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Life or afterlife?
By Liritmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 02:45 AM
Edited by Lirit (28370) on 2008-07-30 02:48:05

Something someone said in another thread got the wheels turning in my head. My mind has been a lot on religion recently (and by recently I mean both in the last year and a half as my journey has rerouted itself and in recent weeks due to personal stuff at home), and it was something I was reading about in a broader sense earlier this week, so I thought I'd pose the question here.

Those of you who feel you are "religious", what concerns you more? Your present, earthly life? Or your afterlife? Which of the two are more... important doesn't seem quite the right word... pressing?

Are you religious because you're concerned with how you believe you will fare in your afterlife? Or are you religious because you believe it enriches your life in the here and now? Does one have greater consequence than the other?

Personally, I'm not too fussed with an afterlife. I do believe the soul lives on, although in what form and where I am not sure. And I don't particularly care. I do consider myself a religious person, and my goal is to follow the guidelines G-d laid out in the Torah for a holy life. I see death as something quite tragic, because it ends my chance to make the world a better, (and I hate using this word but it's the best I've got) holier place.

I don't think the next world or the next life is any better than this one. This is the world G-d made for us, and I have no reason to believe that he would create a world that was less than perfect. In fact, the laws of nature and physics alone only reinforce the idea, to me, that the world - left to its own devices - is perfect as is. I believe G-d created us in His image because we can do the one thing the world alone can't do - and that's choose good or (again, a sticky choice of words) evil, and that He wants us to choose good.

I also accept that while there will be rewards for doing good now in the world to come (or afterlife, or next life, or whatever), the rewards today for making such choices are just as plentiful and worth concerning myself with. Truthfully, I find them more worthy of my attention, because I think it encourages others to follow my lead in making positive choices which changes the world for the better. I find it a lot more rewarding to know that I've invited G-d into my life with every choice I make than to worry about how near or far from Him I'll be when I've passed on.

35 Replies to Life or afterlife?

re: Life or afterlife?
By Peridotmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 07:08 AM
What an interesting topic! And Lirit, I think you really explained your views well. The matter of life and death and afterlife is fascinating to me (and a lot of other people, I think) because, simply put, none of us has any clear, 100% truthful idea of exactly what the afterlife, if there is one, is going to be like.

Are you religious because you're concerned with how you believe you will fare in your afterlife? Or are you religious because you believe it enriches your life in the here and now? Does one have greater consequence than the other?


Both!

For me, the life I'm living right now is the most important thing, but that's because I know that my life as of this moment is going to affect my afterlife. Does that make sense? I believe that what I do here on Earth will play a part in where I go when I die. But it also is a chance for me to be God's light and bring his love to other people, and I try to live as Jesus would have wanted me to live by following his example. I'm not living my life a certain way so I can get the "reward" of Heaven, but it is a promise in the back of my head. I don't do "good" things because I know that it will better my chances of one day spending eternal life in Heaven- I do it because it's the right thing to do.

I know that the world we live in today is a place full of evil and hatred, but it's also a place full of love and kindness. I think we have to choose how we view the world. There is nothing else to compare our world to, so whether or not it is "good" or "evil" cannot be determined. Personally, I think our world is in a delicate balance, and I think man has done things to upset that balance, and it's man's job to preserve that relationship between humans and Earth.

But I don't think the world will ever be perfect. Maybe it was perfect at one time, when God first created it in his image, but not now. Heaven, on the other hand, IS perfect. It will be wonderful, and I can't even describe it because I have no words. It will be beyond any of our wildest dreams.

I live my life as a Christian today and it enriches my life so much. That's my reward as an Earthly being. As a spirit, my reward will be Heaven, if I am invited to go there.


:?
Okay.... geez Lirit, now I'm confused. I feel like I've gone in circles, and I don't know what I'm getting at... I guess I'm just putting my beliefs and thoughts out there. I don't have any answers, just personal beliefs. And now I'm sitting here questioning myself and wondering about the great beyond and the afterlife! I'll be back later, when I get this sorted out. For now, here are my initial ideas.

~Dot
re: Life or afterlife?
By RedheadGredmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:53 AM
I am not at all religious but I am spiritual. I do believe in an after life and make theories about it. However, I focus more on life than what is coming in the afterlife. I think that reincarnation is very possible and would be what I believe in the most. I don't believe in Hell at all so it is not like I am worried I am going to end up there.

