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Death & The Afterlife

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posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 09:32 PM
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“Dear, beauteous death! the jewel of the just,
shining nowhere but in the dark;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark!”
–Henry Vaughan

“Millions all around us are living the tragedy of meaningless life, the “life” of spiritual death. That is what makes our society most radically different from every society in history: not that it can fly to the moon, enfranchise more voters, have the grossest national product, conquer disease, or even blow up the entire planet, but it does not know why it exists.” –Peter Kreeft

“Through space the universe grasps me and swallows me up like a speck; through thought I grasp it.” –Pascal






INTRODUCTION

I’ve noticed, through my perusing of ATS over the years, that the subject of death and the afterlife have been brought up often – usually in the form of questions regarding the unknowable.

Having been obsessed with the inevitability of death and all the possibilities of an afterlife, or lack thereof, for most of my life… I figure I should author a thread with all the information that I’ve contemplated and collected regarding death and the possibility of a life after death.

Just as a little background on my education: this year I’ll be graduating from Boston College (which is well known for its philosophy and theology departments) with a bachelors in the arts, specifically in philosophy and theology. And I’ve concentrated on the subject of death. So I’m not exactly an “expert” per say, but I’d still like to share what I have learned, specifically the information that made the most impact on me.

And I’d love to hear other opinions on the subject, or different experiences that people have had with death. After all, we all die… so we all should know all we can about what death could possibly involve.

As a side note: (Besides philosophy) I also majored in Catholic theology… so a lot of the information I’ve learned is from a Christian, or more specifically, a Catholic perspective. So obviously… the things I’m referencing and the opinions I have will most likely take a Christian turn. But I’m hoping that won’t alienate other readers from stating their opinions! Especially people of other religions… I’d love to hear what other people think about the afterlife – heaven, hell, purgatory, rotting in the ground… whichever.




DEATH (From a singular Philosophical Perspective)

In discussing Death, from a majorly philosophical perspective, I’m going to be referencing the book Love is Stronger than Death (which was almost named, The Five Faces of Death… but Kreeft’s publisher convinced him out of naming it that).
In this book, Kreeft goes into the five different personifications of death and what they can tell us about the afterlife. For those who do not believe in a God… this book can still be mildly convincing that there is an afterlife.
The five faces are: Death as an ENEMY.
Death as a STRANGER.
Death as a FRIEND.
Death as a MOTHER.
And Death as a LOVER.

Obviously, most people consider death to be an enemy. Death is a loss of life; it takes everything that we know away from us. Death is a type of darkness… a feeling of despair and the inevitable end. For those who see death as an enemy… they hate it and feel anger towards the inescapability of it.
After reaching beyond the idea of death as an enemy… you can move forwards towards death as a stranger. Obviously the difference between death as an enemy and as a stranger is that one involves hate while the other involves sheer indifference. Those who see death as a stranger completely ignore the inevitability of it. They would rather not even think about death.
Skipping over death as a friend (which involves our openness as a society to contemplate death), the most convincing and interesting analogy for death is death as a mother. At least, in my opinion… it is the most convincing. So in this section, I’ll be spending most of my time discussing death as a mother.
Think back on being in the womb. It isn’t something we can remember, but I’m sure we have enough knowledge on the subject that we can assume what it was like. When we were in the womb… we were part of the outside world, but we had no concept of it. Our mothers were walking around, participating in politics, religion, conflicts, society, etc… But we had no knowledge of all the complexities of the world outside of our comfortable home inside our mother.
Now, imagine death as the process of being birthed. Right now… we are in a sort of a womb. This world, and all of our experiences in it, is only a small section of reality. But outside of this world… there is an even bigger world that we are currently a part of but have no idea of its existence. We need to grow and learn in this world before we can be birthed into the bigger world that is known as “the afterlife”.
Death as a lover involves the personal aspects to death (and it leads into the Christian perspective). Each one of us will die alone, because death is a personal thing. Death can be seen as a lover only when one can believe in the existence of Heaven. Heaven is literally… more pleasurable than orgasm. And honestly, an orgasm is the best analogy for the heavenly experience (which will be explored further down… no pun intended). It is as if… in death, we are joined with everyone, including God. So death can also be considered a lover, since it opens us up for ecstasy and pleasure. It is definitely an interesting thing to contemplate.



