What Do Deists Think Happens After We Die

NDEs Give Only the Briefest Windown into Life After Death

NDEs Give Only the Briefest Windown into Life After Death

As I stated yesterday when I blogged about whether deists believe in an afterlife, it is quite simply true that you will likely get a different answer from just about every deist you ask.  A few may say nothing happens at least from your perspective.  They may simply say your time passes and your body and energy are recycled, in a true mechanistic way.  Though many others, dare I say most deists believe that some part of us continues and that it happens in a way that can only be defined as a continuation of our individual existence.  That is what I believe.

As to what it might be like, I have to start out with the only honest answer anyone can truly give; I don’t know what it will be like.  We never will truly know until we die, even near death experiences (when legitimate) can only be a brief window into what might await us.

Consider if a person told you they knew what life was like in America even though they had always lived in say Japan.  What would you think if you asked this person how and they said, oh well I have been to America.  Likely that would open you to the fact that they might have some understanding of American life.  But what if you next heard they had only been to New York City?  Would such a visit really tell our Japanese friend what America was like?

Further what if they didn’t speak much English?  So there was a language barrier as well to cloud their view into the American lifestyle.  Lastly what if you learned that this visit was very short, say our friend never even left JFK airport, they simply arrived, went to a restaurant at the airport, visited two gift shops and then boarded a plane back to Japan?  Do you think they would understand anything deeply about life in America?

So even the person that has a true NDE and experiences something akin to “crossing over” would not really know what the long term existence would be like would they?  Surely beings in this next plane use language at a higher level, surely there is more to see then one can experience while still bound by human ideas and limitations?  So my answer must be “I don’t really know”, if I am to use logic and reason in examining the question.

Though here are some things that the experiences of others and logic leads me to believe may occur…

  • I believe at some point, likely by our own choice we have a “life review” such would be filled with both joy and regret for anyone who lived as a human being for any significant period of time.  I believe this because those who died and came back report it and because it makes sense, if I died and still had my memories and individual consciousness, I would want to examine my life experience wouldn’t you?  Additionally we know information once created always exists, so the information would be available.
  • I believe we likely are able to shape our own reality around ourselves at least early on.  We might be assisted by others with this or it might be all us, I just don’t know for sure.  I believe this because it is the only explanation for the vast differences in NDE experiences.
  • I believe at some point we must make a decision about what to do next, where to go, what to become.  How many options are there, what limits if any exist at this point?  I have no real idea.  I do believe some may choose to reincarnate as humans once again, but I don’t think it is trap like the Buddhists believe and I don’t think it is likely as common as most who believe it reincarnation think it is.
  • I believe we do meet with others, share experiences, communicate and I think there is likely a case to be made for a “soul group” of sorts, or call it a “family”.  I think we are likely helped with our decisions by this group and I do believe some beings choose to meet in another life, not “soul mates” in the way a romantic would imagine.  I think we do it to accomplish something, learn from each other or just to have fun.  I have met a few people with such an instant kinship that this is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.
  • As I believe the creator gave all beings free will so I am pretty sure that whatever happens we control.  I also believe as an energetic being free of the physical world that we likely have more control after death then during life in what we do, how we do it, where we go next, etc.

Yet again the reality is all of the above is what I think, not what I know.  I do know there is a part of us that can exist apart from the body.  Yet I can’t know exactly what happens when that link is severed permanently, just as our made up Japanese friend could never understand American life from a 30 minute visit to JFK Airport.

The more important question for you is what do you think happens and why?  As a deist you are free to believe whatever you wish about this question, but logic and reason dictate that you should take a hard look at the why behind any belief that you make central to your life.

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31 comments to What Do Deists Think Happens After We Die

  • Francesca Thomas

    As a Deist myself, I beleive that when we die, we will simply “fall asleep” for eternity. As we had no consiousness or soul before we were born, then logically it stands to reason that we will have no soul or consiousness after we die.
    I fully expect to NOT meet anyone in the afterlife, since logically I dont believe there is a heaven or any afterlife.
    If the supreme creator, created the universe and then left it to run by itself, then why would he/she/it be concerned with any of his creations while they are alive as well as after they die? He/she/it wouldn’t be. It is just not logical.