I want to live a really good life. I try to be a good person and experience all the good things I can such as traveling. If I am wrong and reincarnation does not exist I want to live the best life I can.

I love the picture that you posted. My friend has a bumper sticker very close to that the one you posted but the religious symbols and placements are a little different.
re: Life or afterlife?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 01:14 PM
To me, this life is the most important. I want to do everything I can to help as many people as I can. I believe that afterlife is more of an eternal peace, not a heaven and a hell. I think that people are inherently good, and therefore after death, the wordly reasons that make evil people evil disappear and we're all in our purest form. I remember watching an episode of Hercules when I was younger, and it showed the afterlife. It was just people, at their prime, surrounded by their loved ones. To me, that's heaven.

I also 100% do NOT believe in hell.
re: Life or afterlife?
By YouSpinMe14
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 08:54 PM
Wow! Every post on here has made me think so much. Such a deep topic! I think most people agree that this life is more important in some way. After all, this life may determine your afterlife. So at least at the current moment, the life we are living is the most important. I do believe in Heaven and Hell, and so I do believe that the afterlife is important, after all, it's where you spend eternity...unless you believe in reincarnation, but it's still after THIS life. But if you can't do good now, why would you ever do good really? This is the life you were given, so why not live it to the fullest, right? I love my religion very much, and I believe in it whole-heartedly. But contrary to what some people think, I don't do things in my life because my religion says so. I do things in life because I know that that's what I'm supposed to do. I know I didn't really bring much to this discussion, but it was such a great topic!
re: Life or afterlife?
By Puss_in_Bootsmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:40 PM
Edited by Puss_in_Boots (29298) on 2008-07-30 22:40:57
This life, to me, is more important. I believe in reincarnation but the thing is, if you hold the mentality that "oh I can just do all this stuff next time around," you'll probably never going to get it done! I'm here now, and so I'm going to live life how I think it should be lived.

If the afterlife were more important, I know I'd be sitting around thinking, "well... I could go out and do stuff.... or I could just minimise the chances of me screwing up and wait around for the afterlife." As it is, I've always believed that you're on Earth to grow as a person. Perhaps a reward does lie in wait after death, I don't know. But the experience itself is far more enriching than any reward could be - unless, of course, the reward is another life to learn stuff in! :D
re: Life or afterlife?
By VelvetRagamuffinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jul 31, 2008 09:44 AM
For me it is the journey and not the destination. As my good friend Martin Luther said:

Theologian Martin Luther wrote:

This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
re: Life or afterlife?
By lolli_b_1
On Fri Aug 01, 2008 08:48 AM
Hi

Great post and its got me thinking...

I think this life and my journey is more important and don't think of the future as live a day at a time, however, I am not religous but I am spiritual and believe in an afterlife.

I know I may get shot down for this but I believe in Hell on earth and there can only be a better place to go and live eternally in peace when we pass away.

Just my views and hope I do not offend anyone

lorraine x
re: Life or afterlife?
By jazzblaster
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 03:09 PM
Those of you who do not believe in Hell...then were do all of the rapist, murders, liars, thieves and blasphemers go?? Why would the Almighty Lord allow them into His Kingdom along side his true followers of His word?

You question an afterlife? The TRUTH is all in the Bible. (Rev 21: 1-4) If you are not in the Holy bible and reading what is says on a daily basis then you have no true knowledge of this topic of afterlife. Those who do not know the truth will suffer for lack of knowledge. IT clearly states in the Holy Bible that there is an afterlife and a Judgement Day(Rev.20:11-15) WILL come to ALL who have been on this earth. There is Heaven and Hell and the book of Revelation is being played out in this day and age of 2008. If you think otherwise, you are being mislead by demons who appear as "Angels of Light". Good works alone do not place place you in Heaven. You must serve God and OBEY his commandments.

Someone paid a price for each and everyone of us. (John 3;16) The ONLY way to get to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Then you MUST REPENT (turn away of your selfish ways)of your sins and put all of your Faith in God.(2 Corinthians 13:5) Then you will have Eternal Life after this one.
Doing things your own way and for what is only good in your own eyes is worldly and everything that is "worldly" is not of God...which means it is opposite of God and that is Satanic.

