President’s Column: After the Afterlife

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

By August Berkshire

Headshot of August Berkshire, smiling.

Question: What do vampires, zombies, and Harry Potter spirits have in common? Answer: They are all alternatives to the traditional Christian afterlife and they are all very popular with young people.

I see this as part of a larger trend away from Christianity and towards atheism. Let’s face it, with modern telescopes able to perceive things that are billions of light years away, we still haven’t found an afterlife. It’s hard to believe in something that supposedly has no substance, and if God and heaven and the billions of souls in it had substance, we would have found them by now.

In contrast, vampires and zombies provide a tangible form of life after death, and even the spirits in Harry Potter are visible and able to act upon the natural world, implying that they too have substance and are natural.  

The desire to avoid (permanent) death is part of our survival instinct. Now, while most people don’t want to be zombies, there is a certain poignant allure to being a vampire.  And the spirits in Harry Potter can be either good or bad.  So earthly life and the earthly struggle between good and evil go on forever. Older generations outgrew heaven, God, and souls. Today’s young people will outgrow vampires, zombies, and spirits. In fact, they already get the joke.

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