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the afterlife, near-death experiences, reincarnation, etc.

 
 
Monger
 
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 11:14 am
What happens when we die? What are your thoughts on the afterlife, near-death experiences, reincarnation, heaven, hell and any other related topics QuestionQuestionQuestion

(This thread over here explores some of this a bit: Do our pets have souls?)



EDIT: Poll added.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 10,361 • Replies: 65
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 04:14 pm
Monger, after reading the posts on the other thread, I think Babs and JLN come as close as I can in describing what happens after death. By that, I mean, if there is life after death, there must be a soul and the soul is probably a collective thing--some call this a god or a collective intelligence.

The idea of recycling appeals to my thrifty soul, er, sense of ecology. Besides, I want to come back as one of my heroes, which means, I guess, that I don't want it to just be all over.
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Misti26
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Dec, 2002 08:31 pm
I haven't read your suggestion yet because I don't want it to influence my thoughts, but I will read it after I post this.

I believe in reincarnation, I think we keep coming back until we get it right, and I think when we come back we're supposed to fix or learn the lesson we didn't learn last time.

I know my religion doesn't believe in reincarnation. I am a Catholic and we are taught you only go around one time, so you better get it right.

Sometimes I think I believe the way I do because it makes me feel better to know there's something at the end as opposed to nothing.

I do believe our soul goes on and on, for various reasons.

Very interesting topic Monger, thanks!
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Monger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Dec, 2002 11:15 am
typical near-death experience advocate's pitch, pulled off a couple websites:
Quote:
The vast majority of cultures, if not all of them, have developed some theory about what happens to personal consciousness after death.
Thanks to progress in medical science, more and more patients are resuscitated from clinical death. Some of them report experiences which bear great similarity, such as passing through a tunnel, being received by deceased members of the family, or a radiant figure, before entering in a heavenly sphere in a state of great euphoria.
As a result of continuing research in the last decades more and more of these experiences could be recorded, compared and analysed. It is noteworthy that these patients saw only relatives and friends who had died, in the 'hereafter'. In exceptional cases they even saw people who they surmised still being alive, but whose death announcement had not reached them as yet.


What do YOU think about near-death experiences?


---------------
BBC News--Evidence of 'life after death'
Ketamine and near-death experience
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 01:37 pm
People believe what they have learned in early childhood as well as what is comfortable to believe. I for one want to believe there is a hereafter. the older I get the more I want to believe and why because the thought of this being all there is is not comfortable. As far as near death experiences that may just be your mind playing tricks on you.
Eleven years ago I had a rather serious operation to remove a cancerous prostate and as luck would have it while in recovery I had a heart attack. To this day I can vividly see myself lying in recovery in the kitchen of a restaurant and the nurses besides taking care of me serving as waitresses. Was it a near death experience or simply a hallucination or possibly just a vivid dream.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Dec, 2002 02:08 pm
OK, I believe in immortality of soul and its possibility to be addressed to the Paradise or to the Hell after the body that carries it dies. But the word "dies" in my previous sentence implies irreversible biological death (if the intensive therapy specialists can distinguish clinical and biological deaths, then I am sure that this task is very easy for the Creator). The memories of the people that have undergone clinical death and were successfully resuscitated, have to my mind quite a materialistic cause: hallucinations caused by brain hypoxia. The similarity of such memories in the different people may be explained by more or less uniform basic background of the people belonging to the Western civilization (some of them claimed being atheists, but who knows what was hidden in their subconscious that was shaped under influence of the cultural environment similar in its basic features to environment of the Christian fundamentalists).
So, I want to conclude that (IMHO) no one has ever returned from the halfway to the Paradise/Hell, and their stories are result of pathologic processes in the brains suffocating without oxygen.
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Monger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 01:25 pm
steissd wrote:
The memories of the people that have undergone clinical death and were successfully resuscitated, have to my mind quite a materialistic cause: hallucinations caused by brain hypoxia.
...
So, I want to conclude that (IMHO) ... their stories are result of pathologic processes in the brains suffocating without oxygen.

Steissd, there've probably been more than a dozen theories proposed to explain near-death experiences, which include considerations of physiology, pharmacology, and psychology, but none as yet constitute proof that the experience is caused by one factor or another. About hypoxia specifically, persons suffering from that condition typically end up with a confused and muddled memory, quite the opposite of the clarity found in the near-death experience. This BBC News article notes that none of the patients who had near-death experiences in this particular study were found to be receiving low oxygen levels.


steissd wrote:
The similarity of such memories in the different people may be explained by more or less uniform basic background of the people belonging to the Western civilization (some of them claimed being atheists, but who knows what was hidden in their subconscious that was shaped under influence of the cultural environment similar in its basic features to environment of the Christian fundamentalists).

-- From what I've read, similar near-death experiences have been described across the world by people with diverse backgrounds, Western & non-Western.
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 02:27 pm
I don't WANT to be an "extinctivist", but I have no choice. I want there to be a Santa Claus, too; and an Easter Bunny-- but no amount of my wanting them to be real will make them reality. I would LOVE to be convinced otherwise, because I have a deep fear of oblivion, but...

