Hell, Heaven and the Power of Imagination.

Hell is just an imaginary place to put people who you don’t like and to control the minds of children when you think fear is needed for the indoctrination. Heaven is just an imaginary place you think your imaginary friend lives as well as where you get to put the people you like. And to control the minds of children when you think hope is what’s needed for the indoctrination. Most Americans believe in heaven and hell. Roughly seven-in-ten (72%) Americans say they believe in heaven as a place “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Moreover, 58% of U.S. adults also believe in hell as a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.” 1

“The claim of hell are ridiculous and immoral, not just false.”

First, let me explain why as an axiological atheist (value theory atheist) even the belief in the concept of god is ethically vile to me. God belief is inherently immoral to me it is the belief that supports an all powerful being who willfully allows suffering, something that no ethical person would tolerate if they had the ability to do otherwise. Moreover, a common attribute of god belief is support of this claimed greater being of high intelligence and self will forcing its will and standards on other beings of high intelligence and self will. This force is unethical and abusive to the rights of humanity. Furthermore, many who subscribe to this force abusive relationship god claim an even more revolting ethical atrocity called hell where eternal horror and suffering is dished out by direct will of the claimed stronger immoral god being against the defenseless undeserving subjugated humanity. Thus being one who values rights and ethics, it sickens me to even speak of such willful misconduct of justice. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/value-theory/

Moreover, as in a child is also your direct responsibility and there is nothing you should put your child to death for the non-crime of not believing in a parent’s love nor rejecting the parent either and to do so would be ridiculous and immoral. Whereas it is claimed a god will put you in hell (kill you forever) for the non-crime of not believing in or rejecting the god would be ridiculous and immoral. No, I don’t believe in goddess(es) or god(s). I cannot believe in the possibility of any deity and definitely not the even more preposterous idea of a psychopathic deity that would create hell with an eternity of torture.

Any being so malevolent would not play with the nonsense of staying so invisible to the extreme that there is not even the slightest bit of evidence of any kind that such a being exists. If this deity is so all-powerful and malevolent who wants to create a mass amount of fear and terror which could be done immediately by proving it exist in the real external world, by not proving or even allowing some evidence for the possibility of it to be true then it has to be false.

Moreover, many say this all-invisible god is all benevolent, but if so, why would such a god create a psychopathic deity’s hell with its eternity of torture. By doing so, it would no longer be a benevolent god. In addition, if god were all-benevolent, it would not stay so invisible to the extreme that there is not even the slightest bit of evidence of any kind that such a being exists. If this deity is so all-powerful and benevolent who wants to create a mass amount of hope and peace which could be done immediately by proving it exist in the real external world, by not proving or even allowing some evidence for the possibility of it to be true then it has to be false.

Then some may say god plays the biggest game of hide and seek by staying invisible to evidence in every way because god wants belief without evidence. However, what about the proposed evidence in holy books? Are they not a reference of when gods (always so long ago) supposedly provided evidence you are not to believe even if it is disproved by science or archaeology evidence? In addition, what about gods reported enemy the devil, why does the devil also stay so invisible to such an extreme that there is not even the slightest bit of evidence of any kind such a being exists in an external world reality.

Well, my simple answer is because both gods and devils are myths that are not worthy of justified true belief and actually, not reasonable for any belief at all when one accepts the reality of the external world as in supernatural-free.

Lastly, any god that threatens with the human horror of injustice that would-be hell cannot be also called a god of love, because a just loving god would not torture anyone for eternity, especially people not guilty of grievously harming others.

Then “hell god” supports say, but god does not torture you for eternity, it is you, who puts yourself there by your own choices, “aka” people’s own free will. For a true ethically minded individual “hell god” as a “loving god” is absurd. A loving god would appreciate our reason, skepticism, and freethought. A true “loving god” would totally get that faith devoid of evidence and contrary to evidence is not only not enough it’s rationally repugnant.

Threats of Hell are Humanistically Wrong

Tell me again, that for the non-crime of disbelief will head me into the abyss. A plague of darkness you say none who lack belief can miss. And yet you wish to say this threatened evil dead, is the purported behavior of a loving god, what did you miss? For, it is an injustice, so for anyone to be so ethically confused, sadly something humanistically wrong must be amidst.

Hell claims debunk gods?
This can be done once one applies the completion of critical thinking skills with an axiological atheist “argument from evil”, which are leveled as a way to expose how claims of hell debunk gods. This may be a kind of argument from evil but it is kind of applied backward so to say. As we know the creation of any hell would be evil, and any god that is attached to a hell belief, either debunks a good god, leaving only an evil god as that’s all one could be if hell is real. But this is also problematic as any evil god would not see any benefit is staying to all intents and purposes non-existent in the world we can know, or ever have direct access to find knowledge from. A malevolent god, I remind you would enjoy our full knowledge, as this would match the terrorist’s personality of a hell god creator which would be to Incite fear, as he would be better served in this only by demonstrating hell god existed. And thus, no hell god could exist, just as any similar sadistic planetary drowning god would see little value in creating any heavens either. Hell is a twisted idea, almost topping the moral monster god said to have created it Thank god they don’t exist. But all joking aside I would more rightly thank reason. As we no longer need stories about nature when we ourselves can do it by just going outside. Religion sells a fake product and the belief in gods is like a spiritually transferred disease.
Scary Beasts In Heaven?

“And before the throne of god there was a sea of glass like crystal: and around the throne, were four beasts full of eyes in front and behind. The first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle (totemistic thinking). And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night.” (Revelation 4:6-8). Comment: Here we have a rare description of heaven where it appears frightening with strange beasts. One cannot help to think that it seems more a description of Hell than a heaven… Good thing it’s all fake. Lol

Debunking both Positive (HEAVEN) and Negative (HELL) near death experiences.

Near Death, Experiences is Brain Activity, not Supernatural anything.

More evidence that near-death experiences are related to brain activity, not the supernatural.

Many think they leave their body and up above their body can look down on things and thus say this is proof of life outside of death. But this is just more wishful thinking as always. To date, six studies have tried some form of this method, mostly on cardiac-arrest patients, and all have failed to find an ironclad case of veridical perception. All involved placing some stimulus—a picture or a symbol on, say, a piece of paper or an electronic display—in a high location, visible only if you were floating near the ceiling. The research designers did their best to make sure that nobody—not the doctors or nurses, not the patient, and not whoever interviewed the patient afterward—would know what the stimulus was until after the interviews were over.

“Most scientists assume it will—that NDEs are nothing more than the product of spasms in a dying brain.” – The Science of Near-Death-Experiences

“It’s long been suspected that what we describe as near-death experiences (NDEs) may be related to processes in the brain that create a flurry of activity to produce the strange sensations. Those that survive the beginning of the shutdown process may tell about it as a religious or spiritual experience. Well, it’s certainly strange. New research supports the idea that it may be physiological, not supernatural.” – Evidence Near-Death-Experiences are not Supernatural

Are some cultures or demographics more prone to believe in the superstitious or in certain superstitions? Anyone can fall for foolishness in thinking but fear seems to be a strong motivator, with correlations seeming to be expressed in relative statistics research of poverty and threats to life. “Generally, poorer nations tend to be religious; wealthy less so, except for U.S.” ref

“According to Richard Wiseman on Debunking the Paranormal, We know that is the case from polls and surveys. As I said at the beginning, more people believe in this stuff in the US than in the UK. And when you go from the West to the East, the numbers tend to be very high. So something is going on culturally. There seems to be some kind of bedrock, something in our brains which tells us this stuff is true and we should believe it. But the exact form it takes is often molded in the culture. If you take sleep paralysis – and the idea that there is an incubus on your chest sucking the life out of you, paralyzing you – in some cultures that’s seen as an old hag coming into the room, in other cultures it’s an alien, in some it’s an evil spirit. The experience is the same, but the way it’s interpreted is very different from one culture to another. I get sleep paralysis myself. It can be terrifying, and I can easily imagine why some cultures explain it supernaturally. It is a very scary experience. You can’t move and you may find it difficult to breathe. That alone is terrifying. But once you understand the science of it, it is less scary than thinking there are spirits on you.”  ref

“The many experiences described by survivors of cardiac arrest — people revived even after their hearts stopped beating, sometimes for many minutes — include moving through a tunnel toward a white light, greeting relatives no longer alive, and overhearing conversations between family members in another room. A new study from the University of Michigan Medical School shows how the brain sends signals to the heart in the moments before death. It is this flurry of mental activity that is key to cardiac demise, the researchers say, and quite probably the foundation of near-death experiences as well.” – Near-Death Experiences May Be Explained By Heart-Brain Connection.

