Christianity with no afterlife
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24-02-2015, 11:00 PM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
I'd like to actually address the questions, which were: What do you think Christianity would look like in the modern age if there were no heaven or hell taught in the religion? How would that affect the number of believers? How would it affect those that do believe and how they preach?

I believe Christianity would have dwindled to the likings of the Flat Earth Society or the mythology Ancient Greece. I believe there would be far fewer believers, in fact, I think Christianity wouldn't be a religion but rather a subject one could study in high school/college, like Latin, or make a hobby (Christophile anyone?). So, since I believe that, I don't think there would be believers anymore, hence there'd be no more preachers/priests.

Without reward of heaven or punishment of hell, what's the point? To be a good or bad person is innate anyway. Atheism would be the norm.

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25-02-2015, 03:00 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
Without an afterlife of heaven or hell, christianity could fracture into any number of cultish splinters.

1 You must be a member or god will cause you to live a horrible life.

2 Without god in your life you aren't as happy as you could be.

3 Non members of christianity could become so outcast that christian businesses would be bound to only sell their goods and services to other members.

Religion seeks to divide people and set one group against another.
An afterlife just expands on that core principle.

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25-02-2015, 05:36 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 05:39 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 05:06 PM)Chas Wrote:  Without an afterlife, there is no salvation.

Why not? Salvation in the religious sense is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. To the extent that the concept of a soul presupposes neither dualism nor permanence, salvation is not incoherent.

The concept of a soul is a clear example of dualism. If you mean something else, I suggest you use a different word in this context.




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25-02-2015, 09:54 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 02:26 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  It's definitely an appeal. I noted that salvation could be an appeal, but it does lose that selling point.

And whether or not it's the appeal, it's a big enough drive to make it the driving pitch of noted apologetics like Pascal's Wager, and Ray Comfort's laughable parachute analogy. I don't know what other sites you frequent, but if you go to a Christian-centric site where non-believers can post, you will quickly run into Christians who won't/can't debate, and instead opt for bragging about how they're not going to end up in hell. It's disturbingly common.

Sure, concepts like heaven have an appeal. Just like the idea than you could masterbate without feeling guilty about it might make atheism appealing for some. While I think these concepts have their appeal, I don't think they are real selling points, or do much of anything to preserve religious beliefs, particularly when these concepts are rather vague. But sure the idea that one gets reunited with one's loved one's in heaven is appealing, particularly for those who have lost significant people in their lives. I could see a mother finding comfort in the idea of seeing her deceased child in heaven. But most people don't tend to be grieving parents.

But I don't think these concepts are really keeping anyone in the pews, and I grew up in an extremely evangelical community. Where preachings were only on rare occasions about heaven or hell. Even as a child I couldn't say they had any real bearing on me. Sometimes we hear stories of hell, and I'd be scared, but i couldn't say this fear caused me to not question my beliefs. The only reason these things weren't questioned, is because no one seemed to question them. You could say that I thought that my religion is true, because I was raised around folks who believed it were true, and didn't have much of a reason to question it.

In reality the worldview we sort of find ourselves in, are able to exist quite naively, without much pondering or consideration, unless we find ourselves in a climate where these things are challenged, in places of competing views. Which is more or less a predicament many believers find themselves in today, which doesn't seem to be true for earlier generations.

While heaven or hell are taken as a given by most christians, I don't thing they play any significant role in keeping people in the pews. As I previously stated, the type that finds themselves holding on to their belief as the result of this, tend to just be a few steps away from accepting unbelief.

While people may use hell to scare you back into belief (ineffectively for the most part), people don't seem to be sustaining their beliefs by the afterlife for the most part. I think religion sustains itself by its worldly offerings, community, fellowship, a perception of life as meaningful, as part of something greater, concepts such as renewal, forgiveness, grace, a God who loves them etc... which seem to be far more appealing than concepts like heaven or hell, which are quite difficult to conceptualize, and be endeared to.
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25-02-2015, 10:05 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(25-02-2015 09:54 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 02:26 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  It's definitely an appeal. I noted that salvation could be an appeal, but it does lose that selling point.

And whether or not it's the appeal, it's a big enough drive to make it the driving pitch of noted apologetics like Pascal's Wager, and Ray Comfort's laughable parachute analogy. I don't know what other sites you frequent, but if you go to a Christian-centric site where non-believers can post, you will quickly run into Christians who won't/can't debate, and instead opt for bragging about how they're not going to end up in hell. It's disturbingly common.

Sure, concepts like heaven have an appeal. Just like the idea than you could masterbate without feeling guilty about it might make atheism appealing for some. While I think these concepts have their appeal, I don't think they are real selling points, or do much of anything to preserve religious beliefs, particularly when these concepts are rather vague. But sure the idea that one gets reunited with one's loved one's in heaven is appealing, particularly for those who have lost significant people in their lives. I could see a mother finding comfort in the idea of seeing her deceased child in heaven. But most people don't tend to be grieving parents.

But I don't think these concepts are really keeping anyone in the pews, and I grew up in an extremely evangelical community. Where preachings were only on rare occasions about heaven or hell. Even as a child I couldn't say they had any real bearing on me. Sometimes we hear stories of hell, and I'd be scared, but i couldn't say this fear caused me to not question my beliefs. The only reason these things weren't questioned, is because no one seemed to question them. You could say that I thought that my religion is true, because I was raised around folks who believed it were true, and didn't have much of a reason to question it.

