Can Atheists Believe In An Afterlife?

First, lets forget I asked that question because even if someone says I can't - I DON'T CARE BECAUSE I DO. But seriously, is there anybody else out there who doesn't believe in Gods but thinks there could be a different plane of existance.

I've seen a few Ghosts, mostly Family members or fallen pets and other just random people who clung to this world after death I suppose. I've never felt scared or threatend by any of them, well... one time I thought my room shaking a bit odd but a few times of saying "This is my house, get out now." in a firm commanding voice either made something leave or put me at ease. *if I could handle a full grown male Rotweiler weighing 106 Pounds who was 4 inches taller than me at age 5 then, I think Ghosts should be easy*

For me there is some suggestive evidance of a "afterlife" as most say but, I still have never seen, heard or sensed any higher power. No God, no Devil, not even a single Spirit that holds any "almighty power" over anything.

In short: maybe all of us in the world are right yet wrong at the same time?

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Comment by Johnny on November 1, 2009 at 6:44pm
"What is the problem for which the afterlife is the solution?"

Curiosity. Simply that. There really isn't any practical use for theorizing ghost unless one is terrorizing you, in which situation I would say to consult a psychologist before anyone less reliable.
My only war in this discussion has been against those who dismiss anything without looking at the logic and evidence for and against a situation without leaving room for anomelies and things that they can't explain.
Comment by OutlawGirl on November 1, 2009 at 2:24pm
I'm open to the possibility of an afterlife but I don't think it's very likely.
Comment by Glenn Sogge on November 1, 2009 at 12:11pm
I would think by now some psych professor would have studied the college sophomores to determine something about the being watched phenomenon. Any body know of any research?
Comment by Jo Jerome on November 1, 2009 at 10:32am
Yes Duane, cool vid!

Best book I've gotten in a long time: When They Severed Earth From Sky: How The Human Mind Shapes Myth. Delves deeply into the psychology and even sociology behind how we perceive and come up with myths. For all it does to dispel superstition and religion, it also makes the important point that most of these myths come from some grain of truth: A war, a natural disaster, what the climate was around that time. Myths can tell us about how a culture looked at and thought about the world.

It's with that method I think it's worth looking into claims of the supernatural to see what lies at their root, whether purely psychological or if there's some other physical phenomena at work that we simply perceive as skewed.

E.g.; the feeling-like-someone's-watching-you phenomena. I think we can all agree that no one physically shoots something out of their eyes (fun as that would be if it were true). But could there be something else going on that allows one person to 'sense' the presence of another, however subtly? Are we feeling a shift in air? A tiny vibration through the floor that we wouldn't consciously notice? Subtle changes in other people/animals/objects around us that we unconsciously pick up on?
Comment by Alex McCullie on November 1, 2009 at 5:10am
good contribution. Very much in tune with the concept of folk physics, folk psychology, and so on.

Comment by Jo Jerome on October 31, 2009 at 10:25pm
Alex McCullie asks: "If decisive evidence isn't available, are we engaging in same sort of fanciful religious speculations that we regularly criticise in this forum?"

The short of it for me; while there is very little evidence/plausible hypotheses in favor of some sort of afterlife, there is zero evidence/plausible hypotheses in favor of deities.

For all the psychic hotlines, cold readers, and explained-by-science-and-psychology paranormal experiences out there, there are a small handful which aren't as easily explained. Though there may well still be a very mundane truth other than "The Ghost of that girl visited me," (and I do believe that the truth, whatever it may be, is not so simple and bedtime-story plain as that), the truth may lie somewhere in between, in a form of science/physics/biology that we have yet to discover/examine/devise a tool of measure for.

I think that for all we know about our physical and natural world, there is quite a bit we don't know. The very creation of the universe speaks to this: Either matter has always existed or something was created from nothing. Either way, a fundamental law of physics as we understand them must be bent or broken.

I'm eager to see what those bent laws might look like and what possibilities they might hold. Though at the same time I try not to be guided by wishful thinking (i.e.; believing I'm talking to my dead Uncle Jerry just because I would like for it to be true).
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 31, 2009 at 9:45pm
I am reminded by all this of the Laplace/Napolean story (I quoted it right near the top of one of my blog posts, I Have No Use Of That Hypothesis.

What is the problem for which the afterlife is the solution?
Comment by Jo Jerome on October 31, 2009 at 9:20pm
--> Alex McCullie and all: Great discussion indeed! Even inspired me to start a spin-off discussion in the SciFi/Fantasy group.

Basically, if somehow my memories and even persona were to somehow survive my death and be transferred elsewhere, there remains the question: Will it really be 'me?' Or will it be a host body/entity simply believing itself to be 'me?' Do I actually experience life-after-death or is it just someone else living my life after I'm gone?

Man I love SciFi!
Comment by Jo Jerome on October 31, 2009 at 9:14pm
LOL! Yet more awesomeness from the universe of Buffy The Vampire Slayer!
Comment by Glenn Sogge on October 31, 2009 at 6:43pm

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