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What do you believe happens when we die

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,338 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    Nah sunny and hot here. The kids just left with mammy to make one last visit to the outdoor swimming pools before they close for the season next week. Outdoor swimming facilities in nearly every town around here is one of the pleasures of Bavarian Life.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,316 ✭✭✭nthclare


    Nah sunny and hot here. The kids just left with mammy to make one last visit to the outdoor swimming pools before they close for the season next week. Outdoor swimming facilities in nearly every town around here is one of the pleasures of Bavarian Life.

    Watch out for those wolves:)


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭s1ippy


    Alright, I finished the work I had to do this morning really quickly so I'm going to use this spare time to try and organise my thoughts into some sort of cohesive idea that you can make of what you will. Hopefully it'll appeal to some of you and give you solace, because ultimately that's really what we're all looking for in relation to the big question. Feel free to sh!t on it as well, if you're scatologically inclined.

    If you look at lesser organisms like amoebas or plants, they don't really have the sentience that we do. Their behaviours are organised around their perceptions. Can they feel something that will result in ill outcome? They move away. Do they detect something pleasant? They move towards it.

    Animal behaviours are similar, except that we have more sensory access to the world and are able to use more precise data to rationalise doing or not doing things.

    When humans communicate, we are able to provide information to each other about how we are feeling and give feedback to others about experiences. We build entire frameworks of behaviour around what are generally regarded as positive and negative things. Clearly these are not always black and white but one of the things everyone agrees on is that time passes, yesterday was in the past, today we are experiencing the present and tomorrow will be the future. Or one second ago is the past, right now is the present, and a second from now is in the future.

    These are apparently measurable concepts and the language we use to convey them does not deviate from categorising things in a temporal way. Because of the big bang, our universe is expanding and that's what causes time to pass in the direction that it does. But if it were any other way, would we have evolved the ability to be able to perceive the difference? It's clearly a causal relationship, but is our perception the result of the phenomenon or do we process the phenomenon leading to it feeling that way?

    Infra red exists, but the naked eye can't see that. Gravity is being exerted on us at all times, but we aren't consciously aware of it keeping us on the ground, because it's just always been that way in our particular context. There are all sorts of phenomena we can't perceive and they all had to be discovered, researched and taken as theoretically sound by the scientific community at some point or another. We know so little about the human brain that it stands to reason there could be something within us which organises existence in this way for convenience and logical interpretation.

    Which is where I start to become skeptical about the passage of time. I can obviously see why it's useful to be able to agree with somebody to meet at 2pm. But I think our temporal scheme is too limited to be able to grapple with concepts like life and death. We have to talk about everything as having happened, happening or being about to happen (and obviously there are other tenses, like the conditional tense, but to get into a discussion on that would bring us down the rabbit hole of parallel universes so I'll spare you the quantum mechanics).

    When we die, as discussed here already, the electrical energy which sends signals in the brain and keeps it operational stops. To stop; to cease to function henceforth. And this is only possible if you presuppose that time is actually that straight line flying into the future as we perceive it. The brain is also the actual organ which causes the perception we have of time. It contains the store of information we have about language - now suddenly things past and future no longer apply.

    If time no longer exists within the brain perceiving it, time technically doesn't actually exist at all (if a tree falls in a wood and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? - if time is passing around a corpse, is time passing for the corpse?).

    If you've followed up until now, here is the bit where I leave out the science and bring in my own personal experience. I had a brush with death when I was young. As I was lying on the ground, my life up to that point not only flashed before my eyes, but may as well have been lived again. Everything that had ever happened felt like it was happening in real time. There was no time though, it was all kind of simultaneous. When I came to, a second afterwards, everyone was standing around me and i did not have the foggiest recollection of what the hell had happened in the immediacy. I got my bearings and remembered what was going on a short while afterwards but that sensation of timelessness always stayed with me.

    In that moment, for me, time had not behaved in the linear, measurable fashion that it did in my waking hours. Inside our own heads, the passage of time often feels completely different - during sleep, this is actually something we can control (but I'm not going to get into lucid dreaming right now either). Anybody who has taken psychoactive drugs will understand the flow of energy in the universe and how there is a lot more to our neurological makeup than the obvious bits we take for granted. When you use your brain in the "normal" way and take your perception of the universe as a given without seeking to explore further into consciousness you only develop limited access to what existence means. A tangible example of it is that when we're having a great time in our waking hours, the time disappears but when we're not enjoying ourselves, things feel like they're taking forever.