Dr. Jimo Borjigin explains that the reduction of oxygen during cardiac arrest can stimulate brain activity that may be interpreted as what we call an NDE. The paper was in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Asphyxia-activated corticocardiac signaling accelerates onset of cardiac arrest: “The mechanism by which the healthy heart and brain die rapidly in the absence of oxygen is not well understood. We performed continuous electrocardiography and electroencephalography in rats undergoing experimental asphyxia and analyzed cortical release of core neurotransmitters, changes in brain and heart electrical activity, and brain-heart connectivity. Asphyxia stimulates a robust and sustained increase of functional and effective cortical connectivity, an immediate increase in cortical release of a large set of neurotransmitters, and a delayed activation of corticocardiac functional and effective connectivity that persists until the onset of ventricular fibrillation. Blocking the brain’s autonomic outflow significantly delayed terminal ventricular fibrillation and lengthened the duration of detectable cortical activities despite the continued absence of oxygen. These results demonstrate that asphyxia activates a brainstorm, which accelerates premature death of the heart and the brain.” Borjigin discovered that rats show an unexpected pattern of brain activity immediately after cardiac arrest. With neither breath nor heartbeats, these rodents were clinically dead but for at least 30 seconds, their brains showed several signals of conscious thought, and strong signals to boot. This suggests that our final journey into permanent unconsciousness may actually involve a brief state of heightened consciousness. Although the experiments were done in rats, Borjigin thinks they have implications for the near-death experiences (NDEs) reported by one in five people who are resuscitated after their hearts stop. Although they were unconscious, unresponsive and clinically dead at the time, they come back with stories of bright lights, “realer than real” memories, and meetings with people they knew. Some scientists have dismissed these accounts outright. Others have taken NDEs as proof of a religious afterlife or a consciousness that lives on outside the body, as popularised in a recent bestseller of dubious provenance. But Borjigin’s research suggests that these experiences could just be a natural product of a dying brain. That doesn’t make them any less real, but it does root them in the natural world, without the need for a “super-“ prefix. “The near-death experience might be considered a “final frontier” of consciousness studies,” says George Mashour, an anaesthesiologist from the University of Michigan and a co-author on the study. “It has been repeatedly proposed as a critical counter-example undermining the hypothesis that consciousness is rooted in the brain. Our study brings the phenomenon back into the realm of brain science.” ref

“The study was done in mice where they measured brain activity that turned out to be very active during the early stages of death. Scientists suspect that the same thing might happen in humans. The activity can create perceptions of a heightened state of consciousness. But, such a study on humans would be near impossible to do. It may be possible however to use this knowledge of the heart-brain connection in reverse and develop drugs that prevent full cardiac arrest.” – Evidence Near-Death-Experiences are not Supernatural

We are evolution, not some special creation. It is a flaw in reasoning to think that we evolved naturally and then somehow magically got some supernatural soul/spirit whatever. When in the evolution of humans do you think “magic” happened to make humans have a soul that could live after death anyway? Simply there is none, belief in souls or life after death is just wishful thinking. We are not magic filled nor are we that different than other primates….

In fact, the chimpanzee and human genomes are more than 98% identical, but there are a few short DNA sequences that have changed significantly in humans since the two species diverged about 5 million years ago. Most of the big differences between human and chimpanzee DNA lie in regions that do not code for genes, according to a new study. Instead, they may contain DNA sequences that control how gene-coding regions are activated and read. Most of the big differences between human and chimpanzee DNA lie in regions that do not code for genes, according to a new study. Instead, they may contain DNA sequences that control how gene-coding regions are activated and read. Comparing Chimp, Human DNA

“Having a near-death experience can change a person’s entire life, including one’s brain,

researchers have discovered. Researcher Willoughby Britton, studied the brain waves of people who have had positive, transformative near-death experiences and found their brain patterns distinctive when compared with people who didn’t have a brush with death. Britton compared the brainwaves of sleeping subjects and found a distinct spike in activity in the temporal lobe of people with near-death experiences. The brain’s temporal lobe has often been implicated in reports of near-death experiences that closely mirror what epileptics feel during a seizure: feelings of peace and tranquility, encountering a bright light and increased sensitivity to smells and sounds. It’s a profound personality overhaul. The temporal lobe, is considered the God module, the part of the brain that connects with the transcendent. Surprisingly, however, all of the activity that Britton recorded was from the left half of the brain, not the right half, which is more often associated with visual and spatial creativity. One hundred percent of the activity came from the left side, which, in itself, is very unusual. There’s no reason for someone to have an accident and just have one side of their brain affected. People’s brains may be predisposed to having transformative experiences, or, it is also plausible that near-death experiencers were indistinguishable neurophysiologically from other people before their [transformation], and that any observed changes reflect the transformative aftereffects of the experience. What is clear, however, is that all those in Britton’s study who came close to dying scored higher on an evaluation of their ability to cope with stressful situations than their counterparts. It’s more evidence that there’s no psychopathology in this group, which tends to be the scientific party line. In fact, people with positive transformative experiences tend to change in a way that a psychotherapist would want them to respond over a lifetime of therapy. They’re less self-centered, much more compassionate towards other people. Many people give up their jobs and become much more service-oriented” (Keller, 2004).

The reality of reality relates to an overwhelming agreement of among naturalist and realists’ thinkers utilizes Naturalistic and Realistic Ontology which the theory about the kinds of things that have existence. This thinking does not allow for the possibility of supernatural entities such as gods, goddess, devils, angels, heavens, or hells. These aspects are a proposition of the anti-real or beyond real and commonly called supernatural or super-reality which are disconnected with or from reality and not real. As nonbelievers, we claim this reality of reality on our side and are taking this call to follow and support the reality of reality out to an anti-real religious world.

A goal of science is “Truth” and “facts” what is the goal of Religion,

and more importantly is “Truth” and “facts” an important goal to you?

 One of the strongest features of science is not that is finds “Truth” and “facts” but that it can correct flawed views of reality. Most people put a lot of faith into relying on religion, culture, or what they see as common sense and intuition, but faith is not a correct way to validate views of reality. Science helps us to understand the universe by freeing us from a reliance on gut-feelings or unchecked reasoning hopelessly rooted in the unsystematic software of our brains. Common sense, will never get us as far as we may wish (only sticking to what we think is true). Our preferences do not determine what’s true. Common sense does not have a strong features to correct flawed views of reality, it’s only criterion is the reject what is cannot comprehend or try to make new ideas fit in to look or be understood like old ides. The goal of science is to come as close as we can to understanding the cause-effect realities “Truth” and “facts” of the natural world. It’s never “truth” or “facts”. Scientific knowledge is not a collection of subjective opinions. Rather, it is a collection of explanations about objective reality that is based on observed or predicted phenomena “Truth” and “facts” or our best approximate truth until shown otherwise. In addition, the explanation must be verified repeatedly to confirm that it correctly models reality. Science is a practical approach that builds upon certain foundational principles that we assume to be true for our world which provides the best known method for arriving at the truth. As our technical ability to observe reality improves, we are able to increase the quality and quantity of our observations. Better-observed data challenge our explanations, some of which will no longer fit the observed facts. Science has proven itself able to provide the best estimates of the truth (i.e., what things are really like) based on evidence and processes which anyone given the time and willingness to learn can use to replicate/validate the estimates of truth generally accepted by the scientific community. If they are very good and very lucky, they may even create new estimates of truth not previously known or accepted today. Are there actual “truths” that the scientific process is not able to evaluate? Perhaps, but without a method for me to replicate/validate those truths, what good are they? I can say, for me, “They provide nothing good and tend to waste valuable time and human resources that could be better spent making our world a better place for us all.” New theories are then formed and either verified or falsified. While our scientific knowledge changes rapidly, the absolute reality that is being modeled has never changed. The scientific method assumes an absolute reality against which theories can be verified. Science does try to build true knowledge of how the world works, but there are other sorts of knowledge that people also call “the truth.” it’s important to remember that to be interested in scientific truth, one doesn’t have to reject other sources of meaning that can prove to be valid or reliable with reason and evidence. Science is a useful mythology that may not directly equal truth in all things it does equal error correction that makes scientific findings more likely to be true than unscientific superstitions or religious doctrines. Science is a method for getting a better and better understanding of reality over time. Religion is a method for rhetoric and dogmatic propaganda striving to remain unchanged and uncorrected staying locked in false beliefs never getting better and better understanding of reality over time but sticking to ever disproved nonreality. Religions are not even an approximation of truth and often enshrine their errors in dogma, uncorrected indefinitely. The scientific process, by contrast, may not protect us from erring initially, but it does protect us from erring forever. And that, to answer your question, is why we’re “more right” than religious believers. The issues here are complex and reach into technical areas of metaphysics and the philosophy of language. Some philosophers maintain that a correspondence theory of truth can be developed and defended without presupposing any absurd Archimedean point from which correspondences are instituted or detected. Others believe that it is a mistake to pursue any theory of truth at all. To assert that a given statement is true, they argue, is merely another way of asserting the statement itself. Fine elaborated this idea further in the context of the philosophy of science, proposing that one should accept neither realism nor antirealism; rather, one should give up talking about truth in connection with scientific hypotheses and adopt what he calls the “natural ontological attitude.” To adopt that attitude is simply to endorse the claims made by contemporary science without indulging in the unnecessary philosophical flourish of declaring them to be “true.”

The desire to hold magical thinking about consciousness is misguided Animism.

There is no reason to assert beyond idealistic or wishful thinking that one should conclude consciousness is anything but a product of our biological brains. A strong blow on the head shows how fast consciousness can be lost. Damage to the brain can change people’s personalities, mildly or completely. We can measure brain activity as a result of different stimuli.

The brain is amazing, but it is not magic.

But many still want to hold out that consciousness is something more, something magic or spiritual beyond the brain. That is not starting with facts and making reasoned hypothesis which is what one should strive for. That is starting with mystical is true and let me force it into any outcome as keeping my desired conclusions is important. On such an understanding I ask you if you believe in such mystical consciousness that is separate from the ordinary biological sciences of the brain that show otherwise, as I ask myself are you willing to change your thinking and stop seeing consciousness as anything more then a product of the brain? If you are willing to stick to facts (inference) over wild conjecture what level of facts do you need to see it this way, likewise think what level of facts did you truly employ to reach the brain disconnected consciousness hypothesis you seem to hold so strongly now? Just think did you put your current mystical seeming hypothesis to the same rigor you seem to put the non mystical evidence? If there is a difference and you critically think about it, why is this so and does this not inspire you to be open to the possibility of change? I will forever strive to be a truth seeker even if I have to let old ideas I love go for new ideas I enjoy less. We have brain damage studies that demonstrate consciousness is altered, hindered, or stopped depending on what part of our biological not spiritual or mystical. Severe acquired brain injury results in the dissolution of consciousness, providing a natural model from which key insights about consciousness may be drawn. ref

The ‘default network’ is defined as a set of areas, encompassing posterior-cingulate/precuneus, anterior cingulate/mesiofrontal cortex and temporo-parietal junctions, that show more activity at rest than during attention-demanding tasks. Connectivity in all default network areas was found to be negatively correlated with the degree of clinical consciousness impairment, ranging from healthy controls and locked-in syndrome to minimally conscious, vegetative then coma patients. Furthermore, precuneus connectivity was found to be significantly stronger in minimally conscious patients as compared with unconscious patients. Locked-in syndrome patient’s default network connectivity was not significantly different from controls. Our results show that default network connectivity is decreased in severely brain-damaged patients, in proportion to their degree of consciousness impairment. ref

