Danes reject the idea of an afterlife

16

All dressed up and no place to go – after the funeral, few Danes believe that they are off to meet their maker, study shows


"Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." So says scripture, and 71 percent of Danes accept that as fact, according to a recent poll. When asked what happens after death, only 16 percent of respondents said that they believed that they would be reunited with any sort of god, and just 12 percent said they believed in reincarnation.

The questions concerning life and death were posed to 2,000 Danes in a survey conducted by the Palliative Knowledge Centre.

“I am surprised that so few have a religious framework in understanding what happens when we die,” Helle Timm, the head of the centre, told the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “The answers suggest that many Danes apparently have a very pragmatic and literal picture of what happens.”

Timm said that accepting that the body decomposes after death did not necessarily preclude believing in an afterlife and that the survey could be used as a starting point to discuss spirituality with the respondents.

Bispebjerg Hospital’s pastor Karsten Flemming Thomsen said that Danes tend to look more toward the earth than the heavens when facing death.

Written By: Ray Weaver
continue to source article at cphpost.dk

16 COMMENTS

  1. “I am surprised that so few have a religious framework in understanding what happens when we die,” Helle Timm, the head of the centre, told the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

    Those who do have a “religious framework”, just don’t “get” reality!

    Timm said that accepting that the body decomposes after death did not necessarily preclude believing in an afterlife and that the survey could be used as a starting point to discuss spirituality with the respondents.

    They never miss a chance to engage in wishful thinking, or to spot an opportunity to proselytise! Why would respondents who don’t believe in an after-life, want to discuss “spirituality”, with woo merchants?

    • In reply to #2 by Alan4discussion:

      “I am surprised that so few have a religious framework in understanding what happens when we die,” Helle Timm, the head of the centre, told the Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

      Those who do have a “religious framework”, just don’t “get” reality!

      Timm said that accepting that the body decomposes after death did not necessarily preclude believing in an afterlife and that the survey could be used as a starting point to discuss spirituality with the respondents.

      They never miss a chance to engage in wishful thinking, or to spot an opportunity to proselytise! Why would respondents who don’t believe in an after-life, want to discuss “spirituality”, with woo merchants?

      Exactly the points I wanted to bring up from that article. They rather stood out, didn’t they?

  2. Dane here. This makes me happy, though from personal experience I’d say that there are still too many Danes who believe in some kind of woo. E.g. one of my colleagues is a “holistic healer” or some such nonsense.

  3. The afterlife I believe in involves the recycling of the body’s atom for use by other living organisms. The egocentric idea that “I” will somehow continue after death is pure wishful thinking and has no basis in reality. It’s an arrogant idea as well; somehow the Creator of the universe considers “me” so important that my life just has to continue forever !

    I agree with one of the posters on the other site who said words to the effect: “Why look for life after death when you can have life before death!”.

  4. In my opinion, the central question to the inquiry into an “afterlife” is the determination of the nature of eternity. It appears that most people who discuss this topic are presuming a “Newtonian” view of absolute time and excluding from the discussion the theory of absolute space-time as espoused by Einstein and Minkowski. While I will not attempt to explain the intricacies of the theories of relativity, suffice it to say that Einstein thought that the distinction between past, present and future is an illusion. While most of us continue to interpret our existence in the universe by perceiving the material manifested world around us by employing the skills we inherited through biological evolution, modern theoretical physics has, of course, extended our manner of interpreting the universe to forever alter our understanding of both relative, subjective reality and absolute, objective reality. Albert Einstein stated that “since there exists in the four dimensional structure (space-time) no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.” Einstein went on to state that there is not a true division between past and future, but rather a single existence. In other words, the distinction between past, present and future is an illusion.

    Therefore, if eternity is timelessness and our conscious experiences are part of this timelessness, then do our actions and thoughts exist in this timeless eternity? As theoretical physicist David Bohm stated: “Ultimately, all moments are really one. Therefore now is eternity” Or as theoretical physicist Brian Greene says: “Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing too.”

      • In reply to #9 by Serdan:

        In reply to #6 by zbob:

        -snip-

        Curious… My bullshit detector just went off.

        Mine too! – for quantum Wooo, stamped with the badge of a previously good quantum physicist – pity he needed electro-convulsive therapy in later life!

        Still that’s what ontological gapology does for you – even if you have earlier been a capable scientist!

        Bohm’s aim was not to set out a deterministic, mechanical viewpoint, but rather to show that it was possible to attribute properties to an underlying reality, in contrast to the conventional approach.[11] He began to develop his own interpretation (De Broglie–Bohm theory), the predictions of which agree perfectly with the nondeterministic quantum theory. He initially referred to his approach as a hidden variable theory, but later referred to it as ontological theory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David-Bohm

        Ah! – Those hidden gapologist ontological variables!!!

