What happens after a human being dies?
To me, this is one of the easiest questions about life and death to answer. Not only is the answer painfully obvious but all of us, nonbelievers and believers, are able to imagine afterlife right here and right now. To do this all we have to do is 'remember' life before birth. Where were we then? What were we doing? What were we? We were nowhere and we were doing nothing. For an unimaginably long period of time, all the time that precedes our birth, we simply didn't exist in any shape or form, and following our death we will again become nonexistent for all the time that has yet to pass, forever. Our bones is all that will remain, and in time the bones themselves will perish forever.
'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust'
Realizing this and thinking about it just for a moment quickly brings about a feeling of indescribable sadness, imagining that we will never again see our loved ones, and makes the reason for the desire for more life, the afterlife, quite obvious. Hence, God.
What are your thoughts on this? How do you cope with the realization that this life is all there is, and all that there will ever be, forever and ever?
I didn't exist as myself before I was conceived and born. I won't exist as myself after I'm dead and cremated. Before I was born, I only existed in the abstract, like in the imaginations and hopes of my parents. After I'm dead, I'll only exist in the abstract, like in the memories of my loved ones and anyone else I may have affected by my living.
So, the hope is that while I'm enjoying my life, I'll leave the world and the people in it somehow better in exchange for taking up space on this beautiful planet.
I need no belief in gods to live a good life, and to realize that what I do with my limited time, in this form I call me, does matter to those around me. Help when I can to be a positive participant in this colony of humans, plants, animals.
My reward is happiness with a life well spent, which is what I feel is what is meant by "heaven" in contrast to the penalty of feeling I wasted my life creating pain for others, which would put me into a "hell" of self guilt and being hated by others. Those are natural consequences for the way we live our lives, in my opinion.
This is my only issue with claiming atheism, and it's why I am an agnostic. Such positivity in the unknown is so arrogant. With something like this, you can have some evidence to support your belief, but it's not closer to definitively proving your point. Accusing agnostics of taking the easy way out or being wishy washy for not claiming a side is also small minded, but I digress.
Saying that we didn't exist before birth and have no memory of it is like saying a computer has no memory of it's previous life where it worked for 90 years and then had it's entire hard drive wiped clean through a reformat and shows no signs of ever working before then. We don't have the knowledge or the perception to know about those mechanisms as it pertains to our own consciousness and existence. If it was a system of reincarnation, and I'm not saying that it is, then wouldn't the best system be one where you don't have any memory? There are more issues with that, but that's a much longer conversation we can get in to. We can have whatever beliefs we want about this, but the fact is that we just don't know for sure. If there is more to after "death", and if the system works as it should, then we will probably never know the answer. There is so much we don't know and throwing out terms like forever is another example of us not even being able to really comprehend what that could mean. We think the space in our own universe goes on forever, but it's just belief.
Theoretically and/or technically, you don't have to "have a body" to exist. You can just be a consciousness with a very persistent illusion of having a solid body and solid things around you. This is not to say "feeling" something of an action towards you such as someone punching you in the face or you stubbing your toe is "proof" of having a solid state. Whatever is "programmed" is "real" and if you are programmed to feel pain when a certain something happens then it's still part of the system. I'm not a computer programmer or an expert in that field (I took a couple of college classes), but there are conditions in which programs must obey commands. Just like when you program a computer, the code has conditions such as "if a then b" etc (if someone knows about programming then please either expand or correct me). So it might be like, "If punched in the face, then feel pain" etc. A computer or program doesn't really have a way of proving if it's real or not. To them it probably seems real. They are carrying out their function. The command is carried out and they can't prove that Jim from MIT programmed that code in them, no more than we can prove or disprove that there is a God that did the same to us. Do we know if the programs in our computers think they have solid states or just consciousnesses?
This is why I love shows like Westworld (tv show about reality and consciousness in humans and robots). Here's a quote from the show: "If you can't tell, does it matter?", on whether or not we're real.
Everything mentioned on this topic so far is just philosophy, and we really know a tiny tiny amount of what is probably known as our "reality".
You could be right, but you could also be extremely wrong too.
I also think it's extremely important to be able to differentiate between religion and these thoughts of an "afterlife". They aren't mutually exclusive. It just seems that way because of so much indoctrination over centuries. If you believe there could possibly be something after this it doesn't mean you are religious. It might mean you're agnostic or of some other state of mind.
I can't understand the fact that people have a hard time believing that life ends at death. Nobody has memories of before they were born, but when you tell them you don't believe in an afterlife, they'll say things like "then where do we go?". What do they mean by that? We'll be dead, not on vacation. I think if you have a hard time understanding death, you just aren't trying very hard.
What happens after death? I disagree with with your answer being an obvious truth. I believe you are right and I see no reason to believe otherwise, but still the correct answer is "I don't know". A fact is something that is objective, something that can be verified. The answer to this can't be verified, so we shouldn't call it a fact until we actually can.
