Thursday, 31 January 2008
A devout Christian was about to die, and when the moment came, Death stood in front of the devout and said: "You have two options. The first is the one I would advise you to take, you will cease to exist. The second one is eternal life but I warn you to take this risk. Choose well!"
The devout had been very obedient and always had believed that afterlife would be the proper reward, and he said: "I take eternal life."
"Are you sure?" Death asked. "You can take it back now, but not later. Choose well."
The devout stuck with his decision, his body was burnt to ashes, and his mind survived, was transformed to an altered state. To his very surprise, he was transformed to multiple realities in an infinite number of parallel worlds.
In one of these, the devout was lost in six dimensions of superspace and two dimensions of supertime, looking at billions of galaxies, watching them come and go. The very first second of supertime was a shock for him. And, as you might suspect, a second in supertime never ends, being the same as billions of years. He felt like a prisoner, condemned forever, not even seeing a single stanchion that he could have grasped.
In another one, the devout has been sitting on a cloud, winged, playing harp. In this world, time went by, he invented a million tunes and played them over and over again until he realized that every prisoner on good old earth had a better life than he had and that execution would be a relief. But there was no such relief. The terrible but not deadly boredom went on, and on, and on.
In a third parallel world, the devout served as a guardian angel on earth until mankind was extinct sixty thousand years later, then he was deployed to guard Klingonians from evil but failed pathetically, so eternal shame came over him.
To sum up the rest of the parallel worlds, in all of these the devout ended up feeling like a prisoner in a horrible, painful, awful state that never ended. He never would have imagined that eternal life could be so terrible, and he cursed himself for having taken this decision.
Then, again, Death stood in front of the devout.
"Kill me, kill me, please, forever", whined the devout.
"Oh, sorry", said Death, "it is only a time duplication. This will be fixed and never happen again." And away he was.
Back to here and now: Is there anyone who will miss the second option when his last hour has come? For my part, I guess we all should be happy that there is no such option because many of us would be lured into a horrible false decision.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/tremeglan/377414293/
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
I have been blogging about news in medical research for ten months now. Using my critical mind, I have come to the conclusion that most of the stuff published in medical journals is of very limited relevance to health in everyday life. Some of my fellow medical bloggers have their main focus on quackery debunking, and all of a sudden I have been fascinated by the parallel of traditional (non-scientific) medicine and religion. Both have evolved long ago in human history, and the function of both is to cope with human problems in body or in mind. Both are in use up to now, despite the fact that science has replaced the old concepts. Altie medicine as well as religion have their adepts who state that the stuff works and that they fare better with it.
Thus, I have included more and more freethinking issues in my medical blog. And now I am at a point where this stuff is getting off-topic at Med Journal Watch and deserves a new blog. I am blogging for pleasure, nobody pays me, so I am free to do as I like.
My new blog is about joy and pleasure, about adventures of mind, about deep and strong feelings.
My most important point is that all the goals and purposes of religion, that is a meaningful life, respect and love towards other people and nature, a deep awe in front of this wonderful universe and a deep gratitude that we have the opportunity to live in it, - all this is not lost when we leave religion behind. On the contrary, I am going to show that freethinking is a better means to these goals, similar to the fact that science-based medicine outperforms traditional medicine.
About atheism and other -theisms
I hate these labels when they are used without proper definitions. I could call myself an atheist or a pantheist, depending on the exact definition of God. Based on most of the usual definitions, atheist will be the most appropriate. Its drawback is that it gives indirect (negative, but still) credit to theism which this one should not deserve. It's similar to the term nonsmoker that underlines smoking as an important habit.
As said before, I could state that I am an atheist, ex-Christian, to be precise, but I don't find it very useful to stress what I am not believing. I prefer it the positive way: freethinker, humanist.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/basegreen/205733912/