Is there an afterlife? (Civility please?)


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Sissyl wrote:
Marcus Cole wrote:
I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

This same show also flat out stated that: Ivanova is always right. We will listen to Ivanova. We will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.

God wrote:
No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.


RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

For human beings, that might be valid, but only because we are able to chose.

Generally, the meaning of life is the continuation of itself. Living beings do so by passing on their genetic material.

You want to live on? Have kids.

Silver Crusade

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Fabius Maximus wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

For human beings, that might be valid, but only because we are able to chose.

Generally, the meaning of life is the continuation of itself. Living beings do so by passing on their genetic material.

You want to live on? Have kids.

There's other ways to be remembered besides procreating.


RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

Silver Crusade

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Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

How is that in disagreement with what RadiantSophia said? If you set yourself out to learn and prepare and aid the future generations then that is the meaning you have given yourself.


Trigger Loaded wrote:


Just as Razcar cannot accept the concept of an afterlife, I cannot accept that.

Cool. It irks me when either people not believing in an afterlife try to convince believers they're wrong (often using science) or vice versa (often using science as well, or religious texts in some cases, which is a hilariously circular way of thinking). I think for some people their "knowing" is so deeply seated it's almost like an inherent inclination, or instinct even. (Which means throwing arguments at these people ((like myself)) doesn't really lead anywhere.)

So even though I tell myself I base my non-belief on fields like physics, psychology, anthropology, history, and so on, it's actually more a feeling. I suppose it might be the same for some afterlife believers. A belief just "clicks" with you.

There's been studies on religiosity performed on that group of poor twins separated at birth by adaption (I hope they get paid for all the surveys they're asked to take). These twins are of course a gold mine for research about nurture or nature. The surveys performed in the US, UK, the Netherlands and Australia found a 40 to 50 percent heritability of spirituality. Maybe that's what at play. Maybe my deep non-belief is in my genes/not in my genes.


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Maybe. To be honest I'm waiting for the zombies apocalypse to happen so I can ask a returnee about it.


Rysky wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

For human beings, that might be valid, but only because we are able to chose.

Generally, the meaning of life is the continuation of itself. Living beings do so by passing on their genetic material.

You want to live on? Have kids.

There's other ways to be remembered besides procreating.

Of course. However, they do not involve passing on the stuff of which you are made.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Fabius Maximus wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Fabius Maximus wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

For human beings, that might be valid, but only because we are able to chose.

Generally, the meaning of life is the continuation of itself. Living beings do so by passing on their genetic material.

You want to live on? Have kids.

There's other ways to be remembered besides procreating.
Of course. However, they do not involve passing on the stuff of which you are made.

Not something that's ever really appealed to me.


Razcar wrote:


There's been studies on religiosity performed on that group of poor twins separated at birth by adaption (I hope they get paid for all the surveys they're asked to take). These twins are of course a gold mine for research about nurture or nature. The surveys performed in the US, UK, the Netherlands and Australia found a 40 to 50 percent heritability of spirituality. Maybe that's what at play. Maybe my deep non-belief is in my genes/not in my genes.

The prevalence of having the God gene seems to be about 25%, according to the studies that have checked. It is no surprise that religion is a powerful force.

But... is the reason for the rest of the more than 90% who are religious then that being so is convenient?


Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

interesting. Very interesting.


Aranna wrote:

The meaning of life is to learn.

Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

And this, of course, brings up some other interesting ideas.

When you think about it, we're basically a brain piloting a meatsuit - but despite our point of view being in our eyes, everything we sense and experience is something interpreted by the brain. If we were in a perfect illusion - all of our senses fed data in real-time - there'd be no way for us to truly know. (In fact, that's one theory - that reality is essentially a collective illusion the soul is given, which stops individually when we 'die'.)

Since there's no real way to know if things are an illusion or not... all you can really do is decide what you're going to do regardless of the truth. Of course, illusion or not, I stand by what I said before - that our choices do matter, as does the way we've lived our lives. What I'd like in life is to be able to do the best I can in the framework I've been given - future benefits or troubles (or nonexistence) don't undermine the fact that doing good now still has meaning. I like doing good because it's good - not to stand up to an impartial existence that's going to snuff me out, or to earn rewards in an afterlife, or to be noticed by others and complimented in the here and now.

Or, to put it another way, it's a bit like cheering for a sports team that's not getting into the playoffs, but is still doing their best on the field. Maybe you can't influence things very much, and maybe it won't matter for scores and records in the long run, but you can bet the people playing appreciate that fans still care about them.

We can't definitively prove or disprove an afterlife. We can't even prove that reality actually exists in a form similar to the way we experience it - at a certain point, truth is impossible to acquire, and anything beyond that is faith. However much we learn, there's always something that's going to be beyond us - and that's okay. If you do the best you can with your life, then honestly, I think that's enough to be content with.


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Clearly we're all playing "Roy: The MMO".


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thejeff wrote:
Wouldn't give me much peace of mind to find out when I die that we're all characters in a overelaborate version of The Sims. :)

You know... that would explain that time I was swimming and then the pool ladder disappeared and I couldn't get out and I had to swim around for hours until it reappeared in a totally different part of the pool...


Freehold DM wrote:
Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

interesting. Very interesting.

I don't mean this as an attack or to be snarky, but I wonder how "We learn... ALL the things!" can square with humanity getting exiled from Eden... for kicking off the start of learning?


Who says it has to square with one belief from one of a multitude of religions?

Christianity isn't even the biggest religion in the world.


Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
I don't mean this as an attack or to be snarky, but I wonder how "We learn... ALL the things!" can square with humanity getting exiled from Eden... for kicking off the start of learning?

Well, technically, Christian belief is that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wasn't knowledge in general that was a problem, but rather morality and imperfection.

...Of course, we're also pretty sure that this was the plan the whole time. So, uh, there's that. XD But those last four words are often forgotten when the tree in question is being discussed.

(...And for anybody who asks, no, I do not definitively believe beyond any doubt that it was an actual magic tree. A fair bit of the Bible gives lessons through stories, and it's quite possible that "tree" is a reference to something else entirely.)


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Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

interesting. Very interesting.
I don't mean this as an attack or to be snarky, but I wonder how "We learn... ALL the things!" can square with humanity getting exiled from Eden... for kicking off the start of learning?

Exactly!

You see, God didn't what any competition and that's why our progenitors got kicked out of Eden. If we got too smart we'd figure out how the Big Cheese himself pulled off that whole "Light there be Light" thing and totally steal his thunder.

God's a tricky fella, I tell ya.


Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

interesting. Very interesting.
I don't mean this as an attack or to be snarky, but I wonder how "We learn... ALL the things!" can square with humanity getting exiled from Eden... for kicking off the start of learning?

We passed the first test and were sent out to learn more for ourselves?

Though technically the Bible does tell us why they were kicked out:

Quote:
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."


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Yeah, about that... God sure planned the whole garden well. With the tree of life that humans were not allowed to eat from INSIDE the garden.


All I know is I'm still miffed about some of you making my paladin afterlife into a posting fest. :p ;)


Rednal wrote:
Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
I don't mean this as an attack or to be snarky, but I wonder how "We learn... ALL the things!" can square with humanity getting exiled from Eden... for kicking off the start of learning?

Well, technically, Christian belief is that Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wasn't knowledge in general that was a problem, but rather morality and imperfection.

...Of course, we're also pretty sure that this was the plan the whole time. So, uh, there's that. XD But those last four words are often forgotten when the tree in question is being discussed.

(...And for anybody who asks, no, I do not definitively believe beyond any doubt that it was an actual magic tree. A fair bit of the Bible gives lessons through stories, and it's quite possible that "tree" is a reference to something else entirely.)

As near as I've learned this is actually a common misconception based on some popular and widespread mistranslations of the bible.

A lot of scholars agree that the way it is written is more correctly read as "The knowledge between good and evil", which COULD be interpreted that they now know the difference between right and wrong (hence shame at their nakedness) but another popular interpretation is that it means they learned everything between good and evil (i.e. EVERYTHING).


Based on context and later events, I suspect they did not, in fact, learn everything. XD


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Sissyl wrote:
Yeah, about that... God sure planned the whole garden well. With the tree of life that humans were not allowed to eat from INSIDE the garden.

Well, God had only been a parent for a week, so He hadn't had a chance to childproof it yet.


*Shrugs*

Regardless, a lot of biblical and Hebrew scholars agree on that. Apparently the bible is written very commonly with "merisms" in mind.

Which is interesting if you look at a lot of other culture's myths and legends (like Irish myth) where a lot of emphasis is placed on the subject of the story exploiting exact wording to get what they want (like tricking another god out of his house forever by asking if he can borrow it "For [a] night and [a] day", exploiting the fact that gaelic has no distinction between those two wordings), and everything is usually meant to be absolutely literal.

In Christianity, "God created heaven and earth" means he created that and everything in between.

In a lot of other creation myths that would be absolutely literal, and some other deity filled in the gaps in between or beyond (like one god creating the sea to fill the earth and another the plants and animals to populate it).


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quibblemuch wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Wouldn't give me much peace of mind to find out when I die that we're all characters in a overelaborate version of The Sims. :)
You know... that would explain that time I was swimming and then the pool ladder disappeared and I couldn't get out and I had to swim around for hours until it reappeared in a totally different part of the pool...

I knew I shouldn't had deleted my earlier "Cask of Amontillado" joke.

Project Manager

Sundakan wrote:
A lot of scholars agree that the way it is written is more correctly read as "The knowledge between good and evil", which COULD be interpreted that they now know the difference between right and wrong (hence shame at their nakedness) but another popular interpretation is that it means they learned everything between good and evil (i.e. EVERYTHING).

It's not even that clear. It's "know good and bad." רַע means anything from "malice" to "unpleasantness." That is, it can mean both intentional evil, and non-intentional suffering.

You could just as easily read it simply as as eating the fruit causes them to experience both good things and bad things. Which, to be clear, it does: it sets off a chain of events that both brings them sorrow and suffering -- they get tossed out of the garden, one of their children murders the other, etc. -- and good things: they start a family, they build, they create.


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Sundakan wrote:
A lot of scholars agree that the way it is written is more correctly read as "The knowledge between good and evil", which COULD be interpreted that they now know the difference between right and wrong (hence shame at their nakedness)

The parenthetical aside seems like a total non-sequitor. Outside of cultural standards that seem firmly rooted in enforcement of caste/status, how is being naked "wrong," unless it causes you to freeze to death or die of sunburn? Or is the creation and enforcement of an artificial social hierarchy somehow objectively "good"?


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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Wouldn't give me much peace of mind to find out when I die that we're all characters in a overelaborate version of The Sims. :)
You know... that would explain that time I was swimming and then the pool ladder disappeared and I couldn't get out and I had to swim around for hours until it reappeared in a totally different part of the pool...
I knew I shouldn't had deleted my earlier "Cask of Amontillado" joke.

More evidence: About 85% of everything I hear or read sounds like Simlish these days... and that ratio is climbing steadily.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
A lot of scholars agree that the way it is written is more correctly read as "The knowledge between good and evil", which COULD be interpreted that they now know the difference between right and wrong (hence shame at their nakedness)
The parenthetical aside seems like a total non-sequitor. Outside of cultural standards that seem firmly rooted in enforcement of caste/status, how is being naked "wrong," unless it causes you to freeze to death or die of sunburn? Or is the creation and enforcement of an artificial social hierarchy somehow objectively "good"?

From the perspective of the religion and culture it spawned, yes, nakedness is an undesirable and shameful condition.

That was one of the examples given in the text, in any case, so that is clearly the belief of the writer.


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quibblemuch wrote:
More evidence: About 85% of everything I hear or read sounds like Simlish these days... and that ratio is climbing steadily.

Spoiler:
Hopefully that will act as a nam-shub inoculating you from catching the Trumpypool virus going around.

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Non-Sequitariat wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
More evidence: About 85% of everything I hear or read sounds like Simlish these days... and that ratio is climbing steadily.
** spoiler omitted **

Inshallah.


Sissyl wrote:

The prevalence of having the God gene seems to be about 25%, according to the studies that have checked. It is no surprise that religion is a powerful force.

But... is the reason for the rest of the more than 90% who are religious then that being so is convenient?

I would guess a lot of it is cultural. Why go against the stream? Also, a majority of the world's population have a low education - 750 million are even illiterate - and lower education equals higher religiosity. And for the educated, saying that there's no afterlife might be quite a bleak prospect for many that are capable of envisioning an ever-after for themselves - just look in this thread.

But this seems to be changing worldwide. So for that 90%, I don't think that's accurate anymore. According to the Gallup International Survey (+50 000 people in 57 countries), in 2012 59% said they think of themselves as religious, 23% think of themselves as not religious, and 13% think of themselves as convinced atheists. Religiosity dropped by 9%, while atheism rose by 3% between 2005 and 2012.

As for the USA, a religious country, 18% now state "no religion", a number which has slowly increased since the fifties, and now have almost doubled in the last 10 years. That's a strong trend. But we'll see if the God gene theory is correct, because then the decline should peter out around 25% then :-)

A big caveat - you could of course believe in an afterlife while stating "no religion" in a survey. I'm sure many have their own notions that don't fit into any of the world's big four prefabs.

Linky-linkies:
Win-Gallup survey about religion, need to to download the PDF.
Gallup's page.


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Thank you. Interesting data. Perhaps hopeful, depending on those red button issues above.


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Pascals wager only works when you have reason to conclude a deity that cares about your belief in it. Absent that, for all you know the deity could punish you for believing in it.

"you..what.. what are you doing in my afterlife? ARRRRGH! not another one!" *7th dimensional tentacle objection*


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Pascals wager only works when you have reason to conclude a deity that cares about your belief in it. Absent that, for all you know the deity could punish you for believing in it.

"you..what.. what are you doing in my afterlife? ARRRRGH! not another one!" *7th dimensional tentacle objection*

Hey! Good to meet a fellow true believer on the boards!


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Pascals wager only works when you have reason to conclude a deity that cares about your belief in it. Absent that, for all you know the deity could punish you for believing in it.

"you..what.. what are you doing in my afterlife? ARRRRGH! not another one!" *7th dimensional tentacle objection*

That's like an even meaner Roko's basilisk, and it's a nifty idea for a rogue Protean Lord.


Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

You disagree, and then you give a meaning? The only difference here is that you expect everyone else to agree to YOUR meaning.


I think Monty Python sings about the meaning of life...


RadiantSophia wrote:
Aranna wrote:
RadiantSophia wrote:
The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

I disagree completely.

The meaning of life is to learn.
Every generation builds knowledge and uses that knowledge to give the next generation a boost. Exchanging ideas on a global electronic forum is just the latest boost, we will learn more. It IS what life strives to do. It IS what gives it meaning. We learn how to be moral and improve cooperation, We learn how to build better and better tools and improve productivity, We learn... ALL the things!

You disagree, and then you give a meaning? The only difference here is that you expect everyone else to agree to YOUR meaning.

Yes. In a broad sense our personal meanings don't matter. If you are looking at the meaning of life you have to look at the species as a whole across all time.


Why is that? Not trying to be snarky here. It just seems to me that the interests of our species, while obviously important regarding procreation and such, is not much of a priority to most people. And if the idea is knowledge, endlessly extended copyright should never have begun, right?


BlackOuroboros wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I do not believe in an afterlife as I do not see any evidence to support its existence. That said, if given an option I would prefer there to not be an afterlife; eternity is an incalculable amount of time. A googleplex raised to the power of a googleplex in millenia is as a grain of sand compared to the entirety of the whole universe. That is far, far longer then I care to exist for even if that existance is blissful.

Agreed on the first part. But if I could somehow get an afterlife in which I get to keep my mental capabilities (including memories) and a usable set of perceptive and motor capabilities, eternity would buy me time to solve my other problems, even if the time needed to solve them was unimaginably long.

And then what? Remember, we are talking about eternity here. You are going to run out of problems before you run out of time by definition because problems are a finite quantity.

That sounds like a problem to me. Fortunately, I would have an eternity to solve it.


And that's the path many immortals follow to its logical conclusion: There are no more problems to solve, therefore let me make more so I can solve them.


^Except running out of problems isn't a problem I made. Somebody could decide to create problems for themselves to solve, but that isn't obligatory.

Also, if I really managed to run out of problems, time to celebrate!


Aranna wrote:
Hama wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Hama wrote:
Aranna wrote:

Is there an afterlife? Yes.

It is accepted as truth that there is one if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and even every Pagan religion if I am not mistaken.

So if you believe then yes.

Believing in something doesn't make it true. Proof does. Conclusive, repeatable, empirical proof.

So things that aren't proven aren't actually true? They only become true when proven? Weird.

I'd always assumed there was an actual truth out there and our attempts at proving things were just trying to decipher what it was.

No, just that without proof, we don't know. And belief is a poor substitute for knowledge.
Even you operate on a set of beliefs NOT truths. Most of what you know was told to you by a person, book, or media propaganda outlet. And all of that knowledge wasn't something you would or even could go out and prove. So you either believed or didn't without any first hand proof.

The word "belief" can be more complex than you present it.

For example, one type of "belief" is when you ask someone if they took the last chocolate chip cookie, do you believe their answer or not. That is not the same type of belief as whether you believe in big foot or not. We use the same word for both things, but the nature and process by which we arrive at each is significantly different.

They aren't the same, so it's not accurate to present them as the same.


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Seventh Tentaclarian wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Pascals wager only works when you have reason to conclude a deity that cares about your belief in it. Absent that, for all you know the deity could punish you for believing in it.

"you..what.. what are you doing in my afterlife? ARRRRGH! not another one!" *7th dimensional tentacle objection*

Hey! Good to meet a fellow true believer on the boards!

Finally! Look, I've been meaning to ask, why does our holy book fold out?


Sissyl wrote:
Why is that? Not trying to be snarky here. It just seems to me that the interests of our species, while obviously important regarding procreation and such, is not much of a priority to most people. And if the idea is knowledge, endlessly extended copyright should never have begun, right?

It's the question itself. "What is the meaning of life?" NOT "What is the meaning of your life?" To get a meaningful answer it has to satisfy whether you are considering you here now on the web, or the Roman centurion marching against the barbarians, or even the researcher in the year 5017 digging up the ruins of Tokyo and speculating on what primitive humans were like a few millennia in the past.


Irontruth wrote:
Aranna wrote:
Hama wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Hama wrote:
Aranna wrote:

Is there an afterlife? Yes.

It is accepted as truth that there is one if you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and even every Pagan religion if I am not mistaken.

So if you believe then yes.

Believing in something doesn't make it true. Proof does. Conclusive, repeatable, empirical proof.

So things that aren't proven aren't actually true? They only become true when proven? Weird.

I'd always assumed there was an actual truth out there and our attempts at proving things were just trying to decipher what it was.

No, just that without proof, we don't know. And belief is a poor substitute for knowledge.
Even you operate on a set of beliefs NOT truths. Most of what you know was told to you by a person, book, or media propaganda outlet. And all of that knowledge wasn't something you would or even could go out and prove. So you either believed or didn't without any first hand proof.

The word "belief" can be more complex than you present it.

For example, one type of "belief" is when you ask someone if they took the last chocolate chip cookie, do you believe their answer or not. That is not the same type of belief as whether you believe in big foot or not. We use the same word for both things, but the nature and process by which we arrive at each is significantly different.

They aren't the same, so it's not accurate to present them as the same.

But they are the same. Regardless of the situation belief is nothing more than trust in someone else. You either trust them or you don't. It's that simple.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Finally! Look, I've been meaning to ask, why does our holy book fold out?

That verily, like unto a road map, it shall never be properly refolded. For the way is long and the tentacles many, and only the seventh shall our nethers pierce. Pierced be he who asketh for directions, as he who asketh not for directions. —Hydrostat 3:16

As true today, as when it was written.

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