IS THERE “LIFE AFTER DEATH”?
I am an atheist; a dyed in the wool, no holds barred, non-believing atheist! I have been an atheist since I was old enough to reason! My parents, I think, believed in God, but were not followers of a religion. I was not indoctrinated by anyone and was free to explore all ideas and religions without censure. I was one of the lucky ones, I guess. That’s what led me to atheism.
All the above is a kind of preamble to what I’m going to say. The plain facts are nobody knows what happens after you die. Neither atheist nor believers actually know. If you’re voicing an opinion, obviously, you’re not dead.
What happened before you were born? No one knows that either. Are we a random result of reproduction or a beginning semblance of some kind eventual consciousness? Science is still wrestling with that. I’m an avowed pro choicer, by the way. I think consciousness has to have a fully formed vessel. Fetuses, blastocysts and zygotes are not conscious entities, UNTIL THEY ARE ACTUALLY BORN as separate and self realizing entities! So how does the consciousness begin?
Could a separate consciousness be existent at birth or after death? Where is its origin? Is it just chemistry? Do we actually know that for a fact? I’m not talking about theistic soul here, but what is the essence of who or what we are? All chemistry? Is there something else? Could there be another separate element? I bring all these questions up because I posit we just don’t know enough about this, scientifically, yet. Science has not yet invented the tools to determine this.
I also say that it’s alright not to know. As an atheist I don’t know all about everything, and that’s fine as far as I’m concerned. I have referred to my own consciousness as my “I-ness”. What is that, exactly that looks out from your eyes, no matter how many years you’ve lived? It never changes, it’s “the observer” if you will. What is that, actually? Does it “go” somewhere after you die or does it die with you? Certainly, not the theistic heaven or hell as a destination; but is there a yet to be discovered “something” we know nothing about, and have no definition for as yet? The scientists are talking of Quantum Mechanics, parallel universes and string theories these days. Who knows what they may yet learn?
Again, I emphasize this is not theistic mumbo jumbo but an honest inquiry, about the unknown quantities of the subject. Maybe there’s nothing, or maybe something waiting to be discovered by our non-theistic, objectively disciplined scientists and physicists. Meanwhile, I’m content with whatever awaits “on the other side”, so to speak.