Atheism and afterlife

84


Discussion by: mamad89

I can llive without god. I can live without prophets. I can live without religion.but there is one thing I can not live without it and that is belief in just world. There are many peoples around the world who have miserable life: Disabled people, homeless people, sick people, and etc. In my mind there must be a justice system rulling through the world in which all of the differences we have in this life would be evaluated and answered.

Also there are so many people who do horrible things like murdering, raping, stealing and there are many people who are kind, help each other, work hard and etc. We all want our well behavings be rewarded and there must be a day where people who have control in their lives recieve their gifts. . 

I want to know your opinion about this justice. If you believe there is no justice system, why? and if you you believe there is a justice system, based on what elements in our life it would be done and how?

84 COMMENTS

  1. I see no evidence that such a karma-type justice system is in operation in the world. Greedy cruel people often do very well and live comfortable and profitable lives. Kind generous people often do not. In addition, this sort of system would require some sort of intelligence to regulate it – without evidence of such an intelligent being, one cannot plausibly conclude that any such system exists.

    For these reasons, we must develop our own justice systems which punish those we see as wrongdoers and try to protect innocents from the depredations of those cruel and greedy people who seem to exist in all societies.

    • In reply to #1 by Archaic Torso:

      I see no evidence that such a karma-type justice system is in operation in the world. Greedy cruel people often do very well and live comfortable and profitable lives. Kind generous people often do not. In addition, this sort of system would require some sort of intelligence to regulate it – without…

      But you are overlooking the fact that greedy cruel people are greedy cruel people? That sounds like a undesirable state of being to be in. Are you sure that all greedy cruel people are living profitable, comfortable lives? Are they living the most loving, fully developed, psychologically balanced life? Are they at peace? Happy and live with cherished memories? Did they have fun, enjoyable childhoods filled with laughter and love? Are people responding positively to their greed and cruelty? Are you sure they are all greedy and cruel or are they taking what they worked for and are being blatantly honest?

      • But I didn’t say ‘all’; I said greedy and cruel people often do very well etc. The point of course being that there is no sign of a justice system being enforced from without by some intelligent being.

        Now it may be that some such people experience remorse or unhappiness as a result of their misdeeds, but sadly not sufficiently so to extinguish such vices in humanity, or so it would appear. But in any case, the question asked was looking hopefully down a different avenue.

        In reply to #10 by QuestioningKat:

        In reply to #1 by Archaic Torso:

        I see no evidence that such a karma-type justice system is in operation in the world. Greedy cruel people often do very well and live comfortable and profitable lives. Kind generous people often do not. In addition, this sort of system would require some sort of int…

        • In reply to #13 by Archaic Torso:

          But I didn’t say ‘all’; I said greedy and cruel people often do very well etc. The point of course being that there is no sign of a justice system being enforced from without by some intelligent being.

          Now it may be that some such people experience remorse or unhappiness as a result of their misdee…

          I hear you. Yes, I shouldn’t have used “all” either. My point is troubled people cause trouble. For some reason, many people, especially religious are quick to condemn wrongdoers in a personal, self righteous way. They overlook that the person may already be living in a mini hell and acted accordingly. This doesn’t automatically give them a pass. As you said, an intelligent being ( human) is needed to enforce justice.

          • Yes, as you say it doesn’t give them a pass, since many people in desperate situations do not choose to lash out at their fellow man. There’s almost always a choice, however limited or impoverished it may be. Of course I agree with your general point.

            In reply to #21 by QuestioningKat:

    • I do not believe in any God, but try to keep an open mind. I believe that different religions have caused more deaths than anything else on this planet. Religion gives people an excuse for thier thoughts and deeds so that they do not feel any responsibility for thier actions. Religion can help those who need to feel hope in a better world and an after life. Me, I know in my heart that when I die, it is over for me, finished, dust……..In reply to #2 by Fouad Boussetta:

      Things are just what they are, whether you like them or not. The universe has no inherent fairness, but people can enforce justice.

  2. No, Mamad, there will never be any justice in this world while I am being so moderate and you so greedy, while I struggle paying my supertax and you keep demanding an exorbitant minimum wage. Never mind, see you in church where we can both sing, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. Fine, but what the heck has all this to do with Atheism and Afterlife?

    • In reply to #3 by ZedBee:

      No, Mamad, there will never be any justice in this world while I am being so moderate and you so greedy, while I struggle paying my supertax and you keep demanding an exorbitant minimum wage. Never mind, see you in church where we can both sing, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. Fine, but what the…

      Just how high is this “exorbitant minimum wage”? Where I live it is impossible to raise a family on the minimum wage. A single person can get by, but it isn’t a life a luxury.

      How high is your “super tax” and at what income does it kick in? I pay 50% income tax on part of my income, and I’m glad to pay it because it pays for schools, hospitals, roads, social assistance, medical care, and many other good services for my fellow citizens.

      I like helping my fellow man, any paying taxes is one of the easiest ways to help.

  3. I can llive without god. I can live without prophets. I can live without religion.but there is one thing I can not live without it and that is belief in just world.

    Wanting to make the world a more just place is an admirable goal and one I share. Wanting to delude yourself that it already is a just place because there are magical beings who right wrongs is to abandon one of the most important goals required for justice and that is truth. Saying that means you value self deception and believing what will make you feel good over reality. Indeed, once you do that you are really giving up on actually making the world a better place because you’ve decided to just deceive yourself that it already is and you can’t strive to make things better without an honest assesment of how things really are.

  4. A conversation between Death and his granddaughter, from Terry Pratchett’s book Hogfather:

    “All right,” said Susan, “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need … fantasies to make life bearable.”

    No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meet the rising ape.

    “Tooth fairies? Hogfathers?”

    Yes. As practice. You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

    “So we can believe the big ones?”

    Yes. Justice. Duty. Mercy. That sort of thing.

    “They’re not the same at all!”

    Really? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.

    “Yes. But people have got to believe that or what’s the point?”

    My point exactly.

  5. In an evolutionary sense you have empathy to help you exist in groups, an individual without empathy would do less well predicting how their behaviour would impact of others which would in turn reduce how others in the groups cooperated with you.

    So my opinion is we need to extend that empathy to direct action for the others in our global group to the best of our ability. It is the secret of our success as a species (or certainly one of the major ones) and will both make us feel better (we evolved to want to feel and do this), and will aid in long term cooperation between groups. What belief in an afterlife does is attempt to console those who are impacted unfairly by others ‘don’t worry the meek will inherit the Earth’, ‘You’ll get your reward in the here-after’. This takes the urgency out, it sooths the sense of empathy you rightly feel wrongly and maintains the staus quo.

  6. I want to know your opinion about this justice. If you believe there is no justice system, why? and if you you believe there is a justice system, based on what elements in our life it would be done and how?

    There are no inherent justice systems in the universe.

    If you want a justice system, you will need to work with others, – politically and socially, to build communities who also want to co-operate in setting up and maintaining justice systems. These systems, usually take the form of codes of practice, regulations, and laws, which have supervision and enforcement mechanisms.

  7. I can sort of see the emotional case – but…

    Even supposing there was an afterlife in which justice was administered, would that actually remedy the injustice of this world? Suppose someone was tortured in a most dreadful manner and after their death had a heavenly afterlife. However good that added life was, it none of the pain that had been felt would be lessened.

    But there are further problems. As others say, there is no logical reason for a just afterlife. Indeed, based on this world, any related world might be just as inequitable (if for example both had the same Creator or set of physical laws). At least, there is nothing in this world to suggest that any other would have to be better. Of course, an after life might be better, but I do not see how it necessarily is so, unless one states this is the worst of all possible worlds, in which case any afterlife would at least be no worse.

