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What Happens When You Die?


WakingUp
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Since I no longer have my "mansion on the hill" to look forward to, I find myself wanting to make this most of THIS life. I used to think "Well, if I dont' get to do x,y or z, it's ok because I have Heaven to look forward to and that surpasses anything that could happen here on earth. Now, I'm wondering if here on earth is all there is. When we die, do we simply decay and go back to the earth...sort of like a leaf that has fallen from the tree? Or do you think we live on as a soul or some sort of being? How has deconversion and the loss of Heaven affected your thinking about death and life?

 

WakingUp

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Psshht...rot in the ground all you want. I'm donating my body to science!

 

But to answer your question, I think the "soul" is nothing more than the product of the brain. That's it.

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When I die, I'm being cremated and turned into a diamond. But as for my soul, I don't have a damn clue and I couldn't care less. All evidence points towards the end, but we won't really know until it happens.

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You know when you go to bed and close your eyes and when you open them it is morning? When this happened time has passed you by and to the rest of the world, you basically didn't exist. To me death is like when you are sleeping. You don't feel anything, see anything (not even the color of the back of your eyelids), nothing happens. You feel like you don't exist! But like sleep death isn't very scary. Seems more peaceful then anything else.

 

Your right about concentrating on this life since it might be the only one you have. If I'm wrong and you get reincarnated or something then this is the last time you will be the you you are today!!! Knowing you might not ever see your loved ones again after this life is a great reason to show as much love to them NOW as you can. Knowing you'll never have this body again is enough reason to do all you can to enjoy life.

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As for the way I feel sleeping or being dead...When I am sleeping blood is still flowing through my brain to keep it alive and when I die the circulation is no longer there to keep the life flowing.

 

When we are sleeping our brains are still functional but we are no longer thinking based on our senses so our brains are thinking based on what we know or have learned. When we die we no longer have blood flow so the thinking process stops and we are no longer a functional being and the flesh begins to decompose. We see it in tree leafs and many other things in life. It is the cycle of life.

 

I feel that having children of your own is the only way to live forever.

 

I have not done this yet but that is what I feel I must do so that part of me will carry on and that part of what I have learned can go on with my children.

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When faced with a stressful situation, the best thing to do is ask "what's the worst thing that can happen?" Very often, even the worst case scenerio is one you could cope with if you had to. It's the unknown that is often the most stressful on our minds.

 

In this case, the prospect of death bothered me a lot less when I asked that question. Since I don't consider Hell a realistic possibility (and even if it was, I'd rather go there than serve the Biblegod anyway), Oblivion seems the worst case scenerio. In this case, I'm no worse off than when I got started and I didn't seem to mind it back then.

 

I do consider the fact that nothing in the universe comes into or out of existence. It's one of the reasons that I like the idea of reincarnation. It fits with the cycles of the universe. Of course, this theory has its problems as well, with the changing population. Perhaps time isn't as linear as we think. Maybe we could live concurrent lives and never realize it (i.e. you might run into your future self in this life and never know). It kind of gives real meaning to "do unto others..." because it might well be you.

 

I frown on the idea of Heaven, since it doesn't answer the question where my consciousness came from before this life. I personally find the question where I was before I was born just as mind-boggling as what will happen when I die.

 

Of course, all this is just musing on little or no data. Best to live for this life, as others have noted, and let death, whatever it is, tend to itself.

I feel that having children of your own is the only way to live forever.

I have bad news...

 

Your children will only be half you.

Your grandchildren will only be a quarter you.

Your great grandchildren will only be an eighth you.

Carry this out to ten generations and they'll be less than one part in a thousand you.

 

Any "mark" you leave will be eventually washed away in the bottomless ocean that is the gene pool. That's why I'm not sweating having children. It'll be nice if I do but I won't panic if I don't.

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You know when you go to bed and close your eyes and when you open them it is morning? When this happened time has passed you by and to the rest of the world, you basically didn't exist. To me death is like when you are sleeping. You don't feel anything, see anything (not even the color of the back of your eyelids), nothing happens. You feel like you don't exist! But like sleep death isn't very scary. Seems more peaceful then anything else.

 

Your right about concentrating on this life since it might be the only one you have. If I'm wrong and you get reincarnated or something then this is the last time you will be the you you are today!!! Knowing you might not ever see your loved ones again after this life is a great reason to show as much love to them NOW as you can. Knowing you'll never have this body again is enough reason to do all you can to enjoy life.

Whoa. You've just said exactly the same things I say on this subject. I think you may be me from the future. Or the past.

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Death is not terrible. It is just going to sleep and not waking up.

