Author Topic: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?  (Read 1059 times)

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Offline Lectus

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Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« on: September 07, 2012, 04:42:28 PM »
What do you believe that happens after death? Do you have a soul?


My opinion:
I never really thought death is a big deal as people seem to make it. All animals and plants die. It's natural.

I don't think I need to believe I have a soul (without proof).

I believe the planet will recycle my matter to give life to other animals and plants. And it's beautiful in itself.

I also believe the energy used by my body will transform into other forms of energy in the universe. For instance the heat will spread away.

So, in that sense we're all immortal. We don't need to be saved by any deity, because it's the law of the universe. Everything transforms into something.

Eventually Earth will be destroyed. Well, the Sun is a star and all stars die some day. And this planet will be re-utilized by the universe in some way.

I believe the universe is alive and each planet is a cell of this big body. In essence we're too small to be image of God. But we're part of something big.
Religion: The belief that an all powerful God or gods created the entire universe so that we tiny humans can be happy. And we also make war about it.

Online One Above All

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 04:46:27 PM »
There is no "after death". At least not from the perspective of the one who dies. You cease existing at the moment of death. That's what death is. There are no magical parts of you that lives on. Even your "universe is alive" thing (and the rest of your attempt to rationalize death as being something "beautiful") is false. You're gone. Period. It's no more beautiful/interesting/good/poetic than before you're born.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Lectus

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 05:02:48 PM »
Well, my theory is that we're similar to the universe.

We're born, then we grow, then we die.

The universe is expanding. It may die sometime and restart everything.
Religion: The belief that an all powerful God or gods created the entire universe so that we tiny humans can be happy. And we also make war about it.

Offline Strawman

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 05:06:30 PM »
It's a testament to evolution that we even care about this sort of thing.
I go back and forth from being scared of death to seeing the beauty in returning my body to the universe to make new things.
I saw an amazing programme where (I might have this very wrong) they chemically tagged molecules in a dead rat and buried it under a seed. The plant grew and they analysed the plant and could detect the specific molecules that were once part of the rat spread all over the plant's body. It was all part of an experiment on decomposition: they set up a fake room filled with food and insects and let nature take its course for about two months.

Death isn't as final as it sounds, when people say you rot in the ground that's just the start of it!
If God exists at all he clearly wishes to reside exclusively in the imagination.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 05:07:10 PM »
One Above All is quite a literalist. 

I like Neil Degrasse Tyson's poetic explanation about our connection to time and space a bit better. 


Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 05:10:19 PM »
The mind has this amazing ability to distort time, including the ability to expand time.  Think what happens when your mind constructs a whole narrative story (usually absurd) around a sound that eventually awakens you from sleep. 

Also, there is the idea that because a line can be sliced into infinitely smaller segments and fractions of segments, there can be an infinite number of points on any given line...

Because of these two facts, I wonder what kind of hallucinatory reality our brains might make as the last tiny molecules of oxygen get used up. 

Because of the brain's ability to distort and expand subjective time, and because of the possibility of infinitely smaller fractions of time, I think it would be possible to have a hallucinatory afterlife that would seem as though it were many years long.  (Also, the mind's ability to create retroactive falsehoods, as seen with victims of 'false memory syndrome,' that would also effectively expand the time span of the hallucinatory reality.)

From the standpoint of the person experiencing a deathbed hallucination, the difference between his hallucination and objective reality would be irrelevant.  For that person, the hallucination might as well be real. 

No way to know, of course. 


Offline Timo

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 05:14:17 PM »
Yeah, I think that, and this is actually a point where I agree with a lot of religious people, wherever it is we go after we die is likely where we started.  The difference, I suppose, is that I don't think that there's a there there.  I don't think that I have a soul, or better that I am a soul.  I don't think that there is a heaven or an ultimate reality from which we, or our spirits come and to which we will ultimately return.  I think that whatever animates me and makes me, me as opposed to some other combination of atoms dies with me.  But the raw materials of which I am composed won't die with me.  They'll go on to be something else.  Hopefully something cool.  But either way, I won't be around to assess the relative coolness of it.  (But it better be cool.)

