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Devon Gisbert

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What happens after we die?

People will often wonder, well what happens after we die? Everyone has asked this question at least once in their life it would be foolish to deny that. And it's funny because, well I mean it's pretty self explanatory we die, there's a big funeral (most of the time) people come and mourn over your body then they dig a hole and put you in it. We have SEEN what happens to people when they die and we can go to the nearest grave yard and have a whole post death stake-out.
But if that's the case then why is it that we ask that question? Why is it that seeing what happens after we die isn't enough for us? We know what happens after we die, yet when the philosopher, the teacher, the artist, the scientist, and the homeless man the lays there head down at night they wonder. Is this all there is, is this all I'm good for, just this life and then I vanish?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says "He has made everything beautiful in it's time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

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    Jun 18 2012: Can a mind, with its own limited level of understanding, ever understand itself?

    Can anybody therefore ever know what happens after death without direct experience of NDE?

    A consciousness trying to fully understand itself, using only its own inherent limitations, can only get to a certain point scientifically - then it has to resort to creating metaphor (and even mythology) to help intuit the rest of it, in the absence of certainty. (Is this where God exists?)

    Consciousness is beyond the kind of science that concerns itself only with the known physical world. Up to that point, we are only 'what' - not 'who'.

    I think it is the understanding of our 'who' area, that is likely to enable glimpses of what happens after death.

    I've quoted this before, and rather boringly, I'm going to quote it again:

    "The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence"

    The scientist, Nikola Tesla
    • Jun 21 2012: How can you know what happens after death without dying?
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        Jun 21 2012: No living person will ever know. Such knowledge will forever be unavailable to us.

        How does the mind deal with such voids of understanding?

        Science will try to fill that void with facts and certainties gained via the scientific method, which by its very nature can not go very much further than the evidence it needs to support hypotheses.

        Religion will try to fill the void with Gods, metaphor, mythology and the afterlife - all of which are untestable and full of uncertainties - yet provide comforting, graspable 'visuals' of what might be there for us after death. The visualising of what happens after we die - and in the absence of such certainty from science - these metaphorical thought processes are all we've got.

        This doesn't have to be seen as religion getting the upper hand over science in that visualisation process. I think the whole process can be contemplated within the wider arena of psychology, which is a discipline concerned with both the physical and our perceptions of the metaphysical.

        This is the point illustrated in Tesla's quote - that the physical and the non-physical have closer links with each other than we think. If the disciplines we currently have to study them could just work closer together with each other, then we might get a lot nearer to the understanding of phenomena currently out of our reach - such as what happens after we die.
        • Jun 21 2012: I agree with almost everything you said.


          You saying that the metaphysical thought processes are all we have got, is true.

          That's why I firmly say, that I can never accept anybody's proposal of what the afterlife consists of.

          All we really have, are people using brains to contemplate the unknowable. So any thought about the afterlife is going to be loaded with personal bias and human understandings.

          We are always going to run into God of the gaps arguments. But what does it accomplish to deem something you don't understand, as God.

          I postulate that the things we don't know or understand make for a lack of control.

          By projecting a loving, caring figure, who never leaves your side, loves you eternally, and forgives you for your human faults allows for you to mentally dominate the unknown. This restores a sense of control. This control wether false, or not, pacifies anxiety.

          That is my position on how the mind fills the gaps of our understandings.

          I happen to think science is starting to move down the road you are referring to. Michael Persinger's God Helmet is an example of this. The helmet stimulates the right temporal lobe and induces out of body experiences.

          This stuff is incredibly interesting thanks for your well thought out response

          -Brian
      • Jun 21 2012: Hi again Brian,

        A NDE is a threshold experience.. Sort of like entering a dream, but your wide awake.
        As I mentioned earlier in another comment thread. Artificially induced NDE have been around for thousands of years .. Baptism was, at one point in history, an actual NDE that the initiate was actually drowned and brought back to life. The person being baptized experienced directly the other side of the threshold. This came to the point where many actually died in the process.

        What the Russians have experienced in their space development program with their G machine. A sort of a giant spinning machine where the astronaut is spun around at high speed. It is reported that they too have NDE ... Some say that this is simply due to the lack of oxygen to the brain, but this is often the cause. Its not the lack of oxygen that "is" the experience. The lack of oxygen loosens the souls attachment to the physical body. Drowning people also relate such a story of seeing their whole lives pass before them...
        • Jun 22 2012: Daniel, people have the same types of experiences when taking DMT and other hallucinogens. People have similar experiences during deep meditation.

          Having an NDE doesn't tell you how the world really works, or what death really is.

          I don't know if there is a soul or not. I have to say, when i look at the evidence for both sides i feel as though there is not a soul.

          Im not quite sure how you can claim that the soul gets loosened from the physical body during an NDE. There is no evidence for this.

          There are many things that people remain ignorant of during an NDE. I have never heard anyone ever talk about being able to view there own brain function.

          Very rarely do you hear about an NDE that was horrifying. My guess would be, that if you have an NDE and it induces terror, you are more likely to chalk it up to brain malfunction. The stories you generally hear are very peaceful and comforting.

          Like I stated before, i don't know if we have a soul, but one that is fastened to our brain and lifts off at death to recognize my dead genetic ancestors seems very implausible.
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      Jun 21 2012: Actually a NDE is not quite the same as dying. The body is still in good enough condition to be revived. Maybe it is as close as we can get, but it is not the same.
      • Jun 21 2012: Hi Obey,

        Things in science are changing fast though. It's hard to forsee the future. With the technology that is available today, its not so difficult to imagine that a whole human being could be "frozen down" slowly and then reawakened. ... They are always talking about this possibility to live an extra couple of hundred years. Wake up in the year 2412 for example... Strange..

        I would think that the problem of the preservation of the physical body is not much of an obstacle.
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          Jun 22 2012: I had not heard that daniel.

          Give it 1,000 years or 10,000 and I would not be surprised if we will be able to rebuild a human from a DNA sample. Some theists reject this as it conflicts with their assumptions. There is certainly ethical and other considerations.

          Perhaps in my life time we will be able to change human DNA and genes, to play with "creation"

          If I can clarify. my best guess is our consciousness is due entirely to our brains. With NDE there is still some sort of intact brain, maybe damaged, maybe lack of oxygen, but still a brain. No evidence for any mind or consciousness close to a human level without a brain, or without something physical.

          If NDE is an experience going on in our brain like a dream it is entirely consistent with a material view, unless the experience included some out of body experience that could be verified. Then we would have a big question.

          Even freezing, or suspending life is still leaving some sort of body and brain.

          If there was a way to destroy the brain, rebuild it and bring the person back to life, and the person recalled out of body experiences of the interim that could be verified, then we would be in search of a better explanation than current neuroscience etc.

          Not sure is suspending the body is that easy. Guess we can slow down processes, but how avoid breakdown, rot, damage from water expanding if frozen etc. How long can the brain go without oxygen. How to stop the brain processes. etc. Interesting. Guess is we snap froze someone, they might not be revivable. I'll leave it to the experts.

          I guess a lot of our current science and technology would have been science fiction even a few decades or centuries ago. Hard to believe we have only had controlled flight just over a century. My phone is more powerful than computers we had at school. Parents didn't even have calculators at school.
  • Jun 12 2012: Sometimes i wish I didn't have the ability to ponder the big questions like what happens after we die, what is my purpose, what is life, what is reality. This ability in many ways has lead the human race to much hysteria and abhorrent behavior. Things seem so much simpler in nature, it doesn't seem as if a dolphin asks any of those questions or would need to( I could be wrong, maybe there are many dolphins who moonlight as philosophers).

    I think life would be significantly cheapened if we new the answers to all of those questions. I believe it is in our nature to be inquisitive about all of these big questions, but i am not really sure how important they are. I also think the curious and inquisitive nature we have is rooted in control. By knowing and understanding the answers to all of these questions we have soothed some anxiety over our futures and dominated nature mentally. I think its ok to say, I don't know what happens after I die and live your life in a meaningful and positive way.

    Life is a gift and can be painful and we as humans who are self aware(to a degree) can experience much more pain, but equally more pleasure. I have not always thought this way, but through time it has become evident to me that there are certain questions that are unanswerable and i can still make my way through the world and do my best to help the earth and its creatures.
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      Jun 12 2012: This is SO beautifully written Brian....I LOVE it!

      It is always fun to ponder and consider this question, and I think when it comes right down to it, I agree with your statement...the curious and inquisitive nature we have, is sometimes rooted in control. We (humans) want to "know" everything right now!

      We are HERE...NOW, and that is the important piece for me...to live the life adventure in the moment, to the best of my ability:>)
      • Jun 12 2012: Hi Colleen,

        Tell them your story Colleen !!

        Greetings from Daniel
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          Jun 13 2012: Greetings from me to you Daniel:>)

          I'm glad to talk about my story, and it feels like old news by now!
      • Jun 13 2012: Thank you Colleen! It is fun to ponder this question the scenarios are bound by nothing but your imagination. Living life in the moment is a great challenge but a worthwhile task nonetheless. We really do not have all that much time here and forgetting that can be very easy in some parts of the world. Afterlife or not I think those who remember that their time is limited enjoy the ride more thoroughly!
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      Jun 12 2012: Stating the obvious, we know our bodies breakdown.

      There is a lot of speculative stuff that we can not prove or disprove.

      While no one knows for sure what happens to trees, dogs and humans I guess even many religious folks fear death, fear the likely oblivion. Perhaps there are consolations in religions regarding the finality of death but I'm more interested in life before death than a probably mythical afterlife.

      Go back far enough and I guess our pre human ancestors may have feared death but did not have the same appreciation of life as we are capable of or the ability to philosophise about life and death.
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    Jun 26 2012: Yes, this is all there is. Yes, this is all you're good for. No, you don't vanish. You decompose (assuming you're not cremated). Now, if you are referring to your conscious self when you say "I", then the answer would be yes. You vanish. All the you-ness that makes you uniquely you disappears. That could be depressing from one angle but it could also be inspiring! You have right now. Every single day to make an impression on your world that will not vanish. An impression that in fact does have a purpose and that goes on for years and years beyond your mortal life. If your life's work is focused around that and you're successful in making that impact, you won't have to lay your head down and guess about what happens to your body. Carpe diem!
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    Jun 17 2012: @ Daniel....Thank you, sir. It is good to be back. I did previously recount my experience. Perhaps you missed it so I will post it again. When I was about 30 and had two toddlers to care for, I was washing dishes in the kitchen and suddenly became aware of the most beautiful light I had ever seen and with it came a feeling of being loved beyond my capacity to receive it. In a short while the light was gone and a sort of peace settled upon me and I was able to see how wrong I had been about some ideas prevalent at the time of the incident.
    I had a new view that let me "see" where I had been wrong. There are no words to express the beauty and wisdom I experienced. Hope this clarifies my previous post.
    • Jun 17 2012: Dear Helen,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I have been reading a bit about this type of experience. May I ask you if you experienced the light as the Christ being...? Feel free to choose not to answer if you feel the question steps over your integrity of what you would or would not like to expose of your personal life. I understand if you don't want to answer.

      I have heard stories where people are in grave desperation who have experienced this light. I have come to the understanding that this is a phenomena that will occur more and more in the world. People will be experiencing this incredible light which will appear to them. A light of pure love and wisdom. This is what some esoteric teachers call the "second coming" of the Christ. This is perhaps an apparent contradiction to what many conservative Christians might call the "second coming" but not the I have learned to understand it. Can you please reply to this later part of my comment if you will ?
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        Jun 17 2012: @Daniel.......I did not experience this as a Christ-Light even though born Catholic and a practicing Catholic at the time. I just felt that I was in the presence of "God". I am not a member of any Abrahamic religion now because I cannot abide a God like the one of the Old Testament and I certainly don't think that God had to be mollified by the horrible death Jesus suffered. I believe that Jesus died because we are sinful humans and I hold him as a model for my life so I call myself a progressive Christian
        • Jun 17 2012: Thanks Helen,

          I find your story exceptionally interesting Helen. Who the light being was / is seemed to have left a lasting impression on you ... and whats more, you can continually find new nourishment from ... yes ... even just from the thought of its presents.
          I too was born Catholic. I haven't been in a Catholic church for years though.
          In other words, I have found my spiritual nourishment other places. Although such an experience as the one you had, I could only one day hope for.
          Otherwise, I have heard some amazing stories about concentration camp prisoners also meeting such a light.

          I can share one with you, ... and anyone else reading along.

          It was near the end of the war in a concentration camp in Germany. There was a bunker with 25-30 prisoners. A German solder entered the room and began beating a prisoner ruthlessly for almost no reason.. He beat him and beat him until the prisoner was lying almost lifeless on the floor of the bunker. Suddenly a light being appeared for "everyone" to see. Even the German solder himself saw it. The solder immediately stopped beating the prisoner and the whole room fell deeply silent. The solder left the bunker then. The prisoner recovered and lived until the war was over.

          Now this story was told to me by a very respectable source and I can find no reason for doubting it. Other stories of this nature have crossed my path up through the years. I can't help thinking also of the light being that is often told of by people who have a NDE
          Some call it an angle being. Some call it an energy being.
          I'm trying to piece it all together Helen.

          Thanks for your reply !!

          Daniel
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          Jun 18 2012: Daniel,

          I note you jump to "who" as opposed to what.
          Who knows what is behind this profound experience?
          The leap to personification, cultural filters, etc is very subjective.

          I would not be surprised if this is something some would interpret as God, Jesus, Mary, angels or Vishnu etc depending on cultural programming, but we really don't know what was going on.

          It is human to interpret these experiences. I just hope people recognise how subjective the interpretations can be.

          We don't know if it is an entity or intelligence etc etc, an alien, some phenomena that overloads our senses, or something just within the brain. Agree is could be, could be an angelic being or spirit guide or enlightened soul etc. It could be something far outside even our imagination. We don't know.

          A rare experience like this is very hard to test.

          Seems a wonderful and profound experience. Re the German story. Pity this light is rare I guess there are a billion occasions we could do with some help for every time the light appears. Maybe there is only one light and it can only be in one place at a time. Opps I'm starting to speculate on the subjective.

