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Is Atheism in compatible with a belief in the Afterlife?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭bou


    recedite wrote: »
    I'm just curious, Is this the buddhist "awareness" that might get reincarnated into an animal? If that happened, and the very basic awareness was not smart enough to realise what had happened to it, then what would be the point of it?
    Maybe like a computer being wiped and going back to very basic default settings?

    Sorry for delay. Too busy too get back.
    I didn't say very basic awareness but rather subtle awareness, something we don't quite recognise as we're caught up in dualistic thinking. This awareness is actually much more. It is the same awareness that a buddha has. Aware of all things. In video, Mingyur Rinpoche describes a near death experience he had recently: link (around 7 mins in). He describes mind and all senses dying and a clarity of awareness remaining.
    The problem with people who have not practiced much is that they may not be able to recognise this state of being and instead move on to other dualistic appearances very quickly. Some highly advanced practitioners are said to be able to remain in this pure awareness for days after they die, during which time there is some kind of life remaining in the body and the body doesn't decay at all in that time. In Tibet there have been many stories of people like that as well as people coming back to life and recounting their experiences.


  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭bou


    King Mob wrote: »
    that people can insert any idea that appeals to them
    I'm quoting Tibetan buddhist thought which has been around for a long time. The sciences came later so they have inserted themselves.
    we can be confident that it's based in the brain and that there is no external component
    The scientific community are not agreed on this nor have they a full explanation of consciousness in all aspects. There is plenty of room for weirdness.

    Back in the late 1800s most scientists were agreed that they had largely figured out the whole thing and that there were no more major discoveries to make. What was left was to go into the details and tidy everything up.
    The notions of quantum mechanics, general relativity and the big bang were not yet considered. So you could say that modern physics has appeared in the gaps of classical physics.

    Not all physicists are agreed that there is a material reality that we all love so dearly. E.g loop quantum gravity, holographic principle.

    When you look into descriptions of these theories, the universe is more like a mathematical manifestation than an existing thing. What is the basis of that? What does it mean? It hasn't been all worked out and understood.

    I've run out of time today. Perhaps I'll comment on your other points on reincarnation again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    bou wrote: »
    I'm quoting Tibetan buddhist thought which has been around for a long time. The sciences came later so they have inserted themselves.
    That doesn't really make it any more convincing or supported. Simply because something is believed for a long time doesn't make it any more right or likely to be true than something some one plucks out of their head today.
    People have believed in the Greek gods long before Buddhism formed, yet you probably don't believe in Zeus or the Elysian fields.
    bou wrote: »
    The scientific community are not agreed on this nor have they a full explanation of consciousness in all aspects. There is plenty of room for weirdness.
    No, we are fairly confident that consciousness is contained in the brain and that there is no external component. Can you point to any neuroscientists who claim otherwise?
    And again, there is no plausible mechanism for how consciousness to survive the death of the brain or to exist without it or to transfer itself into a new brain. If you believe there is such a mechanism, please explain.

    However, if you are suggesting that because we don't know everything about consciousness right now, therefore there could be something new etc. then you are simply wrong.

    While we might not have the full story of how it works, we know that consciousness is formed by electrical and chemical interactions from the brain. These individual processes and the physics and chemistry behind them are well understood. We can state with confidence that electrical and chemical reactions need electrical conductors and paths and chemicals to happen. Without a physical thing there for them to happen, they don't happen.

    If you are going to insist that there is some non-physical aspect to consciousness, then I'm going to need to see some evidence before I can conclude that all the neuroscience we have today is completely wrong.
    bou wrote: »
    Back in the late 1800s most scientists were agreed that they had largely figured out the whole thing and that there were no more major discoveries to make. What was left was to go into the details and tidy everything up.
    The notions of quantum mechanics, general relativity and the big bang were not yet considered. So you could say that modern physics has appeared in the gaps of classical physics.

    Not all physicists are agreed that there is a material reality that we all love so dearly. E.g loop quantum gravity, holographic principle.

    When you look into descriptions of these theories, the universe is more like a mathematical manifestation than an existing thing. What is the basis of that? What does it mean? It hasn't been all worked out and understood.
    Utter **** I'm afraid.
    You are arguing that "we don't now everything, everything might be wrong, therefore everything can be right".