DEATH (From a Christian Perspective)

In this section, I’ll be referencing Peter Kreeft’s Heaven and Every Thing You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven as well as C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain. Although, considering how long these three books combined are… I’ll be discussing what I remember from them.
From a Christian perspective, death is the beginning of the journey to return where we came from: to return to God. But, since our lives are riddled with sin, we cannot return to God immediately upon death. After living a life on earth, our soul can sometimes not even know who it is. First a soul must know itself – through purgatory. Only after we know ourselves can we move onto the communion of saints: where we live the lives of every single other human being that has ever existed. And finally, only after knowing ourselves and every other human that has ever existed can we experience the beautification and view the “face” of God.

A more interesting allegory for heaven and hell is C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. When the narrator (who begins in the colorless expanse of Hell) takes the “bus” up to Heaven, one of the first things he notices is how REAL heaven is in comparison. All the occupants of Hell are spirits who want nothing more than to be alone. Hell is so “gigantic” while the narrator is in it because everyone keeps moving farther and farther away from each other. After all… there is no definable “space” in the afterlife. Although, when the narrator enters Heaven, he begins to experience pain. He steps on the grass and finds that it is so real that it pierces through his foot. It is only after he spends time in Heaven that he, himself, becomes more real and can finally comfortably walk on the grass. At one point he asks his guide where Hell is. They had been walking around Heaven for a little while, and the narrator asks to return to the cliff where the bus ascended up from Hell. When they return, he notices that Hell is only a crack in the soil. That infinity of space that was Hell when the narrator resided there is now only a small crack that barely an ant can fit through after he’s spent time in Heaven.

C.S. Lewis always has interesting ways to picture the afterlife. In The Problem of Pain he contemplates Hell in a different way. Hell is the absence of God and the absence of other people. It is loneliness. But it is only through choice that one can go to Hell. The doors are locked from the inside. God doesn’t reject anyone… it’s the people who reject God.
After all, “the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender” – this is obvious when you consider an orgasm (again). One can only experience the ecstasy of orgasm through completely forgetting the self. The problem is that no one can make that surrender of the self, but himself. So whether one goes to Hell or Heaven is a choice which revolves around selfishness or selflessness. “The characteristic of lost souls is ‘their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves’”.
So if that is Hell, what does Heaven involve according to C.S. Lewis? Heaven is being reunited with our one true love. God is our first love. And “God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.”

”All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” - C.S. Lewis
“What is outside the system of self-giving is not earth, nor nature, nor ‘ordinary life’, but simply and solely Hell.” - C. S. Lewis





NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES

A thread was made a few days ago regarding NDE’s for atheists, and I recommended the book Life After Life by Dr. Moody… but I didn’t include any details about NDE’s and what is in Dr. Moody’s book. So, considering this is an all-encompassing thread on what I “know” about death, I’ll include the observations made by Dr. Moody in his book. After all, you can’t discuss death without considering the various accounts of NDE’s.

