Have you ever really considered what insurance is? A lot of my fellow Americans tend to think of it as a requirement to get a loan, or something the cops ask for when you get pulled over. But the bank doesn’t have an insurance requirement just for the hell of it. They are protecting their financial interests against the unknown. On a lot with a house stands a thing of value, and they are the ones that fronted the money for it. All it takes is a tornado or fire, and they are holding the title for a chunk of land with a wreck on it. A worthless, disfigured wreck.
Insurance isn’t merely a thing that checks a legal or paperwork block, it is a contract to restore the financial equity of something of value. If we knew ahead of time that there would be a fire, tornado, accident, or theft, there would be no need for insurance.
Life insurance is similar, but instead of a “thing” it is the financial value of a person that is protected. If we knew when we were going to die, we could just plan for that. But if you plan to earn a living for x many years and decide to start a family and buy a house, and then you die, the financial loss is the money needed to raise a family and pay off the mortgage.
Insurance protects the unknown. If the unknown were known, we wouldn’t need insurance. If the bank knew my house would catch fire, or I would die before I finished paying it off, my loan would look much different or wouldn’t exist. So if someone tells you a bank doesn’t require insurance to get a loan, they are lying. The bank doesn’t know the future, and that’s why they make you get insurance.
If a religious person tells you they know what happens after you die, you can tell they are lying because they take out insurance against it. I call it AFTERLIFE insurance. Your insurance agent doesn’t tell you you will never have a fire. Your agent says we hope you don’t have a fire, but in case you do, here is some insurance which you can use to rebuild. That’s what honesty looks like.
Dishonesty is telling you exactly what will happen to you after you die, but then doing everything they can to insure against a bad result. They are taking out an afterlife insurance policy to protect against the unknown. Naturally, this isn’t a legal contract. But it is a sort of contract. Prayer is an afterlife insurance contract. Prayer is an admission that although they claim god has a plan, they’d like to purchase a little extra good faith by trying to directly talk to their deity for forgiveness, or longevity.
The most famous afterlife policy is Pascal’s wager. It is absolute unashamed hedging your bet. It approximately says that since we don’t know what happens after we die, we’re just gonna go ahead and believe in god just in case. Nothing says “I am making shit up because I don’t actually know anything” more than Pascal’s wager. But they still pretend they know. If I ask a normal and religious person if their house will burn down next week, the answer is they don’t know. But if I ask that same normal, and religious person if there is a heaven, they will confidently say yes! And then they will pray and advise me about Pascal’s wager. See the problem?
There are lots of little afterlife insurance policies the religious take out. Just the mere action of going to church is nothing but an attempt to get a good payout after you die. Well, that and being a self-righteous, judgmental prick. But that’s for another article.
As with prayer and Pascal’s wager, the whole point of going to church is to worship your assumed god with the sole purpose of hoping that god is 1) real, and 2) willing to give you a leg up in the afterlife situation. It’s ALL about the afterlife. People seem to like when “god” helps them find their keys, but the thing they’re really after is a seat on the afterlife ship to heaven. They can find their keys their own damned self, but they can’t buy a ticket on the heaven express. Sitting in the pews is a payment on the premium for afterlife insurance. Pausing to pray before bed is a payment. “Witnessing” is a payment. Mumbling over your food is a payment. And just like life insurance, you have to keep paying the premium, lest your afterlife insurance goes out of force.
And there’s one other kind of afterlife insurance, it’s the kind that keeps you from having an afterlife of the unknown. Any Christian that buckles their seat belt is unwittingly admitting they’re not 100% sure they’re going to get an afterlife.
Do you know who IS convinced there is an afterlife? Those that are willing to give their life. From Vikings of yesteryear to Islamic fanatics today, those dudes are convinced that their afterlife story is right. They are willing to fight hard or sacrifice themselves because they do not fear death. But let’s face it, that is not the majority of religious folks. If the average modern human really thought for sure that there was an afterlife, there would be no need for safety meetings and safety stand-downs. Think about that for a second. Death, according to the expressed belief, is a guaranteed ticket to the most wonderful place ever! Why the hell would we muck that up with silly things like safety?
The list of afterlife insurance- designed to prevent the believer from ever checking to see if they’re- right could fill a book. Child car seats, for example. Babies get a direct line to heaven, many believe, since they haven’t had the chance to purposely be a screw-up yet. But they are dutifully strapped in like an egg. Guard rails. Highway markings. Construction codes. Consumer protection. Emergency services. The EPA, FAA, all branches of the military, and dozens and dozens of federal government agencies. Stop smoking campaigns. Healthy diet advice. Locking exterior residential doors. We’ve devoted so much time, energy, and money trying not to get killed, it’s almost like we aren’t sure what happens next……
Spoiler alert. When you die, your brain functions cease like a flame that goes out. Everything that makes you who you are is right there, but the chemical processes have stopped. You are gone. Done. Just like before you were born you didn’t exist, when you die you no longer exist either. You were a happy chance of the right place at the right time, so let’s make the most of this, shall we? So be safe and take care.
And if you really want some afterlife insurance, leave a legacy of health, compassion, and love. Let your works live through those that remain behind, be it this generation or the next. Or the next after that. Make the world a better place. That’s the only real insurance for immortality, after all.
The Spartan Atheist