As far as your ideas go, I don't know that I would say that the planet or the universe is alive in some meaningful way, but if that's how you want to look at things, I don't see a problem with it.  The long and short of it is that we're not long for this world.  On this front, I'd go with the lovely bit from Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson that Quesi was kind enough to post.  Whatever it is that all this is, we're a part of it and always have been.  And that's neat.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 05:20:09 PM »
The mind has this amazing ability to distort time, including the ability to expand time.  Think what happens when your mind constructs a whole narrative story (usually absurd) around a sound that eventually awakens you from sleep. 

Also, there is the idea that because a line can be sliced into infinitely smaller segments and fractions of segments, there can be an infinite number of points on any given line...

Because of these two facts, I wonder what kind of hallucinatory reality our brains might make as the last tiny molecules of oxygen get used up. 

Because of the brain's ability to distort and expand subjective time, and because of the possibility of infinitely smaller fractions of time, I think it would be possible to have a hallucinatory afterlife that would seem as though it were many years long.  (Also, the mind's ability to create retroactive falsehoods, as seen with victims of 'false memory syndrome,' that would also effectively expand the time span of the hallucinatory reality.)

From the standpoint of the person experiencing a deathbed hallucination, the difference between his hallucination and objective reality would be irrelevant.  For that person, the hallucination might as well be real. 

No way to know, of course.

My father was getting hospice care, and had a hospital bed set up in the dining room.  The hospice worker, the nurses aid, everyone seemed to know it was his last day.  We sat in the adjacent kitchen, listening to his breathing get slower and weaker.  We gathered around him, and his breathing stopped.  I think we all stopped breathing too.  Tears were streaming down my face. 

He was gone.

We all stood there.  Maybe it was a minute.  Maybe not that long.

My mom leaned over and kissed him on the lips.

My father lifted his head as my mother pulled away from this kiss.  He then exhaled and his head fell back down to the bed. 

I cannot imagine a more beautiful death. 

Offline Betelnut

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 05:57:29 PM »
After death, I will decay unless I'm cremated.  No "life" that's for sure!  Oh!  And no soul.

Online One Above All

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 02:38:12 AM »
One Above All is quite a literalist. 

It's simply the truth. We are not immortal. At least not yet. We don't "live on" or "go back to the Earth" or whatever the hell people delude themselves into thinking. We're gone. Poof. The end. There is no magic, poetry or greater meaning behind it.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline wright

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 03:52:52 AM »
The mind has this amazing ability to distort time, including the ability to expand time.  Think what happens when your mind constructs a whole narrative story (usually absurd) around a sound that eventually awakens you from sleep. 

Indeed. I've had some very pleasant, epic (seemingly taking years) dreams in just that way. An interesting concept, flapdoodle: the "afterlife" as a last, good dream / hallucination before death.

I'd far rather not die, but accept that one day in the next thirty years or so I will. I no longer believe in an afterlife; no aspect of my physical being (save perhaps a donated organ or two) will survive my death. Those who loved me will mourn and move on with their lives, as I've mourned my dead and gone on with mine.

My last wishes will, I hope, be respected and my ashes buried in a certain location on my family's property. I like to think of "my" atoms slowly spreading out, entering the soil, the water and even the plants, worms and beetles that will help disperse my remains. But the pleasure I take in contemplating that is purely in the here and now; I certainly won't be there to witness it.  ;)

I cannot imagine a more beautiful death. 

Thanks for sharing that, Quesi. We should all die so gracefully and in loving company.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 05:57:10 AM »
Because of the brain's ability to distort and expand subjective time, and because of the possibility of infinitely smaller fractions of time, I think it would be possible to have a hallucinatory afterlife that would seem as though it were many years long.  (Also, the mind's ability to create retroactive falsehoods, as seen with victims of 'false memory syndrome,' that would also effectively expand the time span of the hallucinatory reality.)

From the standpoint of the person experiencing a deathbed hallucination, the difference between his hallucination and objective reality would be irrelevant.  For that person, the hallucination might as well be real. 

Flapdoodle, this is exactly what is happening to you right now.  Sorry I didn't brake in time.....
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 09:04:06 AM »
You die, you die and you end and that's it for you. But you may find some beauty in what happens after you're dead. You cease to experience anything, of course, because you're dead. Your body may provide nutrients to provide life elsewhere and that can be a poetic thing, because you you might like the idea of your body not going to waste and it being useful for something. The other thing that may live on, is your legacy, which may not be immortal, but it lives on through how you've affected other people's lives and the impact you've made when you were alive. You'll be remembered in the minds of those who loved you and if you've made a big impact, it may extend that.

