There is no life after death (and no hell)

  • Thread starter Laser Eyes
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  • #1
Laser Eyes
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This issue came up in the letter to Dr Laura thread and rather than letting that thread deviate from its topic I thought I would deal with the issue here.
I made a comment where I said:

There is no eternal suffering and there is no hell. That is a fiction created by Satan's empire of false religion to control and intimidate people. When you die that is the end of your life, period.

Phobos then said:

Can you elaborate? Where is this viewpoint from? Doesn't seem to match the common Judeo-Christian or even Islamic beliefs.
Various scriptures in the Bible tell us that our life ends when we die. It is a complete and final end. There is no life after death. There is no immortal soul. And there is no eternal suffering or hell. I know this is not what Judaism or most so-called Christian churches teach but it is what the Bible says. Most supposedly Christian churches just do not teach what the Bible says. They create their own doctrines and over time these doctrines become entrenched teachings.

Let us look first of all at what God told Adam. After commanding Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil God said: "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Note the consequence of disobedience. Adam would die. God did not say: "If you disobey me your physical body will die but you have an immortal soul that will go on living forever and you will suffer eternal punishment".

Let's move forward now to after Adam has eaten the forbidden fruit. God pronounces sentence on Adam and Eve and finishes with the statment: "For dust you are, and to dust you shall return." Here is a statement from God clearly explaining what death means. Adam would simply cease to exist. There is no mention of an immortal soul or eternal punishment in a fiery place of torment.

Some scriptures expressly deal with the condition of the dead and indicate that far from being a place of suffering, the common grave of mankind is a place of inactivity:

"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." - Ecclesiastes 9:10

Another scripture equates the condition of dead humans with dead animals. In life man is superior to animals but in death we are all alike: "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; ... as one dies, so dies the other ... All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

Jesus described death like being asleep. When Jesus learned of Lazarus' death he travelled with his disciples to Lazarus' grave intending to resurrect him. On the way Jesus said to his disciples: "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." If Lazarus had already passed on to a life in heaven it would hardly have been kind of Jesus to resurrect him back to an imperfect life on earth.

Let us consider one more argument based on logic and common sense, not scripture. Assume for the sake of this argument that God is indeed the loving God that he tells us he is. Even we imperfect humans would not do what some churches accuse God of doing. I'm reminded of many western movies I've seen where the cowboy's horse goes lame and rather than let the horse die of thirst in the desert the cowboy shoots the horse to spare it the torture of a painful death. Even the worst kind of evil gunslinger in these movies will not walk away and let his horse suffer. Yet most supposedly Christian churches teach (and many people swallow) a story about what would have to be the cruelest act that God could do - create a place of eternal torment and suffering, a place where God would put anyone who rejected him, and this God would look forever on this place and watch humans endure pain and agony. That is not the God of the Bible and it is not the God of this universe.
 

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  • #2
Phobos
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Interesting. I certainly don't recall any mention of an afterlife in my reading of the Bible so far (granted, I'm only up to Joshua so far). I'm interested to see the debate on this topic.

IIRC (and this was the subject of a past topic of mine), the Jewish belief system does not include a Hell...just distance/closeness to God in the afterlife.

Yet most supposedly Christian churches teach (and many people swallow) a story about what would have to be the cruelest act that God could do - create a place of eternal torment and suffering, a place where God would put anyone who rejected him, and this God would look forever on this place and watch humans endure pain and agony. That is not the God of the Bible and it is not the God of this universe.

This is one of the first things, if not THE first thing, I questioned about religion when I was a child. It did not seem right (and still doesn't) that anything done within a mere 70 year lifetime could deserve such a horrible eternal punishment. The distance/closeness fate I mentioned above seems to make more sense.
 
  • #3
Iacchus32
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Ruling Love

From the thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/editpost.php?s=&action=editpost&postid=19825" [Broken] ...

