7/28/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
It appears that every culture we know anything about, from the past few thousand years, has believed in some sort of afterlife. Given the contradictory descriptions, we know they all, or almost all, got the details wrong, but does the persistence of this basic theme suggest that the Christians may be onto something after all? Could every one of these cultures have been TOTALLY wrong about the existence of some sort of hereafter?
Image via WikipediaOn the surface it doesn’t seem likely, but there are things that virtually everyone throughout history has believed which turned out to be wrong. That the earth is flat, for one, and that the sun goes around the earth and that evil spirits cause disease, for others. But, for the sake of discussion, let’s assume there is an afterlife and see what can be said about it.
The Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, Norse, Baha’i, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, numerous American Indian tribes, and many, many other cultures, all believed in a paradise hereafter (and sometimes a hell), but with great differences among the details. Some believed the afterlife is a cool oasis filled with free-loving virgins and abundant food. Others thought it was a huge rough-hewn lodge with a roaring fireplace and tables loaded with meat and mead. Others thought it was a great plain teeming with wildlife where the hunting would be “happy.” Why did all these cultures from all over the world agree there is an afterlife, but disagree wildly on the details?
It appears that humans just naturally have a fear of death and invent ways to avoid it, yet the details will tend to reflect their own cultures; that is, a good life, however that culture defines it, leads to endless life in some sort of paradise, but the concept of paradise is ultimately subjective. Of course, the True Christian knows that in her religion the afterlife story comes not from a fear of death, as in all those hundreds of other cultures, but genuine revelation; the Christian revelation comes straight from god, through infallible spokesmen. All those other cultures’ religious spokesmen were simply dishonest or deluded.
Yet, some of those ancient cultures built incredible monuments to their beliefs. The Egyptians constructed numerous huge pyramids, some of the largest man-made structures in the world. The first Chinese emperor had a terra-cotta army sculpted and entombed with him, over 8,000 full-size figures in all, including warriors, servants, musicians, acrobats and animals. But, despite their gargantuan efforts, attesting the strength of their convictions, every Christian knows that none of those people ever went to an afterlife, since they weren’t True Christians.
It seems that all those other religions’ descriptions of heaven and hell were just made up. Those other cultures believed their detailed knowledge of the afterlife came from revelations from their gods, but, of course, Christians know that only Christian revelations can be accurate. They know this for the simple reason that the Christian revelations are in the bible and the others are only found in other “holy” books or oral traditions.
Every scrap of "evidence" those other cultures had for the truth of their religion came from human beings. It came from alleged prophets, other religious figures, and “holy” books (just like it does for modern day Christians). But their info came from the wrong prophets and books. The people of those other cultures must have been exhorted to believe on faith, just like today’s Christians, since the evidence NEVER comes from the objective world itself, but always from the claims made by other people. And none of those people were ever able to actually prove anything of substance concerning the existence of their god, the soul, an afterlife, or any revelation. All their so called “revelations” were false because, well…because they’re not in the bible. As one apologist explained, “If the Bible is wrong when it tells us it is infallible, then it contradicts itself. If it contradicts itself, then it is unreliable. If it is unreliable, then our faith is totally shattered and Christianity is a lie. You need to seriously reconsider your logic.”
Clearly, Christianity is different and very, very special. While those other cultures got the afterlife details all wrong, all those Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians, Norse, Baha’i, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, American Indians, etc., only the Christians got it right. Today’s Christians know that those people’s convictions were false, while their own are true, because they feel it in their hearts. Of course, those others felt “the truth” in their hearts, too, but they were obviously deluded. One wonders why they didn’t realize that. The modern Christian would certainly recognize if he was wrong about the afterlife, wouldn’t he?