“The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies" T. Paine.
Paine highlights for us the absurd situation many nation states find themselves in currently, under oligarchies, hereditary monarchs and the vilest of all temporal dictatorships the necrocracy. Furthermore, this quote expresses much of what one should find unsettling about religion. Specifically religious claims about a dictatorship after death.
Focusing on the real world first, the problems arising from hereditary monarchs and ruling family dictatorships should seem self-evidently problematic (hopefully). How can the offspring, next in line for the throne, of a previous dictator have any more right to rule his fellow humans than the previous owner, who also inherited the title. The answer is they have no extra right.
The worst form of all the hideously backward government’s on Earth today is the necrocracy. There is only one necrocracy and it clearly demonstrates why “governing beyond the grave” is the worst of all tyrannies. North Korea, a necrocracy, was ruled into ruin by Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994. After his death his corpse was made the eternal president of North Korea. His son, Kim Jon Il (who continued driving his country into depravity), was not the president during his reign of terror, ending in his death in 2011, nor is his son, Kim Jon Un, who rules the country today, second in command only to his dead grandfather (and maybe his dead father). The country is still “lead” by a two decade old corpse. As it turns out dead people are not perfect for running a country – unless that country is to be run into the ground, which is exactly what has happened and is tragically still happening.
Moving to the metaphysical, The Qur'an and Bible both express that there is a "kingdom" that one can go to, after one's physical death (a non-sequitur, it seems to me – as a corpse cannot be “ruled” in any demonstrable or meaningful sense). In this "kingdom" you are governed or overseen by one Entity, God. Depending on how one lived one’s life, one can expect anything from eternal torment to divine reward. Either way, the dictatorship is eternal and goes beyond the grave.
|Heads the Qur'an is the perfect word of God!|
|Tails the Bible is the perfect word of God!|
Putting the scientific truth about the actual veracity of this “kingdom to come” to one side, one can focus on how absurd and disrespectful this proposition is to the life you are currently living. The wish to have a single unchangeable entity rule one’s existence forever has been pushing the boundaries of masochism, and servility ever since the vile idea was concocted.
Each generation should govern its own destiny, rather than an old destiny governing a new generation. One should have enough self-respect to accept that the dead must not rule the living in this life. Furthermore, after one dies, one should also be free from any eternal reign from an unalterable Deity.
“I respect you as a person too much, to respect your ridiculous beliefs” – Johann Hari.