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A Heaven Is Real, No Longer Supernatural (and Ditto for Hell)

Discussion in 'Religious News' started by Bryon Ehlmann, May 24, 2019.

?
  1. Yes

    5 vote(s)
    71.4%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. Bryon Ehlmann

    Bryon Ehlmann Contemplating Life

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    At last heaven has been found! Well at least, a heaven. Although this heaven may be the most heavenly possible, it is not like the conventional one that most people envision. First of all, it is natural, versus supernatural—meaning its existence is supported by current scientific, i.e., psychological, principles and human experience and also its properties are logically consistent. Given it was found, how could it be otherwise? Second, it is relativistic—meaning it’s real only from the perspective of the dying person, not from a material perspective. That is, when you die, “it’s all in your mind”—meaning it is psychological and truly “is within you” (see image below). And third, though it is eternal (deceptively so, but only to the dying person), it’s timeless—meaning no events take place, but the dying person will never know this.

    [​IMG]

    Admittedly, such a heaven may be hard to fathom. The short essay given below may help by providing an inkling into the psychological basis for a natural eternal consciousness (NEC) and based on it, a natural afterlife. Articles about these phenomena, which can be accessed on the internet, describe their elusive essence, argue for their reality, and briefly address their relevance to religion. The article Your Natural Afterlife: the Non-Supernatural Alternative to Nothingness provides a short overview of the natural afterlife and references more comprehensive and scholarly articles. (Btw, the natural afterlife may not always be heavenly. For some, it may be a hell.)

    Questions for discussion: If you have read the essay below and one or more of articles on the natural afterlife and feel you understand it, are you convinced of its reality or at least its possibility? If so, how do you think it will impact religious beliefs? Can it be integrated into these beliefs? More personally, how, if at all, does it impact your beliefs in a heaven (or hell)?


    The Psychological Basis for the NEC and Natural Afterlife

    From a general understanding of psychology, two opposing hypotheses can be deduced for what one will experience upon death. The first is based on the definitions of mind and consciousness like those given in many introductory psychology textbooks. The second delves just a bit deeper and is based on human experience and established cognitive principles in time and conscious perception.

    Hypothesis 1: Quoting from a © 2014 psychology textbook by Zimbardo: “The mind is the product of the brain,” consciousness is “the brain process that creates our mental representation of the world and our current thoughts” and “as a process … is dynamic and continual rather than static.” Therefore, when the brain dies, the mind as its product and consciousness as a brain process must totally cease to exist and one will “experience” a before-life kind of nothingness.

    Hypothesis 2: Before death a still functioning brain produces a last discrete present conscious moment of a perceived event within some experience and then is forever incapable of producing another moment that would cognitively supplant the last present moment from one’s consciousness. Therefore, one is never aware that one’s last experience is over, and so a remnant of consciousness, an experience as captured by its last moment, will become imperceptibly timeless and deceptively eternal, i.e., static, relative to one’s perspective. (Here experience is not in quotes as it is indeed experienced before death.)

    Hypothesis 1, despite lacking empirical verification, has been accepted as orthodoxy by many. It can only be verified after death, which is impossible. Hypothesis 2 on the other hand, hitherto likely overlooked by the orthodoxies of both hypothesis 1 and religion, can be verified before death. It is verified to some degree with each everyday human encounter with timelessness, much like that of death—e.g., when sleeping. Especially relevant are those encounters after which one awakes instantly surprised when their first conscious moment is completely inconsistent with their last—e.g., when waking up after an intense dream. One need only ask: “Suppose I never woke up?”

    For more discussion of hypothesis 2, read The Theory of a Natural Eternal Consciousness: The Psychological Basis for a Natural Afterlife.
     
  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    I feel I understand what the so-called 'natural afterlife' is saying (so I voted 'Yes') but do not think it means much or makes much sense as there would be no 'experiencer' after the last thought. Hypothesis 1 and 2 both say about the same to me except in #2 the last few seconds are more vivid somehow.

    On that note, I actually believe in what I call a super-physical but still 'natural afterlife' myself on the higher planes/dimensions of nature. Consciousness is not a creation of the brain in my beliefs.
     
  3. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Having read through your 2 hypotheses, I can honestly say from my many years of Bible study, there is one that I agree with wholeheartedly....the other I disagree with completely.

    This is quite lengthy so I hope you will bear with me....


    Firstly, from my perspective, I question the need to make "supernatural" things, "natural". God is not part of our "natural" world even though he created it. He is unashamedly "supernatural". Nothing in our natural world applies to him. He doesn't need to be "logically consistent" IMV. Humans have a need to quantify him. It's not possible....he is what he is....and no one knows what he is.

