Monday, 28 January 2013

Two basic existential stances on the afterlife


The view that a belief in an afterlife devalues this world; that an eternal perspective makes for callousness: ignoring the sufferings of mortal life.  

The view that without belief in the afterlife any values ascribed to this world are arbitrary, contingent, subjective, labile, weak...  that only in the context of eternity does compassion make sense, that the sufferings of mortal life have significance because of, not in spite of, the afterlife.



The Crow said...

To know there is an afterlife expands what-is exponentially.
One may become aware that one is a part of life, and not the center of it, but becoming aware that there is something even bigger than life, to be a part of...
Souls are very small things.
Very, very small.

CorkyAgain said...

Whether or not there is an afterlife, I don't see how or why it should affect our values.

In a sense, an afterlife is nothing more than a prolonged life. If there is nothing transcendent grounding our values, the choices we make for ourselves in that prolonged life are just as meaningless, objectively speaking, as the ones we make for ourselves in our short time here on earth.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Corky - As a way into the matter; perhaps the value of the afterlife is seen more in the consequences of its denial?

Donald said...

Corky you express the same sentiment on this issue as William Lane Craig. He says that there are two necessary conditions for human life to be ultimately meaningful, purposeful and with value. One aspect is the immortality of the person (or afterlife). The other is what you identify as the transcendent or essentially G-d. See reasonable Faith chapter on absurdity of life without G-d for further discussion