Afterlife

clouds

It came as a surprise to me that when I renounced belief in God, most people assumed I had relinquished any notion of an afterlife. I never really had an ah-hah moment or a note to self that said, “Now that I don’t believe in god, I’m should let go of all spirituality and assume death is final.”  I guess I just assumed that god was one part of spirituality, not its entirety. But as time went on,  I compiled evidence from comments left on social media, and thoughts discussed on forums, and relevant blogs by creative minds, and books written by thinkers, scientific and knowledgeable beyond my scope.  Evidently, a disbelief in God goes hand-in-hand with a disbelief in an afterlife of any kind. We are, as one friend put it, all worm food in the end.

(Although another friend recently reminded me that Buddhists, while spiritual, don’t believe in God.)

Is rigid disbelief in afterlife any more reasonable than immutable conviction of its existence? Having abandoned religion for its strict beliefs in the unprovable, methinks some fluidity in my own opinions compulsory.  And why should I be condemned to throw out the baby shampoo with the bathwater, when I can easily imagine several afterlife scenarios (sans Guy in the Sky) that are within the framework of imaginable science and discovery?

Full disclosure, I am not a scientist by any stretch. I might describe myself as science-curious, scientific-questioning, or a pseudo-nerd (being intrigued by science and technology, but not in full grasp of most of it.) I am, much more precisely, a hippy, a mom, a free thinker, an optimist, characteristics that will likely shine through in the theories I’ll soon share. I was inspired to share my thoughts on the afterlife while working on Jane’s interview.  I have been very impacted by our meeting and our discussions about life and death.

I have also noticed that some of my readers were seeking clarification about my beliefs. Am I an atheist? Agnostic? Do I believe in anything spiritual? I thought, in fairness to my readers, I would attempt to create a very abridged compilation of my theories and present them on my blog, as a sort of waiver. As in, “Yes, I doubt the existence of God. But I have not subscribed entirely to doubt in the afterlife.”

And following that waiver, there ought to be a waiver to my waiver that says, “I am (sadly?) fully aware that my hope for an afterlife may be due to my own brain’s inability to conceive of its temporal state.” After all, to my mind, I am everything. I can understand how tricky it would be to embrace the relative “insignificance” of me, in the grand scheme of eternity. I can understand that the brain might refuse to accept its own very brief and finite existence, especially when all of existence is filtered through it, as it relates to me and me alone. Such a conundrum! However will life go on after I die, without my brain here to perceive of its existence?

For better or for worse, I’ll confess that I do think life after death is possible. I’m not even sure this is “life,” at least as we conceive it to be. And I guess it can’t hurt to entertain the possibilities. At least I can take consolation in the fact that, if I’m wrong and there’s no life after death, I’ll never know it!

I have eight theories about life after death, and none of them involve a creator, in the religious sense. And yes, I will be providing links to reputable sources for further study. If you are curious, tune in next weekend. May your week be full of joy, progress, knowledge, and the freedom to be your wonderful selves!

13 thoughts on “Afterlife

    1. One thing that never ceases to amaze me, regarding religious groups in general, is how fascinated they are with controlling others’ freedoms to believe, think, seek, question, even feel emotions. I think it boils down to not wanting to acknowledge any evidence that might cause them to confront their own beliefs from a logical standpoint. I read a very interesting comment this morning, and may blog about it soon. One of the ways dictators control populations is by first inventing a threat, and then offering a solution from the threat. This is exactly what religion does. It creates the threat of eternal damnation, then cleverly offers you a way out of it. Since we are hardwired at the most fundamental level to seek survival, this tactic works to manipulate and coherce entire populations. OK, I just went off on a total tangent, didn’t I? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree … no tangent. In fact, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. The theory, of course, has been addressed before, but the essential truth behind it is pretty hard to ignore.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t believe we will ever be able to demonstrate or prove that our lives somehow continue after the physical has died. While not theism, it certainly would require, in my mind at least, the same kind of blind faith to believe. I could be wrong of course, I am after all still in Recovery, but I don’t think we’d ever Know until it’s too late to tell anyone else whom is still living.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I stopped believing in the Christian deity, I threw out beliefs in afterlives shortly thereafter. For me, it wasn’t that the beliefs themselves were inherently to be avoided. Rather, it was that there’s no way to test them. Science is just as much about ruling out bad information as it is finding the causes and effects of nature. By being unable to test them, it doesn’t provide any information on whether these beliefs are more or less likely to be true.

    That said, healthy discussions about potential answers to questions not pursued by scientific communities aren’t entirely without merit. Even if they don’t provide answers to big philosophical questions (like whether there is life after death, or whether the toilet paper should hang loose above or below the roll), they can provide answers as to which experiments are insufficient for the task. At some point, someone might be inspired and capable of providing a definitive answer once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sirius, I love this thought. It encompasses an inherent challenge in philosophy. To what degree is talking, thinking, and writing about unprovable concepts a waste of time, versus to what degree would stifling such rumination prevent us from dawning on new discoveries? Personally, I spend a lot of time (both mentally and on entertainment) engaging in what-ifs. It’s not for everybody, and may provide no benefit to society. But it seems to provide benefits in my personal life: amazing philosophical conversations, the ability to suspend reality during a great sci-fi flick, and exercising my own decision to remain open-minded by reading cutting-edge hypotheses about the universe. Sometimes I wish I were a little more practical, but I seem hardwired to spend valuable chunks of time fathoming and ruminating. It works well for my writing, at least! 😉 I look forward to sharing my eight godless afterlife hypotheses next week, even if only for fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How would one test the existence or validity of life after death or the continuation of individual ‘mind’ or personality without the physical brain that generates it? Can we think of some kind of test or demonstration?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely don’t think so, at least by today’s science. Which is why I would only present these ideas as fun notions to ponder, in a philosophical way. Nothing I would attempt to prove, or encourage others to believe. 🙂 I will share them next week.

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