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Topic: All religion is the answer to the fear of the experience of death.

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Subject: All religion is the answer to the fear of the experience of death.
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2009
Posts: 169
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Without knowing what happens after death, some have no choice but to run to Christianity, Isalm, Hinduism, etc.

I admit, it takes alot of guts to be an Atheist, or Agnostic and know that he or she is about to die. I wonder what they experience once they do so?

I do take comfort in the fact that all of us will each find out in our own time. 

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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.



Last Edited on: 9/20/09 3:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 6/26/2009 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2009
Posts: 169
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So you convinced yourself of something you don't know the answer of?

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Yes, just like all the religious believers who have convinced themselves of something they don't the answer of.

 

Date Posted: 6/27/2009 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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I feel the same way.  I think most religious belief stems around a curiosity of what happens to us after we die.  As an atheist, I used to be afraid of death, but as I matured, I realized that there was a time when I did not exist in the world, and there will be a time when I don't exist again.  My body will return to the same earth I came from, and that actually brings me comfort.  The idea that I am part of nature brings me a lot of peace.

I do not believe that there is a supernatural deity or creator, and I also think that if there were, we wouldn't be so afraid to die and go to a wonderful afterlife....we would welcome it.  As it is, everyone is afraid to die.  Our natural instincts are those of preservation and life.  I plan on living and enjoying my life as long as humanly possible.  Science has discredited a great many myths and superstitions over the years, and I believe that if mankind if around long enough, religious ideas will be a thing of the past.  Spirituality, which I consider a different thing, will remain as long as the human spirit does.

I don't have a problem with other people believing differently.  I do have a problem with people expecting me to believe what they believe and live accordingly.   I laugh when I think about how each of us will find out the truth once and for all when we die.  I don't believe there will be anything to find out....I'll just be dead.  I won't get to do an "A-ha!  I was right!".  Ultimately, I'll never get to confirm my beliefs.  I have no reason to believe anything differently though.

Date Posted: 7/5/2009 1:37 AM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2007
Posts: 21,061
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I don't have a problem with other people believing differently.  I do have a problem with people expecting me to believe what they believe and live accordingly.

DITTO  ;  D

Date Posted: 7/5/2009 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Well, besides the 'assurance' that most religions give adherents that there is 'eternal life' or 'blessed nothingness' or whatever, after physical death Here and Now,there is another 'good' thing about most of the faiths-----most of them prescribe a 'proper' way of conducting one's self iduring one's mortal span.  Usually it's a version of "the Golden Rule" of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Don't you think a more basic question for human beings is "Is there meaning in the cosmos, or not?"   Admittedly, the notion of 'happenstance' or 'randomness' or 'chance' is difficult to grapple with . . . .

Date Posted: 7/21/2009 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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I'm not sure that I buy the premise of the thread.  I think a more common origin of religion would be a "why the heck did that just happen?" experience, regarding almost anything that we don't understand.  Death, I suppose, but also earthquakes, or lightning, or a sudden outbreak of plague.  Whatever we don't have an immediate explanation for is prime ground for developing a new religion or expanding an existing one.

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
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I think this thread suffers from the biggest issue we have here in the West, and that is stereotyping. you are taking 1 aspect of what religions discuss, and actiung as if they all center around that. With that type of close minded thinking, how are you any different from the close minded fundies?

 
Date Posted: 7/31/2009 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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Last Edited on: 7/17/11 4:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/1/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
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I think a more common origin of religion would be a "why the heck did that just happen?" experience, regarding almost anything that we don't understand.

I agree with this. Ancient religous grew from the need to explain the world around us. Why does the sun shine for a few hours then go away? Must be a sun god! That's a simplification, of course,  but the basic idea.

I think the concept of an "afterlife" is just icing on the cake for religions and -- importantly -- a way to get followers to tow the line. "If you don't do what we in power say, you will go to some form of hell". What an awesome way to get and keep power!

What happens after we die? Why does it matter? Shouldn't you just live the best life you can now?

Date Posted: 8/2/2009 4:41 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2009
Posts: 169
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Death is like jumping off a diving board blind-folded. The most alien experience to ever happen to a human on planet earth is their own individual death.

There's something to fear about the possible realities of what death could be like.

 

 

Date Posted: 8/16/2009 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 161
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My views are different. it doesnt go

Life ---------> Death for me. more like

Life ----------> Death ----------> Life

I see a cycle in Nature. Life and Death repeating over and over. I feel that I am a part of that cycle.

So in a way there is no afterlife for me, maybe just a changing room ;)

Subject: Watching people die...
Date Posted: 8/25/2009 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2009
Posts: 1
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Since I have some experience with being with people as they die, with them before they die and after they die I'm adding my comment. Religion is not just about death. It's about having something or someone to talk to and plead with. I don't pray hardly at all...but let me have something to pray about...my home after a hurricane, the safety of my child driving on freeways...I pray. Okay maybe just praying does not constitute being religious to some. Do I believe in the bible. No I do not. Do I believe the story of Jesus...no I do not. But I still find myself praying.

Subject: Near death experience books?
Date Posted: 9/2/2009 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
Posts: 1,065
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How do you view them?



