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Science

People are sharing what they believe happens after we die. The responses are enlightening.

heaven, life after death, afterlife
via Pixabay

A man is walking into heaven (or is he?).

One of the funniest and most bizarre things about being a human being is that we really know very little about what’s going on. Sure, many religious people are confident they know why we exist, where we came from and what happens after we die, but there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to suggest they’re correct.

However, even though we are at the center of an incredible mystery, most people are happy to go about their days without worrying about the basic nature of our existence. This has always been very strange to me. Why isn’t the nature of existence the No. 1 question on everyone’s mind the moment they wake up?

There is one thing we do know for sure: that we are all going to die one day. Some people believe that once we flatline we may get invited to heaven where we get to spend all eternity playing the harp, reuniting with old friends and relatives, and enjoying a pain-free, joyous existence.

But as the TV show “The Good Place” suggests, living a perfect life, free of suffering or challenges, eventually becomes pretty forking boring and pointless.


Mark Twain said it best in “Letters from the Earth”:

His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values. It consists—utterly and entirely—of diversions which he cares next to nothing about, here in the earth, yet is quite sure he will like them in heaven. Isn't it curious? Isn't it interesting?

Many also believe that if there’s a heaven, there’s also hell where the folks who had a good time on Earth wind up. But wouldn’t that get boring, too? Just as one can get accustomed to living in constant beauty, one probably gets acclimated to the heat and suffering down below.

There are also some who believe in reincarnation, so every time we die we are born again as a different species. Cool if you’re a dolphin, bad news if you’re a dung beetle.

Then there are those who believe that nothing supernatural happens. Your consciousness shuts off and things are a lot like before you were born—absolute nothingness. That’s the least interesting option, but according to science, the most likely.

Reddit user throwawayacctlmaooo wanted to find out what posters on the forum thought about life after death, so they asked, “What do you legitimately believe happens after we die?” They received a ton of responses that were outside of the usual “go to heaven/go to hell” variety. What’s cool is that the posts show that a lot of people have widely divergent ideas about what happens after we die.

Here are some of the best responses to the biggest question in life.

1. You're a wave

"No idea, but there is this quote from the TV show 'The Good Place' that I really like and have found comfort in.

"'Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it's there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It's a wave.

"And then it crashes in the shore and it's gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be, for a little while. You know it's one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it's supposed to be.'" — AlexEventstar

2. Our energy moves on

"Our energy — just like that of every living thing before us — will go on and become new things. Soil. Plants. Lions. Toilet paper. Space ship wheel arches. Dragonfly toes. We're all just part of the same system. Neither manufactured nor destroyed. We're just transferring that bestowed upon us from all those before. Death is life." — four__beasts

3. You've been there before

"Just like before you were born. Not good, not bad, just non-existence." — SniffCheck

4. No need to fear

​"In the great words of Mark Twain: 'I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." — Eva__Unit__02

5. One more time

"When I think about it, I come to this very same conclusion. And that terrifies me. The only thing that is a little comforting for me is that, according to some research and according to some people who have experienced Near Death, just before full-on 'nothingness," you relive your life one last time, with an emphasis on the best moments in your life, all being overwhelmed with a feeling of love." — MrXANA91

6. Isn't this reincarnation?

"I think we just keep on hitting a randomize button and we manifest into something else, again and again endlessly." — FarOutSonOfLung

7. The great nothing

"In my opinion, nothing. Like being under anesthesia but never waking up and ceasing to exist." — throwayaacctlmaooo

8. Choose your own adventure

"I'd like to think we reset like a game and we could choose whether we get reborn or go to some sort of heaven or something." — No_But_Yes

9. We're energy

"I’d honestly like to believe that we all become energy. We move around the universe, maybe even become one with it until we are reincarnated again as something else on earth or a different planet." — cheese-emperor

10. Salamanders

"I think we are all reincarnated as salamanders." — Kyky716

11. New universe?

"I believe we go to another universe but that's just wishful thinking." — Zarek_Pumpkineater

12. Incomparable infinity

"I'm under the impression that death is a separate experience we can't comprehend. Like someone with vision will never truly know the concept of blindness or someone with hearing will never know the concept of deafness.