    Even if all of physics and science is upturned tomorrow, it won't mean that reincarnation suddenly exists. It would still need some evidence and a plausible mechanism and at the moment, you've got neither of these things.
    Plus, physics is not likely to be completely overturned any time soon and reincarnation and life after death contradicts science is places that we know a lot about.

    Again, Thor and Zeus did not exist 500 years ago anymore than they do today because would couldn't explain lightning 500 years ago.

    But this is all an aside really. My main point is that reincarnation, like most afterlifes are terrifying, monstrous and unfair.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    And again, there is no plausible mechanism for how consciousness to survive the death of the brain or to exist without it or to transfer itself into a new brain. If you believe there is such a mechanism, please explain.[/QUOTE

    However, if you are suggesting that because we don't know everything about consciousness right now, therefore there could be something new etc. then you are simply wrong.

    While we might not have the full story of how it works, we know that consciousness is formed by electrical and chemical interactions from the brain. These individual processes and the physics and chemistry behind them are well understood. We can state with confidence that electrical and chemical reactions need electrical conductors and paths and chemicals to happen. Without a physical thing there for them to happen, they don't happen.
    ... except we have 'personhood' and 'consciousness' i.e. we may use physical and chemical processes to keep our bodies alive ... but the conscious person that we are is a different entity to our bodies. You may say that we are a chemical / electrical mirage ... but I think that we are much more than this.
    We have a virtual and a physical component ... and I believe that the virtual component is eternal.
    King Mob wrote: »
    If you are going to insist that there is some non-physical aspect to consciousness, then I'm going to need to see some evidence before I can conclude that all the neuroscience we have today is completely wrong.
    Consciousness and intelligence are both virtual phenomena ... that by definition are non-physical.

    King Mob wrote: »
    But this is all an aside really. My main point is that reincarnation, like most afterlifes are terrifying, monstrous and unfair.
    Hell is like that ... but Heaven is eternal bliss !!!:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    ... except we have 'personhood' and 'consciousness' i.e. we may use physical and chemical processes to keep our bodies alive ... but the conscious person that we are is a different entity to our bodies. You may say that we are a chemical / electrical mirage ... but I think that we are much more than this.
    We have a virtual and a physical component ... and I believe that the virtual component is eternal.
    Great. Bully for you.
    You're welcome to prove that.
    J C wrote: »
    Hell is like that ... but Heaven is eternal bliss !!!:)
    Nope, your version of Heaven is disgusting, evil and unfair.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    Great. Bully for you.
    You're welcome to prove that.
    Consciousness, personhood and intelligence are all virtual phenomena ... or are you arguing that they aren't?
    King Mob wrote: »
    Nope, your version of Heaven is disgusting, evil and unfair.
    Why so?


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    Consciousness, personhood and intelligence are all virtual phenomena ... or are you arguing that they aren't?
    I'm arguing that the idea that any part of consciousness or personhood or intelligence that exists after the death of brain is nonsense.
    There's no evidence for it and it doesn't make sense.

    I'm not interested in debating virtual vs real with you however, as it's a semantic argument and you are a troll.
    J C wrote: »
    Why so?
    Lots of reasons I have outlined previously in the thread.

    If you believe in Hell, you believe that eternal torture is justified. The fact that some people get bliss and others don't for things like thoughtcrime and wanting to end their own life is bad enough. Adding in the fact some people will earn eternal punishment for anything makes the whole affair horrifying.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,379 Mod ✭✭✭✭robindch


    King Mob wrote: »
    [...] you are a troll.
    It's mods who make that judgement.

    Thanking youze.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    I'm arguing that the idea that any part of consciousness or personhood or intelligence that exists after the death of brain is nonsense.
    There's no evidence for it and it doesn't make sense.
    Virtual phenomena are no less real than physical phenomena.
    Virtual phenomena have the potential to exist outside of the physical realm.

    I accept that proving the eternity of consciousness, personhood and intelligence may be difficult ... but it is equally difficult to disprove it.
    ... so you can 'pay your money and take your choice', I guess.:)
    King Mob wrote: »
    I'm not interested in debating virtual vs real with you however, as it's a semantic argument
    It's an important argument ... Virtual phenomena are no less real than physical phenomena - and Virtual phenomena have the potential to be immortal and they exist outside of the physical realm.
    King Mob wrote: »
    Lots of reasons I have outlined previously in the thread.

