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Roy Bourque

Aerospace Education Officer for Cadets, Civil Air Patrol


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how has a belief in an afterlife affected the quality of life on earth?

I see this as multi-faceted. Starting with those who believe;

A-1: Some believe that life hereafter is dependent on how well they have upheld the golden rule.
A-2: Some believe that life hereafter is only determined by adherence to religious ritual and doctrine.
A-3: Some believe that they have a duty to uphold God's law and to defend it with whatever it takes in order to get God's approval.

Now to those who don't believe;

B-1: If this is all you have to give, give it all you have to offer.
B-2: He who dies with the most toys wins. The losers are just a bunch of stupid people anyway.
B-3: If life doesn't go on, why should I live in poverty while others live like kings? Let's take the world by force; Might makes right.

We all know what category Richard Dawkins is in; B-1. He sees religious people as not caring about this life because religion steers them in that direction. He abhors those who would kill in the name of God, and I don't blame him. People in this category see religion as a threat to the preservation of this planet.

What category are drug cartels and human traffickers in? They don't kill you quickly, they suck the life out of you over time. Is A-3 any better or worse than B-3? there are many who choose not to do evil because they believe in divine retribution. Would taking away that belief make them better or worse?

I don't see this question as black and white. I would like to see A-1 and B-1 come together and work to eliminate all the others. Can we do that, and what would it take?

I am open to anyone else's thoughts on the subject.


Closing Statement from Roy Bourque

I have found in the comments that it can go both ways. Many feel that a belief in an afterlife has caused many to have a contempt for this life. Some feel that they are connected to something greater, but don't see it as God. Some have left the church they were in for something that has more meaning in the present life.

What a person believes is largely dictated by what they were taught unless they choose to seek for themselves. I believe that religion was originally meant as a guide for seeking, but has been monopolized by institutions to promote their beliefs. Many others feel the same way, but differ in how they chose to seek.

Today, science has taken the lead in many person's tools to understand the world. Some have gone beyond their faith but still use the tools of science to augment how they see the world. For them it is not one-sided, but a compromise between the two, gleaning from each other to expose the truth wherever it may exist.

Adriaan presents links on Swedenborg. It offers teachings by one who has lived a spiritual life.

The negatives to the debate are concerning those who would do terrible things to please God because that is what they have been taught. They see an afterlife as a way out of a wicked world. Churches use fear, punishment, and reward to promote a moral code and lock their parishioners into a belief system that is unswerving.

The positives are concerning a connectedness to a greater whole. Some find solace in believing in an afterlife in a world that has left them with little to hope for in their present life.

I see an afterlife as an extension of our present life. Should we return here, why not leave the planet better off. If science can tell us how to do that, then so be it. Should we go somewhere else, why would God choose someone who couldn't take care of the world they were entrusted with? Should we go nowhere, why not learn all we can about the world we live in?

Find the truth however you can, and share it.

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    Mar 28 2012: Hi Roy, i think this is the time that people from A-1 and B-1 must have to come together to carry forward all the findings. i seriously feel that both categories are not complete with each other.

    in order to stop the others from bringing this planet, a worst place to live, A-1 and B-1 have to be together.

    for these things, A-1 people have to rethink and understand their scriptures with a wider approach not their stories as merely stories but carrying some higher meanings..... how can be a scripture only a manual of living? and they need to understand the science, curbing their fear that they may corrupt their faith.

    similarly, the B-2 people have to also wider their arena to look at the A-1 people. they have to understand that those books can offer more things that they have been told by 'others'.

    but then, we have need to bring the things in their own languages.
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      Mar 28 2012: Hello simply Noor,

      In the new testament, Paul says we are ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit, and many Christians are in the letter and not the spirit. They know what it says, but often do not know why it says it. As a result, they try to force it on people with threats of eternal damnation rather than making the world a better place and drawing the crowd to see what the fuss is all about.

      Jesus said marvel not at these works that I do, for greater than these shall ye do, and the atheist is waiting to see the works but getting little more than lip service. So the atheist has the works and religious fanatics say you don't know what the truth is. Oh really, says who!

      The atheist will be more tolerant, maybe even supportive when they stop seeing hatred coming from Christians and Muslims. That's where we fit in. We need to speak for the truth and not just quote scripture. Remember that the witch hunters knew their scripture and they were among the vilest of people in the world. Learn the truth and show the love, and the pieces will begin to fall into place.

      Thank you for your thoughts, I am encouraged by your comments.
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        Mar 29 2012: alll the atheist I know, are fact-junkies. They can recite reference and footnote to any point or counter point they make. That being said the bible has no way of proving anything is says as true. Just because a lot of people you know think like you and believe like you, does not make that belief true. It's called mob mentatility. Very prevelant here in the south. Was is true or not blacks were predjudiced and made to feel less human and killed and not "loved" just 60 yrs ago? yes, thats true. Everyone here in alabama thought the same. Blacks were less human and didn't need to mix with with. diffrent schools, restrants, water fountains etc. This mob mentality was accepted, enforced and agreed upon by EVERYONE including churchs. Guess what, they were all completly, 100% wrong. Just love yourself. thats all.
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          Mar 29 2012: Brian, I'm sorry, but you are mistaken on this point: "This mob mentality was accepted, enforced and agreed upon by EVERYONE including churchs"

          While christendom's churches were busy jumping on the racial bandwagon, christians attempting to live up to godly principles had all races meeting in the same place of worship, and even training couples of all races and cultures to enter the missionary field. Don't lump all people of faith together. We are not all the same. If you care to read a three page long biography of someone who grew up during this turbulent time and see pictures of him and his wife congregating with christians of all colors I will be glad to forward you the link to an on-line journal that has the article.

          Mob mentality is very dangerous Brian....we have to make sure WE don't fall victim to it ever.

          I enjoyed reading your comment, you just went a little beyond truth with your all inclusive accusation.
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        Apr 1 2012: John 14:6, Jesus said I am the way, the truth, the light. Please site your resources as to when science proved this. Your Opinions and beliefs are just that. Facts are facts.
        • Apr 1 2012: Brian, Bridget is right you don't have to trust anybody here, Einstein included, but that's what he said and I am on board with his vision.

          "All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree."

          I don't think that sacred teachings are scientific or Bible is Science, it's deeper, it's about knowing ( not knowing about ) and that's exactly the point where the science is aiming to.
          The truth was intuitively sensed and it requires millennia of empirical observation to make it logically provable. But I hope that we are pretty close. At least in the field of economic/social science, the truth is revealed already. Need any proof ? Look around, we are not in crises, we ARE crises. And "inner " becomes the "outer".
          The main message of Quantum mechanics is the idea of interconnectedness and the role of the intelligent observer in the creating of the observed. And objectivity becomes subjective. So "facts are facts" kind of concept is highly disputable.
          Higgs Boson, heavily chased, but not yet caught is called a god's particle and for a good reason, because it is supposed to give particles their masses, hence create matter. Amazing isn't it ? We have created tuns of stuff and still have no idea what it is made of ! :) It means to be clever but not wise. It means that we know too little to comprehend what world we inhabit.

          Science has changed its attitude towards 'empty' space, it seems to be in the focus of attention all over the genre. For how many years we've known that the atoms which make up solid matter are over 99.99 per cent empty space ? About 80 years, I guess, but somehow science has absorbed this without letting it alter its attitude. But time has come and 'empty' space is viewed as full and fertile and the womb of All. Science and sacred teachings seem to be on the way to reconciliation.

          Brian, my purpose is not so much as answer your question, ( I don't have answers) , but to help you to understand it :)

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