Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Life after Death Question

John Knapp highly promotes a book written by a member of his non-profit CHSCA, Nori Muster. The book is entitled Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement. The overview posted in CHSCA website implies that Nori considers herself as an "expert" in religious matters. Since I was interested about her credentials, I checked her educational information: "Her degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies, which was a combination of Psychology (Psych.), Criminal Justice (CJ), and Clinical Child and Youth Work (CCYW)." There is no indication that she has ever studied theology, religious studies, history of religion or something like this. I do not consider myself to be an "expert" in religious matters. However, I graduated from an evangelical Bible institute. So, I have a theological education.

I guess the beginning of the description of Nori's book is quite intriguing for many people:
We cannot know for sure what is waiting for us on the other side in dreams or death, or even know if there is another side. The feeling I get is that if there is, it is much like what we have here, but better. Maybe it is ideal, as the Classical Greek philosopher Plato said. Maybe we see long lost loved ones, or experience a paradise like some religions promise. Or, maybe it is a purgatory or hell. Maybe the soul ends and there is nothing after death. But none of us can say for sure; the other side and death will always remain a riddle to us who are living.

Let me share my personal situation. Recently, my mother died. She was my only close relative and I loved her very much. What Nori's book tells me? "Well, I do not know, maybe, your mother's soul is in a paradise or, maybe, she is in a hell. Maybe, her soul does not exist any more. Maybe, you will see her again or, maybe, not. I do not know." Nori's book will not give me any hope. A person who has my situation and the same beliefs as Nori has, will have a serious depression.

However, I do not experience a severe depression now. Do you know why? Because I am not an agnostic. I am a born-again Christian and my mother was a born-again Christian also. I believe what the Bible says:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NIV)

Thus, the Bible says that at the time of Christ's second coming (or more strictly, at the time of rapture) the dead Christians will be resurrected and the living Christians will meet them. It means that I will meet my mother again.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, NIV)

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:21-24, NIV)

2 My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3, NIV)

So, the Bible says that the dead Christians are with Christ in the Father's house and that it is better for them to be there than to be here. Therefore, for them, to die is gain. Even though I would prefer my mother to continue to live on the earth, I know that she is with Christ now and it is much better for her to be there than to be here.

God, the Bible, and my Christian faith give me a tremendous comfort, peace, and hope at this time. Repeating Paul's words, I "do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." Of course, I would have been without comfort, peace, and hope if I had had similar beliefs to Nori's.

No comments: