1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

What's Next?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by SalixIncendium, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Advaita Vedantin
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    12,792
    Ratings:
    +19,510
    Religion:
    Sanatana Dharma
    If you believe in some form of existence beyond death of the temporal body, do you believe that everyone experiences the same existence, or do you believe the sum of one's action and behaviors influence where or in what form you will exist?

    Based on the temporal life you've lived thus far...

    ...in what form will you exist?

    ...where will you exist?

    ...how long will you exist in said form?

    If you believe the location or form you experience is based upon your actions and behaviors in this temporal life, do you have the ability to change this 'post death' form or location based on your actions or behaviors moving forward?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,738
    Ratings:
    +4,203
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity
    Interesting topic.

    I would have to go with a differentiated or individuated afterlife based upon "the sum of one's action and behaviors", although it must be said that everyone will be in the same form: namely that of a disembodied immortal soul or consciousness until the general resurrection, as the creedal dogma insists, when God creates a new universe (i.e. "new heavens and earth") and becomes "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

    Catholic doctrine is obviously wedded to the traditional, tripartite division of heaven, purgatory and hell, which everybody is familiar with. These are spiritual states of being, as opposed to places, that occupy no location in space and are even apart from time as well, with the souls of the deceased thought (according to time-honoured, theological speculation) to exist in something mysterious called “aeviternity”.

    This entails a mode of existence which is a form of “participated eternity". It lies between the timelessness of God and the temporal experience of material beings - to us, for all intents and purposes, it is akin to “no-time” - although this isn't strictly true.

    St. Thomas Aquinas explained it all thus in his Summa Theologica:


    newadvent.org/summa/1010.htm#article3


    In this way time has “before” and “after”; aeviternity in itself has no “before” and “after,” which can, however, be annexed to it; while eternity has neither “before” nor “after,” nor is it compatible with such at all.


    There isn't really any succession of moments in aeveternity, as we would understand it. Here is how a Church approved mystic, Blessed Henry Suso, described this state of being from alleged direct, mystical experience (a foretaste of eternity):


    "…Eternity is life that is beyond time but includes within itself all time but without a before or after. And whoever is taken into the Eternal Nothing possesses all in all and has no ‘before or after’.

    Indeed a person taken within today would not have been there for a shorter period from the point of view of eternity than someone who had been taken within a thousand years ago…

    Now these people who are taken within, because of their boundless immanent oneness with God, see themselves as always and eternally existing
    …"

    - Blessed Henry Suso (c. 1296-1366), German Catholic mystic & Dominican priest (The Little Book of Truth). p320


    We don't claim to know if any individual person is or ever will be in hell. It is simply a possibility, whereby one is "separated from God forever by their own free choice" in a "state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed" (CCC 1033).

    One can expect that most human beings will first undergo purgatory after death, since it seems apparent to the majority of theologians that a sizeable chunk of humanity is neither wilfully evil nor particularly saintly. So I anticipate purgatory for myself.

    Terrestrial “time” is not part of the doctrine of Purgatory either. Here is what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 1988 (before he became Pope Benedict XVI):


    “…The transforming ‘moment’ of this encounter [Purgatory] cannot be quantified by the measurements of earthly time. It is, indeed, not eternal but a transition, and yet trying to qualify it as of ‘short’ or ‘long’ duration on the basis of temporal measurements derived from physics would be naive and unproductive. The ‘temporal measure’ of this encounter lies in the unsoundable depths of existence, in a passing-over where we are burned ere we are transformed. To measure such Existenzzeit, such an ‘existential time,’ in terms of the time of this world would be to ignore the specificity of the human spirit in its simultaneous relationship with, and differentation from, the world…”

    (Ratzinger, Eschatology, p. 230)


    His Holiness reiterated the same point in his 2007 encyclical Spe Salvi:


    Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire of Purgatory which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away…

    It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart’s time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace…

    46. With death, our life-choice becomes definitive—our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbours—people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are.