Last Edited on: 9/2/09 5:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/15/2009 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2005
Posts: 2,317
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I think Kari and Anninla are right in that religion is an effort to explain more of the unknowable than just death (though I think that's a biggie).  I think it also relates to a desire to both understand and control things in our environment that are beyond our control, but even more so, I think it is an attempt to answer the questions "Why am I here?  What is the point of all of this?"  Mortality, your own and others, is a big trigger for these questions, but so is pain, and suffering, and the incredible dichotomy between viciousness and kindness that seems to be our human trademark.

I think that it takes at least as much courage to face life and think for yourself as it does to face death and think for yourself.  Finding your own purpose in existence, or believing that there is no inherent purpose and functioning anyway, is at least as hard as dealing with the end of existence IMHO.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 5:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2009
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I think you're onto something when you say "all religion is the answer to the fear of the experience of death", however I think it's much more than that. Like others have said, religion seeks to explain the unexplainable.   I'll also go one further here -  I believe the genesis of all religions to be the desire of power over other people, to structure a society in a way a person or organization wants it to be structured, all one needs do is have the most powerful propaganda.  So, the one with the most plausible propaganda gains the most power over the biggest group of people to control.  The easiest way to gain that power is to exploit humanities fear of the unknown, any unknown, whether it be death or why the tides flow and the sun sets.  Provide a believable answer, or a big enough propaganda machine to make your answer believable, you can control the world.  Which is why I find the idea of the separation of church and state a laughable idea.  Religion IS politics.

Also, for what it's worth, I do not fear death - I died once and it was the most relaxing sensation of falling asleep I've ever felt. There was nothing else until I woke in an ICU with my fear of death gone,  and the sense to enjoy what life I have. 



Last Edited on: 9/19/09 5:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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Jesse writes:

I admit, it takes alot of guts to be an Atheist, or Agnostic and know that he or she is about to die. I wonder what they experience once they do so?

They don't experience anything at all, they're dead.

So you convinced yourself of something you don't know the answer of?

I have dismissed all the alternatives as ridiculous to the point of absurdity. The truth is everybody knows what happens to a person when they die: they rot. I'm just willing and able to face the fact.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2009
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I agree with Thomas. And I don't think that it takes guts to be an atheist. I would much rather experience nothingness after dying than heaven or hell. They are illogical concepts, but I also think that if they were to exist, neither would be the epitome of good/bad like they are supposed to be.

 

For instance, after being tortured for eternity, you would certainly get used to it, at least somewhat, making it not so bad. And even so, there are plenty of people, like myself, who would rather burn for what they believed than be rewarded for something they disagreed with. As for heaven, it wouldn't really be heaven if friends of mine were simultaneously being tortured in hell while I was in heaven.

Date Posted: 9/27/2009 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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Yeah, I've always had problems with the concept of heaven. I remember as a kid being told that it was a place where everybody gets everything they ever wanted. I wondered, what about if I want something and you want there to be a lack of that same something? We couldn't both have what we want. Then some fundamentalist christian neighbors explained to me how heaven is a place where you get to spend eternity praying and worshipping god. An eternity of church? Sounds like hell to me.

As a teen, I learned that the bible says that only people go to heaven, animals do not. (It's in Job.) I immediately announced (to my aunt who was explaining this to me) that any "heaven" where I couldn't have my dogs is not heaven. At a time when I was drifting from atheist to agnostic, that was enough to push me back to atheism right there. (I sure do agree with Dawkins that actually reading the bible is one of the best ways to understand how horribly wrong it really is.)

Date Posted: 9/27/2009 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Thomas:  Enjoyed reading your post, and the quote from Dawkins about the value of reading the Bible . . . . but, Thomas, those folks whom some have called "biblidolators (Bible-idolators) read it in their own peculiar, idiosyncratic way, you know------they WILFULLY overlook those contradictions and embarrasing parts.  (Did you ever ask a Christian fundamentalist WHICH account of Genesis is the "correct" one?  the one in which Eve is 'created' from a rib taken from Adam, or the other one, with no "rib" tale?)

Date Posted: 9/27/2009 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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An eternity of church? Sounds like hell to me.

Lol. Thomas, I've thought that exact thing since they first taught us Amazing Grace in church school.  That line "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun" sounded like sheer torture to me.

Date Posted: 9/28/2009 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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Count me in with those who think an eternity of church would be horrible.  No thanks - I'll take my chances in hell.

Date Posted: 9/28/2009 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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It's curious, to me, the way Heaven and Hell are pictured---and whoever dreamed up wings on "angels", and made harps the celestial musical instruments, etc.?  But what really gets me is Hell as an endless fiery pit ("sulphur and brimstone", remember?)........why not a frozen, icy, frigid, vast perpetual Wintry wasteland?   hunh?

Date Posted: 9/28/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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why not a frozen, icy, frigid, vast perpetual Wintry wasteland?   hunh?

Likely because the cultures who came up with the idea lived in the desert.  The idea of a wintry wasteland (cf. Narnia) was outside of their experience, and their idea of hell on earth would be dying from heat, thirst and exposure in the hot, daytime desert. 

Babylon was in the same location as modern Iraq.  It's dry, dusty and hot.

I'm pretty sure the idea of wings was an artistic convention rather than Biblical literalism.  Also, cherubim predate the Bible and they were always winged.

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