View Poll Results: Do You Believe In Past Lives / Reincarnation?

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  • No...We Get One Life and One Life Only

    45 58.44%
  • Yes, For Sure!!

    14 18.18%
  • I'm With PeterG (100% Undecided)

    18 23.38%
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Speaking for myself I find death much less threatening than I did in my twenties when I just couldn't imagine ceasing to exist.
    I'm only in my 30s, but personally, it is not death I fear- it is painful suffering leading up to death that I worry about. How long will it last? How do I avoid a situation where I have to endure that?
    I fear the death of others.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    But if you feel that way, shouldn't you change how you live your life? What if we all tried to actually live as if we are going to go this way over and over eternally?
    But what if the troubles in life are not ones you have much control over? If you are eternally oppressed, starved, beaten, etc in a war torn country, that seems supremely unfair. Sure, you could make choices to take a stand, try to change it for others: but your personal eternal existence is going to suck.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I'm assuming to believe in reincarnation, you also have to believe in a supreme figure who does the deciding.
    What if you yourself did not feel it was perfection, meaning that you were at odds with the supreme figure?
    Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    But what if the troubles in life are not ones you have much control over? If you are eternally oppressed, starved, beaten, etc in a war torn country, that seems supremely unfair. Sure, you could make choices to take a stand, try to change it for others: but your personal eternal existence is going to suck.
    Is that worse than if its the only life you live?
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    Is that worse than if its the only life you live?
    I think this is the reason many people believe in Heaven. Something better is coming.
    I think eternity would be worse than once though. Especially if there was some idea that it had all been done before- are you aware you are repeating the life?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I think this is the reason many people believe in Heaven. Something better is coming.
    I think eternity would be worse than once though. Especially if there was some idea that it had all been done before- are you aware you are repeating the life?
    Apparently most people are not aware.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by orientalplane View Post
    What if you yourself did not feel it was perfection, meaning that you were at odds with the supreme figure?
    But you don't make the decision: when you die, I don't think you get to evaluate yourself. Assuming I do believe in reincarnation (I don't think I do)- you don't get to decide what to be reincarnated as, your karma determines it. You don't get to decide when the cycle stops. When the cycle stops, you have reached perfection. My understanding of various world religions, I think almost all of them have a point where the cycle stops, and I've never heard of a belief system that allows you to be at odds with the supreme figure (who I think in some cases may just be the karmatic universe)

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    Do You Believe In Past Lives / Reincarnation?
    I don't. And not only I don't believe, i get very sad and frustrated when in a circle of well educated, well travelled, international worldly group of people such question is even raised or when people ask about mythological creature called "god". (the fact that it upsets me does not mean one should not ask them; just sharing the extend of my emotions on the subject).

    I will how ever entertain a SCIENTIFIC-BASED discussion on what may happen to the movement of any creature's "energy" after death.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    I don't. And not only I don't believe, i get very sad and frustrated when in a circle of well educated, well travelled, international worldly group of people such question is even raised or when people ask about mythological creature called "god". (the fact that it upsets me does not mean one should not ask them; just sharing the extend of my emotions on the subject).

    I will how ever entertain a SCIENTIFIC-BASED discussion on what may happen to the movement of any creature's "energy" after death.
    Ah. I would like to state for the record that, although I'm a little more hesitant to publicly criticize magical thinking, at bottom I agree with everything Tinami wrote.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    I don't. And not only I don't believe, i get very sad and frustrated when in a circle of well educated, well travelled, international worldly group of people such question is even raised or when people ask about mythological creature called "god". (the fact that it upsets me does not mean one should not ask them; just sharing the extend of my emotions on the subject).

    I will how ever entertain a SCIENTIFIC-BASED discussion on what may happen to the movement of any creature's "energy" after death.
    It's worth remembering, though, that through the centuries many well-educated, well-traveled people have believed in the existence of God. Michelangelo, Dante, Bach, Newton, Shakespeare, Kant, Pascal . . . The list is a very long one. And today there are Francis Collins (head of the NIH) and Marilynne Robinson (winner of the Pulitzer for fiction) and Stephen Colbert and quite a few more. There are people at every level of intelligence, from the geniuses to the mentally challenged, who believe.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinami Amori View Post
    I will how ever entertain a SCIENTIFIC-BASED discussion on what may happen to the movement of any creature's "energy" after death.
    Pretty much what Tinami said. I'm pretty much sure there's no such thing as reincarnation, but if someone provided compelling evidence besides anecdotal stories or had a reliable method of transferring thoughts from a dying person to a newborn, I'd be more inclined to believe in reincarnation.

    The finality and inevitability of death is pretty scary if we only look at our lives, but I think it's pretty cool that after I die, my atoms will return to Earth and eventually find their way into a diverse array of other living different creatures. I wouldn't bet that my atoms would retain any knowledge of what goes on inside my brain, but with how quirky quantum mechanics is, I wouldn't completely rule it out.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    It's worth remembering, though, that through the centuries many well-educated, well-traveled people have believed in the existence of God. Michelangelo, Dante, Bach, Newton, Shakespeare, Kant, Pascal . . . The list is a very long one. And today there are Francis Collins (head of the NIH) and Marilynne Robinson (winner of the Pulitzer for fiction) and Stephen Colbert and quite a few more. There are people at every level of intelligence, from the geniuses to the mentally challenged, who believe.
    However, the list of scientists today who publicly affiliate with atheism and secular humanism is a great deal longer. Collins is pretty much the poster boy for religious scientists, but if you read Dawkins or Hitchens it's pretty obvious he's in a tiny minority. As for all those great minds of the past, we materialists understand that even the best and worst ideas can't be completely extricated from culture. I'd sure like to see what Leonardo or Pascal would say nowadays.

    Should they be reincarnated, that is.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantALoop View Post
    Pretty much what Tinami said. I'm pretty much sure there's no such thing as reincarnation, but if someone provided compelling evidence besides anecdotal stories or had a reliable method of transferring thoughts from a dying person to a newborn, I'd be more inclined to believe in reincarnation.
    Not every faith tradition believes that people only get reincarnated as other people. There could be reincarnation as a bug, a flower, an animal....any "thing" that has a life.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    However, the list of scientists today who publicly affiliate with atheism and secular humanism is a great deal longer. Collins is pretty much the poster boy for religious scientists, but if you read Dawkins or Hitchens it's pretty obvious he's in a tiny minority. As for all those great minds of the past, we materialists understand that even the best and worst ideas can't be completely extricated from culture. I'd sure like to see what Leonardo or Pascal would say nowadays.

    Should they be reincarnated, that is.
    They might be atheists . . . or they might not. To assume that people's beliefs arose solely because of the time they lived in comes perilously close to the chronological snobbery fallacy.

    Anyway, Tinami's point, as I understood it, was that it's absurd for intelligent people to believe in or even discuss God. But some intelligent people do, all the same.

    (I have read Dawkins and Hitchens. They're overrated. )
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    Not every faith tradition believes that people only get reincarnated as other people. There could be reincarnation as a bug, a flower, an animal....any "thing" that has a life.
    Yes I know that, hence the basis for the second part of my post.

    I was just giving an example of tests/methods that could provide some evidence of past lives/reincarnation. After all, it's a lot easier to get information from another human than it is to ask an amoeba, slime mold, corpse flower, coelacanth, or dung beetle what they remember about any past lives

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    But if you feel that way, shouldn't you change how you live your life? What if we all tried to actually live as if we are going to go this way over and over eternally?
    .
    Okay so I thought about this. My first thought was to ask how much could I have screwed up last time, if I am doing better this time. Cause I screw up a lot this time.

    But then I went further and considered that if EVERYONE gets do better on the second to twenty-second go around - and we all intersect - then all the people who have sucky lives would no longer have sucky lives. The scientist would have cured Alzheimer's, the slave trader would have never bought his first human, and the murderer would have never shot his gun.

    So holy smoke. We'd end up with nirvana.

    It's a cool thought when it's pushed out a little.
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  17. #57
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    I voted undecided because I don't know for sure and I don't care. I tend to agree with Tinami because fundanmentally I am an atheist, and I equate god stories with mythology. But it doesn't bother me if other people do - they can go right ahead and worry about that as long as they don't need to tell me all about it. I can't be bothered with it. I don't feel the need to delve into it to explain anything about my life, and I don't need the threat of future lives or whatever to make me "do the right thing" in this life. I don't think I am going to be judged by god or a supreme creature. If it happens, I will be surprised, but I am not worried about it. Scientific discussion of movement of energy -- that is more interesting than a god-based discussion to me, but whatever, dead is dead to me. I'd just prefer not to be buried alive or burned at the stake, that is all. You can dump me in the garbage after death for all I care.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

  18. #58
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    It seems to me from just the point of view of science that suspension of judgement makes the most sense, given how much humans' scientific knowledge and theory has changed over time. Science itself seems to predict that we cannot know at any given time what we may know at another point in time.
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  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    ... I'd sure like to see what Leonardo or Pascal would say nowadays.
    I'll have to go hunt up my copy of Pascal, but it seems to me that I recall his view being that regardless of arguments we might label scientific he would still choose to believe because he would gain by doing so and would not lose anything if when he died it turned out he was wrong. I don't see why he should approach that any differently today (other than cultural pressures on someone who pursues science to follow the dominant view).
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  20. #60
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    I think, four hundred years later, the preponderance of evidence against a personal god who is keeping track of his deeds for eventual consignment to heaven or hell would have led that fine thinker to take a firmer stance. (And I think someone who says his belief is conditioned on self-interest isn't much of a believer!)

    The many thinkers who came after him who argued that belief in god is not harmless but actually affects (and deforms) life decisions, not to mention the larger impact on society, might have impacted Monsieur as well. But he's not around to ask so it's only a fun counterfactual.

    Also, I'm not sure we can or should 'suspend' judgment. We have to make decisions on the facts available. The current scientific body of knowledge not only indicates no proof of a god's existence but removes any logic or supporting reason for such belief. Then, from the standpoint of a humanist or social scientist, you are left asking if widespread belief in something that is non-existent, especially when it has such enormous impact on human decision-making and society's choices, is a good thing or something that should (without coercion) be eradicated over time, as belief in burning witches at the stake has been in most societies.

    Therefore, I'm not in favor of suspending judgment.
    Last edited by PRlady; 10-21-2013 at 11:30 PM.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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