Author Topic: Which religion has the best afterlife?  (Read 1838 times)

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Offline MadBunny

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Which religion has the best afterlife?
« on: January 16, 2014, 12:09:54 AM »
So I was reading the Adventures of Samurai cat a while ago.

In the book there is a point where he winds up in Valhalla, kicks Thor's ass, I think by chopping lightning in half, or something.  Various rather over the top things ensue.  One thing I remember from that section is that in Valhalla there was the hall of warriors. 

Every day they would get drunk on mead and party surrounded by Valkyrie. Every night they would have an epic battle, limbs chopped off, people falling off escarpments and so on, only to renew whole the next day, hand out awards for 'best death in battle',  'most heads chopped' and so on, and repeat.  Seemed like it might get a little old, but on the other hand a lot more interesting than sitting at the foot of a god forever.


So I was wondering, in a strictly comparative sense; Which religions have the best afterlife plan going? 


Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 12:38:35 AM »
Christianity. If you accept, for the sake of the discussion, the claims of Christianity then its afterlife will be perfect because:

* God made everything, and therefore anything we know as 'good' can only originate from God

* God called His created world 'very good'

* Sin, and as a result suffering and death, entered the world after mankind rebelled from God.

* When mankind is restored to God there will be no more suffering and death because mankind will be living as God originally intended

I know people speculate that they will get bored in heaven, singing songs of worship and walking around talking about pretty flowers with the angels. I don't think that will be the case at all. I think it will be like a hand going into a glove after spending all its life trying to fit into a shoe.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 12:59:11 AM »
But don't the Mormons each get their own PLANET when they die? 

I mean, Christianity is great and all, but seems kind lf lacking in retirement benefits.
I'm not too sure about Islam, but if I remember correctly it's essentially the same as Christianity but with a bunch of virgins as a bonus.


It goes without saying that for the sake of discussion, all religions are on equal footing here, 'as though' their claims were valid and real.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Fiji

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 03:24:37 AM »
Islam:

nice temperature, cool breeze, gorgeous girls feeding you delicious fruit. Lovely brook nearby. And you get a perfect wife upon entering heaven.

Which sounds sweet, right?

Except, "rampant whore in the sack" is not in the job description of this perfect wife.
Suppose you were married in life and still love your wife ... no, sorry, hand over the woman you love, here's a perfect wife for you. But I like my own wife. Nope, not gonna happen, you get this wife now, deal with it.
Suppose you're a heterosexual woman ... Sorry, no more dick for you, better learn to like pussy.
And you had better like unending constant screams of agony ... cause you can hear hell from heaven.

Actually, I'm going to worship Odin now.
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Offline natlegend

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 04:38:36 AM »
My JW friend said we'd be able to visit any planet we wanted. However...

Does anyone know, which would be the best afterlife for women? I was VERY disappointed to learn that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster offers an afterlife full of 'stripper factories and beer volcanoes'. I don't like strippers (not even of the male sort, being a heterosexual female myself), and I detest beer.

Are there ANY after life's that cater to women? At all?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 04:51:37 AM »
Satre said that hell is other people, and I think there's a lot of truth to that.  It makes me wonder whether a heaven is even potentially possible?

HEaven, to me, implies a state where I would be happy all the time.  I am happy a lot of the time on earth, but usually in specific situations doing specific things.  I can see me being happy in heaven, doing those things forever, but would everyone else be happy that way?  Sooner or later, there MUST be a conflict between what makes me happy, and what makes all the other hundred billion souls happy.
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 Fiji

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 05:24:03 AM »
Are there ANY after life's that cater to women? At all?

Throughout history, who has made up religions? Men.
Who has it best in the heavens of these religions? Men.
hmm, how odd.

So, the question really is, are their any religions made up by women?
I can't think of any.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 08:16:55 AM »
So, the question really is, are their any religions made up by women?

Loads of 'em, Fiji.  But naturally enough, they choose not to reveal their existence to us men......   ;)
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 Fiji

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 08:20:47 AM »
You know, that WOULD explain a lot.