Originally posted by Iacchus32
Originally posted by megashawn
If god does truly care, then there is not a heaven or hell, merely afterlife. For any decent person would never inflict life long suffering upon another decent being. If god is not atleast this good, I'll have no part.
The thing of it is is that you have to seperate people according to what they believe, otherwise there would be nothing but constant antagonism in the afterlife, in which case it's necessary for hell to exist if only for this reason. Whereas everyone comes into what's called their "ruling love" (that which they love most), which is what guides them and detemines their state of existence in the afterlife.

While it's for this reason that both heaven and hell are very diversified (more than you can imagine), in order to accommodate the myriad of distinctions to be made here. So in this respect everybody finds their own bliss, even for those who are in hell who, as I understand (although rather sado-masochistic in nature), wouldn't have it any other way. This is the only way you can make "everybody" happy.


Excerpt from http://www.swedenborg.com/" [Broken], Heaven and Hell ...

Man after death is his own love or his own will.

This has been proved to me by manifold experience. The entire heaven is divided into societies according to differences of good of love; and every spirit who is taken up into heaven and becomes an angel is taken to the society where his love is; and when he arives there he is, as it were, at home, and in the house where he was born; this the angel perceives, and is affiliated with those there that are like himself. When he goes away to another place he feels constantly a kind of resistance, and a longing to return to his like, thus to his ruling love. Thus are affiliations brought about in heaven; and in a like manner in hell, where all are affiliated in accordance with loves that are the opposite of heavenly loves.
This is a very good book by the way, and it's highly recommended..
 
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  • #4
Fliption
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Originally posted by Laser Eyes

Various scriptures in the Bible tell us that our life ends when we die. It is a complete and final end. There is no life after death. There is no immortal soul. And there is no eternal suffering or hell. I know this is not what Judaism or most so-called Christian churches teach but it is what the Bible says. Most supposedly Christian churches just do not teach what the Bible says. They create their own doctrines and over time these doctrines become entrenched teachings.

All of your quotes are from the old testament which is before Jesus allowed man an option to eternal death. I don't think any of them can be used the way you are using them. They must be read into context. There are countless passages in in the new testament which speak of eternal life.

As for the common sense piece of your thread.... I can certainly relate. But you're going to judge god based on what a human considers good? This is flawed logic.
 
  • #5
Messiah
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??????????????

You were obviously DEAD before you were conceived in the womb.
You are (presumably) ALIVE now.
Life after death......c'mon, get real....
 
  • #6
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by Messiah
You were obviously DEAD before you were conceived in the womb.
You are (presumably) ALIVE now.
Life after death......c'mon, get real....
And yet "I" did not exist, in order to "Die to the Lie" ... that there is no afterlife.
 
  • #7
Messiah
155
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
And yet "I" did not exist, in order to "Die to the Lie" ... that there is no afterlife.

Do you REALLY believe you were 'created' at conception?
Why?
Every particle of your body existed prior to your birth.
Why would you - the entity wearing the 'mud' - be any different?
 
  • #8
Iacchus32
2,313
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Originally posted by Messiah
Do you REALLY believe you were 'created' at conception?
Why?
Every particle of your body existed prior to your birth.
Why would you - the entity wearing the 'mud' - be any different?
All I know is I wasn't conscious until after I was born. And yet there's something about consciousness that suggests I've always been here and, that I'm not supposed to die. Do you know why? Because my soul is conscious and, that consciousness -- i.e., "via the moment" -- is tied to Eternity.
 
  • #9
Messiah
155
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
All I know is I wasn't conscious until after I was born. And yet there's something about consciousness that suggests I've always been here and, that I'm not supposed to die. Do you know why? Because my soul is conscious and, that consciousness -- i.e., "via the moment" -- is tied to Eternity.

Consciousness (like body odor) is a state of being. It comes and goes and is highly dependent on the condition of your body. When you are unconscious (don't smell), it doesn't mean you have ceased to exist.

Think of death as changing clothes. You wouldn't wear the same sox for eighty years. Without death, there would be no evolution and we would all be micro-organisms chasing each other for breakfast.

Eternity is a two way street. Forward and backward.

Existence is eternal. Change is eternal. Life - a state of being - comes and goes.
 
