Do we need evidence for the afterlife?

(Randy) #41

Good question! That does not seem to fit with the rest of what he says. I read elsewhere that during cardiac arrest, the brain has not flatlined. Here is another bbc article on that with a rat based study from u of m
It sounds like the brain actually hyperstimulates.

Here is one on various NDEs.


Can’t organs be transported successfully if done quickly enough? Anyway, this is a good opportunity to encourage people to sign up to be organ donors! Many people die while waiting for an organ. Give the gift of life! (After you check out, of course.)

(Robin) #43

Interesting…I just read the second BBC article. Love those “rat based studies” by the way…Well, as for the question that started this blog “Do we need evidence for the afterlife?” – I suspect that we do…judging by the article(s) referenced here and our Enlightenment-influenced mentality. – “prove it to me.”

The next question is "Are we really just looking for evidence of an afterlife, or are we trying to guarantee a good afterlife for ourselves? Even in our skeptical age, it seems we still “suspect” something might be out there that we cannot quite quantify…but desperately want to.

(Mark D.) #44

Of course need is no guarantee of evidence for an afterlife being available even if it is highly sought after.

Fortunately you may still choose to hope for things wished for with or without evidence as I’ve heard said around here a few times.

A friend of ours who is a weaver did a needle point showing two old fashioned locked jewel boxes. Above their image was written “Life and death are like two locked boxes.” Below the image was written “Each holds the key to the other.” I like that sentiment.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #45

Fascinating article. Thanks for this! This is exactly what I meant when I said at the outset,

(Randy) #46

Here’s a post by Randal Rauser. I have tremendous respect for him, and I am as a rule a cynic. I think he’s usually pretty skeptical, too. However, since he’s usually a progressive skeptic, this philosophical question on whether personal religious experience can be veridical is probably worth thinking about (though I don’t really accept it, and I’m not sure he would, either)

(Robin) #47

Thanks for the reference, Randy. It is in fact a good article/editorial. When you said “I don’t really accept it, and I’m not sure he would either” --are you referring to-- what? his analysis of “personal religious experience” and the assertion that the meaning of “religious” is not clarified by Loftus (sp I think)?

While Loftus and others are busy defining “religious,” there is a lot of activity on the part of those who already think they comprehend the term.

We can see, and have seen, that “private religious experiences” can be challenged even by those who are of a similar religious faith and/or who may also have, or claim to have had, religious experiences…A subcategory to this “religious” argument might be the emphasis on “testing the spirits” and using an outside source, not just the teller’s rendition, as a means of verification. i.e., determining if veridical…After all, not every experience can be said to come from God, unless you want to accept a range of contradictory and conflicting experiences.

(Randy) #48

@bluebird, thank you for reading the post, and also for your thoughtful note. I think that you pointed out some very good nuances.

I was a bit concerned that Dr Rauser’s statements might be extended to say that personal experience was binding consistently reliable (though I don’t think he was saying that). I was sloppy in my description. I think you put it very well that we not every experience can be said to come from God.

I’m sure you have run into many claims by various folks of having heard from God. I have, too. For example, my mother in law told me a young man in a Christian college told her that God had informed him he was going to marry her. She responded, “Well, He hasn’t told me anything about that!.” (she wound up marrying a much better prospect, my father in law!). Someone once told me that God had informed him I would take over his international aid company for him. That, too, wasn’t from God. As a child, I based my earnest request to learn to be like God on the story of Samuel as a boy, asking God to “speak, for Your servant hears.” In all my years as a Christian (since I can consciously remember), I never heard Him speak. At this point, I think I would really question my own sanity if I actually heard something (I did once hear Michael W Smith singing in the middle of a month of night shifts, but I knew that wasn’t real).

Rauser has another post on whether God could command something heinous. It’s an interesting extension on this question. I think I will post another thread on this.

Haddon Robinson, from Radio Bible Class, wrote “Decision Making By the Book,” which emphasized that God’s primary gifts in making decisions stem from our intellect and observation of logical reasons for making a good choice. We went over it in Sunday School once, and I found it helpful.

(Robin) #49

Thanks for the thoughts and the personal stories and also for the book references.

Two things here: what is more important — a religious or spiritual vision or revelation from “the beyond” – or the teachings/ principles laid out in a canonical text?

We cannot say that some one never has a message or insight from God — there is a tendency among us humans to run to either of the two extremes. But there has to be a way of gauging the legitimacy of a message and that probably cannot be done (in our day and age) simply by another vision.

I think your mother-in-law encountered the religious version of the secular “If it feels good, do it!”…but she would not be the first or the last to have encountered that sort of analysis. While the phrase “If it feels good, do it” might be worthwhile for many situations (not all) and people – we don’t want it falling into the hands of psychopaths and certain other types – like a certain 14-year-old boy who told me “Speed limits were made to be broken.” And it probably is not the best gauge for a lifelong marriage partner. (Feelings are very temporal things.)

