Why are we Obsessed with the Afterlife?

Why are we Obsessed with the Afterlife?

Join us on Tuesday, April 30th at 7:30pm for God on Tap, upstairs at Gypsy Blu in Ambler. Our topic is the afterlife!

I recently came across an article on the website, The Cut entitled Why is TV So Obsessed with the Afterlife Right Now? 

The article points out that there are several popular shows on TV right now that approach the afterlife in different ways. They write, 

What happens after we die? In 2019, you don’t need to consult holy scriptures in order to find answers to the mysteries of the afterlife — you just need to turn on the TV. Despite the increasing secularization of mainstream pop-culture, depictions of the afterlife onscreen are currently a dime a dozen, with shows like The Good PlaceMiracle WorkersRussian DollForeverBlack Mirror, as well as an upcoming series from The Office producer Greg Daniels each advancing their own unique visions of demons and angels, heaven and hell, and everything in between. 

(I'd also add one of my favorite shows on Netflix, The OA.)

The Cut asked Dr. Greg Garrett, a professor of English at Baylor University, why the afterlife is such a preoccupation for us right now. He responded,


I don’t think that there is a time when we have had this many kind of versions of stories of the afterlife kind of popping up in the culture. They are a way of helping us cope with some of the stresses and difficulties that we might be experiencing in the present moment. We’re living in a time of really high tension — for some people, it feels like we’re living in hell — and these shows use fantasy to help us deal with real-life concerns and issues and figure out things like what do we owe each other and what does real justice look like and what is generosity and what does an authority figure look like?

This article will be our jumping off point for thinking about the afterlife, the hereafter, heaven and hell, purgatory and limbo, and what happens when we die.

Here are some questions to get us started:

  • Do you think our culture is preoccupied with the afterlife? How do you notice that?
  • What do you think happens when we die?
  • What do you think of the Christian understanding of heaven?
  • What endures and remains of us when we have left this world?
  • What experiences have shaped your thoughts on the afterlife?

Hope to see you Tuesday!

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God on Tap is hosted by members and friends of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church. Contact Keith Anderson for more information.