Is believing in heaven rational?
Debate Rounds (4)
None of this proves anything, I know. Sure, the kings had much to gain out of creating stories about an afterlife, gods, etc. why wouldnt they fabricate stories? Surely they would. But just because someone decided to lie about getting into Harvard, does that mean "there is no such thing as Harvard?"
So the question remains. Does an afterlife realy exist?
If we look around today, there are over an estimated 8 million Near Death Experiences to have been recorded.
Still. NDEs alone would not sufficiently convince the most skeptic that an afterlife exists. Especially if that NDE didnt happen to the skeptic and the skeptic has all the opportunity to skeptically review the claim.
Though in the past atheistic skeptics were able to shrug NDE accounts off as "hallucinations" resulting from brain damage, Recent studies are starting to discover the validity of NDE claims.
Now there is actual scientific evidence to conclude these a NDEs are more probable than not.
Then we can logically conclude... Did all cultures all around the world ubiquitously believe in life after death since the beginning of civilization because ...
A. Because the kings told a fantastic story about riding a boat into heaven
B. Because there were NDEs in the past as well?
Obviously B is the rational choice. Do we all really believe our government when it says it aims to protect our rights? Laughable. Perhaps Con does. Yet he will not believe his neighbor about his experience in the afterlife?
Some people are simply more inclined to choose A as their reasoning for stories about an afterlife. They are unable to think independently, and therefore unable to discern fact from fiction. Fact is...these accounts exist, and they testify of something more than this material life on earth.
Accepting any irrational challengers.
Any forfiets constitutes an automatic loss.
I accept that it could be true that a heaven exists. It would be irrational not to, regardless of how wildly improbable.
Your link to what I assume is an Independent.co.uk article didn't work. Still, a newspaper article is not evidence but please try and provide the link again and I will address the 'scientific evidence' in the subsequent round.
Can you prove that ALL cultures around the world ubiquitously believe in life after death since the beginning of civilisation? Not that this has any scientific merit of course.
In regard to option B, are you so sure that NDEs occurred before humans knew about or could use CPR? After all, some survivors of a cardiac arrest have NDEs but the vast majority of victims die, especially if no CPR is given.
Just for the record, I neither believe nor do I dismiss personal experiences in this context. Personal revelation is however of no interest unless evidence can be provided using the scientific method. Notice I am asking you questions with the view to seeing if you can add any weight to your arguments. Indeed, you have the burden of proof as you are making the positive claim so to begin with it's up to you to satisfy myself and the voters that it is even remotely likely that an afterlife exists at all.
Remember that if it is rational to believe in a heaven, it follows that it is also rational to believe in hell also. This creates more problems for your stance because it can be argued that the Bible uses heaven and hell to blackmail its followers into believing, presenting issues of immorality that I feel you should also address. The lack of moral accountability that Christians benefit from, isn't at all favourable or appropriate in a secular society and is therefore irrational as a result, in my opinion.
The notion that every Homo Sapien that lived prior to theology, is burning in hell at this very moment and will do for eternity, simply for being non-believers, is a disgusting thought. It is also an immoral predicament that God has inflicted on these innocent people. Either that, or what I am describing is simply a story that is still believed to this day by superstitious people.
The last point I'd like to make in this round concerns the emotional desire for an afterlife as a rationale for belief. I have no issue with people believing in heaven, as long as they don't impose those beliefs on others. I'm sure you agree with that statement too. However there is an argument for enjoying this life, while it lasts, because we know that it is possible for no afterlife to exist at all. This is what science points to, let's not forget. There is far too much beauty and wonder in this world to simply kill time till waiting for greener pastures that may well turn out to be a wishful superstition, by which time it's too late.
Largest Life After Death study ever conducted provides EVIDENCE that indeed, some unexplained form or supernatural existence...exists. If my opponent cares for evidence and facts, I would like to see him concede in the next round that RATIONALITY points to the existence of an afterlife. (Though it is yet to be determined , whether or not my opponent has the ability to rationally think this through.)
