Monday, 27 June 2011

The most important question you can EVER ask yourself

"What happens when we die? Is there life after death?" Why is this question so important? I think it is the single most important question that faces us. Why? Because quite simply put- virtually every single thing in our entire lives is ultimately uncertain apart from the fact that is one day we shall die. We may live our lives as though this is not going to happen or as though death is something that is far away in the future and barely worthy of a moments concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. Death is not something we have a choice about. It is absolutely 100% certain to happen. One day, with 100% certainty, you will be dead. And so will all of the people you know, love and all the people see around you every day. And that is a terrifying thought, isn't it?

SO what happens when we die? We know that physically speaking, this body we have shall perish. It will turn to dust. This physical body we are so intimately bound up in all of our lives, it will no longer be. But what about us? What about that part of you- the part that thinks, sees, feels, remembers and so on? Will that part too simply perish? Will we cease to be conscious forever> Will it be as though we never existed in the first place and this entire life of ours rendered to literally nothing?

Well we know that we are intimately bound up with our physical body and we know that when parts of our physical body become damaged or stop working that we lose that corrisponding function. We seem to depend on properly functioning parts of our physical body for our entire experience and existance. This would suggest that when the physical body perishes, so too do we.

However, there is a large amount of evidence that has been collected over a period of hundreds of years that suggests that we continue to live after the physical body has died. This evidence is consistant and has repeated itself in cultures all over the world under numerous conditions. I therefor do not believe this evidence can simply be ignored.

I have been searching for answers as an open minded skeptic. However I can only be honest and admit that what one believes in regard to the question of "Is there life after death" can be strongly influenced simply by your own feelings- about life in general. Unless you take the time to thoroughly research the evidence, the only conclusions you can ever make on this issue will be emotionally based. For instance you might feel depressed or resentful and that life is pointless. From these emotions it would be easy to conclude there is no afterlife or any hope beyond whatever lot we have in life right now. On the opposite side of things, one might be bound up in the emotion of fear- that is, fearing death and adopt the viewpoint "there must be an afterlife" as an emotional crutch or comfort device to avoid facing up to this fear.
There are numerous examples of emotionally based belief setting that I could list, but I'm sure you get the general idea. The point is- the only way to get answers is to study the evidence scientifically and empirically. Subjective and emotionally based beliefs are simply faith- and faith is not evidence.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Does religion give us the answers to whether or not the afterlife is real?

What all organised religions do is present followers with a "holy text" which is a collection of subjective writings from people who lived thousands of years ago. The "holy text" may or may not even be able to be fully authenticated. In many cases they are not.

Religion means blind faith. Blind faith in living life according to what a book tells you and what people who follow that book tell you.

I have read numerous books and websites which claim to offer the "scientific case for..." or the "evidence for..." their religious claims. But ultimately all religions have to offer to you is quotes from their "divine scriptures". And those who follow organised religion endlessly bicker over the interpretation of their scriptures.
You are required to have faith and the evidence for the claims is lacking.

This pales in comparison to conducting an investigation into the phenomena supportive of life after death such as:
  • Near Death Experiences
  • Death bed visions
  • After death communications
  • Electronic Voice Phenomena
  • Apparitions
  • Out of Body Experiences
  • Reincarnation and past life regression
..And so on. The fact is that if you approach this subject with a truly open mind, there is simply far more objective evidence to be studied when you look at afterlife evidence rather than organised religion.