Results, published in Brain in January 2012, suggested that “effective connectivity does correspond to the state of consciousness” in patients with brain disorders, said Pearce, and that the combined TMS/EEG approach is an effective way to measure consciousness in brain-damaged patients who cannot communicate with the outside world. ref

The body and the mind (as differentiated from things that have no mind i.e. rocks, plants, etc.) are products of evolution. And this is a view that really everyone should hold today as evolution is proven. We know that the mind (consciousness) is dependent on the activity of the brain, and we know that the brain is a product of evolution; thus, we know that the mind is a product of evolution. If the mind is not part of the brain when did this happen, how did this happen, and why did this happen from where did this happen are all required to be proven to even start to remove all the sureness of the same answers that evolution already answers showing both the body and the mind are products of evolution. If mind is not a product of the brain you are saying evolution is not the only explanation to life or that evolution is wrong, and evidence is quite the contrary. By looking at some of the core components of the human mind, they have clear links to survival and reproductive success: fear motivates the avoidance of danger; sexual desire motivates behaviors that lead to the production of babies; etc. The case that the mind is a product of evolution is strong. Evolutionary theory completely overthrows the view that the mind is not part of the brain. From an evolutionary perspective, it is impossible to maintain that the mind stands outside nature. Instead, it is a tiny fragment of nature, valued only by those tiny fragments of nature that possess it. Mind is not something separate from matter; it is a process embodied in matter. ref

To believe in the tangible doesn’t require faith, but to believe that the brain is a radio that can be damaged infers there’s a signal being produced for each individual on the planet that must emanate from some source. You can’t interject metaphysical esoteric philosophy in the gaps of science which is not just a rationale error to me it is a flagrant violation of epistemic humility you are taking as truth of things you do not know. Stop making things up. Science has identified chemical reactions in the brain with OUT OF BODY experiences and not one single case of OUT OF BODY travel has been reliably identified. Sorry to pop your bubble but no amount of LEARNED quoting will make it so. The study of consciousness remains philosophy for now. It has not bridged the “mystical” gap that you and many others have tried to bridge. One example that springs to mind is that program “What THe Bleep Do We Know”… Initially, it swayed my opinions but when I researched the SCIENCE behind each of the “actors” a completely different picture emerged. One cannot simply make stuff up without EVIDENCE, no matter what your credentials and LEARNING implies. Even if a few people believe something that does not make it fact that makes it belief. To say that beliefs consciousness of a few even in different fields still is not evidence, as the same can be said about the belief of a god. Beliefs do not creative evidence no matter how strong the beliefs are to think otherwise is a fallacy. The hypothesis that the brain creates consciousness, however, has vastly more evidence for it than the hypothesis that consciousness creates the brain. Damage to the fusiform gyrus of the temporal lobe, for example, causes face blindness, and stimulation of this same area causes people to see faces spontaneously. Stroke-caused damage to the visual cortex region called V1 leads to loss of conscious visual perception. Changes in conscious experience can be directly measured by functional MRI, electroencephalography and single-neuron recordings. Neuroscientists can predict human choices from brain-scanning activity before the subject is even consciously aware of the decisions made. Using brain scans alone, neuroscientists have even been able to reconstruct, on a computer screen, what someone is seeing. Thousands of experiments confirm the hypothesis that neurochemical processes produce subjective experiences. The fact that neuroscientists are not in agreement over which physicalist theory best accounts for mind does not mean that the hypothesis that consciousness creates matter holds equal standing. In defense, Chopra sent me a 2008 paper published in Mind and Matter by University of California, Irvine, cognitive scientist Donald D. Hoffman: Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem. Conscious realism asserts that the objective world, i.e., the world whose existence does not depend on the perceptions of a particular observer, consists entirely of conscious agents. Consciousness is fundamental to the cosmos and gives rise to particles and fields. It is not a latecomer in the evolutionary history of the universe, arising from complex interactions of unconscious matter and fields, Hoffman writes. Consciousness is first; matter and fields depend on it for their very existence. Where is the evidence for consciousness being fundamental to the cosmos? Here Hoffman turns to how human observers construct the visual shapes, colors, textures and motions of objects. Our senses do not construct an approximation of physical reality in our brain, he argues, but instead operate more like a graphical user interface system that bears little to no resemblance to what actually goes on inside the computer. In Hoffman’s view, our senses operate to construct reality, not to reconstruct it. Further, it does not require the hypothesis of independently existing physical objects. How does consciousness cause matter to materialize? We are not told. Where (and how) did consciousness exist before there was matter? We are left wondering. As far as I can tell, all the evidence points in the direction of brains causing mind, but no evidence indicates reverse causality. This whole line of reasoning, in fact, seems to be based on something akin to a God of the gaps argument, where physicalist gaps are filled with nonphysicalist agents, be they omniscient deities or conscious agents. ref 

Reincarnation beliefs among near-death experiencers.

“Several researchers have found that near-death experiences (NDEs) tend to increase belief in reincarnation. This study examined factors underlying this belief shift. The author used a questionnaire to compare the tendency toward belief in reincarnation among 43 near death experiencers (NDERs), 34 individuals merely interested in NDEs, and 30 nonexperiencer, noninterest controls. In addition, 14 NDERs were interviewed to gain insight into factors influencing NDERs’ beliefs. NDERs’ reincarnation belief shift appeared to be due to (1) direct knowledge of reincarnation gained by some NDERs in the NDE itself, (2) knowledge of reincarnation gained through a general psychic awakening following the NDE, or (3) exploration of alternative perceptions of reality following the NDE.” ref 

Ghosts on the Brain

“Sleep states and altered states of consciousness can lead people to believe that they have experienced something supernatural. For example, skeptics have used sleep paralysis or a hypnogogic trance to explain encounters in which people see spirits while in bed and are unable to move or escape. Most people experience a hypnogogic trance once or twice in their lives, although it is far more common in people with epilepsy or certain sleep disorders.” ref

“According to a 2005 Gallup poll, more than a third of Americans believe that houses can be haunted, and about 32 percent believe specifically in ghosts [Source: The Gallup Poll News Service]. Morover, according to believers, a ghost is the spirit of a dead person that either has not moved on to the afterlife or has returned from it. The definition of “spirit” can vary. Some describe it as a person’s soul, while others believe it is an energetic imprint that a person leaves on the world. Humans have believed in — or been skeptical about — ghosts for thousands of years. They’re even mentioned in the oldest known written work of literature, “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” Ghost stories are part of most cultures’ folklore, although the details vary considerably from region to region. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at ghostly encounters.” ref 

Does the soul weigh 21 grams?

“That is where the movie title comes from. This was an American psychologist around the turn of the 20th century who put dogs onto scales, trying to weigh their souls leaving. He had some success with that, then tried the same with humans – putting very old people on the scales and waiting for them to die. But what he didn’t control for is sweating, moisture leaving the body. So 21 grams is probably much closer to the amount of moisture you lose when you die than your soul.” ref

What exactly is a near-death experience?

“A near-death experience is very similar to an out-of-body experience, which is where people think they’re floating away from their body, turned around seeing their body lying there. In a near-death experience, there is often a tunnel of light you go down towards meeting your maker. The gods you see depend very much on the culture you live in. Then the god turns you back, you return into your body and you wake up. As we know more about how the brain creates a sense of where it is, we know more about how these experiences can be created. Now there are experiments where we can create an out-of-body experience fairly rapidly. Other researchers – and Mary Roach talks about these – write target numbers or words on pieces of cardboard and place them on top of cabinets and wardrobes in hospital wards, in the hope that somebody having a near-death or out-of-body experience will look down and see them. To date, they haven’t. Which again suggests that this is an illusion rather than a genuine experience.” ref

So let’s look at if peoples negative near-death experiences prove Hell?

The quick answer is hell no! Sorry, it’s not true believers you only get this one life. As with the pleasurable near-death experiences, distressing or negative near-death experiences seem to occur about equally to people of both genders and of all ages, educational levels, socioeconomic levels, sexual orientations, spiritual beliefs, religious affiliations, and life experiences. The estimated incidence of distressing near-death experiences has ranged from 1% to 15% of all near-death experiences (Bonenfant, 2001). Although people have sometimes wondered whether “good people” what religionists like to call themselves; no matter how they live there life, somehow as the unholy books of myths say are due to have pleasurable experiences in the afterlife. And us “bad people” what religionists like to call “everyone, not them,” have what they hope are distressing or negative experiences in the afterlife. But distressing or negative near-death experiences still provide hell to be their wishful bullshit as always. Sorry, again believers research has shown no such relationship between apparent life deeds and type of NDE (Rommer, 2000). So even negative near-death experiences can be thought to tell us anything it still sounds like no god so you being an atheist is still sound friends. In addition, some people’s NDEs have contained both pleasurable and distressing elements, and among people who have had multiple NDEs, some have had a pleasurable experience one time and a distressing experience another, in no definite order. The way one dies may be a true factor in the type of near-death experiences one has sounds more like not god. Again research found that distressing near-death experiencers who had self-induced their deaths made up 55% of people in her research who reported a Type II Eternal Void experience, 18% who reported a Type III Hellish experience, and most of those who reported a Type IV Negative Judgment experience. Although it may be tempting to conclude that people who attempt suicide are being punished for trying to induce their own deaths, we must avoid this temptation, as the following paragraph will explain. Greyson and Bush (1996) classified reports of distressing near-death experiences into three types:

  • The most common type included the same features as the pleasurable type such as an out-of-body experience and rapid movement through a tunnel or void toward a light but the near-death experiencer, usually because of feeling out of control of what was happening, experienced the features as frightening.
  • The second, less common type included an acute awareness of nonexistence or of being completely alone forever in an absolute void. Sometimes the person received a totally convincing message that the real world including themselves never really existed.
  • The third and rarest type included hellish imagery such as an ugly or foreboding landscape; demonic beings; loud, annoying noises; frightening animals; and other beings in extreme distress. Only rarely have such near-death experiencers themselves felt personally tormented.