    This has all been an oversimplification, but I'm limited by the language available to actually talk about these universal experiences because people take time as a given. I apologise if this next bit comes across as bollocks but to summarise:

    I would propose that the arbitrary nature of time in relation to feeling and individual cognitive state renders the brain's cessation of function completely irrelevant, given that the brain in question will no longer have temporal access when it shuts down. My theory of individual afterlife is that when brains are in final distress or switched off suddenly, the energy within them in that last moment is not flowing through the temporal sphere anymore and although to those who will continue to experience the passage of time will miss the interactions they had with the person, the person who has died still exists in all of the moments leading up to their death and so although they won't be in the future, they will be in the past and present.

    If you think about the expanding universe again, and imagine we're at a particular point in the trajectory right now. In a moment we'll be at another one. The combination of our perception and the accelerating force determines our experience of this. When we have no perception, the accelerating force no longer acts on us. I think the idea I'm getting at comes down to the platitude "when we die, we are eternal and never". Gives me a bit of comfort anyway but as I said, by all means go at it with a blowtorch for the laugh and we'll see if anything is salvageable afterwards.

    I'll waive my usual subscription fee just this once. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,700 ✭✭✭firemansam4


    We are born and then we die and that's it, nothing else. One day the whole planet will die and all of humanity.

    Maybe billions of millennium after that like an elastic band time will start going backwards again all the way back until it reaches the big bang again.
    It then repeats the process all over again and none of us will ever know that we have lived the same life millions or billions of times before.
    Ive written this exact post so many times on this thread but never remember that I did.

    Do I really believe this? Not really but hey it's as good as theory as many others I think....


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,033 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Why does anyone believe anything? Because they think there's a possibility that it may be true and I'm the same I believe it maybe true which is why I believe it.

    I can't provide you any evidence to prove that it is true but, that's nothing new as no-one has been able to prove when or how our consciousness was created or when it ends.

    I see it as one of the mysteries of life that won't be solved so yes you may describe it as "wishful thinking" but I think it's a more plausible explanation than we just die and that's it.

    Fairly certain no-one can prove the theory that our consciousness ends when our body dies as we've no proof of that either.

    So it's anyone's guess and we are all speculating as to what happens when "we" die.

    I think your first paragraph is interesting.
    You and I believe things for very different reasons. I believe things AFTER there's good evidence to demonstrate it's true (or likely true). I couldn't bring myself to believe things because they're possible. As far as I know, there isn't even evidence that an after is possible so I presume you mean it's possible because it hasn't been proven impossible. Is that a fair assumption?

    I think what you're describing is wishful thinking. That might be a nice idea but I could never bring myself to believe in things without evidence.

    Do you believe in everything that hasn't been disproved or just things you wish to be true?


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,316 ✭✭✭nthclare


    s1ippy wrote: »
    Alright, I finished the work I had to do this morning really quickly so I'm going to use this spare time to try and organise my thoughts into some sort of cohesive idea that you can make of what you will. Hopefully it'll appeal to some of you and give you solace, because ultimately that's really what we're all looking for in relation to the big question. Feel free to sh!t on it as well, if you're scatologically inclined.

    If you look at lesser organisms like amoebas or plants, they don't really have the sentience that we do. Their behaviours are organised around their perceptions. Can they feel something that will result in ill outcome? They move away. Do they detect something pleasant? They move towards it.

    Animal behaviours are similar, except that we have more sensory access to the world and are able to use more precise data to rationalise doing or not doing things.

    When humans communicate, we are able to provide information to each other about how we are feeling and give feedback to others about experiences. We build entire frameworks of behaviour around what are generally regarded as positive and negative things. Clearly these are not always black and white but one of the things everyone agrees on is that time passes, yesterday was in the past, today we are experiencing the present and tomorrow will be the future. Or one second ago is the past, right now is the present, and a second from now is in the future.

