Why do humans believe in an afterlife?

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posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 09:44 PM
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It is a concept as old as human history. It permeates every spiritual belief system ever known. The belief that there exists beyond this mortal coil another realm of existance. That death is not an end, but mearly a transition into plane of reality. But why?

Is it instinctual? Is the secret to this mystery buried deep in our psyche? Is it something we bring with us into this world? It would be counter to Darwin and Evolutionary Theory for this to be a part of our species evolutionary imperitive, to Survive! Our fear of death, even amongst the faithful, shows our Darwinian side hard at work.

Therefore, if it is to be considered instinctual, then it must be some form of hidden knowledge we bring with us when we are incarnated into this form, thus implying that the immortality of our 'souls' goes in both directions. Far Eastern Philosophies, and Past Life Regression suggests just that. During my time as a professed Agnostic, I can state that while I was unsure about the existance of 'God', I could not shake the firm belief that there was an existance that trancended death. This belief is what kept me from ever professing to be an Atheist.

Is it psychologically motivated? Does the belief in an afterlife come from a psychological need to deal with grief? Is it the minds self defense mechanism in dealing with the loss of a loved one? In this manner, we don't really have to say goodbye, but more like see you later.

Is it the Ego's need to believe that the self will never cease to exist? Since we all share the fear of death, and as far as we know, we are the only species on the planet that is aware of it's own mortality, it could very well be that it is a coping mechanism in dealing with the end of the self.

Is it spiritually motivated? It is not that uncommon for someone to experience a haunting experience. There are even those among us who claim to be able to sense and communicate with the dearly departed. I have experienced both of these phenomenon myself. Is it due to these otherworldly experiences that we have come to the conclusion that there must be life after death?

Does Science now support this belief? According to Physics, energy never disapates, organized energy never disorganizes, and the entire Universe is composed of nothing but energy, and that it is all connected. If the 'soul' is merely the organized energy of the person, then the loss of the organic computer (the brain) should only force the energy that is the individual to trancend the physical.

Then you add the growing scientific data that has been gathered at various haunted locations, such as EVP's, ghostly images caught on film, Electromagnetic and Thermographic readings and the like, the scientific evidence seems to indicate and support the existance of an afterlife.

Now there are those who insist that there is no God, and that once you die, that's it. But if given clear scientific evidence to the contrary, these left brain dominant skeptics would most likely change their minds.

While every Religion and Spiritual Belief System varies as to what this Afterlife is like, a majority of humans, including those who follow no given religious or spiritual belief believe that one does indeed exist. But is it real, or just the mind's way of coping with mortality?




posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 09:50 PM
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We believe because we can't accept death.

You can't believe in nothing.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 09:53 PM
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I know i have said some harsh things to and in your threads jaxon. But this is a top notch post. S&F


That said. Personally i have always thought that the last scenario/point you presented was the most plausible



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 09:54 PM
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Everyone is scared of dying. So, we believe.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:02 PM
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reply to post by JaxonRoberts
 


Good thread.

The topic is endlessly debatable. Perhaps we believe in an afterlife because we only know existence.

Every single one of us, right now, exist. We are familiar with it, we are experiencing it, and we don't know anything but existence. So, how could we believe in something so foreign as nonexistence?

I don't know though. This just happened to have crossed my mind while reading this thread. That's about all I got right now!

Again, good thread.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:06 PM
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I'm not scared of dying and I believe. I was somewhat scared of dying when I did not believe, but now that I have what I feel is plenty of evidence to indicate life after death, I have no reason to fear "death."



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:12 PM
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There are a number of reasons:
1st - I think it is in our mind, and our basic instinct that there is somthing beyond unconciousness as a physical body.

2nd - As you started to discuss.....Energy doesn't just disappear. Every living thing has a aura, a ki , or a chi of energy circulating within it.....That is what separates a living organizm from a lifeless dead one. Where does it go? .....It doesn't just disappear. I have really started to respect the thought of re-incarnation....as it kinda has backbone to where this energy goes. Does it just flow back into the life cycle and find a home within a newly developed organism? whom knows.

