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AfterLife Vs. No life


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#31    theSOURCE

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 02:53 PM

The problem I see with using the idea of bio-energy to explain an afterlife is that all forms of energy, unless contained in a circuit somehow, simply dissipate when released. To use a simple electronics analogy, say a capacitor is charged with a 1000 volts. Assuming the capacitor is not allowed to discharge, it will hold this voltage for quite some time. However, if the capacitor was suddenly destroyed, the electrons would simply scatter (or discharge to ground). In other words, there wouldn't be a 1000 volt blob of electricity floating around after the capacitor was destroyed.

I believe the same is true for the human brain. Once death occurs, it's bioelectric energy scatters randomly and does not remain as a cohesive mass. And without this bio-energy contained in specific patterns, all our thoughts, memories and emotions cease to exist.

Edited by theSOURCE, 29 March 2004 - 02:54 PM.


#32    Scorpius

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 09:46 PM

There are so many spiritual entities known throughout many regions.  Some known as ghosts, apparitions, or phantoms, and many given titles known in their own language; reaching from the far western and eastern hemisphere.

To simply say that we merely dissipate to the environment would simply be closed-minded.  This bio-energy theory would be a possible explanation for ghosts, apparitions and other spiritual entities that are known to us.

We look at videos of ghosts caught on temperature video cameras (don't know what they are called tongue.gif ) and you notice that the area where a particular ghost has been becomes colder and shows up as bluish in colour on the moniter of the video camera.  I think that this entity absorbs nearby energy to survive as a this "bio-energy conscious" or spiritual entity.  Thus creating this cold area effect when it requires energy.  I'd say entities require a lot of energy to retain its consciousness since it does not have it's brain to remain in.  The physical form which would be in a human body, requires energy that we feed through meals but since an entity does not have this physical form it must directly feed off surrounding energies.

Make any sense?
====

Also, energies from electricity does not a sentient energy mass, as our consciousness is.

Edited by Blue-Scorpion, 29 March 2004 - 09:48 PM.

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#33    theSOURCE

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 11:44 PM

QUOTE
To simply say that we merely dissipate to the environment would simply be closed-minded.


The specter of "science" was brought in to support the statement that "mass-energy can neither be created nor destroyed." By our current level of understanding this is true. But by the same token all energy behaves according to some very basic physical laws. That's not being closed minded.

QUOTE
I think that this entity absorbs nearby energy to survive as a this "bio-energy conscious" or spiritual entity.


What you fail to explain is what holds this "bio-energy consciousness" together after a person has died. Since the reactions that caused the bio-energy are chemical in nature, once the brain has ceased to function there is no reason for the small electrical currents to continue.

QUOTE
Also, energies from electricity does not a sentient energy mass, as our consciousness is.


By "bio-energy" I'm referring to the electrochemical reactions in the brain. When you break it down it's the chemical reactions in the cells that allow electrons to flow, i.e., electricity. It's the same electricty as in the example I stated earlier (although at a much smaller current and voltage.) whistling2.gif  It's the combination of this electrical energy with the cells in the brain that form consciousness.

Edited by theSOURCE, 29 March 2004 - 11:49 PM.


#34    Novo

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 11:42 PM

Perhaps the very structure of the universe? something 100'000'000'000'000'000
smaller than the smallest known thing in the universe? smaller even than quirks?
and heres something,what holds atoms together? energy.

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#35    Druidus

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 12:23 AM

You mean quarks, of course?  Or is quirks a new one?

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#36    Novo

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 01:19 AM

QUOTE (Druidus @ Apr 4 2004, 01:23 AM)
You mean quarks, of course?  Or is quirks a new one?

  laugh.gif yes, lol

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#37    Kortef

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 02:59 AM

Tehehe...Im the only one here who has actually died before! grin2.gif...its my lil secret....I wont tell tongue.gif


#38    Novo

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 03:44 AM

QUOTE (Kortef @ Apr 4 2004, 03:59 AM)
Tehehe...Im the only one here who has actually died before! grin2.gif...its my lil secret....I wont tell tongue.gif

I know many people who have died before, some have had life after death experiences others didnt.