    Then there is the problem of evil doers. Would a ‘just world’ mean not only rewards for virtue but also punishment for wickedness? Put another way, how would the justice of a just world be judged? At least some of the victims would probably see retribution as vital to justice (no punishment=no justice) – but how would guilt be ascertained, or the level of any punishment? Would arbitration be by popular vote or at the whim of a judge? Yet either way not everyone would agree with all the judgements, so this could not be a just world for everyone – which rather seems to take away the point.

    Thus, an unjust world with a just afterlife would still be unjust in itself; is not clearly something that ‘must’ exist; and may even be impossible to establish as there might be no agreed application – or even concept – of just rule.

    All this before tackling the existential implausibility of an afterlife…

  8. mamad89, I’d like to pose a few ideas for you to contemplate.

    When you squeeze a lemon, you do not get apple juice. When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemonade. Rarely do you find “evil” people coming from loving parents with open, supportive communication. People commit “evil” acts because their environment and mindset is already disturbed. Each successive generation learns more and more about our human psychology and dynamics. We learn how environment and poverty play into our behavior as well.

    If a child lives with criticism,
    he learns to condemn.
    If a child lives with hostility,
    he learns to fight.
    If a child lives with ridicule,
    he learns to be shy.
    If a child lives with shame,
    he learns to feel guilty.
    If a child lives with tolerance,
    he learns to be patient.
    If a child lives with encouragement,
    he learns confidence.
    If a child lives with praise,
    he learns to appreciate.
    If a child lives with fairness,
    he learns justice.
    If a child lives with security,
    he learns to have faith.
    If a child lives with approval,
    he learns to like himself.
    If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
    He learns to find love in the world

    Acknowledging that we as a society have grown since the advice of “spare the rod and spoil the child” mentality would be a step in the right direction. Many of our past child rearing traditions now seem harsh, antiquated, and abusive. We have studied the effects/affects of certain parenting tactics and have learned a better way. It’s the same with behavior that is unacceptable in society. We rarely are surprised at the source. It’s simple cause and effect.

    Yet, many hold onto the idea that somehow everyone thinks the same and therefore are deserving of harsh punishment when they do not fit a certain standard – usually their own standard. Notice how people (you) are quick to condemn. “He beat me, he robbed me. Look at how he abused and injured me.’ Live with those thoughts and you will never stop hating. ‘He beat me, he robbed me. Look at how he abused and injured me.’ Abandon such thoughts and your hatred and your suffering will cease.’ v3,v4 Dhammapada. I quoted this religious text because you have forgotten your own religious views of forgiveness.

    I am in no way saying that we should allow rapists and murders to walk free. No, it is up to people to bring justice and promote well-being. I am addressing a (your) mindset that deeply wishes punishment and bad luck to people that tick us off. Yes, admit it. Someone does something wrong and you’re shaking your fist that “they better get X or else.” Modern psychology has taught us that this is called projection. It’s a way of avoiding our own issues of change and betterment. “It’s pointing the finger at someone and not realizing that several other fingers are pointing back at ourselves.”

    If you must hold onto some dark self righteous view about people who do bad things, keep this in mind: Chances are nothing really good will happen to this person either – their mindset isn’t focused on positive, loving experiences anyway. If they rob a bank and never get caught, chances are they won’t know what to do with the money and will spend it on art of dogs playing poker and Pabst Blue ribbon beer. Chances are the thieves have problems with their personal relationships and have no clue that they are living half a life. There is truth to reaping what you sow. Unfortunately, most people have no clue of what they are planting.

    The best we can hope to do is to start by tending our own garden. Like it or not, we all have some weeds. I’m reminded of an old lady busy body who is angered and condemning of young women having sex outside of marriage. At times, situations like these are projections, reflecting the attitude of “If I’m not allowed, how dare she be so high and mighty.” In reality, the woman probably isn’t upset about the sexual act, but her own lack of ease and jealousy of more self assured women. Sometimes it sounds like a whining child “Why does X get to do this and I’m not allowed?”

    In situations when you see inequality and injustice, step up and make a difference. If you see a person ignoring minorities, call it out. If you see unfair payment, call it out. If someone cheats you, call it out. If you are doing this, acknowledge it. You already told me that you think you are deserving of some gifts for good behavior… If you were truly deserving of gifts, they would come in the form of acknowledgement from other people. Good relationships are the result of intelligent effort. Homes are bought with money we earn working in some way with other people.

    The worst thing we can do is blow it off and say God will take care of this. As atheists we know nothing will happen. It is up to us to make a stand. It is up to us to gain the skills needed for success. Yes, many of us are born to unfortunate circumstances. These are the accumulative results of being controlled by people with unskilled behavior. In some circumstances, people need to put aside their own selfish gain and take a stand for justice so that future generations will be better off. Consider slavery, women’s rights, gay rights… Many sacrificed their well being so that others would not endure their own hardships. Take a look around and see how you and your life is interconnected with the lives of so many others. People help people. People hurt people. People are at the source of heaven and hell right here on earth. This is it.

    ( I’m curious as to what gifts, you expect and for what type of behavior? Why cannot you get this now during this lifetime? Is someone standing in your way? Is it you?)

    Also, how is this need for people ultimately being fairly punished or rewarded serving you?

  9. I want to know your opinion about this justice. If you believe there is no justice system, why?

    “Punishment is what revenge calls itself.”- Nietzsche

    I want the best for everyone, no matter what they’ve done, no exceptions. The desire for such a cosmic justice system may seem noble at first glance, but keep digging until you get to the unenlightened rot. It is a desire that debases a person and limits compassion. Good deeds and living virtuously is its own reward. I would do good things even if I were punished for it, and will not do bad things even if I am rewarded.

    As a desire, I think it is as lowly as a motivation, in the Lawrence Kohlberg sense of things

  10. So what? Who gives a shit about what you “can live with or live without?” I like Crown Royal does that suggest that the creator was an alcoholic? Your personal bullshit doesn’t stack up to a tick turd against a skyscraper. You need to divorce yourself from what “YOU DEMAND” of the world and move into what you can PROVE about the world. Sorry, no afterlife, logically impossible.

    If it doesn’t make sense; then it’s not true. Heaven is bullshit. It (logically) HAS to be. Try to reason your way through it, and share your thought process with all of us. ETERNITY. WTF? Stoppit….

    • In reply to #12 by crookedshoes:

      So what? Who gives a shit about what you “can live with or live without?” I like Crown Royal does that suggest that the creator was an alcoholic? Your personal bullshit doesn’t stack up to a tick turd against a skyscraper. You need to divorce yourself from what “YOU DEMAND” of the world and move…

      I’m in complete agreement. The notion of an afterlife is absurd and I can’t understand how anyone over the age of say six, would entertain the thought for a second. We need only look around us to see that plants and animals die…the end! Kaput ! That’s it folks! Why would any alternate reality exist just for us, in order to right wrongs and reward goodness that has managed to go unrewarded. The ultimate in wishful thinking!

      • In reply to #16 by Nitya:

        In reply to #12 by crookedshoes:

        So what? Who gives a shit about what you “can live with or live without?” I like Crown Royal does that suggest that the creator was an alcoholic? Your personal bullshit doesn’t stack up to a tick turd against a skyscraper. You need to divorce yourself from what…

        Additional thought: even if I were a believer in some sort of god or uncaused causer, I still couldn’t force myself to believe in an afterlife (especially for eternity). What would it mean? You get to see the Earth shrivel up and be swallowed by the sun? You see future generations fighting for water and ever more scarce resources? You’re able to watch the eventual demise of the universe? That is not a future I’d welcome at all.

        • In reply to #29 by Nitya:

          Ah, but if you were a proper Christian, Nitya (or even a Muslim, or a Jew), you would turn a blind eye to all the suffering, and would claim that the swelling of the sun and the roasting of the earth was, without any doubt, prophesied by Isaiah.

