Neuroscience> the soul and heaven

I don’t necessarily agree with all this article states (I haven’t digested all of it anyway) and I don’t intend to critique this either. But it contains Augustine, Aquinas-somehow, it’s still a-queenas for me rather than a-qui-nus, my brain seems to find the former endearing and more worthy of being the default, lol. …Phineas Gage, neuroscience, the afterlife and free will. And so yay. No more hopping around different sites trying to consolidate everything.

Just to jot down a few thoughts…

1) The part about the bodily resurrection-I think this makes sense. I always thought that the resurrection of our bodies sounded rather extraneous when our souls would be floating about happily anyway. Having our bodies back would be a nice add-on perhaps? But with this the resurrection of the body becomes a necessity. But yet the scrapping of the dualism theory flies in the face of a personal account I have on my hands. Or maybe it doesn’t…?

2) Heaven isn’t really going to be a palace with cloud flooring and shining rubies. Much of the Bible is metaphorical, and I’m thinking what we deem as heaven is going to be more of a new dimension, a completely new way of being that we with our limited scope of understanding cannot picture or come close to imagining.

3) I’m not really concerned with the exact metaphysics. It may bother some others, but for me I’ve accepted that God operates via a different…plane from us and there isn’t much point trying to figure out how everything is going to work.

4) What does bother me though, is the issue of salvation. If our morality, values and character can be completely destroyed with brain damage, how on earth (lol) is God going to do any judgement? Even if Gage committed all the sins possible to humanity post-accident, how can Gage as a person even be evaluated when pre-accident Gage and post-accident Gage are two different people, essentially? The problem is that it’s not that his reasoning and morality was damaged and that he was incapable. He had full consciousness and everything after his accident…it’s the fact that he completely changed. I don’t think God is going to treat him as two separate beings though? The whole thing seems terribly unfair and convoluted, and I have no idea what to make of this. If God decides to evaluate the pre-accident Gage instead because the post-accident Gage is a warped and damaged being, then I wonder in what other circumstances God would decide to consider and juggle all these various aspects and conditions.

4i) I wonder how judgement is going to be made. People always bring up the kid in the Amazon rainforest as an example of a non-Christian being saved (and it just has to be the Amazon) But last year I wondered, what about an Amazon rainforest in the figurative sense, rather than the mere physical space that people usually speak of? A boy in this enclosed area without contact with the external world can be pardoned. What about people who are trapped in metaphorical rainforests, constructed by themselves or imposed on them by others? If someone has been brainwashed into a killing machine from birth, are they going to be condemned if they can’t be converted? If someone erects mental barriers in a desperate attempt to protect themselves, are they going to be condemned if they fail to accept Christianity then? If someone is born with particular personality traits or even influences that makes it difficult for him/her to be receptive to new ideas, are they then not more prone to rejecting a new religion and hence, more likely to be condemned? Once the rainforest isn’t defined by concrete parameters, there is no longer an answer.

5) All this brings to mind two scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The first is where Harry and Dumbledore view the whimpering, pitiful remains of what is left of Voldemort’s soul. All the evil had damaged his soul beyond repair, and could no longer go on. The second is where Snape was protesting Dumbledore’s orders to help him, fearing for the state of his own soul. Dumbledore simply replied that it would be better for Snape to kill him on his orders than for Draco to kill him instead which would result in the destruction of Draco’s soul. What I find interesting is this idea of a soul as a thing, something that can be nurtured and damaged but not exactly your intellect or even emotions. Might it work this way? That God will be the decider of what occurrences in a human life is good/evil and whether and in what ways they separate the human from God?

If there is a Creator, then I trust that the Creator of all things would have it worked out (okay as if He needs to work anything out) It’s just that the issue of salvation would seem to have an impact on my attitude towards daily living and how I live with others, which is much more my concern rather than the exact mechanisms and workings of the afterlife.



The pre-investing reading list

Local ones:

With a first googling…

More guided advice
They’re all from Quora. Oh Quora what would I do without you

Happiness is not the End Goal but a by-product

For reference, from Lifehacker which features a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Happiness Is Not a Goal, It Is a By-Product” by Thorin Klosowski

We often think that happiness is something we achieve, but as Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us, happiness is something that happens when we do everything else right.

In her book, You Learn by Living, Roosevelt outlined her view on happiness:

Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a short time, a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed. For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people.

It’s a nice reminder that if your goal is just to be happy, you might want to think about what it takes to actually get there.

And Relevant Magazine’s‘s Happiness is Not the Goal : Why the first step towards true happiness might just be to stop prioritizing it.

Happiness cannot be our life center. Unstable and unreliable. It’s fickle; feelings fluctuate and what gives us feelings of elation may not contribute towards a well lived life. Ironically, the more one chases happiness, the more happiness can elude.

A comment in Relevant Magazine also stated, “Lovely read. The gospel makes it ok, to not be ok.” We have this  pressure to BE HAPPY every moment of our lives, and when we aren’t, there’s obviously something wrong with us. We then fret and worry about why we aren’t happy when we are SUPPOSED TO be happy, and it goes on. For this quote, the purpose of life lies in the gospel, and life’s road may or may not be happy. If one’s purpose lies in helping others, or attaining nation-wide peace, happiness is gained because of the the sense of fulfilment you get by working for the greater good. Suffering may abound along the way but the unhappy times are accepted with grace. Everything seems really roundabout, but there is a difference.

Gender in the Catholic Church-a very short and simple ramble

The woman was created after the man.


What does that mean?

Does it mean that women play a supporting role to men?

Well the Old Testament portrays women as being of less worth…no surprises there, probably something universal in those times.

Today? Women can’t be priests in the Catholic Church. When I was a child, someone told me it was because women had periods and were therefore unclean. Really. When I grew older, the Church emphasised the different roles males and females had. Males and females had different spheres in which to operate, and priesthood fell into the male sphere of action.

Sounds much better, but what are these different “roles”? I’m not too sure myself.

Roles, or no roles, however, there isn’t a reason why the Church today has so few women as figures of authority other than priests. Surely there isn’t a reason why women can’t be managers of finances, budgets, operations? Also, what’s with the non-existent funding nuns receive from the higher-ups? I know many choose to live a life of poverty and I respect that, but surely those who are struggling to feed their fellow sisters and raise funding for daily activities could better focus on making contributions to communities in need of help if they spent less time and energy worrying about how to get by themselves and handle the costs required.

I’m thinking there probably isn’t a reason; the Church likely has a case of inertia. Things have stayed this way for a long time, and the status quo is simply prevailing. The Church is steeped in tradition, and it hasn’t sorted out existing practices into 1) valuables that ought to be kept and continued and 2) trends/habits that are no longer relevant.

That’s just the organisation though. What’s more worrying though, are the fundamentals. Marriage is likened to the relationship between Christ and the Church. With, of course, the male being Christ an the female being the Church. If I’m not mistaken, this is the reason why only males are admitted to the priesthood.

But in this sense, it does feel like women are lower than men, and are meant to submit to them. God, is this how it’s supposed to be? Slightly disturbing.

Yet there is one more crucial point: This may not matter at all. Because the existence of a heaven levels the playing field. If both genders have to bow down before God and have the same criteria for entering heaven, then they have equal access. And since life on the eternal plane is what matters, then perhaps all this will simply come to a “So what?”

Honestly, the articles and debates never stop, and it gets tiring quickly. I realise I keep coming back to “So what?” when it comes to present issues. I think it’s good to feel uncomfortable with some things because it shows I’m thinking, at the very least. Is there a use though, in fretting about such things? It’s time consuming, and perhaps I should be better off during something helpful and productive rather than trying to find neat answers which don’t exist in the first place and don’t improve the most pressing needs of the needy. Male or female, everyone should shine brightly with the best aspects of themselves. And do what they can. Maybe that’s enough.