- Published on Saturday, 26 May 2012 06:32
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1233
According to the world's religions, there must be many billions of people who have died and now "live on" in an afterlife - heaven, paradise or even hell. Some religions think of them as spirits who cannot talk (no mouth), enjoy food (no body) or have sex…. Others think there is some form of body so they can enjoy bodily pleasures but that implies a very large place somewhere to accommodate all these bodies - so some religions (e.g. Christians as expressed in the Nicene creed) say that the body is only available after the "end of times" - that is, not now. Either way, we are told that these dead people do exist and they are connected in some way to this life - otherwise why pray to saints or ancestors? The explanation is that a human has both body and soul and that the soul includes the part of you that is your awareness and thoughts and the soul is immortal.
Souls are similar in some way to both angels (good) and evil spirits (demons and evil!) since these are supposed to be spirits like the human soul. If the soul is a real entity and lives on - doesn't die - then it must have some sort of activity - even if it's just knowing and thinking. Christians believe that spirits can "possess" other bodies - hence exorcisms and cures by evangelists when they cast out evil spirits. A few also believe that at least some séances are not fraud and that some psychics can communicate with the spirit world. But why so few?
If a few spirits (dead people) can connect with this physical world, why not all of them? Are they suddenly not interested? Does God only give permission to a few? Or is there a division between the spirit and material world that means we can talk to spirits (pray) but they cannot talk back? Why is communication just one way? They are supposed to know what we are doing, so why can't we know what they are doing? I guess as spirits, they suddenly have acquired powers not previously available but the new powers do not include making their presence felt!
You'd think that if there was a spirit world populated by billions of dead people that there would be some evidence of it. Perhaps lots of ghosts or voices in our heads or billions of unexplained things happening. If a spirit has additional powers, why not create a body for itself and come back and talk to us? It seems that God limits the powers of spirits other than himself. After all, he wouldn't want any interference in his "plan".
Spirits are not supposed to have bodies but that doesn't stop artists from giving them one (see picture at right). Demons are always ugly and meant to be terrifying. Yet they are less powerful than God - but only in a relative way. You'd think that god being omnipotent, he could just do away with them. Why not? Why have a battle? The story that God created angels and that devils are fallen angels implies an earlier version of the creation of humans that didn't work out. What? God screwed up? Did he do it again with us?
The more you think about the practical details of life after death, the more unlikely it seems to be. I asked a Christian about this once and got the answer: "As mere mortals, we can't understand the afterlife any more than we can understand God." Translation: "It doesn't make sense but I have Faith".