          Some people hear these events and fit them into their particular supernatural belief paradigms as a proof. Others accept the experience but are wary of intuitive subjective interpretations.

          I thought about whether to jump in or not. Don't mean to minimise or diminish the experience or impact the intuitive hopeful interpretation, but thought my ideas may be an interesting perspective on a public forum like this.
  • Jun 16 2012: I'm not sure whether an answer combining philosophy, astronomy and psychology would work here. But let me try if you folks won't mind.

    What happens after we die? If we scrutinize to the meaning of this question we can see cause for this question. Let's ask some other questions to face this question.

    What's the need to know the happenings after death ? What makes one to think or worry about an event that's not encountered by himself yet?

    A) Fear of death or becoming nothing B) Curiosity C) Love for life

    I'm not gonna answer for this :) But the idea is, whatever the answer you choose would be the answer you want subconsciously. So explore it :)

    And in a broad way, we all die. Nothing happens to an individual after death. It's just all quarks and neutrons. Thus the existence gonna be there. But again, when i say we'd end up as molecules it's not molecules of us. It's molecules of matter which constitute the universe the whole existence. So every particle as what we end up as would not have an intuition of 'I' or 'Me'. It becomes a particle of existence which in turn would be recycled to take another form of anything. And this recycling is not reincarnation. If I'm putting it right, the recycled form would not have any of this present 'I" in it. It's gonna be an entirely new form. We can console ourselves to save from fear of death by saying that we gonna be in the universe in other forms after death. But logically, that other form's not gonna have any residue of this present 'Me'.

    And this question is the question of human race since it's evolution. The reason can be noted mainly because that we're not accepting the nothingness or the eventuality. That's the conflict between conscious and subconscious and that's the conflict between the reason and the cause. We tended to find solutions for it in a way that those solutions would suit our purposes of being. That has formed the various belief systems on death..
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      Jun 16 2012: Dear Rajasangeethan John,
      I think it is great to include philosophy, astronomy and psychology because I believe the topic, "what happens after we die" to include everything that is, was and will be for all of us.

      I have encountered death, and I do not worry about it. So, love of life is my answer to the question why would I want to explore death. I believe that how we live our life is the important piece at this time, because we are here, now. It is always fun to ponder and speculate:>)

      I agree that what happens when we die is that we become molecules of matter ( or energy) which constitute the whole universe...and beyond. I agree that the recycled form does not have any of this present "I" in it. None of the human characteristics at least. I believe we retain and have access to all information regarding the "I" in human physical form, as well as other forms. When I had the NDE/OBE, there was a sense of all knowing.

      I agree that the various belief systems regarding death have developed based on our need to explain death, and often people form their beliefs based on what they are taught in human form, because humans like to think they/we "know" the answers. So, we sometimes make the answers fit a certain established belief system.

      Reincarnation was not at all part of my belief system prior to the NDE. However, while in the spirit/energy state, I knew that if I did not come back at this time, in this body, I would come back in another body. So, now I do believe in reincarnation. I agree that the next form, has none of the characteristics of the form I am in now. The only thing I may be aware of and have access to is information learned in other forms.
      • Jun 16 2012: Hi Colleen,

        I commented the previously considering all of us. I didn't mean you and your experiences alone. I apologize if that comment meant anything in that way.

        The life or the essence of existence is, you know, is that it just exist. Considering the vastness of the existence, our lives are unaccountable. If we look in broader spectrum, human is a combination of energy that takes a form for a period of time after which it dismantles back to energy state. During the period in which these energy constitute body and brain, the brain with its unlimited and complex trafficking of neurons create some transactions which our sense with use of language and evolutionary ideas, conceive as thoughts, emotions, ideas etc. But all these ideas or thoughts have got nothing to do with the whole existence of the universe or multiverse or matter. It should be seen as a flow of energy in course of which it takes various forms which dismantles to form basic molecules which again in course might take any form like a human, a rock or whatever. Again that's not necessarily be the same form and the probability of such a consecutive occurrence needs infinite occurrences to occur in the same way with same combination.

        If i put it another way, may be in an abstract way, clouds form shape in the sky not wanting to form a shape. They get shape in course of their direction or air or the other entities then they again become formless. And that cloud might have a lot of transaction by itself which we might not be aware of. We don't even care if there's any. For us, they form, they disappear. That's what human life is. All the conceptions and ideas that we generate aren't a matter of concern for the existence. For the existence, in it's point of view (if it's got one) we're just a formation of energy in its course. Because it knows that nothing works as our conceptual thinking conceives.

        We form for no reason, we die for no reason. We live to find reason. And that reason got no reason :)
        • Jun 16 2012: R.J.

          ... Rather anemic perspective on life ... I would say...
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          Jun 17 2012: Rajasangeethan John,
          I also commented considering all of us, and I share part of my personal experience, while agreeing with, and adding to your comment. Would you feel more comfortable if I do not respond to you on this open forum?

          I do not agree that our lives are "unaccountable". That may be your personal perception, which I respect, and I feel very accountable for my life, the direction of my life, and the choices I make within the life experience.

          I do look at the broader spectrum, and agree that the human is a combination of energy that takes a form for a period of time.

          I do not agree that all these ideas or thoughts have nothing to do with the whole existence of the universe or multiverse. I believe that everything is connected with energy....a flow of energy, as you insightfully recognize:>)

          I do agree that we are partly a formation of energy, and do not agree that all the conceptions and ideas that we generate aren't a matter of concern for the existence. You may be right...it's a point of view. I like to think and feel that my life has reason, meaning, and is indeed a matter of concern....at least to me:>) If I thought for a moment that I was here on this earth school for no reason...that I live and die for no reason...the human experience would feel dull to me.
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          Jun 18 2012: Daniel,

          1) just because you might judge there being no absolute reason or objective meaning for life as anaemic doesn't mean it isn't correct.

          2) if there is no simple objective meaning, that doesn't mean we can not have rich and fulfilling lives.

          Strange how many can live happily with what may be a delusion in terms of this god or that goddess but can not imagine having a fulfilling life without some god given purpose. Not implying you do or don't think that. Just an observation from experience.

          The creator of the universe taking a personal interest in each of us seems somewhat self indulgent to me. She could. Who knows. Interventionist gods seem most unlikely.

          Look around, painful childbirth, sickness, injury, disease, aging.
          The breakdown of our bodies after death.
          Animals living by eating other living things.
          99% of species extinct.
          Earthquakes, storms, floods, and the lifeless expanse of space.
          Not much warm fuzzy objective meaning in reality.
          Some think this is created.
          Yet we have evolved to think, to feel, to hope, to love to dream. Somehow in the survival of the fittest we were born and we can find our own meaning with or without mythical gods and unproven afterlife.

          Colleen, you could be right about reincarnation. I suggest a NDE experience does not quite meet the burden of proof. Its not the same as a conscious experience after brain death or your body and brain completely breaking down. While NDE is about as close as we can get, and gives many peace, actual life after death would appear to be unverifiable.

          Even if we could copy or reboot our consciousness and memories into computer or artificial body/brain we still wouldn't know.

          I wonder if other animals have NDE?

          I tend to agree with RJ based on current information.

          We agree on focusing on life before death in a positive sense.
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          Jun 18 2012: Obey,
          I am not offering my experience as "proof" of anything, nor am I trying to be "right". I am simply addressing the topic question (what happens after we die) with my story and my beliefs based on my experience.

          You say an NDE is "not the same as a conscious experience after brain death or your body and brain completely breaking down".

          Obey, the body and brain WERE completely breaking down after the accident and emergency craniotomy, and the body was kept alive with life support systems. I have medical records to prove that. Although I was unconscious according to the medical model and medical records, I experienced other levels of consciousness. The part of the brain that allows me to speak and connect on a human level was disabled, and other consciousness was available to me.

          I'm really not trying to prove anything, and I don't care what others believe, as long as those beliefs do not manifest into practices that adversely impact others. I am simply shareing my story in regards to the topic question.

          Yes, we seem to agree that how we live our life is the important piece:>)
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          Jun 19 2012: Hi Colleen,

          I understand you are not trying to prove anything. You are just sharing a profound experience. I'm not arguing with you or trying to convince you of anything either. Just exploring.

          A NDE as you describe is about as close we can get to being permanently dead.

          To clarify we have no evidence of consciousness without some sort of brain structure. Being unconscious, not breathing etc, brain damaged or even no measurable brain activity is not the same consciousness after the brain has decomposed.

          Maybe even without oxygen something is still going on that relys on brain structure. Maybe some forms of consciousness do not need measurable brain activity. Maybe consciousness doesn't even need a brain structure for a short time or for ever. More questions here than answers.

          I can imagine some form of consciousness persisting for some time in the brain even if damaged, starved of oxygen etc but not completely obliterated. But I'm just speculating.

          Do we have any idea how a consciousness would actually see surroundings without eyes or hear or feel. Most likely a hallucination like a dream, but who knows.

          In my own mind, NDE is not proof of reincarnation or even life after death. I know you are not proposing your experience as proof. You weren't actually reincarnated.

          Maybe we could come up with some ways of pointing towards reincarnation being real if memories of the past life were accessible. Otherwise, very hard to verify reincarnation. Just like life after death would be difficult to confirm even if it were real.

          Even if someone was dead and decomposed and their body/brain was somehow repaired and brought back to life from a DNA samplewould their perceived memories or conscious experience of the dead time be proof? Maybe, if we could correlate their memories with events on earth while they were dead. But not if they experienced being in some other place. Life after death may be unverifiable.

          How do we separate what happens in our head from reality
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          Jun 21 2012: Obey,
          You stated..."Colleen, you could be right about reincarnation. I suggest a NDE experience does not quite meet the burden of proof."

          To clarify...again...I am not suggesting that I am right, nor am I trying to "meet the burden of proof". I am simply sharing a story about an experience I had.

          I understand that there is no evidence regarding consciousness/unconsciousness, what it is or how it works. I'm offering some ideas, based on an experience. I too offer information with the intent of further exploration.

          You ask..."Do we have any idea how a consciousness would actually see surroundings without eyes or hear or feel?"

          Yes, I believe I do have an idea. In my perception and experience, consciousness is carried by energy. The closest I can come to a description of what I experienced is ESP...a sense of all knowing without the human senses.

          You write..."Maybe we could come up with some ways of pointing towards reincarnation being real if memories of the past life were accessible".

          In my perception, many memories of past lives ARE accessible. I agree with you that this information is not verifiable.

          I do not believe that the body/brain can be repaired and brought back to life after being decomposed. In my perception and experience, once the body/brain dies, the energy that fuels the body transfers to another form.

          You ask..."How do we separate what happens in our head from reality".

          In my perception, what happens in our head is part of reality. Just because we cannot see it, does not mean it is not real. In my perception, our thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions are very real, and they all manifest as part of the reality of the life experience.
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    Jun 12 2012: What happens to the characters from your dream when you awaken?
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      Jun 13 2012: Good question Erik!
      I believe the characters of our dreams are produced with the same energy that powers the body...the same energy that is many levels of consciousness, sub-conscious, collective conscious or unconscious, universal conscious, instinct, intuition, etc. etc...whatever we choose to call it.

      When we awaken from a dream, the characters, as part of the "flow" of energy, go back to the collective "pool" of consciousness, which we always have access to. When the body dies, it is no longer a carrier of the energy, which goes back into the collective "pool" of energy.
      What do you think/feel about that?

      This is what I witnessed with an out of body/near death experience. I'm sure the science minded among us will accept that as "proof"....LOL:>)
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        Jun 13 2012: I'm not ready to agree or disagree with the particulars, but I think it is something in that direction. We are only barely at the beginning of understanding what "reality" means or how our minds process it. Our empirico-rational model will be the flat earth theory of the future.
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        Jun 13 2012: On one point, though, I would differ, because the storage or characters in our memory is not quite the same as dissipating back into the pool of energy.
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          Jun 13 2012: Erik,
          I agree...the storage or characters in our memory may not be quite the same as dissipating back into the pool of energy.

          Once the body/brain is dead, however, there is no more "storage" in the brain...the brain has no more memory...correct?
          So, the energy that is the carrier of information might move to another form?

          I believe science has already recognized energy in our body/mind, and I think science also recognizes that energy does not simply disappear...it changes form...yes?
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          Jun 13 2012: Just some thoughts on that matter.

          The character is created over time and developes further but like trees growing from the ground they need a constant flow from that ground to live on. As the tree withers the same water does sprout the seeds that were left to rebuilt the structure of character, the innate form that is conscious within the totality of being. Looking back in the pool we see all forms merge as if all is one. Consciousness isn't something of the body. It is the movement of all being that is self aware through any one filter and focus of any form that was so created.
          We have no memory but access to all our being was ever conscious of up till our present form. With a shift of focus we can remember things we weren't aware of at the moment we lived it because we as human beings are aware of just a few percent that what really is recorded. Without the limitation of the body that awareness has no limit either but no focus also.

          To put this all in words is like peeling an apple with an ax.
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          Jun 13 2012: Dear Frans,
          I LOVE your insightful comments, which always cause me to ponder:>)

          I am smiling because I agree...to put this in words is like peeling an apple with an ax...interesting image my friend:>) I think it would be easier to peel an orange with an ax!
          But then, we would be talking apples and oranges, and it might take us off-topic...LOL:>)
      • Jun 13 2012: Colleen,

        This energy body is what is called in esoteric terminology the "etheric" realm ..
        We are all participants in this realm when we are alive. But when we die, the individualized etheric body becomes again one with the etheric body of the earth. This is what is the real carrier of our memories. It "unfolds" itself at the moment of death and is experienced as a tableau where the dying person can see / experience their entire life as if observing it from the outside. This tableau is accessible to people who are clairvoyant and it is called the Akashic records. Trained esoterics have known this up through the ages and have had access to this realm. These are the prophets. People who can see directly into the spirit realm. Even predict future events to some degree.