    These are apparently measurable concepts and the language we use to convey them does not deviate from categorising things in a temporal way. Because of the big bang, our universe is expanding and that's what causes time to pass in the direction that it does. But if it were any other way, would we have evolved the ability to be able to perceive the difference? It's clearly a causal relationship, but is our perception the result of the phenomenon or do we process the phenomenon leading to it feeling that way?

    Infra red exists, but the naked eye can't see that. Gravity is being exerted on us at all times, but we aren't consciously aware of it keeping us on the ground, because it's just always been that way in our particular context. There are all sorts of phenomena we can't perceive and they all had to be discovered, researched and taken as theoretically sound by the scientific community at some point or another. We know so little about the human brain that it stands to reason there could be something within us which organises existence in this way for convenience and logical interpretation.

    Which is where I start to become skeptical about the passage of time. I can obviously see why it's useful to be able to agree with somebody to meet at 2pm. But I think our temporal scheme is too limited to be able to grapple with concepts like life and death. We have to talk about everything as having happened, happening or being about to happen (and obviously there are other tenses, like the conditional tense, but to get into a discussion on that would bring us down the rabbit hole of parallel universes so I'll spare you the quantum mechanics).

    When we die, as discussed here already, the electrical energy which sends signals in the brain and keeps it operational stops. To stop; to cease to function henceforth. And this is only possible if you presuppose that time is actually that straight line flying into the future as we perceive it. The brain is also the actual organ which causes the perception we have of time. It contains the store of information we have about language - now suddenly things past and future no longer apply.

    If time no longer exists within the brain perceiving it, time technically doesn't actually exist at all (if a tree falls in a wood and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? - if time is passing around a corpse, is time passing for the corpse?).

    If you've followed up until now, here is the bit where I leave out the science and bring in my own personal experience. I had a brush with death when I was young. As I was lying on the ground, my life up to that point not only flashed before my eyes, but may as well have been lived again. Everything that had ever happened felt like it was happening in real time. There was no time though, it was all kind of simultaneous. When I came to, a second afterwards, everyone was standing around me and i did not have the foggiest recollection of what the hell had happened in the immediacy. I got my bearings and remembered what was going on a short while afterwards but that sensation of timelessness always stayed with me.

    In that moment, for me, time had not behaved in the linear, measurable fashion that it did in my waking hours. Inside our own heads, the passage of time often feels completely different - during sleep, this is actually something we can control (but I'm not going to get into lucid dreaming right now either). Anybody who has taken psychoactive drugs will understand the flow of energy in the universe and how there is a lot more to our neurological makeup than the obvious bits we take for granted. When you use your brain in the "normal" way and take your perception of the universe as a given without seeking to explore further into consciousness you only develop limited access to what existence means. A tangible example of it is that when we're having a great time in our waking hours, the time disappears but when we're not enjoying ourselves, things feel like they're taking forever.

    This has all been an oversimplification, but I'm limited by the language available to actually talk about these universal experiences because people take time as a given. I apologise if this next bit comes across as bollocks but to summarise:

    I would propose that the arbitrary nature of time in relation to feeling and individual cognitive state renders the brain's cessation of function completely irrelevant, given that the brain in question will no longer have temporal access when it shuts down. My theory of individual afterlife is that when brains are in final distress or switched off suddenly, the energy within them in that last moment is not flowing through the temporal sphere anymore and although to those who will continue to experience the passage of time will miss the interactions they had with the person, the person who has died still exists in all of the moments leading up to their death and so although they won't be in the future, they will be in the past and present.

    If you think about the expanding universe again, and imagine we're at a particular point in the trajectory right now. In a moment we'll be at another one. The combination of our perception and the accelerating force determines our experience of this. When we have no perception, the accelerating force no longer acts on us. I think the idea I'm getting at comes down to the platitude "when we die, we are eternal and never". Gives me a bit of comfort anyway but as I said, by all means go at it with a blowtorch for the laugh and we'll see if anything is salvageable afterwards.

    I'll waive my usual subscription fee just this once. :D

    I've been talking to a friend about his experiences on DMT and it totally changed his concept of time and where we are.

    Not saying that you've been on DMT, but what you posted about sounds like the way he described his experience.

    Almost turning his conscienness inside out.

