If you were to die tonight . . .

Are you sure you’d go to heaven?

Just curious. Do you think about what happens to you after you die? I’d really like to know what you believe and where your hope rests, particularly if you think of yourself as an agnostic or an atheist. I won’t attack your beliefs. :)

By definition, everybody is agnostic. Unless they’ve personally met God.

How to determine if someone is an atheist? - Then ask the question ‘Do you believe in God?’. If the answer is anything other than a simple ‘Yes’, then they are an atheist (to varying degrees of ‘strong’ or ‘weak’), as an atheist is someone who doubts the existence of God.

So, someone can actually be an ‘agnostic atheist’, or an ‘agnostic weak atheist’ for example.

Just thought I’d get agreement on the definitions before I type any more… :;):

[edit] just correcting my spelling of ‘athiest’/‘atheist’… ‘I’ before ‘E’ except in ‘atheist’… :D [/edit]

The etymology of “atheist” (and perhapsh “agnostic”) doesn’t fit your usage, jhonan, nor do I think it fits the way most people understand those words.

agnostic - a-gnosis - "no knowledge"

atheist - a - theist - no God (or gods or Goddess or goddesses).

Personally, I look forward to avoiding being reincarnated, with the help of my guru and intensive study of the Bardol Thodol. Do you know the “fallacy of complext question” Zoo? It’s when one asks a question that assumes something that itself is questionable. “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” is an example - if you say “yes” that implies you beat her in the past, and if you say “no,” well…

I managed to find the article that persuaded me of these definitions about a year ago. Okay, he might not be an authority on the subject, but I admire his logic!;

Who is an atheist? agnostic? theist? Some definitions

What he says about ‘atheist’:
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Although some atheists (and they are in the minority) may claim to know that there is no god, most atheists claim no such thing. Atheism is a “lack of belief in god” and nothing more. Those who claim to “know” there is no god are sometimes referred to as “strong atheists”, but their thinking is as faulty as those who claim to know that there is a god. Atheists who don’t go as far as claiming knowledge of no god can also be called “strong atheists”. For instance, atheists who claim an affirmative belief that there is no god usually are also referred to as “strong atheists” even though they do not claim knowledge of such a thing. For now, let me just state that no one can know there is no god for the same reason that no one can know there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, unicorn, or other such creature. Some may say that we can know that there are none of the above since we can trace through history where these characters were created and that the ideas about them have changed over the centuries. The same can also be said of god (except the history of god goes back a bit farther so it is more difficult to track with certainty) but for this arguments sake, let’s say that such creatures, although there is a strong probability that they are fictional, can not be 100% positively proven unreal for the basic reason that the entire universe would need to be explored to positively assert the non-existence of such a hypothetical being. If the theist attempts to define their god however, that specific god can be disproven through the use of logic and reason. In these cases, an atheist can accurately state that they know that the god described does not exist.

To summarize, atheism is a lack of belief in god. Basic atheism (of the non-strong variety) on its own does not positively assert anything regardless of what some atheists may say or think and regardless of what theists frequently define as atheism.


What he says about ‘agnostic’:
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When you break down the word agnostic, you come up with a term meaning “without knowledge” or “unknowable”. The word agnostic isn’t a very old word. Despite this fact, T.H. Huxley, who created the term, used it to mean our modern definition of ‘scientist’ more than anything else. The word has changed meaning over the years, and people have tended to use the term as a sort of middle ground between atheism and theism. In my opinion, such a middle ground doesn’t exist. One either asserts that there is a god or they lack such an assertion. Agnostics have labeled themselves as such because they don’t understand the definition of atheism or because they have heard only about the ‘strong atheists’ who do make a positive assertion that there is no god and they don’t personally hold such a strong assertion.

My definition of agnostic is probably different from any that you have previously heard. My (modern) definition is that virtually everyone is an agnostic. That’s right, almost everyone is either an agnostic/atheist or they are an agnostic/theist because no one can ‘know’ god. Atheists probably don’t have a problem with this definition, but I’d be willing to bet that many theists who are reading this don’t appreciate being labeled an agnostic.


There’s more on the link I posted, but that’s the crux of his argument. I think it makes interesting reading.