The stupider people think you are, the more suprised they are when you kill them.
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History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
-Martin Luthur king Jr, activist


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- Martin luthur King Jr., activist

#39    Kortef

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 03:31 AM

Maybe they just dont remember, or confused it for a dream


and oh yea, id say dont believe anything until you have expereinced it for yourself

Edited by Kortef, 06 April 2004 - 03:32 AM.


#40    trublvr

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Posted 06 April 2004 - 04:39 AM

    I'm with you on there being life-after-death.  So many people of so many cultures attest to the longing for a life beyond life that it's got to have something to it.  Between reports of interaction between beings from 'the other side'; the universal longing for a 'somewhere' beyond our own world; and the pre-occupation world religions and their adherents have with the topic, something must be up with the nether-after-where.  I'm curious, though:  Why write off the Christian after-life so glibly?  The big problem of death for humankind is one of disconnection.  We fear death because we all realize that all of our worldly pursuits are meaningless in the face of death.  We can take nothing with us.  The most we can do is to try to ensure that what we've done in the earth will survive us.  This is admirable!  However, we cannot ensure that the goodness we've sown will be the goodness that is reaped.  There are no guarantees.  What we fear, what we know is that death renders many things meaningless and irrelevant.  Ever read the last words of some of our most profound thinkers?  Look at Sartre.  Look at George Orwell.  In their eyes, impending death rendered their brilliant careers impotent because there was a disconnection between their life's work and whatever lay ahead of them beyond death.  
     I think that the resurrection of Jesus provides the completion that we look for.  Jesus lived a lifestyle oriented entirely toward God and others, and then he died a horrible death.  The disciples, I think, felt dejection, as if this whole Jesus-movement-Messiah thing had all been for naught, a big "SO WHAT???"  The resurrection of Jesus affirmed the eternal worth of what he did in his life, God's stamp of approval on and commendation of a beautiful life.  When we live our lives disconnected from God our pursuits have no home, no ultimate purpose.  Morality, love, and righteousness are things which are only possible because we are made the in the image of God.  When we unplug these things from God and choose to go it alone, we cut ourselves off from the purposes and ultimate reality that makes these things beautiful, possible, and commendable.  In life, we may be able to ignore the nagging disconnection.  But the spectre of death hammers it home.  Jesus' resurrection shows that the righteous seeds we plant in this life can be reaped in a resurrection--resurrection being God's raising of our bodies to a new life which has conquered sin, hell, and death.  For those who have placed faith in Jesus, the power of Jesus's resurrection is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit so that we begin our freedom from sin and the devil in this world.  Christians experience a kind of sneak preview of total, wholistic resurrection in their daily lives.  Our righteousness lives far beyond us because we are connected through Jesus with the source of that righteousness--God our Creator and Father.  On the Day of Judgment we will be raised to a resurrection of righteousness consistent with our work in the earth.  Our lives down here are a mere continuation of what we've done.  This is highly dignifying to us in the here and now!  It is dignifying to know that the righteousness I do is not for naught, especially in a world that is alienated from and hostile to the love and purity of God (and love and purity altogether).  No matter if people continue what I've started, reap what I've sown or not, righteousness, peace, and love are affirmed by God in the resurrection, showing that He has known the score and kept the books all along.  

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#41    TheNeutralBuddhist

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Posted 09 April 2004 - 08:45 AM

QUOTE
What we fear, what we know is that death renders many things meaningless and irrelevant


Buddhist dont take the sort of attitude your prescrbing people as a whole as having; Buddhist take death as a door to somewhere else and not a destiny to an end point, such as nature, when things die it leaves room for more to grow.



QUOTE
Look at Sartre. Look at George Orwell. In their eyes, impending death rendered their brilliant careers impotent because there was a disconnection between their life's work and whatever lay ahead of them beyond death.