  • #10
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by Messiah
Consciousness (like body odor) is a state of being. It comes and goes and is highly dependent on the condition of your body. When you are unconscious (don't smell), it doesn't mean you have ceased to exist.
And yet people are conscious even when they sleep -- "in their dreams."


Think of death as changing clothes. You wouldn't wear the same sox for eighty years. Without death, there would be no evolution and we would all be micro-organisms chasing each other for breakfast.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust ... but the "soul" lives on.


Eternity is a two way street. Forward and backward.
Eternity is Ever-Present.


Existence is eternal. Change is eternal. Life - a state of being - comes and goes.
On a temporal earthly plane that is.
 
  • #11
Messiah
155
1
Originally posted by Iacchus32
And yet people are conscious even when they sleep -- "in their dreams."


Ashes to ashes, dust to dust ... but the "soul" lives on.


Eternity is Ever-Present.


On a temporal earthly plane that is.

Yes, I guess that means Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa are still around...somewhere....
 
  • #12
Laser Eyes
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All of your quotes are from the old testament which is before Jesus allowed man an option to eternal death. I don't think any of them can be used the way you are using them. They must be read into context. There are countless passages in in the new testament which speak of eternal life.
There is no difference between the old testament and the new testament on fundamental things like the nature of our existence. Basic things like what happens to us when we die do not change between the old and the new testament. The whole Bible was written by God and is consistent throughout. There are indeed many passages in both the old and the new testament that speak of everlasting life but that raises further questions. What kind of everlasting life is it talking about and how do we get it?

The everlasting life that God intended for Adam and Eve was an everlasting life on earth, not in the spiritual realm. Remember what God told Adam and Eve to do: "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it". God gave them satisfying work to perform here on earth in their home. They were given everlasting life by design. It was God's gift to them. If they remained faithful they would never die. But they lost their perfect condition when they sinned and cut off from God's energy their bodies slowly deteriorated and they died. In the meantime they were able to pass on an imperfect existence to their offspring.

The everlasting life that is spoken of throughout the Bible that we can gain is an everlasting life here on earth as physical beings. God's plan was for the earth to be populated and that plan has not changed, merely the means for bringing it about. Consider Psalms 37:29 - "The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever." and Psalms 37:11 - "The meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." This is our hope for our own future and the future of mankind, an everlasting life here in an earthly paradise. You can see this design reflected in our conduct. Throughout history people have been obsessed with finding "the elixir of immortality". Why? Because God made us with an inbuilt desire to want to continue living forever. But note that this desire is usually expressed in terms of wanting to continue living as a physical human. You don't hear people talking about how they would love to be angels and live in heaven, usually it's expressed as a desire to keep living here on earth. (There actually will be a small number of people that will become spirit beings but I don't want to unnecessarily complicate things by going into that here.)

Everything that I have said so far is consistent with the view that death is a state of non-existence, we return to the dust from which we were made. Adam not only lost everlasting life for himself, he lost it for all of us too. God needed a way to reverse the effect of Adam's failure and that's where Jesus comes in. Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life, he never sinned, he showed perfect obedience to God's law and he died. His death is something of great value. Just as one man lost everlasting life for all, so too the death of one perfect man can recover it for all: "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." - 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 Here again is further proof that there is no life after death. The hope of resurrection is a theme throughout the Bible. The meaning of resurrection is to bring the dead back to life. If we lived on after we died then why do we need a resurrection? It is only because when we die we cease to exist in the way I have explained that we need to be resurrected.

Jesus did not teach that everlasting life was something that we enjoyed automatically or that we had an immortal soul that lived on after we died. He taught that everlasting life was something that had to be earnt and that there were requirements to be fulfilled: "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life'" - John 11:25

As for the common sense piece of your thread.... I can certainly relate. But you're going to judge god based on what a human considers good? This is flawed logic.
It's not so unrealistic as all that. Remember that we were made in God's image. Man has reasoning power, he has attributes like those of God such as love and a sense of justice. We can certainly form a view on the justice of punishing someone forever for the errors of this short life.
 
