From Magic City Morning Star|
Whether you believe in literal resurrection--I'm going to wake up there more or less the way I am here, race and all--or some transitional existence--I'm going to get a new body and new brain on some other planet out there--none of us know for sure how the celestial powers are going to help us tackle such issues. (If you believe that you will wake up as already a perfect celestial being, wings and all, then of course you aren't worried about such things, are you?)
Let's explore some ideas, starting with I'm going to wake up there more or less the way I am here, race and all. You wake up, and you are still black, white, yellow, red, etc. in a decidedly human form, and so are others that you will meet. That doesn't mean that you and these others are suddenly and automatically free of every negative thought pattern and attitude you might have had down here about your own or other races or ethnic groups, does it? Let's put this one aside for now.
If you voted for I'm going to get a new body and new brain on some other planet out there, then there seem to me to be three options:
1. You get a new body, suitable for this other planet, that is an approximation of what you had on Earth, showing the same skin color and race to some visible extent;
2. You get a new body for this other planet that has a completely different look and feel than any of us had here, meaning that race has at least ceased to be a visible issue;
3. You get a new body (still suitable for this other planet) that is an approximation of the Earthly race you had the most prejudice towards while you were on Earth, and wouldn't that be a treat for many of us?
Now, if you were the celestial power, having promoted various earthlings to this new existence, wouldn't you be looking at realizing significant improvement in attitudes and behaviors before allowing people to advance much further in their afterlives? If so, then only options 1 and 3 provide any real sort of educational aspect or teaching opportunity on this new planet. Option 2 explicitly avoids the issue of race, doesn't it? And, option 2 isn't going to be as much fun as options 1 or 3, is it? We should also bear in mind that many of us will have died having negative attitudes towards the very race that we ourselves were here on Earth.
Personally, I suspect that both options 1 and 3 will be available to and used by the celestial powers. If racial prejudice was a major flaw in the person while on Earth, then why would the celestial powers wait any time at all to encourage us to come to grips with it in the afterlife? Surely option 3 would be the standard approach for such intractable earthlings, regardless of how well they may have done in other aspects of their lives down here? Option 1 seems to me to be the most likely approach for everyone else, leaving issues of race very much alive and to be dealt with, but not requiring the most immediate attention.
In the process of getting us rid of all negative thinking and attitudes towards any race or ethnic group, how might the celestial powers teach us to be better or test our progress? The final exam for all of us on this new planet on the issue of race seems obvious to me. For option 3 candidates, they will have to have successfully cohabited and hung out with only people of that originally-troublesome-to-them race for a significant amount of afterlife time, and success can only mean one thing--that person is completely accepted by others of that race and is even able to pass for someone of that race on this new planet without any shade of doubt, pun intended.
For option 1 candidates on this new planet, they will be encouraged to develop their own plan to do all the things they believe are necessary for them to put behind them all racial and ethnic issues once and for all. For their final exam, they will at the very least have to persuade not only the celestial powers but also a panel or jury of former earthlings representing all of the earthly races that the plan they chose has been completed and has in fact been successful.
What I don't believe is that any of us will get very far in any afterlife without dealing with race and ethnicity, and without our willing and assiduous effort to correct where we were on these issues when we passed away here on Earth. Which takes me back to those who voted for the I'm going to wake up there more or less the way I am here, race and all. It seems to me that this group of voters are choosing to believe in a difficult future for themselves. If we are plunked into substantially the same bodies we had here, then how easy is it going to be for us to get past racial and ethnic prejudices, even up there? How easily will we be willing to change?
Which takes me to the final aspect of all this: the question of free will. Can we freely choose to continue to be prejudiced in the afterlife, and if so, what happens to such people? If you believe in free will, then free will must continue to apply in the afterlife, meaning that no one can be forced to become unprejudiced, even there, right? Yes, right! But consider for a moment that if you were the celestial power in charge of these former earthlings, would you allow those choosing to continue such negative thoughts and attitudes to be promoted any further in the afterlife? I somehow doubt it. This means that all such former earthlings would be left at the earliest stages of their afterlives indefinitely, watching hundreds, then thousands, and eventually millions of other resurrected earthlings go past them, such others leaving for a greater and more spiritual future in whatever places the celestial powers provide. Who would wish that upon themselves? Which means that free will has its logical limits eventually, for all of us.
Serge Jusyp has been interested for many years in questions of personality survival after death, as well as whether science and faith are reconcilable. As a 1975 graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School with a Juris Doctor degree, he practiced law until 2002. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
"OTMA 82 - The First Day"
© Copyright 2002-2014 by Magic City Morning Star