Would death still be bad if a positive afterlife existed?

I’m envisioning this scenario like so: our “mortal lives” are a short subset of our current lives; like playing a competitive sport for 30 minutes or so and then going home after and living several more decades. Make the game 5 minutes… you get the idea. During the game/contest life is more stressful, you have limited goals and opportunities to do anything more than compete, there is little to no food/water/comfort available, you have opponents, there is a ticking clock and you either win or lose when the time runs out. So: does the way you feel during or after the game change at all knowing you get to go home afterwards and the game doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things?

I’d say no, death (the contest ending) wouldn’t really be any less bad… and my reasoning is how athletes (or anyone) feels about a short-term competition. If you’re losing you get anxious about how humiliated you look and feel and that you’re running out of time to turn it around and win, if your holding your own and it’s a tie then you stress right to the end worrying that you’ll mess up and lose at the last minute, and if you’re winning you know the fun & glory will end shortly after the buzzer goes. Nobody is completely happy about time running out, despite an easier life afterwards.

I think because during that short game (or mortal existence), the highs and lows are more pronounced, specifically because you only experience it for a short time and there’s no going back and re-doing anything; you only get one shot at it. If you get any pleasure or rush out of mortal life at all, I think you’d still consider death a bad thing. Perhaps the only people who’d feel better would be that small percentage of us who hate every waking moment of mortal life.

I just can’t envision an eternal afterlife as being better than the mortal one. The only way would be if you’re on some sort of drugs than impact how you think/feel. Sort of like getting a divine nicotine patch slapped on and wandering around in a daze. There’d be no winning or accomplishing, because there can be no competition with others; nobody can feel bad for losing so how could you feel good for winning?

Pulling in a big net full of fish or finding a huge patch of ripe berries in the forest only feels good because most nets have few fish and most of the forest only has a few small clumps of unripe berries. Without disappointment/boredom/failure being the normal background (none of which would exist in a “heaven”), there’d be no winning or success. The entire experience would just be numbness.

This is especially so if you retain your mortal memories. Imagine you were someone like Saddam Hussein, and now you’re in this heaven. Does everyone else still remember what a POS you were and dislike you? You’ll also not get to rule and dominate millions of people anymore and live in palaces that nobody else can have (I’m sure that was quite the thrill for him). And, you’d still remember how right at the end of your mortal life you blew it and lost it all… eternal humiliation. I think Saddam would have liked life to go on so he wouldn’t have to admit to himself that he lost the contest.

This reminds me of an old short science fiction story: Outer space aliens in communication with earth DID have incontrovertible proof that there was an afterlife, but kept this fact secret from the people of earth.

According to the story, the people of earth weren’t included in the afterlife - only the aliens were.

Either I don’t understand you or you don’t understand me or we both don’t understand each other. Your heaven seems illogical, contradictory and unthinkable to me, that is all I wanted to say. But if something like what you describe was to be it would look to me rather like hell than like paradise. And here, I guess, my first sentence applies.

If you can manufacture fake people & lands to dominate or abuse (if that’s your pleasure), are you aware of the fakeness, like being in the Startrek Holodeck? Stepping on ants doesn’t bring one much pleasure because nobody else really cares. Killing other people does matter and there are very real consequences for it; the danger & risk seem to be what creates the thrill. Not seeing how there can be high emotion in heaven. Unless we aren’t aware it’s all fake… bringing back my point about wandering around in a daze not knowing what’s real or not.

Yes, you’re aware of their artificial nature though you could alter your memory at will to make yourself think it’s real if you wanted to for a set period of time.

So you can’t create entities with ‘actual minds’ but you can create artificial people and harass them.

There are several philosophical problems with that, but the worst one seems to be the implication that God can create actual people to harass, and does so (repeatedly).

Perhaps we should be glad that we would be denied the opportunity to cause real suffering in this best of all possible paradises, unlike God, who causes suffering abundantly.

Is this afterlife supposed to be Heaven, or Hell?


What happens to children? Do they grow to "adulthood’ or are they locked at the age they died?

Wouldn’t you enjoy creating a little Putin clone with no guards to protect him, and throwing the little midget across your lap and spanking him a few months straight like this?

Oh, for heaven’s sake. The OP is trying to ask us to suppose there’s a blissful afterlife in order to ask a hypothetical. You can define blissful however you want. Maybe your error, OP, was in trying to preempt questions by providing too many details.

If you’re asking if MY death would still be bad, the answer is no, though I’d feel bad for those who’d miss me. No matter how happy the afterlife would be, it wouldn’t be THIS life, and I’d probably be sad about that and about not getting to be a direct, tangible part of my grandchildren’s lives, should I ever have any. Still, I wouldn’t be afraid to die.

I also wouldn’t commit suicide or murder others. This life may include tragedy and pain, but to many of us, it’s worth living, and I certainly wouldn’t have the right to decide when someone else leaves it.

They grow to adulthood.

What philosophical problems besides the one you listed? The idea is that you can do basically anything as long as you aren’t hurting actual sentient people and the other residents of the afterlife. Others might disapprove of how you choose to spend your eternity (mindless hedonism, simulated violence, childish adventures etc) but oh, well. It wouldn’t exactly be Heaven if everything you wanted to do had to be approved by a committee. If someone wants to live out Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty for example with artificial people so no one is really being harmed then they have the right to do that.

I agree with that last sentence. This may be one instance where people would be better off responding to the thread title instead of the text of the OP.

Except that the OP describes what is meant by “positive” and claims that there is no Hell…and then goes on to describe a situation where murder, torture and hatefulness can take place for all eternity without consequence.

Right. Except that the inclusion of ANY specifics are apt to raise arguments Do bad people get to go? Do you have to see people who love you but whom you hate? If you enjoy suffering, do you get to suffer there? What if your bliss comes from seeing others suffer? What if all you want to do is eat without gaining weight, but your loved one wants to go exploring? What if you don’t want to be blissful and don’t want anyone else to be, either?

Better to leave out all that to avoid people focusing on the details and not the title, which, I think, is the intention of the thread.

Since I’m not the OP, though, I’ll drop this and leave it to them.

Well, the concept of creating entities which behave as if they were sentient but are not is problematic. We are fairly blasé about non-player characters in simulations such as GTA, and have no problem with causing virtual damage to such entities. But each of those NPCs are the product of complex scriptwriting and animation by the creators of the game, and require the application of imagination and complex physical modelling.

If your paradise includes entities which faithfully model human responses, either these responses must be created on the fly by sentient game programmers of some description, or the entities themselves are ‘philosophical zombies’ of some sort, which behave like humans but have no innate consciousness. There are plenty of problems with the philosophical zombie concept, which we have discussed in some detail in previous threads (but with no satisfactory resolution).

I would be very dubious that any artificial entity that mimicked human behaviour accurately could be non-sentient. If it walks and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

However, if such an artificial entity did exist, I would suspect that there was somewhere an actual sentient being programming or controlling it for my specific amusement - and that would make me feel very uncomfortable.

One of the most satisfying endings to a TV series – Ya hearing me, GoT?

In regards to the philosophical zombie part we’re speaking about a supernatural realm created by a supernatural, omnipotent being capable of making matter and energy from nothing and eternal souls that retain the personalities of the once living so the possibility of lifelike, artificial people that aren’t sentient or controlled by other sentient beings besides yourself is absolutely trivial in comparison.

But if this deal was a thing known and understood for as long as humans have been human, would we necessarily fear it, or would we regard it as something a bit strange at best, and something temporarily very painful at worst?