          That apart, you would not see a demise of the whole universe which stretches to infinity in every direction, only some stars dying, others exploding, and whole galaxies going dim when the hydrogen fuel of their stars is exhausted, but there will be endless hydrogen atoms coming into being (not created) to form fresh stars, clusters of stars and new galaxies. You would enjoy eternity, trust me, but don’t forget to take Richard Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale” with you, it would keep you informed and entertained for at least half of eternity.

          • In reply to #43 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #29 by Nitya:

            Ah, but if you were a proper Christian, Nitya (or even a Muslim, or a Jew), you would turn a blind eye to all the suffering, and would claim that the swelling of the sun and the roasting of the earth was, without any doubt, prophesied by Isaiah.

            That apart, you would not…

            Ah, but what happens in this eternal bliss of yours when all the energy of the universe is expended and time ceases to exist? Not much fun then, is it? All these wandering souls with nowhere to go ! I don’t think those proposing a life hereafter have properly thought it through.

          • In reply to #44 by Nitya:

            I should have said, Nitya, that it is fresh neutrons that come into being (not created) continuously everywhere in the cosmos, at the rate of one neutron, in the space of about 550,000 cubic meters, over the course of a year. These free neutrons split within about 12 minutes of their existence into protons and an electrons, i.e., hydrogen atoms, the building blocks of the universe, plus a tiny package of energy which gives us the Cosmic Background Radiation.

            The coming into being of the hydrogen atoms is what is giving the universe its linear expansion at the rate of 71.3 kilometres per second per megaparsec. Unfortunately, we can only see as far as 13.7 billion light-years in any direction, because at that distance the galaxies are moving away from us at the speed of light and, therefore, impossible to see.

            Nevertheless, a radius of 13.7 billion light-years is not to be sniffed at, and if we had eternal life we would see lots of stars and galaxies dying and lots of new ones forming in a matter of a few billion years, the blink of a cosmic eye, with lots of prophets sprouting all over freshly formed planets, lying to each other in their teeth about how their man-made god produced everything out of his mouth in a big bang, and that all other gods are false, and all creation stories – except their own – are myths. It is fun. Honest. Where would this website be without them?

            The fact that neither you, nor I, nor any created god shall ever exist long enough to see galaxies dying while others are coming into being, may be sad but inevitable, so we must do our best to finish “The Ancestor’s Tale” while we have our little time on earth to do it.

          • In reply to #51 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #44 by Nitya:

            I should have said, Nitya, that it is fresh neutrons that come into being (not created) continuously everywhere in the cosmos, at the rate of one neutron, in the space of about 550,000 cubic meters, over the course of a year. These free neutrons split within about 12 minut…

            Well, there you go! I’m talking in the trillions ( of years) not just billions. I could stick it out for a couple of billion years, but I’d really start getting bored after a few trillions.

    • In reply to #12 by crookedshoes:

      So what? Who gives a shit about what you “can live with or live without?” I like Crown Royal does that suggest that the creator was an alcoholic? Your personal bullshit doesn’t stack up to a tick turd against a skyscraper. You need to divorce yourself from what “YOU DEMAND” of the world and move…

      “No Silicon Heaven? Then where do all the calculators go?” – Kryten from Red Dwarf

  11. If I was disabled because someone had shot my leg off I could seek justice through normal means. However, how do you suggest I seek justice for my haemophilia, perhaps I could travel back in time and exact some sort of sharia-type revenge on Mendl for explaining to recessive alleles how easy it was to travel through the generations.

    On the other hand I could think logically, thank the likes of Prof Rosemary Biggs et al, who have made such brilliant advancements in the treatment of my condition and get on with living in the real world.

  12. You make the case for the invention of some form of ‘universal’ justice. However as I’m sure you’re aware you can present no evidence for the existence of such a system.

    Do you propose a system of smoke and mirrors where justice is promised despite the fact that no such mechanism exists in the hope that people would submit to it’s authority?

    Of course what constitutes justice is itself subjective, any glance at a legal text will turn up opinions both for and against, those who see rules as being tyrannical and those who would scream that they were too liberal simultaneously. How would you balance those viewpoints and how would you convince different countries with divergent cultures to agree to a common set of laws?

  13. justice is subjective. whenever i read letters pages in the papers, they’re full of comments telling me how things would be “if there was any justice in the world”.

    i learned watching QI the other day (I know, not a great source of accurate facts) that meerkats send their children across busy roads to test how safe they are to cross. not very just is it? if that’s not a bizarre enough example, try this; did you know there are peaceful herbivores going about their business chewing grass who’ve never done a thing to hurt anyone, getting killed and eaten by carnivores?! I know! imagine that!

    Darwin described “nature red in tooth and claw” and the victorian elite rebelled against him. not becasue their religion demanded the world was made in 6 days and all the animals popped into existance out of nowhere but becasue their reliigon demanded a fair and just world.

    justice, like morals, must be tested and applied by those who want it. the idea of reward and punishment is for children and children only. we could argue that a rapist is killed, or imprisoned, or tortured but which of these is just? which undoes the crime? and how do they effect the guilty? a psychopath might find a way to be happy in prison while a cellmate of the same crime and sentnce might be in a world of dispair over what they are regardless of if they get handed a sentance or not.

    if you believe that there should be an objective reward/punishment system, and you think you know how it should work, you’re already a theist even if you call yourself an atheist. you’re just not ascribing your totalitarian views on an imaginary being.

    The world is not fair. nor is the universe. “fair” requires symetry. if universal symmetry existed the universe would not, and if worldly symmetry existed, life would not have evolved.

    you’re personal view of what justice is and how it should be policed, is a product of a brian that evolved through 4 billion years of competition. it’s an illusion you hold to ensure when your time comes, you will commit an act that is unjust to another life form but you will not see the injustice.

    Religion has always got it wrong on justice. christianity came close with talk of forgiveness and the golden rule exists for the mutual benefit of those who subscribe to it (but not those who don’t).

    if i were to start a religion, the central dogma to ensure peace and something close to justice would be: “get over yourself”

  14. There are many peoples around the world who have miserable life: Disabled people, homeless people, sick people,

    are they all miserable?

    able people, rich people and healthy people also have miserable lives. or happy lives. tends to be down to the individual I find. There is quite possibly a sick disabled homeless man you walk past every day who feels sorry for you

  15. Wow.

    I see zero evidence for any sort of natural justice you are wishing for. You are engaging in magical thinking, not rational thinking.

    Nature, the world, the universe cares not one whit for justice. It is neutral. Nature has creatures being hauled down and eaten alive every day. Insects lay eggs in hosts that are eaten live from the inside. Earthquakes and storms kill indiscriminately. There is NO justice in the natural world. The natural world isn’t alive, it has no desires, it just is.

    Justice, as we think of it, is a human invention created to allow us live in large groups without too much friction. Bad people are ostracised, incarcerated, whipped, or otherwise punished to deter bad behaviour. Good behaviour is rewarded with accolades, respect, self esteem, and in a healthy culture: success.

    Sorry, but there must not “be” anything. Especially not a day of reckoning after you die. When you die you ceases to exist and there is no longer anything to reward or punish. If you want justice then work hard to be virtuous and help those around you. The real world you are experiencing now is the only world. Live your life as best as you can because there is no second chance.

  16. I think you’ve hit on one of the prime motivators for religious belief. There is no justice inherent in the universe, but there is a huge need for it in human beings. Look at the victims of abuse for example and the way they need justice to bring closure. Look at literature, every good book has baddies that get their come uppance and goodies who get their rewards.

    Because that doesn’t always happen outside of fiction I guess believing in Karma or even heaven or hell is the only way to satisfy that need. Someone gets away with horrendous acts in life, their victims only have the notion of hell to get their justice.

