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View Full Version : Pondering an Afterlife



Withnail
March 10th, 2004, 11:27 AM
I can't imagine most of us, even those with strong convictions of faith, not being just a little uncomfortable when considering our own death. Perhaps only those brain washed enough to blow themselves up for the glory of god find it easy to die.

Then what happens...?

I'd like to discuss what could be some of the possibilities. In terms of Christianity, as defended on this board, we have 2 options; Heaven and Hell. We have already discussed Hell here, but I'm curious how a Christian could describe Heaven. Are we in corporeal form? If so, are we in the form we inhabit at the point of death? Or some ideal form (say, a median age of 21)?
If we are "good" enough to be in Heaven, would we be dissappointed to learn of friends and loved ones arrival in hell? Or would we side with God's decision, and approve of our evil unbelieving spouse's suffering?

Now we can also ponder an Afterlife as something besides merely Heaven or Hell. How would Time work? Could we perceive time passing (interpreted by our memories of earth's rotation and orbit around the sun)? I don't think the human mind would be able to function without the perception of time.

If we are not in a body, are we some sort of "soul" energy entity? Do we retain our own individuality, or are we thrown back into the soup so to speak?
Perhaps to be recycled, reincarnated, and reborn in some new coporeal form?

I must admit that what angers me most when seeing how our society views an afterlife are the charletans that claim to communicate with the dead. John Edwards Crossing Over comes to mind. These "psychics" prey on people's loss and anxiety about death.

Anyway, I thought I'd just open this thread up and see what you think.

LionsnTigers
March 10th, 2004, 11:32 AM
i believe what a terry prachett suggested
what ever you believe happens to you when you die happens to you
for instance if you believe in vahalla you go there, if you believe in heaven you go there, if you believe in reincarnation you are reincarnated

Spartacus
March 10th, 2004, 11:40 AM
Heaven and Hell are not the Only Christian options.....

Early Christian beliefs as still believed by Orthodox Christians are this:

After we die, our body turns to duct and the spirit leaves the body.

At the time of Jusdgement will all dwell in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.

Now if you learn to love God with all your heart, then you will be in paradise.

If however you sought only wordly things and pleasures of the flesh, or if you deny God...then eternity will seem like Hell.

So why be good....why love your fellow man....to learnhow to better love God.

The whole Hevaen and Hell and Pergatory thing in Christian tradition is only about 1,000 years and comes mostly from the teachings of St. Augustine.

Withnail
March 10th, 2004, 10:50 PM
Spartacus, do you then believe that after death we remain in purgatory until the "time of judgement", when we finally get to a paradise?

I understand you mean our body turns to "dust" and not to "duct". Correct?

sjjs
March 11th, 2004, 03:46 AM
Click. Out go the lights. That's it.

AntiMaterialist
March 11th, 2004, 01:35 PM
Nonsense - the evidence from Near Death Experiences is most interesting.

sjjs
March 11th, 2004, 01:52 PM
So you're saying that "near death" is the same as "death"?

Two entirely things old bean.

AntiMaterialist
March 11th, 2004, 02:15 PM
Pointles semantics. When I speak of a Near Death Experience, you know what I mean.

Withnail
March 11th, 2004, 07:40 PM
Anti-Materialist, I know think that there's something there after death beause of your interest in Near Dear Experiences. Do you have any ideas as to what an Afterlife would be like?

I'm honestly not trying to bait anyone into making claims that they fully understand what the Afterlife is like. If anyone feels that way, and can explain it fully, go ahead.

This guy's an example of someone who claims to know all about it.

http://www.victorzammit.com/book/chapter27.html

I'm more interested in a general discussion as to what the possibilites are.

Personally, I can't believe in the concept of an Afterlife.

AntiMaterialist
March 11th, 2004, 08:02 PM
Personally, I can't believe in the concept of an Afterlife.

I see it from such a different perspective...

