Words of the Night
Can two of PNG's most depressed regions converge & prosper?

The afterlife as a political promise. Are you sure you want it?

Phil 2015
Phil Fitzpatrick - "I suspect this afterlife is another political fable"


TUMBY BAY - One of the important strategies politicians use is to identify the concerns and fears of society and then to exploit them to their advantage.

This strategy informs much of the divisiveness that plagues our daily lives.

Things like racism, gender inequality, domestic violence, immigration and homophobia are used by politicians to artificially create situations they can exploit.

About 2,000 years ago a very clever politician in Palestine called Jesus Christ used the same tactics to create opposition to the occupying Romans.

Monty Python reckons his outfit was called the Palestine Liberation Front, or was it the Liberation Front of Palestine…..

Anyway, whatever it was called, it quickly morphed into what we now call Christianity. Like all such movements, Christianity uses the concerns and fears of its followers to its advantage.

One of the things it created to this end was the concept of an afterlife and a set of rules governing progress to that elevated state.

There was nothing particularly original about this concept. Many other political movements created similar yarns to beguile gullible followers.

What they promise is irrational: a state of unending bliss. Why people fall for such an improbability has exercised the secular mind for centuries.

Imagine, for instance, what such a place would be like if it were true. Imagine, if you actually came up to scratch and entered this paradise, who you would meet.

What would it be like to share this celestial space with all those famous characters from history going back to, well, the beginning of time perhaps.

Exactly what would the good caveman Ug have in common with, say Winston Churchill or Tiberius Caesar? Well, perhaps not Tiberius, I don’t think Jesus liked him very much. And maybe Churchill would probably be more suited to that other place where fallen angels reign supreme.

What would they talk about? When would eternal bliss become eternal boredom? When would they start conniving to overthrow the management? That’s what politicians do after all.

What would you do if you arrived at Heaven’s Gate and discovered there a civil war?

You can’t take the politics out of the politician after all. If you did you would change their character all together.

Would you like to have your basic personality change as a pre-requisite to admission to the afterlife? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of the whole proposition?

And what would be attractive about being a celestial automaton, thinking all the same blissful celestial thoughts and doing the same blissful celestial things?

The good caveman Ug might be enthralled by an endless parade of dainty deer presenting themselves to the point of his spear while the highlander from New Guinea would be in bliss gazing across never ending gardens of rich and juicy kaukau.

But where would that leave the computer whiz kid? An endless avenue of Maccas perhaps?

More to the point what would all those old kiaps do stuck on some eternal patrol post in the sky? I can’t see much bliss in eternally fiddling the books to make ends meet and trudging up the same steep hills forever and ever.

How would someone like Ghandi, who clearly deserves to be in such a place even if he was a Hindu, reconcile himself to all those biblical characters busily smiting and begatting all over the place?

We have to remember that most things politicians tell us are either half-truths or outright lies and I suspect that this afterlife business is another one of their fables.

However, in case there is a grain of truth in the matter, I’m thinking about directing that I be buried with a baseball bat and a crash helmet.


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Daniel Wakena

Ghandi is now known to have been a "racist [and] also sexist, misogynist, casteist, supremacist and a patriarch" [Suraj Yengde, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University].

Are all atheists this historically illiterate on top of being mind-numbingly annoying?

Do some research next time you decide to share your 'deep' theological insights.

Philip Kai Morre

Why is that Jesus of Nazareth is more popular than any other person. Jesus is known to be a moral leader every politician should follow including Gandhi, a Hindu.

The Jesus of history was born 2019 years ago but his divine nature is not yet fully understood by many agnostics. Was he a Jew who came to redeem the Jewish people from the bondage of Romans? Or the universal redeemer for all humanity?

When our faith and spirituality is dry we face a lot of problems with no known solutions

Philip Fitzpatrick

I've no idea where Karkoo is either Richard and, like you, have no desire to find out.

My wife and the two cocker spaniels and I had a pleasant drive up though the hills to Koppio via White Flat to Port Lincoln this morning. Highly recommended.

Koppio has a population of 23 and White Flat 37, so I guess we won't see you up there.

I'm tending to take Scomo's approach to stuff these days, including football. Whatever happens is the will of God and preordained so why sweat over it?

I do wonder what a footballer's heaven might look like though.

Richard Jones

Phil - Reverting back to the Great Flinders Footy League, you might want to seek some assistance/guidance from the aforementioned Jewish lad from Bethlehem.

Your beloved Tumby Bay FC finished second on the ladder in the esteemed League.

This weekend - 31 August to be precise - they take on United Yeelanna in the League's 2nd semi-final.The winner goes straight through to the 2019 grand final.

Now the big semi-final game is being played at Karkoo. I have no idea where that is (and have no interest whatsoever in any Aussie town under 100,000 in population) but it might be a bit of a drive for you to get there.

And support the mighty Navy Blues, of course. BTW Eyre United finished stone motherless in the GFFL, 0-15 after the fifteen home and away fixtures.

Paul Oates

I suggest Phil, that whatever Jesus thought about the metaphysical world, all we have to go on is the writings and interpretations of others, down through the ages. Those of us who once depended on interpreters have a fair idea how reliable or not interpretations can be.

If someone is indeed puzzling over ‘what’s next’, perhaps they have totally missed the point of how the teachings of someone who initially has some good ideas can be manipulated by those who seek power over their fellow humans.

What if both heaven and hell exist and we are already living within their purview? What if the sum total of one’s actions instantly consigns one to one of either ends of the religious continuum?

‘The good that a person does is interred with their bones and the bad lives on’, someone once pontificated. The dilemma then confounds those who worry about their actions as to who to listen to about what is good and what is bad.

A better dictum might be to gain an understanding of human emotions and then you’ll know automatically what to do. The problem with that is the plethora of human cultures that have developed over time often determines what a person wants or what they dislike.

Our legal systems and laws are loosely based on Christian principals and have been refined over many centuries. Theft and murder are just two aspects that are deplored. Yet even these aspects can be debated. Look at the burning of so called witches in the Middle Ages or the interpretation that you must pay tax if you aren't a believer.

The ancient gods seem to have some very worldly desires and fixations that for some reason, seem to align with the desires and wishes of humans, wherever they hail from. Is there some correlation I wonder?

Murray Bladwell

Phil, clearly you are in the first draft of 'Life of Brian 2'.

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