JANESVILLE, Wisc. — A senior citizen who is a longtime member of a prominent atheist organization has sponsored a billboard in Wisconsin that bears a message that he calls “a legacy for my grandchildren.”
Wayne Hensler, who is in his mid-eighties, purchased the ad space, which bears the declaration, “Enjoy life now: There is no afterlife.”
According to reports, Hensler sponsored a similar billboard in 2010, but it was purportedly vandalized.
“It’s something that will make people think a little bit, and maybe help them make a little more joy in life,” he stated at the time. “With all these signs, especially the religious ones—God this and Jesus that—this is kind of counteracting that kind of thing.”
Hensler has been a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) since the 1980’s, whose name and website appears on the sign. The atheist activist group announced the billboard this week, applauding Hensler for his effort.
“Christianity unfortunately instructs that we humans are just ‘passing through’ this world. Think of hymns such as ‘This World Is Not My Home,’” FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister, wrote. “But as Emily Dickinson put it, ‘That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.'”
“One of the greatest disservices of religion is that it misdirects human energies from this world—our only life—to some unprovable, highly improbable imaginary afterlife,” added co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We should enjoy life now, but also realize that the only afterlife that ought to concern us is leaving our descendants a secure and pleasant future.”
But in the article Death, Judgment and the Hope of the Gospel, Pastor Jeffrey Smith of Emmanuel Baptist Church of Coconut Creek, Florida outlines that just because some opine that eternity is non-existent, does not make it so.
“[T]here is a day of judgment coming for all of us. We can’t escape it. We may try not to think about it. You may try to ignore the warnings of your conscience and pretend all is well, but nothing you can do ever will change the fact: ‘It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,'” he writes.
In his sermon After Death Comes Judgment, Pastor Les Walthers of Dallas Reformed Baptist Church likewise advises that there are three types of death.
“The Bible speaks of physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. All men die physically because they are the sons of Adam. All men are born spiritually dead because of Adam’s original sin,” he explains. “If physical death overtakes a man while he is still in the condition of spiritual death, he will experience eternal death which the Bible describes as eternal punishment, separated from the presence of God.”
“If death and judgment are the end of the story, every one of us would be doomed; but there’s another truth … that I draw your attention to, and it’s this,” Smith adds. “Christ Jesus came to bear the sins of many. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and He is willing and able to save you; but you must be willing to stop going your own rebellious self-directed way and entrust your soul and life into the hands of Jesus Christ.”
“By nature, our sinful hearts don’t want to do that,” he states. “We desire to be our own gods and to control our own lives, but Christ can give you a new heart.”