Clinging to Afterlife

Question from Lee:
I just want to ask what do you guys think about the afterlife (after you die), because that’s the only thing that’s keeping me believing in God but I don’t pray to God because why would I pray to someone who is powerful enough to create a world of peace but instead make a chaotic world that’s forcing us to do sins.

Answer by SmartLX:
An afterlife requires a soul, or something similar which lets a person’s identity and personality survive the death of the body and brain. There’s no good evidence for souls, so atheists usually don’t believe there’s any kind of afterlife. From the perspective of someone who dies, the world doesn’t fade to eternal darkness and silence because that’s still a kind of afterlife; there stops being a person who can experience anything, or who anything can happen to. Some atheists do believe in the existence of souls, an afterlife and even ghosts, but this isn’t due to their atheism. They just believe for some reason that souls can exist without a god.

Whether or not you want there to be afterlife is not a good reason to believe or disbelieve in gods, because if one of two possible truths is preferable that doesn’t make it more likely. Thinking so regardless is an appeal to consequences. If you don’t believe in God but you’re not happy about it, you’re still an atheist, you’re just not happy about being an atheist and you should try to make your peace with it.

11 thoughts on “Clinging to Afterlife”

  1. I personally think no one knows about an afterlife. Those that say they do are either liars are psychotic. Your thinking reminds me of Pascal’s Wager. Pretend to believe “just in case”. That works only if that god is so stupid he cannot tell the difference between fake belief and sincere belief. Then, a life well-lived with courtesy and consideration for others means nothing compared to fake belief? Some god!

  2. Lee … you say you believe in a god because you feel there is an afterlife, but you don’t pray to that god because he/she/it created a chaotic world instead of a perfect one.
    Unfortunately, that sounds like a bad romance (!)

    There is no real proof of an afterlife of any sort. Most near-death accounts can be explained by what happens to the oxygen deprived brain. There is no convincing evidence.
    If you were to examine claims regarding the afterlife closely you’d hit upon a set of inconsistencies similar to the ones that one hits upon while examining the claim of existence of god.

    The question for you probably is this – if your belief in the afterlife goes away (due to self examination, or over time etc.) would you still believe in god? Or will you be more inclined to think up of something else (altruism in human beings despite “selfishness” of Darwinian evolution etc.) that makes you hold on to your god belief?
    And if your god belief does go away with your belief in the after-life, then what will your world view be like?

    1. And what proof pray tell, would be your proof for there be for there not being an afterlife? Now, if you don’t mind I would like to anticipate your answer, but, I really could not say you are wrong. Since most Christians have an incorrect view about life after death. The Bible actually teaches that there is one, just not the one that many Christians have. The Bible teaches that once someone dies they go back to where they were created from. They rest until the second coming of Christ. That is when He will bring back to life those who have lived for Him. Those who died not having accepted Christ will not live until the time of the time to punish them, which the Bible describes, as after the One Thousand years. Then they are brought back to life, to show them their wrong and they are given their punishment, which will only last for a specific time, whereupon, they are destroyed never to live again. So, encapsulating, there will be life after death. Eternal life for those who have accepted Christ, and a brief moment of life for those who didn’t, which is over after a specific period of time, and then after they will go back to sleep forever.

      1. His “proof” is the complete lack of evidence for any post-life existence, Gerald. There simply isn’t any empirical data that shows that any living thing exists when their body ceases to work, and zero evidence that anything supernatural exists.

        Your particular interpretation of the Christian texts is no less baseless than the Christians who claim that a person goes straight to heaven and doesn’t have a “rest”. Why you think you are right and other Christians are wrong is something only you can attest to I suppose. I’ve never met a Christian who had a wrong interpretation though. It’s amazing how each of you know exactly what you are supposed to know while the person next to you has got it wrong…

