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

    Messages:
    12,048
    The "anatta" or soullessness as opposed to the "atman" or eternal Self. I'm open to this notion of the no-self too, although it is extremely difficult once positing such a state not to then turn around and make some higher Self out of it. But yeah, when I look into what I call myself all I ever seem to turn up are just passing thoughts and feelings, words, actions, a name, and a bunch of stuff I call mine. But when it comes down to it I am NOT these things--more like the blank and empty screen that exists behind the movie that lets all this meaning emerge but only in a passing illusory form. I found some helpful Wikipedia info on this topic:

    "In Buddhism, the term anattā (Pāli) or anātman (Sanskrit: अनात्मन्) refers to the notion of "not-self" or the illusion of "self". In the early texts, the Buddha commonly uses the word in the context of teaching that all things perceived by the senses (including the mental sense) are not really "I" or "mine", and for this reason one should not cling to them.

    In the same vein, the Pali suttas (and parallel āgamas, both referred to collectively below as the nikāyas), categorize the phenomena experienced by a being into five groups ("khandhas") that serve as the objects of clinging and as the basis for a sense of self. In the Nikāyas, the Buddha repeatedly emphasizes not only that the five khandhas of living beings are "not-self", i.e. not "I" or "mine", but also that clinging to them as if they were "I" or "mine" gives rise to unhappiness.

    According to the early texts, while on the path, one should develop oneself in healthy and liberating ways, only letting go of the attempt to improve the self as it becomes unnecessary.[1]


    Overview

    The anattā doctrine is not a type of materialism. Buddhism does not necessarily deny the existence of mental phenomena (such as feelings, thoughts, and sensations) that are distinct from material phenomena.[2] Thus, the conventional translation of anattā as "no-soul"[3] can be misleading. If the word "soul" refers to a non-bodily component in a person that can continue in some way after death, then Buddhism does not deny the existence of a soul.[4] In fact, persons (Pāli: puggala; Sanskrit, pudgala) are said to be characterized by an ever-evolving consciousness (Pali: samvattanika viññana),[5][6] stream of consciousness (Pali: viññana sotam;[5] Sanskrit: vijñana srotām), or mind-continuity (Sanskrit: citta-saṃtāna) which, upon the death or dissolution of the aggregates (skandhas), becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new group of skandhas. However, Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent or static entity that remains constant behind the changing bodily and non-bodily components of a living being. Reportedly, the Buddha reprimanded a disciple who thought that in the process of rebirth the same consciousness is reborn without change.[7] Just as the body changes from moment to moment, so thoughts come and go; and according to the anattā doctrine, there is no permanent conscious substance that experiences these thoughts, as in Cartesianism: rather, conscious thoughts simply arise and perish with no "thinker" behind them.[8] When the body dies, the incorporeal mental processes continue and are reborn in a new body.[4] Because the mental processes are constantly changing, the new being is neither exactly the same as, nor completely different from, the being that died.[9]

    On one interpretation, although Buddhism rejects the notion of a permanent self, it does not reject the notion of an empirical self (composed of constantly changing physical and mental phenomena) that can be conveniently referred to with words such as "I", "you", "being", "individual", etc.[10] Early Buddhist scriptures describe an enlightened individual as someone whose changing, empirical self is highly developed. According to Buddhist teachings, this phenomenon should not, either in whole or in part, be reified, either in affirmation or denial. The Buddha rejected the latter metaphysical assertions as ontological theorizing that binds one to suffering.[11]

    On another interpretation, Buddhism rejects any idea of the self. On this view it is incorrect even to speak about an "empirical self". This is because constantly changing physical and mental phenomena all have impermanence, and anything with such impermanence does not amount to the idea of a self. One is permitted to use terms such as "I", "you", and so on, not because they refer to an empirical self, but simply because they are "convenient designations". They are used in much the same way that the word "it" is used in the sentence "It is cold". Here there is nothing that the word "it" refers to. It is merely a grammatical device which allows one to assert "there is cold", while using a substantive term.[12]

    Some Mahayana Buddhist sutras and tantras present Buddhist teachings on emptiness using positive language by positing the ultimate reality of the "true self" (atman). In these teachings the word is used to refer to each being's inborn potential to realize Buddhahood through Buddhist practices, and future status as a Buddha.[13] This teaching, which is soteriological rather than theoretical, portrays this potential or aspect as undying.

    Anattā, dukkha (suffering/unease), and anicca (impermanence), are the three dharma seals, which, according to Buddhism, characterise all conditioned phenomena."--
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatta
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,112
    Magical Realist,



    Hmm! Spirit furniture.
    It's interesting how you view the afterlife with physical bodies and furniture.

    Doesn't it?
    I guess there is no God then, and Jesus was just spinning a yarn. Maybe he likes having nails hammered into him and suspended on a cross after a day of being tortured. Glad I got the lowdown from you.

    What if the scriptures are absolutely correct?

    Sorry about the sarcasm, but the level of denial of scriptures, and the lack of enthusiam to explore them is deafening.

    What is everyone afraid of?

    jan.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,206
    Well, we could use such an argument for anyone who has martyred themselves for any cause at all. Does such martyrdom make the cause correct or any more valid?
    It is surely a sign of conviction of the individual. But can be used for nothing more with regard the tenets of that conviction.
    Noone need be afraid of anything. They merely don't want to waste their time on what they see as either unimportant or irrelevant when there is nothing to support what they say as being the truth, other than what they reiterate of what one might already understand. It is not a fear... merely they have better things to do, like actually live their lives rather than try to understand how someone else wants them to.

