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The Afterlife?


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Guest wayfarer2k

Okay, so I wonder about a lot of weird stuff…

 

What do you think of the “afterlife”?

 

Now, I believe that Jesus’ message is more about the “here” rather than the “hereafter”. I believe the kingdom of God is more about a present reality than a future state. I believe salvation is more about wholeness and healing than about being delivered from future punishment.

 

Nevertheless, do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why?

 

Personally, I see no objective proof of it. The gospels in the bible, of course, testify to Jesus’ resurrection but 1) they don’t agree as to what it was 2) Paul talks about it as a “spiritual body” (very helpful term, huh?) and 3) most progressives don’t view the bible as historical, eye-witness journalism anyway.

 

Despite a human-history-long variety of beliefs from different cultures concerning ghosts, bright lights beckoning us, astral projections, and the current sensationalistic claims of “5 minutes in hell”, I don’t find any objective proof of an afterlife. To me, it is all based on hearsay (or hearsay).

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like Mulder, I want to believe. But I find it requires blind faith.

 

What do YOU think?

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Okay, so I wonder about a lot of weird stuff…

 

What do you think of the “afterlife”?

 

Now, I believe that Jesus’ message is more about the “here” rather than the “hereafter”. I believe the kingdom of God is more about a present reality than a future state. I believe salvation is more about wholeness and healing than about being delivered from future punishment.

 

Nevertheless, do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why?

 

Personally, I see no objective proof of it. The gospels in the bible, of course, testify to Jesus’ resurrection but 1) they don’t agree as to what it was 2) Paul talks about it as a “spiritual body” (very helpful term, huh?) and 3) most progressives don’t view the bible as historical, eye-witness journalism anyway.

 

Despite a human-history-long variety of beliefs from different cultures concerning ghosts, bright lights beckoning us, astral projections, and the current sensationalistic claims of “5 minutes in hell”, I don’t find any objective proof of an afterlife. To me, it is all based on hearsay (or hearsay).

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like Mulder, I want to believe. But I find it requires blind faith.

 

What do YOU think?

 

I believe in an afterlife because I want to, honestly. I agree with you that there is no objective proof for it. And for myself, probably partially because I'm young and death is a long ways off, I don't really have strong feelings one way or the other. But when I consider how I would feel if someone close to me died...I think I would need to believe they still existed in some form. I just couldn't deal with it otherwise.

 

So, I leave myself open to the possibility of an afterlife, but I don't have any idea what it would be like. I don't believe in a Heaven/Hell dichotomy, but that has more to do with my conception of God than the afterlife.

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Guest wayfarer2k
I believe in an afterlife because I want to, honestly. I agree with you that there is no objective proof for it. And for myself, probably partially because I'm young and death is a long ways off, I don't really have strong feelings one way or the other. But when I consider how I would feel if someone close to me died...I think I would need to believe they still existed in some form. I just couldn't deal with it otherwise.

 

So, I leave myself open to the possibility of an afterlife, but I don't have any idea what it would be like. I don't believe in a Heaven/Hell dichotomy, but that has more to do with my conception of God than the afterlife.

 

I appreciate your honesty, McKenna. It's refreshing to chat with someone as unguarded as you are. I hope and trust that "growing older" doesn't take that away from you.

 

What you said really resonates with me, too. I am almost fifty and while I don't dread death, I do sometimes think about the hereafter and what might lie ahead. I've been to my fair share of funerals (some for the quite old and some for the quite young) and, yes, I guess I have, as you say, a need to believe they still exist. The idea that they are just gone forever doesn't seem right.

 

At the same time, I wonder how much of what I believe (or want to believe) is really based upon Truth rather than upon what I want to be true. Wanting to win the Texas Lottery doesn't make it so. Wanting an afterlife doesn't necessarily make it so.

 

So given the lack of objective proof about it (and the many varied and conflicting understandings of it in human history), I can't help but wonder if I am a little self-deceived in believing that there really is a Never-never-land. Most cultures believe in some sort of afterlife. But they have also believed in a flat earth, an earth-centered terra-system, demons, and honest politicians. Oops, strike the last one. :lol:

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Well, well, Wayfarer2k,

 

You opened the box. :lol: There is no afterlife and notice I didn't preface that with it seems to me. Why, because there is only Life. And that life is in Christ. No beforelife, no afterlife, just eternal life. Always was and always will be. Where is the proof? In you. Find it and there will be no need of an explanation or proof. All the rest is just fairy tales and fables.