Con requests: "Can you prove that ALL cultures around the world ubiquitously believe in life after death since the beginning of civilisation? Not that this has any scientific merit of course."
--> If it has no merit, why demonstrate it?...Further, Con is correct, it is pointless to prove ALL religions believe in life after death (Though they obviously do.). The reason is because we do not KNOW all religions. but of the ones we DO KNOW, and the ones we are most familiar with, ALL incorporate a form of After Life into their beliefs.
In fact, even religions that are too tribal, to be considered religions all discuss the hereafter. Even small native tribes all prescribe to a belief in some form of life or existence after this one. Even if its as simple as believing in Ghosts. The point here is not to say Ghosts exists, but to simply state, if you believe in Ghosts, like most cultures do, then you believe in an afterlife as well.
Asking ME to prove that ALL cultural religions believe in an afterlife is impossible. All Con needs to do is to show me ONE that doesnt. Just ONE.
Con seems to also think I am arguing that "Heaven Exists." This is a strawman. I know , no one can PROVE this. IF God himself required you to believe,,, isn't it silly (and least of all arrogant.) of you to ask for proof? Then why would you assume , I would assert such proof and make myself an arrogant hypocrite?
I am simply arguing that : IT IS RATIONAL TO BELIEVE IN HEAVEN. Ergo, All the evidence that we have on death, or life after death, consistently points towards the existence of an after life. Again.. 8 MILLION PEOPLE ,,,, 8 MiLLION IS NOT a small number, have professed seeing this place.
Con says : "The notion that every Homo Sapien that lived prior to theology, is burning in hell at this very moment and will do for eternity, simply for being non-believers, is a disgusting thought."
Then Why does he think it? Maybe Con enjoys disgusting thoughts and needs to get his mind out of the gutter. Because what Con asserts is not a biblical concept at all.
Con says :"The last point I'd like to make in this round concerns the emotional desire for an afterlife as a rationale for belief"
Confucius says : "In a pigs eye , all he sees are pigs."
--> Basically, Con is a hypocrite. Like most atheists are. Not willfully, but he assumes a hypocritical position. I presented evidence that Heaven exists. 8 million people around the world are putting up youtube videos, writing books, testamonies, blogs, what have you , talking about their NDE.
To say "There is simply no evidence" ... is being irrational isn't it?
Con can provide ALTERNATIVE scenarios, such as oxygen or brain cell loss, hallucinations etc. But even such scenarios could not explain SIMILARITIES in ALL NDE ACCOUNTS , across the board. ANd it does not explain the experiences of Eben Alexander who lost all brain function, yet still experienced heaven.
This life is great. However, I find that every time atheists get backed into the corner they want to change the subject. Dishonestly. No one is talking about THIS LIFE. We are talking about is believing in an AFTERLIFE a rational conclusion?
Whether you believe in an afterlife or not has no bearing on your morality.
People who are good people are just good people, on both sides of the fence. and Liars would have you believe otherwise.
Let"s say for the sake of argument that it is now a fact that there is an afterlife. You still have the huge task of proving that the afterlife is the heaven that you have chosen. Why heaven and not reincarnation? Both are equally unlikely.
I will concede that rationality points to an afterlife when the scientific community accept that enough evidence exists from multiple experiments using different methods of experimentation. This is not for you or I to decide.
I hold that theism is irrational so of course it follows that concepts within religion, such as heaven and hell, are also irrational. It can be argued that the concept of heaven and hell is a way to blackmail people into believing, particularly for the indoctrination of children and very effectively too. That"s not to say people shouldn"t believe. I think because people want it to be true, they believe it to be so. It"s obviously not the best reason to accept something regardless of a complete lack of evidence, but if it makes people such as yourself happy, then that"s great. I suspect that"s why you argue that it is not irrational because you don"t want to think it is.
8 million people"s stories, during a severe cognitive malfunction, are Interesting but not enough to prove something. There are thousands of pieces of evidence from many different methods of experimentation in support of evolution and yet many theists still don"t accept it. Why therefore is one study enough to prove something that could in itself be impossible?
My point about Homo Sapiens is something for you to figure out. I"m making you aware of it. As a theist, it"s in conflict with position only.
In response to your statement about me being a hypocrite. It seems your standard of evidence is simply not good enough. I refer to my fifth paragraph about the overwhelming evidence for evolution in comparison to your collection of anecdotes. This is not to say they are wrong, they are just not sufficient to constitute as scientific evidence.
Again, even if there is evidence for an afterlife, you still have an awful lot of work ahead of you in order to show the afterlife is in fact the version of heaven that you have chosen to believe in.
Remember the concept of hell is also an afterlife, so when it is used to indoctrinate children or threaten non believers, it is immoral.
I agree with your last statement.
You do not consider scientific evidence to be evidence? Then what more can be said? You have officially admitted that you hold a unique and individual standard for evidence. The reason Dr. Parnia says that the " recall experiment "NOW" requires further investigation" is BECAUSE this article (or the experiment) IS evidence of an afterlife.
Yet Con "wouldn't" call it evidence. Then what would Con call evidence? I think Con is demanding proof all of the sudden. Or is Con saying that the ONLY way he would ever rationally believe in an after life... is if he himself went there?? Possible. Possible.I could't blame him... actually. IF he is demanding that we all must KNOW heaven exists, to rationally BELIEVE heaven exists. This is an equivocation fallacy, and Con is confusing the idea of "Knowing" something and "believing" something. Although both happen in the mind (and perhaps one in the heart.) , they are two distinct words for two distinct state of minds, and they are NOT the same thing.
Quick Side Lesson on Epistemology.
You are what you KNOW. But you can only KNOW what you BELIEVE.
1. People believe in things, based on evidence. NOT PROOF.
2. People know things, based on PROOF, not any single or unrelated evidence.
3. Just because people believe things exist, it does (or should) NOT determine or affect their entire world view.
4. If people KNOW something to exist (or not exist), it does (or should) determine (or at least affect) their entire world view.
I think anybody would agree with the 4 simple points. Please tell me if you dont.
Difference between KNOWING and BELIEVING.
1. Having undeniable proof (such as a video tape or DNA evidence of a murderer) , or personal experience, is what is required to KNOW if such and such exists.
2. To BELIEVE something, one should not require proof, ONLY sufficient evidence.
3. to make JUDGEMENT (so as to say you have "the knowledge of truth" about something), you require proof, and nothing less is sufficient.
4. SO, to Believe something exists, (like heaven), if there is sufficient evidence for you, is not an irrational act.
5. INFACT, believing something DOES NOT exists even though there exists sufficient evidence for most people, COULD BE considered,,,irrational.
- In either case, if having knowledge or proof is close to impossible (unless you want to die and come back.) ,, then how could BELIEVING be irrational? In actual logic and reality... in these very rare cases where an objective truth is absolutely out of everyone's grasp, you only believe or you don't.. And not only does SCIENCE point to a after life, so does EVERY culture, religion , race, and 8 MILLION PEOPLE who have actually had DIED , and returned miraculously to tell about it.
How do I know MY heaven is right? ( Typical, blind atheistic question.)
Let me make this clear once more. My resolution is : "IT IS RATIONAL for people to believe in an afterlife." in one form or another. Does it MATTER? what MY version is? no ... MY version being correct or not is NOT on trial. MY ASSERTION, is basically that YOU or no other atheist has ANY, not one, single itty bitty piece of REAL EVIDENCE... to suggest there IS NO Heaven or afterlife.