    Id love to see Richard Dawkins or another agnostic try DMT and tell us what they think.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,980 ✭✭✭s1ippy


    I haven't taken any DMT unfortunately but I love to recede into my subconscious mind when driving or cooking and wake up at my destination or with dinner ready. Repetitive tasks are likely to be therapeutic because the part of our brains that we engage while undertaking them are so well honed that it's effortless. However because the brain is still concentrating at a high level, a lot of the subconscious can actually be revealed to us accidentally. Hence why shower thoughts are often so hilarious. The people I know who have described DMT trips to me have told me a lot of things about what happened them though and the stories really tally with what I went through dicing with death.

    You might enjoy having a read of this if you haven't already:
    https://maps.org/images/pdf/books/HuxleyA1954TheDoorsOfPerception.pdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,359 ✭✭✭LessOutragePlz


    I think your first paragraph is interesting.
    You and I believe things for very different reasons. I believe things AFTER there's good evidence to demonstrate it's true (or likely true). I couldn't bring myself to believe things because they're possible. As far as I know, there isn't even evidence that an after is possible so I presume you mean it's possible because it hasn't been proven impossible. Is that a fair assumption?

    I think what you're describing is wishful thinking. That might be a nice idea but I could never bring myself to believe in things without evidence.

    Do you believe in everything that hasn't been disproved or just things you wish to be true?

    Yes I believe it's possible because hasn't been proven to be not true but as I've stated before I don't believe in a life after death rather that our consciousness lives on after "we" die.

    As for you saying you believe things after there's good evidence to demonstrate it's true or likely true. Some things can't proven with evidence and will remain unanswered, for example: Why can't we taste our own tongue? What colour is a mirror? Why can't we see our own eyes without a mirror?

    As for you describing it as "wishful thinking" I would disagree with that description of it I would describe it as having "faith" as a previous poster mentioned but, even at that I wouldn't say it is a 100% accurate description. As words can't describe everything in the universe, I think it also comes down to perception as we clearly have a different perception of the universe and I would question how do I know that we are seeing the universe in the exact same way?

    As we are seeing the universe through our own eyes and perceiving it in a certain way. No one can get inside someone's head and see the universe in the same way that, that person does.

    As for your last question, no I don't believe in everything that hasn't been disproved for example I don't believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. As for wishing things things to be true I don't think that's an accurate representation of my thoughts and feelings about this. As I've mentioned already I have faith in believing that it may be true but, I'm not wishing that is it true because I'll be perfectly fine with it not turning out to be true and my consciousness dying with my body when my body dies. These beliefs have just helped me to fear death less and accept the nature of our reality whatever we may perceive that to be.


  • Registered Users Posts: 252 ✭✭hgfj


    (This is a copy of a post I made on another thread some time back.)


    Here's my theory or thesis or whatever - you get what you believe in. Its all in the mind, literally.

    Over the years I've read maybe four or five books by different writers on near death experiences and one thing that seems to be common throughout most of these experiences is that people seem to report experiences that coincide with whatever their beliefs were beforehand. I have never read or heard of (yet) of anybody having an NDE and then converting from one religion to another. I've never heard of a Christian converting to Judaism as a result of a NDE, or a Jew converting to Hinduism, or a Muslim converting to Buddhism, etc. Basically I have yet to come across a report of anybody coming back from a NDE and saying, Ok, the religion I believed in is wrong and therefore I'm switching from that belief to this belief. The exception would be an Atheist coming back saying, Now I believe in this or that which I didn't believe in before. But in most cases that I've read regarding Atheists who come back with a newfound belief is that they will usually revert back to a belief they previously had before they became an Atheist. A lot of people who are Atheist were brought up to believe in some religion or another. ie I am an Atheist but I was raised as a Catholic. Richard Dawkins was raised as an Anglican.

    So what I reckon (maybe) is that something happens within the brain. I don't know what, maybe a release of chemicals at the moment just before death be it endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, or whatever. DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) could be a likely candidate. Whatever it is that happens is like a reflex action that occurs in order to ease the passage from life to death. Most people don't want to die even if they say they don't wish to live forever.

    If this is the case (and I'm not saying specifically that it is) then the idea of what you believe in might be the difference between Heaven or Hell. Until the point when you actually do really die, ie true death, no return, lights out.

