What do you think happens to you when you die?

[Potentially pain], then nothing… So will my tribulations will be ended; not with a bang, but a whimper.

The meaning of my life, if any of it I had, would carry on in those around me that I loved and loved me, but the universe will carry on.

This reminds me of my favourite anecdote. My ex-girlfriend and I once got into a discussion about how different our philosophies on life were compared to our more traditional families. At the time, we didn’t know each other so well, so she asked me if I believed in God, heaven, and the usual spiel. My answer, as is obvious by my contributions to this site, were “no!” My answer, as a result of its directness, surprised her. (My own conversion to atheism was marked by a similar direct answer, which I’d get into if I ever wrote an autobiography. It’s amazing with a direct answer can do to the intellect on a subject built upon superfluous layer upon layer.) I in turn asked her the same question, and she revealed her agnosticism. I proceeded to ask her what was stopping her from tipping over into one side or the other? She gave the best type of answer: a story (told below from her perspective):

One day my cousin, Omar, came to visit us in Baghdad for the first time. We sat, as all Arab families do, catching up in the living room. Somehow, religion came up, and we all found out he wasn’t religious; he didn’t even believe in God! Such a foreign concept. Not only does he think that way, but he says it too!

Fatima tells him “Allah ra e dibek el nara3n” (throw you into the fire, i.e., hell) if he doesn’t accept him and Mohammed as his Prophet. Omar replied, stak-fil-Allah (God forgive him): “How do you know? Do you know someone, anyone, who went there, came back, and told you?” The look on Fatima’s face, he’s so right!

Oh, how I laughed when she told me that story. Admittedly, it is a very childish story, yet, inside the Middle East, such reasoning is not only profound, but suicidal. Her cousin was lucky he was among family. Hence her agnosticism, she couldn’t know, so she refrained from judgment. Since we are nowhere before we are born, it stands to reason we return to such nothingness when we die, but the burden of proof, if one existed, would be on those who claim that we go anywhere else when we die.

When I, you, we, they die…nothing.

[1] Names were invented because I don't remember her cousin's original names,
but if I did, I'd still have to invent new names anyway.
[2] My arabic to arabic-english translations might be off,
however, the translation suffices to impart the intended message.


Categories: agnosticism, Atheism, Islam

Tags: , , ,

44 replies

  1. On average, we have about 29,000 experiences of conscious death in our life. That’s a lot of practice.

  2. We do know, due to numerous near death experiences and many natural experiments, that our vision is the last sense to go (due to its relative importance) so as our vision shuts down, it goes to black and white, then we lose peripheral vision (of less importance) and we get the inevitable shrinking white light, which creates the illusion of a source of light moving away from us, hence the “go to the light” superstition. This is accompanied by a rush of endorphins that create a sense of euphoria (starting to sound familiar?). Air Force pilots exposed to massive G forces in centrifuges to prepare them to be fighter pilots experience all of these symptoms as the blood is forced out of their brains. After they recover, many ask to do it all over again as it is such a high.

    If one does die, our bodies bacteria start to work immediately decomposing our tissues and soon our brains are incapable of thought, feeling, etc. So it is then dirt nap time. There is nothing to sense so basically all we get is a “fade to black.”

    Why this would be dismaying to some is beyond comprehension. Christians promise eternal life to everyone but it is a trick. The vast majority of us are promised only life sitting on a barbecue and why should we look favorably at that? And, isn’t eternal life kind of greedy? Aren’t they afraid of getting bored, sitting at God’s feet singing his praises? And having to listen to most people sing is sheer torture, so heaven and hell both have torture woven into them.

    • I beg to differ… what is vision? You ‘see’ when you dream… is it really vision that is the last to fade, or simply what we think of as vision because it is normally full of visual sensory data?

  3. When I die, I die. That is to my best guess what happens at lights out just as it happens temporarily every day when I fall asleep

  4. I’d like to hear your story one day… I think I had a similar conversion story — very blunt. It was literally the first time I considered that God was illusory, which says a lot about why we believe things (i.e. we rarely doubt them to begin with).

  5. By the same reasoning, how do you know there’s nothing?

    • CCT, how is this question different from asking an atheist to prove there is no god before you make a case for your side. I have no evidence that there is an afterlife. I have not in the short time have lived had of anyone who has sent messages after they died nor has anyone made a report of such other world. It remains on you to demonstrate the existence of such a world and possibly its location

      • I don’t under how is it a question at all? There are only 2 outcomes: 1) heaven/hell/afterlife 2) nothing. Now, we know that before someone is born, they don’t exist (duh), and so, in the absence of any positive evidence, it follows that since something MUST happen when we die, we’d go back to nothing. It is the default assumption, and one is entitled to hold it rationally until such evidence is forthcoming. That’s all there is to it.

        • I couldn’t have said it any better!

        • Thanks for the reply. I think the situation is a bit more nuanced than that. There certainly is life before birth (in the womb) and a raging debate as to when that starts. As with the issue of death, Christians and atheists have the same problem of physical evidence to sustain those views. We may think that there is nothing before conception(assuming an earliest date in the womb) but I don’t think that we have any proof to sustain this.

          In a court room type debate you may wish the theist to prove a case before you rebut it but that has nothing to do with what the facts may actually be in reality. In reality there is at least as much direct evidence for nothing after death as there is for something, or so it seems to me.

          Best, cct

          • When I said before osmeone is born, I should have said conception. Regardless of where life begins, we can be certain that it is not there before the moment of conception. If you wish to belabor this point, which it seems you do, then this debate is useless. To entertain the possibility that we need proof to prove there is no life before conception is bewildering.

            On the next matter you reference: please provide some of this direct evidence, of which you claim exists at least as much as for the position of nothing after death, so that we can analyse it.

            • The mainstay of the Christian asessrtion that there is life after death is Jesus’ resurrection. However, even if that evidence is reagrded as of zero value, that simply puts the evidence at zero. That’s the point of my comment. The same reasoning applies to both an argument that there is nothing after death and the one for something.

              They stand (at best for the “nothing” argument) on equal ground.

              As for no life before conception, I agree with you, but that does not mean that when we die, there is no life beyond that. That conclusion is a theory (a beleif?) (maybe a good one) but as far as i can tell not one supported by any more evidence than an argument for something after.

              • You’re not taking into account prior plausibility in determining a 50-50 chance of afterlife/nothing. It is silly to believe, as you do, that because the evidence is zero for that afterlife, that emails the same conclusion for nothing. The absence of evidence for the afterlife is evidence of nothing until shown otherwise, because we would expect there to be no evidence, and billions of humans have died in human history.

                The assertion there is nothing after death is not only a good one, it is the only one supported by the evidence. It’s not 50-50,its more like 99.99-0.01

                • “The absence of evidence for the afterlife is evidence of nothing until shown otherwise, because we would expect there to be no evidence, and billions of humans have died in human history”.

                  Really? Even if we place zero value on the resurrection and all the return from the dead stories, you are simply arguing from a lack of evidence – something that Christians are often accused of doing.

                  You could just as well claim that no evidence is consistent with a theory that people cannot return from the afterlife, rather than that there is one. There is no reason to prefer “there is nothing” over “there is no return” is there.

                  As for your last paragraph, when you refer to evidence, I assume you mean the lack thereof….

                  Better I think to argue at best for an agnostic position. That would be far more in line with a claim there is no evidence.

                  • Hey CCT and Fourat,

                    I thought I’d add my 2 cents here.
                    CCT, “The mainstay of the Christian assertion that there is life after death is Jesus’ resurrection. However, even if that evidence…” There’s your first mistake. An assertion is not evidence. There is no “evidence” for Jesus’ resurrection. Never has been. Not any testable, verifiable evidence. It’s all based on anecdotes, hearsay, superstition and the supernatural.
                    However, you are correct in saying that the best approach to this is the agnostic position – namely that we don’t know what happens after death. I would say Fourat has made this into a false dichotomy: Namely, there is either an afterlife OR there’s nothing. I would regard this as an unsafe assumption. There could be all kinds of things that happen after death that are minds are simply not capable of comprehending. I would say it’s extremely likely that nothing happens after death – and that’s much more likely than an afterlife (hence your 99.99:0.01 odds) but I wouldn’t reduce it to only those 2 outcomes. In point of fact, we simply don’t know what goes on after death. In that regard, CCT is correct – in that neither of you have evidence for your assertions (CCT that there is a life after death and Fourat that there is nothing after death). So the dichotomy should be reframed thusly so that it is no longer false: Either there is an afterlife OR there is no afterlife. On that, Fourat will be on much safer ground. In so doing, you will have placed the burden on CCT to prove there is an afterlife, which, to date, has never been done.

                    • Hi Ashley,

                      Thanks for our input. I’ll put my response in points just to keep them distinct.

                      1. evidence for the resurrection. The evidence for the resurrection is obvs contained in the gospel accounts AND the writings of the church fathers in the first century. Now this evidence is obvs hotly contested by opponents but it is evidence nonetheless. It is as testable as any other fact of ancient literature. Ancient events are believed or disbelieved by the amount of corroborating (usually textual) evidence. Critics dismiss the corroborating Christian writings that attest the resurrection on the basis that they are Christian – which is unfortunate. If those that saw it believed it and became Christian should they thereby destroy their evidence? And why would these Christian writers have died for a story they knew was false – i.e. not because they bee lived someone else’s lie, but die for something they new was a their own lie?

                      2. But anyway, lets say those evidences have zero value. I’m still not sure why you would say that Fourat is on better ground in your restated version, or why you think it is far more likely that there is nothing? Simply because we can’t see around a corner doesn’t mean that there is nothing around the corner. The fact that I can’t remember what happened in the womb (or immediately thereafter) does not mean that I did not exist in the womb. And it seems to me that Fourat is relying on some sort of assumed symmetry in life that we didn’t exist before some point (I agree, I think), and therefore after some point we won’t exist again. If that is the ground for thinking that its more likely that there is nothing than something, it seems to me that lacks any support in logic or evidence. Just because the egg was once whole does not mean that after scrambling it, it will return to the whole state.

                      3. if we say that they are of equal probability / evidence, then Pascal’s wager really becomes interesting…the cost of coming down on the wrong side based on no evidence is unsettling i think 😉

                      Best, cct

            • Life began in heaven before conception. God made our spirits, the animating force of our life, and we lived in heaven for thousands of years before physical conception. In heaven there was a battle between the forces of good and evil, and people of African ancestry, sad to say, were not valiant in the battle against evil. That is why they are born dark-skinned, so that we will know them. That is also why they have always been welcome to join the Mormon church as long as they stayed out of the actual temple and didn’t expect to join the priesthood along with all the righteous white males. Of course in 1978 the Lord revealed to the Prophet that African descendants had matured and were at last ready to come into the temple, even though they must continue to bear the dark mark of their perfidy.

              Thus for you to claim that there is no life before conception is what is bewildering, given that there was indeed such a life and it had a profound effect on life after conception. In fact, you have no evidence whatsoever for no life before conception, whereas Mormons have the Book of Mormon and the signatures of eleven men who each attested to having seen the book in the original miraculous form, written on pages of pure gold, and the righteousness of each of these men was clearly established by the devotion of his many wives.

              You may not believe any of this, and being of some African ancestry (and not just from the early modern human diaspora) I would rather not believe it either. In fact, I’d like to think It would have been my valiant boot in his ass that was the last thing Lucifer felt before he fell from heaven (assuming heaven, and boots in heaven…and that Lucifer was guilty as charged). But anyway, my point is that if you entertain absurd stories about life after life, there is just as much reason (none) to debate life before life.

              • @producto. Of all the inconsistencies you could have picked on that hardly seems a good one! Matt says the high priests used his money to buy the field and acts says he bought it. I’m no Greek scholar but those are hardly widely different stories and def not one I suspect a modern court would get hung up on.

                Of course if the bible was edited I’m sure that would have been one of the first to go, along with all other bits…:-)

                Not all hearsay…def not in the case of john. And probably not in the case of mark either if it was endorsed by peter. Even if it was that doesn’t mean it isn’t accurate, and that is true of modern rules of evidence as well. Of course a legal process often has very little do with establishing what actually happened. It’s whether you can prove what happened. Just ask OJ…

                • OJ was framed, albeit unsuccessfuly. Johnnie Cochran brilliantly turned the proceedings into a trial of the LAPD, up to their usual tricks, doing whatever it took to convict an African American. What the jury found was that a group of people with an agenda will lie, even when they are the people charged with establishing the truth.

                  What many had known for years was that if you were an LA cop or prosecutor, you were at least complicit in a corrupt system and quite probably a violent sociopath. (I once talked back to an LA cop who told me he was probably the only cop on the force who wouldn’t have beaten me into the ground for what I said.) In the OJ trial, the fact that OJ was a killer became irrelevant. The jury had bigger fish to fry, and fry them they did. The world learned that if the LAPD says it is so, it ain’t necessarily so.

                  Similarly, we have learned that groups of religious nuts will lie. Eleven righteous men swore they saw the original Book of Mormon on the plates of gold that Joseph Smith translated from the “Egyptian.” Witnesses claimed to have seen supernatural acts during the Salem witch hunts. The Mormon apostles claim that the Holy Ghost comes to their meetings. Fringe groups of Islamics tell terrorists that 72 virgins await them in heaven. etc. etc. So when someone says that Jesus walked on water, died and was resurrected, why would anyone swallow that particular silliness yet scoff at the rest? Does it all just come down to incredible gullibility as a symptom of the religious disease? That would be consistent with the fact that when Jim Jones said drink the Kool-Aid, over 900 people did.

                  People don’t just receive lies, they also fill in the holes in the lies they are told. Judas died by falling head first, Judas hung himself….that contradiction is resolved by adding a detail– the hanging rope broke. How did he fall headfirst? I haven’t heard an answer, but I have no doubt that someone will come up with one. How did Judas buy a field with his reward and fall to his death in the field he bought, yet he didn’t have the coins to buy the field because he had given them back? Well the priests used their coins that Judas carried for a day and bought the field sometime later…so therefore Judas bought it, which applied retroactively to when he hung himself but didn’t die until the never-mentioned rope broke and then he burst open and that is why the field of blood was so called….except actually it was called that because it was purchased with blood money, but nevermind. This all makes sense and there are no differences in the two versions because there are no differences, and even if there are, God is great. Whew! Crazy, crazy, crazy.

                  “Testing” means we DO look at the differences and we see a story, told and retold, with details changing as different versions evolved differently over the years. In some cases, passages in different books of the New Testament are the same, word for word. Could this be because they copied the same source? Scholars have found that the Gospels were not written by the apostles. Could it be that one person wrote the Jesus story and others copied some of it and added to it to make their own versions? Could it be that the original source of the New Testament is the Old Testament? “Jesus is the new Messiah, so he must have done all the things that were prophesied in the Old Testament, so even though nobody saw him do any of these things, I’m sure they must have happened and I will write it up that way.”

                  The death of Judas is just my pet contradiction, but there are plenty of others. People have tested the bible. It is a load of crap, with some soggy scraps of sweet cake. Jesus said you should be nice. Awww.

                  Anyway, I suspect you are just winding us up for the hell of it. No problem. This is way more fun than cleaning the garage or anything else I should be doing.

  6. CCT,

    I’m starting a new thread so that we don’t get lost in all of the relies

    1) No sir, I am very sorry to say that you do not have “evidence” for the resurrection. What you have are wildly discrepant and contradictory accounts of supposed supernatural events that occurred approximately 2000 years ago. They are not corroborated by any other historical account of the period and are directly contradicted by other supposed “holy” texts (i.e. the Koran which claims that “The Jews” conspired to have someone crucified in Jesus’ place and the resurrection never occurred. “Now this evidence is obvs hotly contested by opponents but it is evidence nonetheless.” No, it’s not. “Critics dismiss the corroborating Christian writings that attest the resurrection on the basis that they are Christian – which is unfortunate.” No, they don’t. They dismiss the contradictory, unverified accounts of supernatural events. There is no contemporary or historical account of dead people coming back to life, it’s never been proven to be scientifically possible and it’s for those reasons and many more that “critics” dismiss the supernatural claims of ALL religions (not just yours)
    “And why would these Christian writers have died for a story they knew was false…?” I can’t believe you are using the logical fallacy of the argument from belief as “evidence” of the resurrection. The fact that millions of people believe something has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not what they believe in is true or false. 19 lunatics hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Centre because they wanted to kill infidels and knew they’d be going to paradise as a reward for their martyrdom. They wouldn’t die for a lie, therefore what they believe in must be true. I hope you can see how utterly ridiculous that line of argument is.

    2)”I’m still not sure why you would say that Fourat is on better ground in your restated version…” I’m saying he’d be better off to reframe it in the correct dichotomy (afterlife/no afterlife) because in so doing, he will have removed the burden of proof from himself to show that there is nothing. The burden of proof is now where it belongs – on you to show that there is an afterlife. You’re the one asserting that there is an afterlife, you have the burden of proof to show that is the case. “Simply because we can’t see around a corner doesn’t mean that there is nothing around the corner. ” That is absolutely correct. You’re the one who’s asserting there is something around the corner. You are the one required to furnish proof that there is something around the corner. Your “maybe/maybe not” argument is nowhere near persuasive enough for me to consider that you know there’s something around the corner. Because Foulat cannot prove there is nothing around the corner, does not lend one iota of credence to your assertion that there is something around the corner. Where you are getting these 50/50 odds from, I have no idea.

    3) If I were you, I would immediately abandon your use of Pascal’s Wager. It has been thoroughly rebutted and refuted and no person can possibly take it seriously as an argument. To be very succinct:
    a) It assumes that the one god you’ve chosen to worship from a potential list of tens of thousands of gods is the correct one.
    b) It assumes that belief is the sole criteria by which to be judged.
    c) It assumes that the deity in question either doesn’t know or doesn’t care to know the difference between real belief and feigned belief.
    The assumptions that are relied on are far too grand, too sweeping, too broad and are completely without merit or evidence. This is a wager not worth considering.

    You would be much, much better off to admit that your proposition of an afterlife is based solely on faith. You will not arrive at your stated position using only logic and evidence. That I can guarantee you.

    • Hi there

      1) Just because evidence is disputed does not mean it’s not evidence – that’s a settled legal principle. Secondly, differences in account would tend of support the assertion that they are not made up accounts. Made up accounts would probably be identical. As for the Koran, it came 600 years after the fact so I hardly think it’s going overturn the writings of the fathers written a matter of decades after the fact. And the writings of clement etc are exactly that = written very soon after the events. Of course there are those who contest that these are all made up and came into play later – however that fails to explain how there were enough Christians in Rome for Nero to blame the fire on. People who apparently believed in a guy who wandered around for 3 years and then was killed a blasphemer. Never to be seen again.

      That is the difference between someone like Peter and a modern suicide bomber. Peter didn’t die for something someone else told him – he died for what He and many others saw. So if three was no resurrection it meant he went to his death for something that he knew was a lie, not something he believed to be true but actually wasn’t.
      The presence of a significant group of Christians in Rome a very short time after the crucifixion is one good reason to believe it was true. There simply wasn’t enough time for a credible myth to develop.
      And obviously it’s not possible from a scientific perspective. Supernatural by definition isn’t. Saying the supernatural can’t happen because it’s scientifically impossibly is putting the cart before the horse.

      2. You have mistaken a legal process with the question of whether something actually happened or not. Burden of proof is a result of a legal rule that “he who alleges must prove”. So a person only needs to answer a case once a case is established. So yes, if I say there is something after death I must prove it, and anyone who wants to disprove THAT only needs to do so once a case is made. HOWEVER, the ***same rule applies to someone who ALLEGES there is nothing after death***. That person must prove it. The fact that the first case isn’t proven DOES NOT mean the second case is.
      That is why if there is no evidence (or even alleged evidence) that there is nothing after death, the only position to be taken is agnostic.

      3. If the something and nothing options are equally supported by the evidence or lack thereof, then Pascal’s wager makes sense even in your scenarios. By going for one of the beliefs you shorten the odds dramatically of you getting it wrong. Simply doing nothing is not rational because it does nothing to shorten the odds of you ending up in the wrong place.

      The argument is very compelling mathematically. Unless you would like to produce some evidence that there is in fact nothing on the other side, it seems hard to move the probability much beyond 50:50.


      • CCT,

        I’m trying to be as patient with you as I can, but you are doing a very good job at testing that patience.

        1) You can call the bible “evidence” all you like. You can say “well the fact that they contradict each other proves that it wasn’t made up” all you like. You can say “the evidence is disputed” all you like. It’s not evidence. It’s a made up fairy tale, full of myths, exaggerations and contradictions. The fact that you actually believe it, does not make it “evidence”. The bible is no more “evidence” that Jesus existed or Christianity is the one true religion than the Koran is “evidence” that the Prophet Mohammed is the one true prophet and Islam is the one true religion. The ONLY book that describes the life of Jesus in any detail ( extremely contradictory detail) and attributes any miracles to him (including the resurrection) is the bible. You WILL NOT find any account of such a person performing miraculous deeds in any other historical text. You will not find accounts of people rising from the dead in any non-Christian historical texts. Your argument is beyond ridiculous. It’s true because it’s in the bible and it’s in the bible because it’s true. If that’s the best you can do, then that’s the best you can do. I, and approximately 75% of the rest of the population of the earth who aren’t Christian (many of whom accept other religions as true and worship different gods), are not buying your story. You can use the logical fallacy of the argument from belief and then point out the differences in details all you like (i.e. someone dying for what they allegedly saw rather than what they were told) it doesn’t make your argument any more plausible, any more believable and any more logical. It’s still the logical fallacy of the Argument from Belief. The Gospel of Peter was written after Peter’s death (by an unknown author or authors) and some 190-250 years after the supposed life of Jesus. There is no possible way you could know that what was written in the Gospel of Peter is an accurate account of what Peter did or did not “see”. Given the unknown author(s) and the time lapse between the writing and the supposed events, it would seem that a person with even the slightest amount of skepticism would be just a tad suspicious of the authenticity of the text.

        2) I suggest that you go back and re-read my first 2 posts. The whole reason I started this is because I notice Foulat made this into a false dichotomy ie. Either there is an Afterlife or there is Nothing. That is why I corrected it to make it the correct Dichotomy ie. Either there is an Afterlife or there is NO Afterlife. No Afterlife DOES NOT MEAN Nothing. They are NOT synonymous. No afterlife could mean a multitude of things (inanimate mater, pure energy and who-knows-what-else) I am not arguing that there is nothing after death. I have no idea what happens after death. ” Unless you would like to produce some evidence that there is in fact nothing on the other side..” No I don’t. I’ve been saying that, apparently in vain, for the last 3 posts. I have no evidence for the assertion that there is nothing after death. I am not trying to assert that there is nothing after death. Yes, I am agnostic about what happens after death. I hope I have been clear enough on that. I don’t think I can possibly make it any clearer than that. Please do not bring up the subject of nothing after death again. YOU, however, are NOT agnostic. YOU seem to be absolutely convinced that there is an afterlife. The Burden of Proof remains with you to show that an afterlife exists. So instead of belaboring a point that’s already been beaten to death, please get on with it and make your case that you know there’s an afterlife.

        3) Pascal’s Wager may make sense to you, but to anyone with a capacity for critical thinking, skepticism and logic, it absolutely absurd. Choosing 1 god from a list of tens of thousands and perhaps millions of gods does not “shorten the odds dramatically of you getting it wrong”. This is simple mathematics son. My chances of worshiping the correct god are 0%. Yours is 0.01% at best and could be as bad as 0.000001%. If you want to say that “The argument is very compelling mathematically” be my guest. It would seem to me that only a complete fool would accept that as a “mathematically compelling argument”. You have also discounted 2 further the possibilities that a) by worshipping the wrong god, you could potentially be making the one true god even angrier and more vengeful than by simply ignoring him (as I have done) and b) if there is no god, you have completely wasted your entire life by glorifying a myth and worshipping a non-existent deity. I still don’t know where you got these 50/50 odds from, but it’s certainly not from conventional mathematics or logic. There is no possible way you could have accurately calculated those odds. You’ve made this nonsense up out of thin air.

        Please, please do yourself a favour. Admit that what you believe in is based on faith. You WILL NOT be able to prove that what you believe in is based on evidence or logic sir. I can assure you that you are wasting your time in such an endeavor.

        • I’m sorry to have tried your patience.

          Thank you for you iron clad and clearly substiated assurance that i am wrong.

          I am happy to admit i beleive in an afterlife based on faith. I assume you’ll be honest enough with yourself to admit that a belief that there is nothing after death is also one based on faith, since i beleive we agree there is no evidence.
          best, cct

          • Once again, for the FOURTH TIME, I DON’T BELIEVE THERE IS NOTHING AFTER DEATH. Stop trying to shove words in my mouth. Stop insisting on using your strawman version of my words. I have NO BELIEFS in regards to what happens after death. I have no idea what happens after death and I WILL NOT USE FAITH to bridge that gap and form a belief when I have no reason, evidence or argument to do so. I am BELIEF-FREE as to what happens after death. I will find out when I die. Until that day I will withhold ANY belief in ANYTHING after death because there is no reason to believe in ANY proposition. There’s no evidence, there’s no compelling argument for an afterlife. There’s no evidence, there’s no compelling argument for nothing after death. There’s no evidence, there’s no compelling argument for anything after death. IT’S NOT POSSIBLE to have a compelling argument or evidence for what happens after death. Is that clear enough? I’ve said this 3 previous times and I would have thought that it would be starting to sink in by now. NO beliefs, NO Faith. Please, for the love of everything that you think is holy, PLEASE don’t make me repeat any of this again.

            “I am happy to admit i beleive in an afterlife based on faith”
            That is the most honest thing you have said to date in our discussion. If what you believe in is based on faith, wonderful. Stop trying to mix it up with this “evidence” nonsense. You look absolutely silly when you do.

            • I never said it was your belief…I said “a belief”. But thank you again for being the arbiter of truth.

              My faith is based on evidence. You don’t like the evidence, fair enough. And your assertion that it’s fairy tales, well, talk about something lacking evidence. *that* is a belief if ever there was one.

              You’re right it much more plausible to think that bunch or Iron Age muppets managed to lie to multitudes, persuading them to endure suffering, and died themselves for something that they new was untrue, and in so doing spawned the largest religion the world has ever known, based on a dead guy, who never wrote anything, led anything or was successful by any measure. Yes, that sounds credible.

              And sorry to say it, you’re just plain wrong on the apostolic fathers. They do corroborate – their very existence is corroboration.

              I suspect this conversation is rapidly drawing to a close. Thanks for your insights.

              • CCT,

                You are absolutely correct sir, this “conversation” is rapidly drawing to a close. It is not possible to have a meaningful conversation with someone who does not understand fundamental meanings of rudimentary English words – like faith. “My faith is based on evidence. You don’t like the evidence, fair enough.” I would suggest that you look up the word “faith” in a dictionary. Faith IS NOT “based” on evidence. It’s belief in the absence of evidence. It’s also not possible to have a conversation who doesn’t understand the difference between an assertion and evidence and doesn’t understand logic. “And your assertion that it’s fairy tales, well, talk about something lacking evidence. *that* is a belief if ever there was one. ” People don’t rise from the dead. People don’t walk on water. These are not “beliefs” no matter how much you want to think they are. This is the reality that we inhabit. I don’t need “evidence” to make an assertion like that.
                “You’re right it much more plausible to think that bunch or Iron Age muppets …Yes, that sounds credible.”
                You can re-phrase your original proposition as many ways as you like, it’s STILL the Logical Fallacy of the Argument from Belief. Lot’s of people believed it so it must be true. NONSENSE.
                Anyways, I know I am wasting my breath with you because none of my arguments count. No matter what I say or what nonsense of yours I point out, it all just proves more that your “evidence” is iron clad. The more the gospels contradict each other, the more they are right and the more they corroborate each other “And sorry to say it, you’re just plain wrong on the apostolic fathers. They do corroborate – their very existence is corroboration.” Trite idiotic GIBBERISH.
                Enjoy living your life in a warm bath of semi-consciousness and ignorance sir.

                • Thank you. “Sir” of course does away with the utter contempt and disdain of your comment. Thank you.

                  • You are very welcome. This “disdain” and “contempt” is actually frustration borne from an attempt to converse with a brick wall. To converse with internet auto-preacher who plugs his ears and continues to make the same assertions and commits the same logical fallacies over and over and never learns from his mistakes.

                    • Ashley, if your brain has not been broken by religion, it is very hard to understand the thinking of victims of religion. Why don’t they think like we do? When we put their mistakes right in front of them, why can’t they see them?

                      I try sometimes to get Bible apologists to look at the two accounts of the death of Judas, one in Matthew and one in Acts 1. What did Judas do with the money, how did he die, why is the field where he died called the Field of Blood? Given the contradictions, how can the Bible be inerrant? The answer is that there are no contradictions. “But, but, but….” I splutter. It makes no difference what I say. They don’t want to see contradictions, so they say there are none.

                      My wife, who was raised religious, can’t understand why this still bothers me, or even interests me. She is soooo over it. I keep staring at religious insanity as if it were the corpse of a giant alien that washed up on the beach. It just violates all my expectations in such a creepy way. I am horrified, yet fascinated. Like you, I am frustrated because I want to fix it somehow, but it is what it is.

                      I try to remember that people are not illogical for logical reasons. Patiently providing more and more logic won’t work. That is like trying to cure anorexia with more food. The only solution is to put the sword to their necks and demand that they renounce their faith. No wait….that’s not it either. But seriously, isn’t it always a brick wall? Have you ever made any progress with anybody?

                    • Producto,

                      To answer your question, I don’t really know for certain, but I doubt that I’ve ever made progress with someone like CCT. I don’t think it’s possible. Someone who accepts the bible as “evidence” while simultaneously rejecting and/or ignoring all other holy texts as “evidence” and honestly believes that his faith is derived from “evidence” is not likely to be very susceptible to logic and reason. However, the reason I do this, is so that people who are reasonable and are capable of logic, skepticism and reason can see through the absurd arguments that you see religious apologists and fundamentalists put forth. That’s the beauty of the internet. Once people read enough of the absurd nonsense and arguments in favour of religion, it shouldn’t be too hard to see through it.

                    • A brick wall because I didn’t immediately crumble at you assertion that Christianity is a myth. What were you expecting me to do, fall in a heap just because all of a sudden you opened my eyes to an assertion I’d never heard before. The essence of debate is disagreement….sorry to have made it so tedious for you.

                    • CCT

                      A brick wall because you “know” for certain that Christianity is the one true religion and you have “evidence” for it and you “know” there’s an afterlife. A brick wall because you can’t do any better than rephrasing the logical fallacy of The Argument from Belief over and over and over and over. And because you keep rephrasing it, you think you’re coming up with a new argument. A brick wall because you are possibly the first person I have ever met that still uses apologetic philosophical arguments from the 17th century and believes they’re valid. The fact that you truly believe that Pascal’s wager is a valid argument for the belief in god is absolutely incredible. I didn’t think that it was possible to be that stupid, ignorant or gullible. I believe congratulations are in order
                      Having talked to you for these past few posts, I most certainly don’t expect you to “open your eyes” to anything. You’ve already convinced yourself that you’ve got all of these really big important incredibly complex things all figured out because you believe in Christianity (or rather you have “evidence” for it). I doubt very much that anything I say is going to persuade that you might possibly not know as much as you think you know. Bravo for you.

                    • CCT–The essence of conversation is not disagreement, but rather interaction and change. We are trying to introduce you to an epistemological system in which ideas are evaluated logically. Having led you to the water, Ashley is frustrated that you won’t drink. The worst of it is that we can’t convince you to drink because you think you already are being logical, so then we want to show you that what you see as logic is actually all just a well-known logical fallacy, the argument from belief. When you say, “the apostolic fathers. They do corroborate – their very existence is corroboration,” that is like saying the marinara sauce planet corroborates the Great Spaghetti Monster. Yes there is a red planet, but no, Mars is not red because of marinara sauce.

                      So how do we get you over this hump? Come to the light, CCT, come to the light. We promise a short life, with no purpose except that which you give it, followed by eternal nothingness. It is hard to understand why you aren’t all over that.

                    • @ashley and producto,

                      Lets have a review of the course of this conversation. After one round of defence of my “evidence” I was already “testing patience”. Which one of us does it appear is supremely convinced of the truth of their position? Which one of us is already tiring of debate before it has even really started?

                      Just reread this thread and you will see. I have given reasons for my beliefs – you immediately got annoyed and started making bald and outlandish rebuffs (like the maths being 0%, the bible being myth etc). you immediately declared “Its not evidence”, (I should note wihtout even angaging in the slghtest on the difference between evidence for historical facts (e.g. Jesus as a person) and evidence for doctrine – I aserted the first, not the second. But irrelevant, as at that point since you had already declared my argument “beyonf ridiculous”).

                      As for mars being red, what a ridiculous caricature. The genesis of this was Ashley saying the resurrection was not testable – I said it was testable like any other alleged happening in ancient history –usually attested by corroborating text/events, and I cited some (btw I wasn’t referring to the gospel of peter – I was referring to the writing of the church fathers like clement in the first century that attest to his death – feel free to see Wikipedia under peters martyrdom if you’d care to research that yourself).

                      There was barely any engagement on this point other than bald assertion that it is wrong (and an incorrect allusion to the gospel of peter). So rather than engaging with a legitimate method of testing ancient events, we were reduced to ranting.

                      Before you characterise me as intransigent, why not have read through and see how open your engagement has been, o thoroughly porous ones (I assume that I what you prefer, rather than brick wall?).

                      Best, cct

                    • CCT,

                      And therein lies the problem. As I eluded to earlier, you are not capable of understanding logic and discerning the difference between evidence and assertion. That’s why when I bring up the point that the bible is no more evidence for Jesus’ existence than the Koran is evidence for the Prophet Mohammed’s existence, I am met with dead silence. Your “evidence” only counts for the god that you happen to believe in and you willfully ignore all the other “evidence” for all the other gods. This is plainly dishonest and disingenuine argument. It does not merit 10 more seconds of discussion.
                      “Which one of us does it appear is supremely convinced of the truth of their position?” I don’t have a position that I am “supremely convinced of the truth of”. That again, is a because you are incapable of understanding reason and logic. It would appear that you also have severe reading comprehension disabilities. I’ve explained at least 4 times how I don’t have any beliefs. I don’t have a position to defend. I am saying that your position – that you know that Christianity is the one true religion, that’s there’s an afterlife and you have “evidence” for all of this – is ridiculously absurd.
                      Yes indeed, let anyone re-read all of the comments and then note how you haven’t written anything worth reading. You’ve re-hashed ages-old arguments, used 17th century thinking and reworded a logical fallacy of the argument from belief over and over. If that’s the best you can do, I’m not very impressed.

                    • Well you certainly seemed to have a “position” on the validity of the Bible? Or am i misunderstanding the word “position” or the reams you’ve written claiming arguing that it is “not evidence”.

                      As for evidence, what do you think the evidence of ancient history is other than texts. Is Josephus evidence of Jewish culture, are Caesar’s gallic wars evidence of roman conquest? Similarly ancient religious writings are evidence – you may debate what they are evidence of, but they are still evidence. And in some cases prima facie proof (that’s a legal term) of the events they describe. How on earth would you prove ancient historical events other than through texts? Stones/ruins alone? You can rant all you want but pick up a first year legal text book (I’ll lend you one ;-)) on documentary evidence and you’ll find that.

                    • CCT,

                      ”Similarly ancient religious writings are evidence – you may debate what they are evidence of, but they are still evidence”
                      Thank you for admitting that everything written in the Koran is evidence.
                      Oh wait. That was sarcasm. What I meant to say was, thank you for proving my point in that you ONCE AGAIN ignored my point about ”evidence” of other religions (instead choosing to talk about NON-SUPERNATURAL, NON-RELIGIOUS historical events like ”Caesar’s gallic wars”) and kept right on preaching about your own. In one ear, out the other. You have further confirmed my suspicion that you are not interested in debating, you are interested in only preaching. I can rant all I want?! You’re the one ranting and blabbering on about how you know Christianity is the one true religion and Jesus is the one true Messiah and how the bible is ”evidence” for all of this – not me. Take your head out of your stupid, ignorant, know-it-al, self-righteous ass, clean the shit out of your ears, take the blindfolds off of your eyes and maybe, someday, you’ll learn something. If you just want to preach about Christianity and Jesus and how you’re right and we’re just too blind to see it, then you’re wasting your time. You’re on the wrong website. I’m sure that there are lots of other people who think and talk just like you and believe the same bullshit that you do. Go talk to them.

                    • CCT. The existence of a red planet can be used as evidence of the Great Spaghetti Monster. Evidence does not have to be strong or even valid to be evidence. Your evidence for Jesus and an afterlife is similar. There are many crazy beliefs that people have come up with and some that people are willing to die for.The idea that the rest of us are premature in rejecting those crazy ideas without proving that they must be false is absurd, and exhausting.

                      “There are infinite universes all exactly like this universe. This is the master universe and all the other universes copy us.” That idea is not falsifiable, but it is absurd, so why waste any time on it in the absence of solid evidence? Your Jesus evidence is that some people seemed to have believed in him as a real person, and not just as a composite of various characters whipped into a groovy, bearded white guy who could help you get some wine when you run out. You reference standards of modern evidence as if any modern court is interested in hearsay of unreliable hearsay of 2000-year old hearsay from witnesses who contradicted each other, with no chain of custody of the depositions, which could have been altered at any time.

                      Consider for instance the Easy to Read Version of the Bible at BibleGateway.com. This just flat out lies about what the bible says. Matthew says that Judas returned the money. Acts 1 says that Judas used it to buy a field. This contradiction has been pointed out for years, so the Easy to Read Version just rewrote Acts and said “His money was used to buy him a field.” This is not easier to read and still doesn’t make sense, but the point is that people lie, even when they think they are defending TRUTH.

                      The bible is like a sack of garbage from yesterday’s party in which there are some perfectly good servings of steak that have only been chewed on a little bit. How did some of the good spoons get in there and why can’t we just wash out and reuse those plastic cups? Still, basically it is trash. Do a little dumpster diving in there if you must, but then let it go.

                • The Koran still needs to be tested to see if it is true rather than being dismissed out of hand. One good reason to dismiss it is it is ( as far as I’m aware) a single source document . I.e written by one person. The bible on the other hand is a collection of documents widely agreed to come from different sources, at the least roughly corrobstive of each other, and with other non-biblical texts of the same time.

                  Hope that gives some small taste of how a real investigation into evidence might take place, when one takes a little effort to understand the nature of the documents one is dealing with. And in principle the same process would be followed to establish the accuracy of the content of Caesars Gallic wars.

                  • There you go CCT. The bible was written by multiple sources and the Koran was only written by one source. That’s why the bible is true and the Koran “still needs to be tested”. Yeah, that’s what makes something true – the number of authors that wrote the book. Brilliant stuff. That’s gotta be your best argument yet. And oh yeah – the different books of the bible are “at least roughly corronbstive of each other” – except where they contradict each other on every pretty much everything from his birth, to his death and everything in between. You can’t possibly be this stupid. All of this information is readily available on the internet. A 10 second google search will yield all the results anyone could ever need.
                    Yes CCT, you’ve certainly given us a taste of how a “real investigation” might take place. You’re a real Sherlock Holmes.

                    • Well summarised. That of course is exactly what I said.

                      And i actually agree with you. *i can’t possibly be this stupid*. Forget about me, guys like Francis Collins can’t possibly be that stupid. Because of course that’s not the argument. But you’d need to stop ranting for a minute or two to see that.

                      And just so it’s clear what is described is **part** of testing **both** books. But that point was obviously lost somewhere….

                    • CCT,

                      Yes I know that’s exactly what I said. I was using the element of sarcasm to point how mind-blowingly idiotic your assertion was – that because more authors wrote the bible than wrote the Koran, the bible is true and the Koran “still needs to be tested”. Only someone who has absolutely no capacity for independent or critical thought who is essentially brain-dead could accept that as a valid argument and thinks that the number of authors that contribute to a book is what makes it true or not. And then to add to that, another brilliant assertion – that because Francis Collins believes the same bullshit that you do and because he’s brilliant, that makes what the two of you believe in, true. Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most brilliant minds that ever lived. His contributions to the study of mathematics are innumerable. He also wrote books on, and practiced, Alchemy. Therefore, since he was so brilliant, alchemy must be true.
                      “And just so it’s clear what is described is **part** of testing **both** books. But that point was obviously lost somewhere….” Unintelligible gibberish.
                      I take back what I wrote earlier. You actually ARE that stupid.

  7. “Since we are nowhere before we are born, it stands to reason we return to such nothingness when we die”

    Unless there is a deposit on our souls, I’m not sure that a post-consumer return to place of origin necessarily follows.


  1. What are we really arguing about? | clapham common tree

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