Questionable Motives

June 24, 2012

Can we have a meaningful life without an afterlife?

Filed under: afterlife,Atheism,meaning,Religion — tildeb @ 10:39 pm

What are the merits of a human life?

In this excellent video we hear from such strong atheist voices as AronRa, DarkMatter2525, DPRJones, Evid3nce, HealthyAddict, Laci Green, Thunderf00t and ZOMGitsCriss their reasons why they think we can.

(h/t onefuriousllama)

 

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33 Comments »

  1. So, eternity in heaven would be “hell” and meaningless, but this life is meaningful? How does length of time affect meaning?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 3, 2012 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

  2. How does length of time affect meaning?

    There’s only so many times you can laugh at a joke. It’s the Bowerick Wowbagger problem.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 4, 2012 @ 8:22 am | Reply

  3. Are you saying that repitition decreases meaning and value?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 4, 2012 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  4. Yup once the honeymoon has worn off – and you have exhausted all unpredictable things, all surprises, all hates, all loves, all relationships, all tastes, smells and experiences, feelings and you have learnt everything that can be learnt the only thing left to master would be coping with the futility of existence. No jokes would make you laugh, you would be able to predict everything that anyone was going to say – because you would have experienced every conversation, read every book in every language – invented. Everything that could be invented would have been invented. Time would have no meaning ….

    In other words after a few millennia, you would literally be bored shitless.

    Personally I would rather return to the place I was before I was born – which was nowhere, or be born again and have no knowledge of it.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — July 4, 2012 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  5. What if you were never bored regardless of repitition?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 5, 2012 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  6. What if pigs could fly?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 6, 2012 @ 3:08 am | Reply

  7. Maybe pigs can fly in heaven, and maybe there is no boredom.

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 6, 2012 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  8. I wanted to say thank you for going to “apologetics cartoons” and telling the truth, despite all the denial. From the UK, I see US abortion law with horror and disgust. Reading the account of the rubbish the clinic staff have to read to their patient, I feel (oops, running out of words) repugnance. How awful it must be to do that job and have to read those words, especially the lie about breast cancer.

    It may seem too much to hope that they come to see the truth, but- God moves in a mysterious way. Let us encourage each other.

    Comment by Clare Flourish — July 6, 2012 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

    • And this is really the tip of the ice berg: the goal is to help religious organizations gain political power by denying women any reproductive rights and making secular law subservient to religious misogynistic ‘morality’… ie. dogmatic rules about behaviour. Eric (again) has written a powerful post about this topic and helps reveal how and why those who support the seditious ranking of god before state continue to help religion to poison everything.

      Comment by tildeb — July 6, 2012 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

      • Thank you.

        Horrible. Religious bodies in power are oppressive and therefore immoral.

        Comment by Clare Flourish — July 7, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  9. Maybe pigs can fly in heaven, and maybe there is no boredom.

    Imagination is a wonderful thing.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 6, 2012 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

    • Yes it is. Without it, we wouldn’t be communicating. Imagination is an integral part of how we share our thoughts. We use strong imagination to give a form and local habitation to our thoughts so we can share them.

      Boredom is a loss of joy and wonder over the things of this world. It is a corruption of our minds. In heaven, our minds would be renewed and boredom would not be a factor. If you ridicule the concept of heaven, you must not act is if the implications of heaven would not be in effect. Understand it fully, then ridicule.

      Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 6, 2012 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

      • Dan, I’m not sure how imagination is associated with symbolic language of grammar and syntax. If both of us were just making shit up, we’d have zero communication because neither would have any structure to assign particular meaning to particular symbols in order to build a line of comprehension. Imagination does not give structure; a mutually agreed upon form gives structure.

        I notice you keep asserting that minds are separate from brain as if it were some free floating non-thing (obviously without any substance or form but still able to ‘sense’ or ‘operate’ to experience input and neurochemical responses like ‘joy’ and ‘wonder’ yet utterly immune from/to physics and chemistry). This assertion – a requirement of experiencing ‘heaven’ – is truly bizarre when examined in any kind of detail. This assertion is nothing but imagination divorced from structure and devoid of mutually agreeable form.

        Comment by tildeb — July 6, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  10. Boredom is a loss of joy and wonder over the things of this world. It is a corruption of our minds.

    “Corruption”? Since when?

    In heaven, our minds would be renewed and boredom would not be a factor.

    At the North Pole, Santa is always busy in his workshop.

    If you ridicule the concept of heaven, you must not act is if the implications of heaven would not be in effect.

    Babble.
    That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 6, 2012 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  11. You think boredom is a good thing?

    What do you mean? How did that enter the conversation?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 6, 2012 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

  12. Stick to the conversation.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 6, 2012 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

  13. Methinks you’re wasting your time Cedric – you can’t wake somebody up who is pretending to be asleep.

    Christopher Hitchens’ analogy of heaven being like North Korea is appropriate I think. Only North Korea is better since you can die and get out of it. No such luck in heaven – you get to grovel for eternity and when that’s done, you’ve only just started.