  • #13
megashawn
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I had always understood that (according to christian beliefs) when a person died, he/she remained in the grave until judgement day. At this time, he was either cast into hell, or welcomed to heaven. I've heard countless storys of heaven being paved with gold (seems like bad traction surface to me).

It seems that everything you say negates the point in going to church, believing in a god. What purpose is it to spend your life worshipping a god that is just going to watch you fade away? People go to church because they are afraid to die, and this #1 fear that we must all face is what churches prey on. If churches preached what you claim, people would not come, as it does not remove one's fear of death anymore so then atheism.

So, according to your beliefs/claims we will never meet our loved ones in heaven, or get chased around hell by the devil and his pitchfork?

What is your reason again?
 
  • #14
FZ+
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I read a really disturbing letter in my newspaper today.

It said something in the effect of:

" Mr. X urges Christians to move towards a tolerant society. But Christianity is not about tolerance. Rather, true christians believe that truth is contained in the bible, that things like tolerance are worldly things. This does not mean that we should not love God, but appreciate the bible as truth without manipulation and avoid such worldly elements. "

I'll see if I can find the quote...
 
  • #15
maximus
495
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
On a temporal earthly plane that is.

sounds a little crack-pottish to me. what other plane is there than the "temporal earthly plane".
 
  • #16
Iacchus32
2,313
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Originally posted by maximus
sounds a little crack-pottish to me. what other plane is there than the "temporal earthly plane".
If this is all there is, then what do we even need morals for? Why should we give a crap, if there were no "long-lasting" repercussions?

If in fact there were a "sense of purpose" in life, then where does it come from? There must be more to it than this "fleeting existence?"

This is actually a good point, and probably should be explored in depth. You know, why should we be concerned about our actions, if there is no accountability for them? Then hey, you can pretty much do as you damn well please, and when you're dead you're dead, and who gives a crap?
 
  • #17
FZ+
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Because you give a crap. Your moral conscience, engrained by society and partially genes care. Because your life today directly suffers. Because it's up to you to give meaning to your own life so you matter to yourself, and is satisfied.

A feeling of purpose does not mean there is in fact a purpose, outside of what you give or others give.

If life goes on after death, and what we do can negatively influence it, why do we live at all? Why don't we just shoot ourselves here and move on?

Because we believe that our life here is worth living outside of whatever happens afterwards, that's why. Because the point of morality and doing what you feel is right has in fact nothing to do with a reward at the end of it.

In fact, that is supposedly true even if you do believe in God and an afterlife. Unless if you infer the whole goodness and rewards etc process is an exercise in personal hypocrisy...

Hence I support what Laser Eyes is saying.
 
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  • #18
Kagmi
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Could the Law of Conservation of Energy influence this discussion in any way?
 
  • #19
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by FZ+
Because you give a crap. Your moral conscience, engrained by society and partially genes care. Because your life today directly suffers. Because it's up to you to give meaning to your own life so you matter to yourself, and is satisfied.

A feeling of purpose does not mean there is in fact a purpose, outside of what you give or others give.

If life goes on after death, and what we do can negatively influence it, why do we live at all? Why don't we just shoot ourselves here and move on?

Because we believe that our life here is worth living outside of whatever happens afterwards, that's why. Because the point of morality and doing what you feel is right has in fact nothing to do with a reward at the end of it.

In fact, that is supposedly true even if you do believe in God and an afterlife. Unless if you infer the whole goodness and rewards etc process is an exercise in personal hypocrisy...

Hence I support what Laser Eyes is saying.
Nice try! But hey there's no need to get all sentimental about it, because when you're dead you're dead, and it will be as if you were never here ... i.e., so long as you "remain dead." :wink:
 
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  • #20
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by Kagmi
Could the Law of Conservation of Energy influence this discussion in any way?
Am not sure what you mean?

Hey, did Einstein actually say that about imagination and knowledge? Better not let anybody else know about that around here! :wink:
 
  • #21
maximus
495
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
If this is all there is, then what do we even need morals for? Why should we give a crap, if there were no "long-lasting" repercussions?

we don't necesarily need to give a crap.

