Preternity

Some people believe that after you die your soul will move on to an afterlife which if you were good will be an eternity of joy but if you were bad will be a period of endless torment. They’re almost right. You do spend an eternity experiencing either pleasure or pain depending on the moral quality of your life, but this happens before you are born. The kindly grandmother who volunteers at the local soup kitchen has already been rewarded by a infinite period of blissful communion with her creator. As for the pillar-of-his-community child molester, uncaptured serial killer, and the concentration camp guard who dies peacefully in his bed at age eighty, take heart–their skin was indeed flayed by demons in a lake of fire. True, this agony ended at the moment of their births, but it’s not like these monsters are getting away with anything because it had no beginning. Only a mere mortal would quibble over ordering since the books end up balanced just the same.

–So what happens after you die?
–Gee, I don’t know. I never really thought about it.

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