 

From a Biblical standpoint. Jesus knew and is recorded saying "Ye are the light of the world" and John wrote "In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

 

:)

Joseph

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Guest wayfarer2k
There is no afterlife and notice I didn't preface that with it seems to me. Why, because there is only Life. And that life is in Christ. No beforelife, no afterlife, just eternal life. Always was and always will be. Where is the proof? In you. Find it and there will be no need of an explanation or proof. All the rest is just fairy tales and fables.

 

C'mon now, Joseph, you know I am speaking of an "after-death-existence". :rolleyes:

 

Besides, theologians can't seem to agree as to what "eternal life" is anyway. :lol: Most of them think it is living immortally in heaven. Jesus defined it as "knowing God", quite a different concept from an "afterlife".

 

If I could find it in me, I'd bottle it up, sell it, and get filthy rich! :P

 

Anyway, just interesting to find out what other people think about the topic.

 

As Einstein alledgedly said, "Anything that can be put into a nutshell...should probably be there."

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C'mon now, Joseph, you know I am speaking of an "after-death-existence". :rolleyes:

 

Besides, theologians can't seem to agree as to what "eternal life" is anyway. :lol: Most of them think it is living immortally in heaven. Jesus defined it as "knowing God", quite a different concept from an "afterlife".

 

If I could find it in me, I'd bottle it up, sell it, and get filthy rich! :P

 

Anyway, just interesting to find out what other people think about the topic.

 

As Einstein alledgedly said, "Anything that can be put into a nutshell...should probably be there."

 

Haven't you heard. There is no death. :lol: Because I'm laughing don't take me too lightly.

 

Perhaps the definition Jesus gave is sufficient and most accurate.

 

After is always imaginary... There is always only now. :lol:

 

Joseph

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Guest wayfarer2k
Haven't you heard. There is no death. :lol: Because I'm laughing don't take me too lightly.

 

Nor too seriously either. ;) I've lost two children to miscarriage, both grandparents, a 8-month old nephew, and various other relatives and friends to death. Not mention those who died in my wife's family.

 

For me, there is absolutely no way I would say "there is no death." It is too real and, often, too painful. And as far as I can tell, there is no proof that it isn't permanent.

 

So I'm wondering what folks think about "life after death". You are, as always, welcome to your opinion. But to state that there is no such thing as death means, my friend, that I can't even find a starting point to discuss this with you. You say it isn't real and doesn't happen. I say it is and does. Two different universes, I guess.

 

Does this forum have a HUMOR section?

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Nor too seriously either. ;) I've lost two children to miscarriage, both grandparents, a 8-month old nephew, and various other relatives and friends to death. Not mention those who died in my wife's family.

 

For me, there is absolutely no way I would say "there is no death." It is too real and, often, too painful. And as far as I can tell, there is no proof that it isn't permanent.

 

So I'm wondering what folks think about "life after death". You are, as always, welcome to your opinion. But to state that there is no such thing as death means, my friend, that I can't even find a starting point to discuss this with you. You say it isn't real and doesn't happen. I say it is and does. Two different universes, I guess.

 

Does this forum have a HUMOR section?

 

Ya got me there Bill. Being in my 60's, Ive lost a few close ones myself. Sorry to have touched another sensitive area with you.

 

Of course people lose their physical body and in that sense you could say there is death. That goes without saying.

 

However when you ask the question about life after death that alone alludes to the premise that there is no real "death", only a change of form. Therefore I said there is no death with as you might say "tongue in cheek" not to be taken too lightly and not too seriously as you have said.

 

Maybe if I use more :lol: and :) it would be better. Death is of course real to the physical mind. My comment concerning "imaginary" relates to the scenarios of fables and fairy tales as relates to the term "after" life which is a future event that presently exists only in the minds of men of which there are a myriad of different senarios all relating to things vainly puffed up by the carnal mind which in my view cannot know of such things.

 

Anyway, if you prefer and feel like it would not be fruitful or possible to find a starting point with me, I will respect that decision and not bother you with data from a different universe. :lol::D

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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To me, the issue is whether or not our consciousness is durable, that is, whether it can be sustained without our physical bodies. Being a retired engineer, I think it is possible that we can re-create consciousness. It might take a million years or so to figure out how to do it, but I think it is at least possible. The tougher issue has to do with memory, and I can't see how that can be recovered, but who knows? If it is possible, there would be no sensation of the passage of time. But what happens after we are consciously re-created is the more relevant issue. Anyway, all of this is just speculation.