        As Colleen has told usin other discussions on TED, .. when one has experienced this realm, one simply "knows" that it is a reality. Although words are poverish to describe the true nature of it. It is described as a realm of light. Pure loving light. Also so intense that earthly words cannot describe the beauty of it. This is the light that not only gives us life here on earth, but also the light that is the carrier of our memories and sense impressions here on earth.
        This will remain as the eternal "book" that all things are written in.
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          Jun 13 2012: like dreams feel real
          like delusions feel real
          like drug induced visions feel real

          I don't deny profound experiences, but I question the certainty of the interpretations of what these experience actually are and what they mean.

          Our senses are imperfect especially when under duress.
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          Jun 13 2012: Hi Daniel and Obey:>)

          Daniel, I'm aware of the terms and interpretations you mention above. You say the unfolding of information happens at death. You also write that clairvoyants, trained esoterics, prophets have access to this information.

          I suggest that we are all capable of accessing this information, and we do it on a regular basis. Instinct and intuition, in my perception, are part of the information you refer to. It is by opening the heart and mind further, that we get more information. This can be done with meditation, mindfulness, awareness, and various other practices. We all have the ability to be an observer of our own life experience right here and now:>)

          Yes...I agree Obey...anything and everything we experience may feel real to us, including and not limited to, dreams, delusions, drug induced visions, etc. and each of us may interpret the experience in many different ways.
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        Jun 14 2012: Thank you, Colleen for your kind reply.

        How would we descibe the color of an orange to a blind?
        Words relate to the world of our eyes but a blind can see as well as any soul, dead, alive or dreaming.
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          Jun 14 2012: I totally agree Frans!
          My friends who are "blind" often "see" much more than I do, because many other senses are put into use. When we see only with our eyes, we deprive ourselves of information. When we learn to "see" with more than our eyes, we are capable of more insight.

          That is what I experienced with the NDE/OBE. Although unconscious on a human level, there was an intensity of everything that is, because all channels were open to recieve information:>) We have that opportunity and ability HERE and NOW. We don't need to wait until we die to experience it! I know you know this Frans:>)
    • Jun 13 2012: Erik,
      Interesting question.... They continue to live on in us... don't they..? They are "gone" for the moment when we awake, but they are still there in our minds.. in our memory.... I can recall a character from a dream that I had years ago. I can see his face perfectly in my mind. Who is he? How can even a dream still live on in my consciousness? Maybe there is something about my consciousness that is eternal. How can "I" even relate to a dream at all? After all, my daily awaken consciousness was not at all present.
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        Jun 14 2012: I think that's the right direction indeed. I feel like Christmas is coming as I imagine us gradually unfolding and understanding more layers of the process in the years ahead.
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          Jun 14 2012: Daniel and Erik,
          My mom always used to say that Christmas was not simply a time of the year, it is a feeling we can carry in our heart always...all ways. The feeling can be HERE and NOW in each and every moment. We often try to pack a lot of love, sharing, giving, joy and contentment into that one day or week of the year.

          With the recognition that we can carry the feeling with us in each moment, we may experience the unfolding and understanding of more layers of the process. That is how we transcend some human limitations and experience the so called "heaven on earth":>)
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    Jun 23 2012: If the god of the bible is real....

    If the hell he created is real.....

    A place of eternal torment where those who do not follow the ordained path....

    Then we should simply stop having children.

    If you really believe in god, in hell, then by having children, with no guarantee they will be saved, you are complicit in risking a human soul to eternal damnation and suffering.

    It is not worth the risk of giving birth to a human soul if they may suffer eternal torment.

    This seems to me to be a logical conclusion to the dilemma of hell.

    You may be able to save your self, but we many do not believe, do not become Christians, many will go to hell.

    If you are pregnant it is better to abort then give birth assuming God does not send the innocents directly to hell for original sin.

    I'm serious. Think about it. Hell is eternal suffering, unending torment. Forever.

    I don't know how many times I've heard Christians state Pascals wager. They suggest if there is even a small chance the Christian god is real and eternal damnation is real, then it is better to be a Christian even if not completely sure. Eternal damnation is an infinite punishment. So no matter how unlikely, they believe you should logically choose Christianity.

    Then the same logic should apply to believers. The joy of having children, the benefits for you and the soul you bring into this mortal coil are far outweighed by the risk they may rebel or simply not believe and end up suffering for an eternity in the hell God created.
    • Jun 23 2012: Obey,

      You seem to be tumbling deeper and deeper into some kind of self constructed (il)-logical labyrinth.
      You seem to let yourself follow down the road of such ideas as eternal hell, eternal damnation and suffering. You can choose to reconstruct those concepts. Fill them with new meaning.. a more realistic meaning. Another meaning than the one you have gotten from the conservative Christian corner. By always polarizing your arguments in this way, you only strengthen your own antipathy, ... and not towards finding your own truth.

      If "their" concept of hell is misconstrued ... why then do you continually go into an attack position on a so misconstrued concept of hell..??

      There is no such thing as an eternal hell Obey. The conservative Christian idea of it is misconstrued.
      Are you really out here just to set them all on the right path...? There are a lot of conservative Christians and Muslims out here for just the same purpose.... to proselytize There is always the danger of falling into the opposite pole... As Richard Dawkins is always proselytizing to "save" the world from the "believers"
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        Jun 24 2012: Hi Daniel, I'm just exploring what hell and eternal damnation means if it were true.

        Firstly that it is better not to exist than go to hell. Better not to have children if there is a risk they will suffer infinite eternal punishment.

        Secondly, what this means about their God. This is simply divine terrorism. Evil.

        If it is simply a human construct it is still using fear as a religious tool.

        What is wrong with exploring their belief from inside the bubble? I doubt this will even create a small chink in the armour of religious programming and making things fit. However, if a few people read this and realise that a deity that has committed global genocide once (Flood), and has created a reality so that billions will suffer for eternity, is cruel to say the least, they might question the rest of it.

        For the Christian who don't take the bible literally, but still give it credence undo.

        I'm not trying to convert anyone. Just testing ideas. So what if I was, if just through conversation not through child programming or force.

        I support freedom for people to have religious beliefs. I do have a problem when faith based beliefs impact others. I also have no issue challenging faith based beliefs in principle given faith is not a very good method for discerning fact from fiction and impacts many lives.

        I haven't seen any compelling evidence for hell, or any god for that matter. But live in a world where others do.

        There was a time when I was a born again and anguished that family and friends were going to hell if this was true. So the idea does much harm if it is not true. But that's a different argument.

        What does it mean if it is true. Seems a valid question to me. Christian ask me all the time what if you are wrong. I'm just exploring what if they are right.

        It does not impact other beliefs, just those where a creator created hell and humans knowing they will go there.
        • Jun 24 2012: Obey,

          ... sounds like a phobia to me ....
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        Jun 25 2012: Is that your professional opinion based on a discussion about what happens after we die.

        Sounds like you have a phobia about my perceived phobia.

        Which bit is illogical?

        1. Some Christians assert a doctrine of eternal suffering in hell if you reject their beliefs. If they are right then it might be better to avoid procreating because of the risk of our children rejecting the teachings and burning in hell forever.

        2. A deity that creates conscious beings in a scenario it knows will result in billions suffering for eternity is evil.

        I don't know of any compelling evidence supporting the doctrine of hell as being correct. But I can point out some obvious conclusions to those who believe it is true. Why do my comments concern you so much if you don't believe in hell either?
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      Jun 23 2012: Obey and Daniel,
      I agree with both of you.

      Obey, your comment reminds me of when I had babies. I was young (20 at the time of the first birth and 23 the second time), and had 19 years of catholic dogma behind me. Even though I felt certain of my beliefs (or lack of), as did my husband, we had the kids baptized. Why? Because it was expected by our families, and it was easier to go through the process than argue with family members.

      On another level, I believe there was the information that had been programmed since I was a child...if the child dies and is not baptized, s/he does not go to heaven. S/he goes to some other ungodly place for eternity. Even though I did not believe in the dogma on many levels, there was still the programming.

      I wanted to be a good mother. What if...something happened to my child and s/he died? So, I wanted to hedge my bet and they were both baptized. There! Bases covered...good mom!!! Thankfully, they are both alive and well:>) That was the only religious practice I ever did with my kids. They sometimes went to various church services with relatives or friends when/if they wanted to.

      Daniel, you make a good point too. We can indeed reconstruct those concepts and reprogram ourselves. What we focus on expands. I agree with you Daniel... if a certain concept is misconstrued, why continue to argue against it? I agree with you Daniel...there is no such thing as hell. To threaten eternity in hell if a child is not baptized is a way to control, dominate and abuse people. To spend time arguing about it simply gives the concept fuel to exist.
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        Jun 25 2012: Hi Colleen, I agree the doctrine of hell can have a profound impact on people.

        As a Christian I also worried about others.

        As an atheist I have been politely threatened by Christians and the odd Muslim with eternal damnation.

        I'm glad there is no evidence for it, but the hell doctrine points to some significant issues.

        I take your point on reinforcing it. Probably enough said for now, but reserve the right to contribute later. Others can make up their minds about the value of the conversation so far and points raised.
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          Jun 25 2012: Hi again Obey:>)
          The concept of hell does indeed have a profound impact on people, how they live their lives and fear death. Fear almost always has a profound impact, and as I'm sure you realize, fear is often consistantly influencing the way some people act and react in our world.

          As you know, I do not label myself, and at this time, with the information and experiences I have, I do not believe there is a god, hell, or judgment at the end of this life. My experience with the NDE, and the review of my lives, is that I was very aware of the usefullness (or not) of my life experiences.

          I have many friends and family members who embrace various religious and philosophical practices and beliefs, and we've had indepth conversations on the topic many times. They live their lives with integrity, and never seem to have the need to try to convert me, because they apparently observe that I live my life with integrity as well.

          Other than the catholic indoctrination in schools for 12 years, TED conversations is the first experience where I've been threatened and warned about eternal damnation. I have never before had the experience of addressing this topic with fundamentalists/extremists, and I find it very educational as far as realizing more about what is happening in our world.
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        Jun 25 2012: Hi Colleen, in the West the hellfire and brimstone message seems to have reduced significantly on average compared to the middle ages say. Not so much talk about the power of the devil or god punishing us with this earthquake or that flood either (still happens sometimes).

        In West Europe the power of the Catholic church has reduced and societies values have moved more toward human rights. Christianity is still powerful more or less depending on the country but a lot of the nasty elements have nearly burnt themselves out over the centuries as society, science and secular reasoning have developed. Not too many witches murdered these days but plenty in the past. Freedom of religion also applies to witches or wiccans these days.

        The US constitution is an amazing document. Credit to the founding fathers that they recognised the value of prohibiting the establishment of a state religion. Even if the driver was around the dangers of different Christian sects competing, it has allowed reasonable freedom of religion and from religion to be protected.

        There are still various literalists, fundamentalists, and evangelicals, but the enlightenment values have been absorbed even by believers and it is rather uncouth these days to assert someone is going to hell, or blaming the victims in a natural disaster because their god is punishing them for support homosexual rights etc.

        Some major denominations have moved away from the hell doctrine but it persists with others. Some of these in discussions have asked me what if I'm wrong about there not being god and do face judgement and hell. As part of this discussion I've turned it around and asked what if they are right and god created a hell where many of his creations will suffer for eternity.

        I'm glad in general it doesn't come up that often these days. And the less it is indoctrinated in children the better. But it is still there lurking along with afterlife concepts that are used as part of the motivation for terrible acts.
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        Jun 25 2012: Reflecting on yours and Roy's comments, in the past the hell doctrine was a powerful motivator and positive for church objectives.

        It doesn't hold as much power as we are aware of so many religions that our cultural religion is just one of thousands and science explains much that was previously the domain of gods. Religions seem to most powerful amongst the ignorant, poor, and least human rights and democratic.

        These days for many it is a big negative because we have developed enlightenment values and recognise any being that makes conscious beings suffer for eternity for finite trespasses is simply evil with the power and the will to do worse than the most evil human.
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      Jun 24 2012: Obey,
      There is a term in psychology known as negative reinforcement or avoidance behavior; if you make the penalty of a crime so severe, it acts as a deterrent against committing the crime. It was capitalized by the Catholic Church to curb unrighteous living. The idea of eternal torment is based on the fact that certain activities will ALWAYS result in negative consequences. The idea that a soul will suffer for all eternity was a teaching promoted to secure the authority of the church. The former it true, the latter is not.

      You have ample reason to question everything that the church teaches because much of it is rooted in false notions that never got rooted out. I feel your disdain for religion. I detest Pascals wager. Jesus said that many would do the things that he did. My rebuttal to a Christian is simple; show me the miracles and I will hear what you have to say. If you can't, then go do your homework and don't come back until you can. I haven't been condemned yet.
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        Jun 25 2012: Thanks Roy. Agree coming back to evidence is a key part of the best we can do to assess these kind of claims.

        I have a rule of thumb test, would I do this if it became known to others. A divine big brother, or even the spirits of the departed keeping watch is almost an extension of this.
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    Jun 15 2012: My theory is that, from the perspective of the dying person, the last coherent thought that the neocortex processes is the lasting thought that one carries to eternity. If that thought is of heaven, and the afterlife, then this is where that person shall reside. If it is of anger and resentment, then this is the purgatory to last forever. It is best, then, to live without regrets and to cultivate happiness that is our last and lasting heaven.
    • Jun 15 2012: Eben,

      ....Too simple Eben..... I could kill a man the day before I died. I could even have enjoyed doing it.

      But my own last thought could be about how much I love hamburgers....
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      Jun 15 2012: Eben,
      I totally agree...live without regrets and cultivate happiness.

      Daniel,
      Simple is GOOD sometimes:>) What we focus on expends, and my belief is that we live as we die, and die as we live, which may include our focus on the last thought in the neocortex...or not. Regardless of what you did the day before, you can still be focusing on something else...can you not?

      An example from my experience:
      When the body was near death, after a near fatal injury and craniotomy, I'm told that I was smiling and giving visitors a thumbs up while unconscious in ICU. The day before, I was riding a horse, had an accident, which put me in the state I was in with a severe injury. If your theory is correct, it seems that I would have been thinking about the accident, rather than giving my friends/relatives smiles and thumbs up?

