Control of the afterlife

Logan's Search - William F. Nolan

So the question that I and many others are probably asking is why did Nolan actually write this book. Based on the quick blurb that I read this book is basically a rehash of the first. It seems that all of the sudden there are parallel Earths and all of a sudden Logan is sent to another Earth where he has to start all over again. I guess that the difference here should be that Logan has the benefit of hindsight, but despite the fact that he is aware that when he destroyed the last civilisation it resulted in humanity's return to the stone age, he goes ahead and does it again.


What I want to talk about is the idea of the control of the afterlife. To be able to control people's belief of the afterlife is a rather powerful weapon, and it has been one that has been used, and is still used, by religions throughout history. The one great unknown is death, and by making a claim that one knows what happens beyond death, and what one must do to to make it the best afterlife possible, can bring many people flocking into your arms. People, in the guise of prophets, have used this power to subjugate the masses. The truth is though that we, as humans, have no idea what lies behind death, but we, as humans, have one desire: to pass through to a good, as opposed to a bad, afterlife.


What one considers to be a good or bad afterlife differs, and in many ways the comfortable one seems to be what some term as annihilation: we cease to exist. To cease to exist is a unfathomable concept because many of us have no idea what it is like not to exist. As Descate said, 'I think therefore I am,' and because we are always thinking it is almost impossible to know what it is like not to think. Okay, there is sleep, but the thing with sleep is that it is almost instantaneous for us, so when we sleep it can feel like eight hours takes only a matter of seconds for us. No wonder when we awaken we can be disorientated.


Now, one may wonder why I am attacking religion's use of the afterlife when I myself am a Christian. It is because I believe that Jesus came back from the dead, which qualifies him to speak about the afterlife. This wasn't some near-death experience (remember, near-death suggests that you don't actually die) because he was in the ground for three days. Now, the big thing that Jesus said was that to have a good afterlife was not a matter of being good. In fact nobody could actually be that good to be able to earn their way into a good afterlife. In many ways the Egyptians were right when judgement involved weighing your evil deeds against that of a feather (noting that your good deeds did not actually cancel out your evil deeds - in fact they did not do anything for you).


Christ's point was always about having a relationship with God. Now, that does not mean that we live selfish and disrespectful lives because the whole idea is that by being one of Christ's followers we would like to imitate him. Think of when we were children: we would want to be like our heroes to a point that we would imitate them. For instance, in my life I really liked Popeye and would like to be like Popeye to the point that I wanted to eat spinach because it would make me strong like Popeye. That is the same thing, namely we see what Jesus did and how he treated people, and how he stood up for the weak against those who, in worldly terms, were strong. Thus those who truly love him would want to do the same. Remember, God is no fool, and simply going to church, singing the songs, and even leading Bible studies does not actually count as fire insurance.