A common theme in atheism is that believing in an afterlife is just “what people do when they are afraid of the dark.” I read some version of that theme four times yesterday and it brought back a memory. When my brother was born, I was about six years old. It was a complicated birth, my mother was actually in a tent in the middle of nowhere and I had to run about 3 miles in the dark, through the woods. There was a nurse who lived on the other side of a ravine and possibly a phone there, too.
I wouldn’t let my kids go to a public restroom alone when they were six, let alone take a run through the woods in the pitch black over some pretty rugged terrain. At the time however, I didn’t realize I was six or that people were afraid of the dark, or that there was anything unusual about the situation I found myself in. I just knew my mother was going to die and the baby, too. They very nearly did. My brother has spent a lifetime dealing with the health consequences of his birth, of the effects of medical neglect and abuse and assorted insanity, but he thrives today.
I’ve never been afraid of the dark. I wasn’t that night and I am not today. There is something comforting about the darkness. You can’t see anything, but no one can see you either. I actually used to sit in my closet for peace and quiet when the kids were small, enjoying a bit if sensory deprivation and the velvety comfort of the dark.
There is another kind of darkness however, that I am indeed afraid of, although faith is the opposite of fear and perfect love casts it out. Just the same, there is a “dark” out there that really is scary. I have seen a shadow of it in the human heart a few times, the darker side of people, the darkness of despair and poverty of spirit, and of malice and evil. So in a way the atheists are right, the after life really is for people who are afraid of the dark, it is just not the kind of “dark” they are speaking of. “You die and it’s lights out,” is not scary at all. You die and you finally see what lurks beyond the veil, the truth about the nature of our existence, the nature of our reality, and you have no one to cry out to, no hope of rescue, no redeeming Light. Now that’s scary, because it is not benevolence that lives in that darkness.
There is a veil, a metaverse if you will. I call it our bubble, a hedge of protection that encloses and defines our reality. As hard as life can be sometimes, what exists outside of our hedge of protection is far, far worse. We sit here perched and protected within in a perfect garden…. although we’ve trashed the place a bit. Just the same, we are sheltered, protected. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” -1 Corinthians 13:12
For those who don’t know, “the metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, and augmented reality.” The internet is a type of metaverse. Virtual reality is a type of metaverse. I suppose a good novel could be called a metaverse.
At the moment we’re pretty good at knowing the difference between virtual reality and objective reality, but as technology advances those lines will blur. The truth is we subjectively perceive reality, a concept made all the more challenging by the fact that perception is not reality. How do we define reality? We perceive it. You can see the problem.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is….” -Proverbs 23:7
We live in a metaverse, one we can tweak a little bit simply by changing our thought patterns and our attitudes, but the boundaries of our reality remain intact. Einstein once said, “For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
We pretty much live in what could be called a “stubbornly persistent illusion.” There is something beyond the illusion however, I have caught a few glimpses of it. When you go there, as we all will, you’re really going to want to avail yourself of a Savior, to know how to find your way to the Light. It is not “light’s out” when we die, it is eyes opened to the harsh and unvarnished truth about what “dark” really is.
Science has actually begin to explore some of these themes, observing what many in faith have known all along. The universe as a possible hologram, the brain as a filter that receives a projection, time as a force that is not linear at all. All very interesting stuff, all truths hinted at in a more poetic fashion in the bible so long ago.
I’ll state the obvious here, we afterlife believers are not “afraid of the dark” because if we were to go dark ourselves, there would be no “us” in which to experience fear. The very fact that atheistic thinking must create such an obvious logical fallacy in order to attempt to rationalize itself, should lead one to take few steps back and reconsider where one’s reasoning went all wrong.
“If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” -John 3:12