"Nothing But a Flicker"
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
06-02-2013, 11:05 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 08:48 PM by Atothetheist.)
"Nothing But a Flicker"
Nothing But a Flicker
My Thoughts on the Afterlife
By Atothetheist
Death is a hard concept for some to swallow. The simple thought of non-existence, of complete and utter annihilation of yourself is a very discomforting and an incomprehensible idea. I know that most of my fellow atheists profess no belief in an afterlife, but I can't, nor will I ever speak on the behalf of the community or atheists in general, which is why I labeled this MY thoughts on the Afterlife. Personally, my thoughts on the afterlife is that there is no (credible) evidence that such a thing exists and therefore can not ASSUME it does. It is of my opinion that the afterlife is a concept that has helped fuel and retain the religious's iron grasp when it was in the lead. In a sense, it still performs that function, but to a lesser extent today. One can simply look at the atrocities committed in the name of such a deity and wonder what might have caused the person to commit such acts of violence. Surely no normal human being can commit such gratuitous violence and be ok with it.

This is the case with many known incidents. In the crusades, the Catholic Church offered people remissions from sin if they fought in the bloody and disgusting battles against their Muslim enemies. One might simply say that it was only for the remission of sin that the soldiers fought, but they would be wrong. For Remission of Sin, or Sin to even matter, there needed to be an afterlife, and a horrible, nightmare inducing one at that. It would have to be so terrible that you never wanted to go there. Because committing sins allows you to go to this horrible, and very unjustified afterlife of Hell, remission from it was a good way to recruit potential soldiers to fight on their Deity's side. Now, the afterlife was not the only factor which caused soldiers to fight, but one would have to be insane to argue that it was NOT one at all. In fact, it seems like the religious, especially the Catholic Church, uses/used the concept of Hell or similar places to extort tithes and lives and other such, valuable possessions. If I wasn't such an optimist, I would almost advocate a definite position that this is why the Catholic Church and other such establishments keep the concept of hell alive. Its goal is to cause fear and obedience from the sheep to the masters.

Certainly, the promise of a place after earth is a pleasing one, but where did it come from? What brought about this concept? Well, the most likely cause is the fear of the death/unknown. It is a known truth that humans fear death. It is the one thing that we probably won't ever shake. Certainly this had a major effect on the concepts formation, but what if there was another POSSIBLE way that the concept could have come into being? I was doing some intense thinking and I think I have stumbled upon a idea that such a concept could have arisen out of lack of knowledge about sleep, dreams and death itself. When you fall asleep, to an observer it looks eerily similar to death. We know now that while you are asleep, the dreams you experience are nothing but figments of the mind, but imagine what the primitive humans thought about this. They probably had the idea that you went somewhere else while the body remained. Of course, if you are asleep, you can wake up and then, if you are lucky( or unlucky) relay your dreams to other people. This might have given rise to the idea that you go somewhere else when you "die"(sleep) and that the real death is no different. This idea might actually be a valid reason why the afterlife was such a popular belief. To the primitives, dreams could have been mistakenly interpreted as evidence for a place beyond.

There are emotional reasons as to why an afterlife is pleasing and why, because it is pleasing, it is popular. People don't want to be separated from their loved ones, they want to be with their families for as long as they possible can. Because of the dreams, and the dreams possibly having a loved one,or another person in it, it might have been a viable way of keeping the family together. Not only was it pleasing, and it had evidence, but some of the dreams were also really nice. But, what about the nightmares? Why did some of the "afterlifes" seem horrible? Why would their deities send them to such a place? Was it because they did something wrong? If so, what? Of course we know that dreams are not an afterlife, and that nightmares are because of the worries that you are experiencing, but they didn't know that. It could be that they thought there was a reason, or that it was something they did to deserve being sent to such a place.

If I were describe life, it would be that it is nothing but a brief flicker of a flame. Just a spark in the scale of the universe, but even that little flicker contains energy. Why would you want to waste that energy thinking of a place beyond the flicker? Why use the energy to imagine an eternal flame? The belief in an afterlife devalues life. It makes it seem as if life is only the precursor, when it is the main event. Because of a belief in an afterlife, you might spend your life striving to go to a place that you have no evidence exists. You could be doing something else with your life. Something more worthwhile. Plus, if we use Christianity as a basis for a guide, we would have to condemn other people, and believe that certain actions are abominations. We have to discriminate against people whose actions do not hurt us. We have to believe in silly propositions of which there is no evidence in order to get into a place that has no evidence for its existence either. Life is life. Live life like there is no afterlife, it will make your experience on earth way more precious and way more meaningful than just a stepping stone to eternal pleasure/torment.

