User avatar
MauEvig
Halloween Master
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:11 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and ghosts?

Post by MauEvig » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:28 pm

Do you believe in an afterlife? It doesn't necessarily have to be the same interpretation of an afterlife as everyone elses. People have different beliefs about what happens when we die. Maybe we go to Heaven or Hell, maybe there's a spirit world, maybe we are reincarnated. But the scariest thing for me is ceasing to exist.
I look for evidence of ghosts, spirits and the after life, and have even been reading about a possible quantum theory in regard to the existence of the soul to try and find solace in my questioning mind as far as what happens when we die. It really is scary! The worst part is that everyone dies eventually. Yet what scares me the most is the fact that I question whether any of the evidences for ghosts, the after life, NDEs and the like have no validity. Already, most biological evidence points to our entire conscious thoughts revolving around the brain. If we receive brain damage, it destroys a part of who we are. It may even result in behavior that we normally wouldn't do. It can result in hallucinations. Many like to say NDEs are just the brain Hallucinating before it completely dies, and then there's just...nothing. Now, I won't go into the moral implications of what that means, but this is just plain scary to me.
This is exactly why I do not, like many other people do, like it when there's a "scientific explanation" for ghostly activity going on. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be relieved to find out it might just be a leaky water heater, perhaps a brief hallucination that might have occurred due to being half awake, or something else. Ghosts are scary enough. But in all honesty, I'd rather ghosts existed than not, because that's evidence that we and our loved ones live on after death. But the more things are explained away, the more I fear that this life really is it, and death is the ultimate finality of our mortal existence.
The thing is, I'm a skeptic. I want to believe there's such a thing as a soul and the afterlife. Yet, some people think these are foolish illogical and emotional notions. Maybe they are a bit emotional, because the thought of dying and "that's it" really depresses me.
So...I'm looking for advice, evidence, and perhaps solace that this isn't just it. But if this life is it, how do you reconcile that? I know that I want to try and live life to the fullest regardless of what happens when we die, but I can't help but have this terrible phobia that we'll cease to exist when we die. I already have enough anxiety as it is without this plaguing me.
So...any advice? Any at all?
Nocturnal Purr-Fection

User avatar
Pumpkin_Man
Halloween Master
Posts: 6767
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:23 am

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Pumpkin_Man » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:50 am

Yes, strictly for the record, I believe in the existence of an after life, but I won't elaborate, because religion is one of those taboo topics.

Mike

Murfreesboro
Halloween Master
Posts: 4975
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:56 am
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Murfreesboro » Thu May 01, 2014 6:32 am

These are wonderful, honest questions and anxieties that we all share. I do believe that interest in ghosts has a lot to do with our hope that there is some type of existence after death. However, belief in an after-life is always going to be a matter of faith. Even when people occasionally have one of those experiences that seem to suggest contact with a loved one from the other side, it is always by nature subjective, so it will never stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Some of the scientific explanations I have heard for near-death experiences don't altogether hold up for me. For example, I have heard some say that the passage through a tunnel toward a light is a subconscious memory of birth. However, if you really know what happens in childbirth, the baby's head doesn't emerge face-first, but crown first, so its eyes are not looking toward a light. Also, it is quite common for babies' heads to become misshapen, cone-shaped, as they squeeze through the tight birth canal. I don't think I would have my eyes open if my head were being squeezed into a different shape like that.

Another thing you sometimes hear is that our seeing "the light" and, perhaps, experiencing angelic visitations, or visitations from deceased loved ones, is just our brains firing off as we die. Some people have theorized that this is an evolutionary adaptation to make the experience of death easier to take. However, in order for any adaptation to be passed along, the organism has to reproduce. If this is something that happens only as we die, how could our reproduction have favored it? Most people don't come back from death to then have more children. Consequently the theory of evolutionary adaptation doesn't seem reasonable to me.

I can tell you that, as I have experienced more of my life, I have become strangely more at peace with the idea of my own mortality. Partly that is because of experiences I had during my three pregnancies and births. I am not just talking about the birth experiences, but also about uncommon psychic sensitivities I seemed to develop when I was pregnant, that went away or became greatly reduced after the babies were born. I am more convinced than I ever was in my youth that there is more in Heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophies, that we do participate in mysteries beyond our ken. Because my own family tradition was Christian, I decided to raise my children in that faith, and my own faith has been strengthened over the years. If you haven't done it for a while, I would suggest that you re-read the Bible, not just to find answers about the after-life, but to experience the marvelous human stories with which it is filled, stories about people sinning and being drawn closer to God because of it. One of my children came home from a youth group meeting years ago with a piece of paper that asked the question, "What is the most frequent commandment in the Bible?" If you turned the paper over, you learned the answer. The most frequent commandment is, "Fear not."