  17. just to put my two penneth in on an eternal afterlife…

    eternity means infinity. a number you cannot comprehend. a time so long that the longest time you can possibly imagine is no different to eternity than a nanosecond.

    how can any reward or punishment that lasts for eternity, have even the slightest resemblence to anyone’s concept of justice?

    would a twenty year sentence of daily torture be a fair punishment for laughing at someone who slips over in a comic fashion? becasue if you’re interested in justice, this is infinitely more just than an eternity of hell for any amount of evil that can be committed in one lifetime.

    similarly, an award equal to a national lottery tripple rollover given every week for life just for pointing out the nearest taxi rank to a tourist sound a bit extreme? well compare that to eternal heaven as a reward for any charitable act possible in a human lifetime

    the concept of any eternal pay-back for the act of a finite lifespan is in itself the most unjust notion ever to fart its way out of those feeble ape-brians

  18. There are ways to improve and ruin (or outright end irreversibly) people’s lives, and we imagine hypothetical scenarios to guess which actions will bring about the former and keep us away from the latter. At the same time, we can acknowledge that there are ways to get it wrong, make mistakes, and misunderstand something, especially when most of our ethics relies on trying to figure out other people when you don’t always know that much about them.

    In the grand scheme of things, punishment and reward are methods hoped to accomplish tangible results, but like any method, the reasoning can be questioned and critically analysed to make sure it’s well-reasoned. Punishing someone in the hopes of deterring people from committing crimes and thereby improving citizens’ lot is reasonable, insofar as it’s successful. Punishing someone because you have a burning rage over something they did regardless of actual circumstances is not reasonable, since its rationale hasn’t actually been justified (we don’t always listen to our intuitive promptings unless we know why they are being prompted), though its success might factor in even if we’re not clear why.

    Long story short, there is some real-world standard by which we can discern our ethics, though like the philosophers of Ancient Greece, we’re a long way away from developing these ideas into something more formal and robust. It’s just like there’s a real-world standard for what’s real and what isn’t against which science can be measured and compared, while fully acknowledging that people aren’t necessarily very good at working things out.

    I don’t worry too much about the injustices of the world. This isn’t out of callousness; it’s just that trying to take the burden of everything wrong with the universe is unrealistic, needlessly adds to the heap when you stress over it, and is almost self-aggrandizing in its own way. Help out if you can, of course, but don’t angst over the fact that there’s always something wrong somewhere. There are oases in the desert. The rest of the universe has far more advantages than you have on that large a scale, and the best we can do – since we can’t wipe out all the damage – is minimize it.

  19. Just got to like yourself, if you look in the mirror and say you quite like the person you are looking at this is about about as much as you can expect. Love yourself and your family. some comments have said that bad people prosper, but so do good people, obviosley there are no studies of this type. Live your life to the full you only have one!

  20. I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

    I am not a physicist and I do not know the details of relative physic but I know that we had a law called ‘conservation of energy’
    also we had a law called ‘conservation of mass’ …. in the last century, relative physics has emerged which declares that energy and mass can convert to each other (E=mc2) .. in my perception we can call it ‘conservation of energy+mass’ ,,,, it somehow can induce us that there is a possibility that everything in this world can stay constant but in different forms and formats. there are somethings that science hasn’t reached it yet but i believe it will….for example creating life is one of that things.

    I always consider this universe as a system. all systems have components. for example a TV consists of some integrated circuits, capacitors and etc. experience has proved that most of the components in any systems would someday get out of order must quit that system. for example someday one of the ICs in a TV would break… in that case that IC must be replaced by another IC. but does the old IC go to nothingland ? guess what, it get recycled among other things and shape a new different thing. for example biomass is a technology that uses garbages to supply the gass of the appartments so the garbages didn’t go to nothingland they converted to different format.

    I know that all of the things I said aren’t the exact proof of afterlife but they are some kind of clues. science hasn’t completely explain the physical nature of life and soul but maybe someday it would find it. and then find it that there is a law of ‘conservation in life’

    lets get back to the justice system topic. again consider this universe as a system. In this system there are some components who do their jobs and there are some components who does not do their duties. some components disturb the duty of other components and acts like viruses. in this case these viruses must be removed quickly by the upper system who has the control of our system.
    Our duty in this life is to live. there are many aspects in this living for example : striving, helping, loving, thinking, hating, enjoying, suffering. these are all okay. but if some virus come and block one of these aspects of our duty then what would happen ?

    I certainly do not believe in heaven or hell. but simply ignoring the afterlife cause there is no logical reason or evidence is not a wise choice.

    • In reply to #30 by mamad89:

      I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

      I am not a physicist and I do not know the details of relative physic but I know that we had a law called ‘conservation of energy’
      also we…

      Hi Mamad welcome to the fray! Couple of thoughts.
      First if you’re not a physicist I would avoid trying to use physics to prove your arguments – stick to things that you can back up robustly. Yes energy is conserved, but information isn’t. Try getting DNA from a fossil.

      You made the analogy of the universe being like a system. Remember that analogies often break down under even the most cursory inspection, and always break down as more detailed inspection is performed. Thus they are not models, but in my experience only useful for teaching scientific principles in part, or at a rudimentary level. This particular analogy is not suitable at all, in my opinion, as a system suggests purpose, design and creator.

      Justice in the universe comes with us,,and us alone. It is our responsibility.

    • In reply to #30 by mamad89:

      I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

      I am not a physicist …

      Neither am I but I cannot see that your rationale for an afterlife is scientific or logical. There are no scientific or logical reasons to suggest that the patterns of matter and energy in the brain have any special link to the law of the conservation of mass and energy (which E=mc2 implies) such that neural patterns would persist after the decay of neurones – which an afterlife implies. One cannot selectively invoke one small aspect of science while overturning the rest.
      Indeed, my limited understanding of physics is that entropy (chaos) increases over time, so physics, far from suggesting the eternal persistence of the highly organised substrate of thought, would suggest its deterioration, not least when no longer in a living body – which uses energy from outside to maintain its structure against the otherwise remorseless entropy increase.

      I am sorry, but saying that an argument is scientific and logical does not make it so: those high standards require full evidence and systematic reasoning. Indeed, I doubt that many even quite mundane material claims can be logically proven. I can’t logically prove the sun will shine tomorrow, let alone an ethereal afterlife.

    • Admittedly, my head is starting to spin after reading your comment but if I’m not mistaken did you not begin by offering proof of an afterlife and a little later go on to conclude by stating that you certainly don’t believe in either heaven or hell? What sort of afterlife do you have in mind I wonder?

      In reply to #30 by mamad89:

      I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

      I am not a physicist and I do not know the details of relative physic but I know that we had a law called ‘conservation of energy’
      also we…

    • In reply to #30 by mamad89:

      I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

      I am not a physicist and I do not know the details of relative physic but I know that we had a law called ‘conservation of energy’
      also we…

      I suggest watching a television series called “The Wonders of the Universe ” with Prof Brian Cox. He gives a wonderful summation of what the path the expanding universe takes from the first seconds to the final stage. He’s a marvelous communicator, and the footage is awe inspiring. I think watching this program would render any notions of an afterlife trivial, in comparison to the real cosmic events.

  21. I want to know your opinion about this justice. If you believe there is no justice system, why?

    For exactly the reasons you yourself have explained. Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people. There is no justice of the kind that you want.

  22. When I was a boy, my Dad repeatedly reminded me that the world was not fair. I might want it to be, but I should not kid myself that it is.

    There is overwhelming evidence the world is not fair. Just look at little kids hurt in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Kenya.

