God v. Afterlife

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Thoreau, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    Or maybe the chemical and electrical anomalies that happen in NDEs to give the usual descriptions just weren't present in his case. That doesn't make any assumptions outside what we know happens to the brain. Your explanation assumes there must be a soul.
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  3. Balerion Banned Banned

    Not literally. Now you're equivocating on the definitions of these terms because you know they don't apply in a literal sense. That's very dishonest.

    Uh, what? How so?

    Again, not literal magic. It's weird, sure, but it's not magic.

    What you're proposing here is another version of the God of the Gaps. Because we don't fully understand QM yet, you're interjecting magic and mysticism in lieu of it. The problem is that "It's magic!" is better explanation than "I don't know," so even if we never fully understand it, your answer will never be a good one.
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  5. Mazulu Banned Banned

    That's not dishonest. That's healthy thinking.

    If you want to understand how religion emerges from spiritual experiences, you need to pray to God. I'm just a human.

    Nonsense. It's magic. The wave-function is some kind of magical mechanism. It's certainly an invisible and undetectable mechansim. Snarkily speaking, it's like a phychic link between particles.

    It's a very useful way to understand reality.

    Quantum mechanics is nature's way of telling the physics community that there is more going on in reality then just "information". There is other stuff going on inside that quantum randomness. But physicists can't see it because they worship information (and are a bunch of godless heathens).
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  7. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

    A cell phone would be magic to someone from the 1600s. Just because we don't yet understand something completely doesn't mean there isn't a rational explanation. Invoking "magic" just means you don't want to pursue learning any more.

    You're just fooling yourself.

    Yeah, the same science that defined quantum mechanics doesn't understand it. Sure.
  8. Balerion Banned Banned

    Sorry, no.

    Oh, so you were just confused by my phrasing. By "spiritual" and "mysticism" I did not mean the interest in those phenomena. I meant, essentially, that there is no spiritual or supernatural realm.

    Again, if you want to support these claims, feel free. Simply saying "it's magic!" isn't an argument, it's a claim. You need to back these claims up with some evidence.

    You mean stupidly speaking? Because in that case, you'd be right. Stupidly speaking, you could call it a "phychic" connection (though I would think "psychic" is the word you're looking for) but, again, only if you're speaking stupidly. In reality, the connection wouldn't be psychic at all. The implication of entanglement is that our separation is an illusion, not that items are magically or psychically sharing information.

    In what way does "It's magic" help you understand reality?

    Empty claims, bogus accusations, and borderline proselytizing. Can you really not do any better than that?
  9. Mazulu Banned Banned

    It depends upon what you mean by rational explanation. There was a time when sending signals with EM was magic; to me, it still is. Quantum entanglement certaintly suggests that there is something that exists between the two particles, but it's not a standard model particle. I've stated that the wave-function is an invisible and undetectable mechanism of nature that is part of reality. Most physicists won't admit even that much.

    The randomness of quantum states (measurements) is thought to be truly random. There are no known mechanisms or processes that would impose an orderliness, predictability or control of these random quantum states. To me, they look like a back door into our universe, a backdoor for God or who knows what. Standard science dogma would dismiss this idea out of hand. Since I am looking for God/spooky things, I think there are hidden/mysterious processes that could detect/control quantum states; processes that could counteract entropy. The resurrection of Jesus, after fatal damage to the body, (also known as healing) would be possible if such processes existed. Science might one day stumble across such a process.

    Not the same science. Atheism blocks creative thinking.
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    It was never magic, and it certainly isn't now. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's unnatural or beyond explanation.

    Unknown does not mean unknowable. Hence, your "God of the Gaps" explanation.

    Nobody's dismissed anything out of hand. Except you, dismissing the possibility that QM is simply a field we don't understand yet. Typical of the loon, you're projecting your own failures and shortcomings onto the scientific community.

    Do you not see the logical fallacy there? You believe something is true because you are looking for "God/spooky things." The reason you believe this nonsense is only because you want to believe this nonsense.

    That's quite the non-sequitur.


