Atheists Have a Peculiar Educational Assignment.

It’s highly ironic there has to be an educational effort to explain that after you die your are dead rather than alive.  There is confusion about this all over the world.

An egregious example is the alleged promise to male Islamic martyrs they will enjoy sex with virgins in the afterlife.  I’ve read comments by single Muslim women who say they remain celibate to be available in the afterlife.

I’ve wondered whether in Islamic countries there are news stories of people who, while unconscious, see the afterlife the way Christians in the West claim to visit it.  My theory is anyone can achieve his/her 15 minutes of fame in the U. S. by claiming he has died, visited the afterlife and returned.

It seems like there is a book every month by someone who has died.  I’ve provided a link to one below that can be ordered online and the author is available for speaking dates.

All of this explains the need for billboards like the one below which says, There  Is No Afterlife.  It is necessary to instruct people that, so far as we know, when you are dead you are not alive.  People seem to understand that when they are alive, they are not dead.  It’s the opposite that confuses them.

I understand main line seminaries have not taught the literal afterlife for decades.  Yet, out in the field, those in the pews want to hear about it.

Atheists have their work cut out for them.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-billboard-sponsor-there-is-no-afterlife-message-is-a-legacy-for-my-grandchildren-107709/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/woman-stops-doubting-god-after-she-dies-and-talks-to-him-in-heaven-for-9-minutes-it-was-perfect-beautiful-amazing-107595/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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28 Responses to Atheists Have a Peculiar Educational Assignment.

  1. Avatar of realist realist says:

    There is very little difference between those Christians who believe there is an afterlife and others who believe that as well as believing that possessions, pets, wives, and servants will also be there. So burying people with all their possessions seems really bizarre but, apparently, the incredulity doesn’t extend to people believing that they will be whisked away stark naked only to be clothed in white robes for eternity. Both are fooling themselves so that when death comes, it won’t be so frightening. That’s what it’s all about; the afterlife stories serve the purpose of helping people cope with the inevitable. It worked that way centuries ago and it works that way still.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      There’s even conflict on death in the bible. Revelations says the “dead in Christ shall rise”.

      Well, why would the dead need to “rise” if they’re already in heaven?

      There was another verse that Peter or paul referred to death like sleep.

      And then the reference that Lazerus was “sleeping” by Christ when he raised him…

      Much of the bible actually supports that those that are dead do not exist or sleep until that time that Christ comes back and resurrects them.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy 3:06 I had a thought only slightly related to your post.

        When people claim they have experienced the Devine and then return to live on, they often say something like, “I was a skepic until I had the totally real experience meeting God. Today I am a saved Christian.”

        My question is, if they were nonbelievers, or even skeptical, before this encounter with the Devine, how did they get in there. Heaven is reserved for those who believe, at least that’s my understanding. Maybe they were given a temporary pass in hopes they would write a book about it.

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “There Is No Afterlife. It is necessary to instruct people that, so far as we know, when you are dead you are not alive.”

    “Atheists have their work cut out for them”

    As far as we know. How can you know there is no hereafter? You can’t anymore than believers can know there is until we experience death. We can only know by the witness’ of God’s creation, His Word and the Holy Spirit. You reject those witnesses and have a hole in the ground to look forward, as far as you know. Indeed you do have your work cut out for you since that is a repulsive message to most.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 2:25 “..since that is a replusive message to most.”

      I agree. It must be relpulsive to people who want to believe in the afterlife to realize there is no information of its existance. I would be very disappointed myself if I believed in the afterlife only to learn there is no reason to think there is such a thing.

      The only thing atheists have going for them is that the no after life is common sense.

      • entech says:

        Jon, do you think it is possible that the feelings of self importance are so strong in some people that they need to a universe that was especially created with them in mind. That there is a creator that knows and loves them personally, takes an interest in everything they do (especially the naughty bits) and answers their prayers (if it is convenient, if he doesn’t it is their fault). That they personally are so important that they cannot imagine the universe going on without them being part of it.

        Pity the poor atheist, nothing special, made from dust of dead stars. The nearest thing to a miracle that she is a highly evolved being, a living, breathing, self aware entity that will return to the earth that sustained and into the star stuff from which it originated.

        There are some in the science world that think it is possible that some form of continuation is possible, matter and energy are conserved, neither created nor destroyed just changing form, similarly information is not lost but continues by means of quantum entanglement. Hameroff and Penrose are two proponents of this theory, worth reading (or watching on Youtube), bit of a leap for me, but possible. Quantum science or quantum mysticism who would know.