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Okay, so I wonder about a lot of weird stuff…

 

What do you think of the “afterlife”?

 

Now, I believe that Jesus’ message is more about the “here” rather than the “hereafter”. I believe the kingdom of God is more about a present reality than a future state. I believe salvation is more about wholeness and healing than about being delivered from future punishment.

 

Nevertheless, do you believe in an afterlife? If so, why?

 

Personally, I see no objective proof of it. The gospels in the bible, of course, testify to Jesus’ resurrection but 1) they don’t agree as to what it was 2) Paul talks about it as a “spiritual body” (very helpful term, huh?) and 3) most progressives don’t view the bible as historical, eye-witness journalism anyway.

 

Despite a human-history-long variety of beliefs from different cultures concerning ghosts, bright lights beckoning us, astral projections, and the current sensationalistic claims of “5 minutes in hell”, I don’t find any objective proof of an afterlife. To me, it is all based on hearsay (or hearsay).

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m like Mulder, I want to believe. But I find it requires blind faith.

 

What do YOU think?

 

 

Hey Wayfarer,

thanks for opening up this discussion - it's an interesting one. You asked what "I" think of the afterlife and whether I believe in an afterlife. So, bearing in mind that the following is my own personal work-in-progress-ramble, here goes...

 

I 'used' to be in conservative christian ministry and very sure of a 'place' called heaven, entered after death and judgement before God. I used to think about it often, preach and comfort others with the hope of heaven and sometimes behave in order to preserve my spot. I believed it was an actual place, separate from this earthly world where I (and others) would meet and share eternal life.

 

On one level, that belief and teaching was very comforting to me - to actually have an answer to the ultimate mystery of what happens to "me" when my body stops. It was comforting to believe that I could say goodbye to people at a funeral, and believe they had gone somewhere better and had met God. It was quite a safe belief but it always troubled me too, but like a good conservative christian, I put faith before feelings of doubt and just accepted it, however ludicrous it sounded.

 

I've been unlearning a lot of stuff over the last couple of years. I'm out of ministry now and am not part of a church community. I've stopped trying to learn, think, master, expose, explain and discover anything about faith/god etc. In fact, I've been shedding stuff, throwing it out, dusting myself off and paring my beliefs back. I'm actually wondering now what remnant of christianity has stayed with me and whether I could actually call myself christian at all. By paring things back I don't mean I've chucked out all the questionable things and kept the solid stuff, because I don't think there really is any theory/explanation that is solid - it's all questionable. Once upon a time that would have scared and shaken me, but right now I'm okay with not knowing and not having to know.

 

As to the afterlife, as to what happens to 'me' when my body dies (you can label it soul/spirit/whatever) it may seem frivolous and ostrich-like to say it but I don't actually care. It doesn't frighten, concern or intrigue me. I don't have an answer or process or belief about what happens to the 'me'. The closest I can get to a response is "I don't know what happens, I don't know where 'me' goes, I don't know if I go anywhere". I'm also glad to be free of the worry over what will happen when my body dies. Something will happen (even if something is nothing) but I have no idea what. This has freed me up immensely to enjoy what is happening in my life right now. I still consider the future but I don't spend my energy or time wondering about it (anymore) - in saying that, I don't live a hedonistic life in the moment and neglect plans for the future.

 

I hope I've been able to convey my thoughts without sounding like I'm resigned to not knowing. I am very content with where I'm at right now and I'm content with not-knowing and not needing to know.

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I hope I've been able to convey my thoughts without sounding like I'm resigned to not knowing. I am very content with where I'm at right now and I'm content with not-knowing and not needing to know.

 

Coming from a similar background, Flatliner, I recognize your lingo. Your response triggered another question. Let me see if I can phrase it correctly (and I'd enjoy hearing others' responses to this one also):

 

Does not focusing on the "afterlife" help you enjoy the "herelife" more? I.e. If you are not so preoccupied with what happens after death, does it help make you more present to the moments now?

 

PS - One of the reasons I ask this is because in conservative Christianity it is often asserted that there is no way we can enjoy life now UNLESS we are sure of our future state. I've found this to be an assertion, not verified by actual experience. But I'm wondering what others think.

