After Death

Dear All, my a cordially announce myself to the boards. A long time reader, a first time poster.

Heres my posit: Afterlife, will it suck?

So, two sides, one states there is an afterlife, one states there isnt.

So, to all the people that dont believe in one. Does the belief that there isnt a life after death drive you to despair? An infinite nothingness, the complete annihilation of your existence gone forever. Over time there will be no trace of you left, no memory, all your accomplishments will in the end be meaningless over enough time. Doesent that make you want to curl up into a ball and cry since there is in effect no meaning to your existence, the sound and the fury and all that. Its damn scary, worse than the thought of hell in my opinion.

So, to all the people that do believe in one. Lets start with a heavan, L’amor che muove il sole e l’altre stelle as they say. The basic view of heavan is a place of paradise without end. Every whim and desire fufilled. Sounds like hell to me. If the soul is eternal, and you spend it in heavan, over time this paradise would become a nightmare. If you dont struggle for anything, it loses all value. If you have everything taken care of, in a billion and half years of endless pleasure you would become numb to it. In a trillion and a half years you would be a catatonic zombie as since all your wildest fantasies have been fufilled there is nothing left to do, you have literally done everything a thousand times over. Thats a living endless hell.

So, to hell. Same thing, over time, you would become accustomed to the pits of fire and whatnot. In the end, you would be in the same state as heavan over time.

But, because im morbid here is a most wonderfull description of hell thanks to james joyce:
– Now let us try for a moment to realize, as far as we can, the nature of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God has called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is a strait and dark and foul-smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost souls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison house is expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by His laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty of movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in the gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the great number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their awful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles thick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a blessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, they are not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.

– They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone but for all eternity?

– The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awful stench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of the world, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the terrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. The brimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills all hell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned themselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventure says, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. The very air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul and unbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must be the foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this, and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.

– But this stench is not, horrible though it is, the greatest physical torment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fire is the greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellow creatures. Place your finger for a moment in the flame of a candle and you will feel the pain of fire. But our earthly fire was created by God for the benefit of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and to help him in the useful arts, whereas the fire of hell is of another quality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentant sinner. Our earthly fire also consumes more or less rapidly according as the object which it attacks is more or less combustible, so that human ingenuity has even succeeded in inventing chemical preparations to check or frustrate its action. But the sulphurous brimstone which burns in hell is a substance which is specially designed to burn for ever and for ever with unspeakable fury. Moreover, our earthly fire destroys at the same time as it burns, so that the more intense it is the shorter is its duration; but the fire of hell has this property, that it preserves that which it burns, and, though it rages with incredible intensity, it rages for ever.

– Our earthly fire again, no matter how fierce or widespread it may be, is always of a limited extent; but the lake of fire in hell is boundless, shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devil himself, when asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged to confess that if a whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean of hell it would be burned up In an instant like a piece of wax. And this terrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only from without, but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundless fire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of those wretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brains are boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting, the bowels a red-hot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming like molten balls.

– And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and boundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to its intensity, an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by divine design for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fire which proceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its own activity but as an instrument of Divine vengeance. As the waters of baptism cleanse the soul with the body, so do the fires of punishment torture the spirit with the flesh. Every sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and ever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the God-head.

– Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison is increased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on earth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from the company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell all laws are overturned - there is no thought of family or country, of ties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another, their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings tortured and raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. The yells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vast abyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God and of hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those souls which were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the custom to punish the parricide, the man who had raised his murderous hand against his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sack in which were placed a cock, a monkey, and a serpent. The intention of those law-givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times, was to punish the criminal by the company of hurtful and hateful beasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with the fury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and aching throats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions in misery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowed the first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, those whose immodest suggestions led them on to sin, those whose eyes tempted and allured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon those accomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless and hopeless: it is too late now for repentance.

Excuse me for that long indulgence. So, in the end, no matter what faith or belief then end is always going be eternal suffering in some form of another. How does one cope!

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
Che la diritta via era smarrita.
(ps, excuse the spelling and grammatical errors, i dont care as long as my points are being made.)

My short answer is no. The thought of there being no after-life doesn’t bother me at all. I will have not even have a consciousness to notice an eternity. It’s my belief that consciousness dies with the brain. That we simply cease to exist after we die is far more believeable than a magical cloud land full of love.

Oh, and welcome to the boards.

Yes, but doesent the idea that in the length of the eternal nothingness, everything you ever did didnt matter, make you a little sad?

