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BC’S B’DOS – Life after death

B.C. Pires

BC’S B’DOS – Life after death

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EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO today (though April 4 fell on the Sunday before Easter in 1993), my father died at just after 5 p.m., on the 25th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, and almost at the same time (Memphis, where Dr King was assassinated at 6:01 p.m., is an hour behind us).
I’d like to think I might see my father again in some way other than dreams or memory; but I’d be foolish to expect it. 
Even if there is an afterlife, either he or I must surely go to hell, where there probably isn’t a reunion room. 
Seriously, I keep an open mind to what, if anything, happens after death. Probably, we all return to wherever we were before we arrived, vanishing as completely and as mysteriously as we appeared. 
Viewed that way, death is not worrying, though no well person looks forward to the actual physical pain of dying or the emotional anguish of separation from love and light and all the people and creatures we love and have loved, all the connections of consciousness we hold dear, the real here and now we should focus on, instead of an imagined hereafter.
If the supposed afterlife exists, it will be nothing like the religions today, or any religion before, has imagined it. 
Down through time, there have always been those who claim to have been spoken to by God himself – or, in matriarchal societies or eras, God herself – but, given enough time, all prophets are revealed as bleary-eyed optimists, at best, malevolent conmen at worst. We can be sure of only what we have now.
If I were to die today and my old man did stroll up to welcome me into the light, what would he say? “Well, we thought this was rubbish, son, but check out the pair of wings on that angel! You want a rum-and-nectar?” 
Or would he pick up the last quarrel we left off from the last insult? Or the last laugh we shared from the last punchline? Would he be the frail thing I saw last, chest ripped apart, covered in blood?
Would he have what hopeful Catholics call “his perfect heavenly body”?
If I thought there was an afterlife, would I not have to be a fool to refuse to convert to Islam and become a suicide bomber? 
To die in jihad would ensure my entry to Paradise, according to that franchise, and guarantee me a large number of virgins, too; though I’d happily trade a few of mine for a lesbian or two. 
No, the afterlife doesn’t bear even basic scrutiny; if, for example, the Christians are right, all the equally devout Jews, Muslims, Hindus, pagans and so forth are simply firetrucked. 
But we shouldn’t need the obvious contradiction that there cannot be half-a-dozen one true ways. The suffering we see should convince anyone honest enough to state the truth: God either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care. 
I prefer to think he means well, but can’t do much, like United States President Barack Obama in a Republican Washington. But I won’t bend over backwards making excuses for and continually trying to reinvent as God the Father what we should know by now is God the Failure.
B.C. Pires believes in the hereafter insofar as mankind will still be here after God has gone.