    So, if someone is brought up to believe in the existence of Hell, and if they feel guilt, be it justified or not, then they may have a horrendous experience just before they die. Their last conscious experience.

    What I'm saying is people who preach to others about the reality of Hell may in fact be damning them to a Hell of sorts just by putting that idea into their consciousness. How cruel is that?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,033 ✭✭✭✭El_Duderino 09


    Yes I believe it's possible because hasn't been proven to be not true but as I've stated before I don't believe in a life after death rather that our consciousness lives on after "we" die.

    As for you saying you believe things after there's good evidence to demonstrate it's true or likely true. Some things can't proven with evidence and will remain unanswered, for example: Why can't we taste our own tongue? What colour is a mirror? Why can't we see our own eyes without a mirror?

    As for you describing it as "wishful thinking" I would disagree with that description of it I would describe it as having "faith" as a previous poster mentioned but, even at that I wouldn't say it is a 100% accurate description. As words can't describe everything in the universe, I think it also comes down to perception as we clearly have a different perception of the universe and I would question how do I know that we are seeing the universe in the exact same way?

    As we are seeing the universe through our own eyes and perceiving it in a certain way. No one can get inside someone's head and see the universe in the same way that, that person does.

    As for your last question, no I don't believe in everything that hasn't been disproved for example I don't believe in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. As for wishing things things to be true I don't think that's an accurate representation of my thoughts and feelings about this. As I've mentioned already I have faith in believing that it may be true but, I'm not wishing that is it true because I'll be perfectly fine with it not turning out to be true and my consciousness dying with my body when my body dies. These beliefs have just helped me to fear death less and accept the nature of our reality whatever we may perceive that to be.

    You're making a mystery out of somethings that really aren't hard questions.
    What colour is a mirror? Silver (normal bathroom mirrors made with a sil ery substance. A perfect mirror would only reflect whatever light is projected onto it)
    Why can't you taste your own tongue? A psychological process called Habitation
    why can't you see your own eyes? The angle of the eye lens.
    How can we know if we're both seeing the same information in the universe? We verify it by comparing evidence and seeing if the evidence is reliable and accurate.

    What's the difference between faith and wishful thinking?

    The time to believe something is possible is after its been proven to be possible. It's really not the same as saying something is possible because it hasn't been proven Impossible. The latter is just fantasy or imagination. Fantasy and imagination are fine but it is not the same as something being possible, let alone likely.

    But I suppose I just can't get how you could believe something without evidence. If you believe this idea because it hasn't been proved impossible, but you don't believe in other things like the Loch Ness monster, how do you decide which things to believe and which things not to believe?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    Why does anyone believe anything? Because they think there's a possibility that it may be true and I'm the same I believe it maybe true which is why I believe it.

    I can't provide you any evidence to prove that it is true but, that's nothing new as no-one has been able to prove when or how our consciousness was created or when it ends.

    I see it as one of the mysteries of life that won't be solved so yes you may describe it as "wishful thinking" but I think it's a more plausible explanation than we just die and that's it.

    Fairly certain no-one can prove the theory that our consciousness ends when our body dies as we've no proof of that either.

    So it's anyone's guess and we are all speculating as to what happens when "we" die.

    All rational evidence points to out consciousness being a product of our biological brains - get damage to the brain (or take the right drugs) and you can be rendered unconscious or your personality can be permanently changed. In other words, when you are alive and these systems in your brain get altered, your consciousness and personality gets altered. Therefore when you die, these systems cease functioning, your consciousness and personality also ceases to be.

    It's no more "anyone's guess" as to what happens when we die with respect to our consciousness as it is anyone's guess as to what happens when a battery dies with respect to the electricity it once held.

    Even if you are right, saying we have no evidence and it is anyone's guess but then jumping to saying one claim is right and providing exactly zero evidence is wishful thinking 101.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,338 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    nthclare wrote: »
    Id love to see Richard Dawkins or another agnostic try DMT and tell us what they think.

    We have had a user or two write about just that very thing on this forum in the past. One user described many experiences using several forms of meditation and several forms of drugs.

    I could track down a post, or maybe two, and link you to them if you want?