        • Michael Ross says:

          “Quantum science or quantum mysticism who would know.”

          The world is real, yet it is unreal.
          It is neither, yet it is both.

          Is that what you are saying, entec?

          • entech says:

            That sounds more like eastern mysticism.
            But there is no dualism for me.

            At least that is what that still quiet voice keeps telling me :lol: :oops:

        • Avatar of realist realist says:

          Very eloquently stated. I trust Einstein on this. Matter is never lost. We are matter so in that respect I can look forward to the atoms that make up my body being around forever. That’s as close as I can come to an afterlife albeit without consciousness.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          entech 6:46 “Pity the poor atheist, nothing special, made from dust of dead stars.”

          I was disappointed to learn that during your heart surgery you did not experience anything out of body. We all would have enjoyed hearing about the bright light, the tunnel and the voice with echo chamber effect, “Entech, this is God.” You could have written a book and maybe come here during the promotional tour.

          My advice is for you to ramp up your self importance. Perhaps the reason your did not visit the bright lights is you did not think any god noticed your arrival. Maybe a little practice in saying, “I’m ENTECH. YOU ALL NEED TO KNOW THAT!” :)

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I find Quantum theory interesting. Super string theories, theories of multiple universes, etc.

            There’s even atomical proof of shifts in time. Certain Atomical makeups that exist in different times. And so on.

            I truely believe to think we know ANYTHING about life after death is extremely arrogant. We’re nothing more than the equivalent intellect of apes trying to understand a car…

            Currently we cannot deduce how big the universe is, nor if there are even multiple universes. And if there are multiples, then what do the multiple universes “exist in”?

            What do we define as reality? To think that what we see and feel is the extent of reality is BS.

            I don’t know anymore of what anyone else knows exists beyond “life”, but, why do we define life as the physical existence of our bodies? We don’t know what is living and is not living! Some Asian beliefs are that the earth is alive “Gaia”.

            I don’t know if it is or not, but, to restrict life to operation of our body is really restrictive. I know we need rules for mundane matters like inheritence, but, what if we get to a point that we can download parts of our consciousness to computers? If we think about it our brains are nothing but really advanced organic versions of computers. So, it could hold we could exist in a digital existence.

            So, Non life after death is just but one possibility out of an infinite list of possibilities.

          • entech says:

            It would be a very short book.

            They put me to sleep, they woke me up a few hours later. The only angel was the nice young lady who sat by my side in intensive care.
            The end.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 10:50

            “The end.”

            Not to be critical, but it does seem like you need a good editor. :)

          • entech says:

            Or perhaps a ghost writer, give it a bit of spirit.
            Could be padded out with all kinds of things that way. ;)

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 1:46 “Could be padded with all kinds of things…”

            Even though you had no encounter with the Devine, your book needs to be sexed up with a little drama. I was thinking of a book cover that had this headline: “Brit who lives in Australia clinically dies but has no encounter with God. This dramatic experience causes him to change his religion to ‘whatever’.” :)

          • entech says:

            That title is longer than my original book. Need a pithy (think that is the word) subtitle, something like, “been there, done that, nothing in it”

    • Avatar of realist realist says:

      Who cares if it’s a hole in the ground or a blast furnace. Dead is dead. It means no awareness, forever. Show’s over. The assumption that people somehow will have the opportunity to weight in on their circumstances after death is ridiculous. You have inadvertently admitted that any talk of an afterlife is driven by an inability to face the fact of death as a finality.

  3. Michael Ross says:

    “The only thing atheists have going for them is that the no after life is common sense.”

    We may all find what the after-life holds in the very near future.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH3AlPmavDk#t=522

  4. entech says:

    A devout churchgoing woman who doubted God’s existence for most of her life
    Amazing how it is always Christians who die and see the God of Abraham, probably other denominations have a similar story to tell, when a Hindu starts to talk about Jesus, a little more plausible. As a none believer I have had my own experience, wouldn’t sell many books or get many talking engagements on the basis of nothing happened, when they stopped my heart and then restarted a few hours later.

    So I have to say that it seems to me the same sought of thing as, “if you believe, if you open your heart to Jesus, proof will be provided”. A devout doubter, that describes a few I know.

    Until someone comes back after a real death, say, more than a few minutes, say about three days, it is all talk :) . What is that you say about three days, Friday night to Sunday morning, not exactly three days but, that one sold a couple of books as well.