 

Our ego, whose function is to protect us, causes us to fear death as the end of us. It is the end of us, but that is only a natural thing. The fear of it is a false construct, a function of the ego.

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I feel that having children of your own is the only way to live forever.

I have bad news...

 

Your children will only be half you.

Your grandchildren will only be a quarter you.

Your great grandchildren will only be an eighth you.

Carry this out to ten generations and they'll be less than one part in a thousand you.

 

Any "mark" you leave will be eventually washed away in the bottomless ocean that is the gene pool. That's why I'm not sweating having children. It'll be nice if I do but I won't panic if I don't.

 

Thanks for throwing me into the DNA cesspool.

 

Life seems so much more seedy now.

 

Part of my point was to teach what I know to my children but you did give me some food for thought. :scratch:

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It's interesting... I now believe that when I die, I'm gone. I don't believe there is a "soul" that lives on. ...And, I am not the least bit afraid of death.

 

My family, on the other hand, believe they are going to "heaven" and yet they cling to life and find it "so precious". They are anti-abortion but pro death penalty; want everything done to keep a brain-dead person breathing but oppose stem-cell research; etc, etc. I just don't get it?!

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You know when you go to bed and close your eyes and when you open them it is morning? When this happened time has passed you by and to the rest of the world, you basically didn't exist. To me death is like when you are sleeping. You don't feel anything, see anything (not even the color of the back of your eyelids), nothing happens. You feel like you don't exist! But like sleep death isn't very scary. Seems more peaceful then anything else.

 

Your right about concentrating on this life since it might be the only one you have. If I'm wrong and you get reincarnated or something then this is the last time you will be the you you are today!!! Knowing you might not ever see your loved ones again after this life is a great reason to show as much love to them NOW as you can. Knowing you'll never have this body again is enough reason to do all you can to enjoy life.

Whoa. You've just said exactly the same things I say on this subject. I think you may be me from the future. Or the past.

 

Dang! Me, too. I'd love to meet up with my deceased family and friends again (as well as the pets), but I don't hold out any realistic hope of that happening, so I go with Taylor - couldn't express it any better myself.

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Although one can never be certain, all appearances would suggest that death is simply for us the end of all things, even the fundamental consciousness of being. The OT said "even their thoughts perish".

 

But is that so bad? After all, what greater peace can there be?

 

I think the goal in life should simply be, that when we reach the moment when we know that death is inevitable and must be accepted, that we can at least in that final moment be able to say, "I did well. It was a good ride."

 

“I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit.” (Mark Twain)

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Even though I'm an atheist, I'm sort of agnostic when it comes to death. :Hmm:

 

 

All evidence points to nothing happening at all, but I still hold out a tiny hope that something interesting might occur. You never know...maybe time is cyclical, maybe something weird happens to consciousness on a quantum level, maybe we actually do live in a multiverse.

 

It could happen...but, probably won't. :shrug:

 

 

 

And if nothing happens we'll never know it anyway, so what's to worry about?

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My family, on the other hand, believe they are going to "heaven" and yet they cling to life and find it "so precious". They are anti-abortion but pro death penalty; want everything done to keep a brain-dead person breathing but oppose stem-cell research; etc, etc. I just don't get it?!

I think it's fair to say that most freethinkers have gone through the "grieving process" (shock, denial, anger, bargining, acceptance) in realizing our mortality and the unknown of death. At least I imagine that we've all gone through the initial feelings of fear before coming to a point of acceptance. Christians are still in the "denial" phase.

 

I think there's also a bit of projection when they say that we know "the Truth" and yet deny it.

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No one knows what happens when we die. Anyone who pretends to know is lying to you. I think the most likely explanation is that we blink out of existence, with no consciousness after our neurons stop firing. I would be very satisfied if this happened -- life is a very long time, and nobody needs to persist forever, and ever. Get your business done during the 85 years on this earth, and be satisfied.

 

Of course, there is a chance that our consciousness will survive death. Before our births there was a time when we were not, but it was inevitable that we would be. Likewise, it is not unreasonable to think that we will be again after our deaths.

 

Our extended consciousnesses could take the form of us being reincarnated as another person, or another living being, or perhaps as a living being on another planet. Another life could be much like this one, just a continuation of the same damn thing.