      You both could be "right"...:>)
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        Jun 16 2012: Albert Einstein " everything should be made as simple as possible but not any simpler" simple is what we hope for all the time
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          Jun 16 2012: I LOVE simple:>)
        • Jun 17 2012: Stewart,

          I like your profile picture..

          Is it a galaxy in the outer cosmos ..?

          ... Or is it a neuron in the inner cosmos...?
      • Jun 16 2012: Hi Colleen and Eben,

        The point I am trying to make here is that your action from the day before... year before... life before will come back to you.
        In the very moment in which you die does not determine you condition / situation in the spiritual world after death. My comment about killing a man the day before one dies was alluding to this.
        The moment of death may be a positive and even joyful one, but for all of us, the consequences of what we have done throughout our lives will bring forth the experience of our "eternity" if I may use the word.
        As we die, or can I say "excarnate" from the physical world, we experience the so called "tableau" or "life in review" as many people who have NDE's can tell about. This "spreading out" of the "spacial" experience to a "time" experience is common among people having NDE's They see their life "in review" This gives us a juxtaposition to our own lives that we never have had before. This gives us also the possibility to "judge" objectively both "our actions" as well as "others in their response to our actions" ... Thus, we experience in the spiritual world exactly what we have done to others in the physical world. If you slap your wife, both the "physical pain" involved will arise in your own "spirit being" as well as the "emotional pain" involved. And then "on top of this" there comes a burning desire to correct / do better the pain and injury that you have caused.
        This is call "karma" ... but one can easily see the Christian element here also...
        ...Do onto others ...
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          Jun 16 2012: I understand the point you are trying to make Daniel. I am aware of the life reviews. The point I am trying to make is that there is no "time" limitation in the spirit/energy state. Everything is simultaneous....in my humble experience. There is a sense of all knowing

          You are trying to explain what happens using terms that are a human construct...like "time" and "spacial".

          I just read another comment of yours Daniel, on another thread, in which you accuse Obey of "rambling"...that is so funny...the pot calling the kettle black....LOL:>) I love you guys...just having a little fun:>)
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          Jun 17 2012: My photo is a brain neuron Daniel
      • Jun 16 2012: Colleen,

        I think I get your point on the time / space "earth bound"realities. As someone said earlier, there are simply no words for the experience ... it is beyond words.

        .. As for Obey's rambling on ... Yes, he himself noted that about his previous comment so I was simply agreeing with his own statement. I think that by agreeing on some points ... things might be easier to discuss ... although Obey and I see things in quite a different light.

        I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of "rambling on" though ;-)
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          Jun 17 2012: Daniel,
          Frans Kellner provided the perfect words...Explaining this stuff feels like trying to peel an apple with an ax! I just love that image...makes me laugh every time I think about it! Thanks Frans!!!

          I noticed that Obey said that about himself....hope I didn't offend either of you with my playfullness:>) I'm not convinced that you and Obey see things in a much different light. In my perception, you express yourselves differently, and it seems like you come together on some points:>)
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        Jun 16 2012: Hi Colleen.....I have been gone awhile but I have been reading all along. It seems that the subject of an afterlife just will not die. (Pun intended) But seriously, Scientists don't have any explanation for consciousness, yet they insist that there is no afterlife. I don't agree with that.. I have had an extra ordinary experience, as you have. At about age 30 I seem to have tapped into the force that keeps the cosmos going and the result was an immense amount of wisdom. It freed me from learned "wisdom" to make new decisions about what was right and good. An epiphany !
        I believe that dying is a process of being born into another dimension. Our consciousness lives beyond our earthly life. What the mechanics and result of this are, I don't know, but we live on in a very different way. I have great respect for Neil Degrasse Tyson, but I watched a video where he trashed "intelligent design" and he was so glib and sarcastic about how he would not make such stupid mistakes in evolution as "God" did, that it was incredibly funny how he compared his ideas to what actually is. But, I digress. We hear that the NDEs are caused by lack of oxygen. Well and good. If that is what causes consciousness to depart, it is still a mechanism and we dare not draw unwarranted conclusions about whether that conciousness is temporary or not. What law would prevent consciousness from being eternal ?
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          Jun 16 2012: What law you ask? Potentially the law for conservation of energy, all energy eventually ends up in the form of heat and heat gets spread out and will eventually cause the heat death of the universe where what's known as free energy will cease to exist. Scientists have a lot of explanations for consciousness, Dan Dennet even has a book on I think, though not all ideas agree and there's still a lot of work to be done if working it out. Though as I've said previously scientists have good reason to assume there is no afterlife. We have narrowed down consciousness to a small section of our spinal cord which leads into the parts of the brain associated with consciousness. We have systemically shown in mice or in humans who have suffered brain trauma, that damage to these cells or this specific spot of the spinal chord will remove your consciousness and you enter a vegetative state of brain death.
          We've also shown that slicing a few extra cells in the spinal chord causes loss of limb function i.e Stephen Hawking. So we've narrowed down consciousness, body control, and sub consciousness down to all their individual parts of the brain and spinal chord. For example their have been tests with brain trauma patients that certain parts of their brain were damaged and couldn't remember things such as names or phone numbers so we're narrowing down apparent consciousness.
          Why do we say no afterlife? Because when the brain dies, all the cells die and stop functioning, we have shown that the conscious mind is created by the brain and also the sub conscious. So when faced with the possibility of all these functions dying and then postulating the idea that somehow after death all these faculties magically reassemble out of the body with nothing to generate them, that's why science says no afterlife.
        • Jun 16 2012: Helen,

          Nice to see you back Helen!

          Really liked your comment. Keep it up! Tell us more about your experience!
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          Jun 17 2012: Helen!
          Welcome back...good to see you on TED again:>)

          That's a good one Helen..."It seems that the subject of an afterlife just will not die. (Pun intended)....LOL:>)

          I don't understand it all either Helen, and that's ok. I don't need to undersand everything in this moment. I DO know that I'm here...now....and I'm going to continue to live life with gusto, to the best of my ability in any given moment:>)

          Stewart,
          You're right....there has been some research done regarding consciousness and how the brain functions. 22 years ago, after a traumatic brain injury, my family and I were told that because certain parts of the brain (most of it) were damaged, I would lose certain functions (most functions). Now they know that the brain can create new neural pathways. What science previously thought was truth, is now debunked because of new research and information. If you are going to stick with what science can prove at this time, that's ok. I'll probably be leaving you behind because I'm going with new information!!! My brain is working just fine, and it's open to exploring new scientific information. Why don't you come along for the interesting ride into new territory? :>)

          You are correct...when the brain dies, all the cells of the brain die and stop functioning as well. I suggest that the conscous mind is NOT created by the brain. The brain is a carrier of energy which carries consciousness. It's a pretty simple concept, really, when/if you think about it:>)

          BTW, science does not say no afterlife. Some scientists say no afterlife...some scientists are researching and exploring this topic. Energy is a pretty powerful generater:>)
      • Jun 17 2012: Colleen, I had not comment window above so I'll squeeze one in here. It's a little frustrating that TED doesn't give room for this.

        Amazing story about the bird !! Simply amazing !!

        I have heard similar stories about what animals can experience. They seem to have "extra senses" that we don't even know about. Dogs, horses and more.. Whales can communicate from half way around the planet. A dog can sense when his owner is coming home... or even can sense an epileptic seizure... The discovery of the reality of the spiritual world may... just may come from what the animals can teach us. We human beings have so much focus on the intellectual part of our being that this dominates over the more feeling / intuitive part of our nature.
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      Jun 18 2012: Eben,

      I would not be surprised if there is some biological process to ease our passing when we are dying. I would not be surprised if there are hallucinations as the brain does all it can to live, or some last burst of electricity. The experience might be shaped by your recent thoughts or mental state, or even be genetic.

      Interesting ideas but pure conjecture.
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        Jun 19 2012: When you talked about another, refined theory, there already is one. Its called m theory, which is a combination of all the variations of string theory to explain the universe as a whole.
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    Jun 14 2012: I belong to country obsessed with religion, spiritualism, moksha and stuff.. and here in India, there are thousands of books written on life after death as well. Here, there's a huge mass believing in reincarnation after death. After you go through their assumptions and beliefs you realize that it's just an attempt of overcoming the fear of death. This makes you feel better..and that's what entire concept is all about.
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    Jun 13 2012: ...whatever you want to happen ;)
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    Jun 13 2012: I think there's a few things that require clarification. No one knows the answer to this question, not even the most devout religious believer can say with 100% honesty and truth and say they know there is an afterlife, nor can the professor with a phd say with 100% confidence that there isn't an afterlife. There are other questions around this that should be asked instead, if you don't believe non believers can get into heaven or the equivalent merely because they do not believe this is surely wrong morally and logically, if you temporarily set aside all religious books and just look at science, you never get to a point where you think that you need a god for certain things to happen, then in the current world there is no apparent evidence for an afterlife or a deity. Yet if you turn to scripture you find every kind of deity going, yet how do you know which one to trust, if you proclaim yours to be true then you must also recognize your fellow preachers of other faiths claim to inherent truths as being the sole truth. So now you've got a universe which doesn't require god and evidence which doesn't suggest an afterlife and religions who can't agree who is praying to the right god and on which days and in which directions. So who/ what do you trust?

    Next idea, would you really want to live forever? take a second to imagine eternity and you'll realise that you can't. We human can't even comprehend a million years, our common interactions limit us to imagine a short time period. So imagine living forever, even if in heaven you can do whatever you want you'll eventually do everything and then get bored.

    Or if you entertain the idea of just being conscious, you've to imagine being merely able to think for eternity, you can't see or do anything but merely think. We can't deny that a belief in the afterlife was almost certainly created in coherence with humans' fear of death, but once you imagine infinity, it's really something not worth having.
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      Jun 16 2012: Agree no one knows for sure. But there are many different answers offered.

      Eternal life is frightening. Maybe a a few hundred if healthy and happy. Although theists would posit that god would ensure the afterlife was not a chore. Afterall he is all powerful and all knowing.

      I find it strange the creator of billions of galaxies each with billions of stars decided to exterminate everyone with a flood when unhappy with his creations and then centuries later incarnate as a human, preach for a few years in a mid east backwater, finally revealing the get out of hell card in a cryptic manner to a few people, and supposedly resurrect, show himself to a few people and offer this as convincing proof to all the world for all history. All this without the sense to even document it at the time, and not get anything recorded in public records or any useful evidence.

      Its about as believable and useful as an angel reciting another revelation from the creator to a man in a cave. At least this man had the sense to write it down from the start.

      This god sure does work in mysterious ways or is not that all knowing. And these teachings are the source of convictions about what happens after we die.
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        Jun 16 2012: Obey you are just like me, we'd get along so well. Don't forget it's the same god who was all powerful that would get mad if you didn't burn a calf in his name because as we well know super omnipotent beings require burning livestock to be happy.
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          Jun 16 2012: Obey and Stewart,
          My insistant question, which I think you have addressed before Obey, is why would a god create this space we occupy, put us here on earth and ask us to spend all our time here worrying about the next event?

          Some religious fundamentalists say "he" is an unconditionally loving god, and yet "he" would send a majority of us to hell if we do not embrace a certain belief? That never made sense to me even as a child, and it makes even less sense now.

          I'm not sure if there is a god or not, but I believe if there is one, he/she/it is loving, and behaves in a loving way. Even the bible says that, so why do the fundamentalists continue to warn and threaten with the fires of hell? I believe it is controlling.

          BTW...I did not witness the idea of heaven/hell when I was "out there".
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          Jun 17 2012: I agree Stewart and Colleen. While we can not know for sure, the explanation most consistent with the stories are they are man made bronze age and axial age inventions. There is little sign of any transcendent or absolute morality, omni beneficence etc.

          The great flood, supporting slavery, raped women marrying their rapist, animal sacrifice, yahweh personally killing hundreds of thousands and ordering the death of millions followed by hell for non believers etc. It is amazing how believers rationalise the dissonance. Programming god is love over and over, and coming up with some rationale for the evil - it shows the flexibility of humans and power of cultural and social programming and acceptance.

          It seems that the starting point is the assumption that whatever good does or says is moral and right. If it appears immoral we must misunderstand it.

          I'm also not sure if there is a god. I guess I would give more respect to believers if they dropped the god is all loving phrase and said god created a scenario that doesn't really make sense, it looks cobbled together over hundreds of years, hell is nasty, god has a nasty side, but he created us and we have to obey or face the consequences. Tough.

          If there is a god being as per the bible stories it is not that different from us. Flawed, a mix of loving and hating, not particularly rationale or intelligent, just more powerful. No surprise as this god was probably created in our image.

          The whole Christian foundation story doesn't make sense either. An all knowing god giving a narrow cast communication of information critical to our eternal condition without any evidence that meets the burden of proof. Not one eye witness account recorded during the life of Jesus in or out of the bible.

          Its almost a relief it is almost certainly not true. While I'm open on interpreting NDE, it is reassuring even some non believers who have come closest to the end see no hell.

          I'd hope for a creator that is better than us not worse.
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        Jun 16 2012: Maybe by the time we get there the god won't be so happy after the verbal abuse Christopher Hitchens would give the god if it exists.

        Edit: Hope you see this edit Colleen :) I'm taking about any god, multiple or not, and I've actually just convinced myself that if there are gods I hope to them that I get to see Hitch yelling at them, something you said Colleen which I'm glad you picked up on you said "he" (in reference to god) which is as we know today that a male christian god is the product of a male dominated society where women couldn't receive education.
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          Jun 16 2012: Which god are you talking about Stewart? There could be many...or none:>) It doesn't sound like a very happy god anyway....based on some accounts!

