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What is the imagination for?
I imagine it is likely that the capacity to imagine evolved because it's a big advantage in planning ahead for different scenarios and contingencies. Think of primitive hunters imagining how to bring down a mammoth with just puny spears and teamwork, talking tactics before the hunt about possible 'what-ifs' and ideas to avoid being killed, while also imagining a threat to families left behind from predators and enemy tribes, and then taking action to minimise risks. 

Did you ever think if we knew the truth about heaven we'd flock there like birds and never go through this part of life?  There have been many times I felt like going not even knowing with absolute certainty but believing it is better than here.  What stopped me, I'll tell you what, the unknown. 
That is a brave admission of ignorance Junebug72.  Actually I'm going to +1 the integrity of it  :)

That's what.  If we had tour guides and brochures we'd all take that one way trip to peace.  We don't though and that is why,IMO.  We would not care to cure disease it would be a different life.  It would have a profound effect about the way we don't live this life.
These are powerful thoughts from you Junebug72.
And since there is no clarity or evidence of an afterlife we really should place greater value on our lives and the lives we can touch here on this earth - where we know for sure it's all real. This is the life where we know love exists and makes a difference.
Strong beliefs about second chances to be happy diminishes our lives right here and now.  Islamic suicide bombers have clear beliefs about their own post-bang privileges in heaven!  Think of the amazing case of Mother Teresa, who many people see as an icon of love, but who was so intent on preparing sick people for an afterlife that she stopped worrying about cures, diagnosing illnesses, using pain killers, and even let basic hygiene standards slip ... stopped using fresh or disinfected hypodermic needles on patients  :-

On the other hand if there was indeed a loving God out there, why wouldn't it be ABSOLUTELY clear about the incentive of heaven and the hurdles to qualify. What does it have to lose?  Something as amazing as a God could easily come up with an unambiguous policy: "My people, exercise pure love in all your dealings with each other, the animals, and the environment. Don't try check out early without my consent, before you've completed the tests I give you, or you will disqualify yourself from the reward. Your reward, if you pass the pure love test, will be precisely as follows ...."

But there's nothing like that - only our various theologies, conflicting ideas, and imprecise imaginings.  All completely lacking in foundation except theology - basically the cunning and manipulative stories of schizotypal shamans contrived to secure their own little slice of heaven on earth in this life.  There no evidence, no physics, and no sound reasoning to back up any of humankind's wild imaginings about heaven. 

I wish I could help you find your truth I really do.
Yep, that would be nice - I understand and hold nothing against you for not being able to help.
So meanwhile I'm going to live my life as if it is the only one I'll ever have. (I wish I hadn't wasted a few decades of my life through being brainwashed as a child and then grappling with the obvious gap between reality and religious belief.)  For the rest of my life I want to act with as much integrity and courage as I can muster. No beliefs where there is no evidence. Happy to change belief where there is new evidence.  BS detector turned up to the maximum setting.

If there is a God or some kind of supreme thing out there with a place for me after death, let it make itself known to me.  My mind is open.
Changed Change Reason Date
junebug72 well put September 22, 2013, 05:42:41 AM
neopagan your last point would make a great personal credo September 21, 2013, 06:53:54 PM
jynnan tonnix excellent. September 21, 2013, 12:27:03 PM
Traveler Lots of excellent points. September 21, 2013, 11:35:31 AM