A person who chooses to believe in eternal life or hope for eternal life is far more sensible than a person who chooses not to. A person who does not believe in eternal life but still gives birth to a child is the most deliberately evil of people.



  1. Could do, Trace. Perhaps reincarnationalists are even more evil because their kids could end up coming back as a slug. But on the other hand they are giving a chance for slugs in a previous life to move up the ladder to be born as human babies.

  2. Some reincarnationalists believe that a person is born into his or her own family line upon reincarnating, which is why many people pass down family names.

    For example, Joe himself is named for his maternal double-great grandfather, Joseph Frank Thelen.

    My middle name, Laureen, is the feminine form of my dad’s middle name, Lawrence. So I carry that name forward.

    So there’s that to consider as well. 🙂


  3. Hmmm. Are you saying that life is not worth living if there is no afterlife?

    Just wanting some clarification here. it’s not a rhetorical question.

  4. Yes, Ellie. That is my conclusion. I would love for someone to actually give me a logical reason why I am wrong. But nobody ever has. They either babble on about how wonderful life is (lucky them) or get very cross with me.

    And I will be completely honest with you. I personally would wish I had never been born if there is no eternal life. There have been some good bits, but they have not outweighed the suffering and the suffering to come is going to be even worse.

  5. If there is a Hell, is it still worthwhile? Does Sheol, as understand in some branches of Judaism, constitute an afterlife that would make this life worthwhile?

    Reincarnation, as understood by many now, also specifically does not include reincarnation of the personality or individual consciousness. I fail to understand why it is cruel or senseless to believe in the value of a life if the personality is not continued into some everlasting form. Most people I know – me included – don’t have a personality I’d want hanging around forever.

    You also have to be rather clear about the difference between “eternal” which does not necessarily include a time element, and “everlasting” which does.

    The largest problem there is we have no idea what it would be like to live in eternity. We have brief glimpses, but . . .

    I also note this They . . . babble on about how wonderful life is (lucky them). . . which would indicate that the value of life is completely subjective, which I would not argue. If that is the case, then there is no evil intent in someone who believes in no afterlife bringing children into this world, if they truly believe they are doing a good thing and gifting both child and world. In the same way, no logical answer could be given, other than that of subjectivity. Perhaps true value and quality of life can only be understand from a position of complete objectivity?

    And, all of this is coming from someone who does not find life a particularly joyful spree.

  6. But Mark, have you ever read the account of how the current Dalai Lama was discovered? Looking at that, there does seem to be something to be said for reincarnation of the personality or individual consciousness. Other very small children in Eastern countries like Tibet & Nepal, etc, have also indicated that they remember what might be called “past lives.”

  7. I don’t know if this helps at all, but the Viking has said that as long as there’s plenty of beer, sausage and redheads in this “eternal life” thing, he’s ok with it.

    While I tend to agree that the ugly parts of life outweigh the bright and good parts, Joe basically takes the attitude of “I’m going to keep on keepin’ on if only because my continued existence is a massive flipping of the bird to those who would see me crushed under a burden of helplessness and hoplelessness.”

    So yeah, perhaps life even without eternal life is worth it because there’s always *one wanker* out there who’d love nothing more than to see one overwhelmed with misery, and pissing that person off by continuing to exist is kinda awesome.

  8. Yes, I know that Buddhists are not the only people out there with a concept of reincarnation. Those happen to be the most frequent accounts I’ve come across where people have indicated they remember their past lives. Perhaps it is because their culture is more accepting of that kind of thing, whereas so very many people in the West seem to not trust that sort of thing at all. Our culture doesn’t seem to support ideas of reincarnation/past lives, etc.

  9. MP, I think I get what you are saying. You and I have been trying to have this conversation at my place. What comes up for me is that I don’t find any type of afterlife persuasive. One can argue with me back and forth on that, but I doubt I will change my mind simply because I don’t think it is real. That is one argument to have, whether or not afterlife is real or credible.

    The other argument is whether or not belief in afterlife is good or not. One might say that believing in it is better than not believing in it as to do so makes life tolerable or provides other benefits.

    I don’t think you can believe in it if you don’t think it is real. In medicine a placebo only works if the patient doesn’t know it is a placebo.

    The church seems to promote a belief in belief. The unstated argument goes, “We have a placebo thing going, don’t screw it up. It makes people feel good, it gives people hope, don’t take it away.” As a minister, I know that argument and I know the compassion behind it.

    I also know that it has become less credible for many people. Many people who in times past might have been church members are now into New Age things which I find to be placebos in newer wrappings.

    I make the case that religion primarily is not about afterlife but about helping people cope with this life.

    It may include afterlife, but must it? Is a belief in afterlife the best way to cope with the suffering of life or has it been the only way we have known?

    I personally believe that a religion of this world is a beautiful, meaningful thing, even in the midst of suffering. I know that one day I will enter an unconscious rest like the rest I had before I was born. Despite what may happen to me in this life, I have that rest coming. I have no fear of gods or hell or concern about doing certain things to get a better future incarnation or spot in heaven. It will be a full rest, an unconscious union with the Divine. With that confidence, I can say, “Yes, I can live another day. I didn’t ask for this day or this life, but I will treat it as an adventure. I will face my depression. I will notice something beautiful. I will kiss my wife. I will stand up for someone.”

    I do agree with you that we are headed for suffering on a massive scale due to energy, environmental, population, and energy crises.

    The church will help many people cope by offering the afterlife placebo. I have no idea how I will respond when I face severe personal crises. Maybe I will jump over to the afterlife thing, but I hope not. I hope I will stick with my religion and do what I can while I have breath.

  10. I like what John said.

    MP – are we talking afterlife like as in resurrection of the body which would suggest that my earthbound personality continues to exist (ad nauseum). That seems to be IMO where we drift towards placebo and control of the masses etc.

    However, to the extent that my body is the floating bowl containing the water that is my soul…drifting on the ocean and with my death the bowl dissolves and the waters mingle…that to me is still eternal “life.”

  11. OK, but…and I think this is where Christianity gets things a bit mixed up…bodily resurrection is not supposed to happen until the second coming of Christ, correct? we have all this talk about “going to Heaven” when we die…but isn’t the correct interpretation that we are sort of hanging out until the second coming? I never quite understood that…or do our souls go right to heaven and eventually with the second coming they will be reunited with our physical bodies?

    wv: flabdure (is that supposed to be some kind of joke? eternal life: your flab will endure…or flabdure for short)

  12. I play along with the “heaven” thing because the idea makes people happy. But I personally think that we die and the next thing we know we are resurrected in the kingdom. Like going to sleep, which is where “Rest in peace” comes from.

  13. That’s all well and good, MP. But I was asking what the dogma claims…I’ve never been able to understand how to reconcile the images of the Second Coming with the bodies rising up from their graves with the concept that you “die and go to heaven.” How have the theologians explained that in the past? Seriously…

  14. Yes, thank you, that was exactly what I was looking for…I didn’t realize the variety of interpretations. So your views coincide with the Anglican tradition…death, soul “sleep,” full bodily resurrection at the second coming and entrance into Heaven…

  15. So, I spend another 30 minutes over at my place trying to answer your questions and no response? You could say any one of the following:

    1. Thanks.
    2. You didn’t really answer the question again, but thanks for trying.
    3. You are wrong and mean to boot.
    4. I am no longer interested in this conversation
    5. Other…