If in fact there were a "sense of purpose" in life, then where does it come from? There must be more to it than this "fleeting existence?"

the sence of purpose is what drives us to be succesful. evolution supports success (obviously). if we have a sence of moral and goodness in this society of humans we do better. now, you must understand me: morals are important in this society. they have no consiquence in the universe beyond humans. can you deny that this makes sence?

You know, why should we be concerned about our actions, if there is no accountability for them? Then hey, you can pretty much do as you damn well please, and when you're dead you're dead, and who gives a crap?

are you being sarcastic? becuase you've pretty much got it. nothing really matters. people who have gone through their whole life not breaking a single law, and always being moral and good will die just the same as a man who has not. the difference is that our society does not accept the man who does not obey, and therefore he does less well in life. leaving his "rebel" gene to be canceled by the evolutionary process. goodness is an illusion.
 
  • #22
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by maximus
we don't necesarily need to give a crap.
If we don't give a crap then why are we here?


the sence of purpose is what drives us to be succesful. evolution supports success (obviously). if we have a sence of moral and goodness in this society of humans we do better. now, you must understand me: morals are important in this society. they have no consiquence in the universe beyond humans. can you deny that this makes sence?
Hmm ... It sounds like everybody pretty much agrees that we need a sense of morality in order to co-exist. But what does that mean, if it's only arbitrary? Nature creates a sense of purpose, but only temporarily, before it cancels itself out? But where does this "energy field" that we associate with our consciousness go when we die? It just fizzles out right?


are you being sarcastic? becuase you've pretty much got it. nothing really matters. people who have gone through their whole life not breaking a single law, and always being moral and good will die just the same as a man who has not. the difference is that our society does not accept the man who does not obey, and therefore he does less well in life. leaving his "rebel" gene to be canceled by the evolutionary process. goodness is an illusion.
Hey don't mind me, I was never here! :wink:
 
  • #23
Guybrush Threepwood
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
If this is all there is, then what do we even need morals for? Why should we give a crap, if there were no "long-lasting" repercussions?

you need moral because it makes your life pleasant. Suppose you don't give a crap and start kicking everyone's a**. How long do you think you can do that? In a short time some people wil start kicking your a** and you couldn't do anything to stop them.
If you want a civilised society you've got to have rules, that stops people to behave like animals. Laws and moral evolved with the evolution of human society and without them we probably woudn't pass the tribal organization.
If you choose to folow them for fear of hell, God, lack of "life after death" or some other reason, that doesn't prove some divine purpose. IMO.

I'm sorry to say, but until now I have heard this kind of "why should we care for others if there's no eternal punishment..."argument only from religious people.:frown:
 
  • #24
HazZy
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lasereyes i'm very interested on your take on john 3:16-21.

the difference is that our society does not accept the man who does not obey, and therefore he does less well in life. leaving his "rebel" gene to be canceled by the evolutionary process. goodness is an illusion.
i dont know which newspaper your reading, but the "rebels" are winning. we're not gaining morals, were losing them. not that any of this has anything to do with the discussion... okay im done.
 
  • #25
Iacchus32
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Originally posted by Guybrush Threepwood
you need moral because it makes your life pleasant. Suppose you don't give a crap and start kicking everyone's a**. How long do you think you can do that? In a short time some people wil start kicking your a** and you couldn't do anything to stop them.
Yes, but everybody would begin to do it to everybody else, until there was nobody left to do it to, and then what?


If you want a civilised society you've got to have rules, that stops people to behave like animals. Laws and moral evolved with the evolution of human society and without them we probably woudn't pass the tribal organization.
But what makes us any better than the animals in the first place?


If you choose to folow them for fear of hell, God, lack of "life after death" or some other reason, that doesn't prove some divine purpose. IMO.
Or, if you follow them because it "seems right," then that proves you're "sincere." And therein lies the reward perhaps? :wink:


I'm sorry to say, but until now I have heard this kind of "why should we care for others if there's no eternal punishment..."argument only from religious people.:frown:
An arbitrary post from an arbitrary person, in response to which for all intents and purposes is but a "fleeting illusion."