Come to think of it, Wicca is generally woman-friendly ... is there some sort of heaven in wicca?
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 09:52:30 AM »

Wicca is generally woman-friendly

For current Wicca, that's an understatement. Which makes it all the more funny when you study the actual origins.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 10:02:07 AM »
Oh.  Reincarnation.  Absolutely.  I mean, who wants to do ANYTHING for all of eternity?  Sit on a cloud and play a harp?  Drink mead and have epic battles.  I mean, all of it would get old after a century or two. 

But reincarnation?  You can come back as ANYTHING.  Another human.  A sea slug.  Male.  Female.  Mammal.  Amphibian.  Reptile.  In some lives you would have amazing vision, that we humans can't even comprehend.  Or when you came back as a bat, you could use echo location.  During your countless human lives, you would live in different eco-systems, have different rituals and rites of passage, and witness everything from the changes that fire brought to your culture, to the changes that the internet brought to your culture.  In future lives, I imagine we will get to know life on other planets, and travel to the stars ourselves.  And I would guess, come back as those alien species too.  We will mourn  when our sun dies, but I imagine that we will all be far away from this solar system by then.  When our galaxy collides with our neighboring galaxy, we will probably have fled even farther than this little little corner of the universe. 

And after millions of lifetimes, imagine how much we will learn!  How much we will see.

Now this would not get boring. 

So hands down.  I vote for reincarnation. 

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 11:11:16 AM »
And after millions of lifetimes, imagine how much we will learn!  How much we will see.

Now this would not get boring. 

So hands down.  I vote for reincarnation.

You mean like the Buddhist version where if you live a good life you come back as a better animal, but if you're a jerk you come back as a stupid one, like a tsetse fly?

Oddly, I was talking with my wife about this.  She pointed out that this seems like a good idea, with two glaring exceptions:

First, The Dali Llama is screwed.  Keeps getting reincarnated as himself. 
Second, what if you get reincarnated as one of those immortal jellyfish?  On one hand... immortality!  Woo!  On the other hand... jellyfish.

Have to admit though..
Quote
But reincarnation?  You can come back as ANYTHING.  Another human.  A sea slug.  Male.  Female.  Mammal.  Amphibian.  Reptile.  In some lives you would have amazing vision, that we humans can't even comprehend.  Or when you came back as a bat, you could use echo location.  During your countless human lives, you would live in different eco-systems, have different rituals and rites of passage, and witness everything from the changes that fire brought to your culture, to the changes that the internet brought to your culture.
This does have a lot of appeal.



As for Islam...

I'm not so sure about that.  My co-workers joke that there is nothing that says your 72 virgins are of a particular age or appearance.  Remember Mo married one of his wives at nine years old.  Being the afterlife it isn't like you can just wait for her to age.. she'll *always* be nine.  Then, I recall a former (Muslim) members who tried to point out that they weren't actually human, just sort of... 'cows' in a pleasing shape for you to do with as you will.   That... doesn't appeal to much either.

Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Dante

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 11:27:54 AM »
Then, I recall a former (Muslim) members who tried to point out that they weren't actually human, just sort of... 'cows' in a pleasing shape for you to do with as you will.   

Mmmmm....virgin burgers!
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Fiji

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 01:23:51 PM »
The 72 virgins are not in the quran, they're from one of the less trustworthy hadiths ... and hadiths aren't terribly trustworthy to begin with.
But, hey, there are SOME theist out there that believe it, so I guess it counts.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 04:56:05 PM »


Quote
The Polynesian conception of the universe and its division is nicely illustrated by a famous drawing made by a Tuomotuan chief in 1869. Here, the nine heavens are further divided into left and right, and each stage is associated with a stage in the evolution of the earth that is portrayed below. The lowest division represents a period when the heavens hung low over the earth, which was inhabited by animals that were not known to the islanders. In the third division is shown the first murder, the first burials, and the first canoes, built by Rata. In the fourth division, the first coconut tree and other significant plants are born.

From the great Wiki.

Seems to be an evolving heaven?

Not sure how awesome this would be, since it seems to be the first time I've seen a religion illustrate that it gets smaller as the gaps in their religion are carved out.  Guess eventually this heaven will just be 'then you die'.