I feel they both took that attitude towards death like so because they were attached to the mere physical and their achievements, when they should of just let go and accepted whatever comes , just adapt. As far as rendering there careers impotent, I wouldnt call it helpless if after I'm gone it continues to help another ; if they're life's work was work to benefit themselves it''s better off lost.

QUOTE
I think that the resurrection of Jesus provides the completion that we look for. Jesus lived a lifestyle oriented entirely toward God and others, and then he died a horrible death.

You might think it provides the comletion that you look for, but other such as I and other across this world and in the U.S with different religions might not. There isen't any sort of evidence of Jesus' ressurrection, and there is total contradictory surrounding the whole resurrection accounts, and because of that there is no definate historical conformation for him resurrecting its all" I cant really explain it but I suppose he did, we have the Shroud of Turin."

QUOTE
The resurrection of Jesus affirmed the eternal worth of what he did in his life, God's stamp of approval on and commendation of a beautiful life.

As said, no one has completely explained the whole supposed resurrection account which is revolved around contradictory. What is this GODs stamp of apporoval of what he did in his life, how did he stamp and approve it? The unconfirmed from the bible Resurrection?

QUOTE
Jesus' resurrection shows that the righteous seeds we plant in this life can be reaped in a resurrection--resurrection being God's raising of our bodies to a new life which has conquered sin, hell, and death.

Your taking this whole resurrection as if it actually happend, your saying our righteous seeds or deeds can be reaped in a resurrection of our bodies, name one person who resurrected like the bible claimed resurrection Jesus had.

QUOTE
When we live our lives disconnected from God our pursuits have no home, no ultimate purpose.

Aww please.........Your not in a position to prove a God exist, and your also stating that every person who lives there life without the belief in a one true God has no purpose or is meaningless, I take this as an insult to the people who dont believe in God, lives.

QUOTE
Morality, love, and righteousness are things which are only possible because we are made the in the image of God.

Your opinion , not a fact.

QUOTE
When we unplug these things from God and choose to go it alone, we cut ourselves off from the purposes and ultimate reality that makes these things beautiful, possible, and commendable.


QUOTE

For those who have placed faith in Jesus, the power of Jesus's resurrection is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit so that we begin our freedom from sin and the devil in this world

QUOTE
Our righteousness lives far beyond us because we are connected through Jesus with the source of that righteousness--God our Creator and Father. On the Day of Judgment we will be raised to a resurrection of righteousness consistent with our work in the earth. Our lives down here are a mere continuation of what we've done. This is highly dignifying to us in the here and now! It is dignifying to know that the righteousness I do is not for naught, especially in a world that is alienated from and hostile to the love and purity of God (and love and purity altogether). No matter if people continue what I've started, reap what I've sown or not, righteousness, peace, and love are affirmed by God in the resurrection, showing that He has known the score and kept the books all along.


Aww man, can you speak towards the topic, your turning this into a religious sermon about GOD. Half of your post is misdirected toward Jesus and GOD, you cant just speak towards whats being talked about..........Perhaps Christianity is your religion and "belief" but dont take it as if its everyones else's wacko.gif Your also speaking on all of this GOD stuff as if everyone takes it as the Absolute truth.

Now...............I will begin to express my belief of "An after life in its entirety.


Buddhists believe that after death "rebirth" take place and can in any one of a number of 31 possible existences. According to the Buddha, there are some other forms of life existing in other parts of the universe physically and spiritually as unseen entities. The Buddha has mentioned that there are thirty-one planes of existence within the universes. They are:

4 States of unhappiness or sub-human realms: (life in hells that are not permenent, animal life, ghost-worlds and demon or evil spirit-worlds)
1 -Human world.
6- heavenly realms.
16 -Realms of Fine-Material Forms.
4 -Formless Realms.

This below is the entire doctrine of Rebirth , my belief.

