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To those who believe in after-life

  1. Jul 23, 2007 #1
    Religion is founded on the idea of giving one a purpose to his/her existence. It gives an ultimate goal, an ultimate truth; an end to the otherwise infinite chain of existential questions. This premise, in many religions, is incarnated by the notion of an after-life. This said, I find this whole conception to be self-defeating. Religion solves a problem with another; all the existential questions that apply to earthly life also apply to heavenly life. Worse still, an eternal life is even more devoid of meaning than an ending one. Like in the present life, to an even higher degree one could say, there would be no ultimate goal, no ultimate meaning to our existence. I find that all that religion does is to add a layer to ultimately unanswerable questions. To those who defend the existence of after-life, by all means please tell me your opinions.
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  3. Jul 23, 2007 #2


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    a question with no answers should remain as that. trying to force an answer only make the answer looks silly. even if the question does have an answer, it may not always be as palatable as one may wish and hence it is better not to answer.

    and oh, after-life is not important for me right now.
  4. Jul 23, 2007 #3
    I'd say 'fear of death' pretty much sums up why some believe in an after-life, I certainly haven't seen any solid scientific basis for it.
  5. Jul 23, 2007 #4


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    I personally don't ascribe to the afterlife gambit either, but for the sake of argument:

    There's a flaw in your logic. You presume you have all the information necessary to make a judgement call you are making. One of the premises that goes along with these beliefs is that you'll need a lifetime of wisdom to be able to address the issue.

    I'm not just being fluffy. The need to acquire that wisdom is not a factor that can be ommitted.
  6. Jul 23, 2007 #5


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    Keep in mind when you say that, that lack of solid scientific evidence is not license to dismiss something outright; more accurately, it means science is inadequate to address it.

    Science also cannot address what happened before the Big Bang, or what lies outside the visible universe, but that doesn't mean we lump them with elves and unicorns.
  7. Jul 23, 2007 #6
  8. Jul 23, 2007 #7
    Then why does religion expect one to adhere to it if only a "lifetime of wisdom" can render religion unambiguous? Here again I find the whole matter to be self-defeating.
  9. Jul 23, 2007 #8
    Are you sure that religion is founded on the notion of giving a purpose to people? That's a really strong assumption that isn't explicitly justified.

    Maybe you should expound upon this point if you want a debate to get started.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2007
  10. Jul 23, 2007 #9


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    We don't debate religion here, sorry.
  11. Jul 23, 2007 #10
    Of course. Debate was probably the wrong word to use. This is one of the few forums I've seen that doesn't entertain the overly speculative posts. That being said, this thread seems to mix together quite a few different questions and a couple of questionable leaps in logic.

    Is it correct to implicitly assume that the point or ultimate goal of life, according to religion, must be to achieve eternal bliss in some afterlife somewhere? I don't believe that question has been given proper treatment here, and it seems highly subjective.

    I see one terrific question in here. If the point of living a good or moral life now is to assure us entry into heaven, then what would be our purpose in the "after-life"? Do those questions of why we must try to do what's good or moral actually go away or are they still legitimate questions anywhere?

    I agree with the OP on the answer to this question. I'm of the intuition that they are important anywhere. I am not sure if there is an afterlife, and not really willing to sway either way.

    Do you mean to say that if life is pointless, then an afterlife would be even more pointless. Does that make sense?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  12. Jul 24, 2007 #11
    AsianSensationK, I am more than willing to question my own logic, but I fail to see the "questionable leap of logic" you speak of. I addressed this thread to those who believe in an after life, and as most of the belief in after-life stems from organized faith, the word religion was the best I could use. This is not to say that the employment of the word is not without flaws; certainly, not all religions per se have for purpose to give a meaning to one's life, nor does one need a religion to believe in after-life and nor do all forms of after-life need to imply eternity. Those nuances having been pointed out, my question is intended to those who believe in an eternal after-life, whatever the form.

    Addressing your question, I don't see why it does not make sense. I understand you see a paradox; reminding you that I do not speak in the name of all religions there are, speaking of the pointlessness of earthly life implies the nonexistence of heavenly life, making the discussion of the pointlessness of the latter void of relevance. However, you interpreted the message too concretely. What I mean to say is that in a scenario in which after-life exists and one enters it, the existential questions that this person may be subject to asking himself would be even more complicated to answer.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  13. Jul 24, 2007 #12
    Really? Since when? I was looking for this argument earlier, but couldn't find it anywhere. Let's hear it.

    I will admit, I like your point about existential questions not disappearing even if there were an afterlife, but I fail to see how it implies a heavenly life must not exist.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  14. Jul 24, 2007 #13
    Excuse my confusion, I thought you were thinking along those lines hence me saying that I understand why you see a paradox (or do you?). I do not actually support this view. I quote you:

    Apparently, I did not quite understand what you are implying, please elaborate.

    Edit: my last post was quite sloppy, I have now edited to make it a sensible read. Maybe some confusion stems from this.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  15. Jul 24, 2007 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    It has been suggested that "information is the primary physical entity possessing objective meaning",

    If anything, I am information. So if we take the suggestion above, I have objective meaning, and perhaps I am also conserved. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  16. Jul 24, 2007 #15
    Really, I was just trying to probe your thoughts here in the thread.

    With the point about an afterlife being more meaningless, I was wondering if you really believed that if one thing was already meaningless, then another thing could have even less meaning. Although looking at it, I believe you meant to say something about the potential sources for objective meaning.

    In regards to the "leaps of logic" objection, I fail to see how it follows that if religion is meant to give people some sort of ultimate meaning to existence then belief in an afterlife makes religion self defeating. Is it really the case that religion teaches the ultimate meaning of existence is to achieve eternal bliss in the afterlife? I doubt any organized religion entertains that proposition.

    If you're just asking a general question about the meaning people would find if they existed is some sort of heavenly after-life, then I suppose I don't have an objection.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  17. Jul 24, 2007 #16
    You do? I don't see it that way, maybe we could debate it. Perhaps if I had used the word "goal" rather than "meaning you would have agreed; certainly, they are not the same, as goal here would imply something one pursues for himself whereas "meaning" is not necessarily relevant.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  18. Jul 24, 2007 #17
    True. I was thinking in terms of the question "why do we exist at all?" Certainly most of the western religions we're familiar with aim at getting people to live their life in anticipation of some kind of afterlife.
  19. Jul 24, 2007 #18
    It is in my book. Science is the best, really the only, reliable tool we have.
    Until it has some scientific basis, I think we have an obligation to dismiss it.

    Its my understanding that 'what happened before the big bang' is a contradiction in terms, since time as we know it, did not exist then. So the idea, within the context of the 'big bang' theory is nonsensical.

    As to the 'invisible', we have scientific ways of quantifying things we can't physically see.

    But if it can't be addressed rationally, empirically, it very much is in the land of elves, until we find a way to frame it scientifically.
  20. Jul 24, 2007 #19


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    Science is a tool; it is not life. Outright dismissing all that is not scientific is willingly cutting off a part of you.

    Besides, if you feel this way, why on Earth are you bothering with the philosophy forum? :rolleyes:
  21. Jul 24, 2007 #20


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    I don't follow your logic.

    How can you expect to know at the beginning of a learning experience what you can only know once its completed?

    I could come up with a zillion analogies wherein the destination is not known when the journey is begun:
    - reading a book
    - getting directions when you're lost
    - painting a picture
    - learning a new program
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
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