There are many different religions.
Half the world's population follow Buddhism or Hinduism.
Of the remaining half, about 25 percent each of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The remaining eighth of the world population follow other religions, or no religion.
All religions preach righteousness. Usually, no reason is given why the spiritual entity or entities involved with that religion should want people to be righteous.
You are only told to be righteous, or be sorry later.
There are flaws in most or all religions.
For example, the Bible says that life appeared first on land, then in the ocean. However, scientific fact (radiocarbon-14 fossil dating process evidence) clearly proves beyond any doubt that life appeared first in the ocean.
Realisitically, one must draw upon fact, reasoning, and logic to some degree, at the first clear evidence that one's religion has the slightest obvious flaw or discrepancy.
Theory is theory, and fact is fact. Only a fool follows a theory when the facts disagree with it, when the choice between theory and fact has any significant results or impact.
One cannot know something beyond doubt when no evidence has been produced as fact to rest knowledge upon. Tales, legends, and stories of old do not fall into the category of fact.
In the Bible, it says that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt by God. If this has actually happened, the question arises why we don't see this going on ourselves.
Where is the pillar of salt museum? One would think that although most people knew better, every once in a while some idiot would screw up and get turned into a pillar of salt, and we would all see the tow truck hauling the pillar of salt off to the pillar of salt museum on the 6 o'clock news.
Still, even without this evidence, there are actually many people that will swear up and down they know beyond any doubt that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, because someone told them it happened.
Just because I figured out how to prove life after death, doesn't mean I would be the one to turn to for advice.
There is something I could point out that might not be immediately apparent, but I will not say I know it to be fact. If I did know it to be fact, I would not claim that I knew it to be so. I would claim that I believe I am correct about it, because of my experience so far, and because it is a logical conclusion that the facts seem to support.
It involves righteousness. No religion I am aware of (although I may be ignorant about some religions) tells anyone why God or the Gods demand righteousness from people.
I suspect I know the reason. At the very least, there is someone you care about. You care about your family, or your associates, or whoever.
If you came home and found some scumbag raping your wife, and there was a gun or a baseball bat handy, within seconds there would likely be a bloody pulp where the rapist's head had been. Most people would make a decent attempt at accomplishing this result with their fist.
When you die, what are the odds that you will lose all interest in your family, your friends, and your associates? Is it likely your feelings towards those you care about will change in any significant way?
I would say that the logical application of life after death would be that after you die, you become, at least in some ways and to some degree, a god yourself.
I would also say that if you cause pain and suffering to the descendants of the gods, that the gods will be at least as displeased with your actions as they would have been, had they still been alive.
Every night when you go to sleep and dream, you create a reality (based on a stage of gravity) and live in it.
I would say that after you die, one of two things will happen.
If you made the mistake of irritating the gods by causing pain and suffering to their freinds, interests, and descendants, then the gods decide which reality you ought to exist in, create it for you, and make you exist in it for awhile... perhaps a good long while, depending on how bad you irritated them, and how snide you were while you were doing it.
If you haven't made this mistake, then you get to decide which reality to create and exit in, and gain access to the memories of the spiritual world in addition to your own tiny little store of memories
If you did make the mistake, then you will get to decide for yourself which reality you want to create and exist in, after the gods have avenged themselves upon you to their satisfaction.
There is no direct evidence to prove this. One can only prove life after death, and the ability to create and exist in a reality based on gravity. There is no fact to indicate what happens after you die, but this is certainly one logical possibility, based on the application of the facts that do exist.
It follows. It makes sense. If no religions existed, and the proof of life after death and the knowledge of the ability to create and exist in a reality based on gravity were considered, it would be the most obvious and logical first explanation of what one could realistically expect to encounter after they died.
I thought about it, and considered that there may well be a good and progressive reason for spiritual punsihment.
The vast majority of people here on this planet turn to some religion, although there isn't a shred of hard evidence to verify any of these religions.
Why is this?
I suspect it is because most people recognize the existence of the spiritual world on some unconcious or subconcious level. They pick up on the reality, or attune to it in some way at this hidden level, without their concious mind being aware of it. This exposure would pattern their intuition (although not their instincts) to some degree, without their being aware that this had happened.
Surely there is some unknown mechanism that turns this vast majority of people towards some kind of religion. There is obviously something more going on than habit or custom, to make such a vast majority pay attention to that subject.
If this mechanism does exist, and the logical application of the facts strongly suggest that it does, then spiritual punishment would directly serve to a vast degree the interests of the gods, by improving the position of and reducing the suffering of their descendants.
Assuming the mechanism exists, if there were no spiritual punishment, then by the same linkage almost everyone would realize on the same subconcious level that they could damage or destroy anyone they wanted to, and there would be no consequenses unless they were caught in the act, regardless of what suffering they may have caused. Instead of the vast majority of the world's population turning towards a religion, the majority would turn away from religion.
As far as Jesus and being saved, or more specifically, being forgiven goes, I tend to suspect that the word forgiven may have been being used in a relative manner. Whether following Christianity is correct or not, I do not know. I do know that the six million Jews who died in World War Two did not go to some Hell because they could not properly pronounce the name of God.
My personal advice would be to follow Buddhism, or at least it's basic tenets. Jesus himself supposedly said that if you show some respect for God (or the Gods), and show some respect for other people, you would be doing everything you ever needed to do in terms of spiritual responsibility, and would know all you ever needed to know about what your reponsibilities are.
This is from the two most important rules in Matthew. It says that if you obey those two rules, you will have obeyed all the required rules. It is interesting that there is no mention of forgiveness or of being saved. Jesus is asked, 'what is important?', and tells the person who asked the question everything they ever needed to know about spiritual responsibility in three sentences.
Basically, according to Jesus in that passage, one could keep those two paragraphs, and throw away the rest of the Bible, and know everything you ever needed to know.
The Buddhists believe in two basic principles that my expereinces have indicated to me to be what is real.
They believe that their ancestors are some of the gods, which I believe to be correct.
They believe in karma and in reincarnation. That is, if you screw up spiritually, it comes back to you. If you screw up bad enough, the gods create a nasty little reality for you to exist in in the next life. I also believe that this is correct.
However, the Buddhists believe that you can screw up in the spiritual world, and cause the gods to impose further unpleasant reincarnations upon themselves. I have my doubts about this, and I say that this planet is one of the starting points. According to the Buddhists, we are all likely to be living a reincarnation of some past life now, and I have my doubts about that.
If you were being punished for something you did in some past life, you would know you were being punished. Other wise, the punishment would serve no useful purpose. If you hit a dog five minutes after it does something bad, the dog doesn't have a clue why you are punishing him. You have to catch the dog in the act, so he knows what the punishment is for, or the dog will never learn.
I say that after you die, if karma hasn't gotten even with you good enough for what suffering you might have been the direct cause of, then the gods will get you, and when that is done, that will be the end of it. After that, one goes directly to what the Buddhists call Nirvana, or what the Church calls Heaven. The Buddhists believe that it takes millions of incarnations to reach this, but I say they are mistaken.
Obviously, the gods would respect you more for attempting to figure things out as accurately as possible, than for blindly believing anything anyone tells you. I've done what I could with the facts, and the logical application of those facts. The rest, you'll have to figure out on your own...
Copyright 1998, Robert J. Nelson.
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