QUOTE
Buddhists regard the doctrine of rebirth not as a mere theory but as a verifiable fact. The belief in rebirth forms a fundamental tenet of Buddhism. However, the belief in rebirth is not confined to Buddhist; it is also found in other countries, in other religions, and even among free thinkers. Pythagoras could remember his previous birth. Plato could remember a number of his previous lives. According to Plato, man can be reborn only up to ten times. Plato also believed in the possibility of rebirth in the animal kingdom. Among the ancient people in Egypt and China, a common belief was that only well-known personalities like emperors and kings have rebirths. A well-known Christian authority named Origen, who lived in 185-254 A.D., believed in rebirth. According to him, there is no eternal suffering in a hell. Gorana Bruno, who lived in the sixteenth century, believed that the soul of every man and animal transmigrates from one being to another. In 1788, a well-known philosopher, Kant, criticized eternal punishment. Kant also believed in the possibility of rebirth in other celestial bodies. Schopenhauer (1788-1860), another great philosopher, said that where the will to live existed there must be of necessity life. The will to live manifests itself successively in ever new forms. The Buddha explained this 'will to exist' as the craving for existence.

It is possible but not very easy for us to actually verify our past lives. The nature of mind is such that it does not allow most people the recollection of their previous lives. Our minds are overpowered by the five hindrances: sensual desire, ill-will, sloth, restlessness and doubt. Because of these hindrances, our vision is earth-bound and hence we cannot visualize rebirths. Just as a mirror does not reflect an image when it is covered with dirt, so the mind does not allow most people the recollection of previous lives. We cannot see the stars during daytime, not because they are not there in the sky, but because they are outshone by the sunlight. Similarly, we cannot remember our past lives because our mind at present is always over-burdened with many thoughts in the present, day-to-day events and mundane circumstances.

A consideration of the shortness of our life-span on earth will help us to reflect on rebirth. If we consider life and its ultimate meaning and goal, and all the varied experience possible for man, we must conclude that in a single life there is not enough time for man to carry out all that is intended by nature, to say nothing about what man himself desires to do. The scale of experience is enormous. There is a vast range of powers latent in man which we see and can even develop if the opportunity is presented to us. This especially true today if special investigation is made. We find ourselves with high aspirations but with no time to attain them. Meanwhile, the great troop of passions and desires, selfish motives and ambitions, make war within us and with others. These forces pursue each other to the time of our death. All these forces must be tried, conquered, subdued and used. One life is just not enough for all this. To say that we must have but one life here with such possibilities put before us and impossible to develop is to make the universe and life a huge and cruel joke.

The Buddha doctrine of rebirth should be differentiated from the teachings of transmigration and reincarnation of a soul in other religions. Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent, god-created soul or an unchanging entity that transmigrates from one life to another.

Just as relative identity is made possible by causal continuity without a Self or Soul, so death can issue in rebirth without a transmigrating Soul. In a single life, each thought-moment flashes in and out of being, giving rise to its successor with its perishing. Strictly speaking, this momentary rise and fall of every thought is a birth and death. Thus even in a single life we undergo countless births and deaths every second. But because the mental process continues with the support of a single physical body, we regard the mind-body continuum as constituting a single life.

What we ordinarily mean by death is the cessation of the body's vital functions. When the physical body loses its vitality it can no longer support the current of consciousness, the mental side of the process. But as long as there is a clinging to life, a desire to go on existing, the current of consciousness does not come to a stop with the body's loss of life. Rather, when death takes place, when the body dies away, the mental current, driven by the thirst for more existence, will spring up again with the support of a new physical body, one which has just come into being through the meeting of sperm and egg. Thus, rebirth takes place immediately after death. The steam of memory may be interrupted and the sense of identity transferred to the new situation, but the entire accumulation of experience and disposition has been transmitted to the newborn being, and the cycle of becoming begins to revolve for still another term.

For Buddhism, therefore, death does not spell either the entrance to eternal life or complete annihilation. It is, rather, the portal to a new rebirth which will be followed by more growth, decay, and then till another death.

At the last moment, no renewed physical functioning occurs in a dying man's mind. This is just like a motorist releasing the accelerator before stopping, so that no more pulling power is given to the engine. Similarly, no more material qualities of Kamma arise.

