Thursday, May 15, 2008

Matter of life and death

Going through a viral infection (throat again, what else??), so I am resting at home on 1 day medical leave.

Had a curious conversation with some of my colleagues yesterday over coffee. The subject - what happens to someone after death?

Not sure how this topic popped up (yep, thanks to mercurial BY, who else??), but it created quite an entertaining discussion afterwards.

Basically, her question was this - that, regardless of the religion(s) or beliefs that different individuals hold on to, SURELY what happens to a person after death MUST be universal, correct?

From the most simplistic angle, say for instance, the Christians believe that upon death, a man will be judged (on Judgement day) and his soul will either rise to Heaven or be sent down to Hell. Buddhists, however believe that a man will be reincarnated upon death, and depending on his Karma, he will either be reborn as a man or as a beast. Only the truly evil and undeserving criminals will be denied this reincarnation and these "evil spirits" will be sentenced to the various levels of Hell (read: 18 levels of Hell).

I'm sure Muslims and Hindus have different beliefs and interpretation on the after-death events.

That being that case, does that mean we (ie. individual homo-sapiens) "end up" differently just because we hold different beliefs during our lifetime? That hardly seems credible - from a scientific point of view - since we are by definition, made up of the same kind of cells, and have the same number of pairs of chromosomes in our DNA. We were all conceived and born the same way (via our mother's womb), so doesnt it make sense that we should end up the same way after death?

And there-in lies the crux of the matter.

Religions and beliefs all stress on a single focal point - the word we call "FAITH". Reason being, much of their teachings cannot be "scientifically proven" at this present point in time. Not with the current level of our scientific achievements anyway. Not by a long shot, IMHO.

Which scientist can PROVE (beyond reasonable doubt - ie. able to convince the ordinary man-on-the-street) that reincarnation has indeed taken place? Who can SHOW us that there is indeed Heaven and Hell, a realm beyond what we already know exist on Earth?

The answer is clear - nobody can. And that is why people will continue to subscribe to whatever beliefs they are comfortable with, based on faith.

But the truth is out there. Someday, we will all find out who's right. Question is, by then, will it matter to us at all?


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