Not the greatest afterlife.  I think I'll give this one a miss, though it might be nice for those who really, really want a tropical setting after they die.  On the plus side, probably won't have to worry about that whole 'well damn, what am I going to do for the next infinity of time?
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 07:11:40 PM »
@Madbunny-

Yeah.  I mean, my problem with folks who believe in and practice the idea of reincarnation is that when they look at someone who is poor or starving, or someone with a terrible, painful sickness, or someone who suffers abuse, they get to explain away their inaction or lack of empathy by adhering to the idea that this suffering human being really screwed up in a previous life, and is getting what s/her deserves.

But if it really were true, it would be so much fun.  George W would come back as an amoeba[1], and I think that Dick Cheney would make a wonderful immortal jellyfish.  I imagine I'd probably come back as a dolphin.  Joy and play and a strong community.  But karma would probably put me in semi-polluted waters, to get back at me for all the times in my life I was too lazy to follow recycling protocols. 

Now I think that all of the folks who believe in the caste systems of South Asia (many of whom also believe in reincarnation) should be put into the untouchable category if they were a high caste and only moderately concerned about the welfare of others. A few generations as a cockroach for those really nasty high cast members.

Those responsible for the genocide against countless native American tribes?  Have them come back as Thanksgiving turkeys.  And not the free range ones.  The ones raised in tiny spaces, born to be slaughtered. 

Obama?  Damn him.  I think he has enough amazing qualities to come back as a human.  But one who is destined to be maimed by a drone in his youth. 

My childhood dog will come back as some sort of James Bondish super-spy - forever investigating and having adventures and being... ummm... promiscuous.  Sweet Pepe.  He sired a lot of puppies in the neighborhood when I was growing up.  But the great love of his life was a German Shepard named Butch who lived across the street.  I hope that they can be together in future lives.

Yeah.  I vote for reincarnation and karma. 

 Had to google that immortal jellyfish...
 1. some folks just need to go back and start at the beginning

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 08:37:44 PM »
Quesi, I'd like to see Dick Cheney come back as a human. Trying something new is good for a life form.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 09:10:18 PM »
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 09:35:00 PM »
It isn't an official afterlife, but I kind of like the idea of a really really long life.
If you think about it, the appeal of something like say, reincarnation as other creatures the appeal there is that you get to experience new and exciting things.  Perhaps with a reasonable sized group of similar individuals.

 

I'd like to live for a few thousand years, maybe ten or twenty.  Given a good space ship and the ability to explore the galaxy, either by sleeping through the voyages or time dilation.

Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 11:04:28 PM »
Are there ANY after life's that cater to women? At all?

Throughout history, who has made up religions? Men.
Who has it best in the heavens of these religions? Men.
hmm, how odd.

So, the question really is, are their any religions made up by women?
I can't think of any.
The Aboriginals,and maybe others who believe in rebirth of a soul....everything is equal here maybe...no?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2014, 04:49:19 AM »
Yeah.  I vote for reincarnation and karma. 

But in practical terms, how is reincarnation any different to death without afterlife?  There is no continuity of consciousness when I come back as a pope, or a seaslug, so "Anfauglir" is dead and gone forever.  "Anfauglir" doesn't get an afterlife.

If there is an intelligence - lets call him Bob - which incarnates into bodies, then on death recalls not only their memories as Bob but also their memories as Anfauglir (sorta like me watching a really engrossing film) then I can see the point for Bob.  But I can't see any point for Anfauglir in reincarnation.
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 Fiji

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 05:51:46 AM »
In the world of the Ptavvs, Larry Niven makes the case that if the minds of a recent, inexperienced telepath and an old, experienced telepath mix, it's the personality of the older one that will assume control as the older one will be used to having foreign thoughts mixed in with its own.
Something similar could very well happen here. The Anfauglir personality will simply absorb 'Bob' as being new experiences. Just like present day Anfauglir accepts the sight of his alarm clock, first thing in the morning, as a new experience.
From the reincarnated Anfauglir's point of view, in stead of going to sleep, he, one day, lay down and died, only to pop out of his new mother the very next morning.
Has 'Anfauglir' survived? Excellent question.

Another excellent question ... how would society work if most babies were born with personalities already installed?
And, wouldn't the first year be absolute torture for the reincarnated? Loads of stuff you want to do, but are fysically unable to. Or would memories fade in gradually as the developing brain allowed for them?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2014, 07:12:05 AM »
Something similar could very well happen here. The Anfauglir personality will simply absorb 'Bob' as being new experiences. Just like present day Anfauglir accepts the sight of his alarm clock, first thing in the morning, as a new experience.
From the reincarnated Anfauglir's point of view, in stead of going to sleep, he, one day, lay down and died, only to pop out of his new mother the very next morning.
Has 'Anfauglir' survived? Excellent question.