        1. Since you are under the opinion that there is no proof, please, pray tell, inform us of what you are looking for as this evidence, that there is none of. Since there is so much unexplored. So much yet to be discovered, how can you come to the conclusion, that there is no afterlife of any kind, especially since so many civilizations who have believed that there is. We are still discovering, sifting through the ashes of these civilizations things that amaze us today. Could it not be possible that we just haven’t found that proof yet. I mean, look at the years that Evolutionist have taken to try to prove that life is by an accident. And I don’t know where you have been, but there is plenty of evidence that we are not alone. The times when people have not boarded or gotten of of a aircraft because they felt that something was wrong. The times when a mother or a twin knew that something was wrong with their loved one, at the very time that something was wrong, even though they were miles apart.
          Now I know that is could be doubtful about accepting the testimony of someone who has escaped the jaws of death, and reported having seen something, but there are plenty of testimonies of those who have awakened from sleep, or had been wide awake only to see a loved one who they have talked to. Now, I personally,believe that these “spirits” are not loved ones who have gone on before, but that the Bible says that we a person dies they go to sleep and wait for Christ to call them back to life. So when we supposedly see a loved one, it is one of Satan’s demons pretending to be that loved one, so that we will not believe in what God has told us in His word. And I believe that you will agree that there are bad in good persons in every culture. There are those who would do good if and when they found what that good was. And there are those who prefer only the bad. And to know what is right, Christians accept Gods word as the standard. But there are some Christians, who, not knowing Gods word completely, have accepted some beliefs that they have been taught from others who learned from others. And when confronted with parts of the Bible that conflict with what they have held as truth, and tells them that their belief contradicts the Bible, they find it hard, and with some impossible, to study in order to reconcile their beliefs, that reflects the true concept of what God wants us to know from His word. For example, All Christians believe that God is all loving, that He is all merciful. And normally we would never accept anyone who would say otherwise. But when an Atheist asks how could God send someone to hell and torture them for years without end, how could a supposedly just, loving and merciful God do such an unjust, unloving and unmerciful thing, those Christians accept that that is just the way it, and He is, not stopping to ask themselves or question why this is. So if they would just stop and question, this unbiblical, concept could be accepted as truth in the Bible, they would see by study, that this concept of God is not biblical, but it is from Satan, who has twisted the truth about who and what man is and thereby have caused many Christians to accept a false god of the one true God. The first misconception about Man, is that Man is not immortal. He is a created being. The Bible says that only God is immortal. This we know by reading 1 Timothy 6:16-19 ”
          16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
          17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” Other cultures have taught this lie and when they were brought into the Catholic church, this lie was accepted by them ignoring what Gods word said about Man. And the Bible says that Man was made from the dust of the earth, and then God breathed in to man the breath of life and that is when man became a living soul or a living being. Genesis 2:7 “Genesis 2:7King James Version (KJV)
          “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
          And then the Bible says that at death man goes back to the ground. Ecclesiastes 12:7 NET Bible “and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the life’s breath returns to God who gave it.”
          Also, the Bible says that after a person dies he doesn’t know anything. Please read Ecclesiastes 9:5 “Ecclesiastes 9:5 “For the living know that they will die;
          But the dead know nothing,
          And they have no more reward,
          For the memory of them is forgotten.” Jesus said about Lazarus after he died that he was asleep. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope”
          Why would he have to worry about his friends being sorrow, if the dead loved ones were already in heaven, after they had died. He would just say or assume that they were in heaven. Instead he says that they were sleeping. Now, if you want to know more. Look at the web site

          1. Gerald writes: [Since you are under the opinion that there is no proof, please, pray tell, inform us of what you are looking for as this evidence, that there is none of. Since there is so much unexplored. So much yet to be discovered, how can you come to the conclusion, that there is no afterlife of any kind, especially since so many civilizations who have believed that there is.]

            What am I looking for? Anything. Literally any piece of empirical data or evidence will do. Anything that shows that any supernatural thing exists. to date there is precisely zero such information that has been discovered.

            So how do I reach my conclusion? It’s the only conclusion to reach, Gerald. Given the total lack of evidence for any such claim, the only rational deduction to make is that there is no such thing as heaven or nirvana or Valhalla. Now please note, I have NEVER claimed that we know everything there is to know. I freely admit that some data could come along in the future that would change my conclusion. But that doesn’t mean I should take the claim of an afterlife as particularly plausible, however. Humans have been making claims of places the “good people” go after they die for a long time, and none of it can be validated. There’s no good reason to think that afterlife claims have any merit to them at all.

            Why do you believe in heaven, Gerald, and not Valhalla?

            [Could it not be possible that we just haven’t found that proof yet. I mean, look at the years that Evolutionist have taken to try to prove that life is by an accident. And I don’t know where you have been, but there is plenty of evidence that we are not alone. The times when people have not boarded or gotten of of a aircraft because they felt that something was wrong. The times when a mother or a twin knew that something was wrong with their loved one, at the very time that something was wrong, even though they were miles apart.]