Buddhists do not maintain that the present life is the only life between two eternities of misery and happiness; nor do they believe angels will carry them to heaven and leave them there for all eternity. They believe that this present life is only one of the indefinite numbers of states of being and that this earthly life is but one episode among many others. They believe that all beings will be reborn somewhere for a limited period of time as long as their good and bad Kamma remains in the subconscious mind in the form of mental energy. The interpretation of the subconscious mind in the Buddhist context should not be confused with that given by modern psychologists since the concepts are not exactly synonymous.

What is the cause of rebirth? The Buddha taught that ignorance produces desires. Unsatisfied desire is the cause of rebirth. When all unsatisfied desire is extinguished, then rebirth ceases. To stop rebirth is to extinguish all desires. To extinguish desire, it is necessary to destroy ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, the worthlessness of every such rebirth, is perceived, as well as the paramount need to adopt a course of life by which the desire for such repeated births can be abolished.

Ignorance also begets the illusive and illogical idea that there is only one existence for man, and the other illusion that this one life is followed by states of eternal pleasure or torment.

The Buddha taught that ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow removed by realization of the Four Noble Truths, and not through any other source. To disperse all ignorance, one must persevere in the practice of an all-embracing altruism in conduct, intelligence and wisdom. One must also destroy all desire for the lower, personal pleasures and selfish desire.

How does rebirth take place? When this physical body is no more capable of functioning, energies do not die with it, but continue to take some other shape or form, which we call another life. The kammic force manifesting itself in the form of a human being can also manifest itself in the form of an animal. This can happen if man has no chance to develop his positive kammic forces. This force, called craving, desire, volition, thirst to live, does not end with the non-functioning of the body but continues to manifest itself in another form, producing re-existence which is called rebirth.

Today, there are people in various countries who have spontaneously developed memory of their past births. The experiences of these people have been well-documented in newspapers and periodicals. Some of these people never accepted that there was such a thing as rebirth until memory fragments of their previous lives came to them. Much of the information they revealed about their past lives has been investigated and found to be valid.

Through hypnotism, some people have managed to reveal information of previous lives. Certain hypnotic states that penetrate into the subconscious mind make the recalling of past lives possible.

Rebirth or becoming again and again is a natural occurrence not created by any particular religion or god. Belief in rebirth or disbelief does not make any difference to the process of rebirth or avoiding rebirth. Rebirth takes place as long as craving for existence and craving for sensual pleasures or attachment exist in the mind. Those strong mental forces prevail in each and every living being in this universe. Those who hope and pray that they be not born again must understand that their wishes will not materialize until they make earnest efforts to eradicate their craving and attachment. Having seen and experienced the uncertainty and unsatisfactoriness of life under worldly conditions, wise people try to rid themselves of these repeated births and deaths by following the correct path. Those who cannot reduce their craving and attachment must be prepared to face all unsatisfactory and uncertain situations associated with rebirth and becoming again and again.

Is Rebirth Simultaneous?

Another difficult thing to understand about rebirth is whether the occurrence of rebirth is simultaneous or not. This is a controversial issue even amongst prominent Buddhist Scholars. According to Abhidhamma, rebirth (conception) takes place immediately after the death of a being without any intermediate state. At the same time, some others believe that a person, after his death, would evolve into a spirit form for a certain number of days before rebirth takes place. Another interpretation regarding the same belief is that it is not the spirit, but the deceased person's consciousness or mental energy remaining in space, supported by his own mental energies of craving and attachment. However, sooner or later rebirth must take place. The spirits (petas), who are beings born in spirit forms, are unfortunate living beings and their lives in the spirit form is not permanent. It is also a form of rebirth which is temporary.

Another concept that many people cannot understand is that in the process of rebirth a man can be reborn as an animal and an animal can be reborn as a man. The animal nature of the man's mind and the animal way of life adopted by him can condition him to be born as an animal. The condition and behavior of the mind is responsible for the next existence. On the other hand, a person who is born in animal form, owing to certain mental abuses during a previous birth, could be reborn as a human being, if that animal has not committed any serious evil acts. It is a well-known fact that some animals are very intelligent and understanding. This is a clear evidence to prove that they are tending towards the human life. A person who is born as an animal can again be born as a human being when the bad kamma which conditioned his birth as an animal is expended and the good kamma which was stored becomes dominant.