    Your desire to see such people do it suggests you are expecting something in particular to happen? From their descriptions of the experience a lot of things happened, but I have a feeling none of them are what you are hoping for.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,912 ✭✭✭✭Spanish Eyes


    A dear friend died recently and had a Spiritualist ceremony in the Funeral Home. Numbers limited obviously because of Covid. Was absolutely amazing. Reflected friend's values, love for others and legacy left. Great music too.

    No God mentioned, no afterlife either, just who and what they were and what they contributed to life.

    The celebrant was wonderful too. All in all it really made me think. What the F is all this church thing about. No one really believes there is anything more anyway, just celebrate the life that has gone and grieve like everyone else.

    No one ever came back to tell me how wonderful it is in the afterlife anyway!


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I wonder how many of the 80% will fill in 'Roman Catholic' in the next census.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,771 ✭✭✭Mark Hamill


    I think some people have a great misunderstanding of "faith". They just don't "get it".



    Some atheists dismiss religious belief as simple fantasy, something nice to think of like Santa, tooth fairy etc. ("How could you be so stupid/naive etc")



    Whereas for a lot of people with "faith" it is often based on personal religious experiences - transcendent moments of profundity, emotion, peace, security, grace etc. Much of religious belief is based on this personal "evidence", "faith" is not just "I think x".



    All of which is far and away above the fuzzy feeling you have as a child regarding Santa.


    It is important to note that "everlasting life" and a belief in a God, while it can (and is) be a comfort it can be scary too - while the idea of a perfect Judge dishing out perfect justice is comforting, it's worrying too, given that we are all sinners.

    This is just an argument trying to say because your naivety is more complex than an a child's, your faith must be categorically different.


    A child's personal "evidence" of Santa (visions of what they interpret to be the real Santa, immense positive emotional response to Christmas environments, the receiving of rewards for following his teachings etc.) are as real to them as your religious "evidence" are to you, and both as lacking in impartial, rational evidence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,041 ✭✭✭volchitsa


    op here. Have to say I’m very surprised by the results. So many atheists. I guess it’s probably due to posting this in the atheist forum. Perhaps I should have posted it in after hours to get a wider view.
    I used to believe in nothing for so long but then I realised it’s naive to think nothing exists after we die. There has to be more to life than just living and dying. I personally believe that life is a sort of test but I don’t believe in any religion. I believe we probably remain in a spiritual world after we die and what area of that world would depend on how good we are

    Why does there have to be? Maybe it just happens?

    When two people have sex and make a baby, did they do something amazing or did they just have sex?

    I know you mean at a higher level than that, but I don't think you've proved why ther ehas to be a higher level, just that you want there to be one.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,316 ✭✭✭nthclare


    We have had a user or two write about just that very thing on this forum in the past. One user described many experiences using several forms of meditation and several forms of drugs.

    I could track down a post, or maybe two, and link you to them if you want?

    Your desire to see such people do it suggests you are expecting something in particular to happen? From their descriptions of the experience a lot of things happened, but I have a feeling none of them are what you are hoping for.

    We're they Atheists or Religious I wonder ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,338 ✭✭✭nozzferrahhtoo


    nthclare wrote: »
    We're they Atheists or Religious I wonder ?

    Don't think they define as either really but certainly not a believer in gods. You did specifically say Agnostic.

    Here is an example: https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=112220013&postcount=415


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,314 ✭✭✭AllForIt


    Bannasidhe wrote: »
    That is interesting and I can see the logic - but it begs the question what state was that?
    Again no one knows 'where' we were, or if we even 'were', before we were - if you see what I mean.

    Actually the question I initially asked myself was - is there any difference between before birth, or conception to be precise, and after death, from an atheists point of view. I thought no. I think it's just the psychological way we look at it I was getting at rather than literally 'what state was that'.

    Personally, I am not of the we die and it's like we never were school of thought - I would be closer to the Buddhists in terms of thinking of us as energy that continues in other forms than any notion of 'I' as a person continuing as a 'me' but sans 'rotting corpse'.

    Well then maybe you'll be reassembled by chance if the universe lasts long enough. Or maybe a half you and a half me :eek:
    It makes no sense to me that the data our brains accumulate (most of which we have no need for in purely survival terms) is a pointless exercise. Nature wasting so much energy just does not compute with me.