No, I have to say it doesn’t really depress me at all. For one, I know that everything that I am and everything that I do has an effect on the world and the lives of those around me. Even when I’m gone, my influence will remain, until the final and utter heat death of the Universe. (And thence? Who knows!) Even on this little rock, the trees, the seas, and the cockroaches will probably go on living long after the last human has laid itself down to die, and even that is a comforting thought in some measure. I guess it’s your outlook on life that really determines how you feel about death.

Well, to be completely honest I have to say there is a little bit of a sad feeling knowing that I won’t get to see everything that lies ahead. But even though I can feel that yearning for the ability to go on forever, to be free from the inevitability of death, I understand that it’s completely futile. Even if I do have a soul, this mind is simply the emergent behavior of this brain, and this brain will eventually be worm food. (Unless I get cremated. Eat that, you little moochers!)

But hey. Live for the moments that you’ll be able to witness. Life is a happy thing, even if it has to end eventually. :slight_smile:

And I’ve always thought the descriptions of “heaven” that just played up to our desires for infinite earthly pleasure were pretty barmy. If there is an afterlife for these alleged “eternal souls”, it would pretty much by definition be outside even the most lofty limits of terrestrial imagination. Boredom? What’s that? In short, if such a thing as an afterlife were to exist, I wouldn’t worry about it until I got there, eh?

From the point of view of the physical universe from which you depart into joy, fire or nothingness, the outcome is the same in any case; over time, there will be no trace of you left. You may be somewhere else, or you may not ‘be’ at all, but none of that affects the fading of your accomplishments in any way.

Not so, if you depart into joy or fire you still retain the memories of the accomplishments. They matter to you still. In nothing, nothing remains.

Yes. With deliberate concentration I have imagined myself ending while the world continued, and it is a sad and frightening feeling, rather like the coffin door closing.

But consider the inverse - in order for any of us to “matter” eternally, life would have to be finite and understandable. There would have to be an innate order, hierarchy, rules; an unchanging, fixed context that applied to all experiences.

What would be the point? You’d get to a certain level of understanding and mastery within the parameters of that existence, take you 15, maybe 25 years, and you’d be done. Now what? What else is left, if all is known and knowable by someone?

And what would be the point of having a second human being?

Too So. From the point of view of the physical universe from which you depart.

Not So. The physical universe from which you departed would still have its existence in your memory.

Which no longer exists in the physical universe, because you have departed.

So to reiterate: From the point of the physical universe, it matters not where you are going, if anywhere at all; your works will fade in any case.

Perhaps i need to clarify my position. Im talking from the perspective of me, myself in the universe. In others eyes, yes i dissapear, but as long as im self aware, my deeds mattered.

I’m not sure I agree even with that; assuming that some persistence of being happens, once the physical universe is gone (either because it expired, or because we are departed from it in such a way as to make it gone for good), what is the difference between my memory of, say helping a blind old lady cross the street and my other memory of having been able to fly (which in fact happened in a dream)?

No, because this is based on a contradiction - the idea that your consciousness will still be in some sense “there” to notice its nonexistence and mourn it. Turn it around and look at all the millions of years that passed before your birth - were you bored waiting for your chance to exist? No - because there was no “you” to have any feelings about it whatsoever. I have an earliest memory - before that, nothing.

As for worrying that “there’s no meaning to your existence”, well, there isn’t, really, other than that you make for yourself during your time here. Some people’s existence does matter, because they become famous and are remembered for years, maybe centuries, after death. Their achievements live after them - the only kind of “afterlife” that we can really have. But in a million years or more even that will be gone. I can’t bring myself to get upset about that. It’s rather arrogant for anyone to expect their existence to matter over that sort of time scale.

It’s the thought of “eternal life” in heaven or hell that would frighten me, for pretty much the reasons you state. The people who invented this idea never really appreciated the meaning of “eternity” in my opinion. Even trillions of years don’t make the slightest dent in eternity.

But i dont want to become nothing, i want to exist!

Then look after your health, enjoy life, do whatever you can to ensure that you’re remembered by those who come after you. But, bottom line, the universe doesn’t revolve about what we “want”. Complaining can’t change the nature of reality.

This too, shall pass.

Screw the deisderata, i want meaning.

You have to bring it yourself; that’s the point.

To me death is just change,my atoms etc. that I am made of return to exisit as it was before I was born,just as there is after life as in the plants and animals.

I figure I was born to live as the human I am because I am an extension of my ancestors. Death is change, just as fire changes wood, paper etc.

Things happen because they do, so just 'be’cause satisfies me. I will live on in my great,great grandchildren etc. I do not see the need for some great purpose other than living the best I can for as long as I can in this human form.

Genesis gives sin the reason for death, not loss of a soul.