Ok, so on youtube there are a variety of videos on some pro-Christian channels that encompass interviews of Christians who apparently were sinners, did not go to church, drank alcohol, masturbated, etc and they talk about how they had Near Death Experiences or visions while they were sleeping where they visited hell. Some describe hell as flames with many demons, and very loud screams, others describe it as a dark quiet place without God. One experience kind of frightened me. It was about an elderly priest who used to be a firefighter when he was younger. He states that he took drugs often, smoked weed, drank, etc. He said he went to Sunday school for 12 years growing up, but that he never read the bible. Then he said his parents were not happy that he drank/ took drugs, so he stopped. One day, he was at work and somehow got electrocuted, and then he said he could still see clearly, suddenly, he saw utter darkness, and had a life review showing all of his sins ever committed. Then he saw demons, fires, called out to God, and His right hand came and pulled him out of the fire. Suddenly he was back at work and people came running as they heard him screaming. Then, he went to the hospital, and decided that he knew that hell was real. What do you think could be an explanation of this experience? Do these so called "visions" give any of you atheists chills in case it is right?

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Me, not at all. The man had been exposed to Christian ideas of God and hell as he was growing up, so it's not surprising that he'd interpret his scary near-death experience in those terms. I have no reason to believe anything other than the obvious facts that you're born, you live, you die. Not existing afterwards as a thinking, feeling being shouldn't be any different from not existing beforehand (except that your life will have affected the world, somehow, and there will probably be people who'll miss you).

A musical thought:

This Is My Only World
(to the tune of 'This Is My Father's World')

This is my only world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres
   This is my only world
   I rest me in the thought
   Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
   That nature's bounty has brought

This is my only world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
I cannot help but praise
   This is my only world
   It shines with all that's fair
   In the rustling grass as I wander past
   I hear its song everywhere

This is my only world
O let me not forget
As seasons change, still reason reigns
The end I will not fret
   This is my only world
   Why should my heart be sad
   I've had my stay, I've had my say
   And for all this I am glad
   I've had my stay, I've had my say
   And for all this I am glad

Copyright 2003, by Jerry Phillips

Grinning Cat, I agree with your response and can find no other words I need to add. I like your choice of poem to affirm your statement. 

Halil Altintop, I wish you well in your life's journey. 

This is my only world
Why should my heart be sad
I've had my stay, I've had my say
And for all this I am glad
I've had my stay, I've had my say
And for all this I am glad

I should add that yes, like anyone else I might regret not having done all the big things I wanted to in life, or regret having done other things. But it's clear that nobody is fixing things in this one real world "from the afterlife". All we can do is be kind to ourselves and each other, move forward, and cherish and enjoy life.

Thanks!  Jerry Phillips, a New Mexican like me, has been a Facebook friend for years.  He has a humanist/atheist song book.  Good stuff.  Thanks for the reminder.

Halil, my Catholic dad sent his kids to Catholic schools where the nuns made me fearful and I occasionally feared dying. When I quit I read about various religions and saw that they all use fear to get unthinking obedience from believers.

What you wrote above suggests to me that you were taught to be fearful.

I've said this 100 times; I'll make it 101: WHY Should I Trust My Senses When They (And My Body) Are FAILING???

Loren, this is the first time I've seen it.
It's also the first time I've said it brings to mind what Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is alleged to have said, that he began dying the moment he was born.;)

Hm-mm, from small acorns mighty oaks grow. Being terminally curious, I'm inspired to do an essay on when people begin living and another on when people begin dying.
...But some acorns don't become oaks. It's noon, time for another nap.;)

When your nap is over, when a new day comes, when many naps end, you will hold that acorn and remember the unwritten "essay on when people begin living and another on when people begin dying." Be sure to share it with us; it will an essay worth reading. 

Because, Loren, they are your only direct interface with the universe.  So we augment our own observations with learning the lessons of science, seasoned with a dash of skepticism.

Indeed, it amounts to variations on Pascal's Wager, which is specious at best and has been debunked multiple times.

One such rebuttal: Jim Huber's "Pascal's Sucker Bet".

...Pascal's wager is not usually really about believing in God; it's about accepting a definition of God. Nobody who cares if you believe in God is going to be satisfied if you tell them "I believe in 'God' as a name people give to the laws of nature." They're going want you to believe, at minimum, in a God that cares if you believe in Him. That usually means a God who has rules He wants you to follow, which generally turns out to be the rules the people asking about God want you to follow....

"Mystic atheist" Jim Huber described his vision of being certain of being in the presence of God, who told him (among other things) that God didn't exist. He concluded afterwards that maybe visions aren't a very reliable source of information.

Very long account: http://archive.is/p5ziy (archived; not at the current jhuger.com site).


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