In Dr. Moody’s book, he collected hundreds and hundreds of NDE’s from various people and listed the similarities that spanned over each account. Every person he listened to had more than one of these experiences while dying:
Ineffability – Most people who’ve had NDE’s describe the sheer inability to describe it. As if it was so outside normal experience that language is completely inadequate. The experience was indescribable… ineffable. Our words are used to describe a three dimensional world that can be experienced through the senses… and since NDE’s are so different, they are ineffable.
Hearing the News – Many people also remember hearing the news of their own death. Some people even try to fight it by shouting that they are alive… to no avail. But most stunningly, upon being revived, these people can tell others exactly what they heard. One woman recounted to the doctor that she heard him say, “Let’s try one more time and then we’ll give up” after she was already pronounced dead. Obviously when she was revived, the doctor was astounded to find that she had actually heard him… after all, according to him, she was dead.
Feelings of Peace and Quiet – A lot of people describe feelings of peace and pleasantness. Even after they experienced extremely violent or painful deadly injuries. They say that at the point of the injury they feel a flash of pain, but then the pain immediately goes away and feelings of silence, warmth, and comfort arise.
The Noise – Unlike the above, some people recount hearing a noise. Some people describe it as an unpleasant buzzing noise, or a loud ringing/whistling/whirring. Others have described it as an otherworldly music.
The Dark Tunnel – Those who have experienced the dark tunnel during death have also usually experienced hearing the noise. The dark tunnel is a sensation that is felt upon death as if one is being pulled rapidly through a dark space. People describe it as a “long dark place” or a “black, dark, cylindrical void” or even a “dark valley”. Christians who have experienced this interpret it to be the “valley of the shadow of death”.
Out of the Body – Many people also experience being outside of their bodies… some recount even being able to see their physical bodies as if they are looking down at them. Others recount feeling themselves moving through solid objects. The interesting aspect to this is that there are many accounts of these people being able to describe everything that the doctors were doing to them, as if they were standing beside them. A lot of these accounts of during periods of induced death during brain surgeries or heart surgeries.
Meeting Others – Some people describe being reunited with loved ones temporarily. They see people who they know are dead, and sometimes they are able to communicate with them. Sometimes they see other people who they don’t recognize, but look to be just as confused as they are. Some people also think that they have seen their guardian spirits during death.
The Being of Light – This is the most common thing in NDE’s. People experience this indescribably bright light. It is almost impossibly bright/white/clear but it doesn’t blind or cause the discomfort that most bright lights would. These people who see the light feel a consciousness and awareness coming from it. Many people report that this being questions them… although not verbally.
The Review – This is similar to the cliché of one’s life flashing before one’s eyes. As if one’s whole life can be seen and understood in an instant. People describe not only being able to see their life as it plays out, but also being able to relive it.

There are a few more aspects to the NDE, but these are the most common and most interesting. Of course, one can argue that people all have similar experiences because the chemical '___' is released upon death and it causes feelings of transcendence and other-worldlyness… but it is still interesting to contemplate the idea of a life after death, and to take near death experiences as possible examples of people who’ve had a taste of this life after death.



REFERENCES

C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain
Peter Kreeft’s Love is Stronger than Death, Every Thing You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven (But Never Dreamed of Asking), and Heaven, The Heart’s Deepest Longing
Dr. Raymond A. Moody’s Life After Life




posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 09:42 PM
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Wow what a read! Thanks for your time to write this. I'm not religious but I'm not atheist either. It would be a good thing for any Atheists here to read up on this and learn the facts about NDE's. The story you shared is good enough to change the minds of Atheists on the afterlife.

S&F for you good sir!



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by xFloggingMaryx
 


Excellent read. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this!

The concept of an afterlife makes dealing with loved one's deaths and the contemplation of your own comforting to a degree. I personally have had several experiences which has convinced me that an afterlife in fact does exist. S&F!



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 09:58 PM
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The other day, I tried finding NDE's from atheists, but I couldn't tell they were real or fabricated in the same way it Darwin and LeVey's deathbed conversion.



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:11 PM
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Nice thread! I can see you put a lot of thought into it. S&F for your contribution.

I personally think death is as natural as life itself, just another step in our never ending evolution.
I have no natural fear of it myself,never have. I guess I just always accepted it's inevitability.So i guess I qualify for the "death as a lover" category.To be quite honest, I am quite intrigued by the mysteries it holds.

As for the NDE, I have a little experience under my belt and can personally back up; ineffability,feelings of peace and quiet,meeting others, out of body and beings of light.These personal events of mine were experienced through multiple NDE's,actual death and deep meditations.The most interesting thing about the NDE is they can be 100%
created through the simple act of meditation.



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:22 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far guys!!

Yeah... I didn't have much homework tonight... so before I went out for drinks with friends I figured I would pop open a few of my favorite (and most applicable to the topic) books over the past 4 years of school and type up a thread. I've been putting it off for a while now, so I finally just sucked it up and started typing.

There are a few things I think I know a lot about... and death is one of them. Although since technically we can't really know anything about death... I guess I have a whole section of "unknowable knowledge" in my brain. If that's even possible. xP



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:25 PM
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S&F for your great efforts which I'm sure will feed the curiosity of many members.