I pray each and everyone of you who are reading this blog will seriously consider your Salvation! Nothing is more important than your salvation! IF you knew you had 3 minutes to live, why not call out to God and ask Him for forgiveness of all your transgressions? The other end of Heaven is Hell (lake of fire and gnashing of teeth for eternity?) Why would any of you take a risk with your salvation and turn you back on your Creator?

God lead me to this website tonight to give you this message...each and everyone of you have a purpose of HIS will. Please Please Please open up the bible and read the truth. God Bless you!
re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 3)
By Liritmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 05:50 PM
Edited by Lirit (28370) on 2008-08-02 17:51:45
Edited by Lirit (28370) on 2008-08-02 18:04:52
^^As much as I appreciate any contribution which adds to the discussion, the fire and brimstone spiel doesn't really answer any of the questions I posed.

I mean, okay, so we get that you believe in hell. And so therefore is it safe to assume that not going to hell is your foremost reason for being faithful? That's certainly the way you've presented yourself, in any case, in which point I would like a bit more input than just "and if you disagree you're going to hell!" After all, in Isaiah 56:7, it says My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

And please, do clarify. When you say, "You must serve God and OBEY his commandments," are you referring to all 613 of them? Oh, wait. My bad. I forgot. You're a nay-sayer who believes your way is the right way and therefore it's the only way. The 613 obligations set forth for us in the Old Testament don't matter anymore unless certain religious leaders tell us otherwise. Because Jesus died on the cross so we can eat shrimp and wear polyester but homosexuality is still bad.

It may be worth noting that your Bible is not the same as everyone else's. That alone is evidence enough that no truth is absolute. If your path is what works for you and keeps you a good and honest person, terrific. That does not give you the right to tell anyone else that their religious path is wrong. Believing it is one thing, but preaching it is quite another. This was meant to be a theological discussion, not a soapbox. Please respect that from here on out.
re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 4)
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 06:27 PM
This is an interesting discussion. For me, the here and now is more important than anything that will come after. I like Caleb's contribution, that the journey is more important than the destination. My achievements today and tomorrow and tomorrow are far more important to me than what will happen to me when I shuffle off this mortal coil. I want to leave something of myself on this planet.

I am not sure what happens to us when we die, but my belief as a pagan is that when we die is something along the lines of Einstein's discoveries about matter and energy: "Matter and energy cannot be destroyed, only changed in form. Matter and energy were never created: they have always existed, exist now, and always will exist."

We die, and the matter of our bodies is buried and breaks down, or is cremated thus changes it's form also. The energy, the spark that makes us "US", changes...returns to whence it came. I personally believe that our energy returns to the aether, that we become the winds the blow, and the sun that shines, and the energy that acts on the oceans and tides, and so on. There is no "eternal reward" for me, because I do not remain the person I am after I die. My body will be cremated and my ashes scattered, and the energy that gives me life will scatter back into the universe.
When my Mum died and people told me she'd always be with me, I found it hard to reconcile that with the idea that she was in heaven. How could she be in heaven and be with me at the same time? But believing that she's the morning sun, and the evening sunset, and that humid summer electrical storm and the rainbow that follows brings her closer to me than "heaven" ever did.

Energy can only be changed in form.

So everything I do on this planet, in this life is important. It's important to me that I leave something to be remembered by. Years ago I always said I didn't want to do anything unless it was going to make me laugh. I still stand by that. We're here for a short time, and as far as I know, we only get one shot at it, so I'm definitely living for today.

Erin.
::righteous babe::
re: Life or afterlife?
By jazzblaster
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 06:34 PM
Edited by jazzblaster (111926) on 2008-08-02 18:36:46
Edited by jazzblaster (111926) on 2008-08-02 18:38:09
Lirit,
613 instructions....10 commandments...and another one added to Love each other.
I TRY my best to live by both OT and NT, I know where you are coming from. Judge me all you want, I will not argue with you. So the brim stone speil you think I gave is not from out of my mouth but out of scripture. Don't shoot the messenger... Just shedding the light on something that makes us all squirm. You posted a controversial topic and didn't like my response, what did you expect? The scriptures command us to go out and speak to all the nations about God.
To answer your question...I love my relationship with God and my actions done here and now activate all the blessings in my life. Setting a Godly example is extremely important and we should all examine how we live and align ourselves up with God. What is done on earth will be done in Heaven.
I lived my life w/out God and it got me nowhere. I'm only passing on the information to have everyone think more about the way we all live our life and what is to come in the afterlife.
re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 4)
By VelvetRagamuffinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 07:04 PM
Edited by VelvetRagamuffin (78248) on 2008-08-02 19:59:52 Finished eating dinner!
jazzblaster wrote:

Lirit,
613 instructions....10 commandments...and another one added to Love each other.
I TRY my best to live by both OT and NT, I know where you are coming from. Judge me all you want, I will not argue with you. So the brim stone speil you think I gave is not from out of my mouth but out of scripture. Don't shoot the messenger... Just shedding the light on something that makes us all squirm. You posted a controversial topic and didn't like my response, what did you expect? The scriptures command us to go out and speak to all the nations about God.
To answer your question...I love my relationship with God and my actions done here and now activate all the blessings in my life. Setting a Godly example is extremely important and we should all examine how we live and align ourselves up with God. What is done on earth will be done in Heaven.
I lived my life w/out God and it got me nowhere. I'm only passing on the information to have everyone think more about the way we all live our life and what is to come in the afterlife.


Where have you been judged or persecuted? Granted, Jenny may have been a bit harsh when she called you a naysayer, but as a Reformed Jew, I think she has a right to be offended when a Christian who claims to know the entire will of God completely disregards the Old Testament laws, even the dietary ones (granted, I'm a Christian who loves prosciutto as much as the next Italian).

Going beyond that, I think Jenny was very respectful of your views, as (frankly) degrading as they are. As she said, you didn't provide an answer to her question. Her question was not "what happens when you die," it was "which is more important to you." Her analysis was a genuine attempt to discover what you were trying to say between your hateful words and I think she did a fabulous job.

In terms of your views, I think you tend to be spot on with your soteriology. I strongly believe in Redemption Theology through the sacrifice on the cross. I do, however, question your methodologies for evangelism. If God did not give us a spirit of fear, why then should we give one to other people to make sure they are saved? Some of us (myself included) did not come to Christianity because we were terrified of what would happen when we died but rather through study, reflection, and gratitude to Jesus for what he did for us. I think fire-and-brimstone preaching has a place (some here will be amazed I just said that), but don't you think it should be used in the context of seasoned Christians who need a sort of revival or boost? We don't bring people to God by berating them for making the wrong choices; we bring them to God by showing how God will take them REGARDLESS of their wrong choices. God doesn't expect us to be perfect before we become Christian; it defeats the whole purpose. It's like washing your car before you take it to a detailer. It makes the detail job worthless since the car is already clean.

And you're right, The Scriptures DO command us to tell the nations about God. Personally, I would rather want to listen about a loving and just God rather than one who blindly sends people to Hell.

I'll come back and write more later, dinner just arrived.




Okay, I'm back from dinner.

Anyway, as Christians, we are to boldly proclaim the Divine Love of God. Some of our theology is "unpopular" with people of other and/or no religions. What I don't understand is your whole "don't shoot the messenger" attitude. Even though I fundamentally disagree with a lot of things you said, I think that you should say it with direction and conviction. Moses didn't say "don't shoot the messenger." Jesus didn't say "don't shoot the messenger." None of the prophets said "don't shoot the messenger." Paul didn't say "don't shoot the messenger." Why then, as a Christian who is obviously convinced her way is absolutely right, would you hide behind that facade that is the equivalent of "no offense, but. . ."?

And remember, as Anne Lamott says:

Anne Lamott wrote:

You can safely assume you create God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 2)
By NadiaLadidamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 02, 2008 08:49 PM
Edited by NadiaLadida (116697) on 2008-08-02 20:50:41 mark-up foul-up
Those of you who do not believe in Hell...then were do all of the rapist, murders, liars, thieves and blasphemers go??


I will start addressing Lirit's original intent behind this thread by taking on this question.

I don't believe in hell in the Biblical sense. Rapists, thieves, murderers, et al. bring suffering about as a result of their own suffering. Each human being's true BEING is a spark of the divine which we collectively share with each other, not separate from 'God'. Those who do 'evil' are acting out of the insanity which arises from our perceived separation from what most people term as 'God', however this separation is but an illusion. So, the idea would be to remove the veils which separate us from the divine rather than punish.

It's hard to explain in a small post, but let me attempt. It's late, DDN ate my first post, and my arm hurts.

So, let's say that 'God' is sort of like the sun, and individual souls are akin to rays of this sun. We are all functioning together as one organism. We cannot remove ourselves from our source, and darkness is not the opposite of the sun, it's the absence. So, if rays are obscured by clouds, it isn't dark because the light has ceased to exist, but because the ray is obscured. The sun is still shining as brightly as ever, rays intact.

People who commit atrocities are unaware of their divine connection to the source, and to each other. So, compassion, forgiveness, and lovingkindness are what we must try and act with - cultivating this degree of compassion is our ticket - and their ticket - out of hell. The hell I am referring to, is the confused state of separation and suffering which leads us to such terrible thoughts and deeds.

You see, I don't believe that past or future exist. Now is the only time which exists, we only experience time as time, because we are collectively participating in this illusion which we call 'life' as perceived by the mind - the mind itself being an illusion.

Basically, the illusion ends when we all can get on board. Meaning, we realize non-dualism beyond a theory or concept and as the only reality. There is not you, me, past, future, before, after...only BEING. When this realization is experienced by all, there is no need to continue the illusion of the physical world, suffering, thought, pain, sexual pleasure, hunger, satisfaction, etc. All will return to the source and deny separation from 'God' and each other.

Therefore, afterlife does not exist in reality, only this present moment.

However, beings are reincarnated back into flesh until the separation is healed. One cannot reach 'Heaven' 'Nirvana', whatever you would like to call it, until ALL are enlightened. Because every being is the other. This is why I am going to take my Bodhisattva vow, and make my aim throughout my many lifetimes to assist all sentient beings in reaching enlightenment.

So, in response to "Life or Afterlife?" my answer is, "Yes".

In response to jazzblaster,

I could itemize your posts, pick them apart, and point out all of the things I disagree with, but I'm not sure what good it would do other than anger you, which is not my intention. Please do realize, though, that many of us who are not Christians do think about how we live our lives, about salvation, about 'God', and are doing so in a genuine and loving spirit.

I'd like to also remark that it doesn't make me 'squirm'. :)

In reference to the original comment about rapists and murderers, I leave you with a poem:

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.


Thich Nhat Hanh

I'd also like to link to a couple of videos I posted on another thread - probably the one which inspired Lirit to start this thread - of an interview with Deepak Chopra. He explains very well some of the concepts I outlined above. Please excuse the redundancy.

Pt.1

Pt.2

Pt.3

Have a beautiful evening.
re: Life or afterlife?
By Puss_in_Bootsmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 03, 2008 01:28 AM
jazzblaster wrote:

Those of you who do not believe in Hell...then were do all of the rapist, murders, liars, thieves and blasphemers go??

Well I would love to think that karma kicks them in the butt, whether it be this time or in a future life. Sometimes people have to learn the hard way... but the idea of damning a soul to eternal torment for making a mistake, no matter how heinous, seems strange to me. Say my (hypothetical) son slapped his (also hypothetical) sister and made her cry. Would you have me smack him over, and over, and over, and keep him locked in his room for the rest of his life? How could that possibly be justified when a tiny punishment may just be enough for him to learn his lesson? Would you say that hurting somebody else in his childhood will ensure that he could never, ever grow up to be a respectful and compassionate man?

That is how I see it. We start out as children, and each life is an opportunity to learn and grow as much as we can (loving that Martin Luther quote, Caleb!). For each blow we deal to others, a blow is dealt back to us. The intention is not punishment; rather, we feel for ourselves the hurt we caused that other party and learn from that. To condemn he who makes a mistake is to encourage resentment and self-hatred. Why encourage the growth of such negativity when patience and kindness can produce something better?

I find it interesting that you place liars in with rapists and murderers. Yes, I am well aware that in the eyes of your God, all sins are equal. However, I do have to ask if you have ever lied. I know that I have lied (as much as I hate it, I still find myself doing it), and everybody else I know has done so as well. I think Hell's going to be a pretty crowded place if liars are headed straight for there...

Like NadiaLadida, I'm not squirming either. I was never quite able to wrap my head around it as a Christian child, and now that I'm older, it still doesn't make any sense to me. It doesn't scare me, though. It just confuses me.

jazzblaster wrote:

I lived my life w/out God and it got me nowhere. I'm only passing on the information to have everyone think more about the way we all live our life and what is to come in the afterlife.