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My position pretty much follows Flatliner. I came from a background that was afterlife-focused. I highly doubt there is any kind of after-life. I have no reason to believe there is anything beyond the 70 or so years I'm likely to live. My husband once explained it as being just like before you existed -- you don't remember or know anything. After dying we won't know or remember anything. It is weird to think about but I found this makes it easier to understand.

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Does not focusing on the "afterlife" help you enjoy the "herelife" more? I.e. If you are not so preoccupied with what happens after death, does it help make you more present to the moments now?

 

Yes Wayfarer, that's where I feel I'm at, for now. I've relinquished my need to know (and my demand to know) how everything works and it has freed me to fully enjoy what is happening around me now. I'm relaxed about that though, it's not a desperate life - I don't feel I have to wring every drop out of every minute because that's all I'll get. I'm content with what the day brings and balance that with some intentions for the future - although I hold them lightly. I'm much more present that I've ever been and am more aware of the exquisite beauty that is all around, all the time - I've just been too distracted and too frantic to notice.

 

PS - One of the reasons I ask this is because in conservative Christianity it is often asserted that there is no way we can enjoy life now UNLESS we are sure of our future state. I've found this to be an assertion, not verified by actual experience. But I'm wondering what others think.

 

Yes, my experience with conservative Christianity did promise a glorious and eternal future for those who went to heaven, and at that time, I believed it and felt very reassured by that. I'm not there now. Believing in the future promise did bring some enjoyment in this life, based on the premise that I had been saved and would not have to worry about death, so I could get on with life and know everything would work out in the end. This enabled me to relax and enjoy life, knowing that whatever happened, I'd be okay - it was exactly the same sense of relief I felt when signing up for life/house/car insurance. I've heard the same sales pitch from ministers and salesmen alike, and unfortunately I've given the same sales pitch in church - "this is all you need to do to guarantee your future, then you can relax and know it will all be taken care of. What is there left to worry about?"

 

I'm not there now (thankfully). I don't have a plan or answer for the future. I don't know what will happen when my body dies. I don't know if a remnant of me will remain. I don't know if there will be total silence and nothingness (and whether I'll be aware of that or not) or whether there will be something. It may sound strange to say that I'm more content now that I've ever been. Somehow it seems more honest and more trusting to me to say that I don't know what happens and I'll have to wait and see.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Fascinating topic – I agree with Wayfarer that Jesus focused his teachings on the here and now. Yet he did speak of the “house of many mansions”-- I like to imagine that everyone goes to the afterlife they’re best suited for, among loved ones. Also I’ve been influenced by books written by or about people who’ve had near death experiences. However, I wonder if there is a negative side of this belief – would I do better at making the best of life if I thought death would be the end of my being altogether?

 

Paul Tillich says some interesting things in his essay “Eternal Now” –

 

“Many people hope for a continuation of this life after death. They expect an endless future in which they may achieve or possess what has been denied them in this life. This attitude denies that there IS an end – refuses to accept that we are creatures with a limited span of time. This endless future is without a final aim; it repeats itself and could well be described as an image of hell. [huh?!] The Christian message says that the eternal stands above past and future. Our time, is the time in which we can have presence....the eternal now available in the temporal now, the divine rest which stops the flux of time and gives us the blessing of the present…” [yes, but how often do we experience this?]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice topic. Is there an afterlife after death or death afterlife? We are living to die so is it a portal or does it open new opportunities. I don't know, but the closer I get to death since I am also in my 60's, the less I am afraid of it. I see it as changing clothes that are worn out. Now, I am busy utilizing the clothes I have.

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  • 1 month later...
As to the afterlife, as to what happens to 'me' when my body dies (you can label it soul/spirit/whatever) it may seem frivolous and ostrich-like to say it but I don't actually care. It doesn't frighten, concern or intrigue me. I don't have an answer or process or belief about what happens to the 'me'. The closest I can get to a response is "I don't know what happens, I don't know where 'me' goes, I don't know if I go anywhere". I'm also glad to be free of the worry over what will happen when my body dies. Something will happen (even if something is nothing) but I have no idea what. This has freed me up immensely to enjoy what is happening in my life right now. I still consider the future but I don't spend my energy or time wondering about it (anymore) - in saying that, I don't live a hedonistic life in the moment and neglect plans for the future.

 

I hope I've been able to convey my thoughts without sounding like I'm resigned to not knowing. I am very content with where I'm at right now and I'm content with not-knowing and not needing to know.

 

I really like what you wrote, Flatliner. Thanks for being so open and so gentle with your thoughts.

 

Jen

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