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Fear Of Afterlife


TheUnknown
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Many others on here have posted that one of the hardest things that they had to come to terms with when they deconverted, is the prospect of not living on in some kind of form, once this life is over. Many have expressed extreme disappointment that there may not be an afterlife, and found it one of the hardest things to face post deconversion.

 

I, on the other hand, have the complete opposite problem, but can't find an existing thread on the topic anywhere on the forum from my own point of view. I really, really hope that that there isn't an afterlife with every fiber of my being. Even as a Christian I didn't like the idea of living forever at all. What's worse is that I'm not convinced that there isn't an afterlife.

 

Now the very idea of living forever really scares me. Thinking about it causes me lots of distress and/or panic attacks. Every now and again a Christian will post something that will really trigger this fear off.

 

 

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I'm glad you posted this: I was thinking I was the only one who worried about that sort of thing late at night sometimes. Gives me the creeps... and I wasn't even Christian in the first place. But, yes, I do know what you're talking about. I don't seem to have that same high level of anxiety, but I do get a case of the heebie-jeebies over it once in a while, in the sort of Lovecraftian sense that there's so much we don't know.

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I used to look forward to heaven as a place where you'd be perfectly happy and content, no sickness or pain, and  no OCD! It was great having that to look forward to. Also seeing loved ones again, although it did bother me to think of seeing some people again! Yes it did take a while to get over that. Now I'd rather be eternally 'asleep'. Last year I did a weekly meditation course at an ashram. I was dismayed to find that they talked continuously about their belief in reincarnation. They believe that when we die our soul goes into an unborn baby, could be someone in the family. I felt awful about that idea. This life has been a struggle, and though no longer looking forward to a perfect place, heaven, I do look forward to the end of the struggle. The idea of there being no rest at the end of my life, but having to start again as a fetus is terrible. I don't think there can be any truth in it though.

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When I was a Christian I didn't find the biblical description of heaven appealing. Standing around the throne singing praises to God forever? Seriously, that's it? That's the great "reward" for being faithful?

 

Oh, wait I forgot about the streets of gold and the glass sea. Wait a minute. How can we be living in mansions, walking on streets of gold, and still be standing around the throne singing? Another one of those pesky contradictions.  Then there is the problem of there being no alcohol, no food, and no sex…..and that equates to living in eternal bliss? Really?   glare.gif rolleyes.gif 

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Ogilvy: I think your friends have a very limited view of reincarnation.

 

It certainly seems to be a downer, if one just goes directly from this life into another of the same kind of body and situation. To me, that is hardly cause for celebration although things could always be worse.I mean, life is hard and human consciousness is often a burden. But reincarnation simply means a continuity of what makes us what we are. I am not sure that spark or soul or whatever you would call it, couldn't go separate directions - it would be a continuation but not the same life just with one body like a new set of clothes. Haven't you felt there are several people within you sometimes?  The Buddhists call this an "emanation".

 

Also, why would reincarnation be restricted to human bodies only, or this earth? I can also envision being reborn in another dimension, another life form on a different planet or even as an animal (although I hope not).  There are versions of both heaven and hell in Buddhism - different pure lands and different hells. It is a continuity of what your mind is going toward now. That is why the present is much more important than the future.

 

I personally favor the idea of some form of continuity - it is hard for me to imagine everything just ends for eternity. But there could be a long period of rest (for centuries) in some kind of heaven, before reincarnating in human or other form.

 

I can understand why the thought of an afterlife could be difficult. But I am the opposite, I have never been able to imagine non existence.  I think this life force will not just disappear.

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I used to be afraid that an afterlife would be like a never-ending acid trip with my mind disconnected from reality. Sometimes I would wake up sweaty and panicked because I felt like I could almost touch it.

 

I had a dream a couple of years ago that was similar to a near death experience. It was very comforting and inspiring. Ironically I saw Jesus as a light in the void. It was like He was seeing something extremely valuable in me that I can't see myself that transcends anything good or bad I could do in this life. So I'm not as worried about death now. smile.png

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The bottom line is nobody knows for sure, so it's pointless to worry about something when the answer is unknowable. This life, however, is a reality and should be lived to the fullest. Enjoy!