IN FACT, all evidence we HAVE (If you truly can have any.) points to the existence of an afterlife. Now, even the testimonies are being scientifically confirmed. for 5000 years or more they have been scripturally and prophetically confirmed. There is an abundance and MORE reasons to believe, that YOU don't know it all. The possibility of a heaven, and even another one after that,SHOULD BE FAR FAR FAR FAR more believable than theories such as the "Multiverse." We actually have different corroborating witness testimonies for this reality of heaven. The multiverse is one scientist's "professional" imagination. Do you think a human being.. could possibly IMAGINE...what goes one beyond his OWN knowledge? Sure they can imagine...How often is that imagination correct? Well , in the case of scientists? ZERO. (Theories are always modified by later scientists finding their predecessors WRONG.). In the case of Scripture matching Near Death Testimonies... 100% .. WOW! ... so... what are you going to bet on? One scientist and his multiverse theory? or 8 million witnesses and a 5000 year old book?
I will admit, its a tough choice. And perhaps to some, neither may look so appealing. However, according Con's atheistic double standard, neither CHOICE is rational. You cannot believe, either or, because no "proof" exists. Further, According to Con, since we need "proof" to believe ANYTHING...or else be irrational, Con must also not believe in government, money, love, family as well as himself. Where is Con's "proof" for these things?
I have given Con 8,000,000 different CORROBORATING witness testimonies (Does anyone realize how significant that is? even if TWO witnesses corroborate the same story is considered evidence in COURT.),
I have also given Con new Scientific Findings that indicate these testimonies bearing weight. 8 million human words of heavy heavy weight.
I have also explained to Con circumstantial evidence, such as the likelihood of its belief arising from NDEs over fabricated stories from authority figures.
Well, in the face of such OVERWHELMING evidence... if Con needs proof to believe, he is being irrational. We call this symptom "Denial". I already demonstrated there are NDEs where brains are perfectly preserved, others entirely damaged. Thus we can conclude, NDE's and brain functions are UNRELATED. Also please see the testimony of Dr. Eben Alexander, Neurosurgen who had an NDE.
Finally, just to reiterate, it is not for ME or for Con or for ANYONE to KNOW if an afterlife exists. You are to KNOW this life exists. and do your best at THIS LIFE.
But does that mean an AFTERLIFE does not exist? because Nobody knows?
Does that mean we have ZERO reason to BELIEVE it exists? Certainly we do have some REASONS to believe. SOME evidence. Even scientifically verified evidence.... So is it IRRATIONAL TO BELIEVE???
Or is it irrational to demand PROOF,,, for something that you cannot prove???
I believe the latter is more irrational.
As another side note.
Macro evolution does not have overwhelming evidence for it. It actually has zero evidence. In science, and real life.
Please see the article below.
If what you refer to as an afterlife is something supernatural, I have no interest in it and it is by definition irrational to hold it to be true without any proof whatsoever.
At no point have I said that we all must know heaven exists to rationally believe it exists. That is a non sequitur.
Please define what you mean by believe.
1. People don"t necessarily believe in things based on evidence. Theists have no evidence and yet they still believe.
2. Of course.
3. Sure, but that isn"t the case for theists.
4. I agree.
2. Whether of not something is sufficient, is subjective.
4. Wrong. If there is sufficient evidence in your eyes, you will of course not think your belief is irrational. The key word here is "sufficient" because to you, one study somehow provides sufficient evidence to assert that your heaven exists. So the moment you find something that backs up your belief, you jump on it. This is irrational because you have started with an assertion and gone looking for a newspaper article about one study. You"ve worked backwards instead of starting with a theory and then testing it. This is precisely why it is irrational to believe in an afterlife, let alone the one version of heaven that you happen to want to be true.
5. I agree. Although I hope you"re not referring to the study as "sufficient evidence again""
"- In either case, if having knowledge or proof is close to impossible (unless you want to die and come back.) ,, then how could BELIEVING be irrational?"
That question makes no sense. Define "believing."
You don"t currently have the luxury of knowing or proving that your heaven exists. You don"t have sufficient evidence to assert that it is true. I"m not stopping you from believing but if you want to justify it to the world by saying it"s rational to do so, you have an awful lot of work ahead of you.