Dying Moment

In the dying man's consciousness, there are three types of consciousness (Vinnana) functioning at the moment of death :rebirth-linking consciousness (patisandhi-citta), the current of passive consciousness or the current of life-continuum (bhavanga) and consciousness disconnecting the present life (cuti-citta). At the last moment of a man's present life the (patisandhi-citta) or rebirth-linking consciousness arises, having the three signs as its objects. The patisandhi-citta remains in the course of cognition for five faint thought-moments Javana and then sinks down into bhavanga. At the end of bhavanga the cuti-citta arises, disconnecting the present life and sinks down into bhavanga. At this very moment comes the end of the present life. At the end of that bhavanga another patisandhi-citta rises up in the next life and from this very moment the new life begins. This is the process of death and rebirth according to Buddhism, and only in Buddhism is the process of these natural phenomena found explained in minute detail.

A Buddhist faces death not as a crisis in life but as a normal event, for he knows that whoever is born must suffer, 'decay', and ultimately die. Or, as someone so aptly puts it, 'Everyone is born with the certificate of death at his birth.' If we could all look at death such an intelligent and rational way, we would not cling to life so tenaciously.

This is my final birth and there is no more rebirth for me.
(Dhamma Cakka Sutta).


Edited by TheNeutralBuddhist, 09 April 2004 - 08:48 AM.


#42    grey

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Posted 09 April 2004 - 06:02 PM

QUOTE (Student&Alive @ Apr 4 2004, 12:42 AM)
Perhaps the very structure of the universe? something 100'000'000'000'000'000
smaller than the smallest known thing in the universe? smaller even than quirks?
and heres something,what holds atoms together? energy.



The infinite largeness and the infinite smallness.

What if we are just some freak accident that happened once apon a time, and we're nothing but matter walking around?

But then I argue with myself about that one too. Anything that can be imagined can/will be created eventually and anything that has been created was imagined one apon a time (except for those lab accidents where things get created accidentally, what if that's us?). Why would we invision, not nesicarilly (sp) a god, but an afterlife if there wasn't one? Would we even be able to comprehend that concept without it being real in some way? But then again, what if we're just a science experament?  sad.gif  And to the dude that was preachin' a sermon: I was raised in a Christian home all my growing up life, and it may work for you, but it's not for everybody. Christians want to make the "big invisible man in the sky" (I would like to thank a very good friend of mine for that little phrase) aka God, fit into some tiny little box and say if you do this you're cool, but if you do this you're
f#c!ed. When you really think about the vastness of this universe (I won't even get into that now) isn't it kind of arrogant to think that mankind is so special that we have one being up there in the sky looking out for our every move? Actually, I think anyone who tries to put a name on this god or whatever is arrogant because we humans are nothing more than a speck of dog crap in this universe. But I'm just as guilty of trying to put a name on something, I just can't buy into a belief that humanity is all that special that we are looked out for. All I'm trying to convince myself of is that we got spirit. So someone convince me. And please go about it in a non-religious way. I'm not looking for religion, I'm a good person, I know this, I'm not scared of hell or whatever. I just need to be convinced that I either am just a walking ball of energy and matter or not. So come on, let's talk. dontgetit.gif  


#43    trublvr

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Posted 09 April 2004 - 06:08 PM


  Neutral Buddhist,

            Greetings.  Are you so sure that you are neutral?  First, while I am speaking from a Christian point of view, I in no way assume that any or all of the folks who submit postings are Christian!  How is my expression of a Christian view of the after-life insulting to those who don't adhere to Christianity?  Many different views have been presented here (including yours), and I seek to speak relevantly upon the topic, but from my particular standpoint.  Why do references to Jesus and God automatically render something irrelevant? Further, you claim that there's no proof for the resurrection, but may I ask you: What is your proof for reincarnation?  If you were to apply the same proof you demand of Jesus' resurrection to reincarnation, would reincarnation or transmigration stand up to the scrutiny?  I don't believe so.  Also, you claim that my entire discussion of God is rooted in opinion, not fact.  But Buddhism itself is merely an interpretation of reality (pieces of which I think to be valid, by the way), and thusly not a "fact" according to the kind of empericism that you are demanding of my faith.  Please be so kind as to submit your religion to the same scrutiny you demand of mine, and I think we can have true dialogue.

