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Dead is Dead

Yesterday, I posted an article on Examiner about near-death experiences. As it turns out, science can explain the experiences that many people have in this regard which tends to lead many people to believe in an afterlife and God. This article got a conversation going with a few people who wrote to me telling me that they don’t want science to explain these types of experiences. Instead, they just want to believe that their deceased loved ones are living on forever on a white cloud or something.

As it turns out, this type of emotional reaction is not new to me. When I first started questioning religion, my mother got a little edgy because she too wants to believe that our deceased family members are still living on some how. In fact, based on conversations we have had on the topic, I think that this view is the only real connection to religion she still has, although I could be wrong about that.

Still, while I understand that people don’t want to believe that dead friends and relatives are… dead, the reality is that they are. No amount of wishful thinking can change that fact. The only place that dead people still live on is in the memory of those who are still alive.

A comment that one person made to me on this subject is that the human mind seems so infinite that our consciousness must live on. How could all of someone’s experiences just be gone, just like that? Not to be caulis or anything, because I know that death is an emotional subject, but that type of thinking is a little ridiculous. Let’s think about it this with an analogy:

I believe that there is a pot of gold buried somewhere in my back yard. While my back yard isn’t large, it goes down very deep. In fact, I couldn’t drill to the center of the Earth because we don’t have the equipment necessary to do so. In other words, my back yard is seems so infinite that there must be some pot of gold buried in it somewhere. I just have a hard time believing that there is no pot of gold buried at any depth of my backyard. You can’t really prove there isn’t a pot of gold buried there unless you were able to drill to the center of the Earth. I want there to be a pot of gold buried there.

Such a claim would be ridiculous. We all know that there is no pot of gold buried in our backyards. Whether or not there is a pot of gold in my backyard is not really an emotional issue. So no one really has a problem calling bullshit on it. But death is an emotional issue. I hate to tell people that their dead loved ones are… dead. They get very emotional very quickly. They don’t want to believe that dead means dead. But it does. No one says that that guy was hit by a bus and afterlifed instantly.

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