          Edit:
          Yes, I notice your edit Stewart:>)
          I agree that reference to god as a "he" may be a product of a male dominated society. I also observe that when a segment of the population wants to dominate, they do not simply want to dominate one particular group...they want to dominate many groups of people. That may be why some religions are prejudice regarding people of certain ethnic backgrounds, sexual preferences, etc.?
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    Jun 13 2012: Great subject, as the meaning of life is determined.. :)

    Our senses, or science, can only tell us what happens with our body when it dies. Not pleasant. But many believe we are just as little our body, as we are e.g. our car. Now there is information about what we really are. Proof? no! We are free to see it any way we want.

    I have a short link to a detailed account of what happens after our body dies. It is more that 2000 characters, but I hope it helps. Just posted it somewhere else too.
    http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Heaven-and-Hell_Short.pdf?attredirects=0
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    Jun 12 2012: ..
    Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

    Millions have believed this over the millennia, many died rather than deny it. Consider long & hard, being dead takes a very very long time. Atheism will be long forgotten & You will still be dead.

    :-)
    • Jun 12 2012: Peter, There are several references to reincarnation in the Bible. Did you know that?

      What do you think about reincarnation?
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        Jun 12 2012: daniel, I would like to know where in the bible it says that...Is that something you've read for yourself or something you've heard by ear?
        • Jun 13 2012: Devon,

          Luke 9:19 is one place.

          Reincarnation makes perfect sense actually. Even in the Christian world view. Just think of all the children who die long before they can have any idea of life after death etc. They get another chance. As well as the people who don't "make it" the first time around. And furthermore ... any good Christian could never leave his brethren here to suffer on earth while he or she is having a wonderful time up in heaven.... that would be like saying ... let my neighbor starve to death... I'm at least having a good time... I have what I need... I've made it into heaven... It's there own fault that they wound up in hell....

          Sounds pretty immoral doesn't it ?

          No, a soul in heaven would always want to come back to earthly existence to help his other fellow men along the path.
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        Jun 12 2012: If you are referring to the second coming of Christ and our union with him being raised into new and glorified bodies, it's different than what most would consider reincarnation..just be careful not to be decieved by people who try to twist what the word says. Also I understand people could mistake the (die to ones self and be reborn in Christ) for reincarnation but its nothing like that. We as Christians are called to die to our sinful nature here on Earth to love God with all our heart mind soul and strength and in the process begin to live holy lives, that doesn't mean we have to be the pope lol, it means to not be mastered by anything the world throws at us.
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Devon.
        "Luke 19:9 (KJV)
        And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham."
        I must assume that you are saying that the father of Zacchæus is the reincarnated Abraham?
        This is a stretch at best. The whole Jewish nation are sons of Abraham in this sense.

        "Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
        And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"

        There is no reincarnation in the bible. This is it, once round, no second chance.

        Of course we are concerned about folks going to Hell. We try to persuade folks here & now. Mostly we get told to B-off, sometimes we get jail, often we get killed. People don't want to hear, & are very adept at telling us how foolish we are. I weep over them, but I don't intend joining them in their foolishness.
        EDIT
        "Luke 9:19 (KJV)
        They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say , Elias; and others say , that one of the old prophets is risen again."
        Sorry, got your scripture wrong. It shows however how folks can interpret scripture to suit their bias. Actually I think the first fits better; is it by any chance another "proof text"?
        9:19 is too obviously a resurrection, which is completely different from reincarnation.

        :-)
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          I can't imagine going to school,... failing in math, ....and never getting a second chance... but rather condemned to contemplate the ... " phi " ... for all eternity.

          It makes no sense to me...

          Your telling me...

          A young child that has never done math, never heard of math, has not even a mind mature enough to do math .... will follow along with me into that eternal hell fire of punishment for not understanding .... .... .... his math...?

          I think you get my point...
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          Jun 13 2012: daniel, don't worry. bronze age doesn't make sense in a modern western nation. Its clearly nonsense.

          We don't do blood sacrifices and scape goating any more.

          You can not argue that a deity that sets things us so its creations may suffer eternally is omni benevolent. Defining whatever your god is said to have done or says as moral, no matter how repulsive, does not make it so unless you switch your brain and ethical sensibilities off.
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Daniel.
        I'm not saying I understand it, or even agree with it. I'm the messenger. I do trust Jesus however, he has earned my respect. We will be judged according to our opportunity. Even in the farthest backwood we can look at the world around us and infer a creator God.
        Most however will winge at the unfairness of it all & end up in Hell. If God had any sense He would do it our way, trouble is when 8 billion people are all telling you how to do your job, who do you listen to?
        Me; I have no intention of looking a gift horse in the mouth. I can ask questions in eternity, although I suspect it will make perfect sense when I get there.

        :-)
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          What do you think about Luke 9:19, 20 ?
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          Jun 13 2012: Dear Peter,
          You are "the messenger" of what? Continually telling us that if we do not believe as you do, we will go to hell? How is that beneficial to humankind?

          You write..." I do trust Jesus however, he has earned my respect. We will be judged according to our opportunity."

          You further write..."If God had any sense He would do it our way, trouble is when 8 billion people are all telling you how to do your job, who do you listen to?"

          You say you trust Jesus, who has earned your respect and we will be judged accordingly.
          Then you say if god had any sense he would do it our way, and "he" is listening to the directions of 8 billion people to do "his" job!

          Peter, you seem like a lovely, kind person, and are you ever really paying attention to what you write?
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter we can examine this belief you have and find this hypothetical entity unfair, immoral and evil without ignoring that there is no reasonable evidence to believe any of it is the truth.

          You can also believe in it but acknowledge this is a god of blood sacrifices, murder and evil beyond human capabilities. What human would eternally torture their worse enemy.

          If Jesus is god its not much of a sacrifice. He is god. Is aware of creating the universe. Knows with certainty he will shortly be in heaven. He suffers some human pain for a blink in terms of his existence.

          He is also an actor in this macabre set up

          An all powerful, all loving god would not or could not set up this type of scenario you believe in. It is so obviously bronze age and axial age human conceived.

          If you believe the bible Jesus said some nice things. Others had said some of the most important things before him - Rabbi Hilel, Confucious etc.

          Even with the breakthoughs comapred to other Judiasm, it is still still behind modern secular values. And instead of just forgiving a blood sacrifice is needed. The NT still supports slavery. Its so much a product of its time not absolute morality.

          At the least he was also a apocalyptic preacher encouraging people to stop thinking of the future.

          At the worse he is player in an evil cosmic set up not deserving of respect by most moral standards.

          Thank the gods this evil overlord is as likely to be real as any other god or goddess.
        • Jun 13 2012: Peter,

          For me .. Logic and belief have to meet as one... If they don't meet .. at least within reason, then it cannot be a part of my "belief system" I would guess that this is the biggest problem with most people today and their controversy with the bible.. Often, logic cannot find a place in the religious picture of the world.... But I say it must. The physical world is logical. The spirit world is also logical.
          There is no reason what so ever that the two worlds cannot meet. And if they don't .. then you have to re-examine either your logic or your beliefs.... and its a cop out to see things any other way .. even if the consequences mean going to hell .... or heaven ... or some place in between..
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        Jun 13 2012: Hi Colleen

        Good to see you again. I mention Hell here as it is germane to the subject; & I also want to warn people. It certainly isn't my favourite subject; my sights are on Heaven. If you remember my warped sarcasm, I think what I wrote will make more sense.

        Obey. I think you protest too much. Every opportunity is used to slag-off God. I have no answer to that.

        Daniel. Sorry I got the scripture wrong; see edit to previous comment.
        I agree things should be logical. For me it works like this.
        The universe seems to require an intelligent creator. There is a book that claims to have been authored by this creator. It records the complete history of the Jewish nation from start to finish. History is passing exactly as foretold. The Jews are exactly where they should be.
        Today's world is exactly as foretold. Archeology verifies the truth of the bible. The bible tells us of the spiritual battle between good & evil, which we all experience. In short, the truth of the bible is logical.
        The world is in rebellion against God, so it would seem logical that there should be spiritual confusion & anger against God's people. History verifies this; from burning Christians to gassing Jews, we've had our moments.
        When my dear daughter was a little girl she was always in a stomp about something. Why didn't we do this, why did we do that, why wasn't she allowed the other. Thinking back, I was exactly the same. It is said that if you need to know something, ask a teenager; 'cause they know everything. We are God's children, we often get in a stomp; that too is logical.

        :-)
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter,
          Hell may be "germane to the subject" in your perception, and it is not in my perception, so it is tiring to be "warned" about your beliefs.

          Whenever you are reminded of your contradictions, you often say it is your sarcasm, sense of humor, you're simply having a little fun, etc. etc. You could have just as much fun writing things that were not contradictions, if you chose to do so. If you engaged in meaningful conversations, perhaps TED wouldn't remove so many of your comments...that could be even more fun for you!

          I don't percieve that the "world is in rebellion against God" Peter. I see a world of people evolving, who want to think, feel, and make decisions based on their own explorations, rather than from threats and warnings.
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          Jun 13 2012: Peter there are countless books which present a creator of the universe and that all beings should worship this god or multiple gods, and in fact there is no archaeological evidence of any of the old testament stories, Jewish archaeologists have been given every opportunity to prove the exodus story true and yet time and time again find no evidence.
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          Jun 14 2012: Peter,

          I'm not protesting anything, just pointing out that Yahweh as bibledefined is an evil entity. Eternal damnation is evil. My understanding is you believe in a god, the creator and judge over some sort of hell, perhaps even worship it.

          Its a bit rich to call highlighting the unpopular bits of the bible central to this belief slagging. If this was some other god I guess you might think it was nasty. How is eternal torment not over the top.

          I do find this particular god belief objectionable for the reasons outlined. My arguments seem reasonably sound.

          Don't worry, I feel the same way about the jewish, muslim, mormon etc interpretations of the same god.

          Just because Christians are taught their version of god is all loving and good does't make it so.

          Actually I not rebelling against your god. I'm just point out some of the unpopular details about this most likely imaginary entity. I don't believe this or any I've heard have been shown to exist. Although some are less fantastical than others.

          You see this as rebellion. I see it as an intellectual discussion about human ideas. You give it too much credit to think we are rebelling. You rebel against real tyrants. You just debate ideas and beliefs. Please reflect in this. Try step outside your programmed assumptions.

          I'd have to believe in this authority figure and defy it to be in rebellion.

          By your logic you are rebelling against Allah and every other god you don't believe in. That is pushing the English language a bit far. Just another false statement/belief.

          Not everyone agrees the universe needs an intelligent creator. I guess you assume the creator didn't need an intelligent creator. Another fallacy.

          My understanding is archaeology, biology, history and science in general do not support any of the supernatural claims in the bible.

          I frame it as growing up and becoming more knowledgeable about the universe and our place in it and leaving the fables of our human childhood behind
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          Jun 15 2012: Peter, just on the rebelling thing.
          Its not rebelling if you simply don't believe it.
          I'd suggest a lack of belief is not rebelling.

          Believing in not really a choice.
          I simply don't believe in gods and goddesses just like you don't believe in other gods and goddesses. You can not force your self to believe in these or santa claus.

          Its the same with an afterlife. It might be nice if death wasn't final, but while I'm not 100% sure about all these things I'm a long way from believing in heaven and hell.
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        Jun 14 2012: Stewart.

        The net is full of archeological evidence for the bible; just google it. Eg
        http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/archaeological-and-external-evidence
        You don't have to accept it, but it is there.

        :-)
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Peter,

          The authors of the bible lived in the real world. Nothing strange about real places and historical figures being part of the tapestry.

          That does not mean genesis 1 creation occurred or the conflicting genesis 2 creation occurred, Or that Adam, Abraham, Noah even existed.

          They have found stone tools in the region over a million years old. Some scholars suggest Yahweh was originally part of the Canaanite pantheon alongside Baal. As the Israelites developed a distinct identity they believed their god was superior to the others. Some parts of the OT read consistently with this interpretation. There is archaeological evidence that the Jews worshipped other fertility gods alongside Yahweh - figurines etc. Again kind of parallels parts of the bible. Monotheism is thought to have crystallised during the Babylonian period.

          No evidence for the exodus as far as I know. Egypt attacked the lands a few times. There was an exodus after the Christian Roman Empire banned Jews from their empire around 600 AD. Poor Jews have had a hard time since Christianity became a power the last 1600 years or so. While it wasn't all plain sailing under Muslim rule Jews were able to live in the area under the Ottomans and were the majority population in Jerusalem mid 19th century.

          Fascinating perspective from history and archaeology.

          Not sure if archaeology and history is helping your cause much other than to confirm Judea and Israel were kingdoms for a time, along with Babylonian, Greek, Asyrian, Roman, Persian, Ottoman, British control of the land at times.
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        Jun 14 2012: Hi Obey.
        Let's turn this around. I don't believe Allah exists, but I believe the whole concept of Allah is destructive. Ditto many other imaginary gods. I do not find it necessary to engage with Muslims, or Hare Christnia, Mormons, or others to point out their error. As far as I know, very few people do. Have you engaged any Muslims on 9/11?
        Typically the Christian god is singled out. Jesus Christ is the Christian God. What has he done to attract such vitriol ? I put it to you that it is because He is real, while the rest aren't. If not, what is your explanation?

        :-)
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          Jun 14 2012: My goodness Peter,
          You demonstrate your prejudice, and you are NOT following the teachings of the bible, which you claim are the "one and only".

          You write..." I do not find it necessary to engage with Muslims, or Hare Christnia, Mormons, or others to point out their error. As far as I know, very few people do."

          I have engaged with people of many backgrounds my whole life because even though I do not practice a religion, I learned as a child in bible study, to "Love thy neighbor". Perhaps you missed those parts of the Bible Peter.

          The topic here is: "What happens after we die?"
          Based on my experience of being "out there" because of a near death experience, there was NO seperation because of religious beliefs. It was WONDERFUL!
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          Jun 14 2012: Why would you engage a muslim on 9/11 peter? sounds like a giant stereotyping that islam was responsible for 9/11. The reason why Christianity is so attacked it because of many reasons, like in my other post about evolution you have the creationists who are rampant about the truth being taught in schools, you have idiots like Kent Hovind and his half wit son eric poisoning the minds of people, also the majority of us are from the western world, I rarely see a muslim let alone to one. Also almost everyone in the western world has read the bible and so they know what it says and the absurdities in it. Though I put it to you that it is hard to find someone at random in the western world who has read the Quran from cover to cover. Also here's a nice little story I heard. A history student was studying mythologies and had the sudden realization, mythologies are actually past religions and that modern religions are just myths that people still believe.
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          Jun 15 2012: Peter, I consider the comments on TED as they come up.