Her aspiring beau of long ago (the rhyme is unintentional) also probably – like all the rest of us – engaged in the situation where we look upon the exterior and not the heart (or we respond to our hormones, but never mind that possibility here!). He liked what he saw externally — and hopefully God found him someone more suitable for him just as your mother in law eventually did.

And while Samuel did in fact make that remark, it is nonetheless true that God had to call Samuel’s name several times (1 Samuel 3) – He is more patient with us than we are with Him – before Samuel caught on and decided that it was God who was speaking and thus should be acknowledged.

I liked the excerpt from the Rauser book…the issue of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son is an endless headache or an endless puzzle for everyone who follows some version of the Judeo-Christian spectrum of beliefs. And the debate, when limited to just that one long-ago event, will never end. It may not be the best point for debate at any rate…

I am not sure whether or not I have ever heard God speaking, and I do not think that is something to be sought after. I did have “something” that came from “someone” or “Someone” occur which brought me back from “nothing” to religion again — that is, to believing in God first and then Jesus and Christianity eventually along the way…Because of that, I know that people who believe or say they have had some sort of “experience” will always insist that what they had was real (except for those who are consciously fabricating it for personal gain). And it was real …

If one categorically dismisses all of these events as delusional, one at least has to “prove” the delusion just as much as anything else. There are criteria for delusions or hallucinations, after all — prolonged period of time without sleep, lack of food, high level of stress, adverse reaction to drugs, various forms of dementia, etc…If these things do not exist, then claiming delusion might be just as false as the individual claiming to have had a legitimate spiritual experience.

The question, then, ultimately, is still what rule you use for judging the legitimacy (not the reality, in this case) of anything…

As I said, not everything is from God…Other religious founders have also claimed to have had “revelations.” Unless we want to say they fabricated them (always possible but same could be said for Abraham’s purported instructions from God) — my conclusion from them is not that they or I did not have a “real” thing — but whether the “real” event is from God or something/someone else.

And that goes with “evidence for the afterlife”. This supposedly is our main subject here. I recently viewed an online video from someone who claims to have been-there-done-that and has knowledge that demons are 13 feet tall. Great!! (But who cares or was measuring?? If Satan is “the father of lies” and lying is his native language, as Jesus said, then do we trust his measurements?) In other centuries there were stories about Atlantis, the Amazons, canals on Mars, how people on the other side of the world walked upside down (their feet on the ground which was on the flip side of the earth, etc) — people are and always have been endlessly curious about that which we have not yet seen or obtained experiential knowledge of (what is in that wrapped package with my name on it sitting under the tree? what will Santa bring me this year?) – and so these accounts will always be out there and eagerly snatched up by people. But endless speculation is just that…endless…

There are some things that we have not been given tons of info about – such as the afterlife, only that it exists and “there is a judgment coming”. And, thus we won’t know till we get there. In the case of these other examples, only time will tell…but Christmas is almost here.


(Robin) #50

Huh!! Interesting…

(Shawn T Murphy) #51

Merry Christmas Robin,
I beg to differ. We have been given ample information about the afterlife from five distinct sources (see my post above). But no one seems to want to address any of them because they seem to go against orthodox beliefs. What good are personal NDE stories or personal revelations other than to help that person believe? The other sources I reference are open to everyone’s scrutiny. I am happy to share. Message me if you wan to learn more.

Happy Holidays from Switzerland

(Dominik Kowalski) #53

Ok, funny mistake, from the name of the author I confused the late german physicist Hans-Peter Dürr with the german anthropologist Hans-Peter Duerr.
Well either way, I ordered his book The Dark Night of the Soul - Near-Death Experiences and Journeys to the Beyond and although the title seems very sensational it has a great scientific and philosophical approach to this task and the reviews are very positive. So if there is a book which can contribute this discussion greatly, I expect this to be it. The disadvantage is that Duerr demands very much from the reader, the sources are multilingual and require further reading from other persepectives and events, which is why I expect it to take some time to get analyzed, but I come back to that one once it´s done.

Randy, you´re probably reading Rauser more than anyone else here, so, if you´ve read it, do you think that his book “What on earth do we know about heaven?” adds anything to our discussion?

(Randy) #54

Great question. I have not read it yet. Sorry!

(Robin) #55

Jesus is Christmas, Shawn…Merry Christmas to you and all out there – from the American Midwest.

(Mark D.) #56

Good night, American Midwest. Santa is satisfied that the stockings and gifts are laid out for the pseudo grandkids tomorrow. One crew has been fed tonight and Mrs Claus is ready to turn out dutch babies in the morning while I wrangle the bacon. So far, so good. West coast signing off - merry Christmas.

(Shawn T Murphy) #57

(system) #58

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