Relief Comes When You No Longer Need It

How many times in your life have you been through a hardship? It happens to us more than we would like. Whether you are battling an illness or dealing with the death of a loved one, tough times pay us all a visit. So how do we cope? Is there a mechanism we can use to ease the pain or relieve our stress? Religion offers us a solution, but does it help?

Many religions, including the one I was raised in (Christianity) promise us eternity. They not only guarantee that there is an afterlife, but that there is an afterlife that never ends and is free from sickness, pain, guilt, jealousy, etc…Now, while that may seem wonderful at first glance, is it really?

First of all, an eternity of anything seems like an awfully long time, even for bliss. I can think of many things that I enjoy doing. Writing, reading, photography, getting out into nature, spending time with my family and many other things. I can enjoy doing these things often and enjoy them each immensely. However, sometimes I don’t feel like reading or writing. Sometimes I don’t want to spend time with my family. There are times I would rather be alone and doing absolutely nothing. In short, there is a limit to enjoyment. At some point, things you enjoy doing can lose their luster and become a chore.

Now when it comes to bad things such as pain, misery, loneliness, grief and things of that nature, even a little can be too much. We are constantly looking for ways to relieve our pain and get back to enjoyment once again. An eternity of suffering seems unbelievably unbearable, especially when we consider the fact we have difficulty handling these things in the present. Our short, finite lives are filled with sad and painful times. So what can we do to push aside the bad and bring back in the good?

Well, according to Christians, the relief comes in the form of prayer. If we are loyal to Jesus, believing in things unseen and welcoming him into our hearts, he will answer our prayers and ease our suffering. But is that true? I won’t speak for everyone, but from my own personal experience, I will tell you that the answer is no. I prayed for my sick father to get better and live, yet he still died almost 21 years ago at age 56. My wife and I have lost three children due to miscarriage and premature labor. We prayed for those children as well and we still lost them. I could list a thousand things I have prayed for in my life with nothing to show for those prayers. I see no evidence to suggest that anyone is listening when we pray. So when we are promised a relief to our pain and an answer to our prayers, what are Christians talking about?



The life after this one is over

The relief to our misery is just around the corner. Although answers to our prayers may not come in this life, God hears them and will reward us in the next. How is that, in any way, an answer to anything? Our pain and suffering will be over when we start the next life. Um, whether there is a god or not, once this life is over ALL suffering stops. Period. That is how the human body works. It shuts down when you are dead. There is no scientific evidence to suggest a life beyond this one. There is nothing that can be proven about a Heaven or Hell. The only thing for certain is that your life, on this planet, will cease to be once you expire. That’s it. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, that grieving will end. If you are terminally ill, your suffering will end upon your death. If you are depressed, lonely or miserable in any way, that will end too. So what is religion offering that we don’t already get?

They are offering hope™ They are offering, not only an end to your suffering, but a beginning to paradise. The evidence of this? Years of oral tradition and a book of hearsay based on said oral tradition. Their actual evidence? Nothing. It is a belief. It is a desire. It is faith. There is no guarantee that there is anything beyond this life. Other than an end to it, nothing can be proven. The promises of relief that religion offers, I could give to you as well. Any of us can offer relief. Anyone with a basic understanding of death can tell you that everything stops when you die. The brain controls all of our body, including when and where we feel pain. When the brain dies, it all ends. No more misery. No more loneliness. No more hurting. The end.

So when prayers do nothing, and there is no detectable difference once you offer things up to God, where is your relief? It’s waiting for you after death. Your gifts will come in the next life for being faithful (even to the point of suffering) in this life. It’s a divine I.O.U. with your name written on it. Just be faithful and patient. When you die, you will be rewarded handsomely. That’s the excuse explanation of how the life of a believer works.

I will be honest, I once feared death. The idea of nothingness. The idea that it is all over. The idea of ceasing to be. It was scary. But if I think about it, the hard times in this life, the hurt, the depressing times, the struggles and all the rest, they will all be gone when this life is over. Without prayer. Without divine assistance. Without submitting to a religion that promotes a lot of hateful and hurtful things. Without having to pick and choose which parts I like and which parts I do not agree with. When this life is over, all of it will end. I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to worry about in this life with regards to the afterlife. Our understanding of death is that it happens. There is nothing more after death that we know of. Claiming there is more and believing there is more is a personal choice. That doesn’t mean that if you believe in more that there is more.

Death, though not a pleasant subject, can be its own reward. Yes, it might hurt for those who are left here to deal with the grief of losing someone, but for the ones who die, all worry is gone. All pain is gone. All of the stress of life is gone. The time here is what is important and is what we should make the most of. Promises of a life to come distract us from the one we have. We will all get our relief one day when we meet our end. In the meantime (at least in my humble opinion) we need to find solutions to our problems we have in our lives here, instead of clasping our hands together in an attempt to wish them away. Dealing with grief, pain, misery and the rest all can be handled in sensible ways, usually by joining together with others who have been through what we’re going through. History has shown that answers to prayers are not coming. It’s time to stop looking up for solutions when they are right in front of us.