    To me, the mind and consciousness are inextricably tied to the brain. When the brain dies, the person dies, even if the body is still functioning. Brain damage proves that to me. Dementia proves that to me. If consciousness does not reside in the physical brain, then it would continue to function independently even when brain damage has occurred. It clearly doesn't. When someone is in a coma, consciousness ceases. There is no memory of the passing of time. Like sleep, we do not know, unless we look at a clock, how long we have slept. I believe that death is like that. The Bible backs that up. (Ecclesiastes 9:5; 10; Psalm 146:4)

    As for the quote from Luke 17:20-21....this I believe is one of the most misquoted scriptures along with John 1:1.

    Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees when he said those words. This group of men were denounced by Jesus when he said about them...
    "You hypocrites, Isaiah aptly prophesied about you when he said: 8 ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me. 9 It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.’”

    There is no way that Jesus was suggesting that the kingdom of God was within those wicked hearts. Another rendering of that verse more correctly says "the kingdom of God is in your midst".
    Jesus was saying that he was the appointed King of God's kingdom, and he was there in their midst, but they failed to acknlowldge him.

    The notion of a "heaven or hell" scenario is common even in pagan religions. You will not find it in the Bible, however. Go back to Eden and see that God never mentioned any kind of afterlife for humankind. There was just life or death...that was all there was. So how did humans become indoctrinated by this all pervading idea of life after death?

    Put quite simply.....humans are programmed for life, not death. Death was not supposed to happen. It was only mentioned as a punishment for disobedience. We can't get our head around not being here, even though we can contemplate not existing before our birth.

    We have a programmed expectation to go on living. In the Bible, death is the opposite of life.....it goes against our programming to cease to exist, so it was assumed that life must continue elsewhere....somewhere invisible. That meant inventing a vehicle that could exit the body at death and continue living. This is where people assume that we "have" a soul....but the Bible says we "are" a soul as long as there is breath in us. When deprived of spirit (breath) souls die. (Ezekiel 18:4; Psalm 146:4)

    Heaven was where the good people go, and hell is where bad people spend eternity.....but that is not what the Bible teaches at all. Hell in the Bible is translated from several words....."Sheol", "hades", "Gehenna", "Tartarus"..all have been translated as "hell". They are different words with very different meanings. Unless you have studied these words, you will not understand what they mean and how their definition fits with the whole of scripture. Hell is no more scary than the grave...a place where the dead "sleep". (John 11:11-14)

    I accept hypothesis 1 and reject hypothesis 2.
    But Hypothesis 1 is not permanent IMV.

    I hope that clarifies my position and why I cannot accept the notion of conscious life after death.
     
  4. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Hello!
    Welcome to RF.... :)

    I think Luke got it right, which is nice because (imo) he got an awful lot wrong. :D

    Heaven and/or Hell are right there, right now, within ourselves.
     
  5. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you, but that doesn’t contradict Luke.
     
  6. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Deeje, you claim that god is supernatural, and our need to make the supernatural into the natural is not wise.

    Yet, you interpret the Word literally, which is the natural. Why wouldn’t the Word be supernatural as well, as it is from god?

    For instance, the garden of eden story or the flood story. Couldn’t you imagine a supernatural story filled with great spiritual wisdom hidden within those stories. Stories that seem quite dull to me versus the spiritual stories I now see inside them.

    Just wondering.
     
  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    The word is inspired by God and has to have earthly application otherwise we would not understand its message. Interestingly, Jesus said that we cannot even understand God's word as it pertains to Jesus without his spirit.

    John 6:65...
    "He went on to say: “This is why I have said to you, no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

    That said, it is apparent that God grants this understanding to those who merit it....others will never have a clue. They will live and die without ever knowing the truth which they would never accept anyway. God already knows who they are.

    It is good to wonder...it's a catalyst for research.

    I see no reason why the stories can't be as true as the spiritual teachings within them. The Bible is full of supernatural events that defy human explanation. God has participated in human life at times, out of necessity. How many times do we see great demonstrations of his power in behalf of his servants? Do we deny them simply because we can't explain them "naturally"? :shrug:
     
  8. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I consider this Natural Life right now the afterlife. I think the reality points out that sometimes it's Heaven, sometimes it's Hell and neither lasts forever.
     
  9. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    You're hypothesis is suspiciously similar to one posted by a young woman here just a week or so ago. Albeit you have presented it in a much more toned down language (toned down sounds better than dumbed down). If only two could have spoken to each other. I believe you would have been kindred souls.

    That's all I got. I don't have much of an opinion on it myself. It's not my thang.

    Laters,
    :D
     
  10. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Hi.....

    I wrote down, clear as day, that Luke got that right.
    How did you come to believe that I contradicted Luke about his view on this?
     
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