          I haven't seen too many from a Muslim perspective but would comment equally.
          Not sure whether more cruelty, murder, intolerance and other crimes against human rights have been committed in the name of the Christian or Muslim versions of god.
          Some aspects of modern Islam are of great concern to me. Muslims not impacting others adversely because of their beliefs are welcome to their religion, just like Christians, Buddhists etc. Similarly if they start discussing things on TED I might have something to comment.

          RE: JC is the Christian God. If you believe Jesus is God and nothing to do with the creator of the universe outlined on the old testament, not the God of the Abraham, Moses, the ten commandments, the flood, then some of my recent comments were off base and I apologise.

          I thought most Christians saw some link between Jesus and the Father/Yahweh/God outlined in the old Testament. I recall you mention God and the flood, before JC was born etc etc so assumed the God of the old testement was also par tof your god.

          If only the words and actions of Jesus are important, then you only need the gospels.

          That means you can avoid the bit in the new testament supporting slavery.

          However, I guess hell is still part the picture you believe in regarding what happens after we die. That's still immoral by most standards. Eternal torture simply because there wasn't enough evidence to believe or you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          Jesus is still part of this immoral set up. No way to the Father except through him. Who is this Father. Is he not your god too?` There seems to be some interesting reasoning here. It's a bit rich to divorce your version of the Christian God from the old testament.

          Actually I'm not attacking Jesus the person. He died a long time ago. He wasn't a mass murderer. Probably a guru of some sort. I'm just challenging Christian beliefs raised on TED, particularly the hell doctrine
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        Jun 14 2012: Dont you guys get it...it's not about condemning anybody, daniel said it himself, a soul in heaven would always want to come back to earthly existence to help his other fellow man along the path. But thats not biblical, we had our help through Jesus Christ all we have now is today to tell people and so we do.. not to condemn them or judge them, we ourselves were at one point being told. We do it out of love for our fellow man. God is the judge

        And Obey to your comment on his sacrifice and reducing it to something thats not much of anything, try living a perfect life and innocently having your flesh ripped off your back to the point where people cant recognize you on top of being whipped and beaten, put in a crown of thorns and having it thrusted into your skull all for the people that hate you... and then get back to me. You and colleen both are quick to point out what I say and pass it off as judgemental or biased and yet Colleen says nothing of what you have to say Obey even though its offensive.

        And to address the animal thing. The sacrifice of animals was under the old covenant until Jesus came as the perfect lamb to be sacrificed and not just to kill animals obey, but for our sins for the foolish and stupid things that we did....no blame is to go to God for this and who are we to question that when we know so little even though we think we know so much. His thoughts aren’t our thoughts obey and robi hillel and confucious didnt die and come back to life for the salvation of man so theres really no comparison.

        And to put that luke 9:19 thing to bed if you actually read the whole thing they were talking about Jesus.

        And peter I appreciate your words but I have a friend who is a muslim convert and is on fire for God he loves God with all his heart and is currently a missionary reaching out to thousands and would not have been so if it werent for someone who had reached out to him...so with that statement you made on muslims, I disagree
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon, Crucifying any human being, or even an animal is a horrible act. I guess the Romans crucified many people. Lots of cultures have had cruel and usual ways of punishing people - stoning for example. I'm actually against the death penalty.

          My understanding is some people claim Jesus is God. God is an immortal being. So immortal God in human form got crucified. Its a very different perspective.

          I actually also think it is an evil scenario where someone is made to pay for the crimes of others. A God who sets up this system judging humans to eternal punishment is an immoral god. We wouldnt accept parents judging and punishing their children that way.

          I guess I'm bouncing up against some fairly rigid paradigms. You focus on the sacrifice and don't see what an evil set up it is. According to Christian doctrine as I understand it I will be going to hell simply because I don't believe the stories, or the Muslim ones, or the Buddhist ones, or the Hindu ones, or the Jains, Sihks etc.

          I guess you might be offended because this religious belief may be a core belief you are committed to. It defines you and is part of you in a way. So pointing out some of the issues with this belief may indirectly feel like I'm pointing out issues with you.

          Devon, I guess you have read bits of the bible.
          The bible asserts god killed everyone but Noah's family.
          God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. What sort of god does that.
          The kind of god that uses his own son for a blood sacrifice.
          What sort of entity tortures souls for eternity.
          The animal sacrifices were part of this gods programme.
          Do you simply ignore these bits. Do you rationalise them away.
          Why are you offended when I point out how cruel this is?
          Would you agree with me if I was talking about the Aztec god?

          I believe part of the issue is that we have grown up in a better society than the one in which these beliefs developed and were recorded. Parts of the bible are offensive to our values. Hence the squirm factor.
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon,
          In your previous comment, you write..."Colleen says nothing of what you have to say Obey even though its offensive".

          I do not find Obey's comments to be offensive. You apparently see them as offensive because he does not agree with you.

          Anyone who does not agree with you on this thread Devon, you say is not understanding, is not getting it, is foolish, rebelling against god, etc., while your preaching about your god and your beliefs apparently is ok for you. The topic you started is "what happens after we die". You seem to be defending your god, your beliefs, and preaching, rather than addressing the topic question.

          See, that's what leads me to believe that you started this thread to promote your own beliefs, and that is a misuse of TED, in my humble perception.
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          Jun 15 2012: Rock ON Colleen!
          I used to get angry when the lurking TED editors would delete postings but I totally get it now. I haven't even been contributing on this thread because i have lived with enough rabid religious fundamentalist and tire of their circular arguments. This is my one and only posting here. The facilitator here clearly is not interested in what anyone else has to say.
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        Jun 14 2012: 1 Corinthians 2: 6-14

        “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
        “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him”[b] —
        but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
        The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
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          Jun 15 2012: I apologise if my reference to Muslims came across as nasty. My point was to ask why Jesus Christ is singled out for such animosity; he surely is the most loving & caring of all religious leaders. I too have Muslim friends; they are God's children & entitled to as much love as anyone else.

          Sorry folks.

          :-)
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          Jun 15 2012: Devon,

          Firstly within the bible hypothesis:
          How does this quote negate or neutralise the other assertions in the bible that indicate a tribal god that helped the Jews against other peoples, flooded the whole world killing everyone, and sends non believers to hell etc.

          Are you saying humans don't have the wisdom to assess the Christian scenario in regards to morality?

          Are you saying I don't have a spirit because I see no core difference between Christianity and other apparently man made religions?

          From a rationale perspective:
          Firstly, there is no reason I know off to believe any of the supernatural claims in the bible. Why should I believe any of this.
          You first need to demonstrate this god exists and the bible is accurate.

          Secondly its not that much different to the Koran or other religious texts.

          Thirdly, even if it were true this god is a monster that puts even the the worse human mass murders to shame. They may kill millions sending them to oblivion or the judgement of some god. This god tortures billions for eternity.

          From outside the bubble - the get of jail Jesus card does not make the whole scenario okay. It seems you are basically saying that god is god, he made the rules, so we have to follow them. He could forgive us non believers as he is all powerful, but he chooses not to. You are basically saying whatever god says or does is okay as he is god.

          I don't know if you take the bible literally Devon. If you do are okay with a deity that:
          - never said a word against slavery?
          - supposedly that committed global genocide via a flood?
          - A deity that required animal sacrifices for centuries?
          - An all powerful, all knowing deity, immaterial, outside time and space that created us knowing I would not believe due to lack of evidence and send me to hell?
          - That personally kill hundreds of thousands via plagues etc and ordered millions killed?

          If you give any credence to the bible it is outrageous to call this deity all loving. I won't say what it lks lik
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        Jun 15 2012: Hi Obey
        I can't get in where I should; but you asked about Jesus, Yahweh, etc. I'll come clean; if all I had to go on was the Old Testament, it is unlikely I'd be a Christian. You major on all the bad stuff in the OT. Each point has a rebuttal on the net which you could access at will, so it's a bit pointless going over them here.
        Jesus is Yahweh is the creator; the buck stops with Him. He has the power over life & death; He allows us to disagree with Him, but that's a bit pointless. This being created us & came into our world to show us His true persona. He allowed us to murder Him, just so that we could be reconciled. We can't work it out in our strength. It has to be spiritually discerned; our attitude must be right. Would you believe it; we have to give the Lord of the universe an even break. That's the only way.

        :-)
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          Jun 15 2012: Right, so humans develop over 200,000 years and then your god (Jesus) finally decides after 198000 that that was enough of us dying by our teeth, famine etc. And the best way to tell the world is to appeal to a bunch of illiterate Israelites.And for the being who created created everything the best way to remove sin was by sacrificing himself on cross. Sure why not appeal to the Chinese who are civilized and can read and write, no it's far better to appear to the illiterate. And why not leave something a bit more permanent and memorable like a giant volcano of love and rainbows, but no human sacrifice, Christianity one of the few last cults of human sacrfice
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          Jun 15 2012: Thanks Peter. That is clearer. I understand the Jesus part 2000 years is central to Christian belief. I note that Jesus is Yahweh. I guess if you believe it all you don't have much of a choice. Accept JC or hell.

          Its nice god gave us a way to avoid hell after he created us with free will. Sad that he doesn't seem to exist for some or is replaced by others for many through no fault of their own.

          You may believe there is a compelling rationale for your particular interpretation but it is not there for many others such as me, or others are trapped in other cultural religions.

          I guess the Jews saw some positives in being Yahwehs chosen people as well as having not much choice culturally - if you broke the rules you got stoned.

          My comments do focus on the negatives a lot. Partly because people say god is love but in reality you have an entity that made us and can kill us or punish us at will. It is a divine dictator. God made us so it can do as it pleases.

          I could go on about the consolations and genuine human or cultural reasons for belief also, helping the por.

          It is also positioned as all our fault going back to Adam. He disobeyed god. God knew what would happen. He made us. First time we break the rules we are cast our of Eden. Again what if the first time a child disobeyed a parent and was thrown out on the street (and torture them when they die for ever)

          I guess I don't get how people with an open mind can excuse this part of the god story.

          I guess the JC part you focus on gives you an opportunity to avoid eternal damnation. A man dying to save others is noble. But what you are saying is this man is god and set up the universe in way that we needed saving. People focus on JC saved us from our sin, saved us from hell. They ignore that this person made hell and the rules that put us there, and made us so that we can not save ourselves. From outside it is a little twisted.

          Anyway, I appreciate the calm response. I hope you can see the dark side of this god.
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          Jun 15 2012: If I could also clarify one thing. I believe Jesus probably existed, That he was an ordinary human. That he brought a particular perspective to Judaism.

          I doubt his message was intended for non Jews. Yes there are some verses that can imply this. (What do Jews thinks happen after they die. What do they think happens to non Jews? ). Anyway I think he was talking mainly to Jews. If you read past the gospels it seems his followers also had this debate after he died.

          This message included some positives - the golden rule etc. There is an element that makes me think he believed end times were coming soon. Asking people to leave there families etc, This apolocalyptic part is not so good. He also said the law still stands. Funny how this was ignored for gentiles. The law is nasty.

          Anyway, I don't think he was an evil person if the supernatural parts of the bible are ignored.

          He had some positive teachings mixed in there. He may have died for his beliefs. He may have thought he was the son of god.

          If he is the god of hell, the flood also - not so good.
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        Jun 16 2012: Hi Obey
        You've got me having another look at the OT. Found this which might help you understand my stance.

        http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=old%20testament%20atrocities&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CGcQtwIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dk2kSST8O93Y%26list%3DFLOS4V0nopuZ1ak6Tvl4DJlQ%26index%3D187%26feature%3Dplpp_video&ei=CpfbT-rEG8SP0AWd3ZGECw&usg=AFQjCNEJmx_ZurriyzvK2hYzXmqgsSGe4w

        Wow, that's some address!

        The gospel is meant for all. In the OT anyone was welcomed into the faith. In the NT Peter was put in charge of reaching non-Jews, while Paul (Richard Dawkins of the NT :)) concentrated on the Jews.

        :-)
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          Jun 17 2012: Hi Peter,

          I understand that at some point after JC died his followers decided to let gentiles join. My recall is they kind of made it up as they went at some point deciding the law would still apply to Christian Jews but not to non Jewish Christians who converted. Good news indeed because that meant gentiles didn't need to be circumcised.

          JC preaching seemed to be primarily focused on Jews and Jewish territory.

          When reading the bible without christian dogma in mind, and knowing the order in which the books were actually written down, you get an interesting picture.

          My understanding is the earliest recorded documents of the new testament were the letters of Paul. The gospels were written later. I guess they were oral stories that developed about the life of Jesus. Open to a lot of manipulation to retro fit the developing doctrine.

          The universal love across ethnic lines first came from Pauls writings. I guess after the jews largely rejected the christian sect

          In Mark, Jesus almost turned away a non Israeli until she admitted her inferiority.

          The sermon on the mount isn't in the earliest. Who knows maybe it was made up and included in the gospels written later. There are contradictions and changing focus to fit. The later parts of Mark (earliest gospel) seem to be added much later I guess to fit devmts.

          JC might have though he was the Messiah, but that does not mean he thought he was god.

          I guess the rise of Christianity was due more to Paul than to Jesus.

          If you step outside the established Christian mindset you can see how the bible fits Jesus being an apocalyptic Jewish preacher with some focus on helping the poor. He wasn't the first of either of these. He may have upset the authorities and been crucified. I guess his body disappeared.