"You only experience it while you're doing it and I am currently experiencing being alive as a human. You don't know what it was like before you were born because you're obviously alive. Just like you don't know deafness because your ears work.
Beyond that, I believe the universe is in endless million-trillion year long cycles of growth and collapse and the fact that I exist at all means, throughout infinity, I am a guaranteed mathematic outcome and must repeat again." —
bermudalily

13. Nothing

"Nothing. It's the only answer that makes sense. We ARE our thoughts. Our thoughts are in our brain. When we die, our brain shuts down. So our thoughts no longer exist. Anybody who believes in any form of an afterlife really needs to explain how we can have thoughts without our brain. And if they believe that's somehow magically possible, why do we have brains while still alive?" — joeri1505

14. You become fertilizer

"The same as when trees, plants, or other animals die, we decompose & feed the earth for something else to grow." — skev303

15. May the source be with you

"What I like to believe is that all life comes from a specific energy source and is returned there once we die. Sort of like a big pool of life, where all souls merge after death and cycle back into the world to be reborn. As for what we experience in that form I have no idea. But the entire world lives and functions on cycles, from the food chain to the weather cycle, eveywhere you look there is a cycle to maintain it. So it only makes sense life would work the same way." — doopster77

16. Star stuff

"Your surviving family gets all teary, then buries or burns your lifeless body. As the years pass, what atoms once made you, you, become all mixed up in other things, until much later on when the sun dies and engulfs the earth and all its atoms in a final dance of atomic death. Because we are all made of stars, and to them we will all return." — dbryar

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A woman looking at her phone while sitting on the toilet.

One of the most popular health trends over the last few years has been staying as hydrated as possible, evidenced by the massive popularity of 40-oz Stanely Quencher cups. The theory among those who obsess over hydration is that, when you pee clear, you’ve removed all the waste in your body and are enjoying the incredible benefits of being 100% hydrated. Congratulations.

However, according to Dr. Sermed Mezher, an NHS doctor in the UK, peeing clear isn’t always a sign of being healthy.


“If you’re peeing clear, that means you’re having more than 2.5 liters (85 ounces) of fluid per day, which means your kidneys are working overdrive to keep that water off your brain,” Dr. Mezher said. He goes on to add that when kidneys can't keep up with their water intake, it can cause water intoxication, which can lead to dangerous, even lethal, brain swelling.

Stop Trying to Get Your Pee Completely Clear #hydration. 

@drsermedmezher

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

According to Dr. Mezher, it's all about finding balance when it comes to hydration and the goal shouldn't be to pee clear all the time. "Of course, like most things in life, too much is not great, and too little isn't either," he continued. Two liters (68 ounces) [of water] is good for a healthy adult, and babies under six months shouldn't be given any water at all."

The news came as a bit of a shock to some folks in the comments. "One minute it's not enough water, the next it's too much... I'm tired," Tiyana wrote. "I always thought the goal was clear," Mountain Witch added.

If you have concerns about the color of your urine, please consult a doctor.


This article originally appeared on 3.26.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Pop Culture

Singing janitor blows away 'AGT' audience with incredible 'Don't Stop Believin' cover

55-year-old Richard Goodall hopped on a plane for the first time in his life and landed straight into a Golden Buzzer-worthy performance.

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Thank goodness he never gave up on his dream.

For some people, life is pretty streamlined. They discover what they’re good at from an early age, those talents get noticed, and they dedicate their life to that passion. But for many (if not most) of us, our dreams might remain tucked away in our hearts as we navigate through a slightly more complicated existence. One with a day job, families, bills and other obligations.

Thank goodness Richard Goodall, a 55-year-old janitor from Terre Haute, Indiana, never gave up on his own dream. Otherwise the world might have missed out on his remarkable singing voice.

Goodall, who recently received "America's Got Talent"’s highly coveted Golden Buzzer for his show stopping performance of "Don’t Stop Believin’" by Journey, shared his endearing backstory before taking to the stage.

Goodall told the audience that he spent much of his childhood up in his bedroom listening to music on his “Radio Shack stereo” and belting along to the tunes.

"Eventually, I was like, I got to find me a job, so I become a janitor at Chauncey Rose Middle School, which is only three blocks away from my house,” he continued. But throughout his 23 years of custodial work, he never stopped serenading students.

It was the students’ encouragement, in fact, that inspired Goodall to step aboard a plane for the first time in his life to make it to his audition, which he noted was a good metaphor for his “AGT” experience overall.

“I felt that front wheel come off the ground and you have this floating (feeling), you’re no longer stable. And that’s what this whole experience is like right now,” he said. “It’s a good off-balance, but until you actually do something, you don’t know if it’s right for you or not.”

Goodall’s courage paid off, because despite his nerves, he delivered a rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’” that brought the crowd to their feet in a standing ovation. Many were even moved to tears.

Simon Cowell called Goodall a "hero," saying “That was special, genuinely special. I think America is going to love you.” Howie Mandell then joked that Goodall “cleaned up” before surmising that he probably had a bunch of students rooting for him at home.

Indeed, many former students who knew Goodall ended up praising him in the Youtube comments section.

“I can't express with words how lucky I feel to be able to say that I am one of the kids who always told him how amazing his voice is. My favorite part of walking through the hallway of Elementary school is hearing this phenomenon. Richard, you are indeed a true hero,” one person wrote.

“Growing up, Mr. Goodall was always singing to us between classes, or on our way to recess. Any time we would see him in the halls, he was always sooo nice. I couldn't believe it was him on our TV!” another added.

Goodall defined himself as being a simple person who just wants to “have fun” and “make people happy.” No matter where he goes in the competition, he is certainly winning at that. What a beautiful reminder that you never know when your time will come, so don’t stop believin’.

Friendship

American coworkers surprise grieving Māori man with haka after he missed family funeral

He was stuck in America for his grandmother's funeral so his friends brought New Zealand to the states.

Representative photo Gary Stockbridge|Get Archive

American friends learn haka for grieving Māori man

It's not easy living away from family, especially when you live in a completely different country. The distance can become increasingly more difficult to adjust to when tragedy strikes your family back home. It can be cost prohibitive to fly back home and depending on your employer's attendance policy, it may be nearly impossible.

Jarom Ngakuru recently faced this very situation. The New Zealander of Māori descent is living in the United States while his family still resides in his home country. Unfortunately, when Ngakuru's grandmother died, he was unable to make the trip back to the island to give his proper goodbye.

Not being able to attend his grandmother's funeral left him sad and broken. He wanted nothing more than to be there with his family. Ngakuru's friends knew how important it was for him to send his grandmother off properly so the group of American colleagues worked in secret to learn the haka.


Haka is a traditional dance performed by Māori people for important events like weddings, funerals, and significant life events as a sign of respect. The dance has been known to bring viewers to tears, and this haka is doing the same. Not just because of the haka itself, but because of everything that went into a group of American men learning a dance from another culture to honor their friend and his grandmother.

Ngakuru uploaded the video to his TikTok page with the caption, "Hardest part about living in America is that we live so far away. I couldn't make it home for my nan's funeral and I was BROKEN! So my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me."

See why commenters could not stop crying below:

@jaromngakuru

Hardest part about living in america 🇺🇸 is that we live so far away. I couldnt make it home for my nans funeral and i was BROKEN! so my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me 🇳🇿🏠 #haka #grateful #maori #newzealand #brothers #fyp #foryou

"I don't think they even understand how beautiful of an act this is," one person writes.

"There is so much depth of emotion attached to the Haka I uncontrollably cry every time. This was beautiful," another says.

"Well I'm sobbing like a baby in my office now," a commenter reveals.

"You can feel the mana [spiritual power] and the aroha [love]they have for you they know your mamae [hurt], what a beautiful tribute to you and our culture. Arohanui [deep affection] for your loss," someone else writes.

Ngakuru explains in the comments that it's his brother-in-law, who is Tongan, leading the chant. He is also the one that taught their friends the haka in a single day. What an impressive show of love for their grieving friend. There's no doubt that Ngakuru will remember this for the rest of his life.

Joy

Two awesome strangers brought gifts for a newborn baby after receiving a misdirected text

A text directed to the wrong person brought two families together in a very heartwarming way.

via Deorick Williams/Facebook

Mark and Lindsey Lashley welcome their child with new friends.


What happens when the proudest moment of a parent's life is also the strangest?

Just ask Mark and Lindsey Lashley from Georgia.

On March 19, they welcomed their first child Cason, a healthy baby boy, into the world. Nothing out of the ordinary there.


Then Cason's grandmother decided to send a text to family members about her newest bundle of joy. Again, nothing unusual there either.

But when that text went to a stranger named Dennis Williams, and he decided to join in on the celebration, things became even more interesting. Check out the exchange below.

friendship, kindness, family, inspirational, comedy, babies

The group text that started it all.

Photo from Deorick Williams's Facebook page.

And just like that, the Williams brothers arrived at the hospital with gifts and well-wishes for the new mom and dad.

The following note from the Lashley family was posted on Williams' Facebook page praising the brothers' kindness and generosity for providing a small token to a family they didn't even know a few hours beforehand.

The best sentiment from the Lashleys:

"If we all only had this kind of heart.”

This hilarious and heartwarming story is going viral for all the right reasons.

Plenty of stats and polls point to a depressing truth: Our world is becoming more and more divided by racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural lines.

But it's easy to forget just how far we've come:

Two random black dudes showed up in the hospital room of a white family to provide gifts and love to their newborn baby, and the Internet universally loved it. That, in itself, is an epic feat.

These families will be connected forever due to a random act of kindness that warmed the hearts of millions.

Not to mention, when baby Cason grows up, his parents will have one amazing birth story to share with him.

But first, let's share this great story with everyone who needs a smile.


This article was originally published on 3.22.16


Joy

Good Samaritans save a kidnapped boy after following up on an AMBER Alert

The boy's father was delivering food when he was car-jacked.

Reagan Dunn and Yenni Lu located Justin Chan after an Amber Alert.

Since being established in Texas in 1996, Amber Alerts have been implemented in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and have been incredibly effective at preventing child abductions.

As of December 31, 2023, over 1200 children have been successfully through the program, which was named after Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, 28 years ago.

The alerts are delivered through TV broadcasts, radio, text messages and cable TV, deputizing the general public to help find a kidnapped child immediately after they’ve been reported missing. Back in February, an autistic child who was abducted from his father was recovered in under 3 hours after 2 friends took action.


It all started on February 13, 2024 when Kim Chan was delivering food in downtown Long Beach, California. He left the car running while he made his delivery and while he was gone, a carjacker stole his car. To make a terrible situation worse, his 4-year-old son, Justin, was in the backseat. After the carjacker drove away, the father contacted the police and the California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert.

Right around that time, Reagan Dunn and Yenni Lu, both 20, from nearby Huntington Beach, were cruising downtown Long Beach and just “hanging out” when they received the alert on their phones. “We had nothing else to do so, we were like, ‘Hey, let’s go look,’” Dunn told the Long Beach Post.

A few minutes later, they drove past a Honda Accord parked in front of an outlet mall that matched the description in the alert. They checked the incense plate and it was a match. “I thought maybe I was seeing things,” Dunn said.

The women quickly called 911 and stayed by the car, waiting for officers to arrive.

By 8:10 that night, Justin was reunited with his parents. "The vehicle was located by two Good Samaritans who found the car and immediately called 9-1-1. We would like to thank them for this act of heroism in finding this young boy," the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement.

The Long Beach Police later identified the carjacking suspect by reviewing footage from security cameras in the area. After stealing the car, he promptly abandoned it at the outlet mall located a few blocks away from where it was stolen. Timothy Wood, 34, who is experiencing homelessness, was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, child endangerment, and vehicle theft and his bail was set at $100,000.

Dunn and Lu’s heroic act to help save the young boy is another great example of California's successful Amber Alert program. Since 2002, it has been activated over 320 times in the state, involving over 380 victims and over 97% have been safely recovered. “The program definitely works, and it's getting better every year,” the California Highway Patrol says on its website.

The Amber Alert program is an excellent reminder that when you call on people to help in a crisis, more often than not, someone will always step up and do what’s right.