  5. Brad says:

    The possibility of an afterlife can neither be proven or disproven. I personally think there is, but that’s just me. I look at it this way: if I am wrong, then it doesn’t matter. If I am right, then we will all get to experience it. In any case, it’s a good idea to get the most out of life now, rather than wait for happiness in an afterlife that may or may not exist.

    The one thing I don’t believe in is eternal hell. Again, it can’t be proven or disproven, but I think it’s just a scare tactic used to control people.

    • Formerly Fargo Bob says:

      I think our country would look quite a bit different if so many people didn’t take belief in an afterlife seriously. If you live your life on the assumption that this life is all we have, then you’ll have greater interest in improving the conditions that people live in in the here and now. Check out the secular countries of Europe, and don’t forget the example set by Reagan’s interior secretary James Watt.

  6. Catholic Dad says:

    Jon,

    Thanks for intriguing blog. Can I ask since Atheists do not believe in a after life – is it a correct assumption than that we do not have souls? If we do not have souls, how are spirits, ghosts, possessions, or etc. explained. If my assumption is incorrect and we do have souls, what happens when we die, and does that still explain spirits, ghosts, possessions or etc.

    Happy All Hallows Eve

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      C. Dad 5:21 re: Do we have souls? Are there spirits, ghosts, possessions?

      Thanks, C. Dad. It’s pleasant having you on the discussion page.

      So far as I know, we do not have souls. My explanation for spirits, ghosts and possessions is the same as for gods, they exist in the mind, but not outside the mind.

      That said, I don’t want to minimize the existence and importance of gods, spirits, etc. that exist in minds. They are real to the people who experience them and sometimes very helpful and comforting. The only time problems arise between skeptics and believers is when those beings that exist in the mind are promoted as being outside and the source of morals to be imposed on all.

  7. Wolfy32 says:

    Jon, I’m quite amazed that *we* (loosely we) put down christianity for it’s self righteous selfishness and arrogance. Judging everyone but itself, and using it to serve oneself instead of the community.. However, you commit the same issue by simply asserting there can be nothing outside of “me”.. That’s pretty arrogant of us as a race, a species, as an intellectual being. Because we, sentient and intelligent beings exist, is self evident that other life sentient, and conscious, and either more or less intelligent most likely exists.

    Therefore, there is more outside of our own existence regardless of where, when, how, visible or not, etc. To think we’re it, the epitemy of life in the universe is just as self serving as Christianity. And commiting the same “crime” as Christians…

    I don’t know whether spirits, ghosts, and goblins are real. Goblins probably aren’t, at least on our planet, but, we have no idea what does or does not exist outside of our planet… Heck we’re still discovering new creatures on our planet…How can we possibly assume there’s nothing unseen?

    What if we’re simply physically incapable of seeing what is right next to us or in the same room as us?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wolfy 32 6:56 I agree we humans over rate ourselves.

    • entech says:

      Wolfy, I think we should always add that we are the highest form of life “that we know about”, and, as you say there is so much that we don’t know.
      There are things right next to us we are physically incapable of seeing or comprehending in any way due to the unintelligent design of our bodies, limited range of perception of the electro-magnetic spectrum – even little birds see more than us and at a faster frame rate, ever notice how they seem to wait till the last pico-second before getting out of the way of a moving car. The audible range is limited, sight is not very good, especially for the very small.
      But there is no reason to start making wild speculation about super natural.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I agree, speculation is dangerous. I’m on the fence on a “afterlife”. I do believe there’s something more.. Not because we humans deserve it, or have a big place in the universe..

        Yet, if I’m truly to have a free thinking open mind, then, my mind must be open to non-life, or life. both are equally plausible. We don’t have any evidence that life does or does not continue beyond death. It is unknowable at this point in time.

        To say it’s a given there is non life, is just as true as it’s a given there is life.

        I don’t understand why the ambiguity if there’s a designer. Other than to put a carrot in front of a civilization and ask the whole civilization to chase the carrot… Maybe that’s the goal, the eternal life promise is a distraction … Who knows.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wolfy32 3:20 “Yet, if I’m truly to have a free thinking open mind, then, my mind must be open to non-life, or life. Both are equally pausible. We don’t have evidence life does or does not continue beyond death.”

          That’s interesting. To me, we need to be open minded, but I don’t see how we can treat the probabilities of life/nolife after death as equal. We know for sure the body is dead. In all the autopciess ever done, not one soul has been recovered. To me, the odds favor heavily no life.

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