Having a strong foundation for your believes means often not accepting what seems obvious at first. I think quantum mechanics should have taught us that lesson. I'm not into pseudo-scientific woo but I'm also not a fan of making claims that can't be justified except by saying "it's obvious". That's what religious people do and we should strive to be better than them.
I have never understood what is so hard about accepting that our time on this earth is limited, like every other living creature, and when it is over, it’s over. Human narcissism seems to know no bounds. The idea that as humans we are so incredibly important that we should exist in some form forever. Even though we reproduce at an alarming rate, use and destroy natural resources at unsustainable rates, cause extinctions of other creatures by our greed among other wonders. If we make such a mess of our planet (millions of tons of trash floating around the oceans, millions of tons of pollution in our air), imagine a place where all the human population lives forever! No thanks!
Knowing that this is all there is makes it that much more precious.
Also, the realization that my own being is the result of a pulling together and organization of a collection of atoms guided by a genetic program, and the knowledge that these atoms come from rocks and water and trees and butterflies and before that they were forged inside stars and after I'm dead they will be parts of ants and worms and bacteria and butterflies again makes me understand that they are not really mine but are only on loan to me. I'm ok with that.
I think of it like this, if a four-dimensional sphere entered our three dimensional space it would appear to be a tiny marble that came out of nowhere expanding until it reached its largest size then receding again into nothingness. Yet it always exists in 4 dimensions but only perceived by us while in our three dimensions. Life maybe like this linked to a higher dimension so when our three-dimensional body fails are 4th dimensional consciousness takes over. Thus an afterlife. This is unlikely but not out of the realm of possibility. I can deal with unlikely. It is remote but I enjoy every day I get here and maybe there is more. If not, no harm, no foul. I am not building a religion on this idea.
Actually it brings me great comfort knowing that I will be non existent when I die. I won’t know I existed in the first place . No memories , no recollection , just absolute nothingness. I’m overjoyed seeing my friends and loved ones here now among the living . That’s enough for me .
Well, having just lost my 46 yo hubby suddenly, it's very sad. I almost wish I believed he was here in spirit, I know he is not.
His ashes are in a box in my closet right now cause it's too hard to deal with at this point in time. Hasn't been very long.
We had a turbulent relationship and we're separated more than together the last 6 months of his life. But were together for almost 20 years. It's such a crazy story, even hard for me to believe.
I think the sense of self as a body is an illusion. When we die we lose nothing. You can’t lose what you never had. The entire physical realm of our perception is an illusion, but beneath the constantly changing material world there is a higher reality. In that reality time does not exist and there are no “things”.
In Homer Hickam’s true book, “The Rocket Boys”, he tells of asking his small town preacher what happens when we die. The answer amazed and delighted me. “Can you handle the truth? As long as anyone is alive we are all alive.”
It doesn't bother me one bit.
It doesn't make me sad, mad, or any other damned thing.
I have no issue with nothingness. I'm also perfectly fine with this life
being the only one I get. I fail to see why this should cause people so
much angst. I really don't get it at all. Just be glad you're here while you're
here, and don't worry about what you have no control over.
Too many humans make things far more complicated than they need to be.
Such an unbelievable waste of time.
My late wife died in our home last Sept.13th,after a battle with aggressive lung cancer,as the burial was almost $4K,my stepson and I donated her body to science and the cremated remains sent back,ashes we scattered in much of the backyard. She just got gradually weaker at home after Radiation and then Chemotherapy,after her last fall and hospitization,the Doctors said "We cannot help you anymore"(go home and die).So Sept 13,2017 she just closed her eyes and slipped away...... We were never religious but the Hospice care people did provide a Minister for comfort.....
I use the “where were you before you were born” question also. However I believe that I was an involved part of the universe in unsentient form. Scientifically we know that energy cannot be destroyed, only changed from one form to another. When “I” die, the essence,spirit, soul, energy (whatever you choose to call it) will leave this body and return to the beauty of the universe to be used for whatever the universe needs at the moment of my “death”. I will have had a short time of existence as human, but I believe there are multiple billions of energy existences. I sometimes think it would be nice to move on to be a bit of energy enervating a new born star, joining the energy of a nova or comet. I believe that my “energy” will continue on in a form that I won’t “know” as I currently know I am human. But that is ok as the universe is incredible and “I” will always be some part of it. I don’t need the absurd religious belief of a heavenly abode where I will dwell forever worshiping the monstrosity that passes as the god of humans. The power of the universe is enough.
The sadness that you refer to is exactly why religions were invented. I was always taught that you would see your loved ones again in heaven, we would all be around 30 years old in appearance, and yet we would all know each other, etc. Oh, come on! Where did this crap come from?? It's not even in the Buybull.