 

Of course, the Christians might be right, and Yahweh might, as a punishment for un-atoned sin of non-Christians, operate destructive retribution upon us following our deaths, forever, and ever and ever. This is what the Bible teaches: "God repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them." (Deut. 7:10) *Yawn.* That would not be the worst thing that could happen. Even if Yahweh means to brutalize us does not mean that his evil goals will be acheived through his acts. For, there may be more ultimate Gods who shall use for good what Yahweh means for evil. These Gods may permit Yahweh to do evils to us, in order to refine our souls. Humans can experience moral growth and joy -- union with those more ultimate Gods -- even as Yahweh vents his wrath upon us. Some things that we call evil are sent to restore the sinner. As Milton said, '"The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

 

When I think about the most optimistic thing for an eternal world, I have in mind the thought that there is a God whose retribution, although it may hurt like hell, is creative rather than destructive, and following our deaths, she bathes us in the fire of divine retribution directly with no mitigation. This would be kind of a joyful and caustic purgatory, where, more immediately and directly than in this life, we experience the pain of repentant grief as well as the joy of learning and growth (so long as we cooperate synergistically to come clean).

 

This thought is the most happy one for me -- it is even more happy than the thought that we would just blink out of existence. It would connect the evils and goodnesses of this life with a future life where wrongs can be "undone," lessons can be learned, and crookedness can be "set straight." The wicked would be too well off if their evil deeds came to an end. It is not to be supposed that a Hitler, a Torquemada, or a Calvin, could die without being taught the truth about their crimes. This idea of an afterlife was taught by George MacDonald, Plato, and others. George MacDonald put it this way:

 

"Justice and mercy are simply one and the same thing; without justice to the full there can be no mercy, and without mercy to the full there can be no justice. Such is the mercy of God that he will hold his children in the consuming fire of his distance until they pay the uttermost farthing, until they drop the purse of selfishness with all the dross that is in it, and rush home-rush inside the centre of the life-giving fire whose outer circles burn. No hell will be lacking which would help the just mercy of God to redeem his children."

 

But in the end, we do not know, we can only hope. We do not not, like Dante, Paul, Jesus or Swedenborg, allow ourselves to be deceived by our own creations. But why not hope that there is a God, and he is virtuous, and that the Bible is not true that Yahweh is omnipotent and ultimate? This is what Ingersoll said:

"The truth is, that no human being knows anything of what is beyond the grave. If nothing is known, then it is not honest for anyone to pretend that he does know. If nothing is known, then we 'Can hope only for the good. If God exists, your heart is the best revelation of him. After all, no one knows. The ministers know nothing. All the churches in the world know no more on this subject than the ants on the ant-hills. Creeds are good for nothing except to break the hearts of the loving. I do not pretend to know, but I do know that others do not know. If we can get no comfort from what people know, let us avoid being driven to despair by what they do not know."
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Yes, it's a fact that nobody has a clue about what happens after they die. Religious fanatics will always resort to using absurd testimonies about visions and people sending messages via sleep about the afterlife, but what's that got to do with one knowing the afterlife? Isn't that supposed to be an experience? My guess could be far from real, but I'm guessing that once we die, we just return to the soil and become nothingness like how we were before birth. I think someone already mentioned that.

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Like an eddy or a whirlpool in a river we are a pattern in the stream of matter. The pattern persists for a while then it doesn't. There never has been a you/me apart from the stream and perminance of any pattern is an illusion even for a star. As it is written, "It came to pass."

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Like an eddy or a whirlpool in a river we are a pattern in the stream of matter. The pattern persists for a while then it doesn't. There never has been a you/me apart from the stream and perminance of any pattern is an illusion even for a star. As it is written, "It came to pass."

Hey...that's cool Chef.

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Religious fanatics will always resort to using absurd testimonies about visions and people sending messages via sleep about the afterlife, but what's that got to do with one knowing the afterlife?

I've heard of some using NDE (near death experiences) as indications of the hereafter.

 

From what I understand of these experiences, people tend to see what they expect to see or what conforms to their religious beliefs. Christians see Jesus. Muslims see Allah. Etc.

 

Have there been any athiests who've had NDE's? Surely there would be but what do they see?

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Religious fanatics will always resort to using absurd testimonies about visions and people sending messages via sleep about the afterlife, but what's that got to do with one knowing the afterlife?

I've heard of some using NDE (near death experiences) as indications of the hereafter.

 

From what I understand of these experiences, people tend to see what they expect to see or what conforms to their religious beliefs. Christians see Jesus. Muslims see Allah. Etc.

 

Have there been any athiests who've had NDE's? Surely there would be but what do they see?

http://www.near-death.com/atheists.html

 

They usually just see god as being of light or the most common religious figure in their culture.

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I think, like so many here, that when you die, you're dead. Kinda simple really.

 

And, once you fully embrace the idea, you quit worrying about death and get more focused on life.

 

Christians spend three-fourths of their time daydreaming about the afterlife.

 

And, they miss the real thing that's right in front of their eyes.

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