Saturday, July 12, 2014
THE FINAL TRANSITION: Part 15A--An Afterlife or Eternal Gloom?
I once believed in God and an afterlife. (If you can't read it, click on the the panel to see what Hobbes thinks of Heaven.) Every religion has something after death. However, at a relatively young age (8-10) I happened to ask my Buddhist priest, aside from Buddha, who else attained Nirvana. He fumbled with a response and mumbled something about happiness and enlightenment and that it was a state of mind, or something similar. This was the point when I began doubting religion and thought blind faith might well be an excuse for not being able to prove the reality of the hereafter. Whether it is Heaven, the Afterlife, or Nirvana, save for some mostly sincere examples of a few who gained distinction for sharing their sublime delusions, many linked to near death experiences, the problem is that there has not ever been any scientific confirmation.
Another factor influencing my attitude is the flimsy foundation for respect. From Beyond All Religion:
Muhammad (among 13 wives) married a 6 year old girl. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism had 24 wives, one was 14 years old. Smith was convicted of fraud (of being an “imposter”- a con man), in a court of law.. Then he wrote “The Book of Mormon..”. The story of Moses is patterned after the story of Sargon the Great. Moses did not exist. Christianity was invented for political purposes by the Roman Emperor Constantine (“The Great”) in 325 A.D. based on the myth of Mithra (Persian savior god born on December 25 , but 600 years before Christ).
Here is one speculation about Christianity from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity (interesting, but I noticed that the e-book version, which is really cheap, is not now listed...I wonder if my books are caught in this feud Amazon.com is having with some of the publishing world):
So, therefore, place yourself back to circa 50 AD. Nothing much can be found about Jesus. Conflicting descriptions can be unearthed about this individual, but absent any miracles and the connection with Son of God. Is it possible that a group, say, the Antioch Jesus Movement, sees an opportunity to spur something called Christianity? So they pick a mortal of those days who might just fit a concept called the Messiah. They borrow selectively from early Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican (nah, scratch this, Columbus came 1500 years later) and Greek writings to create the legend of Jesus Christ around a real-life martyr. He was in his prime at the age of 30, so they choose 30 AD as the founding of Christianity. Could this incredible PR ploy have started it all? Did all this lead to the Catholic Church of today!
Clearly, then, I haven't yet been re-convinced that there is an afterlife. Here to the left is a painting from now 20 year old Akiane Kramarik. I actually would like to believe, for the other option is eternal gloom. But today I'm in the definite minority of Americans, for something between 80% to 90% do. How do we rate compared to other countries, or, the biological members of the National Academy of Sciences? Next, some surveys that will surprise you.