An interesting story is that of the Epic of Gilgamesh, essentially he finds the secret to Immortality, but has lost it and yet, because he was a real man we could say that the story itself has immortalised him. Whilst we may know very little about the man, becuase the story remained in orality for a long time after his death and we know what storytelling is like, bits can be added and be taken away before it is finally written down. But he is remembered and maybe the idea that you can be remembered long after your death is a comforting thing. You're not physically there and you have not attained immortality, but when you cease to exist you don't cease to have an effect on the world.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 11:01:07 AM by Seppuku »
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Offline wright

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2012, 11:21:26 AM »
The other thing that may live on, is your legacy, which may not be immortal, but it lives on through how you've affected other people's lives and the impact you've made when you were alive. You'll be remembered in the minds of those who loved you and if you've made a big impact, it may extend that.

<snip>

But he is remembered and maybe the idea that you can be remembered long after your death is a comforting thing. You're not physically there and you have not attained immortality, but when you cease to exist you don't cease to have an effect on the world.

Good point, Seppuku. Certainly it's something I take comfort in: the trees and gardens I've planted and tended, the family business I have helped to run, the poems I've written, the children I've helped (even in a small way) to raise, the people I've loved. All these will survive my death. Not forever, but then even mountains don't last forever.

And I think most of us would be pleasantly surprised (I'm an optimist) at just how far our legacies reach, especially in terms of affecting other people. Since I've pushed on into middle age I've become acutely aware of that: coworkers, the guy who delivers uniforms at the warehouse, the cashier at the supermarket, the staff at the library, even the homeless couple who wait by the parking lot for handouts. Unless you're a devout hermit, you have a routine that impacts others and are part of their routines.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2012, 02:37:17 PM »

I used to hear people say 'Well no-one has ever come back and told us about it have they!?' about 'life' after death.

But they can't say that any more -

http://www.near-death.com/

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2012, 02:39:31 PM »

I used to hear people say 'Well no-one has ever come back and told us about it have they!?' about 'life' after death.

But they can't say that any more -

http://www.near-death.com/

*Insert yawn here*
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20509.0.html

EDIT: Long story short, there's no magical afterlife. No magic whatsoever, in fact.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One/Orion.

Offline Aerial

Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2012, 02:50:25 PM »
It's a testament to evolution that we even care about this sort of thing.
I go back and forth from being scared of death to seeing the beauty in returning my body to the universe to make new things.


Awesome mindset. I think this sort of thing can help to soften the blow of ceasing to be.

Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2012, 03:12:02 PM »
   It's not death that I'm afraid of, it's the process of dying, loss of function,loss of ability, etc. that bothers me. As far as a soul is concerned, absolutely no evidence of a soul = no soul.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 03:14:16 PM by mrbiscoop »
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2012, 04:05:33 PM »
   It's not death that I'm afraid of, it's the process of dying, loss of function,loss of ability, etc. that bothers me. As far as a soul is concerned, absolutely no evidence of a soul = no soul.

Agreed. To add, dying feeling I haven't lived (goes hand in hand with dying young too). Personally I don't want immortality, but ceasing to exist, I think there's to be found there. The pain and suffering is not something anybody would want, I'd want it to be quick and painless as possible and to be easiest for those around me.

Quote from: wright
And I think most of us would be pleasantly surprised (I'm an optimist) at just how far our legacies reach, especially in terms of affecting other people. Since I've pushed on into middle age I've become acutely aware of that: coworkers, the guy who delivers uniforms at the warehouse, the cashier at the supermarket, the staff at the library, even the homeless couple who wait by the parking lot for handouts. Unless you're a devout hermit, you have a routine that impacts others and are part of their routines.

We're a socially dependent species who has grown to such heights that no one's success can be put solely on themselves. Our society is built on the efforts of those who came before us and we are building it further for those who come after us. Every achievement is supported by the achievements of others. I think this was what Obama was actually trying to get across when he made is "you did not build that" speech people love taking out of context. They take it to mean "you've not achieved anything" but what it actually means, "you did not achieve it on your own, because people built the bridges to make your achievements possible." Like with the invention of the internet, without it, internet businesses would not even exist. As a hobbyist programmer anything I create in C# or when I dare venture into the realm of C++, it's not solely my work, it is the work of those who wrote the tutorials I have followed, it is the work of those who painstakingly wrote the documentation, it is the work of those who created the SDKs/libraries I use, it is the work of those who created the APIs they work within, it is the work of those who developed the languages I work in and those who developed the languages they worked in and you can keep going back looking to see whose hard work has made such things possible. In the respect, it actually makes me feel kinda small. :P But it shows what impact people can have and the greatness they can leave behind, no matter how great or mundane they are.