17 thoughts on “Relief Comes When You No Longer Need It

  1. I wonder if there is any evidence of all the souls they’ve saved?
    If this life is all there is you’ll never know it. Lights out. To me it just seems a little odd that we say on one hand, live life to the fullest, it’s the only one you’ve got, but when your dead and buried there is no collection of experience or memory of anything. So how could it possible matter? Sometimes I think we’ve yet again been tricked into choosing from two wrong choices. In this case, gods or atheism. Is there no alternative to that? Is it possible there is a continuation in a living universe, a happening that has been going on for billions of years, uncreated and godless based on the laws of energy? Those laws may demand some type of continuation. Consciousness, as elusive as it seems to be is right under our noses, yet inseparable from who I seem to be as a personality that is separate from what I see in the mirror. The me that seems to be infinite in my youth. Traditional, shamanistic practices and belief that were universal in every corner of the world, taught these ways of oneness and the cosmos as a singular entity. Maybe there is something to that. Maybe that ability to chart your own journey was the very reason the churches eradicated them. Because they had utility, and the churches cannot control that. Now we have to go through the priest for enlightenment, in which the initiate never gets a right of passage until he is dead. It wasn’t always that way.

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    1. I suppose there is no way for us to know with absolute certainty what awaits us after death until we die. We can assume this or that, but ultimately we are limited by our current understanding. At the moment, we know of this one and only life. If our collection of experiences and memories continue on in some fashion, we cannot know that. It’s a tough situation. On the one hand, we can just accept this life is all we get and try to enjoy it as best we can, but on the other hand, if there is more to it, how do we know we are living this life the right way to ensure the continuation that occurs after this one is over is as good as it could/should be?

      From being raised Christian, my views of death have been skewed. I was always taught that this life is just a tiny portion of the entirety of our existence. It’s a blip. Gone in a blink. So for the longest time, I was not overly concerned about this life too much, knowing a better one awaited me. The state of this planet, my career choices, etc…did not matter too much as they were temporary things. Now that I no longer have good reason to believe those things, I am left with my own understanding of life and death. I know I am alive for a short time and dead for a longer time. What happens after death is not anything my mind can fully comprehend. I can understand how the brain dies and all functions seem to cease. If my consciousness exists outside of the brain, I would have no idea what that would look like.

      So sure, anything is possible, but there is nothing certain about it. I have yet to see evidence of anyone coming back and sharing what life is like in an afterlife where consciousness of some kind continues on. It is an interesting thing to ponder though. Most believers in religion say we all have a belief that there is more to this life than what we can see. I suppose I still have a hard time thinking we are here for this short life and then there is nothing. But I certainly wouldn’t say those feelings are from a god, as many claim, but maybe there is something my subconscious knows that it is keeping from my conscious mind.

      The point of this post was to show that the religious idea of relief, coming in the form of an afterlife in Heaven, is not in any way provable, but the relief from pain happens anyway. Both the religious and irreligious cease to feel the pain that our brains register…at least according to our current understanding. Now, I could be wrong and I am okay with that. But, right or wrong, I am still much more at peace about meeting death than I ever was as a believer. I still feared death because I was constantly being told I was a sinner and I wasn’t sure the elevator to eternity was going up. It could be going down. I wasn’t sure. Now I don’t fear the things that have no evidence supporting their existence.

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      1. I certainly feel less for death, or even difficulty than when I was a believer too. Just so you know, I am involved in my own thought processes that can incorporate the spiritual feelings of billions of people (who’ve been played upon by the men of words, frankly, because they have these feelings/experiences) and incorporating what we know of science, spirituality, and quantum physics, to present a contradictory free scenario. There is only one right answer to this, so that narrows it down quite a bit. Im actually quítate close. So, assuming for the experiment that the spiritual is a genuine part of the human experience. I have no spiritual inklings myself, but apparently it requires no belief, but are a process. So maybe I am the perfect observer to do this. It’s quite old, in fact, has been around as long as we know of. Even before the big five who decided to package it up and sell it. I’ve said for a long time that the manipulators take advantage of our natural tendencies (belief) and lead us down a path of wrong answers because they themselves have the wrong answers. The entire approach is at odds with the earth. Spirituality was never a way to control, but a way to liberate, and the ancient principles, even of the Native American medicine wheel, were not archaic and primitive superstitions as we’ve been taught, but a process to human wholeness and a rite of passage to all who were of age. It incorporates all the wisdom of the greatest modern philosophers and the utility of natural medicine.
        At the universal core, they did not fear death but welcomed it as a continuation of an infinite process, at one with the universe. Similar to a zen master, yogi, or other skilled in the meditative arts.
        I guess the point is, Christianity ruined the spiritual experience. It wasn’t always that way.
        I’ve been reading an old library (85 volumes) which contains journal entries from the early settlers and their comments and interactions with the native Americans. They were intimidated by them. Not in a sense of fear, but as a human presence they were far and above the Christian in temperance, honesty, and in their business dealings. Of course, that didn’t stop them from learning the language for the soul purpose of converting them.
        You say “I suppose there is no way for us to know with absolute certainty”. I have trouble agreeing with that statement. Perhaps we’re looking in the wrong place. This part of the experience and many of the old ways before the monotheistic stall says something quite different. For now, I am listening.

