Is life after death a possibility?

I don't know. You probably (most likely) don't know, but what do you think? Is there life after death or are we all doomed to live only once?

Posted: 11:05AM on Jul 2, 2019 | By Pynora


  • 35.8%
  • 15.7%
  • 28.3%
  • 10.1%
  • 10.1%
Opinion Split
Total responses : 159
Responses by Gender

Is There an Afterlife?

Posted: 2:12PM on Apr 10, 2020 | By Pynora

related note image

It’s one of the biggest questions of human existence: Is there an afterlife?

There are as many answers to the question as there are people on the planet. Science has some insight. All religions have some answers.

There is one overarching theme: how one lives in this life can affect what happens in the afterlife. The single biggest take away from any survey of beliefs in the afterlife conclude that one should behave ethically and morally, doing no harm and giving as much love as possible, to help insure a positive afterlife in any faith.

Life After Death in Buddhism

Buddhism teaches that all people are in a cycle of life, death, and rebirth called samsara. This cycle includes all the pain and suffering that human life brings with it. The goal is to reach enlightenment so that one can leave this cycle and choose when and where to be reborn.

Buddhists work hard to create more “merit”, positive karma, that can help to free them from suffering.

It’s believed that most enlightened beings return in human form, even though they don’t have to, in order to help others escape the cycle of samsara.

Life After Death in Christianity

The afterlife in Christianity includes rebirth in Heaven, if you’re good, or rebirth in Hell, if you’re evil.

An important part of this idea is the concept of repentance. Repentance is making right one’s sins and transgressions. The various sects of Christianity see it differently. For some, confessing one’s sins is sufficient, while others believe that one must descend to Hell before being allowed to reside in Heaven with God and Jesus Christ.

Similar to Buddhism, it is one’s acts in life that determine where one will end up after death.

Life After Death in Hinduism

Hindus, like Buddhists, believe in reincarnation. One will be reborn on to the earth after they have died. How you are born and as what are determined by how you live this life. The atman passes into a new body and life. One works throughout life to achieve good karma which will improve one’s birth the next time.

All animals part of the cycle of reincarnation, with humans as the highest form of life. The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to achieve moksha and break free from the cycle of death and rebirth. Hindus then believe that one will be reborn as a Brahman, a member of the priestly caste.

Life After Death in Islam

Islam, like the other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism, believe that the soul departs the earth upon death. Muslims believe that the soul waits with the Angel of Death for the Judgement Day. On that day, their actions in life will be judged and they will live out eternity in Jannat (Paradise) or Jahannam (Hell).

The Oxford Islamic Studies Online site explains it this way, “In Islam, one's condition in the afterlife, whether in heaven or hell, is determined by the degree to which one has affirmed the unity and justice of God, acted with mercy and justice toward others, and been ethically responsible.”

Life After Death in Judaism

There is no clear answer to what the HereAfter in Judaism is. “Judaism is famously ambiguous about this matter. The immortality of the soul, the World to Come, and the resurrection of the dead all feature prominently in Jewish tradition, but the logistics of what these things are and how they relate to each other has always been vague.” 1

The Old Testament contains a few references, but they tend to confuse the issue. Sheol, the bowels of the earth, is mentioned as a place of the dead, but it seems to be more like oblivion than hell where the dead are conscious. In several places, the Bible refers to resurrection. It’s not clear who will be resurrected or how. Unfortunately, no clear answer exists here, perhaps because the beliefs of the Jewish faith evolved over centuries and all the different stages of belief were recorded with equal weight.

Life After Death in Science

What happens after death according to science? Science is no less confusing than any religion. In fact, the field of studying what happens after we die has just begun. Until recently, it was believed that nothing happened, we simply died and ceased to exist. More recent studies of near-death experiences (NDEs) and out-of-body experiences (OBEs) seem to show a similarity that is difficult to explain. Many people talk of a warm, safe bright light to which they are drawn.

One scientist explains that in death, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems finally work in harmony, whereas in life they mutually exclusive. This is what leads to feelings of euphoria in those who die but return to tell the tale. Depending on what doctor is asked, the answer can range from not being sure to there is no way, given the laws of the universe, that the consciousness continues after death. Of course, categorical statements of any kind require an assumption that one knows everything there is to know, an impossibility itself.

It’s worth noting that many of the world’s most famous scientists believed in God and the afterlife to varying degrees: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and many more.

Is There Proof of an Afterlife?

As for the afterlife, proof is in the eye of the beholder. Each faith has stories from adherents who have died and returned that prove their perspective on the afterlife. Life after death experiences often seem shaped by what on believed in during life. This might also be caused by the vocabulary that one uses to describe the same thing.

A Christian at death might see Jesus, while a Muslim might see the Angel of Death or Allah. They might be seeing and experiencing the same things, but their vocabulary prevents them from seeing it as something other than their own belief system. Put simply, a Christian wouldn’t expect to see Allah, so would never express their after death experiences that way.

Is There an Afterlife?

As discussed above, everyone has a different perspective. Since there is no way to truly test any hypothesis and every faith, including science, can find evidence to support their view, that question must remain unanswered.

What we do know is that every major religion believes that how you behave in this life will affect