The answer is we don’t know.
I don’t know. You don’t know. No one knows. That’s it. Off with you . . . [I figured that this title would draw some Bible-toting fundies to the site].
So you can all leave now. There’s nothing here to discuss. Go visit some other blog post. Have a nice long life, because at the end of your life, you’ll likely just be dead. You know, you’ll be
blooey, breathless, buried, cadaverous, checked out, cold, cut off, deceased, defunct, departed, done for, erased, expired, extinct, gone, inanimate, inert, late, lifeless, liquidated, mortified, no more, not existing, offed, passed away, perished, reposing, rubbed out, snuffed out, spiritless, stiff, unanimated, washed up and wasted.
There is no reason to think that any dead person has ever been aware of anything at all.
I’ll admit that it is possible that at the moment you die, your consciousness will continue. Maybe you’ll instantly be transported to the far side of the moon to ride a sparkly majestic merry-go-round after you’re dead, but there’s no evidence for that or any other version of continued sentience. The only evidence is that when you’re dead, you’re dead. There’s nothing more we can say about it. There’s no credible report that anyone has returned from the dead to say otherwise. You didn’t listen; I said “credible.”
. . . Oh, I see some of you are still hanging around because you can’t accept “I don’t know” for an answer. I once wrote a post for you guys. Well, try this. Just look in a mirror, take a deep breath and say it slowly: “I don’t know what it’s like to be dead.” [Bonus points for anyone who can say: “No one else knows either, even that angry guy who preaches on Sunday”].
Sorry, I don’t have the patience to listen to you telling me that you have been raised to read an old self-contradictory “sacred” book with it’s obscure claims that there is life after death. Don’t take things on faith! (where did we ever get the idea that taking things on faith was admirable?) Based on what we actually know, there’s simply no evidence of life after death (except for “shelf life,” which is the amount of time that passes before your corpse starts stinking).
Of course, you can fantasize that there is life after death. If you go to this site, you can even have some fun making your own epitaph. Or check out this incredible photo of a soul entering an embryo. But pretending any of these crazy things, doesn’t make any of them true.
Science has shown us that the brain is an important part of what enables humans to think. When the brain works, there can be thinking. When neurons die, there is less mental function. When the brain stops working entirely, there isn’t any thinking. Ask any neurologist. It’s that simple. Really, ask any neurologist, “Would I be different if you cut out my brain?” Neurologists will wonder whether you’ve already had your brain removed, to ask that question. Then they will tell you, “If we cut out your brain, you won’t have any thoughts at all. You won’t have any feelings at all. You won’t have any consciousness of anything.”
But now a few of you are still staying around to insist that thinking can happen without a brain and that there is no need for a brain in heaven? Really? Then why do all humans on Earth have brains? Why didn’t “The Creator” just make us with huge empty cavities in our skulls? If empty heads work in heaven, why can’t they work on earth? It seems like a monumental waste of effort to have filled billions of those cavities with what is arguably the most amazing structure in the universe, when nothing at all was necessary.
Or maybe I don’t understand your argument. Maybe you’re suggesting that when part of the brain dies, that dead part of the brain immediately transfers up to “heaven” to give some sort of mental continuity. It’s like a pre-ascension, where, in the case of stroke, the affected part of the stroke patient’s brain transfers up to heaven and waits for the rest of the body? Are you claiming that heaven is littered with partial brain chunks of millions of Alzheimer’s and stroke patients? None of this makes sense to me.
Truly, just remind yourself that before you were born, you had no brain, no body, no thought, and it wasn’t so bad. After you die, it will be exactly like that once again. You won’t know a thing or feel a thing. There won’t be pleasure or pain. You won’t care and you won’t care that you don’t care. This nothingness is nothing to be frightened of, except to the extent that you keep listening to those know-nothing preachers who keep telling you what it’s like to be dead, as though they knew.
Just take a deep breath and follow some version of the Golden Rule. Death will come soon enough, so make sure you make the most of your life here on Earth. That’s my advice.