    Another idiotic, emotional claim based on nothing but sour grapes. You're upset that rational thinkers think you're nuts, so rather than be introspective, you'll just blame everyone else.
  11. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

    Finally, someone has recognised the presumption that seems to afflict the majority of people, theist and atheist. I have been arguing for years that we need to think of this issue in terms of a four box matrix: God+Afterlife; God+NoAdterlife; NoGod+Afterlife;NoGod+NoAfterlife.

    These don't need to have equal possibilites, they just need to be there, for discussion and completeness.
    And, yes, I can envisage circumstances that are quite plausible for all four.
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    If you say the above is the Buddhist view, then surely you can provide Buddhist references for it.
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    On annihilationism- from the link I provided earlier:

    A person is a composite of four primary elements. At death, the earth (in the body) returns to and merges with the (external) earth-substance. The fire returns to and merges with the external fire-substance. The liquid returns to and merges with the external liquid-substance. The wind returns to and merges with the external wind-substance. The sense-faculties scatter into space. /.../ The words of those who speak of existence after death are false, empty chatter. With the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.'

    False reduction of options. The "afterlife" isn't just about eternal damnation or everlasting life, nor is morality just about one set of moral principles or one set of moral goals.

    Arguably, consistently acting on particular moral principles does require a belief in karma and rebirth.
    There may be forms of morality that don't require such a belief; and there are forms of morality that do.

    Materialistic goals typically don't require a belief in karma and rebirth; in fact, belief in karma and rebirth may be counterproductive to materialistic goals.
    Any goals that transcend materialism, require such a belief.

    That depends on what particular moral principle one considers.
    Justice, for example, does require belief in substantial selfhood.

    Most people generally seem to believe that the body and the mind are the self. They might not specifically pin down the self to the brain, or as a product of the brain, but they do see the body and the mind as the self. They don't seem to think that the self would exist independently of the body and the mind; ie. they do not propose that there exists a soul.

    Which is why I think that

    probably isn't the case.
  14. Balerion Banned Banned

    Again, this does not amount to Annihilationsim, which is, as I've already said, the belief that the soul can be destroyed. What Ajita Kesakambalin says in the link you provided was that there is no soul, not that the soul can be destroyed by God if certain conditions are not met. Annihiliationism is simply a belief within theism; it assumes the existence of the soul, that the soul is the true form of the self, and that there are alternatives to annihilation, such as heaven and hell. Ajita is saying that no such thing exists, no such realm exists. Just because both views allow for annihilation does not mean they are both Annihilationism.

    Straw man. You brought up the point that religions offer explanations for the world that support their moral outlook. My response was that adherence to moral actions do not require eternal bliss or eternal hellfire. These are examples of such explanations that support a moral outlook, not assertions that all moral outlooks are said to require such explanations. Obviously different religions offer different goals and rewards and punishments. (Though, to be fair, eternal happiness does factor into most of them, just as eternal strife, disappointment, or pain factors into most)

    In other words, my point was that there is no moral outlook that requires everlasting life to be a reward for behavior, so your assertion that the explanations of the world given by religion is based on morality rather than their lack of understanding is incorrect. And even if some people believed that there was no soul or afterlife, it certainly wasn't a widely-held belief. And it would have been hard to convince people of the truth of it without natural explanations for earthquakes, floods, droughts and other disasters, or an understanding of how consciousness is inexorably linked to the physical brain. A blow to the head can render you unconscious, but so could a blow to the chest or back, or enough alcohol. There wasn't any way of determining conclusively that the brain is responsible for the self, so even people who believe that there was no afterlife weren't likely to list that as their reasoning.

    I'd love to see some sort of evidence to support this claim.

    Such as?

    You're confusing rewards with morals now. Obviously a belief in some sort of spiritual realm or cosmic justice is required to keep supernatural goals. If you want to get to heaven, you obviously need to believe some kind of heaven exists. If you want to experience life as a man and a crab, you have to believe in some sort of reincarnation. But that says nothing of morality. It doesn't address it at all, in fact, and there is no kind of morality I'm aware of that is inherent to such a belief system.

    How would you define "substantial selfhood?" If you're talking about belief in a soul, or that the self is somehow independent of the mind, then no, obviously not. One could accept that the self is effectively an illusion created by consciousness and still believe in justice because order and structure are vital aspects of society, for example.

