What Do I Think Happens After Death?

quote-our-death-is-not-an-end-if-we-can-live-on-in-our-children-and-the-younger-generation-for-they-are-albert-einstein-293578Do you remember when dinosaurs roamed the Earth? Or when the Incan Empire was at its peak ?

No?

Neither do I. While I’m fascinated by the history, I can’t recall those time periods because I didn’t exist as a conscious being yet. I highly suspect that when I take my last breath, I’ll return to that state. I won’t be aware of anything that happens afterward. I don’t think I’ll be ushered into a torture chamber for not believing in God. Neither do I think I’ll be partying with 72 virgins or hanging out with Jesus in a mansion in heaven.

I think these things are wishful thinking on humanities part. I think once we die, the party is over; the lights go out and the living continue to do their thing without you.

I think consciousness depends on our brain. Once our brain dies, we no longer remain conscious.

I know for some people, this might be a depressing thought. However, I find it slightly comforting to know that I won’t be alive for all of eternity. I think that living forever (especially spending forever worshiping an egotistical deity) would be super boring. Forever is a long time. I think death also gives this life more meaning. I don’t think of my life as a dress rehearsal for eternity in heaven. I think this is my one shot, and if I mess it up, then I won’t get eternity in heaven to make it up.

I think its natural to fear death a little. We’re hardwired as a species to survive. Dying isn’t something I look forward too. But reality isn’t always kind and I won’t be bullied into believing a comforting myth to make myself feel better.

If there is more to come after death, I think I’ll be pleasantly surprised…or bored to tears, if tears are possible at that point. Maybe there is a whole other reality once we leave this one. I don’t know. I’m comfortable saying “I don’t know”, because I think it’s a more honest answer than pretending to know that a magical carpenter is going to whisk me to heaven or that some God is waiting to reunite me with my deceased family. I think so far, the evidence points towards death being the end of conscious thought.

If there is some sort of being out there that we would call a ‘God’, I don’t think it would even remotely resemble anything in our primitive religious mythologies.

One of the most inspiring quotes I’ve heard on death came from the great Carl Sagan:

“I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”

  • Carl Sagan, “In the Valley of the Shadow”, Parade, 10 March 1996

If you’re reading this, what do you think happens after you die?

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24 Comments

  1. I dont think we just die and thats it, I think our soul or energy or whatever you want to call it moves on. I must admit the few conversations we have had, has me asking questions and reconsidering some things, but I think there are to many things that happen in the world that can not be explained, so there has to be something after death.

    • Hi Mommy. 🙂

      “energy or whatever you want to call it moves on”

      Moves on to where and do you think it would be self aware or conscious?

      “I must admit the few conversations we have had, has me asking questions and reconsidering some things”

      That’s wonderful!

      “but I think there are to many things that happen in the world that can not be explained, so there has to be something after death.”

      Why must there be something?

      • Well I mean even if you put all of the biblical stuff aside, what about ghost sightings, out of body experiences, near death experiences, and so on do you think that the millions of people who claim these things were lying? Also on a different note, it is said we only use 10 % of our brains ability, do you think our minds can have the ability to heal our bodies?

        • “Well I mean even if you put all of the biblical stuff aside, what about ghost sightings, out of body experiences, near death experiences, and so on do you think that the millions of people who claim these things were lying? ”

          No. Our brains are easily tricked. Things like optical illusions, for example. The person who sees the illusion isn’t lying about what they saw. They’ve just been tricked. Any time any of these claims have been put to the test, they fall short.

          However, I do love that sort of thing. I even go ghost hunting sometimes for fun.

          “Also on a different note, it is said we only use 10 % of our brains ability”

          That’s not true. It’s a myth.

          https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html

          “do you think our minds can have the ability to heal our bodies?”

          Well, the placebo effect would suggest there is something behind our brain and feeling better, which makes sense since our brain is responsible for informing our body about pain etc.

          Here’s an article about the placebo effect: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/placebo-effect.htm

          But even so, this again points towards our brain being responsible. No brain, no placebo effect, no conscious thought, no you.

            • My own answer to this question would be ‘the same reason some people with no religious faith at all get healed.’

              Not everyone who is told they have a terminal illness, or who go into a coma, etc, will die from it. Some people are luckier than others, for example. I’ve been close to death twice in my life, coma, heart resuscitator, bla bla… Everyone thought ‘dead,’ everyone thought wrong. Luck and medical care combined. I had no man in the sky to have faith in.