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Just keep in mind there is no proof for any afterlife, not heaven or hell or purgatory or anything else. I don't believe in reincarnation either. Our brains are our consciousness, so when they stop, so does our consciousness. That's totally okay with me.

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Ogilvy: I think your friends have a very limited view of reincarnation.

 

It certainly seems to be a downer, if one just goes directly from this life into another of the same kind of body and situation. To me, that is hardly cause for celebration although things could always be worse.I mean, life is hard and human consciousness is often a burden. But reincarnation simply means a continuity of what makes us what we are. I am not sure that spark or soul or whatever you would call it, couldn't go separate directions - it would be a continuation but not the same life just with one body like a new set of clothes. Haven't you felt there are several people within you sometimes?  The Buddhists call this an "emanation".

 

Also, why would reincarnation be restricted to human bodies only, or this earth? I can also envision being reborn in another dimension, another life form on a different planet or even as an animal (although I hope not).  There are versions of both heaven and hell in Buddhism - different pure lands and different hells. It is a continuity of what your mind is going toward now. That is why the present is much more important than the future.

 

I personally favor the idea of some form of continuity - it is hard for me to imagine everything just ends for eternity. But there could be a long period of rest (for centuries) in some kind of heaven, before reincarnating in human or other form.

 

I can understand why the thought of an afterlife could be difficult. But I am the opposite, I have never been able to imagine non existence.  I think this life force will not just disappear.

Well all their beliefs came from one person, their guru, who had been given the knowledge through visions.. The purpose of following his doctrines was to be ready at the time of death to go to higher not lower incarnation. We pay our karmic debt. This isn't as scarey as hell but still terrifying.

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I've actually been saying something along the lines of OP's sentiment for quite some time on these boards. Human mind + Eternal Existence = Insanity.

 

We're not wired to exist that long and it would only end badly no matter how nice the place we're put out to pasture is in the afterlife. Even paradise would eventually degrade into hell.

 

That being said, I'd rather go to Hell than the 'paradise' of Christianity anyway. Heaven only sounds like a good idea until you consider the sort of company you'll have.

 

That being said, I've been dead a couple of times. I have medical issues and a surgery went wrong and I also died again while recovering from that incident. It no longer worries me. I was awake and aware when I died and saw nothing that supports any sort of afterlife. No tunnel of light, family, or anything but empty blankness. One minute I was here, then I wasn't, and then I was again. I had no perception of any time passing or awareness during the period I was dead. I simply stopped existing for a few minutes both times.

 

My experience tells me there's nothing to any sort of afterlife belief and you just don't exist anymore. I don't fear death. I don't exactly welcome it, but it's not a point of worry for me anymore.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Directionless your dream was quite interesting. ContraBardus, I've also read of a few experiences where people haven't experienced anything as well.

 

Although I'd prefer nothingness, reincarnation is far preferable to any Christian version of an afterlife. I saw a clip "23 minutes in hell by Bill Weise" 5 and a half years ago, and it triggered off all the questions I'd been suppressing for years. Even if I had a solid guarantee of making it to the Christian heaven, how could I ever be happy knowing that the majority of mankind was tortured according to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs? That clip nearly caused me to have a mental breakdown.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Directionless your dream was quite interesting. ContraBardus, I've also read of a few experiences where people haven't experienced anything as well.

 

Although I'd prefer nothingness, reincarnation is far preferable to any Christian version of an afterlife. I saw a clip "23 minutes in hell by Bill Weise" 5 and a half years ago, and it triggered off all the questions I'd been suppressing for years. Even if I had a solid guarantee of making it to the Christian heaven, how could I ever be happy knowing that the majority of mankind was tortured according to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs? That clip nearly caused me to have a mental breakdown.

 

I remember that book; it was not fun.  

 

I'm leaning more to the idea that we have energy.  Once we die, I think our conscious does, too.  I don't think "we" as we are right now will ever live forever (unless science makes really crazy progress, but it won't be in any of our lifetimes), but I do think the energy in us will go to some other source so in a way, it's kind of like we're living forever (but it's not really "us" but the energy, like my energy probably used to belong to some other living being but is mine while I'm alive).  Hope that makes sense.  Not that I'm saying it's right or even true. I don't know, but that is some stuff I had started to believe about souls even (shortly) before I de-converted. 

