In the first book of Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, On a Pale Horse (1983) [not a spoiler as it happens really close to the beginning and not that important to the overall novel], our protagonist soon after being drafted into the new position as Death (a functional grim reaper) comes to collect the soul of a recently deceased Atheist.
The Atheist knowing full well he's dead and not having an existential nightmare insists that there isn't an afterlife and stubbornly doesn't want his soul to exist after death. After a back and forth argument with Death, the Atheist is granted his wish and his soul is extinguished.
I'm an Atheist. I don't believe that an afterlife exists (no matter if you're good, bad, or ugly). But if Death came to me with solid evidence that the afterlife exists? I won't be turning him down because the thought of the afterlife hurts my stubborn sense of principles. I believe that Ricky Gervais ain't that stupid and stubborn and would accept this hypothetical reality and move onto the afterlife is proven true.
As to believing in an afterlife when presented with it face on, well, if you could determine it wasn’t just simply some effect of an oxygen deprived brain in its final throes, well duh you’d have to accept it then, wouldn’t you?
I can sit here and say I’m not afraid of dying, just the potential pain involved with it.
However at the moment I’m likely to be terrified. Don’t know for sure. Haven’t experienced it.
Doesn’t matter to me know if there’s an afterlife or not. It’s not like it’s going to change the way I live. Just like it doesn’t matter to me if there is a god or not, as it wouldn’t change the way I live one iota.
Thu 15 Nov, 2018 08:35 am
I was a wee teenager when I read them. I was going to ask elsewhere if people thought they aged well enough to reread them. Not sure if I read up to the sixth book but I remember fondly reading the first two or three books at least.
Thu 15 Nov, 2018 08:45 am
I wouldn't mind if an afterlife should exist. I wouldn't be more compliant in that situation and likely would become more reckless. But it's wishful thinking. No such a nuther could possibly be real.
Thu 15 Nov, 2018 12:58 pm
His Battle Circle trilogy struck me as being excellent. I gave up on most of his stuff decades ago.
Space Tyrant turned me off Anthony completely. I think he was trying to move from what we would now call YA fiction to something more "relevant" and he really bombed, simplistic characters, simplistic plot line. Either that or I just outgrew him.
Thu 15 Nov, 2018 02:01 pm
Sat 17 Nov, 2018 11:27 am
I think it's pretty much a win-win
Since an after death consciousness trapped alone for eternity in the Void seems less likely than a heaven with cute little angels flying in the sky, I'm expecting one of two things:
Some sort of afterlife of which Imay or may not be concious or Oblivion. The latter may not be something everyone looks forward to, but I imagine it's similar to general anesthesia: You go under expecting to awaken, but while you're under you've no worries, no anxiety, no thoughts at all. Not knowing you are dead, but being dead doesn't seem to me to be so bad. On the other hand, an afterlife may just be another trip on the wheel with all the ups and downs involved. I think that at the moment of death, out of primal fear, I might opt for anything other than oblivion, but right now the thought of going through it all again doesn't really excite me, but if you don't retain your pre-death identity, what's the difference?
What I believe, because it makes sense within my theory about God, is that after death we return to the Creator from which we are formed, enjoying a moment of absolute bliss until our identity is consumed. At least I hope that's what happens. I'm afraid I am more confident about what I believe will not happen - eternal suffering - than what will, but we all will eventually experience whatever it may be.
If you have ever been at a point in your life when you wanted to cease living and embrace oblivion, you tend to lose the fear of it even upon resuming your desire to live. At least I found that to be the case for me.
I'm not afraid of death so much as dying, and the potential pain and terror. Now that I am almost 65, like most people my age, I think about it much more than I ever did before. It doesn't, by any means, plague my thoughts. but it is very strange. Everyone who lives will die. We all know this for the greater part of our lives, but (I suppose thankfully) we effectively deny it will happen to us for a great many years. I've found that as a "senior" it's impossible to deny it will happen. It's now only about when and what I can experience before it happens.
Sat 17 Nov, 2018 07:02 pm
The exquisitely beautiful thing about an afterlife would be meeting all the A2k proselytisers in real death, forever.
You know that it must be untrue
You know that i must be a liar
If i were to say to you
That there is a gate much higher
Come on reaper you're a scyther
Come on satan light my fire
Try to set a soul on fire
Time to equivocate is through
It's time to wallow in the dire
The burning smell is only you
Eternity becomes a funeral pyre
Come on beezy light my fire
Come on devil light my fire
Try and set r soul on fire