    And you might as well ask why people don't have the enthusiasm to explore anything they don't want to.
    Perhaps you think people are apathetic out of fear?
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048

    Explore what? Devote your life to studying the fables and outdated tribal laws of primitive hebrew nomads? Why would anyone want to do that? We live in the 21st century now. The knowledge of a 3rd grader exceeds that of all the bible authors put together. There is simply nothing there that applies to real life. Maybe it did 2000 years ago. But not today. It's a complete waste of time and energy exploring a book of teachings that have absolutely zero relevance to how we live our lives these days. And no, nobody's "afraid of" it either. They're just indifferent to it. As well they should be.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    because you are already working with nothing other than your imagination in an attempt to milk alternative theories I guess ...
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048
    Been there done that. It's time for some new ideas, not old defunct superstitions from some culture that doesn't even exist anymore.
     
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    Your estimations on how you have already "been there, done that" aside, I doubt your imagination is fertile enough to provide any culturally persistent contributions to the problems you are looking at.

    IOW if we want to weigh up things that are on the brink of not existing, I think you come in as the first contender when compared to the cultural impetus of scripture
     
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048
    Coming from a biblethumping troll of an online science forum, that comment doesn't surprise me..

    Yes..certainly a vital and cutting edge part of every high school and college curriculum nowadays isn't it? Whatever would our world do without the anti-scientific delusions and fearmongering lies of Judeo-christian mythology? Probably be about a thousand years more advanced than it is now.
     
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    aside from the difficulty of you actually finding a reference where I "thump" the bible, it still stands that if we pit your imagination against scripture in the arena of cultural persistence, you lose.
    Its not even close.



    actually I don't think much of highschool - or even higher education for that matter - comes within sneezing distance of ontology, full stop.
    Instead they tend to rise to the challenge of utilizing 16 years of formal education to land the successful applicant the ability to pursue animal propensities that the rest of the animal kingdom tends to do more proficiently.

    Its certainly more apparent, persistent and seminal in establishing values and social tropes than your "alternative" takes on religion ... which are also conspicuous by their absence in the current popular pedagogical models I might add .....
    :shrug:
     
  13. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    If you pay close enough attention, MR, you can categorize virtually all of lightgigantic's replies into one of any number of logical fallacies and/or typical forum troll tricks. To wit:

    Red herring...

    Tangential aside...

    Argumentum ad populum and argument from authority in one clumsy, barely-comprehensible sentence.

    :shrug:
     
  14. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    Regarding "close attention", will the irony never end?

    If you want to play these as "logical fallacies" then you have already sunk at the onset over 99% of what MR is bringing to the discussion

    Red herring...

    Tangential aside...

    Argumentum ad populum


    :shrug:
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048
    If you wanna interpret sacrificing animals, the genocide of the heathen races, the stoning of gays, adulterers, idolaters, witches, blasphemers, and disobedient children, anointing sick people with oil, exorcism for the mentally ill, ancestral curses, and snake dancing as "social tropes". Yeah, the Bible's certainly leading the way on that front.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,118
    There are lots of religions and lots of religious writings out there, and they don't all say the same things.

    What MR suggested in the first two sentences that I just quoted are generally consistent with Indian religious writings of all sorts that imagine that spiritual evolution or devolution occurs over the course of countless rebirths. It's possible to find endless Hindu, Buddhist and Jain writings that refer to or simply assume similar things.

    The third sentence reminds me of the Jains more than anyone else. I'm not really all that familiar with the Jain religious literature. (I doubt that you are either.)

    I've probably read more extensively in the Buddhist Pali canon than anyone else who posts here at Sciforums, with the notable exception of Wynn. I think that I know more about the Buddhist religious literature in general than you do.

    You need to decide whether you want to discuss scriptures or troll people.

    If you have a particular religious writing that you want to discuss in this thread, then do it. Identify it and provide a short account as to why you think it's relevant to the subject. And inevitably, if you want other people to accept your chosen scripture as authoritative, then you will need to provide them with some plausible reason why they should think that.
     
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,118
    Exercising our imaginations can be enjoyable.

    And when it comes to the subjects of supposed gods and hypothetical post-mortem existence, it seems that maybe all that anyone has ever had to go on is their own and other people's imaginations.

    So the scripture issue might just come down to whether we should defer credulously to the religious imaginations of people who lived in the distant past, or whether it's ok to speculate more creatively here and now.

    I don't expect a whole lot of truth or light to emerge from it either way, but the speculative mode might be more entertaining.
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048
  19. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    If you think those are contemporary social tropes you are either coming from a very weird and insignificant part of the world or, alternatively, are simply plying logical fallacies.
    Which is it?
     
  20. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    This point of view pivots on the premise that anyone's view on the topic of religion/spirituality is just as valid as anyone else's. IOW it does away with the notion of revelation or enlightenment and instead lends value to the notion of "telling a good story".
     
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    needless to say, if Einstein had the type of imagination that never had recourse to expression as knowledge, there would definitely be no point in trying to borrow from his authority by quoting him.
     
  22. arauca Banned Banned

    Messages:
    4,564
    Is that your god the guy who worked in a patent office and read the new theory and finding , then come up with his own theory .. So go on and bow to him and worship him
     
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,048
    Who said anything about "contemporary" social tropes? You certainly didn't:

     

Share This Page