    • ModernDeist

      I don’t share that belief, frankly either side of it. I think our soul did exist before we were born and continues to exist. Thing is we don’t have to agree to respect each other.

      • Willem

        Hi ModernDeist,

        Again a very old tread. I believe the topic as such has been closed for comments, so I use “reply” to one of your replies.

        First of all a technical point: is it possible for a non site administrator to create a new thread? And if so, how?

        I’d like to start a discussion if, and how, we (“the deists”) think about the creator’s participation or lack of it in the life review process. Which may or may not impact the repercussions of same…

        Perhaps worth a thought?

  • Bryn Watkins

    Hello. I only just realised that I am a deist (or am I an agnostic?). Anyway, if when we die we go to another plane of existence, would we be able to make things come into existence if we wanted them to? I mean, if I end up in another plane of existence, I’d like to be able to play Halo!

    • ModernDeist

      Assuming you are serious about the Halo comment my answer is I personally don’t know. I can only theorize based on those who have had NDEs and returned. Their accounts though as I blogged must be seen like a person from another planet telling you what America is like. Further that person from another planet was dropped into a large Airport and didn’t really fully understand the beings walking past them and only saw America by looking out the window and was only there for a few minutes.

      Many impressions said being had would be very inaccurate. Some things they saw as almost magic would turn out to be mundane if they stuck around for a while. On the other hand some things they wouldn’t even bother to notice might prove to be amazing if they had a longer visit to experience things.

      Some believe the afterlife is anything we choose. That we are like some version of Star Trek’s Q in it. We can have anything we wish, create any reality and go to any space or time. This is possible but not exactly what I think. I believe that as limited as we are at this plane of existence there are likely some limitations at the next and so on and so forth. I also believe beings such as us might become truly bored if we were so unlimited and bound by absolutely nothing.

      There is an old episode of The Twilight Zone from the first season I think. I am talking the old black and white series Rod Serling did in the 50s. A conman/gambler/thief dies and ends up with a guide. He is still on earth and everything looks the same. He is told he can have anything he wants, a prime suite in the hotel, girls, food, money, anything. Women swoon on him, every pull of the slot machine is a jack pot, etc. He enjoys this life for a while then gets bored. The guide suggests perhaps he misses his old profession.

      He gets excited but realizes it won’t be real. He asks the guy, “is there a chance I could get caught”, to wit the guide replies “sure anything you want”. This conman now realizes it is all too easy, it isn’t real, he hates this “heaven”. The episode ends with him saying to his guide, “This is a mistake, send me to the other place, I don’t belong here”. The guide goes into a maniacal devil style laugh “this is the other place”.

      The irony is there may be a lot of truth to that. Not in a hell but that being such as us may enjoy “games” way to much to be free of all limits for long. That could be a case for reincarnation or just a case for the fact that we might create other worlds, challenges and levels for ourselves.

      Consider if you had a cheat code for Halo and it made you unstoppable. If it was something you could do a few times at critical points of the game it might be fun and cool. If it were permanent, how quickly would it go from cool, to boring to, “I don’t enjoy this at all any more”. I am not a gamer but I know enough who are to know that once a gamer really beats a game it becomes boring is cast to the side and replaced with a new challenge.

      Such is found in many things in life and I believe that pattens that repeat are often constant patterns.

      You might try reading Illusions by Richard Bach, it is a good first step into many of these concepts and a fun easy read you can get though in about an hour or so if you choose to.

  • issa kudish

    Hello

    What do you think of my friend in the theory of multiple universes you violate the existence of God?

    With all the love

    • ModernDeist

      Pretty short sighted, what you are saying is a God that can create one universe can’t create a second, a third, a million more? Really you place limitations on the creator and I am the one violating the existence of said creator?

  • Steve

    I just found this website (by Googling “deist views on the afterlife” and I really like your thoughts behind it, and it seems entirely plausible. We are free to create all sorts of realities within our mind now, and since our mind would basically be the only active remnant of us after we pass, there is no reason why it still couldn’t work to create such realities.