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

This is a revised and edited version of an essay on my thoughts of an afterlife I have to give for theology class. Since I am an atheist, my report will be different from the rest, and I thought I would edit and post it on the forums.

Tell me what you think. I really appreciate any feedback I can get. I am confident that my essay will get a passing grade, much to the dismay of the readers faith.

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 11 users Like Atothetheist's post
07-02-2013, 02:16 AM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
(06-02-2013 11:05 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
Nothing But a Flicker
My Thoughts on the Afterlife
By Atothetheist
Death is a hard concept for some to swallow. The simple thought of non-existence, of complete and utter annihilation of yourself is a very discomforting and illogical idea. I know that most of my fellow atheists profess no belief in an afterlife, but I can't, nor will I ever speak on the behalf of the community or atheists in general, which is why I labeled this MY thoughts on the Afterlife. Personally, my thoughts on the afterlife is that there is no (credible) evidence that such a thing exists and therefore can not ASSUME it does. It is of my opinion that the afterlife is a concept that has helped fuel and retain the religious's iron grasp when it was in the lead. In a sense, it still performs that function, but to a lesser extent today. One can simply look at the atrocities committed in the name of such a deity and wonder what might have caused the person to commit such acts of violence. Surely no normal human being can commit such gratuitous violence and be ok with it.

This is the case with many known incidents. In the crusades, the Catholic Church offered people remissions from sin if they fought in the bloody and disgusting battles against their Muslim enemies. One might simply say that it was only for the remission of sin that the soldiers fought, but they would be wrong. For Remission of Sin, or Sin to even matter, there needed to be an afterlife, and a horrible, nightmare inducing one at that. It would have to be so terrible that you never wanted to go there. Because committing sins allows you to go to this horrible, and very unjustified afterlife of Hell, remission from it was a good way to recruit potential soldiers to fight on their Deity's side. Now, the afterlife was not the only factor which caused soldiers to fight, but one would have to be insane to argue that it was NOT one at all. In fact, it seems like the religious, especially the Catholic Church, uses/used the concept of Hell or similar places to extort tithes and lives and other such, valuable possessions. If I wasn't such an optimist, I would almost advocate a definite position that this is why the Catholic Church and other such establishments keep the concept of hell alive. It's goal is to cause fear and obedience from the sheep to to masters.

Certainly, the promise of a place after earth is a pleasing one, but where did it come from? What brought about this concept? Well, the most likely cause is the fear of the death/unknown. It is a known truth that humans fear death. It is the one thing that we probably won't ever shake. Certainly this had a major effect on the concepts formation, but what if there was another POSSIBLE way that the concept could have come into being? I was doing some intense thinking and I think I have stumbled upon a idea that such a concept could have arisen out of lack of knowledge about sleep, dreams and death itself. When you fall asleep, to an observer it looks eerily similar to death. We know now that while you are asleep, the dreams you experience are nothing but figments of the mind, but imagine what the primitive humans thought about this. They probably had the idea that you went somewhere else while the body remained. Of course, if you are asleep, you can wake up and then, if you are lucky( or unlucky) relay your dreams to other people. This might have given rise to the idea that you go somewhere else when you "die"(sleep) and that the real death is no different. This idea might actually be a valid reason why the afterlife was such a popular belief. To the primitives, dreams could have been mistakenly interpreted as evidence for a place beyond.

There are emotional reasons as to why an afterlife is pleasing and why, because it is pleasing, it is popular. People don't want to be separated from their loved ones, they want to be with their families for as long as they possible can. Because of the dreams, and the dreams possibly having a loved one,or another person in it, it might have been a viable way of keeping the family together. Not only was it pleasing, and it had evidence, but some of the dreams were also really nice. But, what about the nightmares? Why did some of the "afterlifes" seem horrible? Why would their deities send them to such a place? Was it because they did something wrong? If so, what? Of course we know that dreams are not an afterlife, and that nightmares are because of the worries that you are experiencing, but they didn't know that. It could be that they thought there was a reason, or that it was something they did to deserve being sent to such a place.

If I were describe life, it would be that it is nothing but a brief flicker of a flame. Just a spark in the scale of the universe, but even that little flicker contains energy. Why would you want to waste that energy thinking of a place beyond the flicker? Why use the energy to imagine an eternal flame? The belief in an afterlife devalues life. It makes it seem as if life is only the precursor, when it is the main event. Because of a belief in an afterlife, you might spend your life striving to go to a place that you have no evidence exists. You could be doing something else with your life. Something more worthwhile. Plus, if we use Christianity as a basis for a guide, we would have to condemn other people, and believe that certain actions are abominations. We have to discriminate against people whose actions do not hurt us. We have to believe in silly propositions of which there is no evidence in order to get into a place that has no evidence for its existence either. Life is life. Live life like there is no afterlife, it will make your experience on earth way more precious and way more meaningful than just a stepping stone to eternal pleasure/torment.