Reality is that there is oblivion after death.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Dec, 2002 02:38 pm
My wife as a Buddhist believes in reincarnation. I am an atheist, and believe that our thought processes die when our body dies, because it can function only with liife. What we call "soul" and "spirit" are only biological functions of a brain that is alive. It ceaes to function upon death. c.i.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:07 am
after death
Equus, I admire your honesty. All of us seem to fear oblivion, even though it was not so troubling before we were born. I've said this elsewhere, that our concern with "afterlife" (what happens to us, our consciousness, after we die) has to do with the perpetuation of the ego, the SENSE of separate self. Our fear is not grounded in the fact that there was no self before life/birth--a kind of oblivion?--because there was no self to be lost in nothingness then. But consider this. When I say that I don't want to be in a state of oblivion, doesn't that mean that there will be a self (after I die) that WILL BE IN a state of nothingness? Makes no sense to me. After I die (stop living) there will no longer be a ME living or in a state of nothingness or oblivion. No subject for the predicate. Given this, it seems that the word, death, is meaningless. After my life ends there will be no LIFE, but there also will be no death since there will be no self to be in A STATE OF death. There will simply be no life and no self to be dead. To push the argument to its limit: there will also be no oblivion. But, and this has to do with C.I.'s wife's buddhism: there is no self now, only a sense of it (that some relgions have defined as a soul).
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 12:50 am
JLN, My simple mind cannot comprehend "There will simply be no life and no self to be dead." When my life expires, by all medical definition, I will be "dead." c.i.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 05:29 pm
death and the soul
C.I., I understand your confusion here; it's a difficult notion to express clearly. But let me try by noting that when "I" die, there will no longer be an "I" (actually there isn't one now; I just feel there is) that can be either in a state of Life or in a state of Death. Death, as a state of something, a predicate of a subject, has, therefore no meaning. If there is no longer a ME to be dead, there can be no death. This does NOT mean, however, that I would still be alive, of course.


Sorry, C.I. after writing the above, I looked up my original statement and found that I've done no more than repeat what I originally said.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 05:38 pm
JLN, Thanks for your efforts to enlighten us about non-existent "me." You really know how to confuse a guy. Next thing you'll be telling us is that our existence is only imaginary. I'll have to go back and restudy my Philosophy 101 course about "reality." c.i.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 09:28 pm
death
C.I. Don't pay attention to me unless it is pleasurable to do so. What I say can have no real effect on your life. But I WILL say that our existence--AS WE CONCEIVE IT--is imaginary. I remember once at the funeral of the wife of a grieving zen student that his "guru" took him aside and REMINDED him that he wife really never existed. I believe that there is a sense--a vitally important sense--in which the guru was right. In our everyday way of construing our lives, of course, it was non-sense.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Dec, 2002 09:32 pm
death
By the way, C.I. and Lola, you are great straight men.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Dec, 2002 12:09 pm
And nieve too! Wink c.i.
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babsatamelia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Dec, 2002 09:47 pm
I believe it is most difficult to believe in
anything.
I believe that we desperately desire to
believe in anything.
I believe that the concept of death and
all its finality HITS us at differing
times and stages of our lives and
throws us for a loop from which we
may never recover. Sad
I also believe that as long as I am me,
I can choose to believe whatever I want. :wink:
It doesn't have to be proven
It doesn't have to be true
It can be goosebumps that I feel
when I see a flower bloom on a
plant that has lain bloom-less for
years...until just that moment in time. :wink:
It can be the hardened heart that I
got from being told what I must or
must not believe in - Sad
- Which then relaxed into an easy
flowing river of thought and wonder
and ease and a kind of peace I
had never believed possible for ME Very Happy
in THIS life, until I let go of everything
I thought I knew. Smile
The thought that it doesn't matter Shocked
either way, any way, it is all going
to be just OKAY. :wink:
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babsatamelia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Dec, 2002 11:07 pm
OH by the way
I DO have a bit of a question here,
Are we our bodies??
for if so,
why do those same
bodies look so strange
after the incident known
to most as death?
I mean, a body, is a
body, is a body right?
SO, why should it change
the way it looks at all,
whether alive or dead?
It is just matter, right?
I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH
A REMARKABLE CHANGE
COME OVER TO A ROCK -
HAVE YOU???
Or, take a big piece of metal
depending on what it's
composed of it may rust
or not, but the kind of
GLARING, BUG EYED,
and very very odd
"CHANGE" that seems to
occur to the human body
after the occurence of "death"
is really weird, by comparison.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Dec, 2002 11:32 am
afterlife
Babsatamelia. I really enjoyed your last comment. I would add that your first statement that it is very hard to believe in anything is not my experience or that of most people. For me, at least, it is very hard to believe in nothing. To let go of the effort to put things in an order that I like. The best way to meditate, I am told, is to embrace unknowing, just to float into a state of mind in which you attach to no believe at all. I wonder if I can make the distinction between BELIEF and FAITH here. When most religious believers are confronted with an argument against their belief that they cannot answer, the say their belief is based on faith. I say it is based on fear of not believing their belief, or of having no orienting belief at all. To me, it takes a "faith," a confident, positive attitude, a willingness to EMBRACE reality whatever it is no mattter how unknowable or mysterious it is. Ultimately IT IS ME. If I have this attitude, this faith in the fact that the universe is just as it shoiuld be, and that I do not (and really cannot) understand it, at least not intellectually in terms of language, I am like the writer of a chinese fortune cookie I was fortunate enough to get. It said something like: "Why should I worry about the meaning of the universe? Why not just leave that as a problem for the universe, and spend my days with a smile?" If I recall that's the attitude you express at the end of your post.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Dec, 2002 11:36 am
afterlife
What I'm saying, Basa... is that if we have "faith" (as I've defined it) we do not need "belief" ; if we need belief it is because we have no faith.
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