    It kind of reminds me of the movie “What Dreams May Come,” even though the created realities in that movie were basically versions of heaven.

    I also wanted to comment on Francesca’s comment. It was stated that “no consciousness or soul” existed before we were born…but honestly…how do we know that? It’s entirely possible (at least I think so) that we just don’t remember it, due to the limitations of the brain.

  • ParadoxFox

    Very intresting theory , but i personaly dont believe in reincarnation. There are more and more humans in the world, if there would be same amount all the time i could consider that theory. and its so sad if reincarnation would be true. why? do i need to tell you. with out any memory of your past life it would be that our soul is like a hard drive being erased every time. Not remembering your friends your parents nothing. you will be like you never existed. the only way i would believe in reincarnation is if you remember everyting from your past life. and there are no such evidence in the world. And that the creator wouldnt care like an person said i dont believe either. lets say he created all or this GOD (because i believe in many) why wouldnt he care of what he created that makes no sense to me. but what you said it can become what you believe in is a very intresting theory. but then you need the power of GOD/s. our energy/soul cant on its own create matter that you can continue to live in. if your not talking of your own consiousness but then what happens if you step out of that bubble the end of or consuisness? (sorry eng 2lang) im catholic but agree on many things thats being said here. so can maybe call myself half catholic/Dietist.

    what you said about the human body is very intresting that it will not heal witout lifeforce. i believe in an afterlife i believe in all GODs to be true like Odin Thor sun God raa. if not raa exist why would the christian GOD exist?. they say Poseidon was the ruler of the oceans i believe he was ruler of the universe but did not create it. who did maybe some other higher GOD or they are just higher beings with supernatural powers who came to earth wehn they found out there was intelligent life there who could worship them. now almost no one worsihps sun GOD Raa so he is somewere else in the universe spreading his Religion. i cant agree there is an afterlife without the help of GOD’s how could i create one space with my own energy that Einstiein said we christians call soul. whats intresting is what is there in the afterlife. i have hard time to picture a perfect heaven. why? because an bully will always be an bully. what about the people who says GOD hate gay people? will they still hate them in the afterlife? even if GOD says he dont mind. and i believe the soul have no age or time why? this simple what with child deaths ive been thinking of them often how is there afterlife they cant have a mind of e.g 1-3 year old they must in some way become adult. that seems reasonable to me or who will take care of theese children in the afterlife?

    • BradCraft

      I found a couple of points you made interesting.

      You say that reincarnation can’t exist since that would involve erasing all of your memories. Perhaps we regain our memories of this life after our second death, meaning we would in the second time we see heaven, have memories of two lives on earth. Or perhaps there is another universe with the same or similar physical laws that is designed for rebirth into which people go to be reincarnated, all with knowledge of their life on earth.

      Also, I found your thoughts about racists or people with other prejudices still having the prejudices in the afterlife intriguing. Perhaps these people with these prejudices are simply enlightened in their afterlife, and if they hate themselves for it, perhaps they can be reincarnated to live here on earth again in a different body with none of the prejudices they had before.

      Perhaps the same can be said for children dieing at young ages also, that they can choose to live again in one of these reincarnation worlds and have a real life.

  • ParadoxFox

    Can you please answer me if you believe i and you will have same afterlife as a childmoulester or childkiller? really want to know what your opinion is on that one. After reading this it seems perfectly clear and makes sence the afterlife gets to be what you make of it and can strive to achive some higher purpose of existance. but like i said want to know your believes on a very evil man will he have same afterlife? since im catholic i believe in confession and forgiveness but some things is hard to forgive dont you agree?

  • Apollinaire N.

