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My Therapist

Randy

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My Therapist
« on: August 19, 2020, 10:35:11 PM »
I had a conversation a few hours ago with my therapist. Somewhere along the way she asks me if I have any thoughts about the "afterlife". She wanted to know if I was into reincarnation, a celestial plane of some type (I don't remember if this was in it but she rattled off several items.)

Now, when we first started talking maybe two months ago she asked me up front what spirituality I have. I flat out told her, "I'm atheist".

So today she brings up what I said in the first paragraph. My response was something like this:
I keep myself grounded in science. What I know is that my memory, conscience, thoughts and so-on are a part of my brain. When my brain dies, I die.

Do some atheists believe in an afterlife? I don't see how but I suppose it is possible.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Dark Lightning

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2020, 01:32:36 AM »
Given what I have seen with people who have had brain damage, I am in the camp that says, "When "you" die, you are gone. Finito. I guess I'll find out (most likely not) when I die. My personal take is that quote from Seneca, "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful".

Tank

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2020, 06:37:48 PM »
Once its gone its gone.

But that's no bad thing.
We had our spark of existence.
Unique in the Universe.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Recusant

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2020, 11:52:33 PM »
Not believing in gods doesn't prevent a person from believing in the supernatural in general. No god is required for reincarnation, for instance. Buddhism rejected deities as such, but incorporated reincarnation.

There has also been an attempt to support the idea of an afterlife on a rational basis. It's based on mind-body dualism, so of dubious worth in my opinion.

It does seem to be rare for atheists to consciously believe in an afterlife, but there is evidence that at some level most people think that consciousness survives death.

The story below was first published in New Scientist, which has a paywall. Sometimes it's possible to find articles re-posted elsewhere.

"Why almost everyone believes in an afterlife – even atheists" | New Scientist / Visible Sky

Quote
Richard Waverly was a 37-year-old history teacher. One day he was driving to work, tired after a late night and hungry from skipping breakfast. He was also in a bad mood following a row with his wife, who he suspected of having an affair. At a busy junction, he lost control, drove into a telegraph pole and was thrown through the windscreen. The paramedics said he was dead before he hit the pavement.

This story is fictitious, but when psychologist Jesse Bering narrated it to volunteers, he discovered something you probably couldn’t make up. Asked questions such as “do you think Richard knows he is dead?” and “do you think he wishes he had told his wife he loved her before he died?”, large numbers of volunteers answered yes. For many, who had already professed a belief in the afterlife, this was no big surprise. However even people who totally rejected the idea of life after death – so-called extinctivists – also answered yes.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Randy

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2020, 12:10:30 AM »
You're right Recusant. Then again you usually are. You are a fountain of knowledge.

I didn't think about Buddhism when I wrote the above. I sometimes forget that there are atheists who follow the teachings of Buddha.

Tank, I agree with you. I'm of the same mindset. I was just questioning and got my answer. I know that I am my brain.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Davin

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 06:10:30 PM »
Not believing in gods doesn't prevent a person from believing in the supernatural in general. No god is required for reincarnation, for instance. Buddhism rejected deities as such, but incorporated reincarnation.

There has also been an attempt to support the idea of an afterlife on a rational basis. It's based on mind-body dualism, so of dubious worth in my opinion.

It does seem to be rare for atheists to consciously believe in an afterlife, but there is evidence that at some level most people think that consciousness survives death.

The story below was first published in New Scientist, which has a paywall. Sometimes it's possible to find articles re-posted elsewhere.

"Why almost everyone believes in an afterlife – even atheists" | New Scientist / Visible Sky

Quote
Richard Waverly was a 37-year-old history teacher. One day he was driving to work, tired after a late night and hungry from skipping breakfast. He was also in a bad mood following a row with his wife, who he suspected of having an affair. At a busy junction, he lost control, drove into a telegraph pole and was thrown through the windscreen. The paramedics said he was dead before he hit the pavement.

This story is fictitious, but when psychologist Jesse Bering narrated it to volunteers, he discovered something you probably couldn’t make up. Asked questions such as “do you think Richard knows he is dead?” and “do you think he wishes he had told his wife he loved her before he died?”, large numbers of volunteers answered yes. For many, who had already professed a belief in the afterlife, this was no big surprise. However even people who totally rejected the idea of life after death – so-called extinctivists – also answered yes.

