This week, Superman renounced his U.S. citizenship in issue #900 of Action Comics.
"I am not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens." - Woody AllenHuman beings are both blessed and cursed in that we evolved the cruel awareness of our own mortality. We are cursed in that this awareness, combined with our fierce instinct of self-preservation, is the source of a great deal of fear and anxiety. Yet we are blessed in that we can truly understand the great fortune we have been afforded by our very existence. This awareness also allows us to truly understand the value of each day we are alive.
"I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit." - Mark TwainFor many of us who are not religious -- who are humanists, atheists, agnostics, and whatnot -- Twain hit the nail on the head. Death is simply the end of consciousness. We cannot remember anything about "life" before being born. That vast stretch of time prior to our birth existed without us. Why should we believe that the vast stretch of time following our death should be any different? We have to stop and remind ourselves what comprises consciousness and the self. Neither the self, nor consciousness, can carry on without our brains' billions of neurons and neuronal connections. It is a fact that when we die, these neural processes stop. There is no evidence that any other secret metaphysical ingredient survives and is capable of simulating our organic brain, or carrying with it, like some celestial flash drive, the oceans of data stored in our gray matter.
The soul is typically represented as the conscious personality of the decedent and the once animating force of the now inert physical form (Thalbourne 1996). Although there are many varieties of afterlife beliefs, each – at least implicitly – shares a dualistic view of the self as being initially contained in bodily mass and as exiting or taking temporary leave of the body at some point after the body’s expiration.Mountains of literature, essays, poetry, and scientific papers have been devoted to death, and its stowaway passenger, the soul. We as humans seem incapable of conjuring a scenario in which we simply cease to exist. Certainly, the reasoning goes, we must go somewhere when we die.
Try to fill your consciousness with the representation of no-consciousness, and you will see the impossibility of it. The effort to comprehend it causes the most tormenting dizziness. We cannot conceive of ourselves as not existing.It is not surprising that the concept of the soul evolved along with our self-awareness and our ability to understand our own mortality. However, despite the advancements in medicine and science, there has not been any evidence of the existence of a soul.
"Evolutionary biology shows the transition from animal to human to be too gradual to make sense of the idea that we humans have souls while animals do not. All the human capacities once attributed to the mind or soul are now being fruitfully studied as brain processes — or, more accurately, I should say, processes involving the brain, the rest of the nervous system and other bodily systems, all interacting with the socio-cultural world."In essence, what Murphy, and a host of other biologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers are saying, is: Yes, the concept of the soul is nice, but we can't prove that it's any more than a concept. When a plant dies, its plant soul does not leave the husk behind and embark on an eternal life elsewhere. It simply ceases to live. Why would it be any different for humans, who share a common ancestor with that plant? We did not evolve a soul, we evolved the capacity to entertain the concept of the soul.
"Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon." - Woody AllenLife is short, and it is difficult. Of course we want life to have a sequel, preferably a longer one -- and strictly feel-good, this time around.
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying." - Woody AllenI have written about the fact that, when I came to terms with my lack of religious belief, it was not without emotional impact. I would be lying to state that death doesn't bother me. As much as I accept the inevitability of death, it's not something I look forward to and hope to put off for as long as possible. But I have found that, in accepting that death is not a portal to some mysterious second chapter, I fear it less. I know that when I die, I will not miss life, for I won't feel or know anything -- just as it was before my life began.
"Living in the secular world gives us freedom from the dogmas and superstitions of the past, but it does not eliminate the mystery and power of life's endings. When parents share those essentially human feelings with their children, they are engaged in the profound task of making meaning together, which is one of the great privileges of parenthood, or indeed of any human relationship." - Rev. Dr. Kendyl GibbonsIn the book, Parenting Beyond Belief, Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons writes with great wisdom and compassion about talking to children about death as secular parents. She states that "the particular challenge for secular parents is the absence of comforting answers supplied by doctrines and images from various faith traditions." Yet, she says, parents can equip their children with the necessary tools to understand death and accept it as a natural part of life, and to find meaning in their grief.
"Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god but a great rock and the sun a hot rock." - Anaxagorus, circa 475 BCE
"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." - Carl Sagan
It is collectively showing appreciation for a company by purchasing their products or services – the opposite of a boycott.The AFA isn't buying that those boycotting Chick-Fil-A are not keen on supporting a restaurant with ties to bigoted anti-gay groups. In fact, there is a "culture war going on here in America," according to AFA president Tim Wildmon. "There are people who want to change our country for the worse."
You get the sense that there's more to this attack on Chick-fil-A than meets the eye. And you're right. There is. Chick-fil-A operates on Biblical principles and that irritates secularists.
- Chick-fil-A plays Christian music in its restaurants ... exclusively.
- Chick-fil-A closes all its locations on Sunday ... no exceptions.
*Sigh* You're on to us, Tim. We're pissed that they give their employees a day off on Sundays. We despise the good service, clean facilities, and that damned Christian music that I've never noticed once in my entire life of patronizing Chick-Fil-A.
- Chick-fil-A's stated corporate purpose is: 1) To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us; and 2) To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chickfil-A.
"The Bible says that every eye is going to see (the second coming). How is the whole world going to see (Jesus Christ) all at one time? I don't know, unless all of a sudden everybody's taking pictures and it's on the media worldwide. I don't know. Social media could have a big part in that...
Everybody's got their phone up and everybody's taking recordings and posting it on YouTube and whatever and sending it to you, and it gets shown around the world."Graham, who previously has shown a fondness for Sarah Palin, also stated that Donald Trump is his "candidate of choice."
"Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke. But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe this guy's right."Kind of makes one second-guess Franklin's previous prediction.