what do you think is going to happen after you die? can we know?

The following is an email exchange I had with one Andrey or Svetlana Shihova from Jan 14 - Feb 19, 2002. Though I am not sure where the writer is from, I assume he or she is from an Eastern Block country based on his or her use of the English Language. I did not save the first email I received, unfortunately. In that first letter the writer warned me that Jesus was coming soon and the rapture was about to take place. The writer stated they had come across my site by accident and therefore decided to correspond with me. The narrative takes up after that first email from him/her. If this string continues I will post the exchanges here.

To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 04:15:32 -0500

Even when I was a Christian, I believed Darby was a heretic. I never have believed in dispensationalism, and neither did the rest of Christianity until Darby and his followers created it.

From: Svetlana Shihova sshihova@hotmail.com
Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 5:09 AM

what do you think is going to happen after you die? can we know?

To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 04:08:56 -0500

I believe the same thing happens to us that happens to cats, dogs, horses, apes and every other living thing on earth. We die and that is it. I did not exist for millions of years before I was born and it did not bother me a bit. I will not exist after I am dead, and I will not mind that either.

Dave VanAllen

From: Svetlana Shihova [mailto:sshihova@hotmail.com]
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2002 3:14 PM

Hi Dave,

How do you back up your religion? Can you say for sure that there is nothing after death? What kind of facts can we have to prove what you believe? Sorry for calling believe in "nothing after death" religion, I just do not see any differences from other relegions.


To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 13:39:44 -0500

How do you back up your religion?

How do you back up anything? With evidence that is what. The fact of the matter is, there is no evidence for life after death. Even religion teaches that animals and plants have no life after death. Only religion says men and women survive death. It is a lie. I do not believe there is life after death. It is simply the obvious truth that once someone is dead, they no longer are seen or heard from again. Dead means dead and buried and gone forever. Look around, seen any dead people walking about? However, since we understand death, we do not like it, so we invent nice imaginary place where we live forever. All people have wondered about that and made up many religions hoping for a heaven after death. Fact is the mummies in Egypt are still dead, they were wrong. And so is everyone else that insists on a paradise after death. Time to live is now. After death is just eternal sleep -

From: Svetlana Shihova [mailto:sshihova@hotmail.com]
Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 1:51 AM

it's me again. i hope you had a good weekend. in your last message you are saying: "Look around, seen any dead people walking about?" actually i do see dead people walking around and i am one of them. people at work, shopping centers, etc. right from our birth we are poised to die. what do you think about that? and since you have 2 lovely children did they ever ask you about death? if they did what did you tell them? i am just wondering how hard is it to look at your little kids eyes full of hope and tell them that there is no hope in this world for them. even thou the humanity does not have a clue what happens after death.


To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 00:42:03 -0500

There are many hard things in life. Disease, poverty, starvation, handicaps, hatred, war, rape, murder, thieves, mean people, ignorance, persecution, prejudice, unfairness, liars, cheaters, depression, and a thousand other terrible things are all part of life on this world.

Teaching my children that life here on earth is bad but there is hope in a magical fantasy land called heaven, where everything is wonderful all the time, sounds to me like a recipe for suicide.

Life is short and should not be wasted pining away for heaven. Even Jesus said to take no thought for tomorrow, but worry about today's troubles, something no Christian does by worrying about their death all the time. Sounds to me like you are more worried about death than simply living the best you can now.

I did not teach my children to believe in Santa Claus and many people think that is callous. I did not teach them to believe in the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, magic, or any other lies that supposedly give children "hope". However, they have no doubt that I love them and I am real. They also love life to the fullest, and they are more positive than many of their contemporaries who are raised in religious homes. No doubt there are many reasons people believe in gods or goddesses and the fear of death is among the most popular reasons. But the biggest reason people believe in one religion or another is primarily determined by the accident of birth.

I wonder if I or you were born in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Egypt, India, Pakistan, or so much of the rest of the world, if we would have even the slightest chance of being on our way to a christian heaven? I have heard your same argument strongly proclaimed by very sincere Muslims. Life here is bad, so we must look toward our reward in heaven? What about all the lovely and wonderful things in life, like love, invention, family, friends, honesty, health, prosperity, giving, forgiveness, joy, happiness, fun, reading, knowledge, exploration, creativity, imagination, space, heroism, and on and on and on. Instead of the hard things we cannot change, why not dwell on those good things life has given us?

My cat who is our family pet and friend will die one day soon. Should I dwell on that every day or simply enjoy him all his days? The cat may live 15 years, not much time at all, but he doesn't seem to mind his lot at all, and looks forward to going outside to stalk a mouse or bird with glee everyday. He enjoys his life! So should we.


Dave VanAllen

From: Svetlana Shihova [mailto:sshihova@hotmail.com]
Date: Saturday, February 09, 2002 9:31 AM

Hi again,

But can you proof that there is no life after death?


To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 04:49:31 -0500

Can you prove there is life after death?

There may be fairies at the bottom of the pond. There is no evidence of fairies being at the bottom of the pond, but you cannot prove that there are not fairies at the bottom of the pond, so shouldn't we be agnostic in regard to fairies?

This is an example of your reasoning. I cannot prove something that does not exist, that is silly. Prove there is no Santa Claus. Prove that there are no ghosts. Prove that there are no UFOs with aliens from Jupiter visiting our planet everyday. To prove something, is to prove something is, not to prove something is not. The burden of proof lies with the person asking to prove the existence of a thing.

You have no proof of life after death - NONE. And neither does anyone else. I have plenty of proof that once people are in the ground they stay there until they become dust, unless they are mummies from ancient Egypt, in which case they may still be around to look at, but they don't say much. Dead is dead, just like my cat and dog, just like every animal in the zoo, just like every person so far.