Death unfortunately is Taboo in Western Society hence the great fear of death among us. It is to most, in this physical existence, so final yet in cultures where Death is more openly discussed and considered the fear is less stark.

I myself worked with Seniors in a residential setting for 30 years and have had what you may like to term a close up view of the dying process of those who have reached the end of a long road. The age of those approaching the end of life would clearly be very different in older people to those of us who confront death at an earlier age. The older peharson being more accepting of their imminent demise. That is not to say that they do not hang on to life just as rigorously as those of a younger age group. But the reasons why some hang on to life against all the odds while others accept and slip away without a fight are very much in the land of the unkown as their doesn't seem to be a pattern here. This is where research I feel would be valuable and assist us in supporting the dying and aiding their journey to the other side.

As for the other side - clearly this is a very personal thing and comes down to belief systems - there are no hard facts which is why we fear what is on the other side of the door. I pesonally believe that life is a cycle and like the leaves on a tree - we carry on returning - the trunk being the pure being that is rooted in history and creation. The leaves being the current experience at the end of many branches and leaves come in many types and shades. Also if we could remember all of the other branches, it would be like cheating and we wouldn't learn what we came here to learn. But I could go on for ever. I do have Moodys Book and it does support my personal belief system - science also now accepts (which I find a little disturbing yet comforting) that it is difficult to know the point of death now as technology advances we find the energy detection carries on infinately. So perhaps it is simply like walking through another door.

We will never have it confirmed where we go and we aren't supposed to have it confirmed otherwise Faith wouldn't exist.

Thanks for your post.



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:39 PM
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I'm hesitant to post this, as it is something that I have only spoken about to a few people, my closest friends in the world. And even they have trouble believing me.

There are plenty of reports and studies out there concerning people who have died and come back, and what they experienced. I can only speak upon what I have personally experienced, and the word "ineffable" is spot on. It is a hard thing to describe, in words.

Without going in to too much detail, I was once trapped under water, and drowned. At first I fought against it, clung to the hope that I could escape. I fought against it as hard as I possibly could, and I am a strong and fit person. But once it became apparent that I was truly trapped, and death was a foregone conclusion, I immediately checked out. Just like that. It was obvious that I was not going to escape, and the instant this thought entered my mind, I was out.

Out of my body? Completely. I can clearly recall seeing the sun-dappled leaves of the trees around the river where I drowned, could see and hear the people that had been with me, their concern and anguish as they realized that I was not coming up. But it meant nothing to me, just something that I noticed. What occurred after that I won't even attempt to describe, I'll just say that I saw again what "reality" is, and it is not our lives on this plane. I say I saw it again, because it was like going home, a place I knew of and remembered, but had forgotten about in this life. Everything made sense, everything that had happened and was happening in this world made total sense, and was as it was meant to be. This is the part that is hardest to describe, because nothing seems to make sense in this world. We are not supposed to be able to make sense of it; that is the whole purpose. To grind on without knowing why, and to let our actions speak for themselves in the absence of an over-arching plot line.

Apparently, after I was under water for a while, someone jumped in after me and dragged my lifeless body to the banks of this river. I can recall coming back to this existence in a rush, and opening my eyes to see this guy doing CPR over me. He probably thought he was a hero, which would explain the look of confusion on his face as I literally, physically pushed him off of me. I even said "Get the #### off of me," which was not at all what he was expecting. I was actually angry with him for bringing me back, as the place I had been before was pure peace and understanding, and I did not like having to leave it again.

I did not speak a word to anyone for days afterward, I was just completely absorbed in what I had experienced and was totally unable to explain it to anyone. At the time I was very deep in to Christianity, but that changed instantly. I still think that there are some important lessons to be gleaned from the bible, but the whole truth as to the nature of our existence it is not. In fact, it is wildly off, at least as far as what I saw and experienced myself. Our existence here has much deeper meaning that can be told by living men, be they the authors of the bible, the koran, the torah, what have you. What we are is much greater than most can understand without seeing and experiencing what I have.

Sources? Links? I have none. I can only rely upon my own experiences in this world, as these are the only sources I can trust completely. I see no reason for anyone to believe anything I have said, for without experiencing it yourself it is beyond the realm of understanding. Question or flame me if you like, I know what I have seen. My signature says it all. Death is the one thing most people fear, but I think it is the one thing we should fear the least.