User avatar
Pumpkin_Man
Halloween Master
Posts: 6767
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:23 am

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Pumpkin_Man » Thu May 01, 2014 11:22 am

I've hear a lot of 'out of body' and 'near death' stories, and I actually believe many of them.

One interesting observation you made was about remembering your own birth. Another thing that should be point out is that new born babies usually don't have their eyes opened at all.

Mike

Kolchak
Halloween Master
Posts: 902
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:06 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Kolchak » Thu May 01, 2014 5:51 pm

Mau! Listen to Murph! What she said can't be said any better. At the end of the day it boils down to faith and how strong yours is.

You are still young and have a LOT of living to do. I know you don't feel it now, but as you grow older and live and learn more, I promise this concern you have, might not go totally away, but you will see and feel things differently as you mature inside.

I'm 54 years old. I have been in the death business for over 30 years. I have seen violent death across the world, and yes I have killed other humans. In October of 2007 while serving as a security advisor to the Afghan Government, the vehicle I was riding in was blown up by a road side bomb.

I spent over 3 weeks in a coma. I came very close to dying and spent the better part of 2008 learning to walk again. I wish I could tell you that I experienced something while in my coma, but all I remember was that, one minute I'm in Hmmwv, part of a convoy. When I wake up, its almost a month later and I'm in a German Hospital.

I wish I could say it changed me in some way, but it was just the risk that goes along with the work. Sooner or later something will happen.

I returned to my regular job as a police officer after my re-hab and life goes on.

You are too young and have too much to accomplish to be worried about death. Live your life as you feel you should. Old age gets here faster than you know. But I promise when it does get here, you will have come to peace with yourself and that fear you have now will no longer be there.

That's what comes along with age.....Peace of mind and Wisdom! :wink: :wink: :wink:

User avatar
MauEvig
Halloween Master
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:11 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by MauEvig » Thu May 01, 2014 7:51 pm

Well to put it into perspective...youth isn't automatically a guarantee for immunity of death if that makes sense. Children die of cancer. Sometimes, our friends will die in their early, mid and late twenties. I just recently lost a friend and former co-worker who died in his sleep because he forgot to wear his oxygen mask and had sleep apnea. Granted, his eating habits weren't healthy at all, but still he was younger than me by maybe less than a year and left behind two sons who now have to grow up without a father. Another friend of mine lost his sister to cancer at the age of 26 which caused a devastating and painful blow to their family.
Life is very precious and fragile and must be treated with respect, especially if this really is all there is.
I grew up whole heartedly believing in God and Jesus Christ as a pentecostal Christian, and somewhere along the way I started to doubt my faith. I won't go into the details of it on here, I want everyone to know that I respect everyone's beliefs and opinions on it and if having faith and being a Christian makes you happy I won't try and stop you from it.
Being close to death really is a scary thing...I know I've never experienced anything like that...but I have been under anesthesia and had my wisdom teeth surgically removed....and had a sensation of floating in the recovery room...but I don't remember anything inbetween being knocked out and being in the recovery room...
I know one day everyone and everything dies...but we aren't guaranteed when. I once saw on facebook that one shouldn't be depressed that they grow old...but be greatful that they had the privilege to do so because not everyone gets that chance.
For now though...I've read some interesting stuff on reincarnation...perhaps the soul itself is made up of tiny particles smaller than what can be seen...there's just got to be more than the biological processes of the brain...
Nocturnal Purr-Fection

Murfreesboro
Halloween Master
Posts: 4975
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:56 am
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Murfreesboro » Fri May 02, 2014 7:04 am

I think stories about reincarnation are interesting, and I cannot always explain them. However, if what bugs you is the thought that you might not survive personally after death, then reincarnation is not, ultimately, going to give you much hope. I was attracted to those Eastern philosophies when I was young and read around in them. What you ultimately keep hearing is that the goal of it all is to enter "Nirvana." And the image I kept reading was that the soul, after multiple lifetimes, enters Nirvana "like a drop of water entering the ocean." Now, if you think about it, this is not about personal survival at all. Once a drop of water enters the ocean, sure, its molecules are still there, but you are never going to see that drop of water, as a water drop, again.

I was--tormented is too strong a word--disturbed, maybe, or perplexed, about the promises made in Christian faith about personal survival. My father died when I was 7, and my grandmother (his MIL) kept telling me that he was better off than when he was sick, because Heaven was a perfect place, and he would be well and happy there. But this same grandmother had always told me that nobody is perfect but Jesus. So I was perplexed, as a child: How could my imperfect father enter that perfect place without making it imperfect? And if he was somehow made perfect, how could he continue to be the father I had known?

This logical conundrum stayed with me for many years. Then one day, as I was exiting a graduate seminar on Dante, I brought it up to some fellow students. One of them said to me, "I think that is what the bodily resurrection is all about. It is a guarantee that you will be you forever." Now, I had never given a lot of thought to why the bodily resurrection might matter. I had always thought, as long as my soul survived, I didn't care that much about my body. But this fellow student's random remark set me to thinking,and I got to reading the Bible differently. What I began to see in it is all those times when people get renamed, in both the Old & New Testaments. How Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter, Saul becomes Paul. And I thought about the naming ritual that goes along with baptism. Suddenly it just hit me: The God of the Bible is, above all, the God who knows your name. That was what I needed. I needed to know that I, personally, mattered to God. That He knew my name and would never forsake me, living or dead.

You are certainly right that death is all around us, that life is fragile, and that the freshest baby in the newborn ward is just as mortal as the oldest inhabitant of the nursing home. We have no guarantee that our lives will be long or easy. (In fact, if you read the Bible, I rather think you learn that the more God loves you, the more He tests you. At least, it is pretty clear to me that He calls us to lead heroic lives rather than easy ones. Check out the stories of His various "chosen" people, like Moses or Jesus.) But I think He loves us, and that, living or dead, we belong to Him. Perhaps from His POV, our physical death is less significant than it appears to us.

I understand that you feel somehow disaffected from your childhood faith. I think that is a pretty common experience among young adults. Hang in there. In one way or another, it may come back to you.

User avatar
Pumpkin_Man
Halloween Master
Posts: 6767
Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:23 am

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Pumpkin_Man » Fri May 02, 2014 7:56 am

When I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, I was told to choose a Confirmation name after praying on it and reading the Bible. I came up with the name Patrick for my Confirmation name, in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. I agree with Murph. God does know my name, and some how I felt inspired to take the name Patrick for my Confirmation name.

As for death and dyeing, I, my self came very close to dying. It happened about 3 months after I had my Gastric Bypass surgery. I was suffering profusely from Gout, and when I say Profusely, I mean CRIPPLINGLY painful. I had to use a walker, and it hurt like the dickens just to get out of bed in the morning. I went to my regular doctor, forgetting that I was NERER again, supposed to take any aspirins, NCDS or anti inflammatory drugs. The doctor didn't know that so he put me on a steroid which caused a bleeding ulcer. I came very close to bleeding to death, and when I got to the emergency room, I had to have 12 unites of blood. My Gastric Bypass doctor had to re operate on me twice. I did not experience any out of body or near death experiences, but I did feel a very special closeness to God, and to my parents, my late brother and other members of my family that had died. I was also very scared, because I am no more "perfect" then any other human beings, and as prone to sin as anyone else.

At any rate, I don't fear death as much as most people because I do believe that there is a better life to be had that will last for Eternity, but I guarantee that nobody faces death without some fear. It's human nature.

Mike

Kolchak
Halloween Master
Posts: 902
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:06 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Kolchak » Fri May 02, 2014 2:30 pm

No, being young does not guarantee you freedom from death. In fact young people can be as stupid as most animals in their disregard for common sense and safety.

There is no excuse and I will say it again, no excuse for young people to be the cause of their own demise through drinking and driving or using drugs.

I've been there when a parent finds out that their 18 year old daughter won't ever be coming home again because she was in a car full of drunk kids that crashed and killed them all.

Or the two 17 year old girls that were killed because the driver was texting on her cell phone and ran the stop sign and got hit by a truck.

Life is fragile and there are no guarantees, but to have such a fear, at such a young age, that it has an effect on your personal happiness is not normal either.

Life is about living and learning. You are young and have a lot of life to live yet, to be in such an emotional state maybe a sign of a larger issue or problem.

Perhaps talking to a mental health professional or clergy that you trust could be of solace. Looking for reasons not to try or making excuses is not go to be much help in the end. You need to take the first step and realize that help is out there and is available.

User avatar
MauEvig
Halloween Master
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:11 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by MauEvig » Fri May 02, 2014 7:47 pm

Can't say I haven't tried counseling for my various anxiety issues, but a lot of times they try to push anti depression medication on me, and I rather not take those drugs.

In any case, I'm really just looking for answers...

As far as reincarnation goes, the idea of becoming one with Nirvana is popular in Eastern Religions, but I'm pretty sure that isn't the case with Pagan traditions and beliefs which also believe in reincarnation. Also, even if reincarnation was a scientific theory it doesn't necessarily mean the end goal is Nirvana which is the Buddhist belief. In Hindu philosophies the end goal is to become one with Brahman. So you could say that I lean more toward the pagan version of reincarnation, although I don't necessarily subscribe to Paganism, I've only really just adopted philosophies from that, and other religions.

