Excuse me, don't make sense to me. What say you..
Fewer Americans believe in GOD, yet they still believe in the afterlife.
I would suggest that many do not believe in God in the traditional sense but do believe in a creator, higher power, higher intelligence or what have you, use the name you choose. They believe their consciousness and/or soul continues on after death. The afterlife is more 'real' if you will than life here, you would have to read some near death stories to get the gist of it. They will also often talk of 'oneness', that is a subject unto itself and I would think most jw's and many ex jw's would have difficulty with. It is my understanding that they might suggest traditional 'church' limits God and the spiritual world (pre life and life after death) is much larger than we can comprehend. By that I do not mean demons, hell, etc.... just that eternity is immense, the cosmos, the universe and so on. Some suggest that we choose to come here to live and learn and there is a God and a grand plan of sorts. Some say we make agreements before birth.
You will see some of this thought in quantum, new age (which is really not new) various noetic sciences and so forth. It's odd, if you look into what many would call woo-woo stuff they talk more about God (whatever name you choose) than do your average person even those of the church going variety (I use church loosely and include all organizations of religious nature).
The concept of a rebirth is not dependent on any deity, as long as life is being produced there is the chance that we'll experience another life.
In any survey you get a certain persentage whose answers simply make no sense, such as people who don’t believe in God but think the Bible is inspired by God or some such nonsense. The problem is words can be construed in many ways. For example someone might say God inspired the Bible the way angels inspired Michaelangelo. Or people may simply be careless in how they answer, or have genuine convictions that are inconsistent. All of us are capable of holding beliefs that are inconsistent if pursued to their logical conclusions (my belief I should drive my car and my belief that global warming is a bad thing). Sometimes people are just irrational too.
Having said all that, don’t Buddhists believe in an afterlife without God as such. So it’s not an unknown position, if a little unusual to western conceptions.
Plus you've got people with non traditional conceptions of God, that might fall outside most notions of “God”: such as pantheists, animists, panpsychists and so on.
Plus you get singularitains these days, some of whom seem to espouse a kind of afterlife without God.
So many possibilities in this amazingly unfathomable universe of ours.
Interesting discussion. Googling "terminal lucidity" and reading about the cases that hospice care workers relate makes for some very interesting reading. Pretty compelling when people with virtually no brain left start talking lucidly shortly before they die.
Scripture says we were made in the image of God - a tri-partite being.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Th. 5
From my studies from a historical Christian point of view. I think the bible supports the following view:
1. The spirit is the ethereal immaterial part of Man that was designed to connect to God and to perceive, fellowship, enjoy, and love him. "God is a Spirit"
2. The soul is the mind. It is your basest essence. Your consciousness.
3. The body is the physical animal. It is the data processor and machine for the physical realm.
In popular usage, we usually hear the parts listed as body, soul & spirit, since this is the order most people experience them.... the body in the lead position, followed by your soul (consciousness & will) followed by your spirit. Quite literally most people just follow their bodies around much of the time. ie."He's such an animal"
However, scripture lists them in reverse order, (on purpose I think) with the spirit of man in the lead position followed by your mind (soul) with the impulses and desires of the body in the last position.
James, if you live by a materialist world-view, then evidence contrary to that narrow worldview will be confusing. Few people limit themselves to such a strict worldview.
I had an interesting discussion with a prolific poster from Mexico many years ago on this forum. He was big into spiritism and said he regularly communicated with spirits through occultic means.. I told him that i was confused about how he could be an atheist and talk to spirits. He immediately replied that he believed the spirits were eternal, like the universe.
This was the basic tenet of the pre-flood religion that was wiped out in Noah's Day. The creation (including the spirits) were accepted as the manifestation and cause of everything. I think that people are little by little returning to a view where there is no God (to speak of anyway) but at the same time open to non-physical entities.
"Just as in the days of Noah..." - Jesus
My grandad was very lucid the day before he died. He also said his dead mother spoke to him and told him not to worry. You just tend to routinely dismiss these things on so-called rational grounds. But if they are so common and so matter of fact, should they be dismissed so easily?
What Voltaire concluded makes sense to me: “It is not more surprising to be born twice than once.” Body starts functioning when soul enters and becomes dead when it exits which shows it is independent of body (material); hence soul is immaterial and knows even to guide us using symbols. For example Carl Jung found many of his dreams were personal guidance to him. He considered dreams as the medium our sub-conscious mind uses to communicate with us by delivering messages direct to the conscious. Although many different characters can appear in our dreams, he says that “every character is a different aspect of our unacknowledged self or a prevalent situation in our life. Basically, we cannot easily retrieve the data stored in our unconscious mind, so dreams offer the opportunity to view the data so that we can achieve inner peace, balance and harmony and achieve self-growth and self-realization, which propel us towards our unique higher purpose….Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse.” [Collected Works Volume 10] Dreams also do much more than mere personal guidance because many scientific discoveries (such as Periodic Table, Aromatic Chemistry, Insulin …) have their roots in dreams. (http://dreamtraining.blogspot.com/2010/12/inventions-that-came-in-dreams-largest.html) Even Einstein’s great invention of Theory of Relativity is connected with two dreams he had. (Einstein: A Life by Denis Brian p.159) Such a powerful and intelligent entity would not go non-existent when body dies.
Perhaps we experience consciousness again but it isn't connected to any past lives. In a sense, we have no past lives but are truly starting over. In a way it would make sense, everyday lives are being born with consciousness, who is to say we won't experience it first hand in the future. The fact that we were born as ourselves and not someone else is already one of the great mysteries of life.