View Poll Results: Would you give up everything to know for certain what happens after death?
YES, I have to know 2 1.83%
NO, I will definitely find out eventually and I can wait 96 88.07%
Potato salad! 11 10.09%
Voters: 109. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2018, 10:25 AM
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Give up everything to know for certain what happens after death

A magical being appears before you and offers you the absolute, 100% honest truth about what happens after death, in exchange for every single thing you own?

You will have THE answer but must proceed forward with nothing; all of your possessions, your house, your car, your bank accounts, any other assets you have, even the clothes off your back, *POOF* they're gone.

Do you take the deal?
  #2  
Old 04-20-2018, 10:28 AM
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Nah. He could be lying!
And I'll figure it out sooner or later anyway.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
And I'll figure it out sooner or later anyway.
I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset. This is like someone about to skydive out of an airplane, saying, "I can't remember if my parachute was properly packed, or if I even brought one or not, but guess I'm about to find out!"
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset. This is like someone about to skydive out of an airplane, saying, "I can't remember if my parachute was properly packed, or if I even brought one or not, but guess I'm about to find out!"
However, you have the rest of your life to make sure it's packed properly or repack it if needed.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:31 AM
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No. Why on Earth would you?

Okay, you know for sure what happens...now what? You're still alive and you're life is going to be miserable for a good while (at least) because you've got nothing and need to start over.

Whatever happens, happens. Something, nothing...it doesn't matter, because it's not like you can do anything about it.
  #6  
Old 04-20-2018, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset.
What is the alternative? Barring a magical being appearing in front of you, of course.

I've been living in a state of "I don't know but I'll find out eventually" for my entire life. I haven't found it particularly burdensome.
  #7  
Old 04-20-2018, 11:39 AM
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I'm not giving up all my worldly possessions for something I'm already 99.99% sure of.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Well, I wouldn't because I would be pretty pissed if I gave up all my shit and the mysterious answer was "Nothing. Your body will just rot". But thinking "meh, I'll find out eventually" is kind of loco. A whole bunch of religions align what you do in life with your after life prospects. Magical being's answer could be "meditate for 20 minutes a day and you'll be in Nirvana or reincarnated, everyone else gets eternal blackness". What good is that answer going to do you if you're already dead?

So I answered "no" but not for the reason given after the comma in the poll option.

Last edited by CarnalK; 04-20-2018 at 11:52 AM.
  #9  
Old 04-20-2018, 11:53 AM
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I'm not giving up all my worldly possessions for something I'm already 99.99% sure of.
100% for me.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:55 AM
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I won't find out eventually. I'll be dead. That works for me.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset. This is like someone about to skydive out of an airplane, saying, "I can't remember if my parachute was properly packed, or if I even brought one or not, but guess I'm about to find out!"
Death is the one thing you can't control. I can make the choice to not skydive out a plane without a parachute.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:13 PM
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I had an atheist friend in college, and it used to drive him crazy when we argued about the afterlife and the existence of God. Because I pointed out that if he was right, neither of us would ever know it. Whereas if I was right, we both would. His statement was unprovable; mine wasn't.

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  #13  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:14 PM
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Assuming that it's not a trick question, as it almost sounds like the being is going to give me first hand knowledge, I would still say no.

Either it is as I suspect, and it is simply an end of existence, in which case, I have given up substantial chance for happiness or at least comfort in the only existence that matters. Or it's not the end, and I'll be very surprised, but wouldn't be any better off having had known, and having had spent the remainder of my existence in misery.

The only answer that he could give that would be useful is that the after life is awesome, and I should go ahead and go right now, which I might as well, as I've already shed my earthly possessions. (Or, that there is a line in front of the Pearly Gates, and Peter isn't a very efficient doorman. Every day on earth puts another 150,000 people in line in front of me. If he can interview and greet 100 an hour [which sounds about right, given the length of most Pearly Gates jokes], and works 8 hours a day, that means that every day I stay mortal, is over half a year I have to wait in line.)

As my knowing won't have any effect on where I'm going, it doesn't do me any good.
  #14  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:16 PM
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I had an atheist friend in college, and it used to drive him crazy when we argued about the afterlife and the existence of God. Because I pointed out that if he was right, neither of us would ever know it. Whereas if I was right, we both would. His statement was unprovable; mine wasn't.

