I’ve been delving into the Stoics this year and can’t help but feel the influence on my views on Christianity. I’m very sympathetic to the idea of being an agnostic about the afterlife. I don’t think that it should have to mean rejecting faith in this life.
But it does put a new spin on the point of it all. Faith is not about a golden ticket into the afterlife.
I think acknowledging uncertainty about what lies beyond here leads you to need your spirituality to help you be a better person – not for the next life, but for this one. A spirituality that helps you cope with what this life is going to throw at you – the things that don’t extinguish you completely, but leave you unharmed enough to still wonder what it was that hit you and why you are so far from the path you started out on.
Whether you live 40 years or 100 years, can you really say your life was short or long? Compared to the unrelenting roll of eternity, either way it is a mere blink. What does it matter if you achieve fame and recognition in this short time? Whether or not you are one of those forgotten in your own lifetime, we’re all forgotten by three generations out. Even Marcus Aurelius is just a name on a Wikipedia entry now.