What if there's an afterlife but no God?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Magical Realist, May 18, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Suppose you get to the other side and you're surrounded by all your relatives and friends. Then you ask, "But where's God and Jesus?" The spirits look at you tenderly and say, "You'd better sit down for this one." This seems to me a very likely scenario given that the universe certainly doesn't act like anyone's in charge of it. What if we are all just paranormal salmon swimming up the cosmic stream towards higher states of consciousness? What if over there is exactly like over here, with beings just trying to survive and make things better to the best of their abilities? What if our spiritual destiny is to evolve a god collectively, over perhaps millions of years, like how all the trillions of tiny cells making up our bodies come together to form a human being?
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
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  3. Enmos Registered Senior Member

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    How is there being any afterlife at all "a very likely scenario"?
     
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    The very likely scenario, restored to its proper context, refers to there being no God or Jesus. As for the likelihood of an afterlife, I rate it quite highly. I do so based on evidence from 3 sources: paranormal communications such as EVPs and channelings of spirits. Afterdeath experiences. And information accessed by psychics. You can say these are all rubbish, but I say if you really look into this evidence, you come away with a sense that there IS something beyond all this. I don't pretend to grasp what that state is nor do I claim to know the mechanism by which it is possible. I just say," Maybe they're right." And if I'm wrong, well then I won't know the difference anyway will I?
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
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  7. Balerion Banned Banned

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    The idea is reminiscent of reincarnation. Instead of being reborn on the mortal plane, you're deposited into another realm.

    Too vague to say whether it's preferable to deity-based alternatives, but it's an interesting concept.
     
  8. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    The amazing thing about this is that you can take as long as you like finding out.

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    There is no rush, there is no race, and there is no deadline.

    My advice would be that before you move beyond this world, let go of anything and everything you have ever been taught or ever been told, or anything you have ever thought to be true, and let go of any and all attachments to all beliefs. Free yourself by letting go of all things and go in with an open mind attached to nothing. I think you will find your world to be extraordinarily more amazing if you do. This concept of a "god", as is commonly perceived by the mainstream society, will become irrelevant, unless you choose to make it relevant.

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  9. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting concept…However my perspective sees my existence post mortem as transference of my collective embodiment becoming part of the universe once again. I’m linked to everyone here genetically, to this planet chemically and to the universe atomically. The energy, atoms and elements in my body will more or less be re-introduced back into the universe when I die. In these regards my material existence will continue as it is recycled and used again and again. as for the complexity of my personality/individually(soul)...That may persist only in the memory of those who’ve I’ve encountered or communicated with or if I leave a tangible legacy in the form of other materials such as children, grandchildren, books or even this post that I have written.
    [video=youtube;MJBmWvuTrVY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJBmWvuTrVY[/video]

    [video=youtube;5X5nUg_z9xk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X5nUg_z9xk[/video]
     
  10. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    You guys haven't figured this one out yet? I solved this puzzle two decades ago. Saturnine is the closest, although the truth is actually much more comforting but scary at the same time.

    The odds are your current existence is just one of your infinate "after lives" to come.
     
  11. elte Valued Senior Member

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    There'd have to be some mechanism that some great intelligence purposely built into the universe that can keep track and remember the information amassed by all individual life entities. I can't see a possibility for that. I think if humans evolve into God, they will have to do it in the physical world with physical devices.
     
  12. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Well that's a very powerful statement, can you provide any EVIDENCE for your opinion, or is it just your opinion?
     
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That "better sit down" remark would presumably be directed at Christians. The absence of God and Jesus in a heavenly rebirth would be pretty much what a Buddhist or a Jain would expect.

    I don't think that a personal afterlife in heaven is really any more likely than the existence of a God or an avatar.

    That sounds like the trade-mark Indian idea of reincarnation.

    I guess that the Jains believe something very much like what you suggest. The cosmos is imagined like a giant cosmic person, and the goal (through countless lives) is to purify our souls so that they rise (out of the butt part, I guess, karmic reality) into the heavenly head part and become blissful and omniscient. But there isn't any God in addition to the our own souls and those of all the countless other sentient beings. So if there's going to be any universal God, we are all part of the process of generating him.

    The Hindus have similar ideas too, except they are convinced that the Godhead already exists. Advaita Vedantists think that our inner "I", our subjective self, is already identical with God's consciousness, that our belief in our individual selves and our entrapment in those selves' individual lives is a fantasy, and that our ultimate destiny is to overcome the illusion and merge back into God's absolute consciousness like a drop of water into the ocean. The ancient Greco-Roman Neoplatonists had similar ideas. Many of the Mahayana Buddhists moved towards similar ideas too, around the same time, with a transcendentalized Buddha-nature or Dharmakaya taking the place of the Hindu Brahman. (You can even see hints of this kind of stuff in Hegel and late 19'th century European absolute idealism.)

