Wouldn’t it be weird if there was an afterlife? Particularly if you were aware of this very fact. Your life on earth, the here and now, would seem like a charade, would it not? What would motivate you to carry on down here while there is so much more (infinitely much more – love, bliss, harmony, life) awaiting you ‘up there’ in the afterlife?
If folks genuinely believe in an afterlife for all eternity then what motivation would there be for continuing to live this life? It is no wonder that suicide is proscribed in most religions. However, I think most people don’t consider suicide, and not because it is prohibited. I think the will to live is fundamental to most, if not all, higher animals. In fact, I believe that most believers carry on with their life as if there in fact is no afterlife.
How do most religions justify living this life (beyond the proscription of suicide) when bliss awaits in the next? Well, most of the major religions have to make this life mean something – mean something with regard to the next life (the afterlife). Religions need to orient their adherents to an ultimate meaning. This is why this life is conceived as the definitive SAT test by most of the major religions. If you play by the rules (e.g., judeo-christian) – established in a middle eastern desert more than 2 millennia ago (unless you are a noveau religion like the Mormons or the Scientologists) – you will ace the test and get your just rewards, namely a one-way ticket to the next (and ultimate) level. But isn’t that perverse? The next level is for all eternity – ALL ETERNITY! If one lives to the ripe old age of 100 years that is not even an Higgs Boson-worth of time compared to the vastness of time that is all eternity. Yet, we have that less than a sliver of time to prove our worthiness to our beloved creator. It is as if your behaviour in the first nano-second after you are born determines your fate forever and ever. That is some f*cked up shit, if you don’t mind me saying so
A number of people have claimed to experience the afterlife and live to tell the tale. If people truly do have life-after-death experiences – the ones that get reported – all magnificent light and love and glory, then wouldn’t the rest of their lives be kind of a letdown? Wouldn’t they want to hasten their departure for this better place? If not by suicide then surely they could become great risk takers, like climbing cranes and hanging off by one hand for example.
But I don’t see or hear of too many of these being in any hurry to depart this mortal coil. They are in a hurry however to pump out a book or two.
I am curious what people who believe in the afterlife conceive of the afterlife. Do they still have a body or are they disembodied consciousness? If they have a body, do they still need to eat, sleep, go to the toilet? Is every need taken care of? Wouldn’t that get kind of dull if that were the case? Could you imagine if your needs were not taken care of? You would have to work for an eternity! And imagine the medical bills you would accumulate. Let’s hope there is universal healthcare in the afterlife.
I think most people who profess belief in the afterlife are just afraid to acknowledge, or confront the fact, that there is not ultimate meaning to existence, and that death is final.