Actually it's kind of nice to know that people believe in the need for morals, that means there's still hope. :wink:

P.S. If there were a heaven and a hell, we need not look at it in terms of punishment versus reward (as one cannot "insinuate" oneself into heaven), but rather as a "means to an end." In which case we can still observe its cause and effect, so long as we don't "contrive" to be the effect of the cause which is sincere. Does that make any sense?
 
  • #26
Guybrush Threepwood
520
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Yes, but everybody would begin to do it to everybody else, until there was nobody left to do it to, and then what?
then there would probably be no more posts on any forum in this world. That was my point either. The lack of morality and rules of behaviour from a group of people would lead to the extinction of that particular group. Therefore we need morals to assure the continuity of our civilization. All I said is that there is no reason for "eternal punishment" to promote them.

Or, if you follow them because it "seems right," then that proves you're "sincere." And therein lies the reward perhaps?
If you follow them it means you choose to interact in a peaceful way with other people. And maybe make a friend or two along the way...

An arbitrary post from an arbitrary person...
Is this your way of saying that you like me?

In which case we can still observe its cause and effect, so long as we don't "contrive" to be the effect of the cause which is sincere.
I'm afraid you lost me with this.... can you make it a bit clearer
 
  • #27
Laser Eyes
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I had always understood that (according to christian beliefs) when a person died, he/she remained in the grave until judgement day. At this time, he was either cast into hell, or welcomed to heaven.
I wouldn't put too much faith in what the empire of Christendom says. Many beliefs taught by the mainstream Christian churches are not based on the Bible and are contradicted by the Bible. You can always test what people tell you by asking them to prove it to you. God does not ask for blind faith. The God of this universe is a reasonable God and he shows respect for the intellectual ability he gave us. If someone tells you that what they say is from the Bible then ask them to show you scriptural proof.
At judgment day those who have died have the hope of a resurrection. The Bible says there will be a resurrection and it will not be limited to those who have lived righteous lives: "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." - Acts 24:15 As I explained above it will be a resurrection to an earth that has been transformed into a paradise, not this corrupt and screwed up world.

So, according to your beliefs/claims we will never meet our loved ones in heaven, or get chased around hell by the devil and his pitchfork?
You won't meet them in heaven but you can meet them on earth. What a happy occasion that will be. To see your dead husband or wife or son or daughter again. To tell them the things you wanted to but never got around to. To see the love of your life again and know that you will never lose them again. The time of resurrection will be a most joyous time
 
  • #28
maximus
495
4
Originally posted by Iacchus32
Yes, but everybody would begin to do it to everybody else, until there was nobody left to do it to, and then what?

i don't quite know what you mean. do you mean that if everyone abandoned their morals, our society would kick the sh** out of itself? basically yes. but that doesn't happen becuase our biological evolution and the evolution of our society have drilled that gene out of us, for the most part.


But what makes us any better than the animals in the first place?

nothing makes us better than them. we are one! we control them because we've has more successful evolutions that have produced us. an intelligent, moral people. without morals society couldn't hold out. and without society we'de be back on square one, righting the sabertooth tigers. (joking!)


Or, if you follow them because it "seems right," then that proves you're "sincere." And therein lies the reward perhaps? :wink:

on the contrary, its very insicere! most people only obey the law because they realize the consiquences to theirselves, not others.


Actually it's kind of nice to know that people believe in the need for morals, that means there's still hope. :wink:


morals in society, yes. morals in the universe? no. it's a cold, impersonal world out there.
 
  • #29
crystalbreeze32
5
0
Dead man from Birmingham makes contact with the living

Birmingham dead man claims to be a spirit

------------------------------------------------------

This a strange one. A guy called Michael Pennington claims to be a spirit and having died in 1971 he is now involved in a global quest to unite all those in the spirit world. If that wasnt bad enought he involves alien spirits and all sorts of plots. This person touches on religion quite a lot and claims many Christians are narrow minded by accepting God but then blanking out all possibility of spirits and aliens. He points to actual things in the Bible that back up some of what he says.