    If you believe in Hell, you believe that eternal torture is justified. The fact that some people get bliss and others don't for things like thoughtcrime and wanting to end their own life is bad enough. Adding in the fact some people will earn eternal punishment for anything makes the whole affair horrifying.
    I think it has more to do with the type of God that one believes in ... Jesus Christ is a God of love and mercy as well as a God of justice and judgement.
    If we ask for His love and mercy ... we can spend an eternity of bliss with Him in Heaven
    ... and if we want to take Satan's side and receive God's justice and judgement ... we can spend an eternity with Satan in Hell.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    Virtual phenomena are no less real than physical phenomena.

    If you continue to misuse words in this manner how can anyone continue to have a discussion with you?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Pherekydes wrote: »
    If you continue to misuse words in this manner how can anyone continue to have a discussion with you?
    I think that your mistake is the supposed distinction between virtual and 'real' phenomena ... when the correct distinction should be betwen virtual and physical phenomena ... both of which are real.

    ... unless you're claiming that posts on the boards.ie aren't real ???:confused::eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    I think that your mistake is the supposed distinction between virtual and 'real' phenomena ... when the correct distinction should be betwen virtual and physical phenomena ... both of which are real.

    ... unless you're claiming that posts on the boards.ie aren't real ???:confused::eek:

    Are you claiming that the afterlife or human consciousness is just a bunch of boards posts?

    Am I doing it right?

    My dreams seem virtually real. They are not real.

    Virtual reality != reality


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Pherekydes wrote: »
    Are you claiming that the afterlife or human consciousness is just a bunch of boards posts?

    Am I doing it right?

    My dreams seem virtually real. They are not real.

    Virtual reality != reality
    I'm pointing out that there are virtual phenomena that are real ... even virtual reality is real ... as it exists.

    Dreams exist ... and thus area real virtual phenomena ... its just the contents of dreams that aren't real.

    ... its the same with movies ... and, dare I say it ... some posts on the Boards.ie :eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,847 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    Mod: The contents of some posts on Boards are definitely unreal JC, maybe edging away from semantics and back to the topic would be better for the health of the thread.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    looksee wrote: »
    Mod: The contents of some posts on Boards are definitely unreal JC, maybe edging away from semantics and back to the topic would be better for the health of the thread.
    This isn't semantics ... virtual and physical realities both exist ... our minds/personalities/consciousness/spirits are virtual phenomena and our bodies are physical phenomena.

    Our bodies are mortal ... but our minds/personalities/consciousness/spirits may be immortal ... they certainly feel immortal to me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    ...they certainly feel immortal to me.

    This tops all the meaningless bullsh1t you've posted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    This isn't semantics.

    If we can't agree on the meaning of words, like 'virtual', then the discussion is entirely semantic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    Our bodies are mortal ... but our minds/personalities/consciousness/spirits may be immortal ... they certainly feel immortal to me.
    As has been no doubt explained to you several dozen, if not hundreds of times and as simply as possible: It is not our job to disprove your claims, you have to prove them. Otherwise, your assertions can be dismissed.

    On top of that, I have pointed out several issues with the notion that the mind is immortal, namely it goes against what we know about it now and that no one has or can produce a possible mechanism by which it could work. You have not addressed this in any meaningful or coherent way.

    And then, as I pointed out, your afterlife includes torture. You believe that torture can be justified. Therefore your afterlife is disgusting and unfair. You have proved my point.

    I don't think there's much more to discuss.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    As has been no doubt explained to you several dozen, if not hundreds of times and as simply as possible: It is not our job to disprove your claims, you have to prove them. Otherwise, your assertions can be dismissed.
    I don't think either of us can prove our respective assertions ... that the mind/spirit of a Human is immortal/not immortal.

    ... so we'll have to agree to differ on this.
    King Mob wrote: »
    On top of that, I have pointed out several issues with the notion that the mind is immortal, namely it goes against what we know about it now and that no one has or can produce a possible mechanism by which it could work. You have not addressed this in any meaningful or coherent way.
    If we have a Divinely Created eternal mind/spirit ... this could be immortal.
    If we are only a complex chemical and electrical entity ... then when we die, we probably die.

