An Afterlife?

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wayfarer
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by wayfarer » 28 Jul 2012, 17:57

Ray Degraw wrote:I know wayfarer and some others here disagree with me on the importance of the first half of the couplet, but the Church isn't distancing itself from the idea that we can become gods.
you'll need to refresh my mind on what we disagree with on this.

There are numerous quotes from early christian fathers that indicate that 'god became man so that man can become god'. On the first part of these couplets, they mean that Jesus Christ/god became flesh through the virgin birth, not that god the father ever was once a mortal man in any sense of the word. As well, the concept of 'becoming god' is not clearly defined in the early fathers -- only that in some way, mankind become participants in the divine nature. These differences are non-trivial, and our LDS Apologists tend to quote-mine for things that sound like they are similar to mormon theology, but never were intended to mean the same things.

This really begs a question: what does it mean to become gods? Most of us know what that means from the BY and JS point of view from King Follett onward. But I mean really: gods over our own worlds with billions of spirit children? Does anyone here want to work that hard in the afterlife? Seriously.

I don't feel a compelling need to envision an afterlife with either a protestant or mormon speculation of what that might mean. Yes, I said speculation -- for that's all it is.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
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Ilovechrist77
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 28 Jul 2012, 19:13

That type of afterlife sounds fine to me. In fact, in some of Betty J. Eadie's near-death experiences she mentioned how easy it seemed to do many of the spiritual gifts in the afterlife. So, in my opinion, it probably will seem that easy for us in the celestial kingdom as well to do those things.

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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 28 Jul 2012, 20:22

Maybe I'm misremembering past threads, but I also believe the first part of the couplet in reference to Jesus Christ (God). I don't think that's the way most members interpret it, however, so, ironically, I guess I'm the one who is arguing against "common interpretation" this time.

My main point simply is that the Church isn't backing away from the teaching that we can become gods. I haven't seen it anywhere - and the only other "proof" others have cited is the Newsroom statement that focuses on Biblical verses to explain the concept. I have no problem with that, since it was addressed to non-Mormon Christians and, therefore, should have used scriptural verses to explain it to them.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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cwald
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by cwald » 28 Jul 2012, 21:07

I don't know if there is a next life. I have decided to live each day like it very well could be my last day of existence ever. Its time to get busy living...and for some people, they get so caught up in the rewards of heaven and the punishments of hell, they forget to live now....thinking they will have more time in heaven...to enjoy time with family, play with kids, travel, smell the roses etc etc.

Hogwash.

I'm not betting on a next life...so I will make the most today...love, gratitude, intimacy, service, kindness, forgiveness...i just try to find a little more appreciation of nature, art, feelings, taste, smell, creation and family in general.

As a whole, we LDS need to live a little more, and worry about heaven and hell a little less.

What a day may bring, a day may take away. To thine ownself be true.

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  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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InquiringMind
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by InquiringMind » 29 Jul 2012, 00:24

I find meaning in both belief and non-belief in an afterlife. Belief in an afterlife gives me the assurance that I will see my loved ones again and that I will be able to continue learning and progressing and that my entire existence has meaning, but has the downside of giving the impression that I can make up for failing to make the most of this life in the next life. I find it also cheapens human life somewhat by maintaining that we will be going to a better place soon and that human life is on a lower echelon than the next life. It also means that we don't need to do much to improve the world for other people because we're all going to a much better place where all wrongs will be made right. Non-belief in an afterlife has the advantage of motivating me to make the most of each moment and of all my relationships, but bestows an ultimate nihilism and meaninglessness to my existence. Without an afterlife, we aren't anything more than just stuff, and I really am only a pile of chemicals.

Some people maintain that life still has meaning even if there is no afterlife. I can see that a person can find purpose and meaning in reducing the amount of suffering and increasing the amount of joy in the universe. But if there is no divine architect and no afterlife, the universe will ultimately be unable to support life as it continues to its demise- the "big freeze" (or the big rip of the big crunch, depending on which cosmological model you prefer.) And then there will be no more joy or sorrow in the universe.

Whatever I choose ideologically, I have to find a way to live with meaning and purpose, because nihilism is too empty for me.

I assume that some of you will disagree with some of my fundamental assumptions here, and that's fine. I'm still sorting things out.

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 29 Jul 2012, 12:31

After life(just like life) has no meaning but whatever someone decides to attach to it. Hence there will be an amazing amount of meaning and non meaning depending on who you talk to. You must find what gives you meaning and purpose. I hope you find it in a way that makes it meaningful and comforting to you. Only you can give you purpose. Interesting that you seem to acknowledge the big cruch without noticing that this evidence seems to also point to that this might have not been the first big bang or the last and thus not the end of joy or life. Regardless of what ever the future holds, life has no meaning without purpose and the purpose associated with life is unique among every person even if the outlay is the same amount many. Each person must find what gives them purpose and therefore meaning and thereby joy to push forward and accomplish goals in their life. Personally I lived most my life as a yes man, believed what ever I was told to believe and did what ever I was told was right and lived accordingly. That worked fine for me until I discarded everything that was uniquely me or scientific and was just a pile of my LDS communities beliefs. Later in my life I had to ask myself who I was and asked myself why I had to throw out everything that was me just to believe "what was the only right way or thing to believe". After rebuilding myself with my own set of thoughts and purpose I found that my life had meaning again. I was able to be calm about not being sure about some things and I was ok with that. I didn't have to do millions of thoughts of mental gymnastics in either science or my LDS faith and for the first time in my life I began experience something unique to me... Peace. I hope you find your peace and joy, your meaning and purpose.

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Forgotten_Charity
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by Forgotten_Charity » 29 Jul 2012, 12:40

I also want to point out briefly that I am a thinker. Weather I choose to consciously think or not my mind does so anyway about everything. With regard to your question of afterlife my mind began thinking about if our spirits look like us and our bodies look like our DNA then how does that work out that our spirits(who look like us) go into a body which we know is replicated to look like our DNA instructions. It doesn't make any sense to me yet I am completely fine with it. Faith gives me personally a measure of confidence to be calm about things I or anyone else has any solid proof for. Without being blind to all the possibilities out there and ready to accept wherever the truth takes me. Anyway I hope my and the rest of our journies on this board can help you in some positive way.

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mercyngrace
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by mercyngrace » 29 Jul 2012, 15:20

So I'm finally through a very long weekend and thought I'd come back to this thread and see where my thoughts lead.

First, I agree with everyone here who says that a belief in the afterlife can have negative effects. Some people seem to disengage from this life, banking on a promised post-mortal future to bring peace and happiness. They don't enjoy this life or attempt to make a real difference in the lives of others because they don't see this life as anything more than a temporary test. Many of these people are instantly recognizable in church because they speak about "the world" as being an outside entity against which they are pitted in battle for their very souls. These are people clinging, white knuckled, to the tight rope of life just inching along from one side to the other. They see the platform on the far side of the rope and that is all they see. Mortally afraid of falling, they never risk loosing their grip, and if they do slip, even a little, they are nearly paralyzed by fear that they will never reach the safety of the platform. Theirs is a coward's life.

This view of heaven, as an escape, is a miserable degradation of what the gospel actually teaches. The gospel is Kingdom AND Cross. In other words, it isn't just about salvation from eternal hell (Cross) but about building a life now that's worth living forever (Kingdom). We are supposed to be fashioning a new garden in this lone and dreary waste. It's the sweat of our brow and the struggle to bring new life to this place that we are charged with. In this kind of gospel centered life, the walk across the tightrope becomes a divine dance through the air. The platform on the other side, just like the platform from which we stepped out into the spotlight, is not a goal to be reached by the timid but an anchor whose existence is essential in creating the space where the most brilliant performances play out.

This is not to suggest that I don't believe in post-mortal existence. I do. But I don't believe it's an "after" life. It's just life. The continuation of our divine dance.

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I've given some thought to sharing the experience I had when I was 20 but almost 22 years later, I'm still processing it. Basically, I felt myself slipping away. The room went pitch black. I heard a voice with whom I had a short conversation. I felt others present in the room, people who had passed on already. I vaguely recognized most of them even though I also knew none were individuals I had known in mortality. I did sense my grandmother although she did not speak or make contact with me - she was simply present with the others. I say "sensed" because I could not see a thing. It was pitch black. There was no tunnel, no light calling to me. The voice seemed to be audible but I can't be sure, needless to say it pierced me to the center (blatant plagiarism) and it felt like I was hearing it aloud. We had a conversation and I was presented with a choice. I had the sense that there was a brilliant light just beyond this enveloping darkness and that I could enter into it at will but would be unable to return if I did. I had to decided for myself whether I would stay or go. I felt myself leave my body as I contemplated the possibilities. I looked down and saw myself lying on the bed. It should have felt strange but it didn't. The body on the bed wasn't really me and I felt completely separate from it. In that moment, I saw the next few days play out. I saw my family struggling to cope with my death. Oddly, looking down on my body felt completely natural but "seeing" the possible future was surreal, like trying to make out details through a haze. One thing was certain, I knew, as well as it is possible to know anything, that my body would be dead in an instant if I decided to move on. I couldn't bear the thought of my parents grieving. It felt merciful that the being behind the voice kept me in the dark, otherwise I might have made a different choice. I said I would stay and immediately I was inside my body and the room looked normal.

One thing I should add. The voice told me a few things to expect in my life. These were things that I could not foretell, cause, influence, or prevent. Subsequent events have confirmed everything I was told. The specifics were personal and I'm not going to post those but I am absolutely convinced that I was given the information so that I would have the strength to get through the experiences.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 29 Jul 2012, 16:49

m&g, thanks for sharing that experience.

One of my uncles actually died, clinically, and then came back to life. He doesn't talk about it a lot, but when he does, it is powerful. The specifics are different than yours, but, in general, he describes choices being given with specific consequences of each choice.

No matter how it might be interpreted by others, it was incredibly real to him - and it's one reason I don't dismiss near-death and out-of-body experiences in any way.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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wayfarer
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Re: An Afterlife?

Post by wayfarer » 29 Jul 2012, 17:19

m&g, that was wonderful! thanks for sharing it.
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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