Dave VanAllen

From: Svetlana Shihova [mailto:sshihova@hotmail.com]
Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 2:58 PM

I am asking if you can prove there is no life after death because otherwise whatever you say it's just your personal conviction, just like any religion. And whatever you tell your children is a lie as well, just my opinion.

To: "Svetlana Shihova"
Tue 2/19/2002 10:46 AM

Can you prove their are no aliens in flying saucers visiting earth. If you cannot prove that their are no aliens in flying saucers visiting earth, then whatever you say about flying saucers is just your personal conviction, just like any religion. And whatever you tell your children about flying saucers is a lie, because you cannot prove there are no flying saucers.

Your reasoning is faulty. There is no evidence for life after death at all. Everyone that dies stays dead. We do not attempt to disprove the existence of things, we search out to prove things. The burden of proof is on you to prove that there is life after death. You believe that there is life after death. What is your evidence for this belief? I see no evidence of life after death, so naturally I do not believe in it as I do not believe in flying saucers. I do not believe in flying saucers with aliens, because there is no evidence of such things, only stories by fanatical people who BELIEVE in flying saucers.

In the same way there is no hard evidence for life after death, only stories by fanatical people who BELIEVE in life after death. If you want to BELIEVE in life after death, go ahead, no one is stopping you. I choose to remain unconvinced of life after death until given proper evidence.


Dave VanAllen

A short exchange with someone named Erin

2 February 2002

I realize that writing you is probably a waste of time, but it is my time and obligation as a Christian.

I found this site purely by accident, but opened it to see for myself what sort of demented things could be here. Calling this site Ex-Christian.com is certainly appropriate.

I'm sorry you have never been lead to the truth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He loves you and your family and wants to come into your hearts and souls. It is never too late to search for the real truth, and God is the truth. Please pick up your Bible again and try a Bible study group. Blind faith is a difficult concept, but that very faith is what will set you free. You just don't know enough yet. Try God, he never lets you down.

I will pray for you Mr. VanAllen.

Erin Horner

From: Dave VanAllen
To: Erin Horner
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 2:22 AM
Subject: RE: I pity you

Thank you for your concern, but perhaps you did not read my testimony. If you are interested in reading it, it can be found here: http://exchristian.net/testimony.htm

Have a nice day,

Dave VanAllen

February 7, 2002

Dear Mr. Van Allen,

I did read your testimony--twice. I notice in your second to last paragraph you even write bible with a small "b" and god with a small "g" emphasizing your disillusionment. I can't say that I blame you.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church for all the wrong reasons. My mother was an opera singer and she was paid to sing at the church. For 10 years we went to 2 services every Sunday and many church events during the week. My parents did not care if any of us kids were Episcopalian or not--they went for the money. They just wanted us to be involved in something. 3 of my siblings and I decided to go completely the other way, so we attended the Pentacostle Church. Like you, I found that I HAD to be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and speak in tongues. It never happened for me. Once at a camp, the elders were getting mad at me for not speaking in tongues. So, I faked it. They wailed and cried and thought it was great. I left all church, feeling really disgusted.

Since that time, I have attended many different churches. I find that evangelical churches most pointedly, Pentecostal, AG, and Baptist, want you to follow what the preacher says, and not have a mind of your own. This is much like many Catholic churches that look down on parishiners for reading the Bible. No church is great, and they all have lousy politics. The Episcopal Church has some really lousy politics. However, I have found a church that is Episcopal, but they are non-denominational at the same time. That is a rare find. The people in this church know their Bibles inside and out. They are fanatical readers of Christian literature and disagreements are incouraged. It's the way man learns. We just keep our hearts and minds open.

My point here, is that maybe you have been looking for your answers in the wrong places. Maybe you should try a calmer church, and avoid the politics at all cost. Jesus did not abandon you, preachers and spiritual leaders did. If you can't find a church you like, study the Bible at home. I went many years in my adult life without going to church, and I still do not go regularly. I just do not want to get pigeon-holed into being an Episcopalian rather than a Christian.

You say in your testimony that you don't know what you are, so you guess you are agnostic. If you are really agnostic, then why bother trying so hard to get people to join you? Misery loves company? I don't think so. You are passionate about your past Christian life and frustrated and lost now. Pray to God for wisdom, and he will deliver. Besides, you appear to be a very intelligent man.

Oh, and as for who actually penned 1 John, we just have to go with the word of the Bible on that. And, if he seemed to believe that the end was near, just remember that in the Bible, time is strange to say the least. Soon to them could be in 2000 years. Christ told us to beware (be prepared), as he would come again when we least expected it.

Thanks for being so passionate about religion and your frustration with it all. Everyone feels that way sometimes. Just don't make your understanding and love of Christ get wallowed in the muck. Don't make it too hard.

Your friend in Christ, Erin

February 7, 2002

I forgot to say that I was really interested in the part of your testimony where you basically give up, even though you had been filled with the Holy Spirit. Satan is real busy these days. He loves to prey on people who are vulnerable and unsure of themselves. I believe you may have been filled with the Holy Spirit. But, I also believe that you let yourself get so lost, that it allowed Satan to enter your soul and guide you away from Christ. Satan CANNOT enter you unless you give him permission to do so.

Please pray that in the name of Jesus Christ, Satan will get behind you. Yell at him if need be. He CANNOT touch you if Christ is in your life. The Holy Spirit would never lead you astray. I've been where you are, and had friends where you are. Don't let Satan win the war with your soul--the stakes are too high.

"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:17) NIV

Your new friend, Erin

Pageviews this week: