OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 22, 2014, 09:10:18 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Is life meaningless if there is no afterlife?  (Read 2211 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« on: November 14, 2009, 03:36:02 AM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 03:36:26 AM by Riddikulus » Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Posts: 30,543


« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 03:39:57 AM »

An interesting question. Smiley As someone who is agnostic about the existence of an afterlife, I look forward to reading the responses to why "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife".
Logged

Large Marge sent me...
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 33,178


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 03:56:22 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink
Logged
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 04:05:39 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink

Yes, Peter, an interesting thought. But I would imagine that if there is no afterlife, there would be no Final Resurrection, so that doesn't really answer my question!!!  Angry  laugh
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 33,178


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 04:36:03 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink

Yes, Peter, an interesting thought. But I would imagine that if there is no afterlife, there would be no Final Resurrection, so that doesn't really answer my question!!!  Angry  laugh
I didn't think it would. Wink
Logged
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2009, 04:38:31 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink

Yes, Peter, an interesting thought. But I would imagine that if there is no afterlife, there would be no Final Resurrection, so that doesn't really answer my question!!!  Angry  laugh
I didn't think it would. Wink
laugh I don't like you!!
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 33,178


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2009, 04:39:51 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink

Yes, Peter, an interesting thought. But I would imagine that if there is no afterlife, there would be no Final Resurrection, so that doesn't really answer my question!!!  Angry  laugh
I didn't think it would. Wink
laugh I don't like you!!
Well, better to be a smart*** than a dumb***. laugh
Logged
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2009, 04:41:55 AM »

Maybe REAL life comes after the Final Resurrection, and we're just living in the forelife. Wink

Yes, Peter, an interesting thought. But I would imagine that if there is no afterlife, there would be no Final Resurrection, so that doesn't really answer my question!!!  Angry  laugh
I didn't think it would. Wink
laugh I don't like you!!
Well, better to be a smart*** than a dumb***. laugh

 laugh laugh
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Super Apostolic Bros.
Is St. Andrew Luigi to St. Peter's Mario?
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 227



« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2009, 03:16:49 PM »

I think a more pressing question to ask is "Is life meaningless now?"

I often wondered, "If the purpose of my life is to live for God, what is God's purpose?" But since God is a transcendent Being, I realized this is not exactly a legitimate question. You may as well ask "What is the purpose of pink?"

A tangent, but people like Jean-Paul Sartre are the reason I'm still a Christian. Smiley
Logged
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Moderated
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,279



« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2009, 06:18:26 PM »

Read Lucretius' De Rerum Natura.  It has his answers on a meaningful life with no afterlife.  I think it's pretty dismal, but that's jut mho.
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Jetavan
Argumentum ad australopithecum
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Science to the Fourth Power
Jurisdiction: Ohayo Gozaimasu
Posts: 6,580


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2009, 03:26:24 PM »

If we accept that before our conception, we had no "before-life", then would the lack of before-life make this life meaningless?
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
StGeorge
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 709


St. George


« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2009, 11:27:26 PM »

Read Lucretius' De Rerum Natura.  It has his answers on a meaningful life with no afterlife.  I think it's pretty dismal, but that's jut mho.

I've had that book for years but have yet to read it. 

Meaning for the Christian is often identified with "purpose," which suggests that man, and each particular man, is created for a reason.  Meaning in this sense is not something we decide for ourselves but which we must discover as it exists for us, as God intended it. 

One can still have meaning without the afterlife, without the eschatological, but it's often a different kind of meaning.  It's meaning that one creates for oneself.  It is meaning that is man-made, created by society.  It is meaning that fulfills perceived processes of Nature.  E.g. "My meaning in life is to become a sports hero, because I enjoy playing sports."  "My meaning is to fight and die for the Fatherland (or Motherland), because it is my duty, so I am told."  "My meaning is to contribute to the flourishing of the human race."  IMHO, all these are relative meanings, and each has the force of opinion.       
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 11:31:42 PM by StGeorge » Logged
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2009, 12:13:24 AM »

^^Thanks, St George, that is very helpful.
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,496


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2009, 01:21:02 AM »

To answer the question of the OP...

No, life is not necessarily meaningless if there is no afterlife. But know that any apparrent meaning is merely an illusion. However, most people are very happy living in their illusions. The difficulty comes when they face reality.


Selam
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 01:21:21 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,485



« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2009, 10:32:34 AM »

No, life is not necessarily meaningless if there is no afterlife. But know that any apparrent meaning is merely an illusion.

Exactly - life will have whatever meaning you choose to assign to it. Life is not necessarily meaningless if there is no afterlife; however it seems to me that it just might be unbearable - "nasty, solitary, brutish and short."
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
GammaRay
The Awful Preacher
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek
Posts: 574


Alexandros Papadiamantis


« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2009, 12:46:42 PM »

Not if there's a Creator.
Logged

Though I've walked the valley of the shadow of the death, I've fallen not. Not completely. Not yet.
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2009, 12:55:20 PM »

But know that any apparrent meaning is merely an illusion. However, most people are very happy living in their illusions. The difficulty comes when they face reality.

Where did that Matrix image from before go?  laugh

But even if there is an afterlife, what if the notion of judgement is completely wrong?  That good or bad, there is some common spiritual realm where your consciousness lives on, but God could have cared less how you lived your life.  Besides developing consciousness, this life would have little to no meaning (besides this supposed "relative meaning" that differs from a Christian "absolute meaning".  No Book of Life, no Throne of Judgement, no need to live your life a certain way, no Paradise to aspire for no matter how "unworthy" you are, no interest by God at all; just a realm with your ancestors (like certain pagan beliefs).
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2009, 01:28:56 PM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

If there is no "afterlife" (a term I dislike) I suppose people might be able to find meaning in being a part of the Cosmos, the "Circle of Life" a la Lion King etc. But ultimately, even that would be meaningless as the Great Extinction of the Dinosaurs shows. I'm not an eight year old boy so I'm not an expert on dinosaurs, but as I understand it, some catastrophic event caused them all to die out as species, and since our own species is more than likely going to experience the same thing at some stage, ultimately, in terms of Cosmic history, our lives are meaningless even if spent in ameliorating the human condition. 
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,397


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2009, 01:42:39 PM »

LOL Only on OC.net could a philosophical discussion range from Jean Paul Sarte to The Lion King!!!! Love it!  laugh  laugh
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Posts: 30,543


« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2009, 01:44:46 PM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

If there is no "afterlife" (a term I dislike) I suppose people might be able to find meaning in being a part of the Cosmos, the "Circle of Life" a la Lion King etc. But ultimately, even that would be meaningless as the Great Extinction of the Dinosaurs shows. I'm not an eight year old boy so I'm not an expert on dinosaurs, but as I understand it, some catastrophic event caused them all to die out as species, and since our own species is more than likely going to experience the same thing at some stage, ultimately, in terms of Cosmic history, our lives are meaningless even if spent in ameliorating the human condition. 

What,  you don't believe the Star Trek vision of history?  Ok, maybe that's a bit optimistic (ie. colonizing other planets a few hundred years from now), but if we get 150 million years like the dinosaurs did, and we're still stuck on earth, then we deserve whatever disasters might come.
Logged

Large Marge sent me...
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2009, 01:56:24 PM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

If there is no "afterlife" (a term I dislike) I suppose people might be able to find meaning in being a part of the Cosmos, the "Circle of Life" a la Lion King etc. But ultimately, even that would be meaningless as the Great Extinction of the Dinosaurs shows. I'm not an eight year old boy so I'm not an expert on dinosaurs, but as I understand it, some catastrophic event caused them all to die out as species, and since our own species is more than likely going to experience the same thing at some stage, ultimately, in terms of Cosmic history, our lives are meaningless even if spent in ameliorating the human condition. 

What,  you don't believe the Star Trek vision of history?  Ok, maybe that's a bit optimistic (ie. colonizing other planets a few hundred years from now), but if we get 150 million years like the dinosaurs did, and we're still stuck on earth, then we deserve whatever disasters might come.
Even if the Star Trek version of history proves true, we have the Big Crunch or the Big Freeze to look forward to.
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2009, 02:00:24 PM »

Even if the Star Trek version of history proves true, we have the Big Crunch or the Big Freeze to look forward to.