    If you tell yourself some ridiculous lie that the world is fair, you will then do nothing for world justice, believing there is nothing to be done. That is just a silly excuse for inaction. In India, the notion of karma and reincarnation is used by the rich to justify their privileged status and idleness. Christians have a similar unsubstatiated lie, that evil will be punished and good rewarded which will be sufficient to justify all temporary injustice. In Islam, the way you get mega-revenge is to do absolutely nothing. That way Allah will exact a punishment many times times stronger than a human would.

  23. I would like you, mamad89, to think for a moment about your chain of ancestors. We can show from evidence in geology and fossils and DNA that all life on Earth descended from common ancestors who lived over a billion years ago. I ask you where in your chain of ancestors the supernatural system of justice, post mortem, came into existence? Do your homo habilis relatives have a special “place” where they are rewarded or punished to this day for actions that happened a couple of million years ago? How about for orrorin tugenensis a few millions of years before them? Would that go back to fish; did our fish ancestors “go somewhere” for justice?

  24. Sorry, I don’t find your attempt at a “scientific” explanation of why there could be an afterlife compelling.

    Yes, I can recycle a bottle, but If I do it by melting it down then forming something else that bottle is gone; it is not experiencing “bottle after life”. When you and I die the matter we are made of will likely find its way into all sorts of different things, but we will still be dead. People are pretty complex, require physical bodies (brains in particular) to be alive, and once our brains stop functioning we stop living, and there is no way consistent with our knowledge of science to have an afterlife once our brains are destroyed. Maybe one day we can upload our brain into software, but is that really living?

    Conserving matter and energy doesn’t conserve any particular configuration of matter and energy.

  25. Hello all, what a very interesting read.
    When speaking in terms of justice and a (criminal) justice system we first need to look at the aim, which is to deter criminal acts through a system of punishment that also protects the victims of crime and our communities from further criminal violation by a known offender. Isn’t it pointless to imagine a “spiritual justice system”? Sure you may find it a comfort but how relevant is it to our lives? Firstly the criminal is dead in order for the system to be in effect and honestly what more could we ask for? At this point the victim(s) are protected and the wider community also.

    If you’re interested in a just punishment system there are many things that we can all do right now in order to achieve that. The easiest is that we can live our lives in a way that causes minimal (being realistic) harm to those around us. We can use reason to voice our opinions and support those who are being suppressed and deprived of basic human rights. This year marked 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation to free the African American slaves something that would not have been achieved (IMHO) in many parts of America without rational thinking. We can all see the progress being made for Gay Rights in many parts of the world and most rational people agree that it is not good enough that there are still too many countries who say, who we love, can get us in jail or worse as it is still punishable by death is some places!

    It is true there is too much injustice and suffering in the world at the hands of radical fundamentalists religious or otherwise. Our own justice systems are plagued with out dated dogmas and in many cases I also feel that certain criminal acts such as intentional murder, rape, and pedophilia are not given harsh enough punishments, at least in my country (Australia), I would like to see this change.

    SaganTheCat wrote:
    …we could argue that a rapist is killed, or imprisoned, or tortured but which of these is just? which undoes the crime? and how do they effect the guilty? a psychopath might find a way to be happy in prison while a cellmate of the same crime and sentnce might be in a world of dispair over what they are regardless of if they get handed a sentance or not.

    Again the punishment is there to send the message out in our communities that this behavior is not tolerated and to deter those from acting in such a way. The punishment MUST reflect the seriousness of the crime, it is illogical to base this on the undoing of the crime, what? If we can ever travel back in time we can argue that one! How a punishment affects the guilty should be considered in respect to looking at their potential to reintegrated back into our societies – torture is barbaric and we can easily question the lawfulness of the one(s) carrying out such acts. A psychopath by its very nature has a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse, and lack of control of their behavior. Mass murderers, terrorists and Hitler are examples of such and again IMHO we are far too “forgiving” of these individuals in our current justice system.

    Back on topic I feel the idea of punishment and reward in an afterlife that may or may not exist is irrelevant to our current human condition of being alive in the here and now. For those seeking justice in and unjust world – give voice to your grievances, there are many ways we can make a difference for the ideals we believe in. Improve forensic science and support its progress so that those who are committing heinous crimes don’t get away with it and put others in our communities at risk.
    Call for a secular government with Laws based on reason and science!

    ~A

    • In reply to #38 by Tash:

      We can use reason to voice our opinions and support those who are being suppressed and deprived of basic human rights.

      and In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:

      The worst thing we can do is blow it off and say God will take care of this.

      yes it is correct, we must not wait until some sort of SOS arrives and help us building justice. we MUST strive for buiding a world a better place.
      but the problem is that when you see no consequences for bank robbing or raping then why you do not commit them? raping is so easy so everyone would commit it. because there would be no bad consequences for raping. child laboring is easier than that so lets commit it. why not ?,,, I hate that guy,, so lets kill him with a knife,, why not ?,,, In a world where there are no consequences I can do anything I like and why do I care about justice when there is no point in it for me? all that matters is that I am happy in my life and I am capable of doing whatever I want.

      • In reply to #40 by mamad89:

        we must not wait until some sort of SOS arrives and help us building justice. we MUST strive for buiding a world a better place. but the problem is that when you see no consequences for bank robbing or raping then why you do not commit them? raping is so easy so everyone would commit it. because there would be no bad consequences for raping. child laboring is easier than that so lets commit it. why not ?,,, I hate that guy,, so lets kill him with a knife,, why not ?,,, In a world where there are no consequences I can do anything I like and why do I care about justice when there is no point in it for me? all that matters is that I am happy in my life and I am capable of doing whatever I want.

        You only have to look at lawless failed states with roaming gangs of bandits, warlords, and militias, and then contrast them with civilisations which have laws based on social justice, to understand this point.

      • In reply to #40 by mamad89:

        In reply to #38 by Tash:

        We can use reason to voice our opinions and support those who are being suppressed and deprived of basic human rights.

        and In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:

        The worst thing we can do is blow it off and say God will take care of this.

        yes it is correct, we must not wait u…

        Wow are you serious?
        Raping is easy so everyone would commit it? Murder, child abuse and theft as well. This is the conclusion you come to if there is no justice in the afterlife. Are you that afraid of the world we live in the only solace you can cling to is the hope that people who do wrong or evil things (and I presume specifically those who “get away with it’) will be somehow punished after they die?

        You feel that if there is no retribution in an afterlife that gives you the ok to do anything you like because why should you care about justice if there is nothing in it for you. Wow, again seriously? You talk as if it is some kind of great effort for you to even care about justice in the world your in. Are you saying you yourself hold back from committing such acts that you mentioned because you think there may be a punishment in an afterlife and also you don’t want to miss out on the reward for doing good?
        Do you feel that mankind is only capable of good deeds if he fears his own fate once he dies?

        Your statement is very disturbing.

        On a side note:
        In reply to #31 Zhap135 (Im sorry I don’t know how to do quotes here)

        Don’t we get allot of information about evolution from ancient fossil DNA? It may be difficult and I’m sure work is being done everyday to improve extraction techniques. So Zhap135 we are trying :)

        ~A

        • In reply to #57 by Tash:
          >

          In reply to #38 byOn a side note: In reply to #31 Zhap135 (Im sorry I don’t know how to do quotes here)

          Don’t we get allot of information about evolution from ancient fossil DNA? It may be difficult and I’m sure work is being done everyday to improve extraction techniques. So Zhap135 we are trying :)

          ~A Tash:

          We can use reason to voice our opinions and support those who are being suppressed and deprived of basic human rights.

          and In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:

          The worst thing we can do is blow it off and say God will take care of this.

          yes it i…

          Sorry Tash, should take my own advice and be sure of my arguments and not use analogies! I thought that DNA could only be extracted from residue of soft tissue and body fluids. Please forgive a humble physicist!

        • In reply to #57 by Tash:

          we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???
          This topic is covered in one of the chapters in ‘God delusion’ and I searched the whole chapter for finding a reason for doing good things and I didn’t find it.