Regards,
Shodan
What if both of you were wrong? He didn't believe in a god, and you believed in the wrong god?
  #15  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:24 PM
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I expect nothing after death. I believe that this us the one life we get, for a double handful of years if we're lucky.

I cannot think of a greater sin than to deliberately make someone else's brief life more uncomfortable than it needs to be. I try to treat everyone with respect and kindness because of this belief.

If "form of worship" is really 90% of our final grade then I admit we are all royally fucked. But as everyone else says, I'll be finding out soon enough.
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  #16  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Either it is as I suspect, and it is simply an end of existence, in which case, I have given up substantial chance for happiness or at least comfort in the only existence that matters. Or it's not the end, and I'll be very surprised, but wouldn't be any better off having had known, and having had spent the remainder of my existence in misery.
As I said, that's not a valid assumption. If the magical creature says "the buddhists are right" or "the mormons are right" then knowing gives you time to either aim for a great reincarnation or your own planet.

Last edited by CarnalK; 04-20-2018 at 12:39 PM.
  #17  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:48 PM
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As I said, that's not a valid assumption. If the magical creature says "the buddhists are right" or "the mormons are right" then knowing gives you time to either aim for a great reincarnation or your own planet.
The magical being is only telling you what happens after death, not what path to take to get to where you want to be, nor what religion, or denomination, or sub denomination, or individual belief is the key.
  #18  
Old 04-20-2018, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset. This is like someone about to skydive out of an airplane, saying, "I can't remember if my parachute was properly packed, or if I even brought one or not, but guess I'm about to find out!"
Actually it would be like being on an airplane and not knowing whether you'll crash (and die) or land safely. That is, one of those outcomes is inevitable - it WILL happen (yeah, yeah, you could crash and only be badly injured - I get that there may be other alternatives in between). But as with life, once you're on that plane, you're somewhat committed to whatever the outcome is.

Which leads to what might be a better poll question. This magical stranger doesn't tell you anything about what happens when you die, or how you will die. BUT he can tell you exactly WHEN you will die. The catch being that if he tells you, it will be 5 years earlier than had he not told you. Would you want to know ?
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:51 PM
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Actually it would be like being on an airplane and not knowing whether you'll crash (and die) or land safely. That is, one of those outcomes is inevitable - it WILL happen (yeah, yeah, you could crash and only be badly injured - I get that there may be other alternatives in between). But as with life, once you're on that plane, you're somewhat committed to whatever the outcome is.

Which leads to what might be a better poll question. This magical stranger doesn't tell you anything about what happens when you die, or how you will die. BUT he can tell you exactly WHEN you will die. The catch being that if he tells you, it will be 5 years earlier than had he not told you. Would you want to know ?
No, but if he gives me that offer, at least I know that I live another 5 years.
  #20  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:05 PM
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I'd have been a lot more interested in knowing for sure back about 40 years ago when I was mostly broke.
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  #21  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
The magical being is only telling you what happens after death, not what path to take to get to where you want to be, nor what religion, or denomination, or sub denomination, or individual belief is the key.
Says you. There's no reason to assume the magic creature has a one size fits all answer. Your idea means he couldn't even say "good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell" he's only able to say "heaven or hell. Depends"

Last edited by CarnalK; 04-20-2018 at 01:15 PM.
  #22  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:14 PM
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Hey, the very existence of a magical being with the power to transform existence at its whim is at least a few points in favor of an afterlife. That's a lot more information than I went into the conversation with, and for free!
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:30 PM
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I voted no, but not because I'll find out after death, but because I already know - and after I die, I won't be there to know.