              An old friend of mine, a devout Catholic who took sick children to Lourdes every year to get them cured by god, a really nice bloke from my football team, was in a car accident one night. Went into coma. All his family came over from England while he was in hospital. All full of faith, he’ll be alright! Sadly our team mate died. Never woke up.

              The moral is, all that glitters ain’t gold. Something might look like a miracle, but only to those blinded by faith.

              Peace.

  2. I really wish that I could believe in the personal human soul surviving the death of the physical body, but my honest belief pretty much matches yours. I do hope that I’m wrong. But I’m not gonna hold my breath for a miracle. I’l save that sort of thing for the believers.

  3. “I highly suspect that when I take my last breath, I’ll return to that state. I won’t be aware of anything that happens afterward.”

    Interesting, Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” So far, I agree with you on this matter. The bible does not teach the ideology of the soul, the everlasting spirit of a human. This is another form of Paganism making its way into the doctrine of the church.

    The bible speaks of God’s breath going into us, in the current way that humans are born, we can correlate God’s breath with oxygen (along with other traces of Nitrogen, Hydrogen, etc.). Obviously God’s breath is more than that in the bible, but for purposes of the afterlife (Nonexistent), I will refer to God’s breath as oxygen. We need oxygen to survive, its purpose is to help oxygenate the blood in our body to fuel the many complex and complicated processes that the human body goes through on a daily basis.

    What does Jesus have to say about death? “After he had said this, he went on to tell them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.'” John 11:11-15

    Here we see something very interesting, Jesus compares death with sleep. As the story continues, for those who have not read it, Jesus ressurects Lazarus. Why, on God’s good Earth would Jesus raise Lazarus if he had been in paradise with God, himself? I think the answer is simple.

    When we die, our bodies return to the dust and our consciousness remains in a sleep state. Not a normal state of which would include dreams, delta, alpha, and beta waves, but rather, a sleep with no such thought process at all!

    1 Corinthians 15:52 says, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” A twinkling can be compared to a blink here. When we die, time does not affect us and the human condition of being restricted by time will go away. This is why it will feel like a twinkling of an eye.

    Another thing I find true is when we die, why would we even go directly to heaven or to hell (which I do not think [Hell] biblically exists, different topic) if Jesus says he returns and the dead in Christ shall rise? 1 Thessalonians 4:16 reads, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” Interesting that so many Christians believe that their souls go to heaven as soon as they perish yet believe that Jesus Christ is returning to resurrect us.

    My opinion on death. When we die, we sleep. Until Jesus returns, no heaven, no hell, until after Jesus Christ comes back to resurrect those dead in him and to reclaim those who were living and truly followed his example.

    Alexander Capo

  4. Interesting quote – since Einstein tended more toward the “creationist” view.

    On the other hand, hard to say what “consciousness” is – not remembering before we were born, or unable to see the future, etc – Could it be consciousness is downloaded and stored elsewhere, beyond (our) current “three dimensional template?” Hard to say?

    I would also add that living eternally, does not (necessarily) have to mean existence worshiping some “egomaniacal” creator IE – not all religions see afterlife in this way 😉

    http://troymo.wordpress.com/category/omg/

      • Yes, poor choice of words … I apologize. Einstein of course did not believe in a God concerned (necessarily) with the fates of man. However, he was not totally resistant to the idea of a “creative force,” and left room for such debate in his search for –

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything

        “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”
        Albert Einstein

        Of course, Spinoza did believe in “God” as a “creative force,” and something which was beyond measuring.

        “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”
        Albert Einstein

        In which case, it seems fair to say, Einstein was far from being fundamentalist in these matters; where the science still remains unclear. He knew enough to know what he did not know, and so remained open to the evidence.

  5. Pingback: How The Fear of Death Works In Religions Favor | Godless Cranium

  6. The idea of a “soul” is an illusion that rolls out from the paradox of trying to use a working brain to imagine the state when one’s brain is no longer working. So we default to a position of an independent spirit that “wears” and controls a body like a cheap suit. Never mind that bodily pains seem to make that independent psyche cranky.

  7. Juries still out for me. Mostly, I guess I’m an agnostic as I can’t prove the existence or non-existence of God, or an afterlife (so far!). When I lost my soul-mate I thought–if there’s an afterlife there’s nothing in the world that’ll keep him from showing “through” to me. He didn’t. He hasn’t. It sucks.

    I do believe in the existence of DNA memory, though. I think this is where we have our deja vu moments, and our beliefs that we’re reincarnated etc. If we transfer all matter of things through DNA, then surely we also transfer ancestral memories, maybe even those that centuries old.

    Anyhow, enjoyed your post, Mike, and thanks for dropping by mine earlier today.

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