    46. Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul.

    So yah, I think that is what's in store for yours truly and in fact the majority of the human race. Purgatory, that most democratic and conspicuously unique of Catholic innovations in religious thought.
     
    #2 Vouthon, Jun 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Advaita Vedantin
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    12,792
    Ratings:
    +19,510
    Religion:
    Sanatana Dharma
    I found this particularly fascinating. Being raised Catholic, having attended CCD through high school, and having had lengthy discussions with clergy members, this is the first I've heard heaven, purgatory, and hell referred to as "spiritual states of being." They have always been referenced as literal places by the teachers (clergy included) I've encountered.

    I'd venture to guess that the majority of Catholics are still in the mindset that these are places as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,738
    Ratings:
    +4,203
    Religion:
    Catholic Christianity

    That is indeed the popular understanding of these states of being but it is near-impossible theologically, because heaven/hell/purgatory are not bodily phenomenons, as St. Thomas Aquinas explained during the Middle Ages:


    "...Incorporeal things [ie spirits] are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us..."

    - Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), Summa Theologiae, Supplement, Q69, a1, reply 1, Doctor of the Catholic Church


    Or an EWTN article explains:


    Heaven, Hell and Purgatory


    Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him...

    At the General Audience of Wednesday, 28 July 1999, the Holy Father reflected on hell as the definitive rejection of God. In his catechesis, the Pope said that care should be taken to interpret correctly the images of hell in Sacred Scripture:

    The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject (n. 1033).


    There is no ontological sense in conceptualizing heaven, hell or purgatory as places in the same way as corporeal objects in spacetime. You could sort of fudge it by saying "oh but its a special spiritual place for bodiless conscious beings," but since we cannot fathom or relate to this in a physical way, that's akin to denying a location.

    You need to wait till the resurrection of the dead for anything approaching the material, and even in this case we arise as "spiritual bodies" which is to say, not the physical world as we know it but rather glorified matter in which the spiritual soul is paramount (i.e. the resurrected Jesus could appear in different forms, walk through walls and was mistaken for a ghost or disembodied spirit by his disciples before allowing himself to be touched, to get the point across that he had a body).

    The general resurrection takes place in a new universe with radically different laws of physics.

    In Scivias, St. Hildegard of Bingen claimed to have received a vision of heaven, which is illuminating:


    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8zJOQ52E4GMC&pg=PA106&dq=The+visions+I+saw+I+did+not+perceive+in+dreams,+or+sleep,+or+delirium,+or+by+the+eyes+of+the+body,+or+by+the+ears+of+the+outer+self&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwie3-f50q7VAhUoKsAKHURTBv8Q6AEIJzAC#v=onepage&q=The visions I saw I did not perceive in dreams, or sleep, or delirium, or by the eyes of the body, or by the ears of the outer self&f=false


    When I was forty-two years and seven months old, Heaven was opened and a fiery light of exceeding brilliance came and permeated my whole brain, and inflamed my whole heart and my whole breast, not like a burning but like a warming flame, as the sun warms anything its rays touch. And immediately, I knew the meaning of the exposition of the scriptures...

    But I had sensed in myself wonderfully the power and mystery of secret and admirable visions from my childhood - that is from the age of five years - up to that time, as I do now...


    The visions I saw I did not perceive in dreams, or sleep, or delirium, or by the eyes of the body, or by the ears of the outer self, or in hidden places; but I received them while awake and seeing with a pure mind and the eyes and the ears of the inner self, in open places, as God willed it. How this might be is hard for mortal flesh to understand.

    St. Hildegard differentiates between the "inner" and "outer" senses, as many other medieval Catholic theologians did before and after her. She claimed to receive her visions via the mind's eyes and ears: auribus interioris hominis, mediated not through dreams or hallucinations but in a waking vision interiorly, in a manner beyond the comprehension of the physical senses.