          Paul etc then developed christian teachings and actually started writing stuff down first in letters, later the gospels. Not all included in bible. e.g. Thomas, Judas, Philip etc. Bits added to Mark later etc etc
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          Jun 17 2012: Obey have you ever heard of the Roman God Mithras or his older name Mithra? He was born of a virgin, son of a god, savior of humanity, could cleanse you of sin, had twelve apostles, ate a last meal and died for our sins. Sound familiar?
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Stewart

          I have heard of Mithra, Mitra, Mithras first in Conan comics. Later as a historical god.

          Virgin or miraculous births seem to be a relatively common theme before Jesus.

          Zoroaster's mother was a virgin when she conceived Zoroaster by a shaft of light. Zoroaster performed numerous miracles, winning over a king to his religion

          Some stories say Buddha entered the womb of his mother through her side in the form of a white elephant.

          The Greco Roman gods also impregnated a few humans but in the mundane way.

          Lots of other similarities as well with the other religions in the region.

          Genesis reflects Mesopotamian myths. The Epic of Gilgamesh parallels the stories of the Garden of Eden and Noah's Flood.

          There is even a myth where Zeus unleashes a deluge to wash everything clean - but not globally.

          In some Hindu traditions Manu, the progenitor of mankind, and first king to rule this earth, saved mankind from the universal flood.

          In the bible the primeval dragon is subdued by Yahweh at the outset of creation. In the Babylonian Creation Epic, the god Marduk defeats the sea monster.In Canaanite mythology Baal defeats a dragonlike monster too.

          These other religious stories would have infused the Hebrew oral histories and teachings.

          On the topic of what happens after we die an afterlife is also a common theme. The Egyptians believed those failing judgement would be tortured and then devoured into oblivion. The Babylonian netherworld etc.

          Reading other religious teachings the similarities in language and ideas is fascinating.

          I guess some Christians simply see this as the work of the devil when historically the precede or are contemporary to the development of the OT and NT.

          I see parallels today where the less dogmatic are influenced by the religious beliefs they are exposed too and build these into their spiritual world view on life and the afterlife.
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        Jun 17 2012: Hi Obey.
        With you on the circumcision , brings tears to the eyes.
        Sure, Paul was instrumental in getting things going, after spending his time killing & jailing Christians. Only a face to face with Jesus changed him. It would be like Dawkins taking over from Billy Graham. Folks would be very interested in what he had to say/write.

        The rough dates of th NT books are her :-
        http://www.freebeginning.com/new_testament_dates/index.html
        I guess all we really know is that the whole thing was done & dusted within the lifetime of many eye witnesses, which to me adds credibility.
        In the end, there are three ways of looking at history.
        1) To bolster an existing hope.
        2) To rationally try to discern the truth.
        3) To bolster an existing skepticism.
        I guess we both struggle with 2).

        :-)
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          Jun 18 2012: Agree Peter, Jesus must have had a profound impact on those around him. This over time has led to one of the great religious traditions in human history.

          Not to belittle this but I guess Muhammad must have had a similar impact. And Buddha. And Confucius. I guess all religions and sects popular and less so were started by men (and a few women e.g. Christian Science).

          There were also others instrumental in the growth of the major traditions we have today.

          Paul, Constantine, Martin Luther, Henry VIII (for the wrong reasons, and yet we have the Anglican church) etc.

          Great summary of the dates. Thank you. Just as a layperson, when I read the bible it makes sense that Mark was written first and the others referred to this and elaborated further.

          My guess is they didn't think about documenting the life of Jesus until well after his death. Also, no one though to pull it all together into the new testament compilation until much later. I do wonder why the gospels of Philip, Thomas, Judas etc were not included. Perhaps too inconsistent with the others.

          While in many ways it is a great achievement that the bible has been consistent for more or less 1600 years, I think the Muslims were more effective with the Koran, perhaps learning from the power of having a book.

          I agree with that many of the books after the gospel could have been written while eye witnesses lived. They would have been pretty old AD90 with the latest books.

          30 to 50 years AD for the early gospels is a long time for oral traditions and the Jesus sect to develop some doctrines etc and lay the foundations for the church it was to become.

          The other gospels have a different take e.g. one states that Jesus was born a normal man then filled with the spirit of god.

          From my perspective you have a lot of faith that what is in the gospels happened as stated. Even the gospels written after Mark conflict in places. Seems flimsy that all the miracles just in bible no other sources. Some big claims too.
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          Jun 18 2012: Hi Peter. Post ramble I had a few more thoughts.

          It is a bit of a leap of faith for me to believe it happened as stated and that the human authors interpretations are correct.

          Lets say it is all more or less be true in terms of miracles and events as recorded in the gospels excluding the bits that internally conflict e.g. one book says a young man another says an angel etc.

          It still does not prove Jesus is God or that Yahweh exists and all the stories and human interpretations before and after Jesus are correct. Creation. Life after death - Heaven/Hell. These are some pretty big claims that I suggest haven't met a reasonable burden of proof.

          It could all be true, but it seems such an inefficient and unconvincing process even if JC did rise from the dead and appear to a few hundred people. Its a big world. And they only started writing it down 30-50 years later. We don't even know the authors. No other compelling sources. I know some counter arguments, but it does not seem a very divinely inspired approach to me.

          I'm also sceptical of the claims of Joseph Smith, but many people are Mormons today. Same with Ron Hubbard and Scientology. The followers of Jim Jones committed suicide and there were eye witnesses around the time these guys lived. From outside all these humans have an amazing ability to believe what they want and make up a rationale.

          Maybe my mind is closed a bit but I'd hope if there were evidence that any religion was correct it would be clearer and I would be convinced. Bible verses saying we know in our heart are just rationalisations to me. I was a born again Christian for years, speaking in tongues, cast out demons etc the whole time there was no real evidence for a god. Just human psychology and experiences that any religious or non religious person can get in the right circumstances. I wanted to believe, but in the end needed more than the explanations offered for big specific claims. Later on I realised the same was true for all religions
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          Jun 18 2012: Obey don't even say you're skeptical of mormonism and scientology, we know enough to take the next step and say they're fakes and frauds and James Randi who knew Hubbard has a great talk on how twisted Hubbard was.
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        Jun 19 2012: Hey Obey.
        If you really believe there is no evidence for the bible, then don't touch it with a barge pole. I wouldn't. I however, see lots of evidence, & He is around most days. I'm guessing something bad went down for you; maybe not. This won't convince you either, but it is interesting :-

        http://www.cross.tv/55631

        :-)
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          Jun 21 2012: Nothing bad. Just realised there was no evidence for any gods or goddesses, and that religious experience is most likely in our heads.

          Is this evidence of god all around really evidence, or are you projecting your beliefs? Would it convince someone open minded but who required reasonable proof not just some sort of internal coherence.

          If you believe god made the trees, then is seeing trees proof of god. Confirmation bias, perhaps?

          I find it useful to understand the bible. It is part of our history, our culture. About 1 billion people have beliefs related to the different versions of the bible. And these beliefs impact all of us, believers and non believer, as well as for the intellectual understanding.

          If you could read it while suspending your faith belief you would see how parts of it seem so human, so non divine. How did the authors know what god was doing all the time in the old testament? Why no sermon on the mount in Mark? There is no way to distinguish this from many other religious texts. You believe the eye witness in a book that was written decades after, and compiled centuries after, and ignore the gospels written at the same time but not included. I guess Mormons believe their book. Muslims theirs etc.
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      Jun 13 2012: And billions have believed other things that also don't meet the burden of proof.

      The bible doesn't seem to be right on anything much so I wouldn't trust it in this regards either.

      You might as well be quoting the Koran or any other old religious text and be equally wrong.
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        Jun 15 2012: Or equally right. :)
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          Jun 15 2012: Yes, I guess they are both nearly equivalent in how well they represent reality.

          You can probably guess what sort of score I'd give both in terms of portraying the actual universe, how it got started and ended up looking like how it does today with with etc.

          I suspect the Koran has been doctored less than the New Testament e.g. the later parts of Mathew have not been found it the earliest surviving documents. ALthough this does not materially change the level of accuracy in regards to how well it does (or does not) portrays reality.
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        Jun 15 2012: Please remember also that we are talking about two very different, distinct realities, and the only 'place' those realities can connect or influence each other, is the human mind.

        That has not changed in a million years.
        • Jun 15 2012: Adriaan,

          WAIT A MINUTE ADRIAAN !! The human mind has not changed in a million years..? Aren't you stretching things a bit far there...??

          ... and furthermore .... "Two very different, distinct realities" ....??

          I've always been of the understanding that the word "reality" encompasses just "one" reality .... Or did something get past me...?
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        Jun 15 2012: Sorry Daniel I meant to say THAT CONNECTION has not changed in so many years :)

        Well it is my way of saying that science goes for, and only sees the natural or physical world as a reality, right? We can't say "we don't have a body" because it is real, thus a reality.

        And yes, you are right if you see the spiritual reality as the one and only life giving, and purpose giving reality of the universe. So indeed, how real is a dead body, or a car in the wrecker's yard?

        Swedenborg has a lot to say about the 'connection' between the two. It can be called The Holy Spirit or Influx or Influence. Everything comes from God and sometimes directly, but most often through the heavens.

        But it is also the distinction between the two realms that preserves our free will. It is the somewhat unfortunate human condition that the more we KNOW, the more we want to change things our way.
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    Jun 12 2012: Humans are nothing but highly evolved organisms. Death of humans is also no different from any other organisms and so same is the story after death also. Unquestionably..there is no life after death.The only difference is that human will be remembered if he/she has made remarkable contribution to human evolution/development/betterment after death.
    • Jun 12 2012: Tej, You couldn't be more wrong !
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        Jun 12 2012: Yes, he can be wrong. But so can everyone else. There's no proof on what's behind door number *death*. Saying anything on the matter is just a waste of time. And that's the only thing separating us from our own deaths. Just enjoy the ride.
        • Jun 12 2012: Proof is out there, you just have to look for it in the right places.

          A man lost his car keys out on the street.
          A passer by stops and asked what he was looking for. The man answered his car keys.

          "Where did you loose them, the passing stranger asked?"

          "Well .... Over there, down the street a bit" answered the first man politely ....

          "Why in the world are you looking for them way over here?" asked the stranger a little irritated

          "Because the light is better over here."

          Modern sciences light is pretty bright, ...but it's looking in the wrong places...
        • Jun 13 2012: Ricardo,

          Anyone who has any wits about them has to ... one day ask themselves this question.. In my mind it is THE very most important question a human being can ask him/her self. Life can be nothing else than a few moments in a meaningless void if the answer to the question is "..there is no life after death..." If that really is the answer, then any action here on earth can be justified
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        Jun 12 2012: The evidence is clear, and science can't look anywhere else Daniel, that's why this is still a question because you can't ask, scan or gain any data from the dead. What evidence we do have is that in our spinal cord there is a thin margin separating the nerves which control our nervous system and those of our subconscious. Scientists have systematically shown in mice or in paralyzed human that even the smallest cut or damage can cause loss of limb control, you can lose all muscle function and still think and ponder the universe i.e Stephen Hawking or you can lose your consciousness and become brain dead. And science has shown that both of these come through damage, and so somehow after we've died, when all our cells are decomposed, our carbon returned to the soil, there is still apparently some hope that we'll be able to reassemble our consciousness after our entire brain dies. Also I don't see the appeal to life after death, eventually I'd like to just die and that to be the end of it.
    • Jun 12 2012: Tej, I agree with most of what you said but I do not understand how you could ever claim to unquestionably know that there is no life after death. I would understand if you said, that when I look at the evidence, my opinion is that life does not continue after death and I don't think you would be wrong in saying that.

      Ernest Becker believed that by creating the illusion that we are able to become immortal by making some sort of contribution that allows for fame post death, was simply another aspect of the denial of death. It is very similar to the religious claim of eternal life, if you abide by gods law.

      Again I don't disagree that life doesn't continue after death, i disagree with your assertion on a topic that is unknowable.
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      Jun 13 2012: I think you are most likely correct but "unquestionably" is kind of absolute and therefore a big assumption.Maybe 99.99%.
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    Jun 12 2012: The question to me is: if now is all we have is there any after or before?
    To a child this is normal up till the moment it identifies its being with its body.
    Bodies decompose and vanish so the child thinks he will too.
    To be or not to be that is the question but we never be as before for everything changes and so will we.
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    Jun 12 2012: Thank you Rafi, I noticed you said noone had a convincing answer, I think because the answer is simple, but people like to complicate it, as is life.
  • Jun 25 2012: When a life ends, another begins.
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    Jun 24 2012: Devon,
    My question has always been, what happens while we live? Since I can't cheat death, I wanted to make the most of the life I had. I have been at odds with religion my whole life, but that hasn't stopped me from asking the question. Religious experience has kept me rooted in a belief in God, but has also caused me to question everything that religion has to say about God, because my experience tells me that religion doesn't know who or what God is.

    I have read a lot of literature; the Holy bible, mythology, Eastern philosophy, mysticism, Edgar Cayce, history of religions, near death experiences, ancient wisdom, etc. I also have a basic background in physics, chemistry, electromagnetic and electrical generation theory. I am also familiar with cosmology and evolutionary ideas. I took a course in general psychology. I have had several epiphanies. I am aware of the conservation of matter and energy. I believe that there may be a conservation of consciousness as well. What that means, I couldn't tell you. What I believe is that our individual consciousness is as a drop of water. It comes from the ocean of consciousness, and when we die, it returns to the ocean of consciousness.

