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Mortal thoughts sared with my close family


kimblanchard

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Mortal Thoughts Occasioned by a Diagnosis of S.C. Lung Cancer

When I try and think about my forthcoming demise, I am baffled. Eventually my cancer will likely pop up in various places and I will be bedridden, and then, perhaps with the aid of painkillers, I’ll drift into a deep sleep and coma. What next? My consciousness, which over 72 years became aware of constant change, will no longer change. An entire universe will wink out. It’s too much for me to contemplate, not being aware, of not being. In my considerable experience I find I have always been.

In life nothing remains the same, even for a nanosecond. Everything we see or do is infinity more complex than seems apparent. My breakfast toast, for instance, was made from millions of grains of flour, which came from perhaps near as many grains of wheat. Each grain had its DNA, its history of sun and rain and butterflies in far flung fields over thousands of miles of North America and beyond. Then there is the number and genealogy of the yeast sacrificed to leaven the bread. Nuclear radiation from the decay of trillions of specific atoms formed in long dead stars and waiting billions of years till then, went into the electricity operating the toaster, helped by the fossilized and carbonized skeletons used in the coal fired part of the electric grid. Which little carboniferous bryophyte bathed in the Mesozoic sun to help brown my toast?

Pearly Gates and harps and we all will be re-united with our loved ones to live forever, are nice thoughts, but vulnerable to logic. Priests have been promising these things since Pharaoh built his pyramid, and they have made a good living doing it for millennia. We all desperately want heaven to be true, but why should it be ?

Contemplation of the world suggests heaven may be just too good to be real. Observe, a profligate waste of life is constantly occurring. Billions and trillions of unique and beautiful plants and animals are thrown away every winter. A constant cruel slaughter of creatures by disease or for food suggests individuals are not often conserved. The physical laws of nature appear to be the only rules that are constantly enforced and they are not essentially kind or moral.

If one has faith, any religion will serve, but all of them are silent or erroneous in explaining facts of nature. Were religions contrived by men with limited knowledge and are thus simplistic in their stories of firmaments and floods and creation? The Christians and Jews view heaven as a “firmament” dividing waters and the Moslems as a fabric that can be torn. Divinely written texts should have accurate astronomy if they are Devin.

In Book VIII of the Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, ruler of the wold, noted around AD 170, that there was no reason to fear being dead. If you experience an afterlife you will not be dead, if there is no afterlife you will no longer be aware of any evil. I remember no evil from before my birth, but that was before I existed. My life has caused effects and projects back in time. Are those years frozen in the dimension of time like grooves on a recording that has been played?

When one is in a very deep sleep or unconscious, time passes swiftly. The billions of years preceding my birth passed and went by unnoticed. A few billion years hence, as our exploding sun vaporizes the earth and all it contains, will my soul be bothered?

The only satisfactory and logical answer I can discover as to what happens to me after death, is that of oblivion. Once anything passes by in time, it is gone. If there were a heaven, it would be like the Rock Candy Mountain, cloying within a few centuries. If my personality and memory were not changed in heaven, I would be less than happy, as I have been much of the time in this world. If I am altered enough to be ‘high’ on harp music am I the soul of Dan? I leave a glimmer of hope for my undying ego, in that I think, in such a complex universe, many strange things may be possible. Dying is the last big adventure, but if there is no afterlife, I’ll never miss it.

Dan

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Mr Berry:

There is a lot for me to think about here. And think, I will do. Been doing a lot of that lately.

Maybe you already know, but English is one of the only, if not the only language wherein the first person singular pronoun is always capitalized. Our egos may be larger than those of other cultures, but I think it is human for us to leave room for our egoes in the whole mystery of things. Thank-you for your post.

Elaine

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Dan,

Ah yes. The “logic trap”. Something can not be seen, labeled, measured and quantified so, therefore, cannot exist. Deductive logic becomes an endless circle proving nothing except unto itself. The “philosophy” of science. GAK!

Dan, those who try to prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or an afterlife or a heaven (or hell for that matter) using logic alone will always come up short. You could just as easily use the very same data you did to prove that an afterlife MUST EXIST as to prove it can not. The reason for this is obvious. You are trying to use the logic of this existence to prove or disprove something that is BY DEFINITION completely outside the parameters we are forced to live by. It would be like trying to prove or disprove the existence of a hawk (if one had never seen one and only been told about one by others) by studying the properties of an orange.

Here’s a thought as an example: Given the complexity you describe in your example of the toast you ate. Is it logical to think that all those necessary events occurred simply out of chance? Take it further. Consider human beings. Is it “logical” to assume that the steps necessary to create such a complex organism arose from some roll of the cosmic dice? To assume that just the right pieces of stellar flotsam and jetsam just happened to meet at just the right time and at just the right place to begin a cycle that led, eventually, to the mind that looked upon his world and wrote e=mC2? Logic can not explain it. Logic says, in fact, that human beings should NOT exist. When looked at with respect to the universe and with respect to the number of complex situations that must exist at exactly the right time and in exactly the right amount the fact of that face looking back at me in the mirror each morning becomes a statistical (and logical) impossibility. And yet, when I look in that mirror, there I am. The fact of my existence is presented to me each morning, logic or no.

So, since you (or I) can not use logic to prove even our OWN existence, how then can we even contemplate using it to try to prove or disprove the existence of a supreme being? Or an afterlife?

Logic is a wonderful tool. Given verifiable facts logic can be used to make fairly accurate assumptions concerning the whole. But ONLY “fairly accurate assumptions”. Not proof. Logic was not meant to “prove” anything.

Dean

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Ahhh Dan.....your prophetic picture of life after cancer is moving...but it also has a ring of sadness and possibly despair.. I'm also a victim of anxiety and depression and I feel your pain. If you're asking if there's a real place for us to go....who knows?? What's the difference anway?? If there's a physician you feel comfortable with....please request an antidepressant....this road is so hard to follow that it's almost impossible to do it alone. I'm so sorry you don't have your wife to lean on Dan.....being alone with cancer must be overwhelming. Depression's nothing to be ashamed of....it's just another bridge to cross. This member list will help to keep you grounded Dan. So many of us are feeling your thoughts and can relate to the pressures. I'm relatively new here...but I can tell you that you have landed in the right place for help. Keep feeling and sharing....you'll be better for it.

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Dan , you sound so sad. I am pleased that you do say that you still have "a glimmer of hope". Please know that I believe you are truly cherished and loved. Search for this love. Love is the only thing that is truely important. We were so loved that we were given freedom to make choices. We are so loved that if we just ask, we are given strength. In the end of this life on earth only love will survive,and if you live in love you will survive to be with Love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

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Dan, I'm so glad you have felt you could share your private thoughts here. How beautifully written.

I hope you won't take offense in my thoughts on this. I believe whatever truth is contained in sacred writings concerning Heaven, Hell, and the creation of earth and humanity have to be non-specific. Can you picture giving primitive man a discourse on physics? :lol::lol::lol:

I also believe that if our "scientific" knowledge continues to advance, we may someday "find" God in a way science will accept. Just because we currently lack the science to explain God and Heaven doesn't preclude its existence, any more than x-rays failed to exist before the Curies. There are many forces, abilities, and creatures we have only recently come to understand in the course of human history. They existed before we understood them.

I must admit, this concept seems very simple and basic to me in part because I had several precognitive dreams as a child (please don't laugh). None of them were about anything really important - the best example was dreaming about a house with red-and-black shag carpet.

Some time later, we were helping my aunt move into her new house. While sitting on a packing box, I noticed red-and-black shag carpeting on the stairs. For a moment, I wondered where I'd seen it before. Then I suddenly said "I've been here before". The family looked at me like I was nuts (I was about 8 at the time). They explained I had never seen the house before. I told them I had dreamed about it, and then told them the layout of the entire house from where I sat, including details such as the colors in the bathroom, which bedroom would be given to each child, and where the washer and dryer were going in the basement.

Creepy, in a way. And not at all useful. And I have no idea how or why it happened. But it did. And because I have personally experienced something science claims does not exist, I have no problems with faith in God despite lack of "evidence".

I consider myself Christian, but am probably more liberal about my faith than most.

Dan, I hope you do not despair. You have good company here, and I hope you write more, and often.

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Dan,

I have spent the majority of my life in institutes of higher learning. Because of which, there was a portion of my life in which I also questioned faith and religion. I bought into the Karl Marx theory of religion being the opiate of the masses. I had thoughts that religion was a nice story devised by primitive civilizations to explain the mysteries and uncertainty of the world around them. It might have been a means to pacify and subdue populations. I even theorized that religion was something that was psychologically necessary to face our daily decay and eventual mortality.

I've been on the logical plane, and there was one scientific principle that helped explain it all for me....

I realized there was supreme justice and a higher power because of the First Law of Thermodynamics.

"The law of the conservation of energy" or "The First Law of Thermodynamics" says that in a closed system the total energy remains the same. Energy does not disappear or appear. This law is considered the most powerful and most fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make. No one knows why energy is conserved [wrote Asimov – but since he wasn't a Christian, of course he didn't know!], and no one can be completely sure it is truly conserved everywhere in the universe and under all conditions. All that anyone can say is that in over a century and a quarter of careful measurement scientists have never been able to point to a definite violation of energy conservation, either in the familiar everyday surroundings about us, or in the heavens above or in the atoms within. Just as money can pass from one person to another, so energy can change from one form to another, but the total energy remains the same. There are some kinds of energy you can see with your eyes, and some kinds you can't see – but the energy is there all the same. The energy of something moving, like a river running downwards, is called kinetic energy – and you can see this kind of energy. But you can't see the energy inside of a battery, although it's there all the time and you can get it out by plugging the battery into something. That's called potential energy.

Because of this Scientifically accepted law, I have come to accept that there must be life and existance after that which I know now. My life, my energy will never die out. Science has promised me that. The Bible says the same thing but in a different voice. My life's energy will go on, but change forms and exist on a different level. This to me is an example of God's justice and creation.

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Oh, GOODIE, now I have a face to put with the twists that can keep me up at night... I wonder often about where I'll "go" when I die. I've studied many things in my life, different views on dying, Heaven and Hell. Read books and THE Book and my very being argues back that all were written by LIVE people, not someone who has died...

..and then, one day my grandmother told me a story. See, my gramma is NOT the soft-spoken, cookies and milk Norman Rockwell woman. She is someone who had a long hard life early on and "dealt" with it. She does not dwell on the past, but remembers it. Her story was of a buggy ride with her mother and younger sister during a bad storm and how lightning hit the bridge they were on and traveled through the trio of women. My great-grandmother had burns from her iron corset after that day....and my grandmother? Well, the rain went away, it was bright and there was a train... And on the train were relatives that had passed and they were all telling her to "Go back, it wasn't her time yet".

My grandfather (her husband) died last year. Grampa and I were close, I was his favorite, and he's always been my favorite person in the whole world. He was a gentle soul, not a religious man, but a Godly man. He LIVED the Word, he didn't preach it - leading by example. For my husband's birthday last year, I made an appointment with a medium. I was not sure I believed in the whole process, but try to keep an open mind. We went to contact hubby's relatives, but the first "person" in line was my grampa, with messages for me. Far too much information was shared for it to have been a hoax, and my grampa told me he comes to me in my dreams - and he has.

From the "old folks", I have learned that there IS something more. I have no explanation for it, I just KNOW it's there. I still have the doubts, the "logic" takes over and I get lost...and then I remember.

Mr. Berry, just keep an open mind. Don't let "logic" rule your thoughts. Anything is possible, ANYTHING.

Take care,

Becky

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Dan,

When it truly is my time, I look forward to crossing from this plane into the next, because I believe.... I have faith that there is something on the other side.

I am a biochemist by training, and spent too much time in the halls of logic. It took almost losing my life to cancer to find my humanity, and my faith.

I have worries, too, and parents who are elderly, no siblings, no close family, and children who have not yet reached the age of majority. I don't have any one close to me either. An ex-spouse whose life will be simpler without me.

My concerns are that I will be lingering and unable to support myself, and find myself on a charity ward someplace. I have faith that I'll deal with that if it happens.

I get up in the morning glad to be alive to see the dawn of a new day. On my cupboard I have a poem, called I'm drinking from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed. and I have faith, to worry about my fears as they happen and not before.

So much of life is what you make of it. I'm truly sorry you lost your wife. I know you miss her. You were fortunate to have someone to love like that.

You have family here, as the messages show. Perhaps you are new enough you've missed Ry's pleas to make sure someone has your number in case you drop out of sight, so someone can call and see if you are okay. I think it is a good idea, as too many of our number have simply stopped signing in, leaving us to think the worst.

You, and all the board, are in my prayers .

XOXOXOX

MaryAnn

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How I've enjoyed this string of posts . . . quite thought-provoking, to say the least.

I'd like to recommend a book to everyone on this board, but it might be of particular interest to those of you interested in this subject. It's "Final Gifts - Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying" by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. When I told an acquaintance recently about my brother's diagnosis, she insisted that I go out - that day - and buy the book and that all members of my family, including T-Bone, should read it. The two authors are hospice nurses who deal with the very sick each and every day, and teach us through their writing how we can learn to communicate better with those individuals and subsequently make all our lives more peaceful. And for those of you battling the disease and facing the inevitable, the books' explanations of exactly what you can expect - physically, emotionally, etc. - should prove comforting.

"Final Gifts" is not a religious book, and I'll admit that I would read for a while, then have to put it aside for a while, as it sometimes became too painful and heart-wrenching to read. But the knowledge I derived is more than worth it. Personally, I plan to read the book periodically, as I think there will always be something I can learn from it.

Blessings to you all,

TeeTaa

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Dan.

There is one constant.

God never changes.

"I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6)

Lets say you are a brilliant man -- (which by the way you do appear very bright)... let's say with all your knowledge-- you know 10% of everything there is to possibly know.... (I think thats more than fair.... even Einstien would be proud of that!)

Now, lets say God exists in the OTHER 90% of what you do NOT know.

would you agree that is possible?

You see, I believe, God reveals Himself to those that believe in Him...

We as humans are not capable of understanding His glory or purposes on our own, only through the Holy Spirit is that possible. . Additionally, what we call science, and the laws of nature... He created.

Your reference to the idea of diminishing life & decay- ("profligate waste of life is constant") (in the physical Universe) IS biblical. You see, this is what I believe.......we live in a fallen world. This decay is the result of our rebellion. Just as there are Physical laws, there is a perfect Moral law as well. We as humans, try as we may, cannot acheive obedience to the moral law. No, no "mere" man has ever succeeded.

Yet, we are subject under that law. (That is; prior to Christ). A perfectly just God, has to render consequences for the breaking of the moral law (the 10 commandments). Being perfect He cannot tolerate sin.

No "man" succeeded in fullfilling the moral law --until Christ that is - He was without "spot or blemish". Which means- since He was born of the holy spirit, He did not have Adams seed (spot), and since He led a perfectly sinless life He was without blemish. You see it was custom unde the "law" for the Jewish people to sacrifice a lamb with out "spot" or "blemish" in attoinment for their sins... (that is why when John the baptist first saw Jesus he stated "Behold ! the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world".

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ (the Creator in the flesh) made for us all on the cross almost 2000 years ago, cleansed us of our sin (as far as the east is from the west) so long as we believe in His diety and sacrifce in our hearts.

He makes the rules, not us humans.....His ways are not our ways, and He rewards true FAITH.

Anyway you slice it everyone has beliefs. ....either in some theory of evolution (which IS a RELIGION by the way) or in a structured set of Spiritual beliefs.

Thats the way we are wired, our purpose here is to know and worship Him, our Creator......In fact even people who never adopt a structured spiritual doctrine, will worship something -

ITS THE WAY WE ARE WIRED -- whether it be cars, or money, or drugs, or alcohol, or sex, or knowledge, or food, or excercise, or our spouse, or... (well you get the picture) WE ALL WORSHIP SOMETHING-- false idolotry runs abound especially in the good old USA. If you put anything above God, you are breaking the first commandment- "thou shall have No other gods before me"

As Dean said.. the odds of human existence by chance from evolution (or from from "nothing" " (ha! thats an absurd statement) are non-existent- but PEOPLE BELIEVE it !!!

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" Romans 1:22

Fact of the matter is we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God. The good news is, that Jesus sacrifice of the cross was the perfect marriage of the law & God's grace. He paid the price for you, for me, for us all.....

Say what you will about Jesus Christ, but please don't call Him a "good man", or a "prophet".. In the words of CS Lewis.. Christ is either 1) a lunatic (He claimed to be God), 2) a liar , or 3) The prophesized Messiah, the Son of the Living God-- as He claimed.

He can only be one of these three. you Pick. I choose #3.

Faith is just exactly that.... it requires a heart that accepts that humans do not have all the answers and trust the Creator to provide the path....

Finally.. here are the conclusions of two brilliant minds after years of defending atheisim

Sir Fred Hoyle, the man who named the "Big Bang" theory, considered to beone of the greatest biologists in this century has written the following,

"Precious little in the way of biochemical evolution could have happened

on the earth. If one counts the number of trial assemblies of amino acids

that are needed to give rise to the enzymes, the probability of their

discovery by random shufflings turn out to be 'less' than 1 in 10 to the

400,000th power" (That's the number One followed by 400,000 zeros).

Hoyle has recently concluded that the origin of life by chance is an

absurd idea. In his book, "Evolution From Space", Hoyle insists that it is

obvious that the complexity of life demands an intelligent designer, Again

quoting Hoyle: "Once we see, however, that the probability of life

originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd, it

becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics on

which life depends are in every respect deliberate. ... It is therefore

almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect... higher intelligences... even to the limit of God... such a theory is so

obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being

self-evident."(6)

The Nobel laureate Dr. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA), in his book,

"Life Itself", insists that the probability of life's chance origin simply

defies calculation. Crick, an atheist, says:"What is so frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible to give any

numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather unlikely

sequence of events... An honest man, armed with all the knowledge

available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of

life appears at the moment to be...a miracle."(7)

The THEORY of Evilution is like stating the impossibility that a frog can

turn into a Prince. Yet when added the concept of " billions of years " of

evolution over time. Suddenly this ludicrous absurdity becomes

"scientifically credible" ?

I don't have that kinda blind faith!

In the classroom they call that "science"...in Real Life we call that a Fairy Tale!

DESIGN SPEAKS OF A DESIGNER....AND CREATION SPEAKS OF A CREATOR,.. !

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Joe,

I don't know how to begin to respond. I always find it strange for people to try to convince others that the Bible is is true by quoting the Bible. My faith is a bit confused and complicated and I wish I really knew what will happen to me when this body no longer works. But I will say this: The Theory of Evolution is a bit more complicated than saying that a frog can turn into a prince--which is apparently not impossible since with God all things are possible. I happen to find the Theory of Evolution (more than what little is to be found in high school biology textbooks) to be compelling and very interesting. The low probabilities you mention are not overwhelming to me when you consider how huge the universe is. I guess my point is this--call it a religion if you like; disagree if you like; but if you are going to call it a "ludicrous absurdity" you don't get to be offended when people criticize your religious beliefs.

Becky

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I see that, but YOU posted it as part of your argument. I wasn't trying to attack you and I didn't really feel personally attacked on this one; I am a bit sensitive on this issue in this political season. Life is short and precious. I think religion helps us make sense of the world and gives us comfort in times of trouble and has many valuable aspects to it. I think it is a real negative of religion these days that so much energy is devoted to telling other people that they are wrong.

Becky

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Dan:

Reading all these posts inspired me to share a special moment of my dad's passing. Nobody in my immediate family has ever had any "experiences" during a loved ones' time of death. My mom especially doubted or questioned other stories. My mom had an experience recently during my dad's passing and we think it's the exact moment he was passing on to a better place.

My dad had a rough Saturday evening before he died -- miserable, but not in pain. His cancer was shutting down his windpipe and that gave him discomfort. He finally asked why was it taking so long and when were "they" going to come and get him? We don't know who "they" were, but after his discomfort, we kept him sedated and at peace until the end. When his vitals had been poor for some time, we decided we would let the nurses move him in bed, clean him and make him more comfortable. Prior to that, we wouldn't allow anyone to disturb him due to his discomfort. Right before the nurses asked us to leave the room, my mom heard loud music in her ears -- really loud, but no song in particular. She thought she was losing her mind -- tv wasn't on and no other noises in room. She heard instruments -- fiddle, mandolin and guitar all at the same time. This noise left when we walked out of my dad's room. Guess what? My dad was a talented fiddle, mandolin and guitar player.

After coming back in the room, my dad's respirations returned to normal, so did his color and his sleep apnea also was gone. He remained that way until close to the end of his life.

My mom didn't share this with us until after his death that Monday morning and we strongly feel that this was his last communication with us while he was passing through. It made us believe that he somehow had gone on to a better place.

Not very scientific or logical, but a wonderful experience that I wanted to share.

An army helicopter also circled over during his burial -- not an Army base or airport for miles! We don't know why it was there, but my dad took helicopter training while he was in the service -- just coincidence?

I hope you find peace in the fact that your existence here means a lot and I'm sure you have done some wonderful things!

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What an interesting and thought-provoking thread! Thank you for your profound thoughts, Dan. I hope you find peace. I have no proof that there is a God, whomever or whatever God is. I do have proof that believing in a God makes life better for people, myself included.

Perhaps it is a fantasy to believe that praying makes a difference or that the dead can hear me when I thank them for their contributions to my life. Maybe my father doesn't know how much I miss him; maybe his brilliant consciousness is lost forever.

But ,given that saying good night to Dad nearly every night for the past 6 years since he died has comforted me and made me smile, and given that there seem to be hints all around us of another realm after this one, and given that people all over the world throughout time have been inspired to create markedly similar religious tales, it seems to me that not believing in the spiritual merely because we have no proof of its existence is pretty risky. We risk missing out on the joy of believing our great-grandparents are proud of our accomplishments. We risk losing the hope we get from praying for a sick friend. We risk ignoring the wisdom that seems to come from above when we just ask for it and listen closely.

What a tremendous loss it would be to believe in only what we have proof of! Too much that just might be real would be disregarded. The risk of being utterly wrong, if there is no spiritual realm, no God, no way to communicate with those who have died before us, is only that of pride, of being proven wrong or ridiculed for believing in something unverifiable.

My beliefs are not objectively verifiable, but they do work. They help me to go on when I'm discouraged, to do the right thing when I've contemplated doing the wrong thing, and to connect with others who find comfort in similar beliefs.

I hope that everyone finds their own beliefs to sustain them and give them hope and meaning when they need it most.