             Also, the gospel accounts are unified in their testimonies of Jesus' resurrection.  Each gospel writer has a distinct perspective (like many witnesses to the same event called to testify in court), but they do not contradict each other.  As far as proof goes, what would you like?  I have a feeling that if I launched into some "proofs" your criteria would quickly change to exclude our evidence.  

             Let me attempt, though, to bring our verbal melee back to the original topic.  In every religion's assessment of the after-life we do look for some form of fulfillment of what we have started down here.  As I pointed out in reference to the last days of Sartre and Orwell, these great thinkers found no connection between what they did on earth and the advent of the great beyond they were about to encounter upon death.  This is what we look for: a bridge between life and death.  In our existential routines, we desire some glimmer of the after-life, not merely to allow us know that "something" is "out there", but an affirmation of the worth of what we are doing and experiencing in this earthly existence.  Our this-worldly search for eternity's imprints takes many forms (as is evidenced by various religious out-looks).  From my own faith tradition the phrase "on earth as it is in heaven" captures this most appropriately (please don't be angry, Neutral Buddhist).
In which ever way we are put into contact with the after-realm, be it through philosophical speculation, divinely-inspired texts, and/or some form of contact with the after-world in this world, the reality of the after-life should mean something right now, while we're still alive.  The after-life should fulfill our this-worldly human longings, for in many (though not all) of our temporal longings are the indicators of eternity.  Also, the after-life should signify not merely continuation of life, but something qualitatively better.  Continuity without betterment is eternal stagnation or regression.  However, with continuity should come some form of finality, a discontinuity with evil, hatred, and disharmony.  It is my contention that the Christian outlook on the after-life best encapsulates these and many other desires that are expressed by people all over the world.  This is predicated, though, on the belief that our longings are meant to be met by God (though we chose to fill them with other things) and in God-oriented ways; that we desire something better in the after-life than this life (though in our world we frequently live as this life is the end); and that we desire discontinuity with the evil we have experienced and inflicted in this world (though we as a race are unable to shake ourselves of evil or our complicity in it).  Jesus' crucifixion enables his followers to become disconnected from such this-worldly deceits.  But it also makes us open to God's other-worldly purposes: love and fellowship between God and humans, humans and each other, and the love of the human being for his/her self.  

      I realize that many relegate the Christian view of the after-life to a celestial retirement village where folks who never missed Sunday service end up (whether they walked with Jesus on earth or not).  As a Christian, I deeply apologize for this.  I believe the reason heaven is so infrequently described in the Bible is because the goal of God and Jesus was not to give us such a beautiful description of heaven that we would want to go there.  God doesn't desire to put us into relationship with a place, but with Himself.  Heaven is wonderful, but only because its Creator is.  If one relates to heaven's Maker, then one will, by virtue of the transformation such fellowship brings, become a citizen of heaven.  In an anti-God milieu like the fallen earth, it is a most difficult undertaking to bear such citizenship.  However, it is well worth it, because this life is short, and this world will not always be.  Graciousness and peace to you all.   --trublvr
          
            

If truth is not a matter of majority vote, neither is it a matter of minority dissent.        

                                                --Douglas Groothius

#44    spectral

spectral

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Posted 12 April 2004 - 09:22 PM

Isn't it possible that an afterlife could take many diverse forms depending on the needs or requirements of the individual, a selfish, cruel person may spend time in a hell like realm, a righteous person may experience paradise but eventually they both may feel impelled to progress onto something else once lessons are learned, perhaps opting to gain more material experience on Earth by reincarnating, i don't think anything is permanent even in any speculative spiritual realms.





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