Though, of course, not every legacy is a positive one and not every impact great. Not to try and suggest these rather idealistic, optistic and hopeful ideas of humanity and society, because there's the darker side of humanity to balance it. If we're going to use the rather geeky programming analogy I used, think of it as Windows 8.  ;D
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Offline Aerial

Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2012, 04:15:56 PM »
Don't mean to dampen things but even a legacy does not last long.
Most legacy's...family types will fall after one or two generations, disappear.
Greatness...like internet or similar will die out with death of the solar system...or long before that with the death of humanity through its own stupidity.
Either way it will all end eventually.'
have a nice evening.  :)

Offline Garja

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2012, 06:07:42 PM »
I think that was the saddest part for me once I came to the realization that a "soul" and a "life after death" was a complete fiction.  A combination of realizing that I truly would NEVER see my grandparents again (and hell, Ive had some pets that were pretty special *pours one out for fallen cat "Corduroy"*), and not being able to talk directly to God and say... "seriously, life... all that shit.... wtf?".
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2012, 06:18:01 PM »
Don't mean to dampen things but even a legacy does not last long.
Most legacy's...family types will fall after one or two generations, disappear.
Greatness...like internet or similar will die out with death of the solar system...or long before that with the death of humanity through its own stupidity.
Either way it will all end eventually.'
have a nice evening.  :)

Of course, I mean nothing lasts forever. :) For some it's longer than others, I guess it depends on what you've done and some degree of luck. The effects of what you do could live longer, but as always, it depends. I mean I am sure there are many great people in history who have been forgotten who have contributed greatly to things we might take for granted. Heck, I don't even know the guy or girl who discovered that you could brew tea...or the guy or girl who discovered that you could put milk and sugar in it. In my eyes, they are the greatest 2 people to have ever lived, yet I ashamed I do not know who they are.  ;)
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Offline joebbowers

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2012, 12:31:13 AM »

I used to hear people say 'Well no-one has ever come back and told us about it have they!?' about 'life' after death.

But they can't say that any more -

http://www.near-death.com/

Near death experiences.

Near death.

Near death.
Near death.
Near death.

Get it now Dominic?

When someone's been dead for a few months then come back to tell us about it, I'll listen. And not "vegetative state" dead, not "heart stopped for a few seconds on the operating table" dead. I mean dead as in "organs donated", "body embalmed", "buried or cremated" dead.
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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2012, 07:23:15 AM »
I think in his mind, that straddle is accomodated easily by the fact that the magic ghost that lives in our bodies can't be re-accepted by the body after the body has deteriorated.

In make believe, you can make any shit up, as long as your gut tells you it makes sense and it feels good.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2012, 07:30:58 AM »
Being dead is like it was when you were not born.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Garja

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2012, 09:18:36 AM »

When someone's been dead for a few months then come back to tell us about it, I'll listen. And not "vegetative state" dead, not "heart stopped for a few seconds on the operating table" dead. I mean dead as in "organs donated", "body embalmed", "buried or cremated" dead.

But Joe... that.... that would take a legitimate miracle!  &)
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Offline Emily

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2012, 09:25:04 AM »

I used to hear people say 'Well no-one has ever come back and told us about it have they!?' about 'life' after death.

But they can't say that any more -

http://www.near-death.com/

That page is just horrible. It's just laid out horribly.

People can be 'near death' and 'come back'. But no one has ever been dead and came back. Your heart may stop, but you still have brain function to produce all these vivid images that are seen, like the light at the end of the tunnel, or their own body on a gurney. Their heart will start back up giving the illusion of them being actually dead, even though they still had some brain activity, and wasn't dead at all.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2012, 09:53:00 AM »
If you look at the ads at the side of the page, it gives you an indication of the type of person who is reading the site.  That page had an ad for psychics.
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Online Graybeard

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Re: Do you believe you have a soul? What happens after death?
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2012, 10:27:01 AM »
The first experiment to weigh a human soul: apparently, the answer is ¾oz (21g) http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”