    Nature is constantly expending energy. Look at all that heat from every star in the universe going to waste until eventually it's all used up, the universe will go cold while the galaxy's expand further and further apart until it's extinguished. That's the prognosis anyway. The thing that bothers me about that is - how could this happen just once.
    I also do not believe (first time I have used that in this discussion) that humans are 'special' (I actually think we are a fairly awful species tbh) - if something happens after death it would be my belief the same something happens to all living forms. Life = energy and all that.

    Speak for yourself:pac:

    Well if you weren't special you wouldn't know what awful is in the first place.
    Just being a bit smart there, but I have come across some academics argue for human 'special-ness' and they weren't even theists I don't think. Kinda dented my own view I once had which was we are 'just' the most intelligent animal. Not that I can recall a single argument they made for the life of me. Think my brain must be conserving energy.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭John Hutton


    This is just an argument trying to say because your naivety is more complex than an a child's, your faith must be categorically different.


    A child's personal "evidence" of Santa (visions of what they interpret to be the real Santa, immense positive emotional response to Christmas environments, the receiving of rewards for following his teachings etc.) are as real to them as your religious "evidence" are to you, and both as lacking in impartial, rational evidence.


    As I said, some people just don't "get it". That's ok.



    I have first hand lived experience of believing in Santa as a child and God (both as a child and, in a much different way, an adult) - I can remember the feelings you are talking about as a child. I can tell you that religious faith is an altogether different experience. It might look the same to you - but I can say that the reality for the believer is far different. I am saying that the lived experience of "faith" is different to other beliefs such as in Santa as a child.



    [Incidentally, I have found that there are rational arguments for God, although this thread is not the place to discuss them. For example, I found Aquinas quite compelling on this, and also in particular the contingency argument.]


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,359 ✭✭✭LessOutragePlz


    All rational evidence points to out consciousness being a product of our biological brains - get damage to the brain (or take the right drugs) and you can be rendered unconscious or your personality can be permanently changed. In other words, when you are alive and these systems in your brain get altered, your consciousness and personality gets altered. Therefore when you die, these systems cease functioning, your consciousness and personality also ceases to be.

    It's no more "anyone's guess" as to what happens when we die with respect to our consciousness as it is anyone's guess as to what happens when a battery dies with respect to the electricity it once held.

    Even if you are right, saying we have no evidence and it is anyone's guess but then jumping to saying one claim is right and providing exactly zero evidence is wishful thinking 101.

    That's how consciousness is understood from a scientific point of view, I was talking about consciousness from a spiritual point of view as I believe that there is a difference between the two. You can of course be unconscious but, I believe that you would also still have a spiritual consciousness.

    I believe our "spiritual" consciousness continues to exist after we die as it was in existent before we were born and it will continue to exist after we die.

    I'm not claiming that my POV is right I was merely presenting it from my perspective and by saying that I believe to be more plausible than we just die and it's over doesn't mean that I think I'm right it just means that I'm more convinced that, that possible scenario is more likely to be true.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,134 ✭✭✭screamer


    Our loved ones miss us, we are no more and become compost. Like all other organic organisms, that’s it. I’d love to have the comfort of believing we have spirits that fly somewhere, but I don’t believe in any of that, and if we could chose where to go, most of us would hang around our families, but I don’t believe in ghosts either, so it’s just lights out, we know no more.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭John Hutton


    Can it not be argued that belief that everything ends when we die can be for many a far more comforting belief than that there is an afterlife, judgement, heaven, hell etc?


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,457 ✭✭✭✭Kylta


    screamer wrote: »
    Our loved ones miss us, we are no more and become compost. Like all other organic organisms, that’s it. I’d love to have the comfort of believing we have spirits that fly somewhere, but I don’t believe in any of that, and if we could chose where to go, most of us would hang around our families, but I don’t believe in ghosts either, so it’s just lights out, we know no more.