    Logically and rationally, as Deist, I just want to tell you that, there’s nothing like death, it’s just falling asleep forever, moving from this physical body towards other existence. The day when you die you will not be aware of it. you keep on living in another life continually without stopping. How do I prove this? Here is a short demonstration that anyone of you can understand and verify. When you sleep, do you sometime dream? The answer is yes of course! so think about what scenes you see in your dreams and how you participate in action while dreaming/sleeping! see! you are sleeping but have moved to another world, you are dreaming in other planet! Luckily when the dream get finished, you find yourself at bed. so now, imagine if you were dead… wouldn’t you keep on living where you are during your dream session? Many people are afraid of dying because they don’t know what happen after loosing the physical body. Religion has set limits to the free-will and reasoning blind believers. There’s nothing to fear. Live well, leave well.

    • BradCraft

      were that the case, there would be nothing holding back anyone from doing terrible things. If you were a pedophile and believed this, would that mean that you would simply indulge in the sick pleasures your misinformed mind wants you to? I simply cannot believe that a loving god would create a world like that in which there is simply no purpose at all to life. I believe that if someone does something wrong, they will in the next life regret it.

      • ModernDeist

        There are some big flaws in the logic there @BradCraft.

        First remember Deism is about logic, so we have to use logic in such considerations.

        First you say,

        “If you were a pedophile and believed this, would that mean that you would simply indulge in the sick pleasures your misinformed mind wants you to?”

        The problem is you are trying to equate a bad consequence (in your view) with why something can’t be. Because in your view god loving unconditionally would have bad results you say it must not be the case. Well sticking your finger into a band saw has a very bad result but it still is I assure the result and you can’t take it back or change your mind once it is done you deal with it.

        Next you say, “If you were a pedophile and believed this, would that mean that you would simply indulge in the sick pleasures your misinformed mind wants you to?” So you only think what if there is not eternal hell fire for the pedophile there is no purpose to life? How does this pass for logic?

        The creation is made up of many beings, we have REASON and LOGIC and being a pedophile has MANY negative consequences in life right now, this moment! God loving you without condition also won’t remove consequences. If my son was in prison for rape, I would love him, I would also not break him out, he would have to deal with his consequences. Got it?

        To me when we “die” we are going to have recall as to all we have done good and bad, we will be our own judges and the most harsh of all judges is always oneself.

        You are also ignoring a lot of things. Why is the pedophile a pedophile in the first place? Was he the product of this horrific act himself? Is he mentally defective? If it is true sickness is he any more guilty of anything (eternally speaking) than say someone with cancer or ALS? Is it more the responsibility of society to cure this man that for him to simply not act?

        Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a pacifist. If I caught this guy in the act, he’d know the truth about “the other side” pretty fast as I would blow his brains out of the back of his head fast enough that I could still defend myself under the law based on what I was seeing.

        In this world, the phyical we get to set rules and parameters and consequences. Life has meaning not solely for the beautiful an for the good it also has meaning due to the bad, the painful and the “evil”.

        In the end we might find out that life is not much more than a video game simulation. Who knows.

  • john henkel

    Thanks,as a fairly educated person I have for a long time believed in god as a guide with evolution.to bad there isn’t a church to preach it.Deism seems to work for me…..john john p.s wish there was a symble

  • Fraincis Plaut

    guys from what i hear belief in the afterlife varies from deist to deist i saw what could of been in a past life in my dream and i am not a skeptic to reincarnation i was a russian farmboy so i could of been seeing a memory of my past i see reason in reincarnation that the soul is infact imortal and that every soul has more than one try and that we are punished and rewarded in the present life we are in due to natural cause and effect

  • Bm

    What are your views on animals and the afterlife?

    • ModernDeist

      I believe all conscious beings have a spirit, what happens to that spirit though I don’t know. Is a dog’s afterlife anything like a humans, I don’t know. No clue really.

      I do feel if our spirits retain our consciousness in some way we can guess based on assuming that.

      Here is what I mean, I think IF after I die I know my name, remember my phyical life, etc. That unencumbered by space time I can create what I want for myself. I am not saying no limits just LESS limits then in space time. IF that is true and it is a big IF, and IF a dog has the same choice, well what would a dog create for himself?

      While I think overall he was a con man I do think Billy Graham made one very accurate statement IF we have a conscious afterlife with recall that is.

      Someone said a certain person would see the dog they loved in heaven.