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 10:45 PM
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reply to post by xFloggingMaryx
 



www.youtube.com...


Don Piper NDE, clinically dead after a road accident Don Piper relates his experience of his Spirit entering the kingdom of heaven while his physical body lay dead

edit on 23-3-2011 by Faith2011 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2011 @ 11:01 PM
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What a wonderful presentation of life after death. Many years ago I had an out of body experience and ever since have believed that we are far more than just a physical body. I believe that we do indeed go on after this physical life of here and now.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 03:35 PM
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S and F for a thoughtful and enjoyable write-up.

I also very much appreciate the honesty, reporting where the OP is coming from, instead of the usual "secret agenda" routine typical of ATS.

That Catholic or Christian (or any unique) perspective does seem to run into difficulty when it comes to NDEs, and VariableContant's post I think is a good example of why NDEs are sometimes looked at with caution by the more conservative religionists. Quite a few do NOT see Jesus, in spite of perhaps having that in their background, and even turn away from their religious traditions after their experiences.

And yet, we still see NDEs being used often enough to push a particular agenda. The people who report "negative" NDEs, for example, being trotted out to "prove" Hell, for example.

All agendas aside, it's clear that NDEs are "real", and represent "something".

While I'm more of a rationalist, I also tend to think that there may be more to the issue than meets the eye. Is it just the brain firing off, or chemicals playing tricks, etc.? I know that's the usual way the "scientific" person dismisses NDEs, but they probably do so a bit too hastily, IMO.

Death has ever been the Great Unknown, and the closer we get to it, the less we should presume.

SO, I guess think it's prudent to reserve judgement, and await further information.

But then, I'm agnostic, so perhaps not too surprising.

JR



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by Seekeye2
S&F for your great efforts which I'm sure will feed the curiosity of many members.

Death unfortunately is Taboo in Western Society hence the great fear of death among us. It is to most, in this physical existence, so final yet in cultures where Death is more openly discussed and considered the fear is less stark.

I myself worked with Seniors in a residential setting for 30 years and have had what you may like to term a close up view of the dying process of those who have reached the end of a long road. The age of those approaching the end of life would clearly be very different in older people to those of us who confront death at an earlier age. The older peharson being more accepting of their imminent demise. That is not to say that they do not hang on to life just as rigorously as those of a younger age group. But the reasons why some hang on to life against all the odds while others accept and slip away without a fight are very much in the land of the unkown as their doesn't seem to be a pattern here. This is where research I feel would be valuable and assist us in supporting the dying and aiding their journey to the other side.


The whole Taboo about death in modern society is an example of "Death as a stranger". So yeah, it is definitely something that comes up.



I gotta say that is a very heart wrenching job... having to work with the dying. It definitely takes a loving heart and a strong constitution to do that job.


And I agree with you that people who work in these professions should have more knowledge on death. Researching all the possibilities and the traditions surrounding death would definitely be useful in a career like that: but only to a certain degree. After all, death is a very personal experience, so not everyone who is reaching their end wants to hear unprovable theories on what awaits them. But I'm sure for other people, contemplating all the wonderful possibilities that await them when they reach the end of this particular journey on earth, would be comforting.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by VariableConstant
 


Thanks so much for sharing your experience!
Hearing the experiences of others can definitely help enlighten and add dimensions to the not-so-personal aspects of a NDE that I listed above.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by JR MacBeth
Death has ever been the Great Unknown, and the closer we get to it, the less we should presume.

SO, I guess think it's prudent to reserve judgement, and await further information.


This is my biggest problem with educating myself on death. After all... it really is the Great Unknown... so any information that I gather regarding the topic cannot be verified or proven, so it all comes down to a matter of faith.

But I've been obsessed with death for my whole life. I mean, I have two cemetery scenes tattooed on me... because, why not? Haha. And I think I'm obsessed with death specifically because of the unknown. I also think that... since I am going to die eventually... I should at least prepare myself for the inevitable.
It's like taking a test. If you know that you have an exam eventually... you might as well study for it so you're better prepared for what is thrown at you. Except in this sense... death is a test that you can't concretely study for... there is no death study guide.