        BTW: Relativity does not = “timelessness”! It is time dilation in relation to velocity.

        Therefore, if eternity is timelessness

        “eternity??” ..sounds more like cluelessness!

        and our conscious experiences are part of this timelessness,

        Consciousness is brain function and is specific to the lifespan of the brain. – Nothing to do with relativity!

        • Thank you for the replies. The hypothesis above is intended to challenge some of the current orthodoxy concerning time. Instead of “timelessness” I probably should have used “simultaneity” I have read Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos” twice and I am fascinated by his conclusions about the “frozen river” of time. As the Wikipedia synopsis of Chapter 5 states: “Chapter 5, “The Frozen River”, deals with the question, “Does time flow?” One of the key points in this chapter deals with special relativity. Observers moving relative to each other have different conceptions of what exists at a given moment, and hence they have different conceptions of reality. The conclusion is that time does not flow, as all things simultaneously exist at the same time.”

          If, in fact, all things simultaneously exist (from some objective perspective?), then what are the consequences for consciousness? Brain functioning would still be necessary for consciousness but all consciousness would occur simultaneously (at least from the absolute, objective perspective) No quantum woo involved. Of course, I could be absolutely wrong (from any perspective,ha ha)

          In reply to #10 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #9 by Serdan:

          In reply to #6 by zbob:

          -snip-

          Curious… My bullshit detector just went off.

          Mine too! – for quantum Wooo, stamped with the badge of a previously good quantum physicist – pity he needed electro-convulsive therapy in later life!

          Still that’s what ontological gapology does for you – even if you have earlier been a capable scientist!

          Bohm’s aim was not to set out a deterministic, mechanical viewpoint, but rather to show that it was possible to attribute properties to an underlying reality, in contrast to the conventional approach.[11] He began to develop his own interpretation (De Broglie–Bohm theory), the predictions of which agree perfectly with the nondeterministic quantum theory. He initially referred to his approach as a hidden variable theory, but later referred to it as ontological theory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David-Bohm

          Ah! – Those hidden gapologist ontological variables!!!

          BTW: Relativity does not = “timelessness”! It is time dilation in relation to velocity.

          Therefore, if eternity is timelessness

          “eternity??” ..sounds more like cluelessness!

          and our conscious experiences are part of this timelessness,

          Consciousness is brain function and is specific to the lifespan of the brain. – Nothing to do with relativity!

          • In reply to #11 by zbob:

            In reply to #10 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #9 by Serdan:

            In reply to #6 by zbob:

            -snip-

            Curious… My bullshit detector just went off.

            Mine too! – for quantum Wooo, stamped with the badge of a previously good quantum physicist – pity he needed electro-convulsive therapy in later life!

            Still that’s what ontological gapology does for you – even if you have earlier been a capable scientist!

            Bohm’s aim was not to set out a deterministic, mechanical viewpoint, but rather to show that it was possible to attribute properties to an underlying reality, in contrast to the conventional approach.[11] He began to develop his own interpretation (De Broglie–Bohm theory), the predictions of which agree perfectly with the nondeterministic quantum theory. He initially referred to his approach as a hidden variable theory, but later referred to it as ontological theory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David-Bohm

            Ah! – Those hidden gapologist ontological variables!!!

            BTW: Relativity does not = “timelessness”! It is time dilation in relation to velocity.

            Therefore, if eternity is timelessness

            “eternity??” ..sounds more like cluelessness!

            and our conscious experiences are part of this timelessness,

            Consciousness is brain function and is specific to the lifespan of the brain. – Nothing to do with relativity

            Thank you for the replies. The hypothesis above is intended to challenge some of the current orthodoxy concerning time. Instead of “timelessness” I probably should have used “simultaneity”

            It really makes no difference in this context!

            I have read Brian Greene’s “Fabric of the Cosmos” twice and I am fascinated by his conclusions about the “frozen river” of time. As the Wikipedia synopsis of Chapter 5 states: “Chapter 5, “The Frozen River”, deals with the question, “Does time flow?”

            Time flows onward and forward but at different rates according to relative velocities. It does not stand still or go backwards according to the theory.

            One of the key points in this chapter deals with special relativity. Observers moving relative to each other have different conceptions of what exists at a given moment, and hence they have different conceptions of reality.

            They have conceptions of the same reality at different times, and at different rates of progression through time. It is merely that they are observing different parts of the time-line – just as we are observing the past in distant receding galaxies.

            The conclusion is that time does not flow, as all things simultaneously exist at the same time.”

            Nope! **This does not follow, and is simply wrong! ** Stars, planets and galaxies have formed evolved and some have , exploded, vaporized, scattered, and aggregated or ceased to exist as structures.