I guess what I'm looking for is a purely scientific view of the after life, and of the soul. The closest I've been able to encounter is the Quantum theory. Otherwise, I don't think anything else really exists. It may just be left as an unanswered question until I eventually die.
Nocturnal Purr-Fection

User avatar
NeverMore
Halloween Master
Posts: 5115
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:35 am
What is the highest number?: 10992
Location: 2nd level of Hell

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by NeverMore » Sat May 03, 2014 8:43 am


MauEvig, if you want to see an interesting movie that deals with this subject, watch What Dreams May Come. I always watch this when I'm dealing with the loss of a loved one. It gives me a nice sense of comfort.

I believe we humans are more than the sum of our parts. Something... some would call it a soul... infects us when we are born, allows us to philosophize about life and death, amongst other things, something that apparently separates us from other intelligent creatures on this planet. Where does this... spark, for want of a better word, go after we die? Does it retain it's sentience? Or at least some portion of it?

In fact, wouldn't it be interesting if that 'sentient' spark combines with all the others that have existed, creates some kind of super energy being? There might be a loss of individuality but, again... the sum is greater than the parts. If Einstein is right... and past, present, and future are all the same, this 'super being' could very well have been there at the beginning of time and set off the bang that created our universe. Or as our religious friends believe, created the Earth and all the the creatures that dwell upon it.

It's interesting that we may well soon have some sort of answer. It's in the news right now that Stephen Hawking, someone who is a lot smarter than any of us, is worried about where artificial intelligence is going to take us. Is it possible that computers will someday become sentient? That the spark I'm theorizing about starts attaching itself to them also? Is the day coming where a machine built by mankind, pauses and contemplates... "I think, therefore I am"?


User avatar
MauEvig
Halloween Master
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:11 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by MauEvig » Sat May 03, 2014 5:16 pm

Sounds like an interesting movie Nevermore, and I think you have some pretty interesting points.
Of course, I don't believe human beings are the only things that have a soul, I believe animals do as well. Animals can think, feel and reason, are capable of empathy, they can feel happiness, sadness and anger just like we do. When I look in my cat's eyes there's just no way that I can say there's no soul there, because I see a soul starring back at me. I have a book that deals with stories about animal ghosts, I'm not sure if they are true stories, but I think they were based off some. I'm sure there are other stories out there that are true, that are about animal ghosts. Aside from my human loved ones, my pets are just as much loved and I'd want to see them again as well. I also believe in animal spirit guides and guardians, though that could just be because I'm fascinated with Native American lore on the subject. A friend of mine and I came to the conclusion that my Guardian was the cat because I love cats, and I surround myself with images of cats, while my Guide was the Bear.
I think it would be interesting. I think all living things are connected in some way, I believe the Earth is alive and the Earth itself has a soul and is the mother of all living things that are here. Sadly, we don't take very good care of our planet. I think the connectedness extends beyond the earth though and into the stars and other solar systems and galaxies. I have a hard time believing we'd be the only life forms in the universe.
Although I think your idea is fascinating, I would like to maintain my individuality, but it's possible this "super being" was the cause of it all. As a pantheist, I believe the concept of "God" is within all things, but has no authority over nature or natural causes. Rather, I think God and all living things are one with nature. It's kind of like that "Circle of life thing" and crazy as it probably sounds, I think there is some bit of truth in the Lion King regarding the circle of life. When we die, our bodies nutrients are reabsorbed into the earth. Grass will grow from the soil of those nutrients. A deer may eat that grass, and another human being may consume that deer during hunting season. Therefore, all things are connected. Thanks Mufasa for the great lesson! lol.
I have to agree that Artificial intelligent is something we should take seriously, but if machines do in fact become intelligent, we should take care to respect them as individuals, and not end up in a situation like the Matrix, or irobot. I do find robotics technology fascinating, although my favorite sciences are biology and astronomy. My beliefs include scientific reasoning, but there's a bit of supernatural belief in there as well. I realize ceasing to exist is a possibility, but I also believe it's possible there's an Afterlife, and Reincarnation. I'm just not sure the Christian concept of Heaven/Hell exists. (Or Purgatory, as some denominations believe in.) I think I do believe somewhat in karma, but it doesn't necessarily affect us in the next life. It affects us now in our currant lives. From what I read about reincarnation, what we do in our past lives actually has no effect on what we are reborn as.
Nocturnal Purr-Fection

Murfreesboro
Halloween Master
Posts: 4975
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:56 am
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Murfreesboro » Mon May 05, 2014 7:39 am

My older son, a mathematician, has spoken of artificial intelligence and how it could change everything in the next fifty years or so. I am not trained to understand the theories he knows. I have a difficult time understanding how we could create something equal to or greater than ourselves. You make a doll, but you beget a baby. Dolls and babies are not equal to each other.