What if the Universe reaches a technological singularity one day, and prior to heat death, we obtain the ability to reverse entropy a la Asimov's The Last Question? Tongue
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2009, 02:03:47 PM »

Even if the Star Trek version of history proves true, we have the Big Crunch or the Big Freeze to look forward to.

What if the Universe reaches a technological singularity one day, and prior to heat death, we obtain the ability to reverse entropy a la Asimov's The Last Question? Tongue
Well there's something solid to base an entire lifetime's hope in that it was not spent in vain.
I stand corrected. Cheesy
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
StGeorge
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 709


St. George


« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2009, 02:04:41 PM »

But know that any apparrent meaning is merely an illusion. However, most people are very happy living in their illusions. The difficulty comes when they face reality.

Where did that Matrix image from before go?  laugh

But even if there is an afterlife, what if the notion of judgement is completely wrong?  That good or bad, there is some common spiritual realm where your consciousness lives on, but God could have cared less how you lived your life.  Besides developing consciousness, this life would have little to no meaning (besides this supposed "relative meaning" that differs from a Christian "absolute meaning".  No Book of Life, no Throne of Judgement, no need to live your life a certain way, no Paradise to aspire for no matter how "unworthy" you are, no interest by God at all; just a realm with your ancestors (like certain pagan beliefs).

Well, who is to say that the "afterlife" is not followed by an "after-afterlife" and so on ad infinitum?  In which case there may be no hierarchical ascent from "earthly" to "celestial," or from material to non-material.  Everything could be a horizontal or circular transition--some kind of mad Eternal Return.  Tongue 

I would think that, if God did not care what happens on earth, he might as well not care what goes on in the afterlife, whether you're living in peace with your ancestors or tearing one another apart.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 02:14:36 PM by StGeorge » Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Online Online

Posts: 30,543


« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2009, 02:06:31 PM »

Another idea... it shouldn't take more than a few billions years to prove the existence of the multiverse and figure out how to escape our own dying universe, selecting a young and vibrant one with many billions more years to live. Actually this is starting to sound like a Twilight Zone episode.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 02:07:47 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

Large Marge sent me...
StGeorge
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 709


St. George


« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2009, 02:10:38 PM »

Another idea... it shouldn't take more than a few billions years to prove the existence of the multiverse and figure out how to escape our own dying universe, selecting a young and vibrant one with many billions more years to live. Actually this is starting to sound like a Twilight Zone episode.

Why move through space when you can move through time. 
Logged
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2009, 02:32:31 PM »

Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Entscheidungsproblem
Formerly Friul & Nebelpfade
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Machine God
Posts: 4,495



WWW
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2009, 02:56:06 PM »

Well there's something solid to base an entire lifetime's hope in that it was not spent in vain.
I stand corrected. Cheesy

What can I say, I always love to bring hope.  laugh
Logged

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
-- Sir Julian Sorell Huxley FRS
Pravoslavbob
Section Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,194


St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2009, 03:01:11 PM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

If there is no "afterlife" (a term I dislike) ...

I also dislike this term, quite a lot.  As Christians, I think we should believe that during our life here on earth our main task is to make the Kingdom which is to come manifest in our midst (that is to say, we should strive to be holy and strive to love as God loves).  We believe that the Age of the Spirit has arrived, and yet that it is also paradoxically still to come.  It is this eschatological tension that should be the foundation of how we live our lives in the here and now.  I think that one of the greatest theological and pastoral crises facing the Church today is ignorance of or obscuration of this eschatological tension.  

Many saints have intimated that the life we live now on this earth is absolutely less than nothing when compared to the abundance of life that we will inherit in the Age to come!

"If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen -- nothing else matters." - Jaroslav Pelikan, among others.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 03:05:06 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

Religion is a disease, and Orthodoxy is its cure.
Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,496


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


WWW
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2009, 08:13:04 PM »


But even if there is an afterlife, what if the notion of judgement is completely wrong?  That good or bad, there is some common spiritual realm where your consciousness lives on, but God could have cared less how you lived your life.  Besides developing consciousness, this life would have little to no meaning (besides this supposed "relative meaning" that differs from a Christian "absolute meaning".  No Book of Life, no Throne of Judgement, no need to live your life a certain way, no Paradise to aspire for no matter how "unworthy" you are, no interest by God at all; just a realm with your ancestors (like certain pagan beliefs).

^Isn't this a John Lennon song?

Selam
Logged

"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+
jnorm888
Jnorm
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,516


Icon and Cross (international space station)


WWW
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2009, 02:54:35 AM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

To me it means:

Why should I listen to anyone but myself? If this is all that there is, then why shouldn't I do what I want, when I want, and how I want to do it without any restraint or opposition.

And if their is restraint or opposition, then we all should have the right to eliminate all opposition. For if there is no such thing as right or wrong, and if I won't be judged for my thoughts, words, and deeds in the hereafter.

Then I should have the best life now! And no one should have the right to complain or get angry if one gets what they want by any means necessary......even if that meant killing billions of people and livestock in order to get it.


If this is all that there is, then no one has the right to get upset with the actions of someone else, for what is right to you, may not be what is right to the next person. If the next person wants to take what you have, then they should have the right to do it......for they should have the right to do whatever they want without restraint, law and order.









ICXC NIKA
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 03:00:16 AM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,496


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


WWW
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2009, 02:59:01 AM »

Like Dumbledore I believe that "to the well-organised mind, death is but the next adventure", and we hear repeatedly the claim that "Life is meaningless if there is no afterlife". I've even made such a claim; quite recently. But what does it mean, really, to say that?

To me it means:

Why should I listen to anyone but myself? If this is all that there is, then why shouldn't I do what I want, when I want, and how I want to do it without any restraint or opposition.

And if their is restraint or opposition, then we all should have the right to eliminate all opposition. For if there is no such thing as right or wrong, and if I won't be judged for my thoughts, words, and deeds.

Then I should have the best things in life, and no one should have the right to complain or get angry if one gets what they want by any means necessary......even if that meant killing billions of people and livestock.


If this is all that there is, then no one has the right to get upset with the actions of someone else, for what id right to you, may not be what is right to the next person.





ICXC NIKA

Yep. If there are no moral absolutes, then absolutely anything goes. Remove God, and all that's left is the subjectivity and relativism of finite, animalistic, material brains.

Selam
Logged

"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+
ozgeorge
I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the New Rome, the Great Church of Christ.
Posts: 16,382


My plans for retirement.


WWW
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2009, 06:43:27 PM »

I think I've found the answer to the question this thread poses:

THE HAPPY PRINCE
By Oscar Wilde.

High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.

He was very much admired indeed. "He is as beautiful as a weathercock," remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic tastes; "only not quite so useful," he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.

"Why can't you be like the Happy Prince?" asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. "The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything."

"I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy," muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.

"He looks just like an angel," said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.

"How do you know?" said the Mathematical Master, "you have never seen one."

"Ah! but we have, in our dreams," answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.

One night there flew over the city a little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.

"Shall I love you?" said the Swallow, who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.

"It is a ridiculous attachment," twittered the other Swallows; "she has no money, and far too many relations"; and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then, when the autumn came they all flew
away.

After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady-love. "She has no conversation," he said, "and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind." And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtseys. "I admit that she is domestic," he continued, "but I love travelling, and my wife, consequently, should love travelling also."

"Will you come away with me?" he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.

"You have been trifling with me," he cried. "I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!" and he flew away.

All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. "Where shall I put up?" he said; "I hope the town has made preparations."

Then he saw the statue on the tall column.

"I will put up there," he cried; "it is a fine position, with plenty of fresh air." So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.

"I have a golden bedroom," he said softly to himself as he looked round, and he prepared to go to sleep; but just as he was putting his head under his wing a large drop of water fell on him. "What a curious thing!" he cried; "there is not a single cloud in the sky, the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet it is raining. The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness."

Then another drop fell.

"What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?" he said; "I must look for a good chimney-pot," and he determined to fly away.

But before he had opened his wings, a third drop fell, and he looked up, and saw--Ah! what did he see?

The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears, and tears were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.

"Who are you?" he said.

"I am the Happy Prince."

"Why are you weeping then?" asked the Swallow; "you have quite drenched me."

"When I was alive and had a human heart," answered the statue, "I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans-Souci, where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot chose but weep."

"What! is he not solid gold?" said the Swallow to himself. He was too polite to make any personal remarks out loud.

"Far away," continued the statue in a low musical voice, "far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen's maids-of-honour to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is
asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not bring her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move."