Well... unless you believe Socrates when he said that the purpose of philosophy is to prepare oneself for death. But that's mostly a Greek notion since they believed in the separation of the soul/spirit from the body. Since philosophy nurtures the soul/spirit... he sees it as a preparation for death, since our soul/spirit is all we will have at the end.

But now I'm rambling. xP

Either way, thanks (to everyone) for taking the time to read the thread... even though I didn't include a ridiculous sensational title with like fifty exclamation points.

I'm actually thinking of maybe editing it to include pictures... maybe it'll add a little more "dimension" to the information...



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 06:19 PM
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I have been thinking about this thread all day. Especially the parts about crossing over and finding great peace, being 'home', belonging, and understanding. Although I have not experienced near death before, these descriptions make sense to me because I am assuming that these people are good, decent people. Flawed, of course, simply because they are human, but 'good' at the core of their being.

This got me to thinking about those who are 'evil' at the core of their being. Those who kill, hurt, abuse others with no remorse and no concern for redemption for their entire lives. Sure there are alot of people in jail who are being punished for their crimes, but there are just as many if not more who get away with their atrocities? Certain 'elite' people for instance. What of them?

I am not a person who has alot of vengance, but I do always hope for fairness. I hope in my heart of hearts that these people - the worst of the worst - do not experience their crossing over in peace and love and beauty, but at that time they are made to account for their actions here on Earth. I don't know if that would be 'hell' in the way that we have been conditioned to think of hell or some other permutation.

Has anyone ever heard of near death experience stories of those who have crossed in this manner, if it even exists? Those stories would be interesting to hear also.

Sorry to digress from your post, but like I said, I have been thinking about this all day.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 06:27 PM
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reply to post by xFloggingMaryx
 




This is my biggest problem with educating myself on death. After all... it really is the Great Unknown... so any information that I gather regarding the topic cannot be verified or proven, so it all comes down to a matter of faith.


First, my congratulations to you on your coming graduation. I once seriously contemplated Boston College, back when they first introduced their fast-track MD program. You're in a good place!

I would like to complement you further because your comment that I quoted above suggests you're years ahead of the average person, IMO. And considering where you're coming from "theologically", I am impressed that a religiously inclined person still humbly accepts that Death is in fact a true mystery.

My appreciation comes in part from my own background. I could have been considered something of a "theologian" at one time myself. But the religionist typically doesn't have the humility to see that the "big questions" remain unanswered, in spite of their "faith".

Yes, the Church HAS the answers to the big questions. Religion in general, is there to provide these answers, for all that would otherwise remain a mystery, if something like the Church were not there conveniently to shed light on these difficult matters.

Hense the rather universal appeal that religion has always enjoyed.

We all want the answers, and religion hands us their answers, and yet...Why do we still yearn for certainty? Obviously, because the idea of "faith" does in fact fail at a fundamental level for the thinking person.

I know that probably sounds a bit arrogant, especially considering the many great thinkers who have gone before, like C. S. Lewis, or Aquinas, etc. But when confronted with these realities, do we notice what really happens pretty much across the board? Do we see how people have reacted, and read what they have written, and see that they are as perhaps frustrated as any of us, in spite of the eloquent words that remain a testament to their "faith"?

Thomas Aquinas, for a Catholic, certainly no introductions necessary. In his time, he decided to confront as many questions as he could in his mighty (unfinished) Summa. And yet, he was forced to take a step away from the methods he had inherited, else the whole thing would fall apart. As it was, his contributions would pave the way for an increasingly "unfaithful" future he perhaps could not have imagined.

C.S. Lewis, a master orator and story-teller, and icon of a rational faith. And yet, he was the atheist who found himself stepping away from his materialist certainties, in favor of those traditionally provided.

I think that in most cases, when examining these paragons of faith, we can find something in common. It was not so much "reason", per se, that indicated their course, it was something else entirely. Yes, reason could be employed to ensure that at least nothing was "contrary" to it, as they set out upon the path of Faith, but the motivation to go there to begin with...Well, if not for Death, and the actual certainty that it cometh, why bother with so much (really, quite a lot) that couldn't be "known" any other way?