    King Mob wrote: »
    And then, as I pointed out, your afterlife includes torture. You believe that torture can be justified. Therefore your afterlife is disgusting and unfair. You have proved my point.
    It's not 'my' afterlife ... and the torture experienced by the un-saved is due to their fraternising with Satan and his demons.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Pherekydes wrote: »
    This tops all the meaningless bullsh1t you've posted.
    Using bad language doesn't add anything to your point.
    It's probably impossible to prove the immortality of the mind/spirit ... but like the OP is suggesting, a belief in the possibility of an immortal aspect to each person isn't unique to Christians ... although a belief in immortality, fits in more with a Theist worldview.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,847 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    It's not 'my' afterlife ... and the torture experienced by the un-saved is due to their fraternising with Satan and his demons.

    I am really glad I am an atheist, so I can just forget I read things like that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    looksee wrote: »
    I am really glad I am an atheist, so I can just forget I read things like that.
    There are many uncomfortable realities in this life (and the next).

    Some people don't want to face these realities ... and that is fair enough.

    If there is a God (who is the personification of all goodness) and a Devil (who is the personification of all evil) ... then choosing to side with the Devil will result in significant torture in both this life and the next.

    Of course, if you believe that neither God or Satan exists, then you can believe that there is an end to both evil and good, when you die ... but you could be wrong in this belief.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,847 ✭✭✭✭looksee


    I think these notions are a bit sick to be honest, and I am very happy to live a life where the vast majority of people are essentially good, we get one go at this life, do our best with it, and that's the end of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    I don't think either of us can prove our respective assertions ... that the mind/spirit of a Human is immortal/not immortal.

    ... so we'll have to agree to differ on this.
    No, that's not how it is JC. You are asserting something. I am rejecting your assertion because it is baseless and nonsensical.

    You cannot provide any evidence for your assertion, then everyone is free to reject it without evidence.

    This basic concept of rational thinking has probably been explained to you ad nauseum.
    J C wrote: »
    If we have a Divinely Created eternal mind/spirit ... this could be immortal.
    If we are only a complex chemical and electrical entity ... then when we die, we probably die.
    These two things are not equal. It is wholly dishonest of you to pretend they are.

    You cannot explain any mechanism by which a mind can exist without a brain. Saying "God does it by magic" is not a mechanism.
    J C wrote: »
    It's not 'my' afterlife ... and the torture experienced by the un-saved is due to their fraternising with Satan and his demons.
    It is your afterlife. There are many different ideas for an afterlife, all as equally valid as yours.
    Your afterlife requires you to believe that torture is justified and that some people deserve it.
    This is disgusting.

    The fact you believe that some people earn their eternal torture for temporal thoughtcrime makes it even more disgusting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    looksee wrote: »
    I think these notions are a bit sick to be honest,
    It doesn't help our discussion by labelling ideas under discussion as 'sick'.

    Is there evil as well as good ? ... the answer is yes ... not sick.

    Does evil and good continue beyond this life ... it can't be proven either way ... but if we have an eternal dimension to us ... then evil and good will be likely found in that eternal dimension ... and will likely manifest themselves in something like Heaven and Hell.
    looksee wrote: »
    ... and I am very happy to live a life where the vast majority of people are essentially good, we get one go at this life, do our best with it, and that's the end of it.
    There is good and evil in everyone.
    We do only get one go at this life .. and we should do our best with it ... but there may also be an eternity awaiting us all.

    You are free to discount/disregard this possibility ... but those of us who don't do so aren't any 'sicker' than those who do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    If there is a God (who is the personification of all goodness) and a Devil (who is the personification of all evil) ... then choosing to side with the Devil will result in significant torture in both this life and the next.

    Of course, if you believe that neither God or Satan exists, then you can believe that there is an end to both evil and good, when you die ... but you could be wrong in this belief.

    Sounds like a variation on Pascal's wager.

    To use a horse racing analogy: Catholics believe there is one horse in the race and it is certain to win. Bet everything on it!