I"m not a believer and I"m not a disbeliever. I lack any belief in your assertion and for good reason. One study is not SCIENCE. You"ve also not proven that EVERY culture or religion points to it, as you"ve already admitted, not that it"s at all relevant. 8 million people"s experiences is a good start and I say keep up the good work. Regardless, I don"t think it"s knowable so it"s a wild goose chase in my opinion and therefore all the more reason to be sceptical.
"Let me make this clear once more. My resolution is : "IT IS RATIONAL for people to believe in an afterlife." in one form or another. Does it MATTER? what MY version is? no ... MY version being correct or not is NOT on trial."
Wrong. It matters what version of an afterlife because you make the already extraordinary claim even more extraordinary by specifying which version of an afterlife you believe in.
"MY ASSERTION, is basically that YOU or no other atheist has ANY, not one, single itty bitty piece of REAL EVIDENCE... to suggest there IS NO Heaven or afterlife."
Atheists are in the fortunate position of not having the burden of proof. We don"t need to prove there is no God and we don"t need to prove there is no afterlife. The scientific method is the accepted method of testing hypotheses and finding out how the world works. We therefore do not start with an assertion and work backwards to try and prove it. Dr Paina has gone about proving the existence of an afterlife in the correct way. Starting with a theory and testing it. Then you come along and find his results that point to your assertion and all of a sudden SCIENCE has provided REAL EVIDENCE for an afterlife, therefore making your assertion "rational". I"m afraid you"ve jumped the gun. What you have expressed in this debate is no more than wishful thinking. Hence why you write things like this:
"IN FACT, all evidence we HAVE (If you truly can have any.) points to the existence of an afterlife."
Scientifically confirmed by whom?
"for 5000 years or more they have been scripturally and prophetically confirmed."
"There is an abundance and MORE reasons to believe, that YOU don't know it all."
Wishful thinking again. If a scientist said anything like this he"s be laughed out of court.
Nobody "believes" the Multiverse theory. It"s not a case of believing in it, it"s hypothetical. Claiming to believe it would be tantamount to social suicide.
"We actually have different corroborating witness testimonies for this reality of heaven."
"The multiverse is one scientist's "professional" imagination."
No, it"s an idea.
"Do you think a human being.. could possibly IMAGINE...what goes one beyond his OWN knowledge?"
To some extent yes.
"Sure they can imagine...How often is that imagination correct? Well , in the case of scientists? ZERO. (Theories are always modified by later scientists finding their predecessors WRONG.)"
If you"re going to make a claim like that you need to back it up. Have you ever heard of Isaac Newton?
"In the case of Scripture matching Near Death Testimonies... 100% .. WOW! ... so... what are you going to bet on? One scientist and his multiverse theory? or 8 million witnesses and a 5000 year old book?"
This is getting silly now. Bringing up the multiverse theory again is not helping your case. Nobody believes in it because it"s an idea and it would be idiotic to claim belief in it. The existence of an afterlife is probably also not knowable or possible and yet people like you believe it to be true.
What sort of belief are you referring to now? Trust, hope? Or are you asking if I believe a government exists?
Now you"re calling them witness testimonies? As though they witnessed an afterlife? Their brains were in the process of shutting down. They didn"t witness anything. They experienced the effects of cognitive failure during cardiac arrest. It"s these effects that are interesting scientists. Not the assumption that the effects are somehow a gateway into a supernatural world containing all dead people who ever lived. Like I said, it"s a start but the scientific method simply does not rely on word of mouth alone. Further types of experimentation are required.
Are you referring to a new study?
Again, one study is a good start but it is in no way overwhelming. The evidence in support of evolution is overwhelming. Consider how different the two bodies of evidence are.
I"ll let the voters decide who they think is in denial thank you. Your conclusion is premature as I"ve already explained. Dr Paina concluded that further experimentation is necessary because his standard of evidence is more strict than yours. Testimonies are interesting but no scientist is gullible enough to take someone"s word for it. Interesting theories will attract further testing.