          Lets be honest with ourself. In a world where there are no consequences for our behaving then why should we behave morally ?
          In this world you only have to think about yourself and no one else.

          As an anti religious person I always considered myself as an atheist or agnostic but when it comes to this topic I can not accept the idea that everyone can do everything they like to do.

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            In reply to #57 by Tash:

            we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???

            Do someone a favour, the chances are they might do you one. Even altruism at least offers the potential of rewards, whereas mugging random strangers in the street probably does not.

            Most of us do (mostly) behave morally, whether or not we are religious. Lack of religion does not create anarchy and panic.

            My kids (5 and 7) might sometimes behave out of fear of “consequences” (I bloody well hope so) but I look forward to the time when they do what they do because it’s right, and not for any other reason. Especially not in the imbecilic hope of getting a celestial dog biscuit once they are dead.

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            In reply to #57 by Tash:

            we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???
            This topic is covered in one of the chapters in ‘God delusion’ and I searched the whole ch…

            These sorts of crimes are frequently committed by those who report to believe in an afterlife, in fact if statistics are to be believed, they’re committed in far greater numbers by those with a belief in an afterlife ( as in religious countries and more religious US states). Why are such criminals undeterred by the thought of eternity in hell? What thinking process is taking part in their mind while blissfully raping some young woman ( or girl)?

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            Lets be honest with ourself. In a world where there are no consequences for our behaving then why should we behave morally ? In this world you only have to think about yourself and no one else.

            As an anti religious person I always considered myself as an atheist or agnostic but when it comes to this topic I can not accept the idea that everyone can do everything they like to do.

            They can’t. That is why people live in communities which have laws which are enforced. There is however no evidence that those who believe in an after life are better behaved towards other people. Cults, cliques and jihadists are usually much more antisocial towards anyone dissenting from their views or their wishes. http://www.atheistmemebase.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/003-The-price-of-apostasy-650×493.jpg

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            In reply to #57 by Tash:

            we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???

            If you want to live in a world where good things happen to you, you need to be doing good things re others. I suggest you read up on secular ethics as it relates to social contracts and how groups working together make a better result by overall productivity than you are likely to get in a rat race zero sum game.

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            In reply to #57 by Tash:

            we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???
            This topic is covered in one of the chapters in ‘God delusion’ and I searched the whole ch…

            This is ridiculous. Of course there are consequences for behaving morally, just as there are consequences for staying alive. But the consequences aren’t “good people are always rewarded, bad people are always punished” by necessity, any more than trying to stay alive guarantees you don’t die. Accidents happen. People sometimes lose. Life can be unfair. The only reason it has some semblance of fairness in the first place is because we put an effort into making a society that is fair and just, and then enforce it.

            Your reasoning is sloppy. Just because people are physically capable of doing bad things and getting away with it, doesn’t mean the morality behind it suddenly evaporates. That’s like saying there are no rules to a game at all because it’s possible to lose at it, as opposed to saying that playing the game doesn’t guarantee a win. The losses can’t retroactively destroy the rules of the game.

          • In reply to #60 by mamad89:

            In reply to #57 by Tash:

            we should not look at the problem emotionally. Yes, human should not do good things because of its prize but when there is no consequence for doing good then why should they do it ???
            This topic is covered in one of the chapters in ‘God delusion’ and I searched the whole ch…

            Because we are social animals, of course there are consequences.

  26. In reply to #36 by Archaic Torso:

    Admittedly, my head is starting to spin after reading your comment but if I’m not mistaken did you not begin by offering proof of an afterlife and a little later go on to conclude by stating that you certainly don’t believe in either heaven or hell? What sort of afterlife do you have in mind I wonde…

    I have no idea what that afterlife would be. There are lots of things that we do not understand. for example a battery in a watch has no idea why it is supplying the energy for the system, but looking from above it is clear that the target of the watch is showing time.

    something like this is happening through our world. Our duty is living. I am not focusing on evil behaviors.
    I am talking about the value of ‘striving’, ‘having control in behavings’, ‘life management’ and etc. these are good things and there must be a difference between those who lay down on their bed all day and do not make a move and people who have complete motivation and control in their life.

    I agree with richard dawkins that says ‘men do not need police for behaving well’ but think of it as a different way …. suppose that you are stucked behind the red light and there is no police around. what would you do ? pass the red light or still wait? in this case because you know that there is a probability of occurring accident so you may still wait behind the red light. but in a case where the consequences are not clear what would we do ?
    lets be honest,,in this case there is no reason to to get stucked behind the red light so all of us would pass it. and think of a society where there is no consequences for any behavings. that society would become a jungle beacause everyone would always pass the red light.

    I am not saying that there is a god who is playing the role of police. I am saying that there must be some sort of consequences for our behavings in which the values I mentioned would effect it

    • In reply to #39 by mamad89:

      I am not saying that there is a god who is playing the role of police. I am saying that there must be some sort of consequences for our behavings in which the values I mentioned would effect it

      The universe has laws of physics, but these are not about looking after the personal interests of individual humans.

      There are consequences for defying these, as any one who walks off a cliff to defy gravity discovers.

  27. In reply to #30:
    WTF? Talk about pseudoscience. Your analogy is akin to saying since everything is made of atoms including people, when we die the atoms just rearrange themselves and aren’t destroyed. Therefore afterlife.
    Also more importantly “simply ignoring the afterlife cause there is no logical reason or evidence is not a wise choice.” is actually the wisest choice.

  28. I certainly do not believe in heaven or hell. but simply ignoring the afterlife cause there is no logical reason or evidence is not a wise choice.

    This is certainly a very irrational stance to take.

    Ignoring the possibility of an afterlife because there is no evidence for it is precisely what you should do. Otherwise there is no end to the things you can imagine that you could argue that you should believe in, despite there being no evidence for them. Santa claus, Little green men, Lord Xenu, the extant Illuminati, Thor, Midgard, the link between vaccines and autism, Nirvana or Yahweh.

    As for the conservationof energy, recycling atoms and that being some form of afterlife. I’m afraid itsimply doesn’t qualify as an ‘afterlife’, as it isn’t a continuation of ‘life’, or at least conciousness, as we regard it from a human perspective.

    Put it this way, you are not your body or the atoms that it’s comprised of, you are not even your brain, you are an extremey complex, abstract waveform, that exists in symbiosis with an organic vessel. Your atoms and molecules are constantly in flux, gaining new ones, losing old ones that have served their purpose. In the space of a few years, you will have a completely different body. You are riding a wave of constantly reforming molecules that make up your organic vessel. Your body is not distinct, it is a fluid that moves at too slow a rate to notice from day to day.

    What happens when every single atom in your body has been switched for a new one? Are you still you? Is the old you dead?
    Because if you consider whatever happens to your deceased body after you die as your afterlife, then you have already experienced a couple ‘afterlifes’, depending on your age.

  29. I am not saying that there is a god who is playing the role of police. I am saying that there must be some sort of consequences for our behavings in which the values I mentioned would effect

    Just because you desire for such a force or process to exist, or that civility requires it, does not mean that this force or process MUST exist.

    We all desire oxygen to breath, we all require it, but that does not mean oxygen will exist wherever we go.
    There will come a time when some people will be devoid of oxygen and suffocate, just as there will be a time for all of us when we exit the realms of fairness and justice, which exist only through our creation within civil societies.

    • in reply to all comments

    Okay , no afterlife, no justice,, then why we are living ?, what is the point in it while you can sleep on your bed and wait until you go to nothingland ? what is the point in swimming when you certainly know you are gonna drown anyway ?

    • In reply to #53 by mamad89:

      in reply to all comments

      Okay , no afterlife, no justice,, then why we are living ?, what is the point in it while you can sleep on your bed and wait until you go to nothingland ? what is the point in swimming when you certainly know you are gonna drown anyway ?