    So were not going to meet Gandalf the white and journey through time. What a total bummer that. I finished growing my hair and this long beard, does anybody want to by a staff and hat and clear blue eyes. I'm off to have a shave


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,359 ✭✭✭LessOutragePlz


    You're making a mystery out of somethings that really aren't hard questions.
    What colour is a mirror? Silver (normal bathroom mirrors made with a sil ery substance. A perfect mirror would only reflect whatever light is projected onto it)
    Why can't you taste your own tongue? A psychological process called Habitation
    why can't you see your own eyes? The angle of the eye lens.
    How can we know if we're both seeing the same information in the universe? We verify it by comparing evidence and seeing if the evidence is reliable and accurate.

    What's the difference between faith and wishful thinking?

    The time to believe something is possible is after its been proven to be possible. It's really not the same as saying something is possible because it hasn't been proven Impossible. The latter is just fantasy or imagination. Fantasy and imagination are fine but it is not the same as something being possible, let alone likely.

    But I suppose I just can't get how you could believe something without evidence. If you believe this idea because it hasn't been proved impossible, but you don't believe in other things like the Loch Ness monster, how do you decide which things to believe and which things not to believe?

    There are fundamental differences in how we perceive the world.

    As I've said there are somethings that science can't explain and there isn't an answer for everything or evidence for everything and I'm fine with having faith in something I believe without evidence to verify it.

    Obviously that's impossible for you to comprehend because you are clearly a rational thinker with a scientific mind. While I'm a more spiritual believer and probably an irrational thinker from your POV.

    As for deciding what things to believe and not believe in it's more to do with having faith in things rather than believing and I probably should have clarified that earlier. As you have rightly pointed out to be able to believe in something you need to think that there might be evidence to prove your assumptions to be correct.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,359 ✭✭✭LessOutragePlz


    Can it not be argued that belief that everything ends when we die can be for many a far more comforting belief than that there is an afterlife, judgement, heaven, hell etc?

    Absolutely whatever brings comfort to the person, as you can see from the poll 80% of people believe that this is the most likely scenario. So that argument is what the overwhelming majority of people that voted in the poll believe.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,912 ✭✭✭✭Spanish Eyes


    The brave and true to themselves people are those who acknowledge that there is no existence after death.

    I've been to a few non religious funerals in Newlands Cross. Very moving and quite reflective of that person's life. No worries about music or speeches or whatever either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,700 ✭✭✭firemansam4


    Can it not be argued that belief that everything ends when we die can be for many a far more comforting belief than that there is an afterlife, judgement, heaven, hell etc?


    Well if you believe in some religions and imagine you could end up in something like hell with eternal torment and agony for our sins, then the idea of just nothingness for eternity would be very appealing I guess...


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,316 ✭✭✭nthclare


    There are fundamental differences in how we perceive the world.

    As I've said there are somethings that science can't explain and there isn't an answer for everything or evidence for everything and I'm fine with having faith in something I believe without evidence to verify it.

    Obviously that's impossible for you to comprehend because you are clearly a rational thinker with a scientific mind. While I'm a more spiritual believer and probably an irrational thinker from your POV.

    As for deciding what things to believe and not believe in it's more to do with having faith in things rather than believing and I probably should have clarified that earlier. As you have rightly pointed out to be able to believe in something you need to think that there might be evidence to prove your assumptions to be correct.

    There's one thing science won't explain but why it's destroying the earth as we all look on, and supposedly it's all for the benifet for humankind.

    Which is more dangerous science or organized religion ?

    Combine them both and you've carnage,greed and hardship...

    Science is at it's infancy at the moment, just scratching the surface.

    Was it you or someone else who said our brain's can run on a cheese sandwich, that's a good way to look at the difference between a huge computer and the human brain.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭John Hutton


    Well if you believe in some religions and imagine you could end up in something like hell with eternal torment and agony for our sins, then the idea of just nothingness for eternity would be very appealing I guess...
    I think many draw, unconsciously or otherwise, what they feel is "comfort" from their belief that they answer to no higher moral, or ultimate, authority than that of their own conscience.



    Many would be more than a little discombobulated if they were confronted with irrefutable proof that God and an afterlife exists... they would certainly suffer some... discomfort.



    As well as being a great source of centering and grounding, "faith" is also a great challenge.


    I think "faith" can be better regarded as a great, unshakable source of hope, rather than earthly comfort. And hope, for me anyway, is far better.


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