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Featured The 'great nothing', vs heaven or hell: which is better?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Desert Snake, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Desert Snake

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    An atheist or atheistic religions conception of facing annihilation,

    However for theists who believe in an afterlife, heaven and hell,

    Which is better?

    Which is true?

    To an atheists soul wrenching meditation, is incredibly foreboding. An awakening, if you will. Faced with the great nothing , an annihilation, this is of prime importance to atheist religions.
    The anguished cry of a mortal screaming at an uncaring universe.



    To theists, who have an afterlife, heaven and hell, so forth. This means nothing.
    Facing heaven or hell is thusly an important factor, so forth. The line between this world, and the next, or other realms, is willow o the wisp at best, there is is no distinction, often times.


    Totally different perceptions of the self, and the 'universe'.
     
    #1 Desert Snake, Aug 21, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  2. MikeDwight

    MikeDwight Active Member

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    Oh I like this , I did always imagine sort of a floor blackhole, swirling, what about you? There aren't any answers about the one, anyway.
     
  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    No awaking, no screaming. Nobody being faced with anything. Like peacefully being put under anesthesia and never regaining consciousness.
    This is my expectation and likely that of many atheists.
     
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  4. dianaiad

    dianaiad Well-Known Member

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    "Better?" define "better."

    Either there is some form of afterlife or there isn't. That truly is a binary set.

    The debate is held among those who think there is one. Or more...or reincarnation where the afterlife is actually this one, over and over again, sort of.

    What amuses me is how many atheists claim that there isn't one, and yet seem to think that they will somehow know that there isn't one once they are in it.

    I'm not utterly convinced that there is anybody who really thinks that there isn't SOMETHING. Not that it would bother me, but...you know that analogy about anesthesia, going to sleep and not waking up? Well, the problem with that is that many types of anesthesia aren't actually pain killers; they produce amnesia. In other words, you feel what's happening and even react to the world around you, but you don't remember it.

    Sorry....rambling. Anyway, I think that there will be an afterlife. I don't KNOW what it will be like. I have some opinions, of course, but mostly i'm hoping that it won't be boring; that I can spend eternity learning stuff. THAT would be better; no student loans, an infinite library and a mind that can encompass it all. That would be good. Hell, to me, would be me being barred from that 'library.' Bored eternally. That would be hell.

    The only thing I really DO know is that between me and the non-believer who claims that there is no afterlife, no matter who is correct or whatever that afterlife is like, I'm the only one who can say 'I told you so." That works for me.
     
  5. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Non-existence is perhaps the most neutral of all the possibilities that could happen after death. No joy but also no suffering, complete neutrality. At the same time though that lack of suffering can make non-existence quite an attractive prospect, particularly if we're talking about potentially experiencing sentience for eternity. It's certainly preferable to the many, many possible Hell scenarios and perhaps preferable to quite a few interpretations of heaven too.

    As for which is true? We don't know. People tend to struggle with that idea and so gravitate to whatever feels the most comforting to them.
     
  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Of course it is true that there is an afterlife, which I refer to as the spiritual world. It is not only an important factor, it is the MOST important factor we will EVER face.

    After all, this earthly life is only temporary but the afterlife is forever. :eek:

    It never ceases to amaze me why more people do not take this seriously. Do they really think they will never die? o_O

    I guess when we are young we don’t think much about death but the older we get the closer we get to the great beyond. Also, most people are so caught up in the material world activities that they have no time to think about what matters most, their spiritual development.
     
    #6 Trailblazer, Aug 21, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  7. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Boy are you going to be surprised when you die and realize you are not dead.

    There is a book I am reading entitled The Afterlife Revealed and some spirits who communicated mediums reported that some people who did not believe there was an afterlife will die and still think they are alive on earth. They may go on for days, weeks, months or years, in earth time, believing that, until they finally realize they are D-E-A-D.

    Kind of scary.

    On the other hand, I am not sure exactly how accurate all these communications are as I can only really believe what has been revealed in the scriptures of my religion. There isn’t much written, which is why I read other books on the subject.

    One thing I know is that we will have a form of some kind and we will be fully conscious, more conscious than we were in the physical body. Unfortunately those who were not prepared might be very confused for a long time. I cannot say what will happen after that, only God knows.
     
  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    I post to lots of atheists who think I am ridiculous for believing in an afterlife because there is no “proof.” There is no proof but there is a lot of evidence of the afterlife, they just don’t LIKE the evidence.

    If/when I see these atheists on the other side, many of whom have become my friends, I am going to try not to rub it in. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    I dunno... I am not too hot on living forever in some strange dimension... Heck, I never even get out of town anymore, and I am supposed to go to another world after I die and live there forever... It might be better than the alternative of ceasing to exist, but it certainly is not what I would call... comforting. Yet I have no doubt that is what is going to happen, I will go to a spiritual world after I die and live forever.....