I *would* be curious about the provenance of this magical being, though. And also why I should believe a single word it says (up to and including about its status as a magical being).
  #24  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:31 PM
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Says you. There's no reason to assume the magic creature has a one size fits all answer. Your idea means he couldn't even say "good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell" he's only able to say "heaven or hell. Depends"
Then you live your life of being good, and when you die and go to hell, they explain that your idea of what good is isn't the same as what God's is.
  #25  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:34 PM
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Then you live your life of being good, and when you die and go to hell, they explain that your idea of what good is isn't the same as what God's is.
Right, if I'm dealing with Satan or a Leprechaun. But if the magic creature wants all my stuff, I think a detailed answer is required.
  #26  
Old 04-20-2018, 01:42 PM
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Hey, the very existence of a magical being with the power to transform existence at its whim is at least a few points in favor of an afterlife. That's a lot more information than I went into the conversation with, and for free!


That's my take on it as well. The existence of such a magical creature means that about 90% of my current understanding of the Universe is flawed. As such, I might as well scrap it all and start over, giving greater attention to the stuff I used to think was BS, religion included. I'd have to take a serious look at all the major religions, to see if one seems to have a better claim to accuracy than all the others, and see what I can sort out on my own.

And even if I can't find one that seems objectively superior to all the others, the existence of Magic means that Pascal's Wager is a much better bet than I previously supposed, so I should at least place a bet on one of the big ones, just in case.
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Old 04-20-2018, 02:02 PM
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I'm not giving up all my worldly possessions for something I'm already 99.99% sure of.
Yeah. And his next words are - nothingness. Thanks for the money, chump.
Then there is also the possibility that death is not something you're going to enjoy, no matter what.
You can probably do some sort of Pascal Wager type deal here.

Now, the existence of a magical being is the interesting part.
  #28  
Old 04-20-2018, 05:14 PM
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No for me, I already know what's waiting.

And even if I didn't, I wouldn't give up my dog and cat. The clothes off of my back I could lose, not my pets.
  #29  
Old 04-20-2018, 06:05 PM
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Is this "magical" being a pig?
  #30  
Old 04-20-2018, 06:14 PM
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I've been living in a state of "I don't know but I'll find out eventually" for my entire life. I haven't found it particularly burdensome.
Yeah, this.

I assume it's nothing.

It might be something. That would be very interesting.

But I have literally no serious basis for speculation, so, I just don't bother to do so.

And no, I don't consider it as "serious" the fact that various world religions talk about some kind of afterlife judgment based on conflicting criteria, leaving me in fear of Picking The Wrong Religion, And Everything I Do Is Just Making Things Worse For My Final Tally, Including Not Picking A Religion In The First Place.

If I have faith in anything, it's that that would be a terribly unreasonable way for the world to work, and if there is indeed a Reason For Existence, it's fundamentally Reasonable.

I try to live a life where I'm not ashamed of my actions or inactions, and are proud of some of them, which will lead me to hold my head up high as I go through my whatever-odd years on this planet, and if there is something accruing to a ledger, trust that it's OK.
  #31  
Old 04-20-2018, 06:17 PM
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Right, if I'm dealing with Satan or a Leprechaun. But if the magic creature wants all my stuff, I think a detailed answer is required.
Ha! This magical creature with all the answers that I somehow trust immediately is the real deal to the point of Handing Over All My Stuff is sure going to be surprised when it turns out I'd already Handed Over All My Stuff to a Nigerian Prince who's going to make me super rich in another month.

So by showing up exactly in between when I have just given away All My Stuff and before I become Super Rich, I'll have it all - the Ultimate Answer, and the megabucks.

I'm so smart!!!!
  #32  
Old 04-20-2018, 06:28 PM
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I had an atheist friend in college, and it used to drive him crazy when we argued about the afterlife and the existence of God. Because I pointed out that if he was right, neither of us would ever know it. Whereas if I was right, we both would. His statement was unprovable; mine wasn't.

Regards,
Shodan
No, your statement is a circular tautology - it presupposes the afterlife that would be necessary to prove there is an afterlife.

The argument that the model of an afterlife including "etermal existence as you" is only possible for a believer, and appealing to Pascal's Wager, makes a lot more sense.
  #33  
Old 04-20-2018, 06:50 PM
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I give the Magical Being the potato salad and tell him/her/it to eat it while I make up my mind. While M.B. eats the potato salad, I legally transfer ownership of all my worldly possessions (except my glasses) to my wife.

