Do ideas of finality or absolutism comfort? Or do they simply retard human growth and development Do they interfere with the human business of seeking meaning while existing in flux by proposing final ends and ultimates that may not exist?

I think they can do all those things depending on the individual. In general, I reject the notion that certain ideas ought to be promoted or done away with because of the effect they have on people- or at the very least, I think such motivations conflict with the work of me as a philosopher- I should be after the truth. The effect the truth has on the audience is either an added perk or an unfortunate side-effect.
For my part, I’ve heard a lot of talk about how ‘end of the world’ thinking is supposed to make us ill-prepared or unwilling to deal with the future, but I haven’t seen in it practice- I haven’t met any Christians that don’t bother saving money because they’re sure the end is coming before they retire. I haven’t seen any countries that waste their resources because of a faith that there won’t be any future generations.

I think it is a bit of both.

There is no reason why comfort is antithetical to development – after all, plants need fertile soil to grow! Outside of Soviet Russia, no one would argue that barley grown in siberia is tougher and better than barley grown on a temperate plain!

But it is about striking a balance between comfort and challenge.

As to the belief in an end providing comfort, well, of course! I mean we all know for certain that we are going to die. That is freakin’ scary! So, how do we deal with that thought, that fear?

I believe it can correlate into a certain placid mindset with a dreary acceptance of one’s fate when it is spoken on a grand scale. When you dwell on the future you lost today and I think it is important to never settle. But I guess that is just me.

When you say that ‘it’s just you’, Satori, are you saying you’ve suffered from this problem yourself- that when you’ve entertained the idea of a final, ultimate end to things, it has made you feel placid and dreary?

Yes, it was a relative moment for me. I used to query about death alot and how it would all end. The destruction of the physical can oft bring people down. Look at most people if their car gets hit or they lose something they deem valuable. It was a difficult transition to change from someone who was so attached to everything to kind of a sense of detachment. I have learned to embrace my own mortality and not take things for granted. But I also believe that when others who aren’t willing to take that detachment they can become either depressed or worrisome.

Part of my struggle may also have been in my belief that this life is all we have. This view has not really changed but I have come to believe that there is a flow of life and death.

Because they don’t strongly believe in it, and don’t know when it supposedly will happen.

I agree with the second part of what you wrote, but the first part- I can’t say. Certainly, many people profess to believe very strongly in the second coming of Jesus and so on- do these people harbor secret doubts they don’t express? Who am I to say? But not knowing exactly when it will be is enough to keep people behaving themselves.
Either way, I think observing the devout shows us that these sorts of beliefs don’t lead to the kinds of things Ierrellus talked about.

I’m thorougly enjoying this discussion with its honest POVs. Looking at fundamentalistic Christians I happen to know, I seem to see more fear than comfort in their views of final outcomes. Raised in the South as a fundamentalist, I was used to hearing songs and prayers about after- death family reunions (quite contrary to Christ’s ideas of who should know whom in Heaven). “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, etc.
I, personally have considered an oblivion of consciousness to be my best final outcome. I don’t see any resolution of family conflicts in an afterlife. Attending to those is my duty here. I don’t see eternal rewards or punishments as being deserved by humans who "see through the dim glass darkly’ and live a flyspeck of existence as compared with eternity. I do not see how I can be held culpable in some cosmic conflict between good and evil deities. I’m only human! That my body, preserved after death for years by a superstitous culture, can finally join the conservation of energy, can feed the plants off which the animals feed, is far more desired by me than having my, often disease ridden, mental apparatus go on forever. A neat part of Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” (not a childrens’ book!) is about a group of people who could not die. They longed for finality, but it was denied them. Meanwhile, they just grew older, more decrepit, more unable to function in ways they had known before. That would be hell.