Sometimes people post the question “If you weren’t Mormon, what would you be?” As I think about that question, I’m a little bit torn. There are so many other churches and faith traditions I have my share of sacred envy for, and which I deeply respect and appreciate. But for me, the ultimate answer is probably that I would be an atheist. I do have a rational bent of mind.
So why aren’t I an atheist now? What is it that keeps me squarely in the theist camp? One word: death.
I think I could pretty easily be an atheist most of the time. But for me, where the rubber really hits the road is with contemplation of death, particularly deaths of loved ones. I simply cannot conceive of eternal nonexistence, and of not being with my loved ones again in the hereafter. Although my mind normally privileges the rational, in this case it definitely privileges the extrarational. I very much believe in postmortem existence.
I fully realize that this might be a psychological defense mechanism, that my brain might simply be protecting me from contemplating that which I cannot face. If so, so be it. I am much happier traipsing through this life with this belief than I would be without it, so I’m not too concerned with the source of the belief, I just thank God that it is something I possess.
That is my one spiritual gift–the gift of faith in the hereafter. And it is a gift that I treasure.