The research found that distressing near-death experiencers who had self-induced their deaths are people who are in a distressed frame of mind at the time of their near-death episode and those who were raised to expect distress during death may be more prone to distressing near-death experiences. Sounds more like ghosts not god right? People who attempt suicide are almost always in a distressed frame of mind. Usually, they are attempting suicide because they feel themselves to be in unendurable and unending emotional or physical pain. In addition, they are almost certainly aware of the widely held belief that suicide is cowardly and/or the wrong way to escape the pain of life. Although they hope for relief from their pain, they may also consciously or unconsciously fear punishment. In a heightened state of pain, as well as of fear and/or guilt, they are highly distressed and, consequently, may be somewhat more prone to having a distressing near-death experience. Proving as always even a negative near-death experience is still not a proof of a religious Hell, in fact, it dispels it. ref

In its Science and Engineering Indicators report, the National Science Board (NSB) asserts that belief in the paranormal can be dangerous. According to the NSB, belief in the paranormal is a sign of reduced critical thinking skills and a reduced ability to make day-to-day decisions. However, since it’s virtually impossible to prove that something does not exist, people will probably continue to believe in ghosts and haunted houses, especially since unexplained events aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. ref 

“Dead is Dead” no ghosts, spirits or souls…

“Dead is Dead” no ghosts, spirits or souls… What Part of That confuses you?

Think ghosts are proven real? You may say the ghost hunting shows prove it to you, OK, you may need to rethink what standard you put on proof. Think does this belief in ghosts involve a fear ghosts? We are all good people don’t die from ghosts for the same reason the jolly green giant is not some farming tyrant, simply understood, neither exists in reality. What evidence do I have for this non-harm? Well, why not use the same very ghost hunting shows continuing to go year after year never having a member killed should be proof enough not to worry, i.e. “YOU” start to get that it’s just adults playing make-believe.

“Damien, I Disagree! We are made of energy and some of that energy can be left behind. I have done numerous investigations. I do not believe in ghosts or spirits, but I have encountered things I could not explain. I am the one who attempts to debunk everything that happens during investigations. I am the skeptic amongst our team. I do believe our energy goes to different planes of existence. I have personally communicated with energy via voice. I have witnessed first-hand accounts of objects moving when no one was near it. I have taken photos of apparitions. I have even received communication with my sister who passed away. I am a sane individual, so I know that I am not imagining things, Damien. I have witnessed my daughter being attacked physically via scratches on her body that have appeared out of nowhere. There is malevolent energy out there. If a human was not a good person in life, why wouldn’t their energy remain bad also? I personally have never been attacked, but I have seen it. Would enjoy discussing this further if you’d like. I have been doing investigations since I was about 15 years old. I have investigated with some of the best known in the world. Yes, 99% of it can be debunked and I have done so countless times, but there are still mysteries in this world and beyond and I will continue to investigate as long as I can.” – Challenger
My response, Ok, prove any magical supernatural anything it has not yet ever been done by anyone in any part of the earth, despite hundreds of years of trying and empty unjustified beliefs as always no proof only faith beliefs.

A Physicist Just Explained Why the Large Hadron Collider Disproves the Existence of Ghosts

According to sciencealert.com, “Recent polls have found that 42 percent of Americans and 52 percent of people in the UK believe in ghosts – a huge percentage when you consider that no one has ever come up with irrefutable proof that they even exist. But we might have had proof that they don’t exist all along, because as British theoretical physicist Brian Cox recently pointed out, there’s no room in the Standard Model of Physics for a substance or medium that can carry on our information after death, and yet go undetected in the Large Hadron Collider. “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist, then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern, and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made,” Cox, from the University of Manchester, explained in a recent episode of BBC’s The Infinite Monkey Cage. “We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.” Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was also on the show, replied, “If I understand what you just declared, you just asserted that CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, disproved the existence of ghosts.” “Yes,” said Cox. It’s become glaringly obvious that the Standard Model of Physics is an incomplete theory, with several gaping holes that physicists have been trying to patch up for decades, but Cox says the existence of ghosts doesn’t fall within the ‘known unknowns’ of the Standard Model. Instead, he says it directly contradicts the one of the most rigorously tested and fundamental laws of the Universe we have – the second law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time. Entropy is a measure of the randomness or disorder within a closed or isolated system, and the second law of thermodynamics states that as usable energy is lost, chaos increases – and without extra energy being put into a system, that progression towards disorder can never be reversed. In other words, energy is always lost to heat in any system – whether it’s a washing machine or the Universe – and you can never get back all the energy you put in. The principle can be used to explain why the arrow of time only ever marches forwards; why there’s a past, future, and present; and why you can’t un-scramble an egg, because it would lower the Universe’s entropy. So how does that apply to ghosts? Because we can’t touch and interact with them, ghosts can’t be made of matter, but instead of energy.  And if energy is necessarily lost within every system – particularly if they’re doing anything that requires using more of it, such as moving, emitting light, or making spooky sounds – it would be impossible for them to maintain their existence for any significant period of time. The second nail in the coffin comes from the Large Hadron Collider, because while there are things about the Universe we still can’t find using this giant particle accelerator, what we can see very well is the way energy drives our cells’ information. If we assume that the energy that sustains ghosts isn’t an entirely new substance or medium, but carries on from when we were living, then this mysterious force controlling the particles that make up our cells would have been detected in the Large Hadron Collider by now. “I would say if there’s some kind of substance that’s driving our bodies, making my arms move and legs move, then it must interact with the particles out of which our bodies are made,” says Cox. “And seeing as we’ve made high precision measurements of the ways that particles interact, then my assertion is that there can be no such thing as an energy source that’s driving our bodies.” DeGrasse Tyson adds to this by saying that while he, like many people, has experienced “haunting experiences” in the past, he’s yet to really find a phenomenon that’s defied his complete knowledge of physics, maths, and astrophysics. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the very human urge to want to believe in the lingering dead. “In that moment, there’s a mystery, and it’s kinda fun,” he says. “And that allows me to understand, and even embrace, the urge that people have to want there to be this deep mystery, such as ghosts of ancestors. I have a soft spot for what that psychological state is, because I’ve felt that intermittently, except I kept exploring and getting the answer.” You can download and listen to the whole segment at the BBC’s website.” Ref

So are Ghosts Possible, Because Energy Does not Die? Well, NO!

No ghosts are not possible, as at no time did magic get added to our natural evolution.

However, ghost believers say but it’s not magic, its reality, it’s a scientific fact that once energy is created, it can never cease to exist, it just changes form. Nevertheless, they are in error, they seem to be confusing two things, as energy is mindless, not aware of what it was in a previous form. Science is against ghosts and souls and stating that energy can go on is a non-sequitur to infer that proves ghosts is like saying that because we were once star stuff we turn back into stars. Ghost believers will most likely keep believing and close in on the belief while also closing out the reason and evidence debunking the belief in ghosts. They can believe as they wish and no amount of that belief makes a thing such as ghosts true. Let’s address the thinking that if energy cannot be created or destroyed but only change form, what happens to our body’s energy when we die, why not ghosts?

According to Benjamin Radford, a Live Science Contributor, it may seem like a reasonable assumption — unless you understand basic physics. The answer is very simple, and not at all mysterious. After a person dies, the energy in his or her body goes where all organisms’ energy goes after death: into the environment. The energy is released in the form of heat, and transferred into the animals that eat us (i.e., wild animals if we are left unburied, or worms and bacteria if we are interred), and the plants that absorb us. There is no bodily “energy” that survives death to be detected or seen. So are ghosts real? Science says NO. Ref

You still believe in ghosts because you think you have seen or felt them? Well think again it’s all just in your head.

Scientists Created “Ghosts” in the Lab: This sensation is commonly reported in people with certain neurological or psychiatric disorders, or those exposed to extreme conditions. In 1970, mountaineer Reinhold Messner reported seeing a “phantom” climber descending the slopes of a particularly extreme summit alongside him. This also happens in people who have recently experienced another extreme condition: the loss of a spouse. In most cases, the sufferer reports the very real sensation of an unseen presence. This is the stuff of which ghost stories are made, but researchers say they know why this feeling occurs, and they’ve even recreated it in the lab. Ref

Scientific Thinking not Faith Thinking

Science, unlike faith, uses more Critically Open-Minded Reasoning (open assessment and reflective correctability) the effort to overcome all of those issues common with Induced Delusional Disorder or “faith brainwashed” thinking. With science, unlike faith thinking, all facts are welcomed, even if they contradict a treasured theory or model, which must then be rejected immediately. A true scientist will be delighted at having found a new aspect of science, especially if it changes a scientific view, whereas a true religionist/fideist motivated by faith or Induced Delusional Disorder will deny it and try to explain it away. Admittedly science is not a single category, approach or thinking, however nobody who is reasonable and informed can or should reject or deny the truths it produces. Religion too is not a single category, approach or thinking, however nobody who is reasonable and informed can accept its deluded or reality devoid beliefs as any kind of truths. The scientific method assumes a priori of methodological naturalism about the nature of reality that is devoid of considering supernatural causes, it is not agnostic about this. The scientific method is using a form of philosophical rationalism to establish this view about the nature of reality along with the commonly held philosophy of empiricism, because looking for proof or truth devoid of considering supernatural causes by using a priori assumptions is employing rationalism. Openmindedness for Bertrand Russell is the virtue that prevents habit and desire from making us unable or unwilling to entertain the idea that earlier beliefs may have to be revised or abandoned; its main value lies in challenging the fanaticism that comes from a conviction that our views are absolutely certain. A review of certain key ideas provides a clearer sense of the dimensions of the ideal of open-mindedness for all those who are determined to make this aim central to their work as teachers. What follows is a road map to the terrain which surrounds the idea of open-minded inquiry. Ref  Moreover, Openmindedness is receptiveness to new ideas. Openmindedness relates to the way in which people approach the views and knowledge of others, and “incorporate the beliefs that others should be free to express their views and that the value of others’ knowledge should be recognized.” According to What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, closed-mindedness, or an unwillingness to consider new ideas, can result from the brain’s natural dislike for ambiguity. According to this view, the brain has a “search and destroy” relationship with ambiguity and evidence contradictory to people’s current beliefs tends to make them uncomfortable by introducing such ambiguity. Research confirms that belief-discrepant-closed-minded persons have less tolerance for cognitive inconsistency. Ref

Spiritual Woo Woo, Trying to Make Magic of Reality.