[Continues . . .]
I don't agree with the conclusion that those who responded "yes" necessarily believe in an afterlife even subconsciously. If I were told the story, and then asked those questions (that clearly imply Richard's continued existence), I very well might answer in the same way. I don't think that Thanos really exists, but I've had many conversations about that character's motivations as well.
Always question all authorities because the authority you don't question is the most dangerous... except me, never question me.

xSilverPhinx

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2020, 06:21:35 PM »
Sometimes I find myself wishing there was an afterlife, but most of the time I don't. I don't ever believe there is one, though. It doesn't make sense to me.
I am what survives if it's slain - Zack Hemsey


Randy

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2020, 07:29:31 PM »
I sometimes too wish there was an afterlife. I know better. I chose to embrace the facts and the facts have no room for one.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Tank

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2020, 10:46:28 PM »
The desire not to die has been inculcated into the human psyche by evolution. It must be the same for every organism within the capability of that organism to fashion a thought. A 'desire' to live must be one of the most basic drivers of natural selection thus it has been select for over billions of years and generations.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Recusant

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2020, 10:58:58 PM »
You're right Recusant. Then again you usually are. You are a fountain of knowledge.

A fountain of something, anyway.  ;) Thank you for the compliment. I've never stopped learning things, but most of what I share here is things I've found, not things I know.

I didn't think about Buddhism when I wrote the above. I sometimes forget that there are atheists who follow the teachings of Buddha.

Yes, since the teachings of Buddha do not include gods it's possible to be an atheist Buddhist. What many branches of Buddhism have done is deify Buddha and in some instances created a pantheon of bodhisattvas and saints to accompany him.

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Sandra Craft

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2020, 01:54:22 AM »
Do some atheists believe in an afterlife? I don't see how but I suppose it is possible.

I've known of a few who believed in reincarnation or ghosts.  I guess everyone is susceptible to some form of wishful thinking, tho most of us who give up belief in the supernatural seem to give up all of it. 

I have to admit that tho I have no interest in reincarnation at all, the idea of being a ghost is interesting as long as the haunting nonsense is optional.  If I were going to believe in something supernatural just for the comfort of it, I'd go for that.

Also, I wonder if surveys that find belief in the afterlife among atheists take into account the difference between real belief and just entertaining the idea of it? 
Sandy

  

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2020, 02:00:29 AM »
According to our (Old Seers) understanding, the after life is when a resurrection takes place sometime beginning before or shortly after the settling in of the 4th age (generation). There are two types of resurrections that's dealt with in the book. A spiritual one (also referred to as reborn) and a physical one at the end of the age. The physical one brings one back to life as a person is presently. The after life in this understanding is "after" all powers, principalities and authorities are removed and Armageddon is past, leaving one to be free to be a natural person as was Adam.
The only thing possible the world needs saving from are the ones running it.
Oh lord, save us from those wanting to save us.
I'm not a Theist
https://sites.google.com/site/oldseers

Randy

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2020, 02:02:25 AM »
Do some atheists believe in an afterlife? I don't see how but I suppose it is possible.
...
Also, I wonder if surveys that find belief in the afterlife among atheists take into account the difference between real belief and just entertaining the idea of it?
I would think that they would be serious about it and distinguish between fantasy and reality. Then again there are all sorts of people out there.

You mentioned ghosts. I wouldn't like to be one. They couldn't eat key lime pie.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg

Sandra Craft

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2020, 02:09:47 AM »

You mentioned ghosts. I wouldn't like to be one. They couldn't eat key lime pie.

 :snicker:  Very true, that is a drawback.  I was thinking along the lines of being disembodied consciousness untethered by the laws of time and space.  If, after my body died, my consciousness could go zipping off to explore the rings of Saturn, or go back in time to the Big Bang (or whatever it was), I'd consider that a good trade off for key lime pie. 

But I see no reason to believe my consciousness is separate from my brain, so there goes that.
Sandy

  

"Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet."  Sarah Louise Delany

Randy

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Re: My Therapist
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2020, 02:17:49 AM »

You mentioned ghosts. I wouldn't like to be one. They couldn't eat key lime pie.

 :snicker:  Very true, that is a drawback.  I was thinking along the lines of being disembodied consciousness untethered by the laws of time and space.  If, after my body died, my consciousness could go zipping off to explore the rings of Saturn, or go back in time to the Big Bang (or whatever it was), I'd consider that a good trade off for key lime pie. 

But I see no reason to believe my consciousness is separate from my brain, so there goes that.
That's kind of what I told my therapist.
"Maybe it's just a bunch of stuff that happens." -- Homer Simpson
"Some people focus on the destination. Atheists focus on the journey." -- Barry Goldberg