    I guess that the more theistic Hindus (the large majority of Hindus these days) expect a long series of rebirths like this one, as people evolve into higher states of consciousness in higher and higher heavenly realms, to the point where sentient beings' selves can ultimately bask in the divine radiance of Vishnu or Shiva, without the individual selves ever disappearing by merging with that highest Godhead. That's more like what the Christians (and the Muslims, who strongly influenced medieval Indian history) imagine. Except that with the Christians and Muslims, there aren't the endless succession of evolutionary rebirths, and it's all just a one-shot deal - this life, then judgement.
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'd say we were at the rectum of the apotheosis stage roughly around the time of the Ice Age. What dire times that was for this human experiment. We barely survived as a species. Now we're probably somewhere in the large intestine of God, still trying to filter the onslaught of shit that passes for material being. Though we're doin much better with technology, I feel we've got a long way to go consciousness-wise. Assuming ofcourse the Jains were onto something. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't many more higher beings out there than us--extraterrestrials and perhaps interdimensionals who have evolved almost god-like faculties. Bodhisvattas that forego nirvana and stay behind to help out the newbies.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Spacetime itself has a very rigid permanent structure. I mean, the past remains exactly as it always was, no change at all in the order of its events or in the causal relationships of these events on each other. Might the past itself be the very medium of storage of all that has ever happened with no loss of information? Ofcourse the past contains infinitely more than just what WE can infer or remember of it. It persists in some sense, only in a potentially recoverable but presently unconscious sense. Everything's that ever happened or been experienced by anyone, just sitting out there frozen in some mode unaffected by change or entropy.
     
  16. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    I think, like the theory of evolution, the evidence that supports it is all around us. And like evolution, it is entirely internal religious presumptions that keep many from seeing it.

    To even get to this understanding, you have to have at least advanced beyond requiring a god to explain anything. If you're not at least there, I grant you my task is hopeless.

    However, if you've graduated beyond needing God, the fact that we are here and exist now without a god is a huge piece of evidence. From there, you simply start to ask questions like "How does matter itself evolve?" and "What physically represents us as individuals?" and "Why is it even me that feels in this body and not someone else?", as well as apply some universally understood scientific principles such as the one that says, "Matter cannot be destroyed. It changes its form but cannot cease to exist."

    "Cannot cease to exist" being the key phrase here. Yes, there can never be direct proof, just as scientists will never have direct proof of us evolving out of a more primitive species. But we can draw indirect inferences and conclusions based on things of which we have direct knowledge and establish a strong theory just like evolution.

    So what we have here is five axioms:

    A: Matter cannot be created or destroyed but changes its form
    B: Humans are made out of matter
    C: Matter is reused
    D: Consciousness requires a physical host
    E: Each consciousness has a matter specific host (that is, the matter that hosts your consciousness is not the exact same matter that hosts mine)

    From those five we can further ask:
    If each human has a matter specific host, as is visibly verifiable simply by observing that you are who you are and I am who I am, and each human represents a separate consciousness, we have to ask: Why is it us that is doing the perceiving and feeling for our separate bodies? Why am I perceiving and feeling for mine and why are you perceiving and feeling for yours? It doesn't make sense if specific matter doesn't have a specific link to identity. If specific matter has a specific link to identity, that means it has a specific link to us and to our individual identities.

    P.S. Please forgive my initial arrogance in this thread. I constantly employ it to draw people into debate.

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    Last edited: May 21, 2013
  17. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    @cosmictotem

    Very nicely put.
     
  18. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Because our central nervous system doesn't span multiple bodies. Duh...
     
  19. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    It was largely a rhetorical question. I know our central nervous system doesn't span multiple bodies. Duh. Duh...

    And really, "duh"? If you bothered to examine the context in which I was framing the question - namely, why is one identity present in an individual rather than another and what determines that specific identity? - you would have known not to respond that way.
     
  20. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    Thank you and, as this theory is in its infant stage, I certainly am not adverse to stepping entirely aside and welcoming any contributions for expanding and reinforcing it. I am certainly not the most intelligent mind here and know others can do this argument far more justice than I can.
     
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that the likelihood of the Judeo-Christian God actually existing (as something more than religious mythology) is so low that I feel confident in ignoring it. It's the same thing for Zeus and Odin. I think we agree on that.

    That's where we differ. I think that the chances of my personal life continuing on somehow after I die (that sounds kind of contradictory) are about as low as the chance of Christianity being true. Possible perhaps, but so unlikely that I feel confident in ignoring it.

    I'd say that the idea of afterdeath experiences sounds self-contradictory by its nature. Certainly the idea of people returning from the dead to report them does. I don't believe that anyone has ever returned from death.

    As for the psychics and channelers of spirits, I tend to look on them in much the same way that I do Christians who claim religious experiences of God or Jesus. (Or Hindus or Muslims who report specifically Hindu or Muslim religious experiences.) It's all religious experience in my estimation, just different kinds of religious experience. I'm not inclined at this point to give certain kinds of religious experience special credence, just because they lack content that's specific to particular religious traditions.

    In the broadest sense, sure. I think that all kinds of things are going on that I know nothing about.

    But I'm just not convinced that my memories, my personality, my body and my relationships, along with everything else that goes into defining my personal identity, will somehow be conserved and restored in the future. That's what many people want very passionately to believe, that's for sure, but I don't think that it's likely. I don't see my personal identity having any more reality after I die than it had before I was born.
     
  22. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    I hate to be Captain Obvious (again) but, people try to make this more complicated than it is. We are our bodies. There is no reason to think otherwise. Seriously, duh...
     
  23. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    You're right. We are our bodies and I am stating the obvious. But it's so obvious that people overlook its importance and relevance to naturalist-based "reincarnation."
    It's like a grand eco-system. Specific portions of matter, through accident, get used and reused by the Universe to support and feed the system, much in the same way an ecological environment supports itself. In this way, the system is perpetuated by an analogous "biological" feedback relationship with matter. Inanimate matter transforms into an animated life form, that animated life form dies, its constituent chemicals and elements return into inanimate matter that again gets reused in the next accidental formation of life and so on...in a cyclical relationship. Our bodies come from this "eco-system" and our consciousness arises from this matter that gets reused in this "eco-system."
     

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