I’m an atheist. I think I believe that death is the end of consciousness. But the idea of hell still has this grip on my mind. Maybe because it’s what I feel I deserve. The thought of being trapped in a never-ending state of misery and despair – that somehow seems like what I have coming. That there’s nothing I can do about it.
Which is crazy. As far as I know, all religious concepts of hell have some kind of ‘escape clause’, at least while you’re still alive. If I really believe that’s my future, shouldn’t I be confessing my sins, or living a life of pure altruism, or doing all I can to change my character? What else could be more important?
But rationally, I don’t believe. And emotionally, I feel that no matter what I do, I will always be damned. I could confess all my crimes, cure cancer, solve world hunger, and I would still be someone who deserved to suffer, alone for all eternity. How fucked is that?
So, what’s a meaningful use of the few years I have left not burning in agony?