            If, in fact, all things simultaneously exist (from some objective perspective?), then what are the consequences for consciousness?

            There is no such “fact” or “objective perspective”. It is simply flawed reasoning based on misunderstanding the science, and denial of objective observations.

            Brain functioning would still be necessary for consciousness but all consciousness would occur simultaneously (at least from the absolute, objective perspective)

            Asserting objectivity is not the same as practising objective observation!

            Consciousness of generations of individual humans throughout history, has been a function of their individual brains, during their life-spans! People are not receding from each other at light speed!

            Denying that time exists on Earth is really quite absurd!

            No quantum woo involved.

            No supporting evidence – just a non sequitur fallacy following misunderstanding relativity – with denial thrown in! – Looks just like quantum- Wooo!

            Of course, I could be absolutely wrong (from any perspective,ha ha)

            Yep!

  5. In reply to #7 by bluebird:

    In reply to #4 by Serdan:

    Dane here…

    Half Dane, not a hint of religion or woo in my family. The photo above is perfect -a prairie remnant- to become nourishment for wild flowers and blue stem grass; and I’m taking my German half with me ;)

    to sleep
    No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
    The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
    That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,
    To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
    For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause.

    It was only a matter of time so I thought it best to get it out if the way.

  6. only 16 percent of respondents said that they believed that they would be reunited with any sort of god,

    presumibly these were the 16% who owned a sword and planned to hang on to it at the last minute?

  7. @Alan4discussion:

    The following are direct quotes from Chapter 5 (The Frozen River) of the “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene:

    “So, if you buy the notion that reality consists of the things in your freeze-frame mental image right now, and if you agree that your now is no more valid than the now of someone located far away in space who can move freely, then reality encompasses all of the events in spacetime. The total loaf exists. Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too. Past, present, and future certainly appear to be distinct entities. But, as Einstein once said, “For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” The only thing that’s real is the whole of spacetime.

    In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally occupy their particular point in spacetime. There is no flow. If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in spacetime. It is tough to accept this description, since our worldview so forcefully distinguishes between past, present and future. But if we stare intently at this familiar temporal scheme and confront it with the cold hard facts of modern physics, its only place of refuge seems to lie within the human mind.

    Undeniably, our conscious experience seems to sweep through the slices. It is as though our minds provide the projector light referred to earlier, so that moments of time come to life when they are illuminated by the power of consciousness. The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our conscious recognition of change in our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. And the sequence of change seems to have a continuous motion; it seems to unfold into a coherent story. But-without any pretense of psychological or neurobiological precision-we can envision how we might experience a flow of time even though, in actuality, there may be no such thing.”

    • In reply to #14 by zbob:

      @Alan4discussion:

      The following are direct quotes from Chapter 5 (The Frozen River) of the “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene:

      “So, if you buy the notion that reality consists of the things in your freeze-frame mental image right now, and if you agree that your now is no more valid than the now of someone located far away in space who can move freely, then reality encompasses all of the events in spacetime. The total loaf exists.

      It is an interesting concept of science fiction, but has no evidenced basis or any relevance to the physical universe. “PRESENT REALITY” does not encompass ALL of space time.

      Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too.

      Why? Post big-bang, we do not envision all of space or matter, existing in the same place, nor all of time existing at the same time! There is no evidence of the past existing along side the present. Light speed only provides past images, with transmission delays.

      Past, present, and future certainly appear to be distinct entities.

      Not at all. They are part of a continuum, with the “present” (at any particular point in space) moving along the line from past to future.

      But, as Einstein once said, “For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.”

      Einstein recognised that time is a continuum!

      The only thing that’s real is the whole of spacetime.

      This is unrelated to your claims.

      In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally occupy their particular point in spacetime.

      Thoughts and “events” happen at particular point but transiently, not “eternally”. Interactions are continuous. (Thinking events are electro-biochemistry in brains, which themselves are transient structures, which die and have their atoms recycled.)

      There is no flow.

      I am not sure what you mean by “flow”. There is a continuous progression from past to future.

      If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in spacetime.

      Non sequitur. It does not follow.

      It is tough to accept this description, since our worldview so forcefully distinguishes between past, present and future.

      It would be tough to accept because it is nonsense! The past is over and gone.

      But if we stare intently at this familiar temporal scheme and confront it with the cold hard facts of modern physics, its only place of refuge seems to lie within the human mind.

      Your “New Year’s Eve,1999″ claim is certainly a navel-gazing fantasy of the human mind, and nothing to do with “facts” or modern physics!

      Undeniably, our conscious experience seems to sweep through the slices. It is as though our minds provide the projector light referred to earlier, so that moments of time come to life when they are illuminated by the power of consciousness.

      This looks like a clear description of fantasy and delusion, with subjective projection on to IMAGES of reality!