3rd - Since the dawn of man....man has developed spiritual or religious belief. That has trickled down to us in the present to where it is just trained into us from the moment we are born to either believe in re-incarnation or in somsort of afterlife...depending on your religious influences surrounding your culture.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:47 PM
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Oblivion is a hard thing to fathom... and to a point, illogical. This may be why so many people feel ill at ease with the concept... and it brings up the question of life and existence itself. What's the point? Why?

What's the point of existing, learning, and personally evolving if it's all to be lost. Some people will answer "To pass our knowledge and wisdom onto the next generation". That's fine to assume that, but why? Won't they meet the same end... The cycle continues Ad infinitum?

We are perpetuating existence by why? To what end? What's the point? Where are we going? What's waiting for us on the other end? Surely a journey is pointless without a destination?

Existing - Not Existing... are they not equally mystifying?

What were we before we existed? Were we simply the potential to exist? If we were, we were still 'something'. Surely we must have been potential to exist otherwise we wouldn't of existed.

What are we when we shed the mortal coil? Do we revert back to being the same potential to exist (which was something)? Are we stripped back to the initial kernel of existence? A singularity of consciousness for want of a better term?

It boggles the mind. If there is a purpose to all of this, it escapes me. But what I do know is, asking the question is important!

S&F Op!

IRM


[edit on 11/3/10 by InfaRedMan]



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:54 PM
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Because if you have a hardon for death and research it like some people research the sky or aliens you realize there is alot in common with many religions and NDE's and past/future life regressions.

To give all the proof out there and everything that is known it is kinda hard to say there is NOTHING after we die.

Because there is.. Just alot of organized religion is bushka...(Hoopla foe you americans out there.)



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:56 PM
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I don't see any problem with believing in life after death. For some there beliefs might have manifested through faith. For others there beliefs may have manifested through personal experience. For others still, there beliefs may have manifested through the fear of death.

There isn't really any irrefutable proof no matter where your beliefs might rest, is there?



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 10:59 PM
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No matter if you believe them or not, there are stories of people dying and coming back from the dead. Oddly enough, these stories are similar and consistent in detail. Further, the fact that they would come from a family elder only adds to their validity.

Add to that, that they saw family members already dead and "gone on", and saw what they took to be Jesus or God and you have the basis for an afterlife.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 11:11 PM
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Well i don't "need" to believe in an afterlife, first of all i don't think there is one and second of all the thought of one repulses me...i do not want to go anywhere when i die thank you very much. Except in the ground of course. As for the energy can be created or destroyed...you are correct. The energy stored in your body is converted into something else when it decomposes. Since imo all that makes us who we are is a culmination of memories stored in the brain that will decompose like the rest of the body and become worm and plant food. People who become blank slates for example after serious head trauma, no personality and nothing that resembles their former selves.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by JaxonRoberts
 


I've posted this video once before, but I'm going to do so again because it truly represents what I believe about our existence and the hereafter.



I believe that what we experience in this reality is so radically different from what we experience in the ethereal, that our physical minds just wouldn't fully be able to comprehend it. We might catch glimpses of what lies beyond the grey rain curtain of of this world, but I don't think we'll ever have the full picture while in the here and now.



posted on Mar, 11 2010 @ 11:36 PM
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I personally believe in re-incarnation - to me it just seems the most logical, everything in nature grows and evolves, why not our souls. And I believe we are born to our parents for reasons - most likely because they are the best choice to foster the environments and stimuli we need to experience and learn from. (eg, an imperialist-capitalist CEO may re-incarnate as an African diamond slave).

Some people do have an irrational fear of death though, I personally don't think we'll be sitting on a cloud drinking champagne with Jesus after we die.

As for why humans on a whole believe, it would be a mix of mind, body, and soul. Psy, Sci, Spi.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 12:36 AM
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If nature is a wise mother, which I think she is, it isn’t hard to grasp why there would be a fear of the beyond instilled in us.

I’m sure if we all knew without a doubt that there is nothing waiting for us on the other side we’d be living in a very different world.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 12:47 AM
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Sometimes good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. This is very troubling for most of us who would like to see good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. People may have created the concept of an afterlife to correct this perceived injustice.