Its actually well written and believable and it has quite a following. Page after page of writings and messages the longest forum thread I have ever seen for certain. This mans writings delve into every aspect of the supernatural, paranormal and religion and its happening live too.

Its at

http://www.birminghamuk.com/forum

Id love to know what other peoples thoughts are on ghosts and alien collaboration and other dimensions of spiritualism.
 
  • #30
Canute
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There is no third-person evidence for what happens to us (our soul, being, consciousness, spirit, whatever) after our death. It is immaterial what the Bible says on this, the Bible is not certain evidence of anything.

However all people who claim to know to know something about it, Gnostics, mystics, Buddhists, Tao-ists, etc., claim that we do not simply cease to exist on our phsyical death, the usual conclusion is that our 'self' ceases to exist but that we are more than our 'self'.

It seems then that what evidence there is, albeit that it's unprovable, suggests we do not simply evaporate on the death of our bodies. These same people assert that we (all) can know this, given the right appraoch to knowing.

Until there is some third-person evidence there is therefore no justification for assuming that we cease to exist completely when we die. It is just an arbitrary opinion.

As for morality, it may be that morality is relative and that there is no 'right' behaviour. However many people claim to know (as opposed to believe) the truth about reality and these people, however insane they may be, invariably choose the same moral standards and lifestyles as each other. This is quite a coincidence.

Until we can prove them wrong we have no idea whether morality is relative or entailed by the nature of our true selves. We don't know these things.

As for Bible's words on death it is worth reading the Gospel of Mary, which in many people's opinion gives a far more sophisticated and true version of Jesus's teaching than were given by the disciples. It is only a fragment but it is very obviously more Gnostic (and Buddhist) in its flavour and suggests pretty much the same as Buddhists and other non-dual doctrines do about death.

The Gospel of Mary suggests that the disciples, and thus the Church misunderstood Jesus's message on these issues, with unfortunate consequences. All IMVHO of course.
 
  • #31
Polly
94
0


Originally posted by Canute

As for Bible's words on death it is worth reading the Gospel of Mary, which in many people's opinion gives a far more sophisticated and true version of Jesus's teaching than were given by the disciples. It is only a fragment but it is very obviously more Gnostic (and Buddhist) in its flavour and suggests pretty much the same as Buddhists and other non-dual doctrines do about death.

Thank you Canute, for the information. I read the Gospel of Mary on-line and must say it, for lack of a better word and no offence intended whatsoever, "redeemed" the image of Jesus in my mind. As a former covent school girl, I have always regarded him as a man who knew all about love but a bit dumbing-down in his teaching, "Certainly we are capable of understanding something deeper." would be my reaction every time after reading the Bible. The Gospel of Mary adds considerable sophistication to his teaching and depth to his character. I can believe now a man knowing what he knew as described in the Gospel would go about preaching the way he did and a tremendous sense of respect, warmth and gratitude is kindled in my heart. It is very unfortunate indeed that his teaching should not have been understood to the fullest extent. But that perhaps was inevitable given the historical context, the short span of time he stayed with the disciples and their aptitude. Buddha on the other hand had had nearly 6 decades (?) to expound his teaching to a large congregation of relatively accomplished monks and thinkers and therefore was better understood. Thank you again.
 
  • #32
Canute
1,559
0
Polly

You might like to look at the Gospel of Thomas as well, another Gnostic version of events. Thanks for the thanks. Like you I found it an eye opener. IMO Mary's views should have been used to found the Church, not the dumbed down version of Peter et al.

As it is Mary's Gospel served as foundation for a number of Gnostic sects. However these were eventually harried out of existence by the church as being heretical, and we got stuck with a naive Sunday school interpretation of Jesus's words.

Good point about how much longer the Buddha taught than Jesus.
 