      When you know that this life is all there is, why would you waste a single second of it?

      If the afterlife is going to be so great, why hang around here?

  30. In reply to #53 by mamad89:

    in reply to all comments

    Okay , no afterlife, no justice,, then why we are living ?, what is the point in it while you can sleep on your bed and wait until you go to nothingland ? what is the point in swimming when you certainly know you are gonna drown anyway ?

    Your comment really highlights the mind set of the people who most need theism and will fight the hardest to retain it in spite of any rational arguments. The world frightens and depresses you (it does the same to me sometimes) but the only answer you have is to deny that the world is the way it is and to embrace lies that make you feel better. i disagree with Dawkins on some issues but when he said on The Daily Show the other night that we should stop thinking of faith as something to be praised I agreed completely. Because when you strip away the rhetoric that is all faith really is, believing lies that make people feel better.

    As I said in my first comment if you really care about justice you don’t just make up stories about how things will all turn out fine after your death. If you really care about justice you admit that things suck and you commit to doing something to make them suck a little less. But doing that can be hard and frustrating and for many people embracing the lies is just too tempting and they will never give it up.

    Sorry, though I didn’t answer your question. Why even bother? I bother because in spite of all the things that suck there are a lot of beautiful and brilliant things and people as well. I focus on experiencing as much of that as I can while also doing as much as I can to actually do something about that justice problem you say you care about. Not that I’m the next MLK or anything but I feel some satisfaction even from the little bit that I try to contribute back.

  31. Okay, no afterlife, no justice then why we are living ? what is the point in it while you can sleep on your bed and wait until you go to nothingland ? what is the point in swimming when you certainly know you are gonna drown anyway ?

    Why does there have to be an all encompassing purpose to life?
    I understand this lack of purpose can be a bit distressing to some people, but it’ll be much better when you come to the conclusion that there doesn’t need to be a given purpose. We create our own reasons to live, and we should feel lucky to be alive even for the brief moment in time that we have.

    Picture this scenario.
    A young prince, or princess, has been brought up spoilt, and has been told all their childhood that they will forever live in luxury, with servants to do their bidding. Then one day when they’re reaching adulthood it comes to light that their entire life was a farce, the family’s finances are in jeopardy, they’re going to lose the monarchy and have to begin to live a more modest life.
    This revelation, to a spoilt child who has known nothng else, will be more than life changing, it wil be utterly distressing, and if they’re particularly emotionally immature or greedy, they will fight tooth and nail to keep their riches, no matter how futile.

    This is a similar situation to people who have been brought up under the assumption that there is an afterlife, or that there is a grand scheme that brings order to the universe. It is unecessary wishful thinking that can never be actualised, and confronting it causes a lot of grief. But just because it causes grief doesn’t mean the outlook is as bad as it seems. the reaction is purely emotional, and like all emotions, is temporary.

    Coming to terms with a more modest reality is essential to living a more fulfilled life that isn’t subject to delusion. It’s not always easy, and you might not be ready for it yet, emotionally, and that’s fine, but when you are then hopefully my post will have helped you to some extent.

    From personal experience, I can say that this realisation comes with a greater respect for the universe and nature and the more important things in life, and a somewhat dimished fear of death and suffering.

  32. we have to achieve justice in this world otherwise we will never get it . we need justice , we have to fight for it now not to wait up to the afterlife . If you like some thing and hope to find it , it does not mean that this thing exists .

  33. The only justice system is the one we invent for ourselves and are prepared to enforce.

    In fairness to the authors of (now hopelessly outdated) “holy” books, a lot of what they were trying to do was just that: codify laws. For whatever reasons, they found it necessary to invent a supernatural enforcer as well.

    The world – the universe – has no automatic morality. I believe that some of the trillions of stars and planets are home to forms of life. And if they happen to live in the neighbourhood of a supernova, they’re extinct in a nanosecond.

    Tough. You’ve only got one life. Make the most of it. (You will enjoy it more if you choose not to be a rapist, murderer etc).

  34. I suppose that when facing the evidence that there is no divine justice, believing that there is one is sometimes the only way to make children instead of committing suicide. Just like keeping unexplainable hope when one should rationally admit that one is bound to live a violent, miserable and short life and would be better off shooting himself. Divine justice is the kind of idea that favours it’s own replication under harsh conditions.

  35. It may be that all moments of our lives exist eternally if one agrees with physicist Brian Greene’s interpretation of the theory of special relativity.

    The following quote is from his book “The Fabric of the Cosmos”:

    “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.”

  36. Lets be honest with ourself. In a world where there are no consequences for our behaving then why should we behave morally ? In this world you only have to think about yourself and no one else.

    Just because there are no cosmic, divine or 100% reliable consequences doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.

    We don’t jump off cliffs because there’s a high probability that it will kill us, just as we don’t murder, rape and steal because there’s a high probability that it will come back and bite us in the ass in the form of legal justice or revenge. This justice doesn’t have to be administered by the fabric of the universe to be real, to be man-made is just as good.

    Life is a series of risk assessments, and all possible risks are valid, they’re not made invalid just because their possibility is less than 100%. Some people will get away with it, and unfortunately life the universe and everything is not perfect, but just because some people get away with crimes, doesn’t mean the majority of consequences are invalidated. We still live our lives under the assumption that these consequences will affect us.

    When you ask why, it seems you’re asking rhetorically, as if you’ve already convinced yourself that only those who fear cosmic justice will be dissuaded from commiting these crimes. yet as others have pointed out, the reality is evidently the opposite of that. Atheistic and non-religious societies report the lowest levels of crime, those who claim to believe in the afterlife, countries with high levels of religious adherence, experience the highest levels of crime. And as has already been pointed out, if you believe in rewards after you die, why would you stick around? Why wait?

    When you don’t beleive in an afterlife or cosmic justice, you respect reality so much more, you understand this is your one shot at happiness, and you make the most of it, by trying to live in a just and fair society.

  37. There is definitely a justice system. It would be illogical for any human being to consider that virtue and vice should both meet the same fate. That regardless of our actions, everyone will end up in Heaven?

    The atheist seeks a world without death, sickness, senility, deficiencies, grief and suffering. I often wonder what exactly is it that they seek? It seems that they seek “absolute perfection”. Any human being who seeks such a world, there is one critical question that needs to be answered “What services have they rendered to humanity to deserve such a flawless paradise on earth?” Justice is but one element of the human personality. What about beauty, truth, selflessness. As one author said, “But for the hardships, all men would rule supreme”.

    The human being don’t live in a vacuum. It is part of a social order, which in turn is part of an organic system (plants, animals, etc). The organic system is part of the earth. The earth is part of a solar system. The solar system is part of our galaxy. The galaxy is part of our universe. When we look at the entire system as a whole, we find absolute justice and fine balance throughout, indicating that scientific reasoning is the same where ever you go. The night cant outstrip the day; the sun rotates in its own orbit, etc.

    If there is such justice and fine balance that permeates throughout our universe (through out all creation), surely it then beckons to ask the question “If there is justice throughout the universe and as human beings, we form part of this system, then surely there has to be justice at every level of existence”. Surely the Fashioner of such a mind-blowing justice system cannot overlook some of its creation and act in a step-fartherly fashion.

    • In reply to #70 by Saadiq:

      There is definitely a justice system.

      totally true

      Our part in this universe is to be human ,,, some of the aspects of humanity are thinking, striving, helping other humans, making mistakes, making love, feeling sadness, feeling happiness and etc. ,,,, when we do not play our part in this universe definitely there would be some differences between those who play their roles and us.

