Do you believe in an afterlife?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Novenotes : One Thread
Do you believe in an afterlife? Why or why not?--Al
-- Al Schroeder (email@example.com), February 25, 2000
My father died when my son was three. Over the next several months, he asked a lot of questions about the nature of death, and I could understand why parents, especially, would seek the comfort of promising that we would all be together with God in Heaven after we die. But I never believed that, and I didn't want to lie to my son about this. So I told him what I believe, which is that when we die, we go back to the earth. That was ok for the moment, but he kept asking questions about the "why" of it. (He was very conceptually advanced from a young age, but I still wanted make sure I didn't give him more than he could handle.) And I finally defined the issue for myself and him when I said that, if no one ever died, there wouldn't be any room for new babies to be born. That seemed to comfort and satisfy both of us.
As far as consiousness after death, I just don't know the unknown. But I don't believe there is any spiritual "penalty" for not knowing.
I DO believe that the earth is a living thing, with everything interconnected, and so I believe that in that sense, we live on in the great flow of existence. And we live on in the hearts and minds of others. So that is enough motivation for me to try to be the best person I can be in *this* life.
As far as reincarnation, I've always wondered how that theory explains the population explosion. If the same 'souls' are being re-born over and over, then wouldn't the number of people remain static? Oh, I forgot, you can be re-born as other animals. In any case, the idea that you live many lives until you perfect your spirit doesn't work for me, because I have no memory of any experiences or lessons from any 'past lives.'
The theory of karma makes sense to me along the lines of "What goes around comes around", but applied to this lifetime, not some theoretical future life. I think there is probably some Physics to psychic energy that we don't yet understand, but it seems obvious that love begets love and hate begets hate, so I believe that our thoughts and feelings do have force and consequence that are both physical and immediate.
There's a quote from Ghandi that I like:
"I believe in the essential unity of all people and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one person gains spiritually, the whole world gains, and if ONE PERSON falls, the whole world falls to that extent."
That quote gave me a lot to think about, and gave good expression to my core belief, that everything is connected and every life matters.
-- Ev (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 26, 2000.
I believe the "afterlife" is those that we love living on in our hearts after they have gone from this earth.
-- Terri Schroeder (TerSchroeder @aol.com), February 26, 2000.
as an agnostic i will say that to me, things are a mystery and mysteries are only explained to us as we gain ability to understand them. i don't chafe under that line of thinking. i am willing to wait and see. to me i feel there is SOMETHING, i know not what, but something made all this. doug
-- doug (email@example.com), February 26, 2000.
I always tell people that they become me after they die. Mike is the afterlife. Everyone else are the lives in between.
-- Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 29, 2000.
I don't know whether I believe in an individual human conscsiousness continuing after the death of the body in which that conscsiousness resided. I have too many questions -- where would that consciousness come from? If we have an identity independent from the body, how come brain damage can have so much effect on personality? If the "soul" is so independent from the body, why does the average soul not get separated from the body occasionally during waking life?
On the other hand, I have experienced sufficient inexplicable events to keep my mind open -- it is obvious to me that there are truths about human consciousness that aren't governed by the laws of physics or random chance. I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that if our present physical science can't explain something, then it therefore must not exist or occur.
In the end, I have a strong feeling in my bones that there is an afterlife, and as a believing Christian, I talk about it in terms of physical resurrection and eternal life. Don't get me wrong -- given all of my reservations, I don't actively proselytize others to believe. When I'm forced to choose, however, that's what I go with, because it's what I hope.
-- Tom Dean (email@example.com), March 01, 2000.
The thing is, there is no reason to believe in an afterlife. If something unexplained happened when we died we might posit a theory to explain it. However, there is no flash of light, no loss of weight, no sign of any sort that death is anything more than a neural network ceasing operation.
-- Dave Van (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 02, 2000.
I for one think there is something else, beyond. It seems there has to be a point to going through this.. and that we are experiencing different lessons in each lifetime, not to be consciously remembered, but once learned, never needing to experience that particular lesson, again. We are all driven by particular aspects.. something that excites some is uninteresting to others. Why is it that we each have a natural inclination toward particular fields of work and why do some have to struggle with drug addiction.. or commit crimes repeatedly, when others would never even come close to this? Why do some never need to struggle financially, when others seem prone to this? It might be said it's due to "upbringing", but then, that in itself is a something that differs, in order to experience what is necessary for particular lessons. Maybe we are subjected to people and situations, purposely. Where some would never lash out, others seem to continually do this. It is awful that some suffer lengthy illnesses while others die instantly, or that some infants don't have a chance, or are born with disabilities.. but maybe it is for the same reason. Though this idea seems difficult to swallow, I think there is a lot more to consider than is generally thought.
-- Simplilo (Simplilo@aol.com), November 26, 2002.