Best wishes to all, Teresa

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One can only believe what one wants to believe.

I just buried the love of my life and I know he will be waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge so we can enter the Promise Land together. He left me the piece of paper I found in his desk regarding Rainbow Bridge. I couldn't believe I found it for I had no idea he had kept it.

I had to change the filters in the water system we have here in our home the other day. For three tries, I could not get it to go back on without leaking. Finally I called out to God and Buddy saying "one of you must help me for I cannot do this alone". The next try it worked. Today, I had to fix the toilet and broke a part trying. I called out again to Buddy, telling him he left before me so now he must take care of me. He had to help me fix the toilet. My next try worked. I thanked him and blew a kiss.

Don't tell me there is not something after death......

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Becky,

I agree I think Religion creates all kinds issues... BUT there is a huge difference between "religion" and "spirituality" ... I for one consider myself spiritual, not religious......

I, and others like me are considered bible believing Christians....the majority of religious orders of the world are, in my opinion, not doctrinally correct in a lot of ways (when applying the text of the bible as the basis for belief)

You do have the freedom to believe in what you desire to believe in... included the theory of evolution. However, evolution is accepted by many as science... I am just pointing out that it is a theory, [not science. Science is the consistent and statistically significant replication or reproducable cause & effect. Neither Creationism nor Evolution can be proven -- they are theories and should be taught as such to our children.

I am not impying you are wrong. I am just very firm and committed to my set of beliefs....

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Hi

Thanks for all the good wishes and sympathy.

Cosmologists now speak of infinite parallel universes and dark matter and singularities where the laws of physics cease to exist. The universe as described by science is strange and vast indeed.

Meandering thoughts about final termination have entered into my mind many times. What if we all live the same life over again in an endless cycle, and that is why we seem to know things in advance? What if this life is just a dream or an entertainment, like a movie, and we will wake up in another universe? What if every one gets recycled into another body after death, but this is our first cycle and no one is allowed to tell us yet. What about the possibility that the Buddhists and Hindus are right, and we are reincarnated as a lower animal? Probably many more people believe in reincarnation than believe that all death and human mortality are the result of a snake talking a woman into eating an apple in Eden.

My brother used to believe that there must be a conservation of life force or spirit analogous to the conservation of energy. He wanted to believe that. We never discussed black holes eating energy out of existence or expanding entropy. The third law of thermodynamics says you can only get the energy completely out of a closed system at absolute zero, and you cannot attain absolute zero. That is energy however not human personality, and ergs that inhabited his body are still somewhere, perhaps some radiating to the center of the galaxy, if they got past the Green House effect.

I can use inductive and deductive reasoning and logic or I can use imagination, intuition or even wishful thinking. With faith there is no need to think about the mechanics of eternity. People willing to blow themselves up show faith and have no doubt about paradise. Blind faith has, and continues to, cause severe conflict to nonbelievers. I’ve tried faith but I’m stuck with reason. Cogito ergo sum Dean. Being a scientist, I take some things on faith, like a necessary cause and effect relationship. I am agnostic not an atheist. I don’t think we can hope to prove infinite things. I am a pragmatist and I like to use Occam’s razor. That 14th century philosopher gets credit for saying “Show me why I should believe this”. If there is no reason or evidence to believe in heaven, why should I ?

When I think of my many dearly loved family members who have died, I want them to have joy and happiness. I don’t want them to suffer or be in anguish. I wish the same for me. Much thinking about what I feel I know, has prompted me to profess that a complete oblivion would be the elegant and kind way to end each life. No need for celestial Prozac, no problems of strained relations between multiple spouses, no eternal boredom, no sorrow no pain. Since everything I’ve seen suggests what is done is done, my current belief is that when the lights go out, it is forever. But as I said above, anything might be possible, and I’m hoping for something good. It is the last great adventure, but I’ll probably sleep through the whole thing

Dan

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