1. I was a Baptist Christian up until the age of 18, which was when I stopped believing what I was told to believe, and thought for myself. Not bashing Christianity, just saying that its not something I believe in personally anymore. A higher power though? Impossible to rule out, just as its impossible to prove. My favorite philosopher Rene Descartes brought up the point that our minds do not perceive anything directly. It's all filtered through our senses and then sent to our conscious. He also pointed out that our senses can be faulty, misleading, flat out wrong sometimes. (A stick dipped in water looks bent, intuition is what tells us it's not.) So his whole idea here is that we don't have any proof that this material world really exists at all. For all we know, we are only a mind being deceived by some demon into thinking there is an outside world. Not that I believe this, but I find it VERY interesting to contemplate. You might recognize Rene Descartes famous quote, "I think, therefore I am". Turns out, the fact that you YOURSELF exists, is all that you can TRULY know indubitably. As soon as you question whether you exist or not, you realize you have to because who is doing the questioning? Just some thoughts there. Don't know if I personally believe in a higher power.
2. The afterlife... Huge topic. I find it fascinating that nobody alive will ever know what happens after you die. The one thing nobody alive will ever know. I used to think that there was heaven and all that jazz, then when I stopped being a Christian I sort of just believed that you die, no more conscious, no more existing. But I have had this on my mind for quite a while now and for some reason, just DYING doesnt sit right with me. I feel like consciousness will continue somewhere, somehow. I'm still trying to find something I really believe in, but as of right now I've been entertaining an idea. When we sleep we dream. Our bodies are mostly shut off, sure our brain keeps going but that's besides the point. When you dream, you're not seeing what your senses are telling you are there, you are seeing what your mind itself constructs. I'm not sure if any of you are familiar with lucid dreams, I absolutely revel in that shit. But anyways, sometimes I feel like when we die, our minds will just go into a forever state of lucid dreaming. A world that is whatever you make it to be. Could be heaven for some, or hell for others. Depends on what you got out of life and how it affects your conscious/unconscious. I just find the idea of consciousness so abstract and amazing that I find it hard to believe it will end just because our body dies off. Consciousness just feels like an eternal thing to me for some reason. Lol. My two cents.
3. To each their own. I considered myself an atheist for awhile but believing in nothing for awhile started to ache at me. I would say I have more against religious people than I do atheists, but I'm not one to judge in general. There are good people in every group.
If you haven't read the short story called egg, please look it up on google. Very short, very beautiful, whether you find it plausible or not.
Oh and hello again to all my fellow asdf'rs I haven't spoken to in years.