An afterlife is necessary to create a sense of cosmic justice. If a good person is having a very bad life, perhaps there will be justice for this good person because that person will enjoy good things in an afterlife. Similarly, if a bad person is having a good life, that person will receive justice by having a bad afterlife.

Without an afterlife, however, there is no opportunity for justice. The good person with a bad life will die without receiving any rewards for their good deeds. The bad person with a good life will die without receiving any punishment.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 01:44 AM
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Because you are a soul, a conscious spirit and in the human form you have a capacity to look beyond instinct and to the welfare of your soul. Your looking into the welfare of your true self and in the human form you can do something about it. No other form has such capacities and no other planet provides as great an opportunity.

The reality is that the most important experiences of life can not be explain or proven to others. This is because they can not be brought down to this low level from higher planes accessed from within the brain. This is akin to trying to explain a sunset or a mountain range to a blind person. They can never touch it and the explanations are not the real thing. What's important is within you.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by ReelView
 



So what about blind people?

This is a great thread and one of the reasons why I enjoy ATS regardless of all the other bad threads and silly topics.

Years ago I studied a little bit about gnosticism. One of the most intriguing aspects of it was finding salvation within yourself. That really spoke to my spiritual side as a human being. That to find the meaning of life or salvation or whatever we have to look inward..........not to some deity, not to a white, beared man........and not to the cosmos per se. That within all of us human beings is something that is so completely different from every other life form on this planet that there is a reason to live..........

I personally think of life as a lesson. And however long it takes you to learn whatever lesson we are supposed to learn........until you do.......you can't "move on". Like many others in this thread have said........I think reincarnation makes A LOT of sense. Maybe the only way to really love........to really feel love is to be a human being. To live on this Earth........an earth and a planet that is like no other.............filled with such danger, such extremes, such ugliness.............yet also filled with such beauty........such amazing potential. I mean we as human beings seem to really forget or completely disregard just how amazing and beautiful mother earth and nature really is. I feel more than ever as I grow up and grow older that all the answer to our problems are here right under our noses. It's almost as if...............if we as human beings could just get our collective butts together..............we could in fact create something very close to heaven on Earth. I don't know...........there is this innate closeness and spritual peace that I yearn for when I think of living closer to nature.............wild and free like Native Americans did. I feel if I had to choose any type of life to live as a human being on this earth it would be that life.

I know Indians were not perfect...........considered to be savages by many.......but their one with nature truly was amazing to me. I don't like how I live as a human being nowadays. I don't like 21st century society. And I don't like where humanity is headed. So again........I feel each of us is responsible for where we as a species are headed........maybe that's the ultimate test.............we either learn the lesson of being human......which to me is to truly love each other and advance spiritually......or we will kill each other off.

I feel like the twilight of human existence was reached thousands of years ago in my opinion............and it's been all down hill from here. I don't even think despite all our technology and capabilities we are even that smart of a species anymore.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by hotpinkurinalmint
Sometimes good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. This is very troubling for most of us who would like to see good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. People may have created the concept of an afterlife to correct this perceived injustice.

An afterlife is necessary to create a sense of cosmic justice. If a good person is having a very bad life, perhaps there will be justice for this good person because that person will enjoy good things in an afterlife. Similarly, if a bad person is having a good life, that person will receive justice by having a bad afterlife.

Without an afterlife, however, there is no opportunity for justice. The good person with a bad life will die without receiving any rewards for their good deeds. The bad person with a good life will die without receiving any punishment.


Yes I liked your post. It does seem to make sense. I find it especially poignant in cases of infant deaths. It is a matter of belief but I want to believe that that child will live on and will develop on another palne.

ALso ghosts and the culture of ghosts is another supporting buttress in the arguement for an afterlife. The presence of ghosts which I believe is not scientific prooof of an afterlife. In fact there is no scientific proof of an afterlife.



posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 03:46 AM
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I personally believe that the masses have always lived and always will live kind of a rough life with no equality. For this reason I believe we have to believe that all the living we do (which is a lot of work btw) has to mean a better end. Some sort of great equalizer or plane where we can finally feel peace.



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