    According to teachings on the akashic records, the universe has a memory. "Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records" by Kevin J. Todeschi gives an account of one man's glimpse into this world. According to Ecclesiastes 12:1-7, when we die, the body returns to the earth, and the spirit returns to the one who gave it. According to Jesus (Matthew 22:23-32) when we die, we are as the angels in heaven. What that means I don't know. If we have lived before, we have no remembrance of it. Although I have a friend who says that when her daughter first began to speak, she kept talking about what happened to her when she was big. Eventually the thoughts faded, but it leaves me to wonder. Edgar Cayce said that life was a river. I believe he was on to something.
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    Jun 21 2012: Hi Stewart....Answers are getting kind of fuzzy ? What is a biome ? I thought the prefix bio meant living.
    How do you distinguish between and inorganic matter. Seems like it takes one to move the other.
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      Jun 21 2012: A biome is a community of flora and fauna occupying an area, I should have used the word ecosystem sorry. An ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.Well biologically organic is what is alive i.e plants, animals, bacteria etc, and inorganic is rocks, the sun, the wind and the soil. It incorporates a little geography. So there's ecosystems which are the size of the area under a rock, then there's ecosystems the size of a forest, then there's the ecosystems the size of tropical rainforests and the Sahara Desert. Gaia (not that I think it's completely right) says that the entire Earth is one large ecosystem which preserves the conditions for life, really I think it's a fancy way of grouping the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and eater cycles all together and saying that these are harmonious to ensure the survival of life which they do in a way.
      And in case you're interested on how to get from inorganic to organic google Abiogenesis
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        Jun 22 2012: Stewart.....Thank you , I am tramendously interested and will look up abiogenesis.
  • Jun 21 2012: Hi Stewart,

    I fully agree that there are a lot of contradictions in the Bible. Especially between the Old and New Testament. Even in the NT there are many contradictions. I believe that the Bible as well as the Koran are a great deal constructed by man. Otherwise, I've got nothing against lots of different gods. Monotheism doesn't necessarily have to have the last say in the matter ... or do you mean it does. I guess all others are pagan worshipers...?

    As you are mentioning the virgin birth. This I also see in a different light than most conservative Christians..

    Has it ever occurred to you that the "virgin" has nothing to do with sexuality but rather a "pure" being....
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      Jun 21 2012: The virgin and pure thing, exactly, the bible is obsessed with sex and that's why after the genocide of the mentioned tribes, guess who "god" let the Israelites keep as personal slaves, the virgins. I just don't do gods at all monotheism or multiple gods to deism is all as flimsy as each other. Though I am almost certain there's a passage in the bible where the Hebrews are still in Egypt and it says something like "God punished the Egyptian Gods" which for me is proof that religion was a mere fashion contest and that if you prayed to a certain God and something good happened suddenly this new god is the great and all powerful creator, it's a rolling cycle which is becoming more and more diluted as science discovers more and more.
      • Jun 21 2012: I have to agree Stewart,

        There is a lot of weird stuff in the OT.
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      Jun 22 2012: The gospel of Judas also mentions Jesus being born normally and then filled with the spirit of god rather than a virgin birth. What is more likely. The laws of natural being overruled or someone having sex before marriage?
      • Jun 22 2012: Hi again Obey,

        That was very interesting. Wasn't the gospel of Judas excluded from the Bible? Isn't it from the discover of the Dead Sea Scrolls?

        It seems like the gospels that didn't fit in with the mode of thinking of that time were simply dismissed as heresy. I wonder if the idea of reincarnation is found in the gospel of Judas...
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          Jun 25 2012: There are quite a few gospels that were not included in the bible.
          Mary, Thomas, Phillip, Judas etc. It was a rather haphazard process getting the bibles we are familiar with today. It wasn't a planned process.

          Most the books of the New Testament were written over a period of nearly a century, and had some status by AD200. Then it took another century or so to lock in what is now the Bible. My understanding is there was a lot of debate on whether to include some books e.g. Revelations, 2 Peter etc.

          It is funny, now many Chritsians gloss over the old testament, but this is all the early Christians had for decades and oral stories.

          The bible also differs depending on what sect. The Protestant bible is missing Maccabee, Wisdom, Sirrach and Tobit found in the Catholic and Eastern Ordodox. Eastern Orthodox has a couple more on its own.

          I can barely remember what happened a few months ago accurately, yet most of the new testament was written decades after Jesus died.

          The fact that the books have barely changed for 1,000 years is notable. The fact that different sects have different bibles is a worry. The process of development and consolidation seems rather haphazard and arbitrary. It does not say much for the authority of the new testament.

          The Muslims did a far better job with the Qua-ran, except for the Pagan bits.
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    Jun 21 2012: @ Colleen.........Do you ever watch Through The Wormhole ? It seems there is some question about whether the universe is a living organism. The eart seems to be gravity and the brain ???????
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      Jun 21 2012: I've heard something about that Helen, but I'm not really familier with it at all.
    • Jun 21 2012: Hi Helen,

      "Gia" theory is going in this direction. Although I know very little about the idea.

      To look at the earth as a "living organism itself" is not so strange. As we sleep an awaken from sleep can be seen as parallel with the earth's seasons of winter and summer.

      Summer being when the earth is asleep ... Winter is when it is awake...

      Strange thought to many I'm sure.

      At first glance one would think the opposite is the case. That the earth is awake in the summer months, due to the activity of the plant life.
      Also the winter on the one side of the earth is at the same time summer on the other side of the planet.
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        Jun 21 2012: Gaia doesn't see the Earth as a living organism but rather as a very large scale biome where life and their inorganic surroundings are closely integrated to maintain the conditions for life

        Liam it probably gets its name from that, most likely Gaia means Earth so goddes of earth is called earth and then earth theory.
        • Jun 24 2012: Isn't Gaia the name of the Goddess of the Earth?
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        Jun 21 2012: Helen, Daniel and Stewart,
        While I am not familier with the terms and theories you speak of, at the time of the NDE, I experienced the earth, universe and beyond, as all interconnected with energy. Stewart, didn't you say in another comment, that there may be types of energy we have not yet discovered?

        The experience I had with the NDE is that EVERYTHING is interconnected/interdependant. Which is one reason, I have difficulty with people insisting that their religion is the one and only...their god is the one and only, and if we don't believe in their choice of religion/god we are going to hell. This is so contradictory to what I experienced with the NDE, and it only serves to seperate and control people...in my humble perception.
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        Jun 21 2012: Yes Stewart,
        There are a lot of similarities. In fact, that is how I was introduced to TED a couple years ago. A friend who is a psychologist recognized similarities with Jill Bolte Taylor's and my experience, and he sent me the link to her talk:>)
  • Jun 21 2012: This subject sometimes keeps me awake.....for some reason I can't believe in a Heaven....but I can in HELL....and when I get depressed (which is quite often) I scare myself witless at the prospect. When I feel 'ok' again....I can think logically and that is....there is nothing....the brain dies with the body and that's that.
  • Jun 21 2012: Dear Daniel, this second life isn't about reincarnation, it's about ahiret life. These sites didn't take other verses that says there is only one world and one ahiret life. They just took some verses that they can comment according to their belief. Sorry but it is like that:I
    You can read some books against evolution. I havent read them yet but there are Adnan Oktar's books. Evolution's deadlock is soul.
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    Jun 21 2012: Find what you think is right.Don't just stay where you're now.Get out there and explore the messages taught by all teachers of mankind.I did that after wasting so much time wondering on the same question.All my questions are now answered.I'm happy.
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      Jun 21 2012: I agree Muhammad,
      Each of us will embrace the beliefs we are comfortable and secure with, which can create contentment in our lives. I agree that exploring everything, is beneficial, and it helps to be well informed when making the decision regarding what is "right" for us as individuals. What is "right" for us, is not "right" for everyone, and it's important for all of us to be aware of whether our "right" choice adversly impacts other people. If it does, it is not beneficial, in my perception.
  • Jun 21 2012: Obey, women mustn't be in charge of men. People are equal and free. I strongly disagree with that. God have justice, and created us in same qualities. Striking women or people, never mind, it's terrible:I I'm saying that again: There's a thing called Sharia, and it's not Islam, Araps and Persians believe it. It's wrong. Also, in Islam there's no slavery. Where is it, can you tell me, please? Slavery is terrible, too. We are all people, we are equal, there's freedom. I strongly want justice and freedom although I know it can't be totally provided.
    Yeah, Koran has divin origin. Please, make research about it. I wrote something to Steward and Brian, I explained some truths about it. But Obey, if you ask people about religion, they'll add their comment, too. So first you must read it, at least some verses, then have some comments, after that consider your and other's comments. There's nothing that supports slavery and shunts women.
    A verse:(Nisa,82) "Aren't they thinking about Koran?If it was launched not by God, then there would be lots of discrepant thing in it."
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      Jun 21 2012: I have read some of the Koran.

      There are passages that condone slavery of non Muslim prisoners of war and the children of slaves. I guess you know the book better than I do.

      Also passages regarding Men being in charge of women, e.g. Verse 4:34 Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.

      Some of the teachings may have been progressive at the time, but we have moved well past this now in many countries. I like the sound of your morality better than medieval morality.

      I seen a few discussions on it. Nothing that convincing indicates the Koran is divine or even if there are any god or goddesses. I'm sure if you looked through the Internet you would find plenty of issues for the Old Testament, New Testament and Koran etc. I've had similar discussions with Christians and at some point they

      Please provide just one piece of convincing evidence, just your best proof that it is divinely inspired. Something better than ambiguously reading science back into it. I'll even ignore the pagan sections.

      Or perhaps don't bother because even if it has some interesting sections, it is still a leap of faith to assume it is all correct, that there is an invisible creator god. It could just as well have been donw by an alien.
      • Jun 21 2012: It's not strike:I It's a word that means send away:IFrom bed and maybe from home, some say it's beating lightly. And the slaveries are the ones that were against to religion, threw maws to Hz. Muhammed and tried to harm, kill him. Arabs first didn't accept the religion and they behaved badly to our prophet. Then two groups appeared: Muslims and still Pagans. Some wars appeared and some became slaves. It's about this, it doesn't support slavery. Everybody is equal.

        As an evidence... People can only give evidences from Koran. We're discussing Koran's correctness with Koran. We have no other chance:)) Islam's evidence is Koran. Reading Koran, then deciding if it's a real evidence... It's between God and you. If Koran can't convince you, then you can look for other opinions, and religions till you truly believe it. These are truths, we have no choice:)) Read its directly translated version please:)))
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          Jun 22 2012: Thanks for the sincere reply.

          I agree in that for many it seemly comes down to belief about what makes sense to them, perhaps after reading the koran, or bible, or book of mormon, or something new age or occult.

          If it makes sense with their world view, they may accept on faith.

          Very different from actual compelling evidence.

          I guess writing the stuff down is better than oral traditions, but written word is subject to so many different interpretations especially when talking about relgious and supernatural concepts. It is so inefficient. You'd think a god could come up with something better, something more reliable. No wonder we have so many different beliefs from the same books.

          Thanks.
  • Jun 21 2012: Steward, but you're only opposing. You see badly, if you look badly. You see well, if you look well. I hope you understand what I mean:) Not only knowledges about creation. There are so many scientific things. For example it says sky has seven layers, mountains prevent eartquakes, world is circular, seas don't fix to eachother. Also there's a thing like charm in it. The language is amazing. And read this: Koran says "month" for 12 times, "day" for 365 times, "day" for 30 times. "angel" and "devil" are both 88 times. "world" and "ahiret" aew both 115 times. There are lots of marvelous words like that. A person can't do it. I think like that:))
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      Jun 21 2012: Right..well years were implemented thousands of years before the Koran was written and the earliest notion of time was centralized around the lunar cycle. Now here's where design or creation just doesn't work for me.
      You can say God's mysterious etc etc and that there's free will and the ability to do evil, I'm willing to grant you all that. BUT what sort of an intelligent God would create a species with so much bad design within it. My favourite examples or 1. Hay fever, an allergy to pollen which I have, now it doesn't take a genius to work out that making a species which has the ability to be allergic to plants isn't exactly wonderful design. 2. Solar Urticaria, being allergic to UV light. Now if you're going to create a species and make their lives dependent on the sun, the first thing you would do is make sure they could all go outside into the sunshine, in extreme cases people have to wear full blackout suits to prevent any UV radiation touching them. 3. We have a single esophagus for eating and breathing, you get that thing blocked and you choke to death. 4. Laryngeal nerve, this nerve controls the larynx, yet instead of going straight from the brain to the larynx it goes down into the chest, loops around then back up to the throat, this is further exaggerated in giraffes where it travels the whole length of the giraffes neck then goes back up again to the larynx. This nerve is also evidence of evolution as in very primitive fish this nerve does in fact go straight to the larynx with a small bend in it, yet the longer the fish gets the larger the nerve gets and the larger the bend in the nerve. We have shown systemically the evolution of this nerve from fish to humans, crocodiles and giraffes. And I think people's worst problem with evolution is that they refuse to believe that their great (add in another 10 million greats) grandfather was a fish.
      • Jun 21 2012: That's the way we're:DJoking, we must think about these. Here is another verse:"God didn't create any ilness that has no cure."(Buhari Verse) I'm saying this again: Some of the answers are in Koran, but some are not. Even prophets and angels don't know some answers. For example God is the biggest, God need noone, but created us. If God need noone, so God don't need our religious exercises, too, but why did God create us? There are some questions that noone knows, only God know.
        And I have no emotional problems. I mean a fish can be my ancestor, no problem. I can be the developed version of it, but it opposes with religion. And that's one of the reason that holy books were launched: When we are confused, when we vacillate, it must be our shelter. And I want to add something: I love science so much, actually biology, I have no problems with it. I only don't believe some theories:)))
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          Jun 21 2012: Ok we're making some good progress here as to seeing each others views it's great :) Though one question, in your view what makes the God of the Koran, Torah and the Bible the true god to you.
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          Jun 22 2012: Faith, ie belief without evidence.
          It is your right. Freedom of religion and all that.
          Funny how people are so careful to rely on evidence and reason for most areas of life and then rely of faith in this one.
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      Jun 22 2012: Hilel,

      My recall is the ancient greeks figured out the world was a sphere (not a circle) without the Koran. Climb a mountain and you can see the curvature.

      I will use the word god 7 times in the comment. That was one, now 6 more. God god god god god god. I guess listing a word a number of times is something anyone can do.

      Plenty of examples of great poetry that are not necessarily from the divine but enrich our lives.

      I heard one youtube video suggesting the koran mentions black holes. It was completely speculative.
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          Jun 25 2012: I did not know that about OB1 and DV.

          I guess we all have a little faith about some things like our partners etc. Usually the more evidence and reason we mix in the more accurate our faith is with reality.