Browse Category: Religion

Begging the Question


(Originally posted on the website Heron Flight)

The famous German poet, Rilke, said that death is one of our best friends, since he teaches us how to live. (I stole that from a girl that I “almost” know.)

But what is death?

The Christian influence in my life tells me it is the passage to a life eternal, a state of bliss, a place where there is no pain, no tears, no suffering. It is a place of reward and blessing, a place of forgetfulness of the world’s tragedies. It is a place only for “the faithful.”

The mystic in me says it is merely a transition to the next phase of whatever this is that “I am.” It is nothing to fear, the awakening into something, possibly, a bit better than what I experience in whatever it is that I currently “am.” It is a continuation, not a destination.

The computer programmer in me, logically, informs me that it is a “division by zero,” an “abend,” a “fatal error.” Does not compute. Does not compute.

The human in me shouts that it is that which questions, “How can ‘civilized’ human beings unleash an explosive powerful enough to wipe out nearly the entire population of Hiroshima in a split second?” It is the sister question, “How can they do it again on Nagasaki just three days later??” How? How? How?

The alcohol in me tells me… nothing.

What is death? Doesn’t this question beg the question, “What is life?”

The Bible, in the book/epistle of James describes life as a “vapor,” which appears only for a “little while,” then is gone.

Translation: “It is the smoke of your cigarette, which disappears into the night air,” possibly leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

What is that “little while?” What IS it really?

It is color, peace, love, affection, sincerity, feeling, empathy, beauty, sensitivity, caressing, holding, protecting, enjoying, forgiving, tolerating, teaching, helping, encouraging, inspiring, congratulating, creating, sharing, embracing, comforting, light, truth, mercy, discussion, reason, inclusiveness, oneness, acceptance, flavor, enhancement, addition, supplementation, assistance, forbearance, construction, orchestration, blending, hand holding, bowing, respect, pouring forth, spreading out, lifting up, enveloping, making whole.

It is persistently asking, “What positive elements can I add to the above list?”

Life IS up to ME.

No, this does not fully answer the question begged. But, it’s a start.