I was asked what are my Thoughts on Spirituality?

I Blaspheme the Unreal Unholy Bible Spirit called gOD

A person to me: Damien, I’m with you on the science side and nature. 

But what are your thoughts on spirituality?

My response: Personally I don’t know what that means. I use to call myself a spiritual atheist but the more I learned the less I saw that as anything meaningful and was just my placeholder carry over word from my religious past. What I meant by it was I say value and meandering in the world. That things, where connected in some way. I now have a nonreligious word that states this and is more substantive and beneficially descriptive. Axiology or Axiological. Which stands for value theory or value science. And I call myself an Axiological Atheist. But its more than just that value is also a morality and humanistic motivation for my atheism.

A person to me: Pretty good. Maybe spirituality is just being conscious of morals and reality. Just wondered where you stood on it. I still pray. (learned behavior I guess). Thanks for the reply.

My response: I believe in you and you should believe in you.

A person to me: Right on, thanks.

My response: I can send you a link about Axiological Atheism if you want.

A person to me: Alright cool.

My response: Axiological Atheism ExplainedExplaining Axiological theism, Axiological agnosticism, and Axiological atheismAxiological Dignity Being Theory

Overall it should be understood that I don’t value the word spiritual.

It really means nothing to me. I went through a faze when I was working through understanding myself apart from religion I had lived my whole life. So, I use to say I was a spiritual atheist. That for me was lack of understanding how to use nonreligious words to explain how I felt. With the word spiritual, I wanted to say I saw meaning in the world, which people had value and I cared and wanted to live an ethical humanistic life. I now do not put value in the word spiritual as it has 20 meanings if you ask 10 people. Use of the word spiritual to me is just woo-woo, trying to making magic of reality. I have a better word that is more accurate to my thinking “axiological/axiology especially formal or scientific axiology and this word does not have the religion baggage. I am an Axiological Atheist (value theorist atheist). Axiological to Atheist: is meant to denote an atheistic rejection of the existence of gods or supreme beings in favor of a “higher absolute”, such as humanity or universal ethical principles. Axiological reasoning as a form of atheism mindset favors humanity as the absolute source of holistic ethics and care values and permits individuals to resolve moral problems without resorting to gOD. One value of holistic universal ethics being humanistic is mutual care and responsibility. In the absence of a supernatural caretaker, we know that the responsibility for improving this world rests where it always has – with the people who live, think, feel, and act in that world. Thus, no spiritual woo-woo needed or wanted. If you think spiritual is true because you think that we have a soul or spirit check out: My correspondence with a believer in souls If you think spiritual is true because you think that ghosts or spirits are true check out: So are Ghosts Possible, Because Energy Does not Die? Well, NO! If you think spiritual is true because you think developed a spirit in evolution check out: If you think spiritual is true because you think humans have a spirit, because we may not be part of evolution check out: “Humans are Part of Evolution not a Special Creation”  and Evolution is FACT! 

Two Atheists philosophers: debate “spiritual”

To me, the term spiritual is a lingering connection to religious beliefs and Science Facts Should Make Religious Belief Impossible. Wondering why I am so harsh on woo woo ideas like spiritual and not just attack or challenge religion, well I Hate Religion Just as I Hate Pseudoscience.

Extreme Religious Faith & Induced/Shared Delusional Disorder

Why we know religions and gods are lies is confirmed in my blog,

The Evolution of Religion and Removing the Rationale of Faith

The Way of a Sound Thinker?

Battle For Evidence?

Why do most religious people claim to have religious or spiritual experiences is they add make-believe to “reality”, and the general “WHY” to me is because we are emotional beings that while we can employ the thinking strategy of rationalism over faith or unreason/illogical beliefs that follow we still appeal to emotionalism, not the other way around as we are not rational beings who understand the world accurately by employing the thinking strategy of emotionalism over faith or unreason/illogical beliefs that follow, right? We are all emotional and experience emotional wonder but that is just the joy of being alive, it’s wholly cheapened to me by fantasy daydreaming delusions (supernatural) to this wonderful magic devoid reality.

Bahá’í Faith Afterlife:  regards the conventional description of heaven (and hell) as a specific place as symbolic. The Bahá’í writings describe heaven as a “spiritual condition” where closeness to God is defined as heaven; conversely, hell is seen as a state of remoteness from God. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, has stated that the nature of the life of the soul in the afterlife is beyond comprehension in the physical plane, but has stated that the soul will retain its consciousness and individuality and remember its physical life; the soul will be able to recognize other souls and communicate with them. Ref

Buddhism Afterlife:  several different types of heavens also based on how the human lives a life good karma must undergo an improved reincarnation though heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma Buddhists thus focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (Nirvana) the goal of Buddhism being the obtainment of enlightenment and freeing oneself and others from the birth-death cycle. Ref Nirvana is not a place or a state, but the end of rebirth. The notion of skillful means in Mahayana Buddhism led to other interpretations of salvation, such as rebirth in a Pure Land, where one could continue to aspire to enlightenment in pleasant surroundings without fear of rebirth in human form. Mahayana texts also refer to hells into which one might be reborn, usually in the context of rescuing others from a hellish domain or transferring merit to those in such a place. There is also reference in the earliest texts to Yama, a deity of death who will judge and punish those who do evil. The punishment is not eternal, but lasts until the karma of these misdeeds has been exhausted. As Buddhism evolved and as it moved to other countries with different religious backgrounds, other views of the afterlife emerged. Yama became a central figure in popular understandings of the afterlife in East Asia and also in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhists also envisioned the Bardo, a kind of limbo where the soul or self-remained until the next rebirth. In the Chinese tradition, where ancient notions of the role of the ancestors in human life have shaped Buddhism, people burned incense and paper goods depicting goods or money for the benefit of their deceased loved ones in order to provide a better situation for them in the afterlife. The deceased, in turn, were believed to be able to bring benefits or cause harm to the living. Notions of heavens and hells eventually became a part of popular Buddhism throughout Asia. These range from ideal surroundings such as the Pure Lands to horrific worlds of punishment and suffering. Illustrated “hell texts” are popular among in some Buddhist countries, depicting in detail the punishments one can expect for a host of specific misdeeds, which may range from wearing tight blue jeans to murder. As should be evident, there is no single, consistent notion of the afterlife and salvation within Buddhism. There are diverse and contradictory ideas even within individual countries. This is the result of the merging of Buddhism with pre-existing conceptions, of contradictions between scholarly and popular understandings, and of the evolution of ideas within Buddhism throughout the life of the religion. Ref Salvation is, ideally, enlightenment, but for the many who will not achieve enlightenment in their lifetimes, Zen shares with the rest of Buddhism a variety of ideas about what happens after death. Concepts of the afterlife vary within Zen and Chan, as they do within Buddhism in general. There has been, for many centuries, a close relationship between Zen (and Chan) and Pure Land Buddhism. The existence of this relationship could indicate that, while some Zen monks may aspire only to enlightenment, others, and most of the lay population Zen and Chan has served, may aspire to a less mysterious goal such as rebirth in the Pure Land. According to Pure Land Buddhism, anyone who faithfully calls on the Buddha of the Pure Land, Amitabha, regardless of actions in life or previous karma, can be reborn in the Pure Land. While the Pure Land has many heavenly attributes, and those who arrive there need not fear further rebirths into samsara, it is not technically a final destination. Under Amitabha’s tutelage, one can continue to practice and study toward the eventual goal of nirvana, or the dissolution of self. Ref Pure Land Buddhism offers a way to enlightenment for people who can’t handle the subtleties of meditation, endure long rituals, or just live especially good lives. The essential practice in Pure Land Buddhism is the chanting of the name of Amitabha Buddha with total concentration, trusting that one will be reborn in the Pure Land, a place where it is much easier for a being to work towards enlightenment. Pure Land Buddhism adds mystical elements to the basic Buddhist teachings which make those teachings easier (and more comforting) to work with. These elements include faith and trust and a personal relationship with Amitabha Buddha, who is regarded by Pure Land Buddhists as a sort of savior; and belief in the Pure Land, a place which provides a stepping stone towards enlightenment and liberation. Pure Land Buddhism took off in Japan when the monk Honen (1133-1212) believed that most people, and he included himself, could not achieve liberation through any of their own activities. The only way to achieve buddhahood was through the help of Amitabha. The nature of Amitabha is not entirely clear it can range from “the great saviour deity worshiped principally by members of the Pure Land sect in Japan or “Amitabha” as neither a God who punishes and rewards, gives mercy or imposes tests, nor a divinity that we can petition or beg for special favours”, to mystical view of Amitabha regards him as an eternal Buddha, and believes that he manifested himself in human history as Gautama, or “The Buddha”. Ref If Buddhism is just a philosophy, why does it have a punishing Hell? According to the scriptures of Buddhism everyone who falls into hell is tortured with all of the punishments: some of the tortures are skipped; in some cases the hell-being’s kamma is exhausted before the full round of tortures is completed, so that he dies and is reborn elsewhere; and not everyone goes for repeated rounds. Also, we should note that punishment in hell is not for an eternity. As the discourse implies, when the hell-being’s bad kamma is exhausted, he dies and is reborn elsewhere, in accordance with his remaining kamma. Here is a part of the, “Devaduta Sutta: The Deva Messengers.” Translated from the Pali, (The earliest written scriptures of Buddhism are collected in the Tripitaka, also called the Pali Canon). That evil kamma was done by you yourself, and you yourself will experience its result.’ “Then the hell-wardens torture [the evil-doer] with what’s called a five-fold imprisonment. They drive a red-hot iron stake through one hand, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the other hand, they drive a red-hot iron stake through one foot, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the other foot, they drive a red-hot iron stake through the middle of his chest. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Then the hell-wardens lay him down and slice him with axes. Then they hold him feet up & head down and slice him with adzes. Then they harness him to a chariot and drive him back & forth over ground that is burning, blazing, & glowing. Then they make him climb up & down a vast mountain of embers that is burning, blazing, & glowing. Then they hold him feet up & head down and plunge him into a red-hot copper cauldron that is burning, blazing, & glowing. There he boils with bubbles foaming. And as he is boiling there with bubbles foaming, he goes now up, he goes now down, he goes now around. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Then the hell-wardens throw him into the Great Hell. And as to the Great Hell, monks: It’s four-cornered & has four gates set in the middle of each side. It’s surrounded by an iron fortress wall and roofed with iron. Its floor is made of red-hot iron, heated, fully blazing. It stands always, spreading 100 leagues all around. “The flame that leaps from the eastern wall of the Great Hell strikes the western wall. The flame that leaps from the western wall strikes the eastern wall. The flame that leaps from the northern wall strikes the southern wall. The flame that leaps from the southern wall strikes the northern wall. The flame that leaps from the bottom strikes the top. The flame that leaps from the top strikes the bottom. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “There comes a time when, ultimately, with the passing of a long stretch of time, the eastern gate of the Great Hell opens. He runs there, rushing quickly. As he runs there, rushing quickly, his outer skin burns, his inner skin burns, his flesh burns, his tendons burn, even his bones turn to smoke. When [his foot] is lifted, he is the just same.  But when he finally arrives, the door slams shut. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “There comes a time when, ultimately, with the passing of a long stretch of time, the western gate of the Great Hell opens… the northern gate… the southern gate of the Great Hell opens. He runs there, rushing quickly. As he runs there, rushing quickly, his outer skin burns, his inner skin burns, his flesh burns, his tendons burn, even his bones turn to smoke. When [his foot] is lifted, he is the just same. But when he finally arrives, the door slams shut. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “There comes a time when, ultimately, with the passing of a long stretch of time, the eastern gate of the Great Hell opens. He runs there, rushing quickly. As he runs there, rushing quickly, his outer skin burns, his inner skin burns, his flesh burns, his tendons burn, even his bones turn to smoke. When [his foot] is lifted, he is the just same. He gets out through the gate. But right next to the Great Hell is a vast Excrement Hell. He falls into that. And in that Excrement Hell needle-mouth beings bore into his outer skin. Having bored into his outer skin, they bore into his inner skin… his flesh… his tendons… the bone. Having bored into the bone, they feed on the marrow. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Right next to the Excrement Hell is the vast Hot Ashes Hell. He falls into that. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Right next to the Hot Ashes Hell is the vast Simbali Forest, [with trees] reaching up a league, covered with thorns sixteen fingerbreadths long — burning, blazing, & glowing. He enters that and is made to climb up & down them. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Right next to the Simbali Forest is the vast Sword-leaf Forest. He enters that. There the leaves, stirred by the wind, cut off his hand, cut off his foot, cut off his hand & foot, cut off his ear, cut off his nose, cut off his ear & nose. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Right next to the Sword-leaf Forest is the vast Lye-water River. He falls into that. There he is swept downstream, he is swept upstream, he is swept downstream & upstream. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Then the hell-wardens pull him out with a hook and, placing him on the ground, say to him, ‘Well, good man, what do you want?’ He replies, ‘I’m hungry, venerable sirs.’ So the hell-wardens pry open his mouth with red-hot iron tongs — burning, blazing, & glowing — and throw into it a copper ball, burning, blazing, & glowing. It burns his lips, it burns his mouth, it burns his stomach and comes out the lower side, carrying along his bowels & intestines. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Then the hell-wardens say to him, ‘Well, good man, what do you want?’ He replies, ‘I’m thirsty, venerable sirs.’ So the hell-wardens pry open his mouth with red-hot iron tongs — burning, blazing, & glowing — and pour into it molten copper, burning, blazing, & glowing. It burns his lips, it burns his mouth, it burns his stomach and comes out the lower side, carrying along his bowels & intestines. There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted. “Then the hell-wardens throw him back into the Great Hell once more. “Once, monks, the thought occurred to King Yama: ‘Those who did evil actions in the world are tortured in these many ways. O that I might gain the human state! And that a Tathāgata — worthy & rightly self-awakened — might arise in the world! And that I might attend to that Tathāgata! And that he might teach me the Dhamma! And that I might understand his Dhamma!’ “I tell you this, monks, not from having heard it from another contemplative or brahman. On the contrary, I tell you this just as I have known for myself, seen for myself, understood for myself.” Ref

