Some people like to tip-toe around religion and religious doctrine, and I wonder why we continue to have that timidity? Whether based on Abrahamic faiths, or eastern mysticism, stories of magic may be stories of facts ... I don't think so. A virgin birth, or a resurrection, or a transformation of elements from water to wine make no sense, cannot be replicated, and can't be falsified. We listen to stories that are more than 4,000 years old and believe them. Why? Or stories of modern appearances of ghosts, or past lives, or toast that looks like jesus and we are gullible enough to accept them just because someone says these things happened. The thinking of a wishful child transformed into adult wishful thinking. The stories woven around Buddha are no better then woven tales of Jesus or Mohamed, or Pat Robertson and his ilk.
I say, call into question all such claims. Demand proof or get away from me. How many times have I heard how god of jesus "saved" someone; give me evidence. Frankly, I have little toleration for faith-mongers or faith-peddlers.
You know, the Earth is 4,540,000,000 years old; I have used up 77 of those years. I don't want to spend one more minute with mongers and peddlers.
I tiptoe past polite xians and I don't kick crutches from under people with sprained ankles.
Impolite xians? I tell them religion is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on humankind.
If I'm feeling Machiavellian I say "The more people who wait for happiness in another life, the fewer people I have to share this life's happiness with."
michele ricketts, Gee, when you write, "My life-span is so transitory and a nanosecond in comparison that I am 'dead'." Because we don't have deep time and our "life-span is so transitory and a nanosecond in comparison" that makes it even more precious; We only have this one spark of time to be alive and then we are done. Gone. Finished. Changed forever. Therefore, I plan on giving this life a rich, meaningful, powerful ride. Being nice or being silent, or acquiescing is not my idea of a life well lived. I can't speak for others, and I surely do know I enjoy a good debate, like it when someone can convince of a different point of view, and wonder on Earth we have the kind of government and people who elect this kind of government and are not up in arms in protest. If I were religious, I would challenge fundamentalist with the fury of a whirlwind. If I were a Republican, I would confront the idiocy of their value system and do all I could to convince them of their value judgment fallacies. If I were young I would boot dominators out of my life sooner and give voice to my thoughts earier.
I'm a little old lady and get a great kick out of saying all the things I wanted to say when I was younger and didn't have the guts.
My cousin often tells me the same thing. She understands that I filter some things out for the sake of our family and admits, were her parents still alive, she might not be quite as outspoken as she is. I wonder how much I should temper things, sometimes. Some bridges deserve burning, but some require mending from time to time, and it is up to us whether it is worth it to spend the time or effort in doing so.
Dead is dead.
Doornail dead. Quite succinct.
Profound lines from the movies:
Yeah, that's it. Josey Wales.
If that's what happened, then Josey Wales must be dead.
He is dead.
He sure is dead.
Dead, all right.
"Christianity," said Friedrich Nietzsche in The Antichrist, "creates distress to make itself immortal."
It created a lot of distress in my life before I dumped it.
Studying science helped; I started wanting evidence. I didn't get any and started liking life before death.
I may have put this out there before but ... what the heck:
Back in the day, before computer programmers started to recognize the liabilities inherent in the hardware, there was a truism to their function: if you were in the middle of writing a report or preparing a spreadsheet or altering a JPEG and the power went out ... what happened? The answer is pretty simple: all your work was LOST. This is because that work was being recorded in what is known as volatile RAM - Random Access Memory - which does not retain the data it holds in the absence of the power the computer needs to operate. Many of us have had that happen to us on our computers, and yeah, it is a royal pain in the neck. Finally, the programmers came up with the auto-save function, where the utility being used automatically stores our progress to the hard drive at intervals, so that if there is a power glitch, most if not all of the work in progress can be recovered.
Our brains are very much like that RAM in that, without power, or in our case, without blood circulating to supply the energy they need, after a very brief time span they lose their capacity to work and with it, the stored knowledge or functionality to operate our bodies. That process is irreversible, even as it is with the computer. Worthy of note, too: There Is No Hard Drive Backup, no ethereal reserve second copy of us, waiting to be resurrected when the body does finally fail.