      Graham stated, “I don’t know what happens to dogs when they die, I do believe this though, if that person needs to see their dog to be happy in heaven, then they will see their dog.” Paraphrased, I think it was a basset hound by the way.

      Again I thing Graham is a con artist like most TV Preachers, but I think it got it right on this. If you want to see your dog after death, if you are able to desire it you will be able to do it and in an honest moment Graham hit on it, how is not something we can fully understand in this life in space time.

  • Bm

    Do you have a line you draw on what constitutes as consciousness? If Panpsychism is true how would that impact your view?

    • ModernDeist

      No not really. I am sure such a line exists but I don’t personally know what it is, when it begins or ends or if it ever ends.

      Is a microbe conscious? Certainly not to the level of a human, but there is some decision making going on, some spark of existence beyond the mechanical.

      I personally feel that God is in all things phyical and non phyical, living and non living. How and what things develop an individuality that exists both as part of God and independently at the same time, I don’t really know. Is a rock conscious? Certainly not by our definition of the word. Yet we know that a rock is not matter in reality it is an assemblage of mostly energy and in fact most of it is empty space. We know the space between electrons, protons and neutrons is greater then the size of the particles, so all matter is more empty space than stuff.

      Is that energy God? May be? Is it a part of God, I believe so, so is it conscious?

      • SL

        would you not think its possible to reincarnate as, say a dog?

        If this was possible then wouldnt it suggest that all dogs (and every other animal) have the same souls as us and the same afterlife?

        I’m finding all of this very interesting and I’m sorry if you can’t understand my question.

  • jackson

    Ive been thinking a lot lately (maybe a little too much) about what happens after death. I think that we exist on another planet/universe when we die. Some things that made me wonder is what if, like you said, we review our life as a spirit separate from any physical body and is it just a phase between lives? if so, for how long? If we are free from limits of time can we realy choose when and where we go? Do we regain memories of past lives in this “in between” state? Maybe we are here to just gather knowledge and experiences from different aspects of existence throughout the universe. Maybe im thinking too hard but just want to see what people think.

  • Arsdeist

    I still dont get it. We dream after we die as stated by someone but hows that possible when we will have no brain to dream with. When our remains will consist of bones only.

  • Joseph Cowee

    I’m just recently found out about Deism, and it suits me quiet well after being agnostic for some time. But I still tend to believe it’s just “lights out” afterwards. I don’t know how to exactly categorize myself.

  • Roy

    You see because you have working eyes. Blind people are as much alive as sighted people, but they can not see.
    You hear because you have ears, and you think and dream because you have a brain.
    At some point after death, you will not have skin, ears, nose, eyes, or a brain. There will be nothing for the soul to animate.
    Simply put, living soul, or not, you could never see with out your working eyes, or think without your working brain.
    Unless your spirit, the energy that animates nature, can access some other body with working organs, you simply can not even think, much less, live.
    When you die, you are dead.

    • ModernDeist

      Have you ever been dead? I bet you have not and if not then it is not likely that you can know any of this.

      This is what is remarkable about atheists. Most people are honest and say we can’t fully know what something like death will be like, only speculate based on science and accounts of many who have had NDEs.

      To me atheists are as foolish as any in any revealed religions, because they claim to know with certainty that which we can’t know.

  • Roy

    I am a Deist, and a regular follower of the Modern Deist website. Not an Atheist. But believing in God, the Creator, does not mean that there has to be an afterlife.

    As someone who may not have that much time left, I do hope there is an afterlife– if it is good. Certainly, I agree that a God that can create this world, that we know, can certainly create so much more that we do not know. I do have hope.

    I agree with Thomas Paine (politically and religiously, and Mr. Paine said that he puts his trust in a benevolent God. I hope he is right, but I also do know that based on our now known physics, you have to have an object to animate. Gasoline in a tin can is nothing without a lawn mower to put it in.

    • ModernDeist

      I completely agree a God or creator doesn’t mean we have an afterlife. Further if we are wrong and there is no “God” that still doesn’t mean that there isn’t an afterlife.

      The two questions are not as linked as we are led to believe.

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