Confucian Afterlife:  Heaven (Tian) where the ancestors reside and from which emperors drew their mandate to rule in their dynastic propaganda, Heaven is a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophies and religions, and is on one end of the spectrum a synonym of Shangdi (“Supreme Deity”) Heaven blesses those who please it and sends calamities upon those who offend it. Heaven was also believed to transcend all other spirits and gods, with Confucius asserting, “He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.” Other philosophers born around the time of Confucius such as Mozi took an even more theistic view of Heaven, believing that Heaven is the divine ruler, just as the Son of Heaven (the King of Zhou) is the earthly ruler. Mozi believed that spirits and minor gods exist, but their function is merely to carry out the will of Heaven, watching for evil-doers and punishing them. Thus they function as angels of Heaven and do not detract from its monotheistic government of the world. Ref

Christianity Afterlife:  has taught Heaven as a place of the dwelling place of the angels and the Throne of God to which all the elect will be admitted. Heaven was that it existed as a physical place above the clouds and that God and the Angels were physically above, watching over man. The New Testament Greek word translated “heaven” is “ouranos,” which refers to the sky above, or the place from which the Creator rules. Eternal life for forgiven believers in Jesus only, believers themselves will exist in incorruptible, resurrected and new bodies; there will be no sickness, no death and no tears. Not only will the believers spend eternity with God, they will also spend it with other believers in Jesus. Ref

Hinduism Afterlife: Attaining heaven is not the final pursuit in Hinduism as heaven itself is ephemeral and related to physical body. Being tied by the bhoot-tatvas, heaven cannot be perfect either and is just another name for pleasurable and mundane material life. According to Hindu cosmology, above the earthly plane, are other planes: 1. Bhuva Loka, 2. Swarga Loka, meaning Good Kingdom, is the general name for heaven in Hinduism, a heavenly paradise of pleasure, where most of the Hindu Devatas (Deva) reside along with the king of Devas, Indra, and beatified mortals. Some other planes are Mahar Loka, Jana Loka, Tapa Loka and Satya Loka. Since heavenly abodes are also tied to the cycle of birth and death, any dweller of heaven or hell will again be recycled to a different plane and in a different form as per the karma and ‘maya’ i.e. the illusion of Samsara. This cycle is broken only by self-realization by the Jivatma. This self-realization is Moksha (Turiya, Kaivalya). The concept of moksha is unique to Hinduism and is unparalleled. Moksha stands for liberation from the cycle of birth and death and final communion with Brahma. With moksha, a liberated soul attains the stature and oneness with Brahma or Pramatma. Different schools such as Vedanta, Mimansa, Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, and Yoga offer subtle differences in the concept of Brahma, obvious Universe, its genesis and regular destruction, Jivatma, Nature (Prakriti) and also the right way in attaining perfect bliss or moksha. In the Vaishnava traditions the highest heaven is Vaikuntha, which exists above the six heavenly lokas and outside of the mahat-tattva or mundane world. It’s where eternally liberated souls who have attained moksha reside in eternal sublime beauty with Lakshmi and Narayana (a manifestation of Vishnu). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven This path is among the focus of the Upanishads. In these texts, there is much discussion of what happens after death. In a famous passage from the Katha Upanishad, a sage named Nachiketas wins a boon from the god of death, Yama, and asks the god what happens to humans after they die. Yama at first refuses to answer, and then, after Nachiketas persists, tells the sage that if he wishes to know the answer to this question, he must study the nature of the self, and in the process, he will be able to leave both joy and sorrow behind. This is a typically cryptic message from the Upanishads, but it points to a basic understanding of salvation articulated there: human beings continue to be reborn because they continue to generate karma, and they continue to generate karma because they are ignorant. They are ignorant of the true nature of the self. According to the Upanishads, the individual self, or atman, is no different than the ultimate reality of Brahman. According to the Upanishads, if one knows the true nature of the self—that it does not, in any ultimate sense, exist—then one will stop grasping. If one stops grasping, then one stops generating karma. And when there is no karma, there is no rebirth. One is released. Ref This release, called moksha, is ultimate salvation. The individual is absorbed in the ultimate, Brahman, in the same manner, that a stream or a river (a metaphor for the individual atman) is absorbed into the ocean (Brahman). When one attains this state, rebirth stops. One is released, forever. The individual is one with Brahman. Ref Ref

