Joey said:You realise atheists have less reason to worry about death than you do, right?I don't have to worry about where I'll be after I die, or even worry about death as much as others might.
I mean, you have to worry about all the sin in your life. The unavoidable sin, and whether you've done enough to counteract it, whether or not you'll be judged to be a good person.
Yeah, that seems to make sense.
The only thing is, I don't believe that at all. See, I don't believe that you need to be "good enough" in order to get your ticket from God to enter Heaven instead of Hell.
No one is "good enough" to get to Heaven by themselves, through their own good works. To get to Heaven by ourselves requires absolute perfection. And you're absolutely right, sin is unavoidable. It's part of being human. Nobody's perfect. And that is what God requires to get in.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, before Jesus was born, before the Greeks and Romans conquered Israel, the way for the Jews to make up for their sins was to sacrifice perfect, unblemished animals to God. Here is where you're right. They had to make sure they were doing enough to satisfy God's requirements.
Once Jesus came and died, the game changed. According to the Biblical account, He died to take on the sins of the whole world. He was the final sacrifice. He was perfect, and thus good enough to account for all sin, then and now. He cleaned our slate, gave us new life when we were dead in our sins.
So, now I don't need to worry about doing enough "good" things to get to Heaven. While I still try not to sin, its not to ensure a supernatural pass, but to please the God I love with all my heart. And I'm not perfect. I sin all the time, but through His death Jesus Christ forgave me and continues to forgive me.
The way to Heaven isn't through good works. It's through believing that we need a savior, and that Christ died on the cross to be that savior, to take our sins on Himself, and then conquered death just a few days later by rising again. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing good, and living in Christ should bring about good works. But that's not the key. All it takes is Jesus.
So, that's what I believe (sorry for no TL;DR ). In addition, I believe that once I have this gift of salvation, I can't ever lose it. That's where my assurance comes from.
Joey said:Why is it that religious people think that atheists live in trembling fear of death? Is it because you think we should?
Also, I wanna take this moment to derail into a semi-related point. A lot of people think that a concept of an afterlife aids them. Makes them feel safe, makes them feel better about lost friends or family. It doesn't. It makes it worse. It makes you dwell in it through the avoidance by not accepting that something or someone has gone. When someone dies, the grief we feel is entirely selfish. They are gone, incapable of any thought or feeling. That is a humbling thought, and a calming one once you realise they have no capacity to miss you, or feel pain, or be judged by some omnipotent twat.
My point is less that "im right and you're wrong" and more that I'd like it if you stopped believing that atheists fear what happens after they die, or live miserable lives without God. Cuz we just don't. In fact, statistics show we're happier.
I've never actually consciously thought that atheists are afraid of death. I suppose, now that you mention it, I might have assumed that for some reason. Perhaps its because you see so many of those "Repent or go to Hell" people who scream at large crowds (which I dislike and think is not an effective way of evangelizing), I've kind of made an unconscious connection.
I guess, just by the nature of what atheists believe, there isn't room to fear an afterlife (unless you're afraid of nothingness).
And I don't believe that those in Heaven mourn for those still on Earth, simply because I believe they are now in the presence of a perfect, Holy, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God, and they'd rather train their thoughts on Him than on earthly matters. Plus, time is relative, so there might not even be a chance to miss loved ones who die later.
Hope I got my point across, I guess I'm kind of wordy.