The afterlife of cells and proteins
I’ve been thinking recently regarding the topic of death. My father asks me to pray for him. To which I abide, and I do ask God that I get more time with him. But I have always wondered (as many of us have I’m sure), what does in fact happen after we cease to be? Our brains and cells, cease to function, the body decomposes, and we’re reduced to dust and bones. All of our memories, accomplishments, hopes, dreams. They fade away, and become distant memories, whose bite grows even more dim with time. There’s the notion of a soul that moves on I suppose. Some cultures believe in re-incarnation, while others cling on to the notions of either heaven or hell. Some just firmly believe we sink into oblivion.
Take for instance your pet animals that have passed away, or the countless thousands of ants you’ve decimated throughout the course of your life. When they cease to exist, do they persist in the afterlife? Is it some parallel universe that mirrors our own? Why do most religions think that animals do not make it to heaven/hell? Why is it that they have no souls? Is it to make themselves feel better because we’re essentially putting our animals through wholesale slaughter as we eat our hamburgers, and dine on lobster? Is it purely man’s selfish justification for killing other animals and using the excuse of ‘oh they have no souls’ to mitigate their own guilt? If heaven is so vast, why aren’t there room for sheep and deer?
I obviously don’t know the answer to this, I’m just questioning my own mortality. They say the difference between the DNA of a fly, and the DNA of a human is very small. We’re practically almost identical. So at a microcosmic level, we are composed of billions of cells, in turn constructing our bodies, our brains, our identity at a genetic level. We’re no different than say a frog, or a hippo. So when they perish, are we that narcissistic that we think that the ‘supreme being’ will differentiate and say. “nope, that was a hippo cell. “You there! Hippo cell! Off to Oblivion you go”! And ahh , here’s a human cell. Lets analyze your deeds….”nope, you’ve been bad, apparently in 1972 during mitosis, you were slacking off and weren’t doing your job. “Off to purgatory you go little cell”!
So then, is it because we are conscious? By being self-aware, does that differentiate us? Dolphins are pretty smart, I’m quite sure they are aware of themselves, and that they don’t quite like to be caught in fishing nets to die a nice painful death. Maybe then…it just boils down to faith?
The dictionary defines faith as “belief that is not based on proof”. I’d like to believe that my father will move onto a better place. Yet the selfish kid in me likes to hope that he can stay with me(us) longer. So why is it that we refuse to let go? Just because one person believes in say, afterlife A. Does that make afterlife B or C non-existent? Are we fighting wars and killing each other over who’s afterlife is better? I’d like to put my faith in science, and believing that they can help and slow down the growth of cells in my father. In some ways I’m putting my faith in these exotic Chinese/herbal medicines that we’re getting as well, (who’s properties have no scientific basis of curing cancer). Yet we continue to try. To put our faith in something beyond ourselves. So I don’t see why it couldn’t hurt to put my faith also in God, in that by some miracle, this thing can be contained. All three are equally equivalent in my eyes.