[first posted Tue 08/18/09; resurrected six years later]
LuckyDog died a week ago today. Soon, it will have been a month ago, then a year [,then six]. One day, he will have been dead longer than he lived. So it is for each of us.
I’ve categorized Lucky’s blog entries under “The Atheist’s Pulpit.” I created that category years ago to collect entries pertaining to my thoughts about life and death and what, for other people, are religious experiences.
I do not believe there is or ever was a god. I know, you got that from “atheist,” but I say it more emphatically because I never hear anyone else say it so baldly. I used to call myself an agnostic and, then, an antagnostic (one who is irritated by the belief in god). However, the absurd overconfidence of people who believe in a micromanaging patriarch compels me to speak for myself.
More relevant to my thoughts over the past week: I believe death ends individuality. I don’t really care about the particulars of what happens to a once-living being’s molecules or the energy that animates it. What we call personality, identity, self, or soul, ends at death. Memories and photos aren’t the same.
Even people who reject the notion of a cartoonish heaven where everyone is miraculously reunited with everyone else usually take comfort in something beyond death. My mother expected to reappear as a cardinal or a butterfly, although she spoke sometimes of radiating out into space, like an old TV show. Most of my godless friends fill the void with Life or the Universe itself, which I find tempting, but one might as well worship the sun at that point. (I would be in the minority, worshipping the moon.)
So, I don’t believe in god(s), I don’t believe in heaven or hell (but I know where I’m going if I’m wrong), I don’t believe in reincarnation, an afterlife, or an immortal soul. Feel free to feel superior or scandalized, or to pray for me. By all means, rib me gently should we meet on the other side of Death. I’ll owe everyone a Coke. peace, mjh
PS: If I were going to believe in gods, I’d be a polytheist. It is easy to imagine countless petty, incompetent, jealous, and quarrelsome gawds looking for ways to trip us up.
PPS: I do appreciate a beautiful Buddhist image of the river of life cascading over a falls. A droplet of water appears for an instant – that is your life. In no time, that individual droplet returns to the All. Beautiful, but no comfort, if you like being yourself or want to see your dog again, someday.