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Life After Death

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Atheist | 20:14 Sun 07th Mar 2021 | Religion & Spirituality
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I'm just reading 'Homo Deus' by Yuval Noah Harari (having read his earlier book, 'Sapiens'). In chapter 1 he states that nowhere in the Old Testament is there any reference to life after death; god simply set out the rules of obedience to, and worship of, himself, if the people wished to to avoid plagues, famines etc. It made me think that Jesus came up with a good idea in postulating a world where the masses (slaves for the most part) would be able to look forward to something better, even though their life experience (plagues, famines etc) told them that life was rubbish. The Jews were subjugated to the Romans and didn't have much in the way of prospects, and so a fair number of them were attracted to Jesus' new outlook, where all the pain and injustice of this world would be set right by God.
I realise that the Egyptians had an idea of an afterlife, although I suspect that it was reserved for the aristos.
What do OT fans think of this idea?

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If, as the theists on this site state, that the bible is literally the word of God, it's a bit strange that the very important message of life after death isn't mentioned in the old testament.
Christians would probably say that the references are there if you look hard enough. Well, this one seems to, anyway!
https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/is-there-an-expectation-of-eternal-life-in-the-old-testament.html
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Maybe god only tried the Jesus angle after his first attempt at threats had failed. If the stick doesn't work, then maybe the carrot will.
I would be interested if the Abrahamic religious ABers would give a view (after they've had time to google a bit.)
I have long thought that the idea of life after death was an invention that allowed the poorest in the world to be treated as lesser human beings as they would be rewarded after death...it plays into the hands of the wealthy perfectly ... who felt it ok to 'own ' slaves and pay their servants and factory workers etc a pittance. I was also wondering today why the assumption is that god is a man figure.....perhaps to keep women where they wanted them to be.....
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Interesting, Buen. Thank you.
Not religious at all, but firmly believe in life after death because of things that have happened during my lifetime and particularly since Dad died. I will never sway from this.
I think, although not an expert, that the Jews already had the concept of some kind of life after dying in this world...also while the Roman were the rulers, all jews were not slaves or poor. King Herod was a Jew, Caiaphas was Jewish, as was Jesus' cousin/uncle St Joseph of Arimathaea. Legend has it that he was a trader in tin ore which he bought in Cornwall. Some people also believe that he brought the young Jesus to England. Its the basis for the hymn "Jerusalem" At any rate, St Joseph was rich enough to own a cave grave.
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Woof, I imagine that the idea of life after death (and therefore some kind of justice in this world) could well have been around before Jesus. After all, I think that these ideas are man-derived, not God-derived. But I suspect that Jesus got lucky and gave those under the Roman boot an idea that caught on. I think that Nero found it interesting, but believed he was a god and so didn't take it too seriously; he instead used the Jews as convenient scapegoats whom he could blame for the burning of Rome. As for 'legend has it', well it's just legend. Of course not all Jews were poor, that's true.
The OT describes Samuel's after life experience - oblivion apparently with Samuel sounding a bit annoyed at being disturbed. It also relates that Elijah did not die but was taken directly to Heaven ("Swing low, sweet chariot!").
Elijah of the oddly shaped balls?
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Burly; a quarter of a century ago, while my 12 year old son was lying in a coma, and my wife and I were dossing down in a parents' room in the hospital, I had a vision of god; I was floating on a huge ocean and a being (like a vast whale) came up from the depths and brushed against me - a huge presence that was there but didn't care because it was too enormous to be interested in me, and which then descended back into the depths. I regard that as a result of a human mind in anguish conjuring up something. It was very real but didn't result in any tangible change in what was going on. Fascinating experience. Would you ever reveal what happened to you, especially since your dad died?
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Buen, the OT seems to have mentioned bones and bodies rising from their graves, but that's not quite the same as an afterlife where the righteous (what the heck does that mean!) being rewarded while the unrighteous go to suffer eternal punishment.
Atheist yes legend is neither here nor there but its a fact that there were rich and influential Jews and poor Romans. the trouble with your comment is that so much of the history of the area is legend.. story....supposition. The bible says that Joseph was a disciple of Jesus and implies that the tomb is owned by Joseph. There are also spices and linen provided which are not cheap....yes his role as a tin trader is not in the bible...I wonder where the belief arose?
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Woof, I think there's a fair amount of 'history' concerning the Jews and Romans, not just legend. I can see that Christian spreaders would push certain stories which suited their aim of gaining followers, but without historical evidence I don't think it's convincing. Anyway, I think it's accepted that there were rich Jews and poor Romans (give them bread and circuses to keep them happy) but the idea that Jesus came up with a successful message isn't dependent on whether or not Joseph of Aramathea existed.
Typical religious subjugation of the masses.
Atheist sure, but your original post suggested that it was a NEW idea that would work especially well on the Jews because they were subjugated and had no prospects. My contention is that neither of those ideas were correct because Jews could have good prospects under Roman rule and that the idea of life after this one was not new to the Jews.
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Woof, I think perhaps it was Jews in Rome, rather those in (now) Israel, and also many non-Jews; Paul (pka Saul the Christian hunter)worked hard to make converts and to impose his own spin on Jesus' message.
sorry, now you have lost me?
The oldest recognised religious burial found so far is over 100,000 years old, bodies covered in red ocher, and grave goods. I imagine they believed in some sort of an ‘after life’
way back then
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You can imagine, Steg, but can't be sure. It's amusing that ancient remains are often surmised by archaeologists to be linked with religious or ritual pratices or beliefs, with no evidence; written documents would make things clearer. What Harari said was that the OT didn't refer to life after death. Some of the posts above suggest that the OT did do just that. I must say that the whole concept of it seems difficult to swallow, especially references to corpses rising from graves and being reassembled in perfect form; that seems naive and raises questions about drowned people, burnt people eaten people, what age would the resurrected ones by given, would they want to eat etc?

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