In reality the worldview we sort of find ourselves in, are able to exist quite naively, without much pondering or consideration, unless we find ourselves in a climate where these things are challenged, in places of competing views. Which is more or less a predicament many believers find themselves in today, which doesn't seem to be true for earlier generations.

While heaven or hell are taken as a given by most christians, I don't thing they play any significant role in keeping people in the pews. As I previously stated, the type that finds themselves holding on to their belief as the result of this, tend to just be a few steps away from accepting unbelief.

While people may use hell to scare you back into belief (ineffectively for the most part), people don't seem to be sustaining their beliefs by the afterlife for the most part. I think religion sustains itself by its worldly offerings, community, fellowship, a perception of life as meaningful, as part of something greater, concepts such as renewal, forgiveness, grace, a God who loves them etc... which seem to be far more appealing than concepts like heaven or hell, which are quite difficult to conceptualize, and be endeared to.

Where does anyone get the essence of there being some grand forgiveness, grace, or meaningful message in life if there if not from there being more to the world after life? I don't think there is a strong distinction of these topics and afterlife... apart from community

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25-02-2015, 10:23 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 05:38 PM)Hafnof Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 01:36 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It would die the death! The Bible talks about the injustices of this world that are only fully corrected in the next. If Stalin is forgiven in the next world, what a merciful God! If Stalin suffers for snuffing millions of lives and oppressing 100 million others, what a righteous God!

Stalin is forgiven in the next life. All he has to do is believe on his deathbed. Christianity doesn't measure good or bad in this life in order to decide between heaven and hell. It measures belief or non-belief. The entire moral system ultimately resolves down to belief=good, non-belief=evil.

Or put differently, belief equals atonement, non-belief equals deal with your own sin (in perdition). Yes.

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25-02-2015, 10:25 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 08:20 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 01:36 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  It would die the death! The Bible talks about the injustices of this world that are only fully corrected in the next. If Stalin is forgiven in the next world, what a merciful God! If Stalin suffers for snuffing millions of lives and oppressing 100 million others, what a righteous God!

"Christianity with no afterlife" ?
It would just be going back to it's roots. St. Paul thought only the saved were immortal.
Corinthians 5:3 : "For this corruptible must put on in-corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
The Jews did not believe in immortality the way we think of it, (as any scholar knows).

Have you considered that since the Jewish people consider conversion to Christianity a grievous error, that since the time of Christ they've leaned more to "no afterlife" despite a) statements re: the afterlife in Tanach b) statements re: the afterlife by the Pharisees and Saducees as recorded in the debates of the New Testament c) statements re: the afterlife in Talmud, Kabbalah, Zohar, etc.?

I'm saying there is an agenda there, which only shows a confirmatory bias.

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25-02-2015, 10:27 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(24-02-2015 09:08 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 09:03 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  It could be considered salvation from human nature as in it could help ones tendency to fall to ones passions.

Human "passions" evolved to promote survival. The concept of "evil" in the OT was taken directly from the Sumerian concept of "chaos". Read Martin Buber's "Good and Evil", (besides the "I and Thou" your Catholic professors seem to love). One does not need to be "saved" from the Human Condition. Your Jebus cannot do it, nor did he ever claim that was his mission. Religion is/does nothing but raise your circulating beta-endorphin level.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid160188
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...other-Look

Dammit Bucky why do you write so much. In anycase the biblical origins shouldn't really affect this idea. In your thread on taking another look you mentioned that what is taught by the churches and scholars is very different. Since we're talking about modern religions the bible shouldn't matter.
So anyways, of course the passions are meant for survival, but that doesn't mean that they are good. Just as an example someone may intellectually try to stop smoking but not be able to because their body wants to smoke (speaking of which, time for a smoke). For me a big part of my faith is trying to better myself. And that to a certain extent disproves your concept that all we get from religion is endorphins. I have become a much better person because I wanted to live up to the Catholic ideal.

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25-02-2015, 11:02 AM
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(25-02-2015 05:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(24-02-2015 05:39 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Why not? Salvation in the religious sense is the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences. To the extent that the concept of a soul presupposes neither dualism nor permanence, salvation is not incoherent.

The concept of a soul is a clear example of dualism. If you mean something else, I suggest you use a different word in this context.

I beg to differ. Not every religion posits the soul is separate from the mind. Some see it as nondual consciousness. Including Christian Scientists, the Unity School of Christianity and other forms of Christian Mysticism.

#sigh
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25-02-2015, 11:09 AM (This post was last modified: 25-02-2015 02:39 PM by Chas.)
RE: Christianity with no afterlife
(25-02-2015 11:02 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(25-02-2015 05:36 AM)Chas Wrote:  The concept of a soul is a clear example of dualism. If you mean something else, I suggest you use a different word in this context.

I beg to differ. Not every religion posits the soul is separate from the mind. Some see it as nondual consciousness. Including Christian Scientists, the Unity School of Christianity and other forms of Christian Mysticism.

My point is that the word 'soul' is misleading in that context.
What they refer to might better be called 'conscience' or 'well-being' or 'balance' or something. Belief in an afterlife requires a dualistic meaning for 'soul' or consciousness.

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