Early on I wrote a post about my lack of belief in an afterlife. After that post I received a question regarding how I can have faith then if I don’t think there is anything after this life. It’s a good question and something I’ve wrestled with a lot.
My response could get quite complicated if I let it and if you’re interested in a fuller examination of this question, I refer you to my thesis, which is tabbed at the top of the blog. But I can give a shorter answer here.
Faith, for me, doesn’t hinge on what happens when I die. Faith, for me, concerns what can happen while I’m alive. The payoff, if you will, manifests in life not in death.
Death in its countless forms constantly seeks to encroach on life. In fact, groups of people, certain populations, are predisposed to death because of certain forces and powers at work in this world intent on foreclosing their right to exist. It’s no secret a young black man carries in his body a greater risk of death than my white sons. Death, the threat of death, the mark of death consumes the world’s habitants disproportionately.
My faith says greater forces exist (one could assign them to God perhaps) to resist and dismantle these death dealing powers, to open up more spaces of belonging so the world can work for everyone. The coalescing of things not seen, work done in theory and on the ground, all held together by love and the embrace of radical difference emerges as something to believe in for me.
Now, there’s a lot more to dig into here, I admit. Still, this forms the framework for the way I understand the Jesus story. Perhaps more on that later. For now, living into this way of having faith gives me enough to do in the here and now. I don’t have time or the energy or the urgency to worry about what’s going to happen to me when I die.