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  2. The whole thing is like some kind of supernatural ponzi scheme, only instead of promising you money in the near future for the investment of your hard earned dollars, you pay with your prayer, your sacrifice, your worship, your submission, and your money, and the payoff only comes after you’re dead. None of the rewards ever seem to appear here and now, but only after you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s the ultimate scam, isn’t it?

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    1. The belief system that Christians are offering as part of this Ponzi scheme is contradiction after contradiction and most don’t even realize it.They offer an eternity of happiness based on their interpretation of scripture and/or the oral traditions that make up their faith. They say God doesn’t change his mind, yet say prayers work. God’s will is beyond our understanding, but we should offer up our requests and he will answer if we are true believers. The scriptures say there will be answers to prayers in the here and now, but they never seem to come. Prayers are said to be answered for those who are in good standing with God and have accepted his son. Well, guess what? That was me. Guess what else? No answered prayers. Then I was told I either had some sin in my life blocking the answers to prayers, despite their book also saying that there is no one without sin. Um, if there is no one without sin, and sin prevents prayers from being answered, no one would get any answers. Yet there are numerous claims of God answering prayers for believers. Curious.

      So, if my prayers aren’t being answered in the here and now, I am told that it is not God’s timing, not his will or some other excuse. But, if I am faithful to the end, all will be good in the next life. With a system like that, the Christians cannot be wrong. They have all their bases covered. Some prayers get answered now and some people get relief now. Others, after they die. Either way it is a win-win proclaimed by the church. Because, of course, we can’t “prove” they are wrong, now can we?

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  3. I like this. The only thing I’ve ever feared about death is the possibility of hell. And if you read the Bible closely enough, there is plenty to keep even a believer worried. “Do I really have faith, or am I deceiving myself?” Without heaven or hell, death sounds peaceful, much like sleep.

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    1. Drifting off to sleep, never aware of anything beyond, would be the way to go. That’s not so scary.

      I no longer fear death, but I do fear dying. I don’t want to feel pain or be aware as I’m on the way out, especially if my family is right there watching it happen. Hopefully I go in my sleep. But who knows. I’m still in my early 40’s. Hopefully I don’t need to worry about that for a long time.

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  4. IMO, it pretty much boils down to how YOU (meaning each person) approaches death. Some are fearful. Others are not. Some believe there’s another life. Others do not. Some believe our “essence” (spirit?) continues on. Others do not. Since no have has “reported back,” it’s all speculation.

    I think we each just have to settle on what makes the most sense to us … and hope we don’t find out if we’re right or wrong sooner than we’d like.

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    1. For me, and I can only speak for myself, death is not scary anymore. By realizing my faith was based on nothing but stories, and with the threat of Hell now removed, death is like a long, dreamless sleep. That’s not something to fear, as we would have no awareness of it. If there’s something more beyond death, none of us could possibly know what it is or how to prepare for it. There could be something or nothing. We may all be surprised. Who knows.

      All I can go on is the physical. The metaphysical, spiritual and supernatural are all just words without evidence supporting them. So as far as the physical aspect of death is concerned, everything stops. There’s nothing to fear about something you will have no way of consciously experiencing. But I could be wrong, as could anyone else who has ever contemplated death. Hopefully, I won’t find out anytime soon.


      1. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, so forgive me if it’s a “repeat.”

        A few years back I had to have my gall bladder removed. This may sound a bit crazy, but when the nurse woke me up from the anesthetic, one of my first thoughts was .. this must be what death is like. Total nothingness.

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      2. I had shoulder surgery back in 2006. I remember the “countdown” to being put under. The next thing I remember is the doctor startling me awake. To be fully honest, I was terrified upon waking up, not knowing what was going on and the doctor told me later he had to use his “Daddy voice” to calm me down. I have no recollection of the time between falling asleep and waking up. I don’t even remember him yelling at me.

        So yeah, if the time spent under anesthesia is anything similar to what death is like, it’s nothing to fear. Actually, for me, it’d be better to just stay dead. If Jesus turns out to be real and tried to wake me up, I’d probably freak out and start throwing punches

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  5. Step right up folks! We have you need and you didn’t know you needed it. But you do! What is this wonderful miracle? Afterlife insurance!!! For a paltry, bi weekly sum, we can ABSOLUTELY guarantee an afterlife of eternal bliss! No more nagging wife, or canker sores. No more doctor bills or life’s ills, or cabinets of pills! Just drop in, join the herd, and pay what you can afford! It’s that easy!

    Oh there are a few little rules to follow, but nobody really takes those seriously until they come in to make their payments. Just join up, pay your dues, and you are in for the best eternitiy money can buy! Guaranteed! /end spiel

    Thing is nobody is able to come back after they are dead and demand their money back. Best scam ever!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When you devise a plan to get unlimited paying customers without risk, you have stumbled onto something special. The ones you convince are unable to come back for a refund, because they are dead and therefore just a bit too late. It is rather brilliant when you think about it. But don’t think about it too much. You might get wise to it and that won’t do.

      Liked by 1 person

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