Honorable mention — Meghan Cashell: The hellishness of the promise of heaven

By Meghan Cashell

Meghan Cashell

With all the advanced technology we have today, it seems unbelievable that we would be unable to find proof of something as heavily researched as the existence of a god. Scientists have put men on the moon, split atoms in two, and grown human cells, yet they still have failed to find evidence of a higher power. It is my belief that this is because there is nothing to find. However, despite the complete lack of evidence of a higher power, people still let their entire lives revolve around what they must do to be proper members of their religion and make it to heaven.

People sacrifice many forms of happiness in order to meet the requirements laid out by their respective faiths and even allow what they eat, who they marry, what they wear, and what they do with their lives to be dictated by the rules of their religion. They give up so much for the promise of an afterlife for which there isn’t even evidence I, however, am not one of these people. I feel no need to “mess around with the hereafter.”

We have absolutely no guarantee that there is an afterlife. Living your whole life a certain way just to “make it to heaven” is like spending all your savings on a house that doesn’t exist. I believe that the promise of an afterlife causes people to not fully enjoy their lives. So many people make heavy sacrifices so their soul can live in peace after death, but really they are suffering for nothing. This life is the only one we have, and we should be present for it, not worrying about how things will be post mortem. We should enjoy it while we can and be thankful for the time we have. Life is not a waiting period before the “big event,” it IS the big event.

Not only does the promise of an afterlife stop people from enjoying the time they have here, it stops people from making changes while they can. So many people see pain and suffering in the world that could be changed, but fail to help. After all, what do a few years of suffering matter when you have a “lifetime in heaven” waiting for you? However, this is not the case. If

we all lived like this life is our one chance, we would do considerably more to help people. Only when people realize that this life is all they have do they really start to make changes in the world. If we get our heads “out of the clouds” we can focus on helping the poor, the needy, and the prosecuted. With a simple change of perspective, the lives of millions could be bettered. In general, the promise of an afterlife does not work as an incentive for a life well lived, but a as distraction from making the most of things while you can.

Megan, 18, attended Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. She will be going to the University of Missouri where she plans to major in biology. She hopes to go to vet school after earning her bachelor’s degree.