Death and Religion, Existentialism, and Nihilism

death and religion

In high school, my Psychology teacher was one of my most dynamic teachers. He worked in a loonie bin before and shared a lot of his experiences.

He was so cool that he made psychology cool. So I entered college as a Psychology major.

Well, after one semester and one Psychology party too many, I started to hate Psychology with a passion and quickly switched out of that major. It wasn’t the curriculum. It was the people.

Nobody knew how to have fun. College parties should be like the college parties in movies. No, I’m not joking.

You study hard. You play hard.

Rather, psychology people spend the whole time with their mental masturbation bullshit and didn’t know how to have a good time. They would literally spend the entire party trying to decipher what people really meant when they said something.

Now nurses on the other hand, they know how to party!

Me and Death

Unlike psychology people, I want to live before I die. I believe you get one shot at this. If Heaven or reincarnation are real, I’d be stoked. I really wish I’m wrong.

My wife is religious. She’s a Christian. I think that’s great.

No, I’m not being sarcastic. I really think that’s great. I wish I was a Christian. From experience, real Christians sleep better at night. They don’t wake up fearing death that way I’ve done many, many times.

There’s that song Bette Milder sings called The Rose where she says “those afraid of dying never learn to live.” Since my 20s, that line has really stuck with me. I’ve known atheists who fear death to the point of paralysis. They don’t do shit, other than obsess with prolonging their lives. That’s exactly how I don’t want to end up.

Death and Religion

That said, I want to talk about death and religion. I don’t believe religion is always the answer either. I’ve met some religious folks who are absolutely shitty people. And we all know certain strains of certain religions are worse than others but we’ve become too politically correct to admit that.

So whereas I wish I could be religious, I wouldn’t want to be one of those confrontational religious people either. It would be some happy medium.

But you can’t force belief. Either you feel it or you don’t. So in my case, that leads to Existentialism or Nihilism.

Existentialism vs Nihilism

I’m not an atheist. I claim to know nothing. I haven’t died yet, and I hope that day doesn’t come for a very, very long time.

There’s so much more I want out of life. I haven’t been to twenty countries yet for instance. This year, we’re going on a Caribbean cruise and also Romania. Next year, we’re hitting Chile and might have a second big vacation planned as well if I hit my financial targets.

I also started selling my paintings. I’ve reached the level where I think my stuff is pretty good.

That’s the thing. I’m going to live before I die rather than let my fear of death paralyze me. So I took the more Existentialist route. I hate Nihilism with a passion because those people justify everything from being a depressed loser and bringing everyone else down to being sociopaths. I actually care about other people.

The problem with Existentialism

The biggest problem with Existentialism I’ve found is it only takes one tragic life event to fall into the Nihilism camp. I’ve seen everything from the loss of one’s favorite ever job to the death of a loved one send a happy existentialist into nihilism.

Nihilism is a fatalistic belief system and at worst, life has no meaning. So nihilists often won’t have much empathy for those around them. They’ll feel no remorse for hating on themselves, which in turn, well, you see where I’m going with this.

So funny, we go full circle back into death and religion, where religion gives life meaning and eases the fear of death. Note that it only eases the fear of death if you really believe it. If you’re on the fence with religion, it doesn’t do shit in that regards.

Where do we go from here?

It’s your life. You be you. You need to decide what you believe. If in your heart, you truly feel God, I’m super duper happy for you. I almost wish I could be like you too. And once again, no, I’m not being sarcastic.

I still to this day struggle with the thought of my own death. I have a real bad fear of heights. When my wife, my younger brother, and I rode a cable car to the top of the mountain in the Dominican Republic, I had to close my eyes. It should have been a gorgeous view. Instead, I missed the ride and only enjoyed my time once we got out of that carriage.

I’m also scared to scuba dive. I love snorkeling. But going underwater depending on equipment? No. That freaks me out!

That’s the thing. I know I wouldn’t have those silly ass views if I were religious. I would feel that God would take care of me and wouldn’t worry about it.

My friend the Priest

I actually have a friend of mine who is a priest. He’s several years younger than me. I still feel it funny calling him “Father.”

I’m very respectful to religions. Despite being non-religious, I’ll still wear a suit and tie to church. And I don’t make fun of anyone’s beliefs unless they’re evil.

My friend who is the priest is way wiser than I am. He’s always in a zone, and can be happy doing anything.

He had a brain aneurysm years ago that left him partially paralyzed. Before, he played a mean guitar. Now, he can’t.

Yet, he’s still happy and feels it’s all part of God’s plan for him.

I’d be fucking devastated! It absolutely amazes me that he can be happy about all this, and just adjust his life accordingly.

I don’t envy

I strongly believe that enviousness is a vile weakness that if you have it, you need to get rid of it immediately. I’m glad I don’t have that weakness. I have other weaknesses. Just not envy.

When someone is better at something, I’m either happy for them or I want to pick their brains. If they’re an asshole about it, well, I just ignore them. I don’t waste my time on bullshit.

That’s one strength of existentialism. When you actually come to terms with it, you learn to go into a zone and get things done.

I got really good at playing guitar and making money. I’m now pretty good at painting. Our new thing we started back in 2014 was travel. That was my wife’s idea. We’re going to hit a lot of real cool places before we die.

Heaven

I would love to believe in Heaven. My wife does. She also believes I’ll find God before I die and I’ll be in Heaven with her. We’ll see. I hope that time doesn’t come for a very long time.

I’m more than likely going to outlive her. She has a congenital heart defect which will more than likely prevent her from living to a real old age. I’m going to live to be 100.

I told her that I believe that reincarnation is possible. I do believe in a soul since I’ve astral traveled before.

Yeah, I’ve astral traveled, but it was when I was a teen. Today, I’m not sure if that was real or not. It felt real at the time. But I don’t know now. It was a long time ago.

So if it was real, then we have souls. Do we reincarnate or go to another place? I don’t know.

I claim to know nothing. Other than I’m very healthy for my age, I play a mean guitar, and I’m a pretty good painter.

What comes after death? I don’t know. And it scares me.

About

Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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