The theists would have us believe that, regardless of the state of our body, that some soul or spirit or other non-physical entity has US imprinted on it. This entity supposedly has the means to survive the loss and decay of the physical body and goes elsewhere upon death, to some reward or punishment or whatever. The obvious problem is that they can't demonstrate the existence of any of the mechanisms they assert, yet they continue to insist that those mechanisms are out there, along with their god, their heaven and their hell. To me, that whole belief system is a product of their fear of their own death, their inability to face their own mortality. As my man put it:
Man is so built that he cannot imagine his own death. This leads to endless invention of religions.
-- Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
I suppose that the skeptic in me should allow for the possibility of some as-yet undiscovered biophysical mechanism that would allow our consciousness to survive the fatal malfunction of the body ... except for the fact that there is not even the least hint of any such mechanism. The heart stops, a given period of time passes, and even if resuscitation is successful, the brain remains damaged beyond repair.
My conclusion is simple: that Homo sapiens is a machine - a truly amazing, self-conscious machine - but a machine nevertheless. The fact is that machines fail, and the uniqueness of each of us precludes that spare parts are not available in all cases to effect repair. Entropy in one form or another wears at all of us; the pieces erode, age and finally break down.
We live, we die, we're gone. I can't see it any other way.
I know someone who doesn't believe in God but is intrigued with the concept of ghosts. He seems to find ghosts believable.
There's another dimension - the moral dimension - to God-belief, besides the belief in a supernatural being.
It's that moral dimension of belief that he doesn't have. He doesn't think a supernatural being is intimately concerned with his spiritual health.
Ghosts could be considered supernatural beings, but not necessarily with a moral dimension. They are thought to have supernatural powers, but not necessarily concerned with anyone's inner being.
OK, where's this quote come from...I know I read it recently, but I'm hoping someone else will know it as well:
"There are people who want to live forever but can't think of anything to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
Let's come at this discussion from another angle:
What if you couldn't die?
One of my favorite author's growing was the old Libertarian Robert Heinlein and one of my favorite books of his was Time Enough For Love.
He speculates on a time when people can, for all intents and purposes, live forever if they chose to.
But by law, in every hotel room there is a Suicide Switch on the wall that will kill them instantly and painlessly.
Not being able to die is, to me at least, a fate more terrifying than mortality.
I tend to go with what has been proven with everything that has died that I have any knowledge of and the only evidence is that absolutely nothing happens to you, there is no soul or floating consciousness none of it. Every single death shows that nothing happens other than your consciousness ends. I got into an argument with a theist who said,"there is a 50-50 chance of an afterlife." I had to straighten him out, there is a 100% chance that there is no afterlife. There has to be at least one proven afterlife for you to give that side any positive percentage, since there is none, the answer has to be a 0% chance of an afterlife.
Of course this person had a hard time with my reasoning but I do not think you can give something with no actual positive outcomes any positive percentage points. The comeback was a coin could either be heads or tails, thus the 50-50 chance. I replied that you can prove that there are two sides to the coin. With death, you can only prove that absolutely nothing happens.
Then the reply to that was the afterlife is metaphysical so there is no evidence for it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. And my reply had to be there is no evidence of any supernatural event ever happening since the rise of modern man, along with all the evidence of the time on earth before modern man, so how can you base a belief on something that there is absolutely no evidence for? See you can say based on past experience, the earth will rotate so the sun will be visible tomorrow. I have no way of knowing whether or not it will be true but every other day it has been true so I would be betting based on it happening 100% of the time in the past. But betting on something being true when there exists no evidence now or in the past, you would be betting from the longest long shot.
Humans like the idea of an afterlife because it satisfies many of their fears and deep needs for justice.If you believe our story, you will live forever and it will be better than your present life could ever be. If theists really thought this to be true, why do so few work towards having a short life?
An afterlife gives people hope for justice, if there is no afterlife then bad people basically get away with their bad deeds. Yes. But it gives people a sense of justice if they can get revenge by bad people going to a "hell".
An afterlife allows people to reconcile the deaths of young people. "He has gone to a better place and he is with Grandpa and you will see your young son/daughter again when you pass." This is more comforting than a six year old getting gunned down and that is it.
I find that it can be just as comforting to believe the truth rather than spend my life justifying injustices with lies.