Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Prepare for your death"

I find it weird when people say that we should prepare for our deaths or prepare for the next life. I don't see it like that at all. I mostly think of it as wanting to follow what is right because it is what is best for us. Not only best for our next life, but best for us now too.

I admit that I'm not coming from the point of view of someone who has gone through incredibly difficult life moments and where doing what I believed is best ripped me apart and caused me suffering. Quite the opposite. My choices have brought me peace and satisfaction for the most part. 

Often I see people, mostly women, doing things that they believe is right and good, thinking of the afterlife as a motivation to keep going and going while they suffer... and I just feel that it's all so *wrong*. That if they were actually doing what they should be doing that they'd have more satisfaction in life than this and that their suffering would lessen. Normally it's something to do with their relationship with their husband like an abusive man or a man who has more than just them as wives, just to let you know the type of situation I have in mind when I say what I'm saying. 

It just seems to me like if a person has to think of this life as a test of suffering, they are missing out on what God wants for them and has allowed for them. 

There *are* difficult moments, I believe, even for a person who is doing all the right things. It's ups and downs for everyone and some have more downs than others, but to the point of needing to keep the afterlife a motivation to do good day in, day out... I feel like it's the wrong motivation and we shouldn't have to keep that in mind to make the right decisions.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

7 Comentários:

Enna Ayub said...

Hi Candice,

Motivation should be doing things for the love of God. E.g. waking up during the final half of the night to pray (meditate) as it is the most peaceful time to cultivate your relationship with him.

The more we are "awake", we will realize only "this moment" is important. Staying "at the moment" instead of focusing on the After Life, will make one more focused, and more content.

Easier said then done you think? Indeed, everyone has their struggles.

Jasmine Ali said...

Yea I noticed that.And it kind reminds me of the whole concept of trying to earn as much "hassanat"( good deeds) as we can in this life. It doesn't seem natural to me. Shouldn't we be doing good for the sake of morality and happiness? Not so we can compete to enter heaven in the afterlife?

You got only one life to live.Instead of focusing on the next life, enjoy the one you have now. Enduring suffering and doing good for the sake of the next life seems "limiting" to me.

LK said...

Doing good just for a reward is not the point. I think people forget those sort of things. In most Abrahamic religions, if your intentions are not pure the action will not count. Being kind just to be rewarded later, or out of fear, is not the way to go about life.

Candice said...

Enna: Beautiful comment, thank you
Jasmine: I agree, there's something a little "off" about using the afterlife as a motivation.
LK: I wouldn't go as far as to say that the action doesn't count when people use the afterlife or fear of God as a motivation...

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

I personally don't believe in an afterlife at all, so I believe in making the most out of this life - for everyone. Which is one of the reasons why I'm so outspoken about human rights, poverty etc. - I don't believe in justice in the afterlife.

When I was religious (and still today) I was fond of the Sufi Rabia Basri: "One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said,"I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.""

And: She prayed: "O God! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell,
and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.
But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”

These days however, I prefer to live by the words of Einstein:
"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." - Albert Einstein

And the words of the Roman, Marcus Aurelius:

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

Candice said...

Rebekka: I especially like the last quote since this is how I see things too. I don't feel the need to be religious because I feel that God is just and will base me and others that I love on how we all lived and not how religious we were and which religion we were a part of. And this quote explains why I didn't just "believe" in God when my husband told me to do it out of having nothing to lose (back when I was an atheist). If I had something to lose out of being atheist, I didn't want to believe in *that* God who, according to him, would consider me less and have me punished just for being an atheist, no matter how I actually lived my life. No, that's not that type of religion I believe in and it's not who I believe God is either.

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

Precisely, that has been one of my biggest problems with many religions actually, I couldn't believe in a God who would punish me (and send me to hell forever!) not for something I had done - but for something I believed.

You can't really force a belief - I might be able to convince the people around me, I might even be able to delude myself, but if God is omniscient he'd know the truth and he'd know that I don't believe.

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