Is it "reasonable to ponder" what happens to us after we die? Is it "reasonable to ponder" the fate of "I" for all of eternity?
Clearly it would seem to be.
You can ponder it the same way that you can ponder 'Star Wars'. I involves recognizing that 'Star Wars' is a work of fiction. Pondering what happens after you die based on what is written in the Bible requires recognizing that there are no other confirmations of that particular story and it may well be fiction.
Star Wars is
a piece of fiction. A La La Land Hollywood concoction where Good and Evil [like the Good Guys and the Bad Guys] are almost always effortless to spot. The Dark Side?
For many Christians, the Bible is anything but. Millions upon millions literally embody what they construe to be the word of God in order that they will attain immortality and salvation.
Actually, I am just as curious as to what you might say to them as it relates to the purpose behind this thread.
phyllo wrote: On the other hand, there are parts of the Bible which are testable. You can't know if Jesus walked on water or turned water into wine, but you can try his recommendation that you forgive your brother. Does it work for you personally and does it work for society as a whole?
That's not fiction. That's workable or not workable, right or wrong stuff.
Another "general description" of human interaction. Forgive your brother? Okay, but what is the context? What in particular has your brother done that might warrant forgiveness? And what of those who argue that what he did was unforgiveable?
How do we determine if he ought to be forgiven if our answer will be weighed by those responsible for our fate on Judgment Day? And here [of course] you are back to not knowing; of it all being beyond your control, of it all not being for you to say.
So, which is it: turn the other cheek? or an eye for an eye?
Somehow "in your head" you have thought this all through such that here and now it is what you "believe". I merely intertwine what any particular man or woman might believe about these things into my own subjective narrative. I ask them to explain [to explore] how they are not entangled in my own dilemma above.
And then folks have come along over the course of human history and created any number of Gods in order to answer those questions.
Isn't that the fundamental truth about the rise of religion?
phyllo wrote:On the one hand, you treat all religion as fiction.
No, I ask those who claim certain beliefs about God and religion to demonstrate to me why a rational person is obligated to believe the same.
After all, what else [realistically] is there in forums like this?
And with so much at stake -- immortality, salvation, divine justice -- how on earth could a loving, just and merciful God [as most are described] put us in the position such that we "don't know" how to behave in the world here and now; a world in which, in any event, such things are beyond our control and are not even really for us to decide. Huh?
And on the other hand, you treat this discussion/pondering as the most important discussion in the world.
Well, I suspect that folks who reach my age do tend [existentially] to think more and more about death and oblivion --- their fate on the other side of the grave.
I readily admit that [like you] I don't know; it's beyond my control; it's not for me to say. So, what else is there but to probe the arguments of those who are entirely less
phyllo wrote: If you separated the testable/verifiable part of religion from the un-testable/un-verifiable, then you could have a productive and entertaining discussions. There would be one discussion about suggested behaviors and another discussion about the mythology.
Is that how it works at the Pearly Gates? "Productive and entertaining discussions" with Saint Peter first, and then God decides your fate: up or down?
Why on earth do you suppose that most Scriptures become quite detailed in differentiating between vice and virtue, between the saint and the sinner?
phyllo wrote: Even Jesus was not clear about what happens in the afterlife. What he is clear about, is that a follower of Jesus (a Christian) is happy in this life. The 'reward' comes before you die.
Come on, with respect to the actual behaviors that we human beings are always coming into conflict over, are there or are there not endlessly conflicting and contradictory assessments -- from
Christians! -- regarding what it means to be "happy in this life"?
And I suspect that for most, God is more comforting regarding "all of eternity" rather than the 70 odd years that we embody on this side of the grave. Especially as that abyss looms larger and larger.
And while you speculate that "immortality and salvation" may well not be at stake here, I suspect that, among religionists, you are surely in the distinct minority.
phyllo wrote: If you look at surveys of religious opinions, you don't see that kind of emphasis. If you look at small communities and congregations, you don't see that kind of emphasis.
What then is emphasized? And how is not eventually linked to the part that revolves around immortality, salvation and divine justice?