 

The idea of living forever and being conscious of it is rather disturbing.  It used to unsettle me, like what was I gonna do for thousands of years? And could I get kicked out of Heaven for having one bad thought? 

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Directionless your dream was quite interesting. ContraBardus, I've also read of a few experiences where people haven't experienced anything as well.

 

Although I'd prefer nothingness, reincarnation is far preferable to any Christian version of an afterlife. I saw a clip "23 minutes in hell by Bill Weise" 5 and a half years ago, and it triggered off all the questions I'd been suppressing for years. Even if I had a solid guarantee of making it to the Christian heaven, how could I ever be happy knowing that the majority of mankind was tortured according to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs? That clip nearly caused me to have a mental breakdown.

 

I remember that book; it was not fun.  

 

I'm leaning more to the idea that we have energy.  Once we die, I think our conscious does, too.  I don't think "we" as we are right now will ever live forever (unless science makes really crazy progress, but it won't be in any of our lifetimes), but I do think the energy in us will go to some other source so in a way, it's kind of like we're living forever (but it's not really "us" but the energy, like my energy probably used to belong to some other living being but is mine while I'm alive).  Hope that makes sense.  Not that I'm saying it's right or even true. I don't know, but that is some stuff I had started to believe about souls even (shortly) before I de-converted. 

 

The idea of living forever and being conscious of it is rather disturbing.  It used to unsettle me, like what was I gonna do for thousands of years? And could I get kicked out of Heaven for having one bad thought? 

 

 

I liken that to saying that a lightning bolt is alive somehow. Energy cannot be created or destroyed but is merely converted to another form I suppose, but I wouldn't call the 'energy' inside us our being or life anymore than I'd call the electricity in a battery a remote control. We exist as chemical reactions and electrical impulses within our brains. The sum of the whole makes us alive, electricity is just electricity, it's the reaction with the electricity with the matter that makes us up that causes us to be living beings. The energy isn't really a part of us any more than an electrical outlet is part of a microwave oven. It needs the energy to work, but the outlet itself and the energy it provides are separate things.

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Why not just imagine eternal life is subject only to your whims. Since it's your fantasy, you could even stop existing for as long as you would want. No need to put any restrictions on a notion such as an afterlife. Obviously, people have always felt free to make up any scenario they felt like, so create your own to suit you!

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Thanks for the replies everyone. Directionless your dream was quite interesting. ContraBardus, I've also read of a few experiences where people haven't experienced anything as well.

 

Although I'd prefer nothingness, reincarnation is far preferable to any Christian version of an afterlife. I saw a clip "23 minutes in hell by Bill Weise" 5 and a half years ago, and it triggered off all the questions I'd been suppressing for years. Even if I had a solid guarantee of making it to the Christian heaven, how could I ever be happy knowing that the majority of mankind was tortured according to his fundamentalist Christian beliefs? That clip nearly caused me to have a mental breakdown.

 

I remember that book; it was not fun.  

 

I'm leaning more to the idea that we have energy.  Once we die, I think our conscious does, too.  I don't think "we" as we are right now will ever live forever (unless science makes really crazy progress, but it won't be in any of our lifetimes), but I do think the energy in us will go to some other source so in a way, it's kind of like we're living forever (but it's not really "us" but the energy, like my energy probably used to belong to some other living being but is mine while I'm alive).  Hope that makes sense.  Not that I'm saying it's right or even true. I don't know, but that is some stuff I had started to believe about souls even (shortly) before I de-converted. 

 

The idea of living forever and being conscious of it is rather disturbing.  It used to unsettle me, like what was I gonna do for thousands of years? And could I get kicked out of Heaven for having one bad thought? 

 

 

I liken that to saying that a lightning bolt is alive somehow. Energy cannot be created or destroyed but is merely converted to another form I suppose, but I wouldn't call the 'energy' inside us our being or life anymore than I'd call the electricity in a battery a remote control. We exist as chemical reactions and electrical impulses within our brains. The sum of the whole makes us alive, electricity is just electricity, it's the reaction with the electricity with the matter that makes us up that causes us to be living beings. The energy isn't really a part of us any more than an electrical outlet is part of a microwave oven. It needs the energy to work, but the outlet itself and the energy it provides are separate things.

