Is Paradise a Truth Or A Lie?
As we walked through Derby town centre, a young bible basher was in full throat. He shouted, “do you know where you are going when you die?” Mindful that I was headed back to rural Taddington, paradise seemed a little too ethereal. Back home, a birthday card sent by a friend continued this dying theme. The front preached, ‘If you’ve woken up on the right side of the soil it should be a good day’. Inside she wrote that the card was sent in the best possible taste! The card showed the grassy turf with a good 6′ of soil beneath. I felt quite pleased that somebody could treat me in such an adult way. We all have to die. Now in my 75th year, I’m in the final quartile. That question, is paradise a truth or a lie?, has often intrigued me.
The Peak District
When I used to travel to Derbyshire on my BSA Bantam motorbike, as soon as I crossed the Pennines to Buxton, a new world opened up. I was a teenager and this was paradise. It was a place of excitement, of rock climbs, caves, walks and gritstone. Life itself was this blessed feeling, of being in a world full of anticipation. The fact that it was often raining and dull had no consequence, I could not be extinguished, no matter how wet. Now, living here in my dotage, and in my incorrigible way, I am still prone to such feelings. Talking to people out on footpaths, I still say, “I sometimes think I have died and gone to paradise.” Then, if I think I can get away with it, I add, “that can’t be true because I’m an atheist.”
Is paradise a truth or a lie?
As I have become older I have grown more rational. If there is a paradise then where is it? With no logical answer, paradise makes no sense. Also, knowing history, it is evident that pagan peoples had a vision of another world beyond this. That was often a response to living in a challenging world, that this life was tough and it might be better in the next. There was no evidence of this then any more than now. In other words, paradise was a pagan concept, created well before modern religions were conceived. So, I have my paradise here and now. A flower, a dale, a Dexter cow and a sunrise can all enthrall me. Beauty sits comfortably with my atheism; there is nothing beyond this amazing world.