Islam Afterlife: The Qur’an contains many references to an afterlife in Eden for those who do good deeds. Regarding the concept of heaven (Jannah) in the Qu’ran, verse 35 of Surah Al-Ra’d says, “The parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised! Beneath it flow rivers. Perpetual is the fruits thereof and the shade therein. Such is the End of the Righteous; and the end of the unbelievers is the Fire.”[Quran 13:35] Islam rejects the concept of original sin, and Muslims believe that all human beings are born pure. Children automatically go to heaven when they die, regardless of the religion of their parents. The highest level of heaven is Firdaus Paradise to which the prophets, martyrs and other pious people will go at the time of their death.The concept of heaven in Islam differs in many respects to the concept in Judaism and Christianity. Heaven is described primarily in physical terms as a place where every wish is immediately fulfilled when asked. Islamic texts describe immortal life in heaven as happy, without negative emotions. Those who dwell in heaven are said to wear costly apparel, partake in exquisite banquets, and recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious stones. Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents, wives, and children. In Islam if one’s good deeds weigh out one’s sins then one may gain entrance to heaven. Conversely, if one’s sins outweigh their good deeds they are sent to hell. The more good deeds one has performed the higher the level of heaven one is directed to. It has been said that the lowest level of heaven is one-hundred times better than the greatest life on earth. The highest level is the seventh heaven, in which God can be seen and where anything is possible. Palaces are built by angels for the occupants using solid gold. Verses which describe heaven include: Quran 13:35, Quran 18:31, Quran 38:49–54, Quran 35:33–35, Quran 52:17–27. Islamic texts refer to several levels of heaven: Firdaus or Paradise, ‘Adn, Na’iim, Na’wa, Darussalaam, Daarul Muaqaamah, Al-Muqqamul, Amin & Khuldi. Ref Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment and heaven and hell. A person’s ultimate destiny, whether it is heaven or hell, depends on the degree to which that person intended and acted as God desires, with justice and mercy toward others. While it is impossible to know with certainty who will go to heaven and hell, believers, who had faith in the revelations that God sent through his prophets and lived according to those revelations, may hope for heaven. If individuals find that they have sinned, they may sincerely apologize, and through remorse, receive forgiveness. The slate is clean, and they may begin again. This will likely happen many times in a life, because humans are not perfect. But on the Last Day, there are no excuses. God has sent many prophets to remind humans of their duty and to wake them up when they forget their dependence on God. As a result, the punishment on the Last Day is just. The Quran says that terrible events will proclaim that the end is near. The people will gather at the bridge called Sirat. Sirat spans the fires of hell. Those bound for paradise will find the crossing easy. But for those bound for hell, the bridge will be as thin as a razor, and the condemned will fall into the flames. Hell, called Jahannam, is a horrifying inferno. The flames roar, scorching hot winds blow, and black smoke chokes the air. The skin of the suffering sinners is continually refreshed so that they will feel the pain of burning, with no relief. Their thirst is unquenchable, and yet they drink disgusting fluids in an effort to alleviate their suffering. Boiling water is poured over their heads. If they try to flee, iron hooks drag them back. Ref In contrast, paradise is a blissful garden where the blessed are at peace and are content. The conversation is pleasant, the wine has no ill-effects, and the food is endlessly abundant. The faithful, dressed in silk robes, relax on beautiful couches while servants tend to their every need. Men and women are attended by beautiful and handsome young members of the opposite sex. Choirs of angels sing in Arabic and all the bounties of heaven are enjoyed endlessly. No one is ever full. Ref

Jainism Afterlife:  When the passions have been utterly conquered and all karma has been removed, one becomes a Jina (“conqueror”), and is no longer subject to rebirth. Jainism conceives of a multi-layered universe containing both heavens and hells. Ref  Jinas are believed to reside in the top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, Polytheism and pantheism liberated souls are revered more than the gods. Jainism incorporates the traditional Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation, but rejects the Veda scriptures, castes and the idea of a creator god. The goal of life is to reach liberation by a life of purification and discipline as taught by the tirthankaras. The soul is uncreated and eternal and can attain perfect divinity. Only in human form can one achieve liberation. Purpose of life Gain liberation from cycle of rebirth. How to live Cause no harm to any sentient being. Afterlife Repeated reincarnation until liberation. Jains derive their name from the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection. Included among these are the 24 spiritual leaders called “ford-makers” or tirthankaras. The last of the tirthankaras was Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of the Buddha and the man generally considered the founder of Jainism. Ref The shape of the Universe as described in Jainism is shown alongside. Please note that unlike the current convention of using North direction as the top of map, this uses South as the top. The shape is similar to a part of human form standing upright. The Deva Loka (Heavens) are at the symbolic “chest”, where all souls enjoying the positive karmic effects reside. The heavenly beings are referred to as devas(masculine form) and devis(feminine form). According to Jainism, there is not one heavenly abode, but several layers to reward appropriately the souls of varying degree of karmit merits. Similarly, beneath the “waist” are the Narka Loka (Hell). Human, animal, insect, plant and microscopic life forms reside on the middle. The pure souls (who reached Siddha status) reside at the very south end (top) of the Universe. Ref

Judaism afterlife: Shamayim, the Hebrew word for “heaven”, denotes a component of the cosmos, the three-tiered cosmos the other elements being the earth (erets) and the underworld (sheol) “hell”. Shamayim is the dwelling place of God and other heavenly beings. The Torah (Biblical Old Testament) authors pictured the earth as a flat disk floating in water, with the heavens above and the underworld below. The raqiya (firmament), a solid inverted bowl above the earth, coloured blue by the cosmic ocean, kept the waters above the earth from flooding the world. We must picture this like a show globe not a sphere. Ref in the talmud (is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, “200-500 CE” considered second to the Torah contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including law, ethics, philosophy, customs, history, theology, lore and many other topics.) Ref Jewish concept of the afterlife, sometimes known as olam haba, the World-to-come, is not so precise. The Torah has little to say on the subject of survival after death, but by the time of the rabbis two ideas had made inroads among the Jews: one, which is probably derived from Greek thought, is that of the immortal soul which returns to its creator after death; the other, which is thought to be of Persian origin, is that of resurrection of the dead. Some scholars assert that the Sheol mentioned in Isaiah 38:18, Psalm 6:5 and Job 7:7-10 was an earlier concept than Heaven, but this theory is not universally held. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven Some scholars claim that belief in the afterlife is a teaching that developed late in Jewish history. It is true that the Torah emphasizes immediate, concrete, physical rewards and punishments rather than abstract future ones. See, for example, Lev. 26:3-9 and Deut. 11:13-15. The Torah speaks of several noteworthy people being “gathered to their people.” See, for example, Gen. 25:8 (Abraham), 25:17 (Ishmael), 35:29 (Isaac), 49:33 (Jacob), Deut. 32:50 (Moses and Aaron) II Kings 22:20 (King Josiah). This gathering is described as a separate event from the physical death of the body or the burial. Later portions of the Tanakh speak more clearly of life after death and the World to Come. Dan. 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Resurrection and Reincarnation: Belief in the eventual resurrection of the dead is a fundamental belief of traditional Judaism. It was a belief that distinguished the Pharisees (intellectual ancestors of Rabbinical Judaism) from the Sadducees. The Sadducees rejected the concept, because it is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah. The Pharisees found the concept implied in certain verses. Belief in resurrection of the dead is one of Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith. The second blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, which is recited three times daily, contains several references to resurrection. (Note: the Reform movement, which apparently rejects this belief, has rewritten the second blessing accordingly). The resurrection of the dead will occur in the messianic age, a time referred to in Hebrew as the Olam Ha-Ba, the World to Come, but that term is also used to refer to the spiritual afterlife. When the messiah comes to initiate the perfect world of peace and prosperity, the righteous dead will be brought back to life and given the opportunity to experience the perfected world that their righteousness helped to create. The wicked dead will not be resurrected. There are some mystical schools of thought that believe resurrection is not a one-time event, but is an ongoing process. The souls of the righteous are reborn in to continue the ongoing process of tikkun olam, mending of the world. Some sources indicate that reincarnation is a routine process, while others indicate that it only occurs in unusual circumstances, where the soul left unfinished business behind. Belief in reincarnation is also one way to explain the traditional Jewish belief that every Jewish soul in history was present at Sinai and agreed to the covenant with G-d. (Another explanation: that the soul exists before the body, and these unborn souls were present in some form at Sinai). Belief in reincarnation is commonly held by many Chasidic sects, as well as some other mystically-inclined Jews. See, for example, Reincarnation Stories from Chasidic Tradition. Ref Olam Ha-Ba: The World to Come: The spiritual afterlife is referred to in Hebrew as Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH), the World to Come, although this term is also used to refer to the messianic age. The Olam Ha-Ba is another, higher state of being. In the Mishnah, one rabbi says, “This world is like a lobby before the Olam Ha-Ba. Prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.” Similarly, the Talmud says, “This world is like the eve of Shabbat, and the Olam Ha-Ba is like Shabbat. He who prepares on the eve of Shabbat will have food to eat on Shabbat.” We prepare ourselves for the Olam Ha-Ba through Torah study and good deeds. The Talmud states that all Israel has a share in the Olam Ha-Ba. However, not all “shares” are equal. A particularly righteous person will have a greater share in the Olam Ha-Ba than the average person. In addition, a person can lose his share through wicked actions. There are many statements in the Talmud that a particular mitzvah will guarantee a person a place in the Olam Ha-Ba, or that a particular sin will lose a person’s share in the Olam Ha-Ba, but these are generally regarded as hyperbole, excessive expressions of approval or disapproval. Some people look at these teachings and deduce that Jews try to “earn our way into Heaven” by performing the mitzvot. This is a gross mischaracterization of our religion. It is important to remember that unlike some religions, Judaism is not focused on the question of how to get into heaven. Judaism is focused on life and how to live it. Non-Jews frequently ask me, “do you really think you’re going to go to Hell if you don’t do such-and-such?” It always catches me a bit off balance, because the question of where I am going after death simply doesn’t enter into the equation when I think about the mitzvot. We perform the mitzvot because it is our privilege and our sacred obligation to do so. We perform them out of a sense of love and duty, not out of a desire to get something in return. In fact, one of the first bits of ethical advice in Pirkei Avot (a book of the Mishnah) is: “Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward; instead, be like servants who serve their master not for the sake of receiving a reward, and let the awe of Heaven [meaning G-d, not the afterlife] be upon you.” Nevertheless, we definitely believe that your place in the Olam Ha-Ba is determined by a merit system based on your actions, not by who you are or what religion you profess. In addition, we definitely believe that humanity is capable of being considered righteous in G-d’s eyes, or at least good enough to merit paradise after a suitable period of purification. Do non-Jews have a place in Olam Ha-Ba? Although there are a few statements to the contrary in the Talmud, the predominant view of Judaism is that the righteous of all nations have a share in the Olam Ha-Ba. Statements to the contrary were not based on the notion that membership in Judaism was required to get into Olam Ha-Ba, but were grounded in the observation that non-Jews were not righteous people. If you consider the behavior of the surrounding peoples at the time that the Talmud was written, you can understand the rabbis’ attitudes. By the time of Rambam, the belief was firmly entrenched that the righteous of all nations have a share in the Olam Ha-Ba. Gan Eden and Gehinnom: The place of spiritual reward for the righteous is often referred to in Hebrew as Gan Eden (GAHN ehy-DEHN) (the Garden of Eden). This is not the same place where Adam and Eve were; it is a place of spiritual perfection. Specific descriptions of it vary widely from one source to another. One source says that the peace that one feels when one experiences Shabbat properly is merely one-sixtieth of the pleasure of the afterlife. Other sources compare the bliss of the afterlife to the joy of sex or the warmth of a sunny day. Ultimately, though, the living can no more understand the nature of this place than the blind can understand color. Only the very righteous go directly to Gan Eden. The average person descends to a place of punishment and/or purification, generally referred to as Gehinnom (guh-hee-NOHM) (in Yiddish, Gehenna), but sometimes as She’ol or by other names. According to one mystical view, every sin we commit creates an angel of destruction (a demon), and after we die we are punished by the very demons that we created. Some views see Gehinnom as one of severe punishment, a bit like the Christian Hell of fire and brimstone. Other sources merely see it as a time when we can see the actions of our lives objectively, see the harm that we have done and the opportunities we missed, and experience remorse for our actions. The period of time in Gehinnom does not exceed 12 months, and then ascends to take his place on Olam Ha-Ba. Only the utterly wicked do not ascend at the end of this period; their souls are punished for the entire 12 months. Sources differ on what happens at the end of those 12 months: some say that the wicked soul is utterly destroyed and ceases to exist while others say that the soul continues to exist in a state of consciousness of remorse. This 12-month limit is repeated in many places in the Talmud, and it is connected to the mourning cycles and the recitation of Kaddish. See Life, Death and Mourning. Ref

