Kirk, I like your take on the subject.
Nerdless, I definitely agree, some bridges need repair and some need to be burned down. I guess it depends on how ruthless and dispassionate and judgmental religious are against others for some constructed reason they believe comes out of their holy book. I have no interest in being gentle with that type.
@ Kirk Tingblad, Point well made.
One suspects you are right. I just reread Shakespeare's soliloquy from Hamlet, about death being an undiscovered country from which no one ever returns. Until they do, the presumption must be that there is no life after death. The more who accept this, the less attention will be paid to religious matters and the more folks will live their lives for the good of all rather than for reunion with a mythical rabbi or partying with 72 virgins.
michelle, here's my commentary on linear left brain thinking. (I used a cinquain form devised by American poet Adelaide Crapsey.)
"I think / Therefore I am," / Said the philosopher. / "Bunk! He didn't feel; he only / half was."
So we have Death Agnostics?
And, of course, if one insists on using nothing but our own senses and the works of scientists who have repeatable, falsifiable theories and experiments, then we are accused of having a Closed Mind!
The burden of proof rests on the one making the claim.
Prove there is life after death. Don't just make the assertion then accuse those who object as being closed minded.
I didn't do all the work...all the research, all the reading...theological, philosophical and scientific...I have on the subject of death to have my conclusion brushed aside as just another opinion on the subject.
I'll be sixty-three this summer. I have been a believer, an agnostic and a non-believer on the subject.
There is a difference between coming to a well thought out, well researched conclusion on a subject than having nothing but an opinion.
That which is presented without evidence can be rejected without evidence.
Don't get me wrong. I love horror stories and movies. I delight in a well-written and produced zombie apocalypse movie...I'm watching the Netflix series Hemlock Grove and would invite everyone to give it a try.
Death is the end of life.
Any other belief is superstition.
The open endedness of rationality is misunderstood. It's not that you can't come to a conclusion, in fact there are certain subjects in which it is highly irrational not to admit to the obvious. The existence of God and human mortality have to be answered.
Rationality is open-ended only when there is new evidence presented. Then the rational mind is obligated as it well should be, to consider and integrate this new evidence.
Not only is there no evidence for life after death there has been no new evidence presented to require a reassessment of the rational conclusion that, as I said before, belief in an afterlife is superstition.
Look at it this way:
Do you believe in vampires?
By your reasoning there is no way you can reject the idea. There is just as much evidence for the existence of vampires as for life after death: none whatsoever.
I am quite comfortable with the conclusion the vast majority of rational people have reached: vampirism is a morbid superstition. They do not exist.
Wow, that is absolute crap, Michele. There is no "astral body" or any other "radiation". There is not enough written on these subjects because they do not exist. How much money to you get people to cough up to hear this nonsense because if you get a penny for it you should be in prison.
Couple of book suggestion for those interested:
Stephen Cave's Immortality: The Quest To Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization is easy to read and relatively short. Cave's approach is to examine the different means of gaining immortality and discussing the inherent problems of each.
And, in my opinion, the definitive work on the subject from a historical perspective is Alan Segal's Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife In Western Religion. Yes, he is a Death Agnostic claiming that science cannot have anything to say on the subject. Nonsense, of course. The evidence for death being the end of existence is overwhelming. He brings out the lateness in human thought of the concept of life after death...and especially of the idea that all people will have an afterlife. And the conflict between the Greek concept of a spiritual afterlife and the Christian concept of a bodily ressurection.
Anyway, two books on the subject that are both 'worth the dig.'
I just cannot buy into astral bodies and all that New Age stuff. Personal experience and anecdotes do not constitute proof or even evidence.
Michele you are simply wrong.
Do you think you are the only one who knows about such things?
I have been places and done things you could not even begin to comprehend.
And I am telling you, these things you believe...these things are all lies......lies told by charlatans to fleece the gullible. Believing their lies is just as evil as believing any other form of superstition. They come from a different culture and that gives them an exotic flavor. But are liars and cheats.
I have sat at the feet and learned from Himalayan priests, lamas, Holy Men. The American, watered down version they sell in this country is just another product. The truth about these men is the same as the truth about any Christian priest or preacher. Religion is about power. Not supernatural power, but real power over people in the real world.
Astral projection? I have Flown the Night. Remote viewing? Meditation?
Meditation is used to dull and silence the rational mind, to prepare an empty vessel into which they can pour any lie they want to.
Glossolalia speaking in tongues, serves the same function in Christianity. It is a means of breaking down the rational mind by breaking down the structure of language in which rationality expresses itself.
Intense prayer, praise services, rhythmic chanting, meditation all serve the same function. To break the minds of the people who engage in them so they will be susceptible to suggestion...whether it's to believe these people can levitate or who to vote for...or to drink the cyanide-laced Kool Aid...or fly a planeful of innocent people into the Twin Towers...
It's all about power. It's all about cruel and ugly men who thirst for control over the minds of others.
I cannot stress this enough.
I know what I'm talking about.
And I know the only way to break freedom from these lies is to reject superstition...to stop looking for some else to tell you what to think...to reclaim your own rationality, to learn to think for yourself...
One of the truest things that has come out of Eastern Religions...one of the things that actually approaches wisdom is the statement:
When you meet the Buddha on the road: kill him.
I have to agree with you on everything you have said in your post here. Sam Harris, in his book, The End of Faith, speaks of meditation in a positive light. While I respect Sam Harris I just don't buy into the whole meditation thing. Harris doesn't refer to astral projection and all that bunk though. Meditation, astral projection, the collective unconscious, etc., is simply repackaged supernaturalism. People think because some idea is old that it has merit. One of the biggest proponents of the collective unconscious was Carl Jung, and he believed that certain books in his library study spontaneously exploded in his absence. It's all just bunk, plain and simple. I have absolutely no belief in anything above nature, i.e., supernatural.