"Finally, just to reiterate, it is not for ME or for Con or for ANYONE to KNOW if an afterlife exists."
"You are to KNOW this life exists. and do your best at THIS LIFE."
"But does that mean an AFTERLIFE does not exist? because Nobody knows?
"Does that mean we have ZERO reason to BELIEVE it exists? Certainly we do have some REASONS to believe."
No. People believe in it because it comforts them, also perhaps because it is attached to whichever religion they also believe.
"SOME evidence. Even scientifically verified evidence"."
Dr Parina did not in any way verify his study as evidence for an afterlife. Scientific experiments don"t work like that. It is for the scientific community to verify conclusions based on experimentation from multiple experiments using multiple methods.
"So is it IRRATIONAL TO BELIEVE???"
We"ve established that it may be impossible to know that an afterlife exists. Please define what you mean by "believe" in this context and then we can discuss how rational it is.
You miss the point. I am questioning your use of one study to try and prove something that cannot be proven. This approach in itself is irrational. You think there is scientifically verified evidence for something you admit cannot be proven.
Have you not considered that maybe at least one of the 8 million people who survived a cardiac arrest was a sinner and therefore destined for an eternity of pain and suffering in the fires of Hell? Wouldn"t they have experienced the torment and anguish of the devil"s work? If you believe in Heaven you must also believe in Hell, no? Or do you just like the idea of Heaven and so only believe in that?
I will responded to your end note in the comments section as I've run out of available characters.
Con wants to pretend the evidence i presented is not scientific. This was the largest study ever conducted by a scientist on the matter at all, the study must use certain methods to test its hypothesis that there is evidennce to suggest consciousness can exist beyond the physical body. If not, the associate professor cannot publish a Paper on it. It appears con does not know how science works and disregards scientific findings based on his lack of understanding of how these studies are conducted. Despite the raw data having been collected as 2000 plus testimonies, there must be certain criteria that must be satisfied to be considered scientifically valid. These criteria also help to establish a correlation between variables and determind the accuracy or statistical aignificance of the event. That is why parnia can "scientifically CONCLUDE" different percentages for probability of an NDE. Etc just be because the study does not also attmept to establish exactly what ,IS anNDE exactly,doestmean we should ignore the patently obvious. The study concludes evidence for an afterlife. It also concludes not every one may get to have one.
Whether it is real or not is not part of this debate. This debate is about if its rational or irrational to believe in light of all the historical , prophetic, allegorical and scientific evidence that indicate something more.
Con says yea no ok. But does not seem to have much else to say. So i rest my case. It is rational to believe. And denial requires more justification than Con was able to provide.
I"ll humour you and say that the study provides evidence of some kind of shared experience during a cardiac arrest. Sure, it"s a large study, relying on the recollections of cardiac arrest survivors. Like I said, it"s a good start and it is interesting. I know exactly how Dr Parina"s study was conducted but it"s not the validity of the study that is being questioned. I"m questioning the disproportionate and premature conclusions that you appear to have reached all on your own. You have failed to address the main problem you face here. You have started with a conclusion and gone out looking for evidence to back up what you hope is a reasonable proposition to believe in. The correct way to determine if it is rational to believe something, is to start with ideas and test them until you can find one which produces the same results from varying methods of experimentation.
I"m puzzled as to why you are now accusing me of not knowing how science works. It"s very odd, I must say.
The likelihood of a NDE occurring during a cardiac arrest is not what we"ve been discussing and it"s irrelevant to the question of how irrational it is to believe in an afterlife. I applaud you for admitting the study does not attempt to establish what an NDE is. The study therefore does not in any way conclude there is evidence of an afterlife, you are concluding that or maybe you did even before you came across the study in the first place. It is not "patently obvious" that an NDE points to your idea of a heaven and hell and to think that it is, is an astonishingly naive mental leap.
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