We American churchgoers have been browbeaten into framing our afterlife questions in leading terms that are easy to pretend to have canned answers to, e.g., Where do we go when we die?, which begs the question of whether the afterlife is really a matter of flash mobs rather than the heart?
Paul Gustave Doré’s Woodcut illustration
of Dante Alighieri’s Italian Renaissance epic poem posthumously entitled The Divine Comedy.
Such mass-eschatologies and -soteriologies seem to work extraordinarily well for the clergy classes and religionist racketeers, but by contrast they have precious little basis in any respected mystical visionary or philosophical tradition, and unsurprisingly they offer near-zero nourishment for the sincere seeker.
Such pseudoacademic theologizing as this Where do we go when we die? tripe has its roots in dogmatism¹ and should therefore be consigned to the pile labeled spiritually and sapientially vapid.
Pat answers generally are a lot of clergybabble—static—which are rooted in dogmatism and which work well for the political flavor-of-the-month²…and little else.
For those who spend quality time with the source-texts of Christianity³, it soon becomes clear that these default and binary afterlife destinations are always couched in terms of myth and allegory, and⁴ our experience of “the other side of life”⁵ varies as widely as our experience of this world does—speaking within the dimension of spirit (which is not abstract but rather means breath [as in the respiratory system] and is also a synonym for chutzpah, like in spirit and spunk).
Our experience of both planes of reality—both the inner and the upper—depends greatly on our attentiveness to the intuitive, subtle and subconscious—all things that, unlike the banal sermons we’re mostly treated to, are tough to capitalize on—all things that only the myth or the parable is suited to cultivating in the hearer.
But that’s fine with me, since didn’t the Parabolist himself say:
– “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b),
– “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21b), and finally
– “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14)?
¹ Dogma is the opposite of Christ’s exclusively parable-based preaching/teaching style.
² The clergy surreptitiously supports whatever government establishment their sheep happen to find themselves under and receives kickbacks from in the form of 501c3 tax breaks.
³ And quality time with the Indo-Egypto-Hebraic sources of those Christian sources.
⁴ Assuming we’re speaking in spiritual terms here.
⁵ As well as our relative glory or obscurity on the other side.