Then I agree to M.B’s conditions.
  #34  
Old 04-20-2018, 07:08 PM
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I already know what happens after you die, for sufficiently nuanced definitions of "know". Same way I know that the Nigerian Prince who emailed me yesterday wasn't a real Nigerian Prince. That is, I accept that I am a fallible human being in a vast mysterious universe. But that guy wasn't a real Nigerian Prince, and after you die there's nothing.

Or to put it another way, the punchline of the joke is, "Isn’t your husband a little old to still believe in Genies? "
  #35  
Old 04-21-2018, 07:56 AM
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No, your statement is a circular tautology - it presupposes the afterlife that would be necessary to prove there is an afterlife.
If there is no afterlife, then after I die I no longer exist and therefore cannot know anything. Therefore an afterlife cannot be known if it doesn't exist. The only way it could be known is if it exists, so that after I die, I know that it exists. So my atheist friend who did not think there is an afterlife could never know it and never prove it. If there wasn't an afterlife, neither he nor I could know anything after death, so we would never know that he was right.

Regards,
Shodan
  #36  
Old 04-21-2018, 08:27 AM
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Over 7 billion people in the world and not a single one of them knows for certain what happens after death. But all 7 billion will eventually find out.
Life’s greatest mystery that no one seems to have the patience to get the answer to.
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:35 AM
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Shodan, if you were to find yourself in Hell while your friend finds himself in Limbo, I don't think you would feel any satisfaction in the fact that you were right and he was wrong. On that score, I think your friend would be entitled to more laughs than you.
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:48 AM
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I would only give away all my possessions for information I could profit from.

I can see how knowing what happens when we die could provide comfort. But what if the truth is not comforting? Like, what if I find out that reincarnation is real? There is a high likelihood that I will wake up in the body of someone whose life will be full of unfamiliar struggles and challenges and pain. I don't want to spend the rest of this life worrying about the hardships I will face in the next life.
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:55 AM
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I believe I received that answer, yes it cost everything, but I received so much more, and realized that me giving everything was really me holding on to nothing.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:37 AM
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No, your statement is a circular tautology - it presupposes the afterlife that would be necessary to prove there is an afterlife.

The argument that the model of an afterlife including "etermal existence as you" is only possible for a believer, and appealing to Pascal's Wager, makes a lot more sense.
What's a 'circular tautology' as opposed to a tautology? The answer to the statement is 'yes', not 'no'. There's no flaw in the logic or anything 'presupposed' that's not obvious.

If there's no afterlife nobody will ever know that by their own experience, they'll only know there is one if they exist in it.

IOW Descartes 'I think therefore I am' is more on this specific point than Pascal's Wager. The latter is about what you should do (about God in general) while alive assuming that you can't know the answer while alive. This debate is whether you can ever know. And you can only ever know there's an afterlife or not if there is and you exist in it. The alternative is that you never know, alive or dead.

Last edited by Corry El; 04-21-2018 at 10:40 AM.
  #41  
Old 04-21-2018, 11:48 AM
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If there is no afterlife, then after I die I no longer exist and therefore cannot know anything. Therefore an afterlife cannot be known if it doesn't exist. The only way it could be known is if it exists, so that after I die, I know that it exists. So my atheist friend who did not think there is an afterlife could never know it and never prove it. If there wasn't an afterlife, neither he nor I could know anything after death, so we would never know that he was right.

Regards,
Shodan
You cannot be right just because he is wrong, unless your claim is only that there is some sort of afterlife and that you do not believe in any particular version. Would you be right if the afterlife was that of any other religion other than your own, or one that no particular religion has thought of yet?
  #42  
Old 04-21-2018, 12:15 PM
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This is one of the may similar questions in which too many members are unwilling (or afraid), even as a hypothetical, to entertain the thought process of imagining an afterlife; even those who are 100% of its non-existence.
So much squirming, so much fighting the hypothetical, so much trying to escape its simple and straightforward meaning and intent.
Just say yes or no (or potato) and don't look for excuses.
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Old 04-21-2018, 12:20 PM
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I cannot comprehend the "I don't know what happens after death but I'll find out eventually" mindset. This is like someone about to skydive out of an airplane, saying, "I can't remember if my parachute was properly packed, or if I even brought one or not, but guess I'm about to find out!"
Does knowing one way or the other change your perspective on life after you pull the ripcord (or not, as the case may be)?
  #44  
Old 04-21-2018, 12:29 PM
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100% for me.
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Originally Posted by wonky View Post
I won't find out eventually. I'll be dead.
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I already know...
I am amused by anyone who claims to 100% know something that is so clearly unknowable.


mmm

ETA:

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Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
...I'm already 99.99% sure...
Now that's more like it.

