24 March 2013 by Stewart Chew-
We appreciate looking at live things and inanimate objects all around us – in our garden and perhaps when we go for a stroll on the beach. The roses were at their prime and so beautiful last week and now they are shrunken, withered and dried – waiting to go into the compost bin! I also recalled that I saw a big blowfish being caught by the angler on the beach. He quickly stabbed it through the head to kill it in disgust and then discarded the fish beside the parked canoe. I can still see it now, stiff and popped-eyed, half buried in the sand.
Are we any different from the roses and the big blowfish? The world tells us that we are the same earthly organisms! We might be more sophisticated being on the crest of the evolutionary tree but nevertheless we are all living things. Our lives on earth are finite and we will all die and perish and ultimately become part of the earth thus the saying goes “from earth to earth and dust to dust”.
I recall how loving and caring my mum was – how she would gracefully blow to cool hot spoonful of rice to feed me when I was a child and again when she would coax me to learn how to ride a bike. These are great memories that will never perish among the many unforgettable ones I have experienced in my lifetime with my parents and with many of my family members and friends.
So what is this firm belief of the agnostic world – there is nothing – zilch – beyond death. There is no such thing as the spirit or the soul and we all live in the present for the present and after we passed on there is nothing beyond. Just like the withering garden roses and the putrefying blowfish we will become the dirt of the earth that someone in the future would walk on and brush off their feet without even thinking or caring one bit!
It all seems so unfair in our agnostic world. However, it seems to me that only the tangible things in us – the cells and the molecules that make up everything that concerns our physical being will ultimately disappear. There are also other non-tangible things, especially those that concern one’s personality, character, relationship etc. that also make up just as much or more of the person’s being than just the physical ones. Science does not allow us to put these values inside a test tube to analyze or take out and weigh in a machine. These attributes never deteriorate or disappear – they are permanent in the hearts and minds of those who love and remember us.
So we are back to ask the universal question? Do we have a spirit or soul that lives on after we are long gone? More importantly, is there an after-life and is it true that every one of us go to Heaven or Hell when we die? We cannot possibly know any answers to these questions, not when we are still living. However, what we do know is that no one in their right mind should make a gamble. It’s a question that every one of us absolutely cannot risk to wait until we die to find out! The decision is actually as simple as the outcome when one spins a coin – it will always be heads or tails. Lets consider the two outcomes:
1. Heads say it is TRUE: Hallelujah, and praise God as its been true all the time!
2. Tails say it is NOT TRUE: Oops, it’s not true! (It really does not matter, as the outcome is no different than what was first expected).
Note very carefully as for the non-believers of an afterlife: if what they believe that there is no God is true and they have gambled by believing that there is, they have not lost one bit! True or false, they have obtained the same result and thus have not been disadvantaged by believing or not believing. On the other hand, the whole scenario changes and becomes extremely serious otherwise. When they die and found out that all that was written in the Bible has always been true, then there is absolutely no way to go back to earth and have another run! Thus repeating – if it is not true at all, then the non-believer is exactly in the same situation as he or she would result in after death. Be warned – if there is really a loving God, an afterlife and a Heaven and Hell then the non-believer has only one option left and that is to be condemned to go to the one place – Hell!
The very sad and stubborn mentality of that person who is denying the existence of a loving God is indirectly saying that the richness of one’s life works and experiences on earth matters very little to him after death as these qualities of his person and character will dissipate into thin air as soon as he nods his last breath. I am certain that I do not believe I have known a single person in my lifetime who truly would want to be forgotten as quickly as a whiff of smoke when he leaves this earth yet this is exactly what the agnostic person implies if he does not believe in a loving God! He also believes when we all die we ultimately become the same dust and dirt that result from the composting rose or the rotting blowfish!
Whether there is really a Heaven or a Hell is a compulsory decision that every one of us has got to make in life. No one can make us believe in God. This responsibility is entirely on our own shoulders when God created us and gave us this gift of the freedom of choice! Considering the finality of the results of death, it is this only chance everyone in their right mind cannot afford to gamble. It is a risk we all cannot afford not to take.
Note: Stewart Chew is a retired senior lecturer in School of Medical Sciences, Curtin University in Perth, Australia
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