My grandmother died last weekend. It was clear to me that many people deal with death in different ways, based on their spiritual POV. I would hate to see my basic question and intention lost in translation. I withdraw the agnostic/atheist query. Perhaps it would be helpful if I rephrased it: Are you personally at peace about dying? Does your present belief system offer you a sense of hope in the afterlife?

My thoughts are that God made life simple. It is man that has added complexity. Keeping this in mind, I believe that there are 2 rules to live by:

1. Be happy or work toward that goal.
2. Be a positive force in everyones life you can be.

I do believe in the ten commandments, but even those seem overly wordy. I believe my 2 rules fall in line with those commandments.

If I die today, will I go to heaven? This question supposes I know Gods mind completely. For me to answer this question, I would need to believe that I know God’s will. I am not God and therefore do not know God’s will. I will say that I try to do as I believe God would like me to do all the time. So my answer is that I have faith in God and hope I will be allowed into Heaven (whatever that means) when I die.

Mike

Quote (Zoo Keeper @ Nov. 10 2004,08:08)
My grandmother died last weekend. It was clear to me that many people deal with death in different ways, based on their spiritual POV. I would hate to see my basic question and intention lost in translation. I withdraw the agnostic/atheist query. Perhaps it would be helpful if I rephrased it: Are you personally at peace about dying? Does your present belief system offer you a sense of hope in the afterlife?

Again, I have to say that I am looking forward to gaining enough karmic momentum to avoid reincarnation. The concept of an "afterlife" has no meaning to me. :)

jhonan, interesting, he is clearly stipulating new definitions. Useful? Hmmm…

I’m only 21, and i am at peace about dying, the only negative feelings i have about it are the effects on other people in my life.
I dont believe in god or the afterlife, and i feel no need for them either.
The world has beauty and wonder in itself regardless of the existance of god, I also think that morality is enhanced when looked at from a godless perspective.

I always found death from the christian point of view quite frightening…but i find complete peace in my atheism.

i think DrGuitars two points are very healthy rules to live by.

The etymology of "atheist" (and perhapsh "agnostic") doesn't fit your usage, jhonan, nor do I think it fits the way most people understand those words.

agnostic - a-gnosis - "no knowledge"

atheist - a - theist - no God (or gods or Goddess or goddesses).


Of course Tom, you've missed out a category;

Agnostofaecist.

(i.e. Don't know, and don't really give a shit.)

Which is a classification I find myself becoming more and more in sympathy with. :)

But Tom, you have to admit that although the etymology of the word agnostic does indeed imply "no knowledge", it has often been used by groups that proclaim that god is "not knowable", which is slightly diffenent, and is in accord with Jhohan's definition.

Ali

I think,the whole concept of an afterlife hinges on whether or not you believe you have a soul. Is a human just a sum of it’s parts? Or is there something else that makes us human.
If we would clone a human, would it be human?
As the story frankenstein suggest, a quick jolt of lightning awt to do the trick. However, even with all our extensive knowledge of human anatomy we still lack that information.
We can’t simply join human parts together like a car, and make them work. So if there is a soul, how does it get in there? And where does it go when the body expires?
Regardless of what someone believes religiously, these facts remain constant.
All the athiest scientist in the world cannot explain what gives life and what takes it away. The can only speculate on which part’s caused failure of the body to function.
Regardless of what you beleive religiously I think it’s better just to be as good of a person as you can. And try to improve as many other’s lives as you can…just to be on the safe side.
If there is a soul inside you there must be some sort of balance needed for it to reach a higer plane of existence.
If it’s weighed down by evil deeds, it only makes sence that it will not be able to fly. (basic physics)









:D

Are you personally at peace about dying? Does your present belief system offer you a sense of hope in the afterlife?
About dying? No. About being dead? Yes.

It's the "becoming dead" part that scares the heck out on me. I don't like pain.
I think,the whole concept of an afterlife hinges on whether or not you believe you have a soul. Is a human just a sum of it's parts? Or is there something else that makes us human.
If we would clone a human, would it be human?
As the story frankenstein suggest, a quick jolt of lightning awt to do the trick. However, even with all our extensive knowledge of human anatomy we still lack that information.
We can't simply join human parts together like a car, and make them work. So if there is a soul, how does it get in there? And where does it go when the body expires?
Regardless of what someone believes religiously, these facts remain constant.


