Jim Denison on Is Belief in an Afterlife a ‘Malignant Delusion’?

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker posted on Facebook, “Belief in an afterlife is a malignant delusion, since it devalues actual lives and discourages action that would make them longer, safer, and happier.” I can see why a secularist would think this if such belief would focus him on the future to the neglect of the present.

However, for Christians, the opposite is actually the case.

Jesus clearly believed in an afterlife (cf. Luke 23:46), but he clearly valued actual lives and encouraged action that “would make them longer, safer, and happier.” He launched his public ministry by “teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matthew 4:23). He commissioned his first followers to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8).

Early Christians were so generous that “there was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). They were passionate about healing bodies (cf. Acts 3:1–10) and souls (vv. 11–26). In the centuries that followed, Christians were on the forefront of hospitals and healthcare, especially in times of plague and other pandemics. They built the earliest universities in the medieval world; in fact, “almost every university and college founded in the US and Europe until the mid-19th century—and many afterwards—was founded by some religious organization.”

Why living for heaven changes lives on earth

Contradicting Dr. Pinker, C. S. Lewis noted that “Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

Why is this so?

One reason is that thinking of the next world reminds us of divine judgment and the consequent urgency of ministering to those in need. Jesus told us that when we stand before him one day, he will reward our service to others as service to himself (Matthew 25:40).

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison