Motivation for Life after Death

Ahanu

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Many people yearn for life to continue in some form after death.

For me, I cannot accept a materialistic philosophy like atheism. Not only does it deny any continuation, it also denies something more fundamental to a healthy and sane universe: justice. Something is inherently wrong with a universe where the moral arc doesn't bend towards justice. Such a universe is a hideous and insane one, one in which I would rather not exist at all.

Say a leader living in the utmost luxury knowingly chooses to send thousands of poor soldiers to their deaths in a battle over a petty issue that could have been avoided. He dies. That is it? Nothing? He vanishes? Eventually what this tyrannical leader has done will be forgotten by posterity. What then for those who try to salvage some meaning by placing it on the memories of future generations that will also fade away? The universe remains indifferent to such suffering? It continues churning out unimaginable inequalities in health, wealth, and so many other areas in its evolutionary trajectory - only to leave those that have been wronged and forgotten unavenged? As if they didn't exist at all? As if the concept of "being wronged" is itself the wrong label?

And those wronged would include children destroyed by natural disasters. Some natural disasters are caused by people, whereas others are not. Regardless of the cause of any natural disaster, I consider it an injustice for a child to be taken by a tsunami. Relative to an elderly person who has experienced the pleasures of a happy, well-rounded life, there are children that have been taken too early by the deadly hand of nature when it goes awry. Perhaps someone like a Taoist will ask, "Who is to say so-and-so's life experience, which you perceive to be cut prematurely, was more valuable than the other person's life experience?" Very well. Practically speaking, we all judge life experiences, and most, if not all, run when the flood is coming, showing what it is we value: our lives and the lives of others. Perhaps you would choose to save a child over your own, showing you value her life more than your own.

A materialistic philosophy like atheism perpetuates injustice whenever it asserts there is no life after death. Despite this gulf between me and atheists on this matter, I believe the best we can do is work together to perfect an imperfect universe while we are here. That's a belief I think many followers of various religions and atheists share together. We can design our cities to better handle natural disasters. We can educate the people to such an extent that even the thought of becoming a tyrannical leader is unimaginable.

Just some random thoughts as I continually read bad news in the headlines.
 
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Cino

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A materialistic philosophy like atheism perpetuates injustice whenever it asserts there is no life after death.
Maybe you mean Nihilism, not Atheism?

I'm atheist, and I see it as our unique power as human beings to bring meaning, and love, and justice into being where there was none before.

Despite this gulf between me and atheists on this matter, I believe the best we can do is work together to perfect an imperfect universe while we are here.

Count me in.
 

RJM

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For me, I cannot accept a materialistic philosophy like atheism. Not only does it deny any continuation, it also denies something more fundamental to a healthy and sane universe: justice. Something is inherently wrong with a universe where the moral arc doesn't bend towards justice.
Why should the universe be just to man?

"To he that hath, more shall be given; to him that hath little, even the little shall be taken away" It is the law of gravity

The zebra dies that the lion may live, else the zebra lives and the lion starves.

What is justice?
Such a universe is a hideous and insane one, one in which I would rather not exist at all
Was there a choice?
 
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RJM

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I'm atheist, and I see it as our unique power as human beings to bring meaning, and love, and justice into being where there was none before.
Enlightening observation
 
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Ahanu

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Maybe you mean Nihilism, not Atheism?

Atheism.

and justice into being where there was none before.

If the greater whole - the universe - isn't tilted towards justice teleologically speaking, then whatever justice we paint on top will get washed away. It is a meaningless effort.

Why should the universe be just to man?

Man is but a reflection of the universe. "You presume you are a small entity, but within you the universe is enfolded," said Imam Ali.

"To he that hath, more shall be given; to him that hath little, even the little shall be taken away" It is the law of gravity

Is that law always a constant? A time will come when "the last shall be first, and the first last." It is a form of justice. That goes out the window if atheism is true.

The zebra dies that the lion may live, else the zebra lives and the lion starves.

They cannot change themselves, for they are not imbued with the capacity for reason.

What is justice?

Justice: "judgment involved in the determination of rights and the assignment of rewards and punishments." A few synonyms: lawfulness, fairness.
 

Ahanu

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Some believe justice is only possible for those of equal social status. Were you one of the Indigenous slaving for silver under the forced labor of the Spaniards in the 16th century? You most likely died - only to be replaced by Africans once the local population dwindled down to a group not large enough to continue the task at hand. Too bad. There's no possibility of justice for you or any of those other departed slaves.

See Nietzsche.

"Origin of justice. -- Justice (fairness) originates among those who are approximately equally powerful, as Thucydides (in the terrible conversation between the Athenian and Melian ambassadors) comprehended correctly: where there is no clearly recognizable predominance and a fight would mean inconclusive mutual damage, there the idea originates that one might come to an understanding and negotiate one's claims: the initial character of justice is the character of a trade. Each satisfies the other inasmuch as each receives what he esteems more than the other does. One gives another what he wants, so that it becomes his, and in return one receives what one wants. Thus justice is repayment and exchange on the assumption of an approximately equal power position; revenge originally belongs in the domain of justice, being an exchange. Gratitude, too.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human
Gotta respect Nietzsche for taking atheism to its logical conclusion.
 
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Cino

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If the greater whole - the universe - isn't tilted towards justice teleologically speaking, then whatever justice we paint on top will get washed away. It is a meaningless effort.

To me, this is confusing the planes.

The quarks and leptons which make up matter have no property called "justice" - but neither do they have one called "life" or "consciousness". These do exist but they play no role at the level, or plane, of elementary particles. They cpme into play at our level of experiencing the universe.

I do not understand justice, or beauty, or life, or love to have supernatural origins, while you do - but I certainly disagree strongly with your assertion that I perpetuate injustice simply because I do not believe in your god. I find you to be very unjust in your pronouncement.
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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The fundamental problem I see with the OP is that the (objective) universe is nothing more than a nonconscious, unintelligent, mechanism of entropy and negentropy, nothing more. Any meaning we may derive from it is purely us assigning meaning to it through our subjective universes.
 

Ahanu

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They cpme into play at our level of experiencing the universe.

They come into play because it is an emergent property, appearing after a certain configuration is attained? Why cannot that same principle be applied to the universe as a whole instead of rushing for a reductionist approach? Not a great leap if you ask me.

I do not understand justice, or beauty, or life, or love to have supernatural origins, while you do

Our experience of the world is "supernatural" in relation to the "experience" of a speck of dust floating in the wind or the "experience" of a flower leaning towards the sunlight. Where does justice originate? In one sense, we can say it originates on this plane. A Christian can say Jesus showed us justice, a Muslim can say Muhammad showed us justice, an atheist can say so-and-so showed justice, and so on. In another sense, there seems to exist a justice beyond our plane of vision for which our justice here reaches. Over time the universe increases in justice because it originates from a supernatural source. I'm speculating.

but I certainly disagree strongly with your assertion that I perpetuate injustice simply because I do not believe in your god.

I'm simply stating what I believe about atheism. Hence I stated, for example, that Nietzsche reached atheism's logical conclusion. I don't think many atheists are so daring.

The fundamental problem I see with the OP is that the (objective) universe is nothing more than a nonconscious, unintelligent, mechanism of entropy and negentropy, nothing more. Any meaning we may derive from it is purely us assigning meaning to it through our subjective universes.

From particles to stars to minds, and this is your conclusion? :confused:
 

Ahanu

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Not just mine but every evolutionary scientist dead or alive. What evidence do you find that is otherwise?

You encounter it every day: consciousness. What evidence do you have to prove the universe is unconscious?
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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You encounter it every day: consciousness. What evidence do you have to prove the universe is unconscious?
Well, you can't prove a negative, so I can't prove the objective universe is nonconscious. I see no evidence that it is conscious. Where do you find consciousness in the objective universe?
 

'Amir Alzzalam

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You encounter it every day: consciousness. What evidence do you have to prove the universe is unconscious?
Let's take a look at the definition of Consciousness: the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.
Where do you find the objective universe to be "awake and aware of its surroundings?"
 

Cino

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They come into play because it is an emergent property, appearing after a certain configuration is attained? Why cannot that same principle be applied to the universe as a whole instead of rushing for a reductionist approach? Not a great leap if you ask me.

I could not agree more, but then, what about your rush for the reductionist approach of pronouncing human efforts at creating justice meaningless due to its emergent nature?

Life isn't meaningless just because there is also inanimate matter, either?

If an emerging configuration is not universally present, is its meaning automatically invalid?

I may have lost my grasp on what you are saying. I suspect the root of my confusion might lie in your conflating atheist and nihilist positions.

Question: I happen to think that most religions have a deep nihilist streak, which they compensate for by taking refuge in an unattainable form of transcendence (this is how I understand much of Nietzsche's critique of religion, btw). Do you think nihilism and religious views are incompatible?
 
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Cino

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The fundamental problem I see with the OP is that the (objective) universe is nothing more than a nonconscious, unintelligent, mechanism of entropy and negentropy, nothing more. Any meaning we may derive from it is purely us assigning meaning to it through our subjective universes.

Can this subjectivity be shared across individuals, in your view?
 

Cino

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Where does justice originate? In one sense, we can say it originates on this plane. A Christian can say Jesus showed us justice, a Muslim can say Muhammad showed us justice, an atheist can say so-and-so showed justice, and so on. In another sense, there seems to exist a justice beyond our plane of vision for which our justice here reaches. Over time the universe increases in justice because it originates from a supernatural source. I'm speculating.

I can see what you're saying - the concept, or ideal, or idea of justice, which we aim for, is eternal and unchanging in a way that our real-life efforts can never be. Also, it has a reified existence independent and preceding or enveloping our material existence?

If so, this is where our views differ radically. I think our material existence is what provides the necessary conditions to develop and strive for our ideals of justice.

Apart from that, we both seem to agree that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
 

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brain-cell-galaxy.jpg
 

seattlegal

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Can this subjectivity be shared across individuals, in your view?
In my view it can, either via the Jungian collective unconscious or via herd mentality/egregorial possession. Either way, your individuality is "dead" for that duration, even though your body-mind may be living. I can't speak for 'Amir.
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination
Afterlife...lol...the perverbial carrot to your justice/morality stick!

Justice? Life is. Volcanoes blow up...

As RJ posits...why just man?

Don't dolphins and whales and trees and jellyfish and viruses deserve an afterlife too?

Oh does that sound silly? Yes...yes it does.
 
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