  38. Just world? The question is ambiguous. Individualistic level or collective level?

    If you look at the universe of which you are part of, you will find that there is a “Sense of Balance” where all creation exist in perfect harmony, complementing each other’s function. A “Sense of Balance” infers that there HAS to be a LAW somewhere that creates and maintains this “Balance”(fine balance), to make sure that one creation don’t exceed its limits more than the rest!

    Unless you can prove otherwise, all creations are subject to some form of “law” and none can deviate from it. The sun can’t decide tomorrow to stop shining and become a moon. Each creation is bound to obey some form of “Law”. It’s in its best interest. When creations don’t obey these laws, they cease to exist! For the human being it’s different. The obligation has been placed on the human being to “obey or not to obey”. It’s your choice!

    Consequently, there is a “Reign of Law” and not a “Reign of Magic” that permeates the universe. The word “Justice” has several elements that constitute its definition. One of the elements in terms of its definition is ADHERENCE TO SOME FORM OF LAW. Hence, my statement, “There is justice throughout the universe”.

  39. We should be kind to other people because they are human. For instance I recently accompanied my husband to the local accident centre. ER For Americans. A woman was trying to carry her 3 or 4 year old kid in the line for triage. So I offered her my seat and stood in line for her. I don’t need or want a reward in the ‘afterlife’ I got a very grateful smile. Who needs more, when it cost me nothing.. I was there anyway.

  40. Due to my family history, there is a high probability that I will face a slow death from dementia or cancer, in which case I will seek out the services of Dignitas, a Swiss physician-assisted suicide organization. Recently Dignitas has changed its policy of refusing applicants with dementia. Under the new protocol, people with early stage dementia can be accepted if they are sufficiently coherent to understand what they are doing and can answer certain questions. If everything falls into place and is ready, the patient is given a potion that must be self-administered. The potion consists of sugar water to slake the bitter taste, some ethanol and the active ingredient: fifteen grams of pentobarbital. Sleep follows in a few minutes and death in a half hour to an hour. Death is certain. There is no possibility of one’s surviving as a vegetable. One thousandth the dose of pentobarbital, fifteen milligrams, will produce a great night’s sleep.This is the way I plan to die if otherwise a slow, expensive and painful demise is indicated. Do I fear the afterlife? Somewhat. All people do to some extent whatever their beliefs. Do I fear hell? I don’t. Valhalla, paradise, heaven, hell are ancient superstitions common to most religions. I would like to believe, as many secularists do, that death is a permanent state of unconsciousness. However I think this view is wrong. To quote the paper “Death” which is hosted on Naturalism.org “By degrees, the reader is supposed to see that the notion of a blank or emptiness following death is incoherent, and that therefore we should not anticipate the end of experience when we die”. However when we die there can be no connection between our past lives and consciousness and any future lives or conscious states. That is a big problem for most who believe in an afterlife, which is almost universally viewed as an extension of one’s current life. There is little hope that we can use reason to determine what happens after death. Thus my last words after drinking the fatal elixir while I am a few minutes from eternity: “I’m dying to see what happens next, if anything”.

  41. The world – or rather the universe – is absolutely fair. It makes sure that everyone and every single part of it, will abide to its universal laws! And as far as we know, not ever since time, anyone or anything has broken any of these laws. Unfortunately for mankind, there are no universal laws regarding the things that you call ‘just’.

    But there is hope. The most severe causes of the miseries you talk about, are being challenged. By scientists and doctors who conquer diseases. By educators who conquer differences in our society.

    The ultimate miseries are, in my opinion, war, intolerance and ignorance. They are the ultimate barriers on the road to living life to the full. They induce fear, hunger, illness and death. Since these causes are the consequence of believing instead of knowing, most of them would immediately disappear in a world that is free of ideologies and religion.

    Don’t forget that virtually ALL wars are fought for the sake of religion and ideology.

  42. I think this is touching on one aspect of religion that I haven’t seen mentioned here. Religion as aspiration, as ambition. God as a work-in-progress, an outline of a sketch of an ideal. We may get ourselves a god one day, if we work on building it for long enough. Meanwhile, a human, fallible, but striving-to-be-fair justice system will have to do, as long as we don’t get complacent and let it be eroded or swept aside by what I am going to lump together as “the forces of evil”.

    The concept of karma is a human invention, one worth holding as a “nice idea”, if you will, or as a goal, a direction to head towards. Lots of human invention started – I surmise – with “wouldn’t it be nice if…” kind of imaginings. The fact that many people desire justice should be enough to set things rolling in that direction. If there are enough of them, and they desire it enough, they – we? – can make it happen.

    Well, you asked for an opinion.

    [Edit] sorry, just read the Terry Pratchett reference. He says it better.

  43. The idea of Karma might seem attractive at first look. However doesn’t it kinda imply that for example a young child with bone cancer really only got what it deserved? (or have i miss understood what karma means?) I find that hard to believe in. I don’t believe in an afterlife either, so therefore no ultimate justice.
    I will add that i personally find it very sad that some people will get away with doing evil things. It brings to mind a documentary i watched recently called “The Last Nazi’s” where they were hunting man “nickname Dr. Death” who had experimented on Jews in KZ camps.
    After escaping justice after the war he went on to live out the rest of his life luxury somewhere in south america.
    That a man like that would never answer for his crimes brings out feelings in me that are hard to describe.

    But the closest thing in my opinion we will come to this kind of justice, we will have to make ourselves. It might never be perfect but we should never stop trying.

  44. The Only Justice there is in the world is natural selection, Survival of the fittest. All Systems in world end up being Tested and put under extreme duress at one point or another – those who survive go on. Eventually the system of greed that perpetuates itself as Capitalism, will be Tested. When it fails as it’s currently in the process of doing, what we will be left with is what ever works the best. Care for your fellow man. You should only take what you need and can use, amassing wealth just to have wealth is a crime against humanity. The problem with money is that there’s always someone who needs it – otherwise it has no value, without the poor it’s a worthless system.

  45. Justice is a term that purports to describe the behavior of human beings organized into some specific society. I am unaware that the term has any possible connotation outside that. What is “justice’ between the worms, between the trees, between the stars? So I would say that to look for “justice” outside the reference frame of some particular society is a category mistake.

    God, there is so much confusion on these discussion boards.

  46. In reply to #30 by mamad89:

    I admit that my post was some sort of emotional but I can propose a logical and scientific reason for proving that there is a probability of afterlife existing.

    I am not a physicist and I do not know the details of relative physic but I know that we had a law called ‘conservation of energy’
    also we…

    Hi Mamad welcome to the fray! Couple of thoughts.
    First if you’re not a physicist I would avoid trying to use physics to prove your arguments – stick to things that you can back up robustly. Yes energy is conserved, but information isn’t. Try getting DNA from a fossil.

    You made the analogy of the universe being like a system. Remember that analogies often break down under even the most cursory inspection, and always break down as more detailed inspection is performed. Thus they are not models, but in my experience only useful for teaching scientific principles in part, or at a rudimentary level. This particular analogy is not suitable at all, in my opinion, as a system suggests purpose, design and creator.

    Justice in the universe comes with us,,and us alone. It is our responsibility.

  47. In reply to #57 by Tash:
    >

    In reply to #38 byOn a side note: In reply to #31 Zhap135 (Im sorry I don’t know how to do quotes here)

    Don’t we get allot of information about evolution from ancient fossil DNA? It may be difficult and I’m sure work is being done everyday to improve extraction techniques. So Zhap135 we are trying :)

    ~A Tash:
    >

    We can use reason to voice our opinions and support those who are being suppressed and deprived of basic human rights.

    and In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:

    The worst thing we can do is blow it off and say God will take care of this.

    yes it i…

    Sorry Tash, should take my own advice and be sure of my arguments and not use analogies! I thought that DNA could only be extracted from residue of soft tissue and body fluids. Please forgive a humble physicist!

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