What facts Jerm?

Regardless of what you beleive religiously I think it's better just to be as good of a person as you can. And try to improve as many other's lives as you can...just to be on the safe side.


That is certainly a valid argument. But to be on the safe side, you should not eat pork products, nor beef, nor do anything that is regarded as a sin by any religion.

Trouble is, by the time you study all the restrictions of all the religions, it makes life a wee bit restrictive.

If there is a soul inside you there must be some sort of balance needed for it to reach a higer plane of existence.
If it's weighed down by evil deeds, it only makes sence that it will not be able to fly. (basic physics)


Perhaps a different type of physics from what I learned. :)

But Jerm, your questions are more related to "what is self-awareness?" than "what is a soul?"

A body can be kept alive almost indefinitely, but is it self aware?

And, does self-awareness constitute a soul?

Answer that question first, then perhaps we can ask whether that awareness can exist independent of the body.

Ali
Quote (Ali @ Nov. 10 2004,15:50)
What facts Jerm?

But Jerm, your questions are more related to "what is self-awareness?" than "what is a soul?"

A body can be kept alive almost indefinitely, but is it self aware?

And, does self-awareness constitute a soul?



Ali

What fact you ask? The fact that man cannot create another man from nothing, or even spare parts.
Unless you know something I don't.
Shure a body can be kept alive indefinitly, but it cannot be given life were there was none.
I'm just gonna ignore your whole not eating pork, or beef thing... What does that have to do with being as kind as you can to others? The statement started with "regardless of your religious beliefs" I think that includes your meat eating rant no?
Anyway, Ali, to explain the physics reference, since you obvioulsy are dumfounded.
Picture your soul as a helium baloon. If it has no weight attached to it, it is free to rise into the upper atmosphere.
Now take that same baloon, and tie a rock to it, it goes nowhere but straight down. Any clearer? I think there can be physics applied even to something we can't see or prove exist, sorry you couldn't see that parallel.






:cool:
Quote (Ali @ Nov. 10 2004,15:50)
But Jerm, your questions are more related to "what is self-awareness?" than "what is a soul?"

A body can be kept alive almost indefinitely, but is it self aware?

I'm sure some of us have seen these ST Next Generation episodes where they discuss whether Data is a sentient being... :;):

If science evolves to a point where it can create living cells from basic matter, we can hypothesis that science will reach a point where a human being can be constructed, brain and all.

If you are presented with a constructed walking talking human, or even a Commander Data (given the technology, there wouldn't be much difference between a biological mechanism and a highly complex electronic mechanism), how can you prove that it is sentient, that it is conscious / aware or that it possesses a soul?

And what is the nature of the soul? - Is the soul what makes me me, or is that just my brain playing tricks on me?

From a scientific viewpoint, and something I've been thinking about in recent months - our brain contains all our memories, it contains everything that makes us who we are, it 'contains' our consciousness.

When we die, our brain dies too. If our soul continues to exist, does it exist without all these memories and the sense of consciousness that the brain gave to our body when it was living? If our soul continues to exist, how does it even know who it is?
Quote (jhonan @ Nov. 10 2004,16:42)
Is the soul what makes me me, or is that just my brain playing tricks on me?

You have no soul so don't worry about it. :angry:

I have been trying to contemplate non-existence, which many folks think happens after death, for a brain exercise. It seems my sense of identity and my will to survive won’t let me relate to not having any being. It seems easier to accept eternal existence.

I always have to laugh when someone tells me they are worried about dying. I always respond, “Did it bother you before you were born?”. Even if you have no belief in an after life, it can’t be much worse than what it was like before you were born.

:;):

Mike

Quote (jhonan @ Nov. 10 2004,16:42)
Quote (Ali @ Nov. 10 2004,15:50)
But Jerm, your questions are more related to "what is self-awareness?" than "what is a soul?"

A body can be kept alive almost indefinitely, but is it self aware?

I'm sure some of us have seen these ST Next Generation episodes where they discuss whether Data is a sentient being... :;):

"Measure of a Man." Brilliant. "The court is a crucible in which we burn away irrelevancies..." or something like that. Only episode that is better: Darmak and Jalad at Tenagra. :)