Holy Smokes that’s a lot of questions! Many of them merit their own discussions. I’ll just focus on consciousness. I’ll give you my thoughts on some of the others, but if you want to continue those tracks they probably should get their own thread.
The Natural is everything in the material universe down to atoms, electrons and the smallest particles and all of space/time. This is all we can see and all science can test. Reality could be much more than the natural universe though. We can reason that it has to be. For example, we can ask where did the Natural come from? The universe is in motion. Matter and energy change states. But how did it come to be in the first place? Something was there at the start and something put it in motion. If everything has a cause (which is a safe assumption…we know of absolutely nothing that didn’t have a cause.), then we must be able to trace back to the beginning. There are theories that say the universe doesn’t have to have a beginning. It’s expanding and contracting and eventually time breaks down and stops, then goes in another direction, or even morphs into something completely different. It’s all wild speculation because nobody can demonstrate any of that in a lab, but even if this is so we’re still left with the question of how did the “stuff” of physical reality come to be. Was this faceless, voiceless glob always there? An unintelligent mass of stuff that continually gyrates through strange permutations? What a cosmic joke if this strange random glob eventually produced a component (us) that was capable of pondering itself. Is it possible that that is “ultimate” reality? Or is it more likely that there actually is a rhyme and reason to what’s going on?
You mentioned Eternity being a long time, but Eternity is a term for describing existence outside of space/time. It’s not a long time. Infinite time is a long time. Eternity just is. That’s hard to imagine from inside of space/time. Kindof like describing 4-dimensional space time to a being that exists inside a 2-dimensional comic strip. But we can grasp the concept and accept that it’s true.
As to your side questions:
If I lack faith do I lack a spirit or is it their regardless? -I’d say it’s there regardless.
Some believers think that if you don't accept a God you will be condemned forever. This always seemed to me rather narrow minded and simplistic. -Agreed. I can’t say more without getting into the realm of religion, and that can alienate people really fast. So I’ll stick to concepts.
Trump talks a lot about this concept of and I think we all want to be winners, but you cannot have a winner without a loser am I right? – no you are wrong. It’s possible for all to win. Now, some will have more of some things than others, but that doesn’t necessitate losers.
Let's say for sake of argument that God is keeping score. Keeping score of what? For what purpose? so we go to the gates of St Peter and some angel says sorry guy. You didn't make the cut. When you were 50-60 you didn't pray enough, perform enough selfless deeds etc. So you lose. – without diving too far into religion, I believe this stage of existence has the primary purpose of determining what choices we will make.
Some say that man is inherently imperfect. Does that mean we have to succeed or just try to do better? - to quote Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Are humans are in control of their destiny? – Yes.
Or is destiny in control of them? – this is what you would believe if you think the universe is an unintelligent, unguided mass of goo. Hopefully, I gave you enough reason to doubt that.
Is God judging us as good for accepting authoritarian systems (being a good communist) or rebelling against the evils of such an economic system? How is one supposed to know how to behave? – I think God is judging us based on the decisions we make with the knowledge we have.
If I am stricken with a disease am I supposed to fight with every fiber of my body and avail myself of every possible medical marvel available or should I meditate, pray and possibly accept my fate? Should we allow ourselves to choose death over a painful disease? – this is a personal choice that ties in to the last question. Generally speaking, I think you should do what you can to survive. If medical treatment is available and there is good reason to believe it’s helpful, then it would be foolish to turn it down.
Is the American Way really the right way or just a way? -it’s just a way. But it’s the best way I’ve seen.
Being American at different times in history was about slave ownership, killing natives not to mention the Wild Wild West. Egyptians are now mostly Muslims and once worshiped the Sun. Just because we had flintlocks and rifles were we justified in killing Native Americans and breaking nearly every deal we made with them? What about Slaves? – there’s a lot of ugly past in America. But the same America that did those things also freed the slaves and passed civil rights. Rescued nations in WW2 and prevented WW3. Been a light for freedom and human rights in the world. Provided international relief that’s saved millions. Impacted millions more by developing and sharing technological and medical marvels. On the whole, America has been a huge positive for the world.
Spoil the rod is what I was told growing up. In My High School days they had corporal punishment when an adult teacher could hit a child with a stick or paddle for disobedience or non compliance. Now they'd lose their job and go to jail. -yes, I think we need to beat more kids. I’m not talking about abuse, but a good whipping never scarred anyone I’ve heard about and it produces disciplined adults.
Does our spirit keep a record of all our memories and we are magically reunited with them upon our transition from life to death? – I’m engaging in speculation myself here, but my belief is that the spirit is a part of the total you. It’s reflective of your memories to the extent that they influence it and it influences them. In eternity I think you will have some knowledge, maybe total knowledge, of what your brain contained.
Edited by DarthRemark, 2 weeks ago.