            ??? None of that proves an afterlife, or the supernatural. Why have so many people gotten on planes that crashed? Why are so many twins and moms so completely unaware of something bad happening to someone else? Statistically the vast majority of times people do get on doomed planes, and the vast majority don’t have a clue that a loved one had something wrong happen. Look up the numbers.

            [Now I know that is could be doubtful about accepting the testimony of someone who has escaped the jaws of death….etc]

            I didn’t post your entire statement above for brevity’s sake.

            They could be lying. They could be misinterpreting a dream. They could have created a false memory during a time of stress (there’s lots of information out there about how the brain changes and creates memories all the time). There is no evidence, and I mean NONE, that supports the claim of spirits or afterlife communication.

            As the rest of your post is mostly an evangelical rant with useless biblical passages attached, I have no comment on that stuff.

            1. I believe that the Bible is the God breathed text of love to us. I believe it is His word because for one but not least that so many have tried to burn it out of existence, or rub it out of existence, or deny it out of existence, or forbid it out of existence. They have made predictions that it would be some book added to the other books of myths and legends in the near future, yet it still is today the book, most widely read book. I believe that it is God given because even though many have sought to prove that what is found within its pages was made up or added after the fact, no one has been able to show when or how, nor have they been able to explain how the prophecies given such a long time ago, could so accurately portray events and history that has come to pass not too long ago. I believe that the Bible is God’s word because it has had wrought changes to so many individuals from the time it came into being. And has done so more than any other piece of literature. I believe that it is God’s holy word, because it says that God told His prophets to write and they wrote, and even though they wrote from different periods of history, being different individuals, with different experiences, this book having been made from different other books has maintained a theme without the ability that we have today to print and check out our works, yet that theme is always complimentary to that of the other books, in the Bible. So many have made the accusation that it contradicts itself yet, they have always come up short with that proof.
              I believe that the Bible is God’s love letter to us, because it has made statements that have left those who are learned and educated, scratching their heads in wonder as to how those in an earlier period of earth’s history,could possibly know that which we have learned today as being essential, to understanding physics, and other forms of sciences. From medicines to cleanliness, God has revealed it long before we knew it, and ignored it in God’s word.
              I believe the Bible is God’s word because it tells us of God’s desire to have an intimate relationship with Man, and to what length He was willing to go to stay in contact with us. Using one of the most worthless nations, and protecting and pushing it to its preeminence, that is enjoys today, despite the fact that it refuses the Messiah that has already arrived and gone. The Bible tells us from where we were made and shows us how much we have lost. But lets us know that all can be regained today, if, if, we would only, believe and have a relationship with, our God. Our Creator. No, my friend, there is no other Book like the Bible. God has used it to change so many lives. They have given testimony to that fact. So this is another reason that I believe that the Bible is God’s word. He has used it to change my life. And if you would just look around, many people who were Atheists before, have allowed Him to change their lives through the same book, the Bible. It has changed the lives, of poor and rich. Those who had nothing and nothing to live for. Yet when they opened the seemingly ordinary pages of ink and paper, they all of a sudden, had an extraordinary experience. From normal IQ’s to hyper IQ’s the Bible has been the book invitation, sent to them from God above, asking them to meet with Him and know Him as their Friend, God and Creator. They are and the have let us know about this encounter. And He wishes to have the same encounter with each and every person who is reading this just now. Don’t scoff. Just because you haven’t met Him, doesn’t mean He is not there. But the evidence is there. There is as the Bible calls it, ” a great cloud of witnesses” who testify, that they have met the Savior, Jesus Christ.
              Sure, there are a few who fall from the ranks. But, their positions have been, filled time and time again with those who at one time stood head to toe with those who at one time called themselves Atheists. But today, would give their lives before the would denounce God again, and return to Atheism.
              And I think finally, I have accepted the Bible as God’s word, because no other book, has thrilled the heart as God’s word does. No other book provides the solace, and comfort that God’s word does. When an individual, seeks to inspire itself, deepen its perceptions, uplift its aspirations, they go to the Book of all books, the Bible to do so. And not to Darwin’s book of Evolution. Not to the books of communism. They go to God to see what He had planned to tell them way back when He knew we would need to receive words of life from His lips, to our eyes or ears.
              Like I said, just because you haven’t had the pleasure, or privilege doesn’t mean, He would not like that same pleasure. He would love to sit and chat with you, to walk with you. To comfort and console you. And one day, yes one day, to take you by the hand and give you the best hug you have ever and could ever want to have. The God hug. He is waiting with bated breath for that time when He sends His Son, our Savior to come and bring us home to heaven. If you have ever read in the Bible you will remember this text found in Revelation 3:20 where God breathed these words to show us His love and His anticipation for being with us. He had the prophet write this to you and to me “20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Come on He is telling us that He will not invade our privacy. He will calmly, wait on the outside, and allow you to make the decision, through all you have heard and experienced, all the good and bad around, all the negativism that is around. He wants you to reason within, as to what you really want, And if you open the door and welcome Him in. He will be there right outside the confines of your insecurity and doubt, And He will gladly do for you more than you could even imagine. I know, it is all soft and cuddly what I’m saying, so much so that it can’t be true. But friend, so many have taken that plunge and opened that door. And He has changed their, our lives. You are no different. He himself wants to tell you in person these words “3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” And because of that love He wants to tell you what He told us in John 3:16 ” for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And He wants you to know, that He is not like us. He doesn’t make promises that He doesn’t plan to keep or not be able to keep. He lets us know in Numbers 23:19 that “9 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” In other words you can depend on Him. So if He tells you He loves you. He does. Even more than you want to be loved. Look at this marvelous text He sent us to let us know how much we mean to Him. It is found in Isaiah 49:15 ““Can a woman forget her nursing child,
              And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
              Surely they may forget,Yet I will not forget you.” God is not like us. He said He loves us and He does. He does for all the right reasons. He loves us because He is love. And because He loves us He wants us to be with Him forever. That is why He lets us know in John 14:3 “14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
              2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
              3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
              So if you want to, He is still knocking, He is still longing to enter and get to know you personally. And give you the opportunity to get to know Him. All you have to do, is just like it says on one of my favorite books “Steps to Christ” found on page 10 “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary, in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” She also wrote that “Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.”
              Steps to Christ(1892), p. 94
              God is waiting. Go to Him. He will not disappoint you. He is putting your belief in Him on the line. Go to Him.

              1. Gerald, I understand that you “believe”. And that’s the key word, isn’t it? There is no proof for your claim. Just like the people that “believe” Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism is the god to trump all gods, and those that still follow Egyptian mythology believe Osiris is the source of all. People all “believe” all manner of different theistic stuff. Their belief is all based on the same thing your particular belief system is based on – nothing.

                I’ve noticed you’ve once again referenced supposed prophecies in the Bible. There are no unexplainable or mysterious prophecies in that collection of texts. Since you probably have a favorite prophesy, go ahead and list it and I will show why such claims are baseless.

                In the mean time, the real reason you believe Christianity and not Norse mythology is really pretty simple – you live in a predominately Christian area. If you lived in Saudi Arabia, you’d probably be Muslim, or if you were from India you’d be Hindu.

                While I appreciate the length and passion of your post, you’ve once again given me preaching and proselytizing instead of what I’ve repeatedly asked for – data and empirical evidence. I know none will be forthcoming, because there isn’t any, but you don’t want to admit as much I suspect.

  3. Well being makes existence worthwhile. Someone who does not believe in the existence of deities or an afterlife, can still believe in the existence of well being and use it to guide one’s behavior towards oneself and others. Want to experience well being? Try to let go of anger, hatred, self and other rating, greed, demanding perfection from everyone and everything. These are just some of the things you can do to try to create more well being for yourself and others.

  4. It is so hard to understand how those who feel that there is no moral standard because there is no supreme being to dictate what is right or wrong, could get their dander up when someone accepts some kind of standard. If we all are the making of or from the survival of the fittest concept, then anything goes. All is fare in love and war. It’s every organism for itself. Yet, many find theses concepts to be inhumane.

    1. There are moral standards, Gerald. There just aren’t any universal or objective moral standards. Moral standards are a summation of the people living in the society or culture defining the standard. Morals are subjective, and constantly changing.

      [ Yet, many find theses concepts to be inhumane]

      Notice you didn’t, and can’t, say “all”. Because there is no universal moral standard. That’s because people make up the moral standards in the area they live in. No gods needed…

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