I understand that for you, God is an important part of your life, and I have met plenty of people over the years who maintain the same thing. I respect that; how can I judge something I don't know all the details about? However, religion did nothing for me, no matter how much I threw myself into it, and it was only when I stepped away from it that I truly began to examine my beliefs and actions. It saddens me that you believe that devout Christians are the only ones who do this, and I hope that you still stick around on this board to meet us non-Christians who are very much into discussing these sorts of topics. :)

As for the afterlife? We all have our ideas on what it contains... but it would be arrogant of us to presume that we held the one and only truth. I respect that what you have read in the Bible is something that really spoke out to you. However, there other people who have different ideas, and unless you have actually been to the afterlife and experienced it in a tangible way, I don't see how you can sit there and tell us that we are wrong. I think the mistake that a lot of people make is that they forget that we are all capable of the same feelings, and I presume this is simply out of naivety. So, the argument "I feel it in my heart" doesn't wash with me, because I get that same feeling from different ideas. I personally find it interesting, discovering what different ideas people have!

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re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 1)
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 03, 2008 06:30 PM
Lirit's question is a very interesting one! I just wanted to say that as a born-again Christian I have never once believed that God sends people to hell for their sins. Whether you believe that hell is a literal place, a state of mind, or, as I do, a state of existence that encompasses a complete absence of life, my understanding of what the Bible says about it is that hell is the destination for those in rebellion against God - meaning those who reject Him. To believe that one could be sent to hell for being a sinner is to make moot Jesus' redemptive actions on the Cross. You can sin and sin and sin all your life and still find forgiveness from God at your very last breath if you call to Him. At that point all is wiped clean. It doesn't matter if you are a rapist, murderer, etc. Hell is not reserved for sins that are deemed worse than others. All sins are equal when compared to the perfection of God. To be "saved"* just means that you are primarily forgiven for being separated from God by your own choices, you are freed from the self-made bondage that results from those choices. You do this by acknowledging that God made a way for you to come home. I am "saved" when I understand and acknowledge that Jesus demonstrated through His Passion Play, in dying and rising, that He is the source of Life, that His selfless example of how to live for others is the "Perfect Example". When I realize the import of His awesome act I lay down my ego and pride and know that I need this Life in me, that I need His Love, that I understand He is my Creator and has my best interests at heart. So to be "sent to hell" to me means that I have chosen (I decide, I have free will) to reject all of this and to stand outside in the rain where it is cold and dark. If God is Life, then hell is absence of Life. I have no problem with Biblical language that describes hell as fiery pits of torture because that certainly is one way of describing the opposite of a man's soul united to God that is Biblically described as between bride and bridegroom - orgasmic bliss of completion.

So, to address Lirit's topic in the context of this belief system of mine: I did not become religious because I was concerned about how I would fare in the afterlife. The joy I feel as I walk with the Lord here on Earth is completely awesome in itself and I searched for God on the basis of wanting that Earthly joy, not because I was scared into heaven. While I love the idea that heaven awaits me and I will be in complete and loving wedded union with my Creator, it is so far outside my ability to comprehend what that will be like that I do not meditate upon it too much and spend more of my days concerned with the here and now. I wish for the joy in my life to point others to His Life - to choose if they wish - I'd rather focus on that.

:)

\o/

*If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 ISV
re: Life or afterlife?
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Mon Aug 04, 2008 08:33 PM
Could a really close look at past lives help you understand afterlife?
www.dance.net . . .
re: Life or afterlife?
By MrsFinnigan
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:06 AM
Lirit wrote:

It may be worth noting that your Bible is not the same as everyone else's. That alone is evidence enough that no truth is absolute.


Isn't that an absolute? If it is, it isn't true, and if not, it's not absolute.

I believe that the truth is absolute. It's people's various spins on it that aren't.

As for me, I believe in Heaven and Hell. God being compared to a refiner's fire and all that, Hell is for the people who prefer to spend eternity clinging to their slag, their sinful habits and attitudes, rather than spend eternity free, pure, and with God.

I believe the rewards of the afterlife are more important precisely because of their eternal and incorruptible natures, something lacking in worldly rewards.

I don't believe this world is perfect, though it may once have been. Even if it were, the fact remains that this world is not eternal. As my banker would say, we gain more from long term investments, and Jesus said that the heavenly treasures are more worthwhile.

I also personally think that the "inherent goodness" of humanity is a pipe dream entertained by people who have never been soldiers, police officers, disaster relief workers, telemarketers, basically people who deal day in and day out with human nature at its best... and its worst. People are not inherently good. We are whatever we choose to be. Being good often takes a lot of patience and hard work, often for little to no payback while being selfish, rude, or even outright evil takes considerably less effort and can have immediate results.

All that being said, I do believe that this life is still more important, but only because it's our one chance to decide whether we'll spend eternity with God or with our sinful natures, and once it's done, there are no do-overs.
re: Life or afterlife?
By NadiaLadidamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 01:09 PM
Edited by NadiaLadida (116697) on 2008-08-05 13:11:09
Edited by NadiaLadida (116697) on 2008-08-05 13:16:36 added a bit
I also personally think that the "inherent goodness" of humanity is a pipe dream entertained by people who have never been soldiers, police officers, disaster relief workers, telemarketers, basically people who deal day in and day out with human nature at its best... and its worst.


But anyway, I disagree. I am no dewy-eyed optimist. I have seen human nature at its worst when I worked with adult and child victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, but I hold fast to the theory of inherent goodness existing at our core being, as do many many people who deal with crisis on a day-to-day basis. In fact, I would challenge that dealing with these extreme opposing forces would increase the believability of inherent goodness if one's eyes are truly open, blinders of dualism cast off. I'd like to add that I am only using the term 'good' here for the sake of the discussion, as the term 'good' demonstrates yet more dualism.

People are not inherently good. We are whatever we choose to be. Being good often takes a lot of patience and hard work, often for little to no payback while being selfish, rude, or even outright evil takes considerably less effort and can have immediate results.


But isn't that the work associated with being a part of the human condition? Whittling away at the selfishness of the ego and walls of defense we acquire through suffering to uncover divine potential? With the theory of inherent goodness comes just as much work as what you are describing. Before a child is born into the world, he/she is pure potential and it is not until the environment starts shaping his/her mind that ego begins to develop, along with all of the accompanying problems. Our inherent nature is to reach out for love, and reach out IN love. We know nothing else until we are taught otherwise, unfortunately, this world is expert at teaching suffering and the downward spiral begins.

I'm going to get cheezy here and quote Jewel:

I have this theory that if we're told we're bad
Then that's the only idea we'll ever have
But maybe if we are surrounded in beauty
Someday we will become what we see
'Cause anyone can start a conflict
it's harder yet to disregard it
I'd rather see the world from another angle
We are everyday angels
Be careful with me 'cause I'd like to stay that way



I suggest you watch this trailer for the movie The Dhamma Brothers. It is a great example of what is happening in the prison systems today among inmates who are instructed in basic Buddhist teachings.

Miracles extend beyond turning water to wine. The true miracle is realizing your actual BEing.
re: Life or afterlife?
By NadiaLadidamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 03:27 PM
^

Oh, and disregard the 'but anyway' at the top of my post. I edited something and now the statement is irrelevant and comes off as cheeky when out of context. Sorry 'bout that.
re: Life or afterlife?
By Liritmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 08:36 PM
MrsFinnigan wrote:

Isn't that an absolute? If it is, it isn't true, and if not, it's not absolute.


That was pretty well my point. It's a process of thought that's always kept me entertained and curious, because if you follow it's circular logic you realize you end up with more questions than there are answers to. It's meant to keep you on your toes.
re: Life or afterlife?
By VelvetRagamuffinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:15 PM
Lirit wrote:

That was pretty well my point. It's a process of thought that's always kept me entertained and curious, because if you follow it's circular logic you realize you end up with more questions than there are answers to. It's meant to keep you on your toes.


The Bible is the inerrant Word of God because the Bible says it is the inerrant Word of God.
re: Life or afterlife?
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Wed Aug 06, 2008 05:39 AM
VelvetRagamuffin wrote
The Bible is the inerrant Word of God because the Bible says it is the inerrant Word of God.

Let's put that much faith in everyone's writings!

Tongue in cheek, of course, but what is true for you is what you have observed for yourself, and when you lose that, you have lost everything.
re: Life or afterlife? (karma: 1)
By VelvetRagamuffinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Aug 06, 2008 02:54 PM
madmilt wrote:

Tongue in cheek, of course, but what is true for you is what you have observed for yourself, and when you lose that, you have lost everything.



Image hotlink - 'http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/b/bf/Lolwutpear.jpg'
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