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

This is a revised and edited version of an essay on my thoughts of an afterlife I have to give for theology class. Since I am an atheist, my report will be different from the rest, and I thought I would edit and post it on the forums.

Tell me what you think. I really appreciate any feedback I can get. I am confident that my essay will get a passing grade, much to the dismay of the readers faith.
Hey...well written! I particularly like the last paragraph. I wrote something similar. I'll see if I can find it...
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-02-2013, 02:20 AM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 03:49 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
Some people don’t care that there’s no evidence for god; they’re so lazy they just decide to believe because they want something to dream about. A heavenly afterlife appears comforting. It means there’s something to look forward to, an improvement on the injustices, work, worries and ordinariness of life. Faith is like a lottery ticket; it buys you the belief that things will get better because you’ve struggled damned hard and deserve a lucky break. Yet there’s no evidence anyone ever wins heaven.


Some people think that to hope for heaven is harmless, but I think the promise of paradise can rob people of the pleasure of living in the present. There’s a better way to feel good that doesn’t need belief in half-baked mumbo-jumbo. Who remembers what it was like to be a young child? Picture yourself running around a playground. We didn’t waste time worrying about God, the afterlife or why we are here. We were too busy exploring every nook and cranny of our world. We were unhindered by our experiences, expressed ourselves openly, and weren’t afraid of being judged. We accepted life with wide-open arms, didn’t deny our emotions, and weren’t cynical or opinionated. We were authentic, lived in the present, and were thoroughly happy.


I contend people should embrace the here and now. When we do that, the present has more meaning: the taste of food, a glass of good wine, a friend's smile, a string quartet or a Miles Davis ballad can be enjoyed for what they are and because they’re temporary. To experience the pleasure of the present, and stop worrying about consequences, can be like coming out of a trance. It’s about being receptive to the full gamut of the human experience, and that helps us feel more alive.


When it turns out there’s no god and no afterlife, it won’t matter, because we’ll be dead! We were “dead” for billions of years before we were born, and it didn’t bother any of us in the slightest.


Life is all about the journey, the here and now, not an imaginary destination, which is why we don’t need gods, beliefs, and creeds; we should let them go!


In the modern world, “people” should replace “God.” “God” is the human race. Love of “God” should be the mutual love of everyone in our global society.


There’s nothing supernatural after death. Heaven is here and now, and is what we create on earth through love. Hell is hatred of our fellow man.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mark Fulton's post
07-02-2013, 03:25 AM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
A flicker yes. But what we become aware of, during the flicker, is astoundingly amazing. Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Bucky Ball's post
07-02-2013, 04:24 AM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
tl;dr

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like DLJ's post
07-02-2013, 04:29 AM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
(07-02-2013 02:20 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...
To experience the pleasure of the present, and stop worrying about consequences, can be like coming out of a trance.
...

I am reminded of the lilies of the field...

Consider

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-02-2013, 11:28 AM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
Atothetheist,

Well written and I completely agree. That's an interesting line of thought about dreams. It can be difficult to appreciate how simple life was so many years ago and how little was known, but you did a great job of attempting to place yourself in their shoes with that (even though they might not have been wearing shoes back then.
Tongue )


Mark Fulton,

I liked yours as well. Great point about what it was like as a child before "God" was any factor.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Impulse's post
07-02-2013, 12:46 PM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
(07-02-2013 04:24 AM)DLJ Wrote:  tl;dr

Thanks, lol

[Image: 0013382F-E507-48AE-906B-53008666631C-757...cc3639.jpg]
Credit goes to UndercoverAtheist.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-02-2013, 03:39 PM
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
Thanks for the interesting read. I particularly liked the third paragraph in which you pondered the question of the origin of the concept of an afterlife. Dreams, especially lucid ones, must have seemed even stranger to our ancestors than they do to us now.

[Image: IcJnQOT.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-02-2013, 04:52 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 04:55 PM by DLJ.)
RE: "Nothing But a Flicker"
(07-02-2013 12:46 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 04:24 AM)DLJ Wrote:  tl;dr

Thanks, lol

But of course, I lied. I did read.

I should point out that the marker of your paper may quibble about the title vs. the subtitle in that they are not connected:

Using pleasing alliteration you point out "If I were describe life, it would be that it is nothing but a brief flicker of a flame."

So if 'life' is the 'flicker' what is your metaphor for 'afterlife'?

Just sayin'


"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,"

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: