Posted: 2007-02-01 17:04:00
Alright, here's the deal. My mom is in a bible study group. They like to hear my opinion on things, probably cos it comforts them to know how much better at life they are than me...
But anyway, they hit me up with this question...and the following are my responses and one woman's responses. It goes back and forth a few times. Her stuff will be in Italics, mine in bold font.
I'm looking for some responses...Charlie and Chris, I'm looking at you guys mainly, but anyone else who feels like tearing her a new one, please do so.
Where does life come from? My dad died over 17 years ago. When I saw him in the casket, I thought, "That's not my dad." His life was gone from him. What was in the casket was just matter, carbon molecules. What gave him life was his spirit. Where does that spirit come from in the first place
and then where does it go when the body fails and the carbon matter no longer works? To say that life evolves cannot explain the spirit of a person. It can try to explain how physical matter came together but it does not account for who that person is. What makes you who you are? Why am I different from you? What makes us laugh, cry, get angry etc.? Life or spirit does not and cannot evolve. Where does it come from and where does it go from here?
Since you're not looking for an answer on how humans evolved, and more of an answer as the the 'spirit' or mental traits and characteristics of each individual, I'll address this without pointing towards evolution of man from primitive homo species.
"Where does that spirit come from in the first place?"
Spirit is a very subjective word. The definition of 'spirit' is "the vital principle or animating force within living things." This implies the consciousness of a person. Consciousness is our perception of the world, and thusly, how other perceive us. This is what you have referred to as 'spirit.' This consciousness is no more than electrochemical signals in the brain. You feel happy...endorphins. You feel sad...dopamine.
"where does it go when the body fails and the carbon matter no longer works?"
You said it yourself, the body is just "carbon molecules." Without the connections to send signals through (the brain and our nervous system) and without the proper output devices (facial expression, speech, mood, etc) there is no way for the consciousness, 'spirit', the electrochemical signals to continue. The essence of a person 'leaves' when they die because the body is no longer able to express their consciousness to us. When someone is in a coma, their brain waves can be monitored, and they mimic, with slight variation, the same patterns of a healthy individual. Their consciousness is still there. However, a coma patient can appear just as 'spiritless' as a deceased person. Since the process is all chemical, it can continue, even in a comatose state.
So to answer the question: It doesn't go anywhere, it simply stops.
"Why am I different from you? What makes us laugh, cry, get angry etc.?"
All healthy humans, that is all humans without genetic defects, start out with essentially the same emotional state. It is a combination of genetics and environment that shape us into who we are. What makes you laugh, might make me cry, and this is due to how the signals are interpreted and responded to in our brains.
So really, the spirit you refer to is just consciousness. Our awareness of our surroundings as we perceive and react to it.
Do you think that someone with Alzheimer's, or schizophrenia has a tainted or warped spirit? Obviously these people don't posses the same "personality" they did earlier in life. But it makes much more sense when explained with the chemical imbalances and tissue degeneration than to assume that the spirit is corrupted.
Bryan. That so sad that you feel that all we are are chemical reactions and that when our "consciousness" leaves that's it. How sad to live your life thinking that there is nothing after this. What is the point of "living" then? There is no hope when all we are is a chemical reaction. My heart goes out to you.
How sad for you, living your life under false hope that somehow the things you do today will lead you to a better 'afterlife.' What a waste it is to take time out of your life to praise some fake god, wishing for things to get better, or thanking him for what you've done on your own accord. How utterly masochistic of you to tell yourself that all those great things you accomplish in your life...those weren't you, but Him working through you. I only hope you have no regrets when you're on your deathbed, because there is nothing afterwards.
How dare you assume that I cannot find joy in life, that I cannot have hope. I find my happiness in my friends and family. I take pride in everything I do because I know it was me who did it, not some fictional deity. I don't want your pity.
My chemically driven and apparently emotionless heart goes out to you,
Bryan. I hate to tell you this but you did not answer my original question. Where does life come from? I called it life or spirit and you called it chemical reactions but how did that all come about. How do you get chemicals or molecules from nothing?
I lived for 33 years without God. I came to faith 18 years ago and would never go back. The problem with life is that we don't have control over what happens. We like to think we have control, but we really don't. I know what it was like not to have God in my life and no where to turn when life turned on me. Where do you go when your marriage is falling apart and your son may die? The Lord saved my life, He saved my marriage and He saved my son's life! I had lost control when He stepped into my life. When my dad died, He carried me through that. I am so glad that I didn't have to go through that on my own. One week after my dad died, I was sitting in my car in a parking lot. I felt like I was going to drown in the grief. I called out to Jesus for help and a peace, like warm oil, flowed over me from head to toe. I felt Him hold me. It may not be today Bryan, tomorrow or next month, but some day you will lose control of your life. You will lose someone you love or your relationships will fall apart or you'll get sick. When that happens, I would want someone bigger than me to save my son's life or fix my marriage or carry me through the death of a loved one. Just remember that when life falls apart, He is as close as your next breath!
First of all, it seems sort of hypocritcal/blind to ask me how "you get chemicals or molecules from nothing?"
Did god not make adam out of 'nothing'? And then where did god come from? He certainly couldn't have come from nothing. You just said so yourself. If god could have 'always been there' then so could have a single atom.
Second, to answer your question about where life came from (I thought you were asking about the spirit...sure seemed like it to me).
If you mean actual life, most people would tell you it probably started deep in the ocean around thermal vents where the temperatures were the hottest anywhere on earth. It has been proven in labs that given proper conditions, enough heat and the random elements that were present in the water, amino acids can form.
Amino acids are the building blocks of all life. They are sort of like the stem cells found in animals in that they have the ability to become anything.
But I understand how believing man was created directly from dust....and then woman from his rib, makes more sense. It doesn't sound far fetched at all.
And I hate to tell you this, but you didn't answer my questions:
Do you think that someone with Alzheimer's, or schizophrenia has a tainted or warped spirit?
And I clearly answered your other questions, aside from 'where does life come from.' But I even stated at the beginning that that was not what I was going to answer.
Lastly, you're further proof that religion is just a crutch. I'll come crying to god when I'm down and out eh? Or maybe I'll find strength in the people around me, and, heaven forbid, in my self! And I will use my natural talents, and intelligence, and clear vision of the world to pick myself up again. It is weak to rely on a god for your problems. Strength comes from within.