    Comment by onefuriousllama — July 7, 2012 @ 2:26 am | Reply

  14. I ask how length of time affects meaning and the only reply I get is that everyone would be bored. I ask you if you think boredom is bad and you say, “what do you mean?” Heaven is supposed to be a place of all-good, and it would not be if boredom was around. Why do you insert boredom into heaven? I just think you don’t really want to go so you imagine it would be bad in some way. But, then, that wouldn’t be heaven, would it? Do you think hell would be better?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 7, 2012 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  15. I ask how length of time affects meaning and the only reply I get is that everyone would be bored.

    Yes, it’s the Bowerick Wowbagger problem.

    Heaven is supposed to be a place of all-good, and it would not be if boredom was around.

    So what’s your solution? So far, you have offered only “Nu Uh, it’s heaven”.

    I just think you don’t really want to go so you imagine it would be bad in some way.

    Yes, that must be it. We also don’t want to go to Paradise because then we’d have to deal with 72 virgins.
    (..facepalm…)

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 7, 2012 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  16. Why would you define heaven in such a way that you would not want to go?

    Comment by Dan O'Brian — July 7, 2012 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  17. Why would you define heaven in such a way that you would not want to go?

    That’s not what is happening.
    Stop listening to the voices in your head and pay attention to the conversation that’s happening on the monitor in front of you.

    It’s the Bowerick Wowbagger problem.

    As MUR so succinctly put it…”…In other words after a few millennia, you would literally be bored shitless.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — July 7, 2012 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  18. Of course the meaning of our lives can not be dependent on some other life of ours which comes after. The meaning is ascribed to the life we are leading in the here and now. In the Western religions we associate the creative power which shows itself in us and in all things with a “Living God”. This symbol is older than biological definitions of life and common knowledge of the mathematical concept of infinity. Many of us believe that those who participate in this Divine Life share in it. This view is particularly identified with the Christian writings attributed to “John”. While the minds of children and those who have only limited capacity to understand are considered to have there own full right to the hope and wonder of this participation in Life, there is truly very little excuse for the (near) infinity of false conceptions which become an easy and broad target for those who wish to attack them. This attack is often no different than the prophetic attack on false gods, which is embodied in the “first commandment.” I find humility before the awesome characteristics we know to be true of our world and known universe expressed in the video associated with this blog to be very similar to worship. I cannot easily distinguish them from what I regard as my hope in the Eternal.

    Comment by Donald Rappe — July 7, 2012 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • Don, you’re losing me here. You assert that in ‘Western’ religions is the association of a creative power (in us? through us? by us?) with a living god. Is this creative power you assert is in us merely a symbol? I don’t think you believe that or you wouldn’t define this symbol to be in us. Then you introduce this symbol’s age to be older than our current definitions of life and infinity. What does age have to do with anything? I don’t know what it means to share in a divine life compared to a normal life disassociated from religious belief – here in the West or elsewhere. This view – presumably a divine view – is identified with John, you say. Okay. So…? Your next sentence is fairly incoherent, mentioning children and the mentally impaired have full right (what, we who are not children and who are not mentally impaired have only partial rights now if we don’t agree with the book of John?) to participation in this life (meaning, what, a John-described divine life versus some other kind?) but anyone who criticizes this divine life must have false conceptions of it… equivalent of attacks on false gods? How handy. You avoid the reality that many biblical truth claims are straight up false: no flood, no Adam and Eve, no geocentricty, no stable earth, no creationism, etc.. Rather than deal with the shortcomings of the foundations of the christian faith that promotes inequalities and misogyny, that cannot even condemn slavery with its moral vacuum revealed with the introduction to eternal hell and damnation (thanks for that little gem of love, Jesus), you pretend these obvious shortcomings belong to those who actually think that the bible means what it says it means. And this relates to the humility we share before the awesomeness of nature to be a similar kind of submission to a made-up authority of some capricious divine creator? Please. I have no clue what you mean by your “hope in the Eternal.”

      Comment by tildeb — July 8, 2012 @ 12:20 am | Reply

  19. Life would be so much easier if we did not have to suffer with the fear of death.

    Comment by Anthony — August 10, 2012 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

    • Being perceptive does not mean this makes living any easier; in fact, I think it makes it much harder but much more poignant, too. We avoid much of the mental angst – and much of the poignancy – if we pretend life doesn’t end with death.

      Comment by tildeb — August 10, 2012 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  20. Simple answer: yes.

    Comment by SocietyVs — August 17, 2012 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  21. Yes. As a religious person and an non-religious person. I believe that when you die, the lights go out. Yet I believe that as a committed-Christian. The religion is about bring heaven to earth, not about a ticket to heaven when you die. The Christian faith is about this world, despite what others may tell you. and there’s a huge history of this.

    Comment by zero1ghost — September 19, 2012 @ 10:34 am | Reply

    • Yes, there is a history. And this period worked so well so that we call that heavenly time the Dark Ages. Can’t wait to get back to those good ol’ days.

      Comment by tildeb — September 19, 2012 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

      • Actually that is when the whole “ticket to heaven” theology ramped up in the Dark Ages due to the Plague.

        Comment by zero1ghost — October 16, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      • I wonder why…

        Comment by misunderstoodranter — November 4, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      • Ouch!

        Comment by tildeb — November 4, 2012 @ 5:02 pm


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