Having to face and think about “End Times” so many times during my journey with cancer (the 14 CT scans and many tumor markers and tests over the past 8 years) has made me truly have to contemplate what happens after we die. I’ve had to investigate just what I believe about life after death.
I was raised in the Christian church, but that in itself was not enough for me to choose Christianity as my religion…I’ve investigated several religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Atheism in recent years (I believe even Atheism is a religion and requires a certain faith). I’ve read lots of books and tried to decide in an intellectual manner what I believe, what makes sense to me. I love that the minister of our church now said that he came to doubt Christianity and to research other religions for awhile even while he was the leader of our church.
A religion or belief system you can’t challenge and doubt and question, in my book, isn’t worth believing in. So I’ve challenged, doubted and questioned. I’ve read so much about so many religions.
Lewis Thomas is my very favorite author; I own all of his books. If I were dying and could “Make a Wish”, it would be to attend a lecture of his…but alas, I learned he died in 1993. Lewis Thomas was a brilliant Harvard educated biologist and physician who was always “perpetually startled” by what he found in nature. He contemplated the symbiosis he discovered in nature, the things he discovered that were unexplainable. The critical mass of termites. He contemplated the miracles all around us every day that we take for granted.
I love to be out in nature and to observe. In the end I think being in the woods has most convinced me that there has to be an intelligent designer of our universe, a God. Lewis Thomas’ Seven Wonders and other writings of his about nature have been some of my most “religious” texts. And nature has become my best “church”. When I read of his discoveries, I have to believe they couldn’t have happened by accident. There has to be a God.
After I decided there had to be an intelligent designer, a God, my search led me to Christianity as the one religion that had the most evidence of being true. And the cool thing is, Christianity is the one religion that says we remain who we are after death, our physical life continues. We don’t cease to exist when we die. And Christianity says that after death we are no longer bound by the laws of physics, and that we will never again face death.
I’ve thought about reincarnation…if I become someone else with no memory of who I am now, then essentially I cease to exist after death. And the me who would be someone else would have to face end times, death, and the fear of death and loss, over and over again. I really, really don’t want to do that, to go there.
If as in some religions I become part of a universal consciousness when I die, a drop in a sea of consciousness as some believe, then I also cease to exist as the individual I am.
Christianity lets me always continue to be me. I love that. I get to save the progress I’ve made so far, see the people I’ve loved who’ve left before me, cherish the lessons I’ve learned and continue to grow.
And as a Christian, I don’t believe we will spend our eternity in an eternal church service or on clouds playing harps. I truly believe our eternity will be spent active and purposeful, that we will do what we are most suited for, that we will be who we were always meant to be. That we will always be growing and learning and evolving. That we will eat and love and hug.
So in the end, my search led me to believe that the very hard and difficult “End Times” I have written about for awhile now will have a purpose, they will lead us to where we have always been meant to be. We will finally go home when we die. Death won’t be an end, it will be our beginning. We only have to make that transition once, then death will be forever defeated. The pains we feel now are the labor pains, the birth pains, that will transition us home.