die with it.

In my book any “life after death” – without any identity – is a waste of time. So no point talking about a universal “life force” or spirit, if in the next life you don’t know who you are, or you turn up as an animal with no knowledge of your past life.

Without the identity we have created while alive, we are nothing. Without identity any assumed life after death becomes meaningless, because we would have left our identity behind – and that would certainly be the end of any hoped-for family reunions.

I have no doubt there is some form of life-force or energy in the universe, but it certainly doesn’t include the permanence of human identity. And without our identity, any supposed life after death is not worth bothering about.

4 Comments

  • Alvise Valsecchi

    November 30, 2015

    Interesting standpoint.
    Afterall you believe in something (“life-force or energy in the universe”).
    And what do you think about ethics ? Is it legitimate to steal, or to kill ? Is violence allowable ?

    • David MacGregor

      David MacGregor

      November 30, 2015

      Alvise, I certainly believe in rational ethics, which in my case means respecting the life and property of others. I do believe that if everyone respected the life and property of others, then the world would be a much better and different place.

  • Hopscotch

    November 30, 2015

    Lots of people expound on this subject, with or without credentials, and I am not saying that you do not have credentials. I tend to agree with you based on similar experiences. The parts that are hard to explain are the psychic experiences that are real and the ability of some people to expand them. Occasionally these physic experiences happen to me but I am far from being psychic. Just the other day, I knew when and why a work colleague, with whom I have not had contact in years, died by a thought that occurred at the time he died. The next day I received an email from another colleague confirming the time of death and the reason. How this happens is a wonder to me.

    Using religion or religious thought in a way to negatively influence others is the real problem but only to those who oppose that influence. It appears that you have been there and have risen to another level of realization.

  • Terry Johnston

    December 1, 2015

    Heh heh heh – seems we travelled similar paths. I was kicked out of Sunday school for asking TOO many questions. Then went through a period of despair in my life to which I tried to get closer to “God”. The 3 biggest rip-offs I have endured – came at the hands of 3 people who had close personal relationships with their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. One did call me after 6 months asking for my forgiveness- because he had realized what he had done was wrong. I asked If he intended to make restitution? He didn’t, so I did not forgive him.

    Like you I have be lucky enough to learn about Christianity to the point where I can challenge their words and actions. When someone says to me. “I’m a Christian” My response is “Real or Fake?”
    More often than not they are nonplused by the question. Real means you follow the words of Jesus – treat others with love and respect and readily forgive. Fake means you oppose Gays – tell the world God has 4 specific death penalties – and attack abortion clinics . So are you real or Fake? Do i believe in a higher power? YES! Because of the age old question “why is there something instead of nothing? Do I believe this higher power has an individual plan for me? NOPE! I’m simply part of something. I like to say to the religious types. “God created the Universe and the Universe created us.” Being devoid of religious dogma though does allow me the opportunity to hate no one. So i guess that means I won’t be taken up in the rapture once the Evangelical nut cases mange to start Armageddon – have Jesus return to Earth to kill all the Muslins and Gays – then rule all people for the next 1,000 years. 🙂

Leave A Response