    In reality, there are 3000 horses in the race and none of them have a chance of even finishing. But go ahead, put everything you have on one horse...


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    King Mob wrote: »
    No, that's not how it is JC. You are asserting something. I am rejecting your assertion because it is baseless and nonsensical.

    You cannot provide any evidence for your assertion, then everyone is free to reject it without evidence.
    This basic concept of rational thinking has probably been explained to you ad nauseum.
    ... but there are logical arguments to support our having a mind/spirit from observing living Humans ... and from the posited existence of a God who created the first Humans ... who were given the power to produce new Humans with new bodies and new spirits.

    You are quite entitled to not believe this ... and indeed this might be a logical follow-on, on your part, from your belief that God doesn't exist.
    King Mob wrote: »
    These two things are not equal. It is wholly dishonest of you to pretend they are.

    You cannot explain any mechanism by which a mind can exist without a brain. Saying "God does it by magic" is not a mechanism.
    ... I cannot explain how a mind can exist outside a brain ... and you cannot explain how a mind exists within a brain.

    ... and just saying its the result of inordinate complexity ... is just as big a 'non-explantion' as saying that God does it.

    King Mob wrote: »
    It is your afterlife. There are many different ideas for an afterlife, all as equally valid as yours.
    Your afterlife requires you to believe that torture is justified and that some people deserve it.
    This is disgusting.
    It would be disgusting, if I was justifying eternal torture by God ... but I'm not doing so ... the torture is entirely self-caused ... and the alternative is available right up to the point of death.
    What God appears to have done with Hell is to isolate eternal evil to it ... thereby isolating eternal good to Heaven.
    On Earth we have a mixture of good and evil ... and this causes physical death ... and all of the good and bad things we see around us.
    King Mob wrote: »
    The fact you believe that some people earn their eternal torture for tem poral thoughtcrime makes it even more disgusting.
    People choose eternal torture because they want to associate with torturers rather than God.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,615 ✭✭✭✭J C


    Pherekydes wrote: »
    Sounds like a variation on Pascal's wager.

    To use a horse racing analogy: Catholics believe there is one horse in the race and it is certain to win. Bet everything on it!

    In reality, there are 3000 horses in the race and none of them have a chance of even finishing. But go ahead, put everything you have on one horse...
    The beauty of Paschal's Wager is that you don't have to put everything on the Christian 'horse' ... you actually need to do nothing more than trusting in Jesus Christ to Save you ... and living a good and wholesome life ... that will bring you every good thing, in this life even if there is no next life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,092 ✭✭✭✭Pherekydes


    J C wrote: »
    The beauty of Paschal's Wager is that you don't have to put everything on the Christian 'horse' ... you actually need to do nothing more than trusting in Jesus Christ to Save you

    That's the same as betting on the Christian 'horse'.
    ... and living a good and wholesome life ... that will bring you every good thing, in this life even if there is no next life.

    Tell me, when god was arranging for the slaughter of the innocents did he feel that they hadn't lived a good and wholesome life in this life?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,206 ✭✭✭✭King Mob


    J C wrote: »
    ... but there are logical arguments to support our having a mind/spirit from observing living Humans ...
    The mind being immortal and carrying on after the brain is not observed. There is zero evidence this happens or could happen.
    J C wrote: »
    and from the posited existence of a God who created the first Humans ... who were given the power to produce new Humans with new bodies and new spirits.
    Again, another baseless assertion that I reject due to it's lack of evidence. It does not support your case. Backing up baseless assertions with baseless assertions doesn't help.
    J C wrote: »
    ... I cannot explain how a mind can exist outside a brain ... and you cannot explain how a mind exists within a brain.
    Yes we can explain how a mind exists within a brain.
    J C wrote: »
    ... and just saying its the result of inordinate complexity ... is just as big a 'non-explantion' as saying that God does it.
    No it's not. A physical explanation leads to testable hypothesises that can be verified or falsified leading to new discoveries. Your explanation is: "magic - end of thought."
    J C wrote: »
    It would be disgusting, if I was justifying eternal torture by God ... but I'm not doing so ...
    That is exactly what you do.
    You believe torture is justified. That is a disgusting belief. Trying to hand wave and shift responsibility just makes you and your god look worse.


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