    I don't know where you get that idea, since Abrahamic monotheism requires precisely such a belief. If you're a believing Jew, Christian, or Muslim, you believe in the existence of the soul. And certainly many of the eastern faiths require some kind of "self" that exists independently of the brain, or else there would be no mechanism for reincarnation.

    There's no doubt that people will think of themselves as body and mind, but if they're religious, they also believe themselves to be spirits or souls. Perhaps it's even a bit of a duality, but they do hold that belief.

    Well, as I pointed out, you're operating from a false premise--ie, that most people don't believe in the presence of a soul.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    There is more to annihilationism than the theistic version you mention; so far, I have heard of annihilationism only in the meaning I've used so far.

    Here is a Buddhist argumentation of the issue:
    The Truth of Rebirth, And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice

    In short: If one wishes to practice according to the Buddha's instructions and attain the goal as proposed by the Buddha, one must believe in karma and rebirth.

    As opposed to illusory or epiphenomenal.

    The question is, for how long and how consistently one could believe in justice that way, especially when faced with suffering.

    I'm sure many people say they believe in the existence of the soul. But when I look at how they speak and act, it makes me wonder how consistently and with what precision they believe they are souls.
  16. Balerion Banned Banned

    I doubt it, since Annihilationism is a Christian concept based on biblical scripture. You must be confusing it with something else.

    You keep shoehorning morality in there, but there's nothing about their morality that requires a belief in reincarnation. Sure, some actions might require that, but not all actions are moral matters. For example, if one dedicates their life to attaining knowledge that would require more than one lifetime to attain, we're not talking about a moral issue.

    Then you'll have to explain to me why such a belief is required.

    Really? So in your opinion convictions unrelated to supernatural rewards are inherently weaker than those that are related? What gives you that impression? Why couldn't a belief in justice for the sake of society be just as strong as belief in justice for the sake of everlasting life, or rebirth or whatever?

    I think that's because many people have personal interpretations of God and what God does and doesn't want. Or, at least there's a kind of "unofficial" interpretation popular among people who aren't scriptureholics that defies what the texts actually say. But that doesn't mean they don't believe they have a soul, it just means they have their own personal belief system surrounding it.
  17. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    It's what Buddhism explained to me through the traditional process.
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    The view I quoted is called "annihilationism" in Buddhist sources.

    Anyway, the point is that ideas about the nature of selfhood similar to those purported by modern science have been around for millennia.
    Apparently, modern science is not required to come to the conclusion or conviction that when the body dies, the person dies; ie. that the body is vital for the existence of a person.

    One's motivations for doing so are a moral issue.

    To believe that the self is something substantial is vital for a Hindu-type of belief in reincarnation; ie. that there exists an entity (ie. the soul or self) which incarnates in different bodies over time, thus reaping the consequences of their karma accordingly.
    If we posit that the self is not substantial, only a mere epiphenomenon, then there is nothing that gets reincarnated, nothing that makes and reaps karma.

    Give it a try, to see whether you will still be equally able and willing to adhere to your particular moral outlook (especially if it is a humanist outlook) once you're old, sick, poor, under oppression and feeling very troubled by these.

    Perhaps it is possible to be old, sick, poor, under oppression and not feel very troubled by these.

    Perhaps there are people whose belief in justice for the sake of society can withstand any challenges they may face due to old age, illness, poverty and oppression.
    I've yet to meet such people.
  19. Balerion Banned Banned

    I'll take your word for it.

    The passage you linked to said nothing of the body being required for selfhood. The speaker didn't give their reasons for believing what they believe. And I've already addressed why such a notion wouldn't likely be a popular idea. You ignored it the first time, so I'll post it again. Feel free to point out any problem you have with it:

    Not necessarily. Being motivated by a desire for knowledge is not a moral issue.

    Okay, but karma is not the only form of justice. It's just one, totally bogus example. True justice doesn't require any belief in the supernatural or the self as anything more than a product of the brain. It actually doesn't have to address the subject at all.

    What you're basically saying here is that there is no such thing as an old atheist, which is of course ridiculous. A conviction is a conviction is a conviction. The promise of eternal life or reincarnation is no more of a relief from pain and aging than true death.

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