      The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our conscious recognition of change in our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. And the sequence of change seems to have a continuous motion; it seems to unfold into a coherent story.

      Yep! Thoughts, feelings, and deluded introspective perceptions. They are clearly not physics unless they are objective observations, free of emotional biases, and preferably independently repeat tested!

      But-without any pretense of psychological or neurobiological precision-we can envision how we might experience a flow of time even though, in actuality, there may be no such thing.”

      “No such thing as the progression of time” ?????????????? ??????

      We have devices for measuring our passage through time. They are called “clocks” (mechanical, electronic or atomic). It is easy to make objective observations of our passage through time using them!

      The fantasies of “envisioned psychological or neurobiological” imagination, are wide ranging, – but nothing to do with the material universe or physics! They are just assertions contradicting objective measurements, dressed up in word salad!

      Neurobiological molecular reactions, progress through time, just like all other chemical reactions, although in some people they are very confused!

      • Your arguments are contrary to Professor Greene’s arguments, not mine. As stated above, the entire post consists of quotes from physicist Brian Greene’s book. Good luck proving that your argument is superior to his.

        In reply to #15 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #14 by zbob:

        @Alan4discussion:

        The following are direct quotes from Chapter 5 (The Frozen River) of the “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene:

        “So, if you buy the notion that reality consists of the things in your freeze-frame mental image right now, and if you agree that your now is no more valid than the now of someone located far away in space who can move freely, then reality encompasses all of the events in spacetime. The total loaf exists.

        It is an interesting concept of science fiction, but has no evidenced basis or any relevance to the physical universe. “PRESENT REALITY” does not encompass ALL of space time.

        Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too.

        Why? Post big-bang, we do not envision all of space or matter, existing in the same place, nor all of time existing at the same time! There is no evidence of the past existing along side the present. Light speed only provides past images, with transmission delays.

        Past, present, and future certainly appear to be distinct entities.

        Not at all. They are part of a continuum, with the “present” (at any particular point in space) moving along the line from past to future.

        But, as Einstein once said, “For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.”

        Einstein recognised that time is a continuum!

        The only thing that’s real is the whole of spacetime.

        This is unrelated to your claims.

        In this way of thinking, events, regardless of when they happen from any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally occupy their particular point in spacetime.

        Thoughts and “events” happen at particular point but transiently, not “eternally”. Interactions are continuous. (Thinking events are electro-biochemistry in brains, which themselves are transient structures, which die and have their atoms recycled.)

        There is no flow.

        I am not sure what you mean by “flow”. There is a continuous progression from past to future.

        If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in spacetime.

        Non sequitur. It does not follow.

        It is tough to accept this description, since our worldview so forcefully distinguishes between past, present and future.

        It would be tough to accept because it is nonsense! The past is over and gone.

        But if we stare intently at this familiar temporal scheme and confront it with the cold hard facts of modern physics, its only place of refuge seems to lie within the human mind.

        Your “New Year’s Eve,1999″ claim is certainly a navel-gazing fantasy of the human mind, and nothing to do with “facts” or modern physics!

        Undeniably, our conscious experience seems to sweep through the slices. It is as though our minds provide the projector light referred to earlier, so that moments of time come to life when they are illuminated by the power of consciousness.

        This looks like a clear description of fantasy and delusion, with subjective projection on to IMAGES of reality!

        The flowing sensation from one moment to the next arises from our conscious recognition of change in our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. And the sequence of change seems to have a continuous motion; it seems to unfold into a coherent story.

        Yep! Thoughts, feelings, and deluded introspective perceptions. They are clearly not physics unless they are objective observations, free of emotional biases, and preferably independently repeat tested!

        But-without any pretense of psychological or neurobiological precision-we can envision how we might experience a flow of time even though, in actuality, there may be no such thing.”

        “No such thing as the progression of time” ?????????????? ??????

        We have devices for measuring our passage through time. They are called “clocks” (mechanical, electronic or atomic). It is easy to make objective observations of our passage through time using them!

        The fantasies of “envisioned psychological or neurobiological” imagination, are wide ranging, – but nothing to do with the material universe or physics! They are just assertions contradicting objective measurements, dressed up in word salad!

        Neurobiological molecular reactions, progress through time, just like all other chemical reactions, although in some people they are very confused!

        • In reply to #16 by zbob:

          Your arguments are contrary to Professor Greene’s arguments, not mine. As stated above, the entire post consists of quotes from physicist Brian Greene’s book. Good luck proving that your argument is superior to his.

          I wouldn’t worry about that!
          I have a track record here of demolishing pseudo-science and quackology from people sporting some sort of scientific credentials as a badge of authority for their nonsense.

          Greene is just one more on the list!

Leave a Reply