The afterlife (or the outer reality, in my own peculiar parlance) would probably possess the following characteristics:

- More than 3 spatial dimensions.
- It's own time flow separate from this time stream (although it might contain this time stream within that outer time flow)
- An incredibly complex system for building and maintaining realities in which various entities live brief lifetimes in order to gain experiences
- A complex system for accessing whatever information you wish to find
- Communication based on the transfer of complex concepts, sort of like transferring complex data in a computer, not just text.
- A large collection of different realms that people can inhabit, with different characteristic based on the needs of the individuals

These are all concepts provided by those who have had near death experiences.

I feel compelled to make a point though - just because some people who have NDEs sometimes acquire information about the hospital in which they are nearly dying, which they could not have acquired through known methods - does not mean that all information gleaned during an NDE is true.

However, If you study the accounts of NDEs, even from different cultures, they paint a coherent and logical picture - one that is completely consistent with some theories of physics.

sjjs
March 12th, 2004, 02:59 AM
Pointles semantics. When I speak of a Near Death Experience, you know what I mean.

Hardly pointless semantics. Near death experiencs aren't death at all. A bit like saying Al Gore knows about being president of the US because of his near-election experience.

Think about it.

AntiMaterialist
March 12th, 2004, 05:35 AM
Exactly - NDEs are not death - they are near death. Some people, upon coming close to dying, go through the first stages of the dying process, but then are revived, and thus possess some memories of what happens upon death.

These experiences are glimpses - it isn't much, but it is a starting point for speculation.

Withnail
March 12th, 2004, 08:07 AM
Interesting concepts AM.
It kind of sounds like Online games like Everquest.
It would seem beyond the comprehension of our human minds. Perhaps our conciousness would be enhanced or changed. But I wonder if we'd retain our own sense of individuality, are earthly memories, our earthly relationships. Would the reality seem better than this life? Or equal?

sjjs
March 12th, 2004, 09:20 AM
Exactly - NDEs are not death - they are near death. Some people, upon coming close to dying, go through the first stages of the dying process, but then are revived, and thus possess some memories of what happens upon death.

These experiences are glimpses - it isn't much, but it is a starting point for speculation.

Most near death experiences are explained by chemical changes in the brain and don't relate the what's on the "other side" of death.

AntiMaterialist
March 12th, 2004, 09:51 AM
Most near death experiences are explained by chemical changes in the brain and don't relate the what's on the "other side" of death.

That is how skeptics explain it. Susan Blackmoore, a noted skeptic, when asked about a specific situation in which a person gathered verifyable information he couldn't possibly have gotten through known physical means, replied by stating that she doesn't believe it happened because it would violate everything she knows about science.

Ignoring data does not make it go away. The fact that those who experience NDEs gather such information lends weight to the argument that it is more than just chemical changes in the brain.

sjjs
March 12th, 2004, 10:50 AM
Any chance of seeing any proof of what you're saying?

AntiMaterialist
March 12th, 2004, 11:13 AM
Are you wanting me to post accounts of Near Death Experiences?

There are multiple books and websites on the topic. I am happy to find some good examples and post them, if you wish.

sjjs
March 13th, 2004, 02:24 AM
No, I'd like to see some examples of near death experiences which cannot be explained by science. That means no 'light at the end of the tunnel' tosh or feelings of euphoria.

kwinters
March 13th, 2004, 04:40 AM
I found this an interesting read

Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation
by Dr. Ian Stevenson, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville

http://www.afterlife101.com/Twenty_Cases.html

AntiMaterialist
March 13th, 2004, 07:37 AM
No, I'd like to see some examples of near death experiences which cannot be explained by science. That means no 'light at the end of the tunnel' tosh or feelings of euphoria.

I will find them for you - might take a few days.

Withnail
March 20th, 2004, 11:49 PM
Just a bump, really.
I notice that no theist really found this thread very interesting. Pehaps it's too vulgar to try and consider aspects of the Afterlife for the believer. Why concern yourself with the details, when you know the vacation is booked!
I guess the Devil is in the details, in this instance being the details of the Afterlife.

AntiMaterialist
March 21st, 2004, 06:40 AM
As a theist, but not a member of any major religion, I believe in an afterlife - and I have shared what little I can about my beliefs - but we have very limited information. I think the lack of data is the sticking point.