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Belief in life after death comes from emotion not reason

Death is a fundamental feature of our lives. Fear of death has been present in most cultures for a very long time. It is a basic human emotion, and affects nearly all of us.

  • Fear of something that you cannot possibly avoid is a kind of useless fear;
  • For our loved ones watching, it can be even harder;
  • Psychics who claim to communicate with the dead They use;
  • And what better reason could there be for fervently wanting others to accept them?
  • If not, then how could her revival be explained?
  • If we know that we have a terminal illness, we may become reconciled to it, but this is not always an easy state to achieve.

In the whole animal kingdom, we humans are the only creatures aware of death. Long before this, Aristotle had argued that we should learn to accept death as a part of life.

  1. In the " The Encyclopedia of Religion " 1987 18 it says that "tales of heroic journeys to the underworld, often undertaken on behalf of the entire community, are extremely widespread among tribal peoples throughout the world" 19.
  2. This is the sense in which death is a harm. Anger motivates us to rectify perceived injustices.
  3. The soul is not composite — it has no pieces it can be broken down into.

Easier said than done, maybe. Both the Bible and the Koran have important views about the fear of death, and the basic premise of many religions is that there is some form of life after death, which is more glorious than the life we lived before on earth. My own belief is that once humans developed tools and began to understand cause and effect, and language evolved, it was inevitable that people should want to understand the causes and the nature of the major events that affected their lives.

They wanted to know the causes of death and what happened when we died. The earliest evidence for religious thinking is based on how the dead were treated, and their burial with various objects such as stone tools and animal bones, which implies a belief in an afterlife controlled by gods.

By contrast the simple view held by most atheists and humanists, and myself, is that once dead we are dead, despite the fact that more than half of the public in the UK and US believe in life after death, for which there is zero reliable evidence. Reports of near-death experiences, which are quite common, are essentially mystical, and tell us nothing about death itself. Fear of death occurs in some children as young as three years old.

But very young children think of death as being like going to sleep, not as something final. Once they better understand the biology of death — maybe when a pet dies — there is less fear. Older children realise that death is permanent, and will happen to us all, but fear of it can continue through adolescence.

Soldiers may have to deal with the death of their enemy or their own, and this can cause paralysing fear. For most of us, the prospect of death is, at the very least, unsettling, and, at the worst, terrifying. If we know that we have belief in life after death comes from emotion not reason terminal illness, we may become reconciled to it, but this is not always an easy state to achieve.

For our loved ones watching, it can be even harder.

How the fear of death gave birth to religion

It provided practical guidance on how to avoid temptations presented by the devil, such as despair. The main biological facts of death are straightforward. The main molecules were already there, and those first cells evolved to give rise to all living organisms including ourselves, with our ability to think and understand cause and effect.

Darwinian evolution based on genes and death played a key role. Death of our cells is a basic and everyday part of our lives and is essential for the normal functioning of our bodies.

It is programmed in our embryonic development, for example in separating our fingers. In daily life, we shed dead skin cells at an enormous rate and they are replaced by new ones.

  • Many traits that are the products of natural selection do not manifest themselves until later in life;
  • It is true that these conceptions of the hereafter contradict each other in major ways and therefore large portions of mankind have held spiritual beliefs about our futures which simply are not true;
  • While in the hospital being treated for pneumonia at age 77, his heart stopped for 4 minutes, and he had some profound experiences see page 48;
  • Another very different case in which it would not be rational to fear death would be when you do not value your future, and you do not value anything else that would be threatened by the loss of your future;
  • Easier said than done, maybe;
  • Gains in life expectancy worldwide have been enormous during the past century, owing to better sanitation, preventative medicine and an improved supply of water and food.

Our death is essentially the death of the cells of the brain. Heart attacks, cancer and infectious diseases are the most common causes leading to our death, but we may recover from these.

But when our brain dies, everything else goes with it.

  • Such a contrast to the deluge of Christian mystics with their heaven and hell - where spirits cannot be guided, and god sends spirits to the right place;
  • These contradictions in beliefs teaches us one main thing;
  • Therefore, we have no reason to fear an afterlife;
  • The earliest evidence for religious thinking is based on how the dead were treated, and their burial with various objects such as stone tools and animal bones, which implies a belief in an afterlife controlled by gods.

Early death was common with our ancestors, principally through infections and accidents. Now that we live longer, about two-thirds of us die from age-related causes. Ageing can make the organism more vulnerable to dying, but ageing itself does not cause death, nor is ageing pre-programmed, as is foetal development.

Ageing is the outcome of an accumulation of damage in cells. The decline of the immune system with age leads to an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases. Gains in life expectancy worldwide have been enormous during the past century, owing to better sanitation, preventative medicine and an improved supply of water and food. Model animal organisms have been invaluable in investigating what determines ageing. There were 5,668 suicides in Britain last year, around three quarters male.

Men aged 40-49 were most at risk. There are just a few countries, and states in the US, where assisted death is lawful.

Belief in Life After Death Comes from Emotion, not Reason

Even in some of the countries where it is permitted, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches are against it because they say it is against the will of God. In my view, we should all be able to choose the manner of our own death at a time of our choosing, with no penalty imposed on those helping us and without having to have recourse to travelling abroad to do so.

Rituals, both religious and non-religious, may help to give a feeling of closure to relatives and friends. Mourning can be very varied and some African cultures add material from the dead to their food as part of their mourning.

There is even evidence that some animals, such as elephants, mourn their dead. I hope that when I die a few people will mourn me — but please, no religious ceremony. This article was brought to you by New Humanist, a quarterly journal of ideas, science and culture.

  1. But it is also possible and more common for frozen organisms to never be revived, either because their tissues are destroyed in the freezing or thawing process, or because they are never thawed at all. But very young children think of death as being like going to sleep, not as something final.
  2. Therefore, we have no reason to fear an afterlife. Fear is an emotion, not a belief.
  3. It is commonly believed that reason and emotion stand in opposition to each other.
  4. If so, then you could achieve the same effect without fear.

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