Jacob Bronowski, a scientist who was fairly well known through PBS series back in the '70s (he died untimely), had an essay I loved years ago called "The Reach of Imagination." Of course, his knowledge of computers was limited to what was on the horizon back then, but I have never forgotten his comment that a computer might be able to out-calculate us, but it would never be able to out-love us.

Orthodox Christian theology does insist that animals do not have souls, but that is one area where I depart from the orthodox. As my husband has pointed out, every image of Paradise in the Bible has animals in it, so we believe they are there.

One way in which animals do appear to be quite different from us is precisely in the imagination Bronowski highlighted. If you leave them alone, a dog or a deer or a beaver or a bird is not going to live any differently today than its ancestors did a thousand years ago, or than its descendents will do a thousand years from now. We, however, do live quite differently from our ancestors, and no doubt our descendents will be living differently from us.

I understand your desire to have "scientific" proof of life after death, or the existence of a soul, but I don't think such a thing is ever going to be discovered. It is always going to be a matter of faith. But consider this: you already live on faith. You can get a money-back guarantee for a car, or a refrigerator, or even a house. But you will never be able to take out a guarantee on a marriage, or a child, or a career choice. In everything that really, really matters to you, you are living on faith. There is no other way.

User avatar
MauEvig
Halloween Master
Posts: 1161
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:11 pm
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by MauEvig » Tue May 06, 2014 7:21 am

I believe Science will have the answer one day. I could never accept the idea that my cats wouldn't be joining me in Heaven. As far as I'm concerned, if animals don't have souls, and science says human beings are animals, then we don't have them either.
Science isn't about absolutes, it's about tests and theories, and studying the natural world. We found cells, and DNA, atoms, neutrons, protons, electrons, molecules and the like. If the soul does in fact exist, science will find it one day. I'm sure of it. But if the evidence is against it, then this life is all we have.
However, I guess it all depends on how you interpret the evidence. A child who talks about events that happened in World War II at the age of two, who died by getting shot down, relives a past life through nightmares and knows the exact name of a pilot who actually existed without ever being told by his parents, or on television or any other media and would normally not have an understanding of such things, tells me that maybe there's something to reincarnation and quantum theory.
Unfortunately faith just isn't enough for me to accept something one way or another. I need evidence.
Nocturnal Purr-Fection

Murfreesboro
Halloween Master
Posts: 4975
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:56 am
What is the highest number?: 10992

Re: Is there such a thing as an after life, the soul and gho

Post by Murfreesboro » Tue May 06, 2014 8:06 am

I saw that news story about the child who had the WWII memories. Very strange.

When I say that science is not going to discover evidence for life after death, what I mean is, I cannot imagine an experiment with a control that could be set up to validate it. I am very familiar with the concept of scientific theories, was an excellent student in the sciences when I was in school. I am not one of those Christians who freaks out at the notion of evolution, etc. I have a lot of respect for science myself, and for the human reason on which it is based. I don't believe reason can do everything, but I think it can do a lot, and I'm all for using it as much as possible. Test its limits, sure. But the core of science is the scientific method, which demands that experiments can be repeated with the same results, and that they can be validated by setting up "controls." I have a hard time imagining how science can ever do that with this issue.

I also happen to think that acting without knowledge of the future is the only way we can ever prove our own character. For example, if you could go back in time and assure the Founding Fathers that their revolution was going to be successful, and that they would found a nation destined to become the most powerful in the history of the world--well, then, if they believed you were really from the future and knew these things with certainty, their own heroism would mean less than it does. What they did was heroic precisely because they didn't know how things would turn out. They believed in their cause and put their faith into it. This is not a religious point, but more of a point of human psychology. However, if you put it into a religious context, it might suggest that God is more interested in our character than in our comfort. I'm OK with that. YMMV

ETA: About animals in Christian theology--the Bible is actually silent on this issue. It is people, theologians, who have extrapolated the idea that animals don't have souls. I do not think it is necessary to accept this point in order to be a Christian believer. As far as I am concerned, all human love is a reflection of divine love. If I can love a dog or a cat, how much more must God, who made them, love them? It just doesn't make horse sense to me that they aren't in heaven, and in fact, the Bible does picture them in Paradise.

Post Reply