    This is what St. Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 2:9 -


    What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived -- the things God has prepared for those who love him

    This is the same manner in which the Beatific Vision of the Divine Essence will be enjoyed by the blessed in heaven.

    So, it is really wrong-headed to think of the afterlife in terms of space or location.

    The clergy who instructed you were wrong. Sorry. :D
     
    #4 Vouthon, Jun 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
  5. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    12,005
    Ratings:
    +6,753
    Religion:
    Sanathana Dharma [The Eternal Religion]
    17 jun 2018 stvdv 011 61
    I don't know for sure, except a few things I experienced. If you believe in heaven after death, don't read on, I don't want to ruin anyones dreams.

    I believe in Advaita. That makes most sense to me. Consciousness is real, the world is illusion, maya, unreal. Meaning ever changing. From consciousness world is created and vanishes also. So my body is created and vanishes, so also my mind, intellect, emotions. Everyday this creation takes place.

    I am every second different [even if it's only a little]. So even when my karma's would be recreated it would never be a replica of "me". So it all makes sense, that I don't remember previous lives. I had my share of visions about previous lives. But those are just hallucinations IMO. Thoughts that come and go. Not much reality to that. Of course it can be true, but then just as true as this live is now. Coming and going. 1 big hallucination when viewed from eternity [consciousness].

    In this life a lot of extra maya creations are possible. Consciousness can do anything. The moon is not the limit. So because consciousness is the underlying reality I do believe that we can contact other creations of the past while being alive right now. Not after we die.

    So all that fabulous stuff that others dream about which will happen after we die is possible in this life. I am sure about that. But when one dies, it might as well be the end. I don't expect anything after I die. Whatever I desire I better do it here and now. But even here I have no desires anymore. Maybe that is the reason that I don't fantasize about "life after death".

    Much more interesting to focus on the present and explore what is possible now and here, than thinking about "when we die". I could never see any use in that. Not even gave it one thought in my life if I remember well. But of course I can meditate and even leave my body and travel on astral planes. I had this "going out of the body", so also no desire for that anymore.
    [Might be interesting if I can travel and even take my body with me. I read that yogis can do that, but I guess it needs lots of meditation, and what for, just another experience or hallucination. And I have seen all I wanted, so no desire to see anymore.. This astral travel [with body] would be nice to experience just to know that it is possible AND of course would be nice to have a nice sunbath on the beach in california when it's cold in Holland. No need for visa nor flight ticket. But again it would be just another experience or hallucination. I am not into any more of these]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,881
    Ratings:
    +5,459
    Religion:
    Secular theist (none)
    The temporal body as you put it is dying and being born constantly. Our personalities seem more rigid, but even they change with our body. If there is something that survives, how could it be the same as we are today? Therefore I don't see a need, whether there is something after death or not, to worry for the person that I am today... but every night is death and every morning is birth, and we pay each morning for the sins of the previous days.
     
  7. Cacotopia

    Cacotopia Let's go full Trottle

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    2,425
    Ratings:
    +1,380
    Religion:
    Atheist
    I wish I could just live inside my dreams after death. That would be cool if that was a reality.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,881
    Ratings:
    +5,459
    Religion:
    Secular theist (none)
    There are people who believe something that is practically the same as your wish.
     
  9. Cacotopia

    Cacotopia Let's go full Trottle

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Messages:
    2,425
    Ratings:
    +1,380
    Religion:
    Atheist
    Well I would like that to be the case, but I won't know till it happens.
     
  10. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    9,042
    Ratings:
    +8,626
    Religion:
    Pluralist Hindu
    I focus on my tasks, actions and duty here and now and leave the future to sort itself out. Even if I am born a mouse, I will do my best to be a good hard working mouse. Same if I become a Creator God Brahma of some future universe. No role in Creation is dishonorable, even the least has a part to play in this dance of creative flux.
     
    • Like Like x 2
Loading...