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just suppose you were wrong after all...

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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animist
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just suppose you were wrong after all...

#1 Post by animist » April 26th, 2011, 8:34 pm

what would you say to God or his representative when you die and then discover there was an afterlife after all, more or less on Christian lines?

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Dave B
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#2 Post by Dave B » April 26th, 2011, 9:27 pm

Gordon Bennet, would you Adam & Eve it!? 'Strewth guv, can't always be right can we?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Fia
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#3 Post by Fia » April 26th, 2011, 10:10 pm

OK, it seems I was wrong. What do you want to do now? Please consult my life history before answering :)

petemster
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#4 Post by petemster » April 26th, 2011, 11:46 pm

animist wrote:what would you say to God or his representative when you die and then discover there was an afterlife after all, more or less on Christian lines?
You have a lot of explaining to do, Big Man.

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Alan H
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#5 Post by Alan H » April 27th, 2011, 1:19 am

Just hold there a minute while I get the International Criminal Court to charge you with crimes against humanity (religiously aggravated).
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#6 Post by animist » April 27th, 2011, 8:24 am

having started this thread, I can't seem to think of anything very funny or apt. I think I might ask if He was the only god after all, and did He think He was sane; also His ideas on free will and moral responsibility! Was He a compatibilist? And was there a devil? And if so...? Quite a bit in fact, but there would be a fair amount of time to put Him right :wink:

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#7 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » April 27th, 2011, 8:36 am

I'd probably assume I was still alive, in a coma, having a vivid dream.

I'm as certain that there's no afterlife (more or less on Christian lines) as I am of anything.

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#8 Post by animist » April 27th, 2011, 9:17 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:I'd probably assume I was still alive, in a coma, having a vivid dream.

I'm as certain that there's no afterlife (more or less on Christian lines) as I am of anything.
given that one can never prove a negative, any reason for this certainty? And how do you know you are not now in a vivid dream?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#9 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » April 27th, 2011, 1:34 pm

animist wrote:given that one can never prove a negative, any reason for this certainty?
Yes. Loads of reasons, actually. It would take a 280-page book to describe them all. But in brief: everything that makes me who I am depends on this here brain. When a part of this here brain dies, I will lose a part of myself. When the whole of it dies, the whole of me will be lost. The idea that a part of me can survive the death of my brain is absurd, as far as I am concerned. And yet, I can completely understand why so many people want that to be true. Of themselves and of other people. Death can be a very difficult thing to accept. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many people have made up or repeated and believed stories, to cheer themselves or others up, in which the self or the soul, or whatever they might want to call it, lives on in some way, or in some special place. And it is not at all surprising that those stories often involve having the opportunity to be with the people they have loved and lost and missed. Wishful thinking is a mighty powerful thing.
animist wrote:And how do you know you are not now in a vivid dream?
I don't. But unlike your afterlife example, it isn't an explanation for anything that doesn't otherwise make sense. It just creates more questions. Who is it that's having the vivid dream, and why is it going on for so bloody long, and what is reality really like? If it's true, there's bugger all I can do about it, and there doesn't seem to be any way of knowing for sure, so I might as well get on with things on the assumption that what I'm experiencing is reality. In the case of the more-or-less Christian afterlife, on the other hand, believing that it's a vivid dream might just help me cope with the sheer hell of it until I wake up from the coma or die for real.

Emma

Nick
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#10 Post by Nick » April 27th, 2011, 2:16 pm

I expect you have seen this, but in case you've missed it, this is how Richard Dawkins answers your question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg

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Dave B
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#11 Post by Dave B » April 27th, 2011, 3:53 pm

If I had pushed ideas like RD I might think twice about accepting an invitation to Lynchburg in America!

That was a good answer, 'cept it wasn't really an answer to the specific question!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan C.
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#12 Post by Alan C. » April 27th, 2011, 6:56 pm

animist
I think I might ask if He was the only god after all,
Well s/he did say "let's create man in our own image" and "you shall have no other gods but me"
So I suspect there is more than one.

In answer to the question, I'll go with what Fia said.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#13 Post by Nick » April 27th, 2011, 7:05 pm

What a shame. I was looking forward to the 72 virgins....

DIESEL
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#14 Post by DIESEL » April 27th, 2011, 7:07 pm

as a repeated and joyful sinner no doubt i would be in hell, but if i did meet the big fella it would probably be along the lines of "was that the best you could do, really? You couldn't find a better use for omnipotence? Care to explain Cancer? and the japanese earthquake and tsunami? Poverty? Disease?" you get the idea..

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#15 Post by animist » April 27th, 2011, 8:51 pm

Nick wrote:I expect you have seen this, but in case you've missed it, this is how Richard Dawkins answers your question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mmskXXetcg
actually he does not answer it (as Dave said), he just throws the question back to the questioner - who I agree is very likely to be wrong in whatever she believes - but he should IMO have taken the question on its own terms and asked her to elaborate

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#16 Post by animist » April 27th, 2011, 9:08 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
animist wrote:And how do you know you are not now in a vivid dream?
I don't. But unlike your afterlife example, it isn't an explanation for anything that doesn't otherwise make sense. It just creates more questions. Who is it that's having the vivid dream, and why is it going on for so bloody long, and what is reality really like? If it's true, there's bugger all I can do about it, and there doesn't seem to be any way of knowing for sure, so I might as well get on with things on the assumption that what I'm experiencing is reality. In the case of the more-or-less Christian afterlife, on the other hand, believing that it's a vivid dream might just help me cope with the sheer hell of it until I wake up from the coma or die for real. Emma
you don't actually know that it has been going on a long time, do you? And life does not make that much sense, as that is often why people believe in God. The one thing wrong with the dream hypothesis is that it only makes sense if there really is something which is not a dream, but of course this "reality" might be something quite different from what your life appears to be - obviously there is an infinity of possibilities. Anyway, is there anything that you think you might say to God, whether He is real or not? Just in case you are still wrong...

http://www.philosophynow.org/issue76/Zh ... _Butterfly
unfortunately I cannot download the full article (but you can read it online), but Tallis manages to show that the hypotheses of the philosopher dreaming the butterfly, and the reverse, are not equally plausible

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Carja
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#17 Post by Carja » April 27th, 2011, 9:31 pm

I would say that I led a good, responsible, compassionate, full, and happy life without believing my every word and action was being listened to and watched. I did it because that's the kind of life I wanted to live. I was not threatened or offered any benefits to live that way.
Laugh often/love much;leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child,a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;play w/enthusiasm & sing w/exultation;know even 1 life has breathed easier because you lived. This is success.B.A.Stanley

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#18 Post by animist » April 27th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Carja wrote:I would say that I led a good, responsible, compassionate, full, and happy life without believing my every word and action was being listened to and watched. I did it because that's the kind of life I wanted to live. I was not threatened or offered any benefits to live that way.
that's a great answer - I hope that if there is a God he is one with a sense of humour and humanity, in which case you will be fine!

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#19 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » April 28th, 2011, 11:39 am

animist wrote:And life does not make that much sense, as that is often why people believe in God.
It makes good enough sense to me. And that's really all that matters in this context.
animist wrote:The one thing wrong with the dream hypothesis is that it only makes sense if there really is something which is not a dream, but of course this "reality" might be something quite different from what your life appears to be - obviously there is an infinity of possibilities.
I can be pretty confident that "reality" is something quite different from what my life appears to be. My life, and what I can perceive of the universe from this vantage point, is a small, limited thing. But I have tools for making sense of the world well enough to live in it for a while, and I can accept that and deal with it. There's no need for a dream hypothesis.
animist wrote:Anyway, is there anything that you think you might say to God, whether He is real or not? Just in case you are still wrong...
Assuming that, whatever was really happening, I believed that I was dead and experiencing the afterlife, and I was in Heaven rather than Hell (which would be by no means guaranteed, under the circumstances), I'm not sure that talking to God would be a priority for me. There'd be so much else to come to terms with. So much that would be a revelation. But it all rather depends on what the afterlife is like. Do I have a body? And if so, is it the body I had when I was still alive? And if so, is it some kind of idealised version of that body, with perfect eyesight and a straight spine, and a pair of glorious white wings sprouting from between my shoulder blades? And are there other recognisable bodies around? Is there a way of getting in touch with the people I have loved? Or with interesting famous dead people? If so, I think I'd rather talk to them than to the Supreme Being. And if not, then what? Am I just some floaty ethereal thing, or a little globe of light bobbing around among lots of other little globes of light, small collections of disembodied energy? And if I'm nothing corporeal, how can I see or hear or smell or touch or talk or think? Am I even capable of having a conversation with God, as we might imagine it, or might I communicate with Him in some other, more direct way. Perhaps I wouldn't need or be able to ask Him anything. Perhaps I would just suddenly understand His ways. Perhaps the Problem of Evil and the Euthyphro Dilemma would suddenly seem laughably inconsequential.

But OK. I'll play. If it turned out that I was able to talk to God, both physically and in accordance with celestial protocol, I might find myself being terribly deferential, and apologising profusely for doubting Him, and praising His taste in long flowing robes and His heavenly décor. Who knows? I can be easily intimidated by authority figures.

On the other hand, if I knew I was dreaming, I might just have the courage to get really close to him, look him straight in those twinkly blue eyes, and say, "You. Don't. Fucking. Exist!"

Emma

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animist
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Re: just suppose you were wrong after all...

#20 Post by animist » April 28th, 2011, 2:02 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote: On the other hand, if I knew I was dreaming, I might just have the courage to get really close to him, look him straight in those twinkly blue eyes, and say, "You. Don't. Fucking. Exist!"

Emma
excellent stuff, and maybe you could write 240 (sorry, 280) pages on why not believe in God (I was going to quibble about the dream certainty again, but twinkly blue eyes would be a pretty good clue that you were dreaming!). You in particular, and I think Alan C based on other things he's said, do seem to be absolutely sure about this non-existence, and you have mentioned the motive of wanting to be with loved ones as your idea of why other people do believe. The idea of meeting my parents, even tho' I still miss them, is IMO grotesque as well as absurd, but I have never felt so certain about God's non-existence as you are: in my case it is more about fear than wanting (which is no doubt why it was me that started this thread). Anyone else feel this way?

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