Shinto Afterlife: Due to the syncretic nature of Shinto and Buddhism, most “life” events are handled by Shinto and “death” or “afterlife” events are handled by Buddhism—for example, it is typical in Japan to register or celebrate a birth at a Shinto shrine, while funeral arrangements are generally dictated by Buddhist tradition—although the division is not exclusive. In old Japanese legends, it is often claimed that the dead go to a place called yomi, a gloomy underground realm with a river separating the living from the dead mentioned in legend of Izanami and Izanagi. This yomi is very close to the Greek Hades however later myths include notions of resurrection and even elysium-like descriptions such as with the legend of Okuninushi and Susanoo. Shinto tends to hold negative views on death and corpses as a source of pollution called “kegare”. However death is also viewed as a path towards apotheosis in Shintoism as can be evidenced by how legendary individuals become enshrined after death. Perhaps the most famous would be Emperor Ojin who was enshrined as Hachiman the God of War after his death. Unlike many religions, one does not need to publicly profess belief in Shinto to be a believer. Whenever a child is born in Japan, a local Shinto shrine adds the child’s name to a list kept at the shrine and declares him or her a “family child. After death an ujiko becomes a “family spirit”, or “family kami”. One may choose to have one’s name added to another list when moving and then be listed at both places. Names can be added to the list without consent and regardless of the beliefs of the person added to the list. This is not considered an imposition of belief, but a sign of being welcomed by the local kami, with the promise of addition to the pantheon of kami after death. Ref Unlike most Western religions there are no ‘good’ kami and bad ‘kami’. There are rough, fierce, and violent kami but they are not intrinsically bad. Just as there are gentle, kind, sweet kami; that does not make them intrinsically good. Every kami has a ‘rough’ side (ara-mi-tama) and a ‘gentle; side (nigi-mi-tama), but you will not find a foil to God and Satan in them. Because of this there is no concept of the wrath of God or the separation of God from humanity by sin. The Kami are worshipped in various shrines but no statues are found in the shrines for it is believed that the Kami resides in the shrine itself so there is no need to have a representative of the deity. The general concepts concerning the afterlife are the belief that a person becomes a spirit-deity, and eventually becomes a part of a collective ancestral spirit. Even though an afterlife isn’t heavily emphasized, a Hades-like realm, called Yomi, is briefly mentioned in the Nihongi and Kojiki within the creation story involving Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto. A person’s Kami nature survives death; therefore, fulfillment of duty is paramount to a Shinto being remembered with dignity after his death. Many Japanese have been detrimentally affected by the karma theory in its fatalistic aspect. But in general, Shinto’s creative influences turned the Japanese mentality toward an inexpressive but potent conception that effects of the past can be overcome in the present by human effort creating a new karma. During any critical period in Japanese history karma was unable to check the spirit of creative action in Shinto taking command of the situation, but in quiet times karma tended to return. The lack of what happens after death is a continued debate even in today’s present time. Although death is considered “a curse, a tragedy, a mishap,” the prevailing thought is that the dead one becomes a spirit that can bestow blessings on a family. According to a Shinto book “The men of this world continue to live after death, and continue to receive the blessings of the gods, that is, the spirits of heaven and earth. We also, with our incorporeal souls, live together this life of man.” The search for Shinto-specific views of the other world begins with the study of myths contained in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki (kiki shinwa). These myths speak of a High Heavenly Plain (Takama-no-hara) where the various kami reside, but there is no connection between this realm and the dead. Ref

Sikhism Afterlife:  The Sikh tradition emphasizes a life free of worry about the afterlife, but focused on one’s ethical actions and piety in this life. “Liberation” (mukti) is the metaphor for the best result possible in the afterlife, and Sikhs envision that as finding unification with the creator at his court. Doing well in the cycle of birth and death (“coming and going,” or reincarnation) have brought about the specific human life that must now use the opportunity to reach the divine court. That is to say, the Sikh belief system combines the idea of “reincarnation” (which brings a human life) with the idea of an afterlife in a paradise-like court of God. Therefore, because life provides such an opportunity, death need not be feared. In Guru Nanak’s conception, worldly actions, no matter the religious allegiances, are accounted for by a divine process beyond human understanding. Those who have lived good lives, whether Sikhs or non-Sikhs, have nothing to fear hereafter. RefHow one dies can also bring one closer to the divine court. Sikh tradition holds that dying with the divine on one’s mind is salvific, as is dying for a just cause. Bhai Gurdas wrote that suffering at the hands of manmukhs would lead to redemption, liberation, and a place in the divine court. Guru Nanak taught that the brave one who died for a good cause would be hailed as a warrior in the hereafter (GG 579-80). Ref Sikhs believe that upon death one merges back into the universal nature, just as a drop of rain merges back into the ocean. Individuality is lost. Sikhism views spiritual pursuits as positive experiences in and of themselves that transcend death, not as sacrifices made in order to collect a reward that is waiting until after death. At birth the soul emerges into earth consciousness, veiled of all memory of past lives and the inner worlds. The cycle of reincarnation ends when karma has been resolved and the Self God (Parasiva) has been realized. This condition of release is called moksha. Then the soul continues to evolve and mature, but without the need to return to physical existence. Sikhism teaches that the soul reincarnates when the body dies. Sikhs believe that good, or bad actions, determine the life form into which a soul takes rebirth. At the time of death, demonic, ego centered souls may be destined to suffer great agonies, and pain, in the dark underworld of Narak.A soul, fortunate enough to achieve grace, overcomes ego by meditating on God. Such a soul may attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. The soul then experiences salvation in Sachkhand, the realm of truth, where it exists eternally, as an entity of radiant light. Ref

Taoism Afterlife:  In no area is the lack of a single unified Taoist belief system more evident than in the case of concepts about the afterlife and salvation.  Several factors have contributed to this: 1) Taoism was at no point the only religion of China, but, rather, coexisted with Confucianism and Buddhism, as well as with Chinese folk religion; 2) each Taoist sect had its own beliefs and textual traditions, and these underwent changes over time; and 3) death and the afterlife became the province of Buddhism early in Chinese history, so that most ideas about the afterlife are Buddhist, or were developed in reaction to Buddhism. once Buddhism had become established in China, many of its ideas about the afterlife were adopted by Taoism, because there were so many well-developed Buddhist ideas on the topic.  Lingbao Taoism in particular incorporated many Buddhist ideas about the afterlife, and Lingbao priests perform rituals pertaining to the afterlife that priests of other sects do not, such as rituals transferring merit to the deceased.  Shangqing Taoist scriptures include elaborate descriptions of the heavens and, to a lesser extent, the underworld; the use of Buddhist or Sanskrit terminology in naming some of these is a clear sign of their Buddhist origin.  The concept of rebirth also became a factor in later Taoism. Ref Taoism gradually absorbed many of the moral teachings of Confucianism and Buddhism. Taoism has Zhengyi and Quanzhen sects, Quanzhen clergy take vows of celibacy, but Zhengyi clergy are often married though in some regions, there is a strong interrelationship between Taoism and local popular religions, and not all Taoist clergy belong to an official order. In Taoism death is neither feared nor desired instead a person enjoys living. Ref A few basic concepts which define the nature of Afterlife for Taoism: In one sense: afterlife doesn’t exist in terms of a Taoist belief system  It’s in life that we are eternal in Taoism. The afterlife is within life itself. We are of the Tao when living and upon death are the Tao again. Death is the point where your essence is not you, non being. Yet it’s always you as we are always of the Tao, But your expression of your life is within life. We touch upon echoes of existence. So for example: When you die, you still live, in the memories of others.  When you die, your essence reincarnates into a new form. Many variations exist within Taoism.  Taoism is quite open in this question and as Taoists we like it that way. In some of the religious branches of Taoism, we have immortal deities. Quite a few stories exist where some Taoist is chasing after various forms of immortality. Ref A very common and major goal of most Taoists is to achieve immortality rather than enter the regular afterlife. Reaching this goal is not easy; there are various tasks that must be met during your entire lifetime to be qualified to be immortal. The two different categories of requirements for immortality include internal alchemy and external alchemy. External alchemy is mastering special breathing techniques, sexual practices, physical exercises, yoga, attempting to produce an elixir of immortality by consuming purified metals and complex compounds, and to develop medical skills. In Taoism one’s soul or energy is considered to be interlocked with the vital energy, which is what nourishes your soul. Ridding the body of impurities can increase this energy. Aside from these requirements, you must lead an upright, moral and good-hearted life. Internal alchemy includes sophisticated visualization, strict dieting, specific sexual exercises and self-control. A strict diet was committed to kill demons within the body and to stimulate and maintain energy. The body is purified by the consumption of refined substances such as, jade or gold. The many different types of meditation all revolved around the common idea of breathing. Much of a Taoist’s time is spent meditating. Ref