Reason may not need to be "parked at the door" as we enter the churches, but it would indeed wear a hat, so-to-speak. With Death ever present, and in days of old perhaps more so than today, I think we can see why religion has always been so powerful.

But there is more than Pascal's Wager playing in the background. There is "something else" too, and this other thing is not born of some ultimately selfish fear, but rather, it is born of our actual common experience of things beyond. In this case we need not even speak of anything more extraordinary than...Love.

If we have ever known love, then indirectly we may already have some "evidence" that there must be something beyond the grave. For some, this evidence may be dismissed, for others, it's importance is minimized, but I think that the vast body of poetry and art that has issued forth from humanity over the millennia does agree with the religionist when it comes to this issue: Our essence is somehow not temporal.

And when a loved one passes away, this really gets very personal! Most of us have lost someone, grandparents, parents, friends. Maybe even a sibling, a spouse, or a child. But how much more personal can you get than your own "death", which brings us to the NDE. No wonder the experience is a life-changer.

Like most people, I wish I had more "certainties", but in fact I do have some, even if they would never pass scientific muster.

You brought up Socrates, who at the end of his life was credited with saying that there were no answers, only questions.

Death. This might be the one we have to humbly bow our heads before, but when that hope springs eternal in our breasts, as the poet once said, perhaps we can still raise our heads ever so slightly.

JR



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 06:28 PM
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reply to post by VariableConstant
 


Nice story, and I hope you are not offended when I say typical. Science will not accept this at its current rationalistic state, but eventually it will have to. I don't think this has to be taken as religious at all. It's just part of reality--scientific reality--that we do not yet accept.

Your story is anecdotal, but that's the way they all are. My wife's ex "died" in Vietnam. He was a Sargeant, got hit, and from then on he tells your story--but not often. He still has shrapnel in him, and also an attitude that he is simply no longer afraid of death.

I'm not either, but I admit to being afraid of getting there. Thanks for your story.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 06:46 PM
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Originally posted by CCKP72
This got me to thinking about those who are 'evil' at the core of their being. Those who kill, hurt, abuse others with no remorse and no concern for redemption for their entire lives. Sure there are alot of people in jail who are being punished for their crimes, but there are just as many if not more who get away with their atrocities? Certain 'elite' people for instance. What of them?

Has anyone ever heard of near death experience stories of those who have crossed in this manner, if it even exists? Those stories would be interesting to hear also.


Those who are evil... have no concern for others. In fact they probably also have no concern for themselves. So I assume they end up going to "hell" specifically because they don't want to go to heaven. I think I go into that in more detail in the main post.

As for the NDE's of people who've experienced Hell... I've only heard of one of them. And honestly... it ended up coming off as an institutional tool to convert people to Christianity. I'm sure if you search on google you can find something about it. But yeah, the one account of a near death experience that involved hell was the least believable one I've ever heard.



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 07:02 PM
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Interesting topic.

My father died last year from cancer.
Few days before his death he was in a very bad health condition but still able to communicate a bit. One of the last things he reported to us, his relatives, was, that recently, from time to time he sees himself lying next to himself in the hospital bed. When I heard this, I immediately thought, that could be his soul temporarily leaving the body from time to time because of his physical death being so near already.

Ko3



posted on Mar, 24 2011 @ 07:02 PM
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David Wilcock had an interesting experience about meditating and when he went above the Earth, he 'popped' through a layer of energy that took him to an 'afterlife' and then went through another and another until the last one. It had people walking around in nothing more then robes and sandals with most of Nature (massive forests etc.) intact and the inhabitants lived in utter peace with Mother Earth while these enourmous rocks shaped geometrically shadowed over, producing 'energy'.

I 'believe?' that to be the case once humans die (should you be in tune with yourself like the intro stated, love self.) and reincarnate in another.. layer of energy, one more and more in tune with the Earth. It's a wild theory but considering how shapes work wonders beyond belief as well as loving yourself, loving the Earth, it seems very plausible. Don't hear that one often considering in this day and age, people's egos imagine all these fearful scenarios of our souls being harvested to feed other entities once we die..



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