Is it possible for an atheist to believe in an after-life?

I know this is a dumb question but its bugging me. As an atheist from the age of 9 I was always a little envious of religious people as they had the hope (no matter how illogical) of an after-life. All I had to look forward to as an atheist was being worm food. Last week-end after quite a few rum and cokes I came up with an idea how an atheist could legitimately have the hope of an afterlife. It is based on the theory of the Big Bang. This theory explains how the universe was created but cannot explain how the original expansion of the universe occurred from nothing. I had the idea that it did not  occur from nothing but in fact occurred from the expansion of a previously contracted universe. The theory is that the universe expands out from its state of maximum contraction until it reaches its maximum expansion and then contracts back. This process is infinite as energy cannot be created or destroyed but merely changed from one form to another. If this process is indeed infinite then at some point I will exist again (and again) in another universe under slightly differing circumstances each time.

I created a webpage which explains the idea better and would appreciate it if people could take a look and criticize the logic. The page is http://bangism.wordpress.com/

Please just take a minute to look and let me know if it makes sense or if I have totally lost the plot.

Thanks

Alan

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The problem with your thesis is that, even if in some hypothetical future iteration of the universe, there is another "you" it won't be this "you" and will have no knowledge of the previous "you." Heck, by your reasoning, for all you know there have been millions of previous "yous." But since there is no connection between them beyond this thought exercise, it does not serve the same place as a traditional "afterlife."

Personally, in light of the many millions of potential people who never will have this brief time to experience life that we have, I am grateful for the time I have here on this planet. That being said, my view of "living beyond my lifetime" or some form of immortality is through the act of creation: whether it be children, art, or knowledge, and doing my best to make a difference in this world. 

In different times or spaces the multiple Yous wouldn't experience the same stimuli that shapes their conscience or spirit either. So not only are they not aware of the other Yous but, they're also not the same consciousness either. Wow, that was confusing!

I never said it served the same purpose. I just said it offered a possible life that comes after this one. No connection, no deja vu. No religious basis at all.

I admit that my previous reply was made not having looked at your page. Now that I have looked at it, my response is that in my opinon, there is no point to adding to the multiplicity of religions with your "Bangism."

If an atheist wants to partake of the trappings of religion there is Pastfarianism or The Church of the Subgenius. Or if you want to go less tongue in cheek, you can always check out Unitarian Universalist churches in your area. Or if you really like some aspects of the traditional church (and have a high bullshit tolerance) you can always attend any church, mosque, or synagogue of your choosing. That's the beauty of Atheism: Since they are all equally wrong, you can feel free to find what works for you and pick and chose from the smorgasbord of options out there to find what works for you--which, in the end, I suppose means that if "Bangism" helps you sleep at night, have at it. But if you start proselytizing or trying to tell people that it is an objectively better religion than any of the other ones out there, we might have some problems...

Of course, as an atheist, it's possible to believe in anything except a deity. That wouldn't mean your beliefs were rational, just that you've decided to believe in them.

I think your theory about multiple/infinite realities should be filed under "wouldn't this be cool?" or "I want to believe xxx because it give me the warm fuzzies". That's usually where most theists go wrong. I wouldn't say the expansion/contraction idea was wrong, just that it isn't based on solid demonstrable science. Even then, there's no reason to believe it results in anything other than a single, disjointed linear timeline. If you're reaaaaaaally good at physics, I'd say you've found your life work, assuming you can get a grant.

You are entitled to believe as you wish, assuming you harm no one. Personally, I think you should back up the truck and stick to the "what do I know and why do I know it?" road. Idle speculation makes for interesting stories but is not something I suggest one base their life upon. As a society, we've wasted entirely too much time running down dead ends.

If you can come up with some science that backs it up?... we'll talk then.

Don't get discouraged though. L. Ron Hubbard really made a go with his imagination. No reason why, in a capitalistic society, you couldn't do the same.

I've thought many times, "If I wasn't an ethical person, I could totally make up a plausible religion and get rich doing it!"

There must be a website where we can vote on made up religions. Categories would include creativity, personal payoff, degree of required martyrdom and more.

This one certainly deserves a nomination. It's sure to receive some votes from the "breed, but don't read" quarter.

All religions are made up. This idea is logical in that the infinite universe idea still holds scientific merit. Look up cyclic universe theories. It is a small logical step from infinite universe to infinite existence. That's just maths. I accept there will be no connection with other existences but that is not my claim.

Then why? Why even bother with it? To quote Tim Minchin, "Isn't this enough? This world? Just this?"

Chad you have hit the nail on the head! I obviously  have lower ethics than you. There is money to be made in religion and there are lots of people looking for something to believe. My reasoning was simple take science and give it a religious aspect and hope people buy into it. If they can believe some of the crap thats out there why cant they believe in a science based religion? The logic is sound; take current scientific theory about the universe and promise an after-life. This was achieved using cyclic universe theory for infinite universes and then making a small logical step to say if the creation of universes is infinite then at some point you will exist again. I have had a lot of fun with this and learnt quite a bit about dark matter, anti gravity and all sorts of weird scientific theory. I have had a lot of fun doing it but realistically know I will lose interest very soon. What I never realized though is that many atheists are as close minded as your average religious nutcase. I have been running the idea through atheist sites to test the strength of the arguments but I'm finding to my surprise that many atheists hold science as a religion and will not follow logic if they think it is religion. As a result of this little experiment I am now in a great position to upset theists and atheists alike with my fake religion. Never be stuck for something to discuss in a bar again.

Atheists don't hold science as a religion. Sorry, but they are not in the same realm. This says it better than I ever could. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-schweitzer/science-is-not-religi...

Thats what I thought but what I encountered was different. The logic put forward was sound with no claims of a deity and even specified that for the idea to work the universe had to be a closed system. But because I was selling it as a religion many atheists just blocked out the arguments and started talking about how god did not exist. I know god does not exist I'm an atheist.

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