Last edited by Mean Mr. Mustard; 04-21-2018 at 12:31 PM.
  #45  
Old 04-21-2018, 02:21 PM
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This is one of the may similar questions in which too many members are unwilling (or afraid), even as a hypothetical, to entertain the thought process of imagining an afterlife; even those who are 100% of its non-existence.
So much squirming, so much fighting the hypothetical, so much trying to escape its simple and straightforward meaning and intent.
Just say yes or no (or potato) and don't look for excuses.
I also concluded the odd answers and bad logic must be due to some sensitivity about the question, always ready to fight the Christianity/anti-Christianity war more than think about points raised by people perceived to be on the opposite side of that fence.

Shodan's formulation for example is self evidently correct at least this far: a believer in an* afterlife can only be proven right, by finding themselves existing in an afterlife. One who positively believes in no afterlife can't ever be proven right, and could be proven wrong by ending up in one.

The valid nitpicks at the (first and second) statements are:
1) the first tied together an afterlife and God, even besides the responders assuming by the self-reference that it meant Christianity. But there could be an afterlife without God(s), or where people still don't find out if there is. This life exists and we don't know if there's a God: why couldn't there be another one where we still don't know?
2) again assuming any possible system, it could be that having an afterlife depends on believing in one. If so, people who don't believe in one will never be proven right or wrong.

It could also be that believers in an afterlife won't know they were right even if there is an afterlife (some forms of belief in reincarnation are like that). But if they ever know the answer it could only be that they were right. All if we accept the basic concept that existence is a necessarily condition for knowing anything.

* *an* afterlife, not the particular description of one in a particular belief tradition.
  #46  
Old 04-21-2018, 04:27 PM
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Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ají de Gallina View Post
This is one of the may similar questions in which too many members are unwilling (or afraid), even as a hypothetical, to entertain the thought process of imagining an afterlife; even those who are 100% of its non-existence.
So much squirming, so much fighting the hypothetical, so much trying to escape its simple and straightforward meaning and intent.
Just say yes or no (or potato) and don't look for excuses.
Which afterlife are we discussing?
  #47  
Old 04-21-2018, 04:36 PM
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I see this is a rare poll where there's near-universal consensus among Dopers. As of this posting, no one has answered "yes" to the offer, although a few people have chosen potato salad.

I'm curious what about this deal the OP thought was going to be tempting, because it seems so obviously a bad bargain that I have difficulty believing any rational person would agree to it. I guess I could maybe see taking the deal if you were already destitute, but even if literally all you owned were the clothes on your back then you'd immediately be much worse off if those suddenly disappeared.
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Old 04-21-2018, 05:24 PM
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I care why? There's an afterlife, or there isn't. My morality is my own responsibility and I'm not going to change anything based on a potential outcome if there is a flexible and just afterlife. If there's a crummy capricious afterlife, I'm unlikely to be able to change my fate. Fortunately, though, I know very deeply that dead is dead and there is no afterlife.
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Old 04-21-2018, 05:32 PM
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This is obviously a trick question, and the magical being is Satan. If you make the deal it means you don't accept on faith what the Bible says about eternal life and salvation and all that stuff. Therefore, the answer is "you're doomed for eternity." At least for YOU, that is.
  #50  
Old 04-21-2018, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mean Mr. Mustard View Post
I am amused by anyone who claims to 100% know something that is so clearly unknowable.


mmm

ETA:



Now that's more like it.
I know what happens to brains, and I know that's where the person known as me comes from. The fact that people don't want to die leads them to invent scenarios where they think there is doubt, but I see no more reason to have doubt about this than I have about what happens to a toenail once I clip it.
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