 

 

Yeah, I don't really think it's our "life."--- more like a contribution to it.   Just in the idea of an afterlife/reincarnation, this is the only thing that makes any real sense to me. 

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Lol heaven basically like Church for eternity except u have nothing to think about except the pastor. Also think about what omedy is. Its pointing at problems and other peoples misfortunes. Imagine literally no evil etc it would be horrible

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Lol heaven basically like Church for eternity except u have nothing to think about except the pastor. Also think about what omedy is. Its pointing at problems and other peoples misfortunes. Imagine literally no evil etc it would be horrible

 

Yes, it would be horrible. The Christian idea of 'Eternal Paradise' shows a complete lack of comprehension of human nature or psychology. It's a fantasy that only seems like it is a good idea if you don't think too hard about it. At face value it sounds like a good idea, but it's actually immature and nonsensical.

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Years ago I thought about what "living forever," even in a heaven-like place, would be like and it really is incomprehensible.  It sounds horrible and terrifying because eternity is just . . . eternity . . . and if we're just in some unchanging heavenly bliss . . . it kind of makes your brain explode to ponder eternity.  The concept of time would be meaningless, since it's eternity.  I read one book where a woman claimed she died and came back and while dead she saw souls in "heaven" being able to go different "places" to learn everything they ever wanted.  But still . . . eternity . . . you could learn everything about everything and still have . . . eternity.  

 

I really think we have just our time here on earth and our one life.  It really makes this one life precious and beautiful, and pretty amazing.  

 

I always liked in Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" the Bokononist last-rites where we were mud that god commanded to sit up.  The part about being glad to be some mud that got to sit up and look around and meet other sitting-up mud -- I like that.  Regardless of how we got here, we're here, and it is pretty amazing that we get to sit up and walk around and see and hear things and think in our own heads and communicate with others.  The miracle that somehow my own little consciousness is here, right now, is amazing, and really, that's enough for me.  I don't need eternity to be amazed.  If I were to die tomorrow, my own little time here would have been sufficient for me.  I've seen and experienced some beautiful things, felt love, laughed, cried, felt the breeze and warm sun against my face, smelled the damp earth in the spring, heard beautiful music, cuddled with my babies and with lovers late at night.  I don't need more more more, I think it is absolutely amazing that I am this little bit of mud that got to sit up for a while and look around, and when it's time I'll lay down and go back into the mud again.

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Unknown, there are many threads on this subject on the forums, but they get buried and they have various titles which obscure this subject in other subjects.

Another recent post came as someone describing fear of hell as leverage to stay christian.  We started talking about afterlife models and posting enough global data of afterlife accounts that mathematically it comes to one silly thing, it's what you make it.  I know Florduh drew this conclusion, maybe a long time ago but I noticed him writing of it that way after the fear of hell thread when all the new data came to my attention.  I had other ideas before that.  I might still run calcs on all the new data and look for trends or commonalities, but until then, based on overwhelming experience, it looks pretty diverse, including no afterlife.

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All versions of an "afterlife" must necessarily be made up. There's no reason to assume the dumbest one of them might actually be true.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I don't believe in an afterlife myself and I agree that the prospect of living forever horrifies me as I am a person who bores easily. No matter how wondrous heaven might be, or how brutally moritfying its counterpart, both, or either, for me would quickly become unbearably dreary.

 

That said, I like the idea of reincarnation (though I don't believe in it), because I know that no matter how much of life I get to experience in my short time here, it will still not be enough; and the possibility of experiencing life from different perspectives, like being a butterfly or a tapeworm, really appeals to me.

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I never really completely bought into the Christian version of the afterlife.  I always thought there was one, though.  I don't know why, I just thought that it must be a great adventure, and that one could have a different body and maybe be on another planet, etc.. My imagination would go wild!

 

I was never afraid of it.  All the threats of hell were scary when I was young but I didn't really take them seriously because I knew it was just in a book and someone saying it. And I also had this different, private vision.

 

Now I think reincarnation is still the best bet. But not necessarily as any form we know - why would it be limited by time and space?

 

The Buddhist vision is great, because you have millions of previous lives as well. I am not going to debate or defend it, I am just saying its a great vision.

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