Statesboro, GA, USA
I see no reason that hope must be rational.
And to be honest, it doesn't seem to be anyway.
Therefore its more reasonable to have hope than not?
I think there's a difference between saying that hope is not limited by rational categories, and that it is irrational. Trusting an unmistakable "hunch", or trusting someone's character or word when others have raised doubt, doesn't always embody irrationality. Sometimes it is the sanest approach, despite appearances.
But then there is plain old delusion, which wouldn't fit this redeeming description at all. I think we should ask whether our world-view is one that renders hope really delusional, or something more preferable like audacious or undaunted.
Believe me, I have nothing against hope, and would like only to encourage it. For while the Christian faith has been slurred as an "irrational hope" often enough, its historical and experiential moorings are more substantial than merely Platonic or purely mythical systems which promise hope beyond death. So while it may require some obstinacy or doubt of doubters, it is not exactly a shot in the dark either.
But life is the fire when it is very bright, so bright that it is called "life". And death is the fire when it is very unbright, so unbright that it is called "death" instead. Both of them are the same fire, just one referring to the fire when it is bright and the other referring to the fire when it is unbright.
When the fire goes out in the dead of winter, shall you be comforted by "unbright fire"? Or shall you rather admit that the fire has ceased?
Darkness is the absence of light. Cold is the absence of heat, that's why there is such a thing as "absolute zero". How might this apply to life and death? In the same way, might not death be the absence of life, and not merely a variation of it?
it (death) is an event, not the result of some plot
How do you know? I think you would be more accurate to say that if there is a plot you are now unaware of it. Anyway, you guys are the ones saying "The End" right?
it isn't even necessary for life to flourish. It just is
Seeing that you've never experienced life without the counterpart of death, how do you know that it isn't necessary for life to flourish?
There's no mystery to death, no black hooded villian (or lover) on the other side of the veil
If you've never seen beyond the veil, and don't believe any of the stories about those who supposedly did, how do you know there is nothing on the other side? Your inexperience of death (and beyond) would seem to fit the definition of 'mystery' to a tee.
And, if we weren't such vain creatures that required our "selves" to live on, we would accept our new part in the world after death as nothing...
But aside from vanity, denying one's own destiny after death could just as well be interpreted as false humility. I for one have known and seen individuals who believed very much in a life beyond death, who could not convincingly be called 'vain'. Also, with death as final leveler with no recourse, would it matter much whether one was humble or vain?
I've heard many people question the idea of whether "consciousness" is any different than matter, in the sense that it cannot be annihilated. C.S. Lewis mentions this in "The Problem of Pain":
"People often talk as if the 'annihilation' of a soul were instrinsically possible. In all our experience, however, the destruction of one thing means the emergence of something else. Burn a log, and you have gases, heat and ash. To have been a log means now being those three things. If souls can be destroyed, must there not be a state of having been a human soul? And is not that, perhaps, the state which is equally well described as torment, destruction, and privation?"
And while he mentions this as it relates to perdition, I only mention it to suggest that if some believe that human consciousness simply ceases to exist at death, it would be quite unique in that regard. Everything else changes, while only the most intimate and amazing thing we know of, self and other selves, would simply cease to be. I know this would fall outside the realms of empiricism, but doesn't that seem somehow doubtful?
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (04-23-2008 10:54 AM).]