"I am waited for in Egypt," said the Swallow. "My friends are flying up and down the Nile, and talking to the large lotus-flowers. Soon they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great King. The King is there himself in his painted coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and embalmed with spices. Round his neck is a chain
of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad."

"I don't think I like boys," answered the Swallow. "Last summer, when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the miller's sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it was a mark of disrespect."

But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was sorry. "It is very cold here," he said; "but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger."

"Thank you, little Swallow," said the Prince.

So the Swallow picked out the great ruby from the Prince's sword, and flew away with it in his beak over the roofs of the town.

He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the palace and heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the balcony with her lover.
"How wonderful the stars are," he said to her, "and how wonderful is the power of love!"

"I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State-ball," she answered; "I have ordered passion-flowers to be embroidered on it; but the seamstresses are so lazy."

He passed over the river, and saw the lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old Jews bargaining with each other, and weighing out money in copper scales. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman's thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy's forehead with his wings. "How cool I feel," said the boy, "I must be getting better"; and he sank into a delicious slumber.

Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. "It is curious," he remarked, "but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold."

"That is because you have done a good action," said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy.

When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath. "What a remarkable phenomenon," said the Professor of Ornithology as he was passing over the bridge. "A swallow in winter!" And he wrote a
long letter about it to the local newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was full of so many words that they could not understand.

"To-night I go to Egypt," said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect. He visited all the public monuments, and sat a long time on top of the church steeple. Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, and said to each other, "What a distinguished stranger!" so he enjoyed himself very much.

When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. "Have you any commissions for Egypt?" he cried; "I am just starting."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"

"I am waited for in Egypt," answered the Swallow. "To-morrow my friends will fly up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse couches there among the bulrushes, and on a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. All night long he watches the stars, and when the morning star shines he utters one cry of joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow lions come down to the water's edge to drink. They have eyes like green beryls, and their roar is louder than the roar of the cataract.

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint."

"I will wait with you one night longer," said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. "Shall I take him another ruby?"

"Alas! I have no ruby now," said the Prince; "my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take
it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play."

"Dear Prince," said the Swallow, "I cannot do that"; and he began to weep.

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."

So the Swallow plucked out the Prince's eye, and flew away to the student's garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird's wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.

"I am beginning to be appreciated," he cried; "this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play," and he looked quite happy.

The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. "Heave a-hoy!" they shouted as each chest came up. "I am going to Egypt"! cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.

"I am come to bid you good-bye," he cried.

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"

"It is winter," answered the Swallow, "and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red
rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea."

"In the square below," said the Happy Prince, "there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her."

"I will stay with you one night longer," said the Swallow, "but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."

So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. "What a lovely bit of glass," cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.

Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. "You are blind now," he said, "so I will stay with you always."

"No, little Swallow," said the poor Prince, "you must go away to Egypt."

"I will stay with you always," said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince's feet.

All the next day he sat on the Prince's shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold-fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.

"Dear little Swallow," said the Prince, "you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there."

So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets.  Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another's arms to try and keep themselves warm. "How hungry we are!" they said. "You must not lie here," shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.

Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.

"I am covered with fine gold," said the Prince, "you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy."

Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children's faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. "We have bread now!" they cried.

Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.

The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker's door when the baker was not looking and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.

But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince's shoulder once more. "Good-bye, dear Prince!" he murmured, "will you let me kiss your hand?"

"I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow," said the Prince, "you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you."

"It is not to Egypt that I am going," said the Swallow. "I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?"

And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.

At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost.

Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: "Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!" he said.

"How shabby indeed!" cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor; and they went up to look at it.

"The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer," said the Mayor in fact, "he is little better than a beggar!"

"Little better than a beggar," said the Town Councillors.

"And here is actually a dead bird at his feet!" continued the Mayor. "We must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here." And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.

So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. "As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful," said the Art Professor at the University.

Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. "We must have another statue, of course," he said, "and it shall be a statue of myself."

"Of myself," said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarrelling still.

"What a strange thing!" said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry. "This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away." So they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.

"Bring me the two most precious things in the city," said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.

"You have rightly chosen," said God, "for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me."
Logged

If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
Tags: meaning afterlife eschatology eschaton Parousia Kingdom of God Resurrection 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.137 seconds with 59 queries.