Which consciousness (if either) survives is the whole crux of reincarnation for me.  If Anfauglir dies, and baby Tessa is born to live a life with no recollection of Anfauglir, I see no way that Anfauglir has been "reincarnated".  The only way it makes sense - is in any way different from Anfauglir finishing and Tessa being a brand new consciousness - is if there IS an overarching consciousness that runs between incarnations that is able to recall all prior incarnations (and hopefully be able to act on them).

For an incarnation to subscume that inter-incarnation consciousness a la Niven makes little sense to me (though no reason it has to be "sensible" at all!). 

- - - -

From a practical point of view, I dont think reincarnation "works", if we are assuming that ALL life froms are fair game for a new home?  Consider: what is the numerical relationship between all humans who have ever lived, and all lifeforms (ants, maggots, etc) alive today?  To fill out the biosphere today, everyone could only have had one shot at humanity before coming back as some animal or insect.

And thats a maximum.  Population had been increasing during the millennia.  We presumably have to allow for 7 billion consciousnesses now (just for humans) - how many humans have lived on the planet to date?  I heard 80 billion (though that may be apocryphal), but odds are that a whole lot of humans around today are either first-run incarnations full stop, or the first "go" at human incarnation after several tries as jellyfish, velociraptor, penguin, and mammoth.

How does reincarnation evalauate how "good" a life a cow lives, when determining what that consciousnesses next incarnation would be?
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 MadBunny

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2014, 11:12:43 AM »
In the world of the Ptavvs, Larry Niven makes the case that if the minds of a recent, inexperienced telepath and an old, experienced telepath mix, it's the personality of the older one that will assume control as the older one will be used to having foreign thoughts mixed in with its own.

Brin has a book called 'Kiln People' which deals with the idea of duplicating your consciousness and reintegrating it's experiences back into the host body.  In this book people essentially stamp out functional golems of themselves, powered by fiction magic and carry on about their day.  The copies *are* them duplicated into the new body, so if you have a busy day you would stamp out say five of yourself.  Have one mow the lawn, do the dishes, pay the bills etc.. while the others go to work, the beach and a dayclub.  You yourself could do any of these or none.  Each version of you would consider itself to be an original, having your unique first person perspective though being in an obvious copy understand that it's a copy.

At the end of X period of time the memories are re-integrated back into the original creating a continuum of consciousness.  The original 'remembers' all the stuff the others did.

This kind of seems like what Anfauglir is talking about in terms of a continuous consciousness.  It would sort of suck to be a work with the full memories of being an eagle, velociraptor and motivational speaker.  "Mmmm, more dirt" is probably as complex as their brains go.

*but* if that life experience could be collected into a 'primary' conscious that maintains continuity then the unique experiences of each life could be distilled and appreciated. 

So worm-Anfauglir wouldn't remember that other stuff until it died, but prime-Anfauglir *would* and could appreciate the unique perspective of each life form it lived.

----------- - -

Kind of makes sense I guess.  I mean the whole concept of 'afterlife' is that our conscious, or what we consider as 'us' remains intact.  If we become something other then what's the point?  Reincarnation would ruin that without some sort of collective interpretation of experiences.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2014, 01:25:24 PM »
Meanwhile - in the Christian heaven....

I understood god lived outwith time. Outwith time is, broadly, eternity which is really just the absence of time. My fear of going to such a heaven would be that it would be 5 mins before dinner time and, of course, the clock would never advance and we would never get dinner.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Which religion has the best afterlife?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2014, 05:37:23 AM »
I understood god lived outwith time. Outwith time is, broadly, eternity which is really just the absence of time. My fear of going to such a heaven would be that it would be 5 mins before dinner time and, of course, the clock would never advance and we would never get dinner.

Never mind that.

You know when you have a stomach bug, and you are standing in the bathroom, head pounding, and you know that any moment now you are going to be violently sick.  You can feel it there, and any moment now......

What if THAT is the moment you are stuck in for eternity?
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?