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ParSal190

Afterlife

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Does one live their life differently depending on ones belief in an afterlife?

 

For some the answer is a "yes". Recently I have had the misfortune to exchange views with a JW. In a debate concerning blood transfusions he stated that, given he would have his son for all eternity in the "New World", he would not allow a blood transfusion to save their life as doing so would mean his exclusion from such a New World, in exchange for just a few more years companionship in THIS life.

 

Obviously, we can dismiss such as representing the "lunatic fringe", but just how rife such opinions are is anybodies guess. The JW's currently number 7,000,000 and growing.

 

Again, my experience is that the belief in an afterlife can act as an anesthetic to our deepest emotions as human beings, just as all beliefs can. Losing a loved one and the grief that follows, working through pain and loss, opening to the full range of our emotions and our capacity for depth, we instead tell ourselves we shall "meet again", I once watched a TV programme where a young girl, a Christian, spoke of the loss of her brother. She said that she had not felt a great loss, nor any deep grief, as she knew they would meet again. While I realise that those who do share such beliefs can argue that if true, she has reacted according to "faith", I can only say that I see it as a betrayal of our humanity, a betrayal of THIS world for an imaginary other.

 

As I live it, it comes down to the words of Anagarika Govinda, who said that the present has no extension but intensity. Eternity as the full depth of the present moment, not as endless duration. Salvation/enlightenment not as a having all things made new in a world/state of being in the future, but of seeing all things new now.

 

For me, such does not need to mean that "when you are dead you are dead". Why should it? Belief as such - either for or against a future life - is excluded. Beliefs always get in the way.

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Views vary within the categories of religion. Some groups are life-affirming and others life-negating. Several years ago I monitored an addiction recovery program held by a local church. At each meeting they recited passages from the Bible including a quote that says "This life is not worth living". I think it is from Proverbs. When I expressed concern that this might not be a good thing to tell recovering addicts, it was strongly suggested that I leave and not return.

 

Encountering death is an existential concern. As Dutch noted, a NDE can transform a person and that transformation is sometimes life-affirming.

 

Myron

Edited by minsocal

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The real question is....

Does one live their life differently depending on ones belief in an afterlife?

 

I think most progressives would say not. This would be a most interesting question for a traditional or fundamentalist Christian. If the answer is yes, the followup should be, what would you do differently?

 

In actuality, I really don't think most people would live their lives much differently. Given our amazing ability to rationalize, we easily explain away bad behavior and justify good. I don't think Mother Teresa went to Calcutta to win a spot in heaven.

 

 

George

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George,

 

In recent years I've attended services in a number of conservative churches. What I heard on this issue astounded me. In one case a Pastor implied that there was no need to "feed the poor" in the literal sense. The task was to "save their souls for the afterlife". I think there is merit to the question of beliefs and the research I have seen seems to support the notion.

 

I agree that rationalization is powerful. In one of my visits to a conservative church I heard a man say "thank God for my cancer, I'll be with Jesus soon."

 

Myron

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I think what you have to do is to embrace "spirit", or "Geist", as we germans say. Personally, I find a good example of the spirit at work in the "poetic".

 

As an example, a table with a clean ashtray with a burning cigarette in a pub shortly after opening, and a woman sitting on a chair reading a book.

 

Moments like this appear to me like little bridges into Heaven, into the eternal. The spirit is always about the eternal that is better and even more real, in a way, than the earthly.

 

When we feel real love, like you obviously share it with your wife, we KNOW something about eternity, the emotion is just so massive and if you couple it with spirit, like in good music, poetry, philosophy, you always touch the eternal, at least the eternal in such a form that it would amaze humans again and again and inspire people even in unspiritual hellholes like nazi germany.

 

And about summerland, I had visions once about a christian idea of it. Please look into multiverses, spirit planes and all that, the idea of an afterlife really meshes well with a multiverse. One could see life like a 5th dimension because it is different from anorganic happenings in the universe. In a way, a tree or a bush "grows" very differently than when a new vulcano breaks up. And dimensions like the geometric ones, they don't break up, they are just there and just appear differently. So life also appears differently and changes and morphs, it doesn't simply break up.

 

I'm not sure you can find scientific proofs for an afterlife, but you can find many possibilities, and then you can consult your own spirit where you find the desire for the afterlife, especially because you love someone and don't want to exist without her or him. And in that you have God and His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Your own true humanity's calling you.

 

Trust your wife and explore this matter together. Watch "Ghost" again with Patrick Swayze. Read, study, pray, seek. And understand your own doubts, where they are coming from and what they're supposed to question - not the good and the truly precious, but the bad and the meaningless.

 

Trust your own spirit instinct and be careful before you justify a fear.

Edited by skyseeker

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