Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Oct 21 2011

My Views On Life After Death

Greetings! It’s been too long, and I have nobody to blame but myself for not writing more often. Today’s thoughts were provoked by PeaceBang’s blog entry asking the Unitarian Universalist community to chime in with our thoughts and impressions on this controversial topic. My thoughts are as follows:

Is there life after death? An equally puzzling question could be posed: What has happened before our life’s frame of reference and will happen after it? Some may assign great meaning to the various answers that questions such as these evoke, and some may not. My own take is that we cannot and will not know the true answer until we slip the bonds of this life, so our time and energy here are best spent ruminating on what we can do in the here and now.

Currently the evidence I have available to me suggests that there is not an afterlife in the traditional sense that humanity teaches. Biologically we can prove (as much as anything can be proved when there are few or no known absolutes) that the vast majority of our personality and individuality resides in the brain, and that brain activity eventually ceases upon death. My working hypothesis is that when death occurs, hypoxia in the brain causes increased neural activity and a massive hormone rush that speeds up perception in a way that produces the so-called near-death experience. We suspect that time is perceived relatively by different people in different situations, and I consider it likely that we can experience a seeming eternity in the window between death and the time brain activity ceases. Obviously this is subject to scientific verification and open to reinterpretation given further evidence.

Given this stance, the best way I’ve found to honor the memory of loved ones is to heed their wisdom and to act in ways that honor their memory. There are many and various ceremonies that pertain to this practice, such as Halloween or Día de los Muertos that we can take part in to remember and honor our departed loved ones. These need only have the spiritual implications that we place upon them, and can provide healing and joy to those who choose to celebrate them.

Similar to honoring the dead, the best way I’ve found to improve this life is to live it to the fullest. Live responsibly but don’t be too sparing when indulging yourself. Spend it improving life for others, as those who do the same may bring some joy to you in return.

If you’re a UU, please feel free to leave your thoughts on PeaceBang’s blog and link your comment here. If you’re not UU, please feel free to leave your thoughts here. I ask this only to keep her blog entry on-topic, and I ask that you respect the views and opinions of others even if you are diametrically opposed to them.

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