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Life After God

Posted by Tiffany Jackson on February 18, 2008

Nearly every day a Christian asks me why I even live. They ask why life is so incredibly important to me, since I don’t believe that I’m the slave of an invisible man in the sky. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the logical thing for me to do would be to do would be to commit suicide. How absurd. God is so important to many that they think life isn’t worth living without Him. If there is no God, then we shouldn’t live, because life itself has no meaning — or so many theists think.

How incredibly sad.

Life is Beautiful

I live because I love beauty. I see the beauty in existence itself. I live because I love life. I find the beauty in existence. I love to see the sun rise and fall. I love my family, my friends, my colleagues. I love other people. I love happiness. Life is beautiful, and if any religious leader tells you that belief in God is the only source then shame on them for cheapening life itself. I can think of no greater crime.

Life is justified in and of itself. Life is precious, it is worth living because of its beauty. I find joy in living, and nothing in dying. In my life I write my story, and I can be what I wish, with no thought to a deity disliking my goals, or stopping me for his own “glory”. My only restriction to what I can accomplish in my story is me — I determine the beauty of my own life. The story is mine to write.

Remember the words of John Keating, in the Dead Poets Society, one of my favorite movies:

“To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

But It’ll Be Over Soon!

I live because I love life. I love life because life is beautiful. Religious leaders may hate me for this, but they can never convince me that life isn’t worth living. That’s not negotiable. The only reasoning given for life not worth living because God doesn’t exist was because it means that when we die, it’s over.

So the logical response to life being short is that life isn’t worth while? A date will end, but that doesn’t mean we don’t go on them. Christmas must end, but that doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless. If anything, the ending of a story gives meaning to the story. It emphasizes the story itself — the story doesn’t ramble on and on, but has it’s essence, it’s feeling, and then ends.

Rather than death depreciating life (and making us suddenly desire death) it does nothing but prove to us just how precious life is. Life is precious because it’s short. It’s too short to live in fear of its ending — living in fear of death degrades life. I have no fear of death, because after I die, I won’t care — I will cease to exist. Rather than depress me, this encourages me to live as ferociously as I can, to love harder, give more, take more — to live more.

Life is still worth living, even without a God.

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5 Responses to “Life After God”

  1. panvega said

    I agree that we don’t need God for life to be worth living. It seems incredibly sad to me that people need God to explain the beautiful things in the world.

    That said, I don’t think being short is what makes life precious. It seems that would imply that shorter lives are inherently more meaningful, and that the longer a person lives, or a relationship, etc., is, the less meaning it has.

  2. Agreed — the shorter isn’t the better. I certainly didn’t mean that. My point was that the end of life emphasizes the life — if it weren’t for the knowledge of death, many would live differently. Death, while the absence of beauty itself, ironically impacts our lives to make them more beautiful. I agree, though, that this could very well be relative to the person doing the living. ;-)

  3. Mat Wilder said

    I wish more people could realize the truth of this. I like to put it this way: is the beauty of a flower in any way diminished by its wilting? Additionally, if there were an afterlife, what would the point of this life be? A supposedly perfect, blissful existence after this one, makes this one – beautiful though it is – pale and empty, because there is much suffering mixed with the beauty.

    I am reminded by your post of one of my favorite Camus quotes: “If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.”
    -Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

  4. Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth[skeptic griggsy] said

    Yes! There is so much evil to count against any god but enough good for us to appreciate life. Some think we cannot so aver,as Michale Peterson notes in “God and Evil, since then if all the evil hadn’t happen we would not be here. That is a paradox. Evil counts against any god ,but that is independent of our valuing life.
    Theists have a cop-out in that they claim that if God doesn’t responds with yes to prayers, then He has a reason for that.But they don’t know that and that seems to be an argument from ignorance to me.

  5. Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth[skeptic griggsy] said

    Michael Peterson

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