    Forever is a long time. What if I don't like the accommodations, the scenery or the itinerary? There is no return ticket. :eek: The best I can do is prepare myself so I maximize my chances of getting into heaven and staying out of hell.
     
  10. Desert Snake

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    Agreed.
     
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  11. Duke_Leto

    Duke_Leto Active Member

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    How would one not realize they were dead? And what makes you think the author of that book is particularly trustworthy?
     
  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    We cannot understand what the spiritual world will be like so we cannot understand how someone might not realize they were dead. The book explains it as best as it can be explained.

    That said, I do not necessarily believe everything in the book because it is not scriptural, but it seems plausible since it does not contradict my religious beliefs.
     
  13. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Since you mentioned Buddha specifically, I will post the Four Solaces, from the Kalama Sutta (an excellent sutta all around to check out) which is somewhat analagous to Pascal's Wager, which then leaves no pretzel logic excuse to not purify ones mind from the poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion in this life:

    Kalama Sutta verse 17:
    The Four Solaces
    17. "The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom four solaces are found here and now.

    "'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him.

    "'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him.

    "'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him.

    "'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace found by him.

    "The disciple of the Noble Ones, Kalamas, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, these four solaces are found."

    "So it is, Blessed One. So it is, Sublime one. The disciple of the Noble Ones, venerable sir, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, four solaces are found.

    "'Suppose there is a hereafter and there is a fruit, result, of deeds done well or ill. Then it is possible that at the dissolution of the body after death, I shall arise in the heavenly world, which is possessed of the state of bliss.' This is the first solace found by him.

    "'Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, no result, of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.' This is the second solace found by him.

    "'Suppose evil (results) befall an evil-doer. I, however, think of doing evil to no one. Then, how can ill (results) affect me who do no evil deed?' This is the third solace found by him.

    "'Suppose evil (results) do not befall an evil-doer. Then I see myself purified in any case.' This is the fourth solace found by him.

    "The disciple of the Noble Ones, venerable sir, who has such a hate-free mind, such a malice-free mind, such an undefiled mind, and such a purified mind, is one by whom, here and now, these four solaces are found.

    "Marvelous, venerable sir! Marvelous, venerable sir! As if, venerable sir, a person were to turn face upward what is upside down, or to uncover the concealed, or to point the way to one who is lost or to carry a lamp in the darkness, thinking, 'Those who have eyes will see visible objects,' so has the Dhamma been set forth in many ways by the Blessed One. We, venerable sir, go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma for refuge, and to the Community of Bhikkhus for refuge. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One regard us as lay followers who have gone for refuge for life, from today."​
     
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  14. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Lighten up. Your world is annihilated every night during dreamless sleep.

    Was that a bad experience for you ?
     
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  15. Nowhere Man

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

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    There's got to be an afterlife. Precisely because this life right now is one.
     
  16. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Someone has no idea about atheism but hey, ho, whats new?
     
  17. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    How will a dead and decaying brain realise anything?
     
  18. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    What evidence? Remembering of course the definition on evidence

    "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid."
     
  19. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    You have never studied Buddhism have you ?

    There is nothing ‘foreboding’ in Gautama’s teaching.

    The anguished cry of a mortal screaming at an uncaring universe”.

    Umm...no. Buddhism teaches loving kindness and compassion. Gautama affirmed, in the way he lived his life, that humans can be wise, kind and moral without the gun of religiously induced fear held to their head.

    Buddhists are moral and kind because they realise the truth of cause and effect - karma -not because they are trying to do a deal with an imaginary God to save their illusory ego. which is a pretty tacky, ignorant and selfish motivation IMO.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t think you need to be a Buddhist to realise that.


     
    #19 Howard Is, Aug 22, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  20. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Let me run a possible scenario by you.

    Imagine that God, the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe is evil. This life only exists so that we have at least some concept of comfort and the ability to hope. After death, everybody goes to a place of unimaginable suffering for eternity. Doesn't matter what you did in life or who you were, everybody is damned. There's no hope of release and no way to fight back against an omnipotent creator.

    If we don't know what the afterlife holds, then that scenario is a possibility. Perhaps you haven't envisioned an afterlife that you're completely at ease with, I can accept that. I'll also hold my hands up and admit that saying "most comforting" was a poor choice of words. I would still suggest though that your beliefs are preferable to entertaining the possibilities an unknown afterlife could hold.

    That's by no means a criticism by the way. I can't contemplate the scenario I outlined above for too long and I don't believe it would be healthy to do so.
     
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