  • #33
radagast
484
1


Originally posted by Canute
However all people who claim to know to know something about it, Gnostics, mystics, Buddhists, Tao-ists, etc., claim that we do not simply cease to exist on our phsyical death, the usual conclusion is that our 'self' ceases to exist but that we are more than our 'self'.
[/B]

Depends on the Buddhists. Some don't believe in anything after death. [Buddhism w/o Beliefs - Stephen Batchelor]
 
  • #34
Polly
94
0
To do Mr Batchelor justice, I paste below what I perceive to be the main thrust of his argument given in an interview in the USA on 18 April, 2000


Bammes: What, then, is essential to Buddhism as you explain it in Buddhism Without Beliefs, and what is cultural baggage that need not be included?

Batchelor: I think there is a danger in the very [term] "essential." Buddhism is in many ways an anti-essentialist tradition; in other words, it is very suspicious in much of its thinking of the idea that anything can be reduced to any sort of core or essence. I think it's more useful to look at this question in terms of what we can recognize as cultural rather than, let's say, Dharmic features.
I think here we have to go back to recognize that the Buddha himself, in 5th Century BC India, was, of course, speaking to a particular culture at a particular time, and it seems that he, necessarily was a product of that culture. He took on board, for example, the idea of reincarnation and so forth, without really questioning it. He never actually had to stand up in front of an audience and persuade people that there are many lifetimes from which you pass through from force of karma.

Bammes: This was the context . . .

Batchelor: This was the context of his time. It's very difficult for us to put ourselves back into another epoch so remote in time from our own. I think it's much the same as if, for example, someone were teaching today and simply spoke about the sense of the universe as having arisen from the Big Bang and the universe as being an expanding thing and so forth and so on. No one would actually stand up and say, "Wait a minute, I don't think that's true."

Bammes: Or the idea that humans evolved . . .

Batchelor: Or the idea that humans evolved from other forms of life. We simply take that for granted. Now it could be that in 500 years' time we could have a very different view of things. But that is the world that we collectively assent to, much in the same way that a view of life as consisting of many different rebirths and so on was the collective consensus in India at the time of the Buddha. Now the question, of course, and this is a very debatable one, is to what extent is that idea true and to what extent is it simply a feature of that world view. I dont have really any interest in declaring that rebirth is true or false. I cannot, from my own experience or from my own reflection, decide one way or the other. I have a hunch that it's probably a cultural idea.

Bammes: But your view is essentially an agnostic one, as opposed to an atheist, again using terms that listeners are going to understand, an agnostic view, saying, "I don't know and I don't need to know."

Batchelor: Yeah. I would actually describe my position as agnostic, but perhaps to be more exact, I would describe it as a deep agnosticism. In other words, I think one can take the Western notion of agnosticism one step further through the Buddhist tradition and recognize at the very heart of Buddhist practice lies an ongoing inquiry, and any kind of inquiry or questioning requires an openness to the fact that there is something about our lives, who we are, what the world is, that we do not know. Buddhism pursues that kind of inquiry and not-knowing through its various contemplative disciplines. The practice of awareness, of Vipassana, of Zen and so on are all ways of, as it were, penetrating into the very depths of our experience, and that, I think, always requires an openness to the fact that perhaps reality is not pin-down-able in neat, clear-cut assertions or beliefs, but there is something fundamentally mysterious about it, and it's in that sense, I think, that we can move from a superficial agnosticism in which, as you said, it's simply a statement of "I don't know and I'm actually not terribly interested," into taking the principle of agnosticism, of not knowing, as a kind of principle of spiritual and meditative inquiry.
So I would suspend judgement about many of the metaphysical beliefs of Buddhism, but at the same time, I would seek to elevate the critical thread that runs through Buddhist tradition to a somewhat higher level than it is often presented in the traditional schools. I think Buddhism has within itself its own tradition of skepticism, its own tradition of inquiry, that have many strong resonances with the kind of inquiry we would associate with Western philosophy and science.

What do I think? I think Mr. Batchelor is very misguided and removed from true buddhist teachings. He should have titled his book "An Agnostic Atheist's Uninformed View on Buddhism", but then that probably won't sell as well as "Buddhism without Beliefs".
 
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  • #35
Canute
1,559
0
Mr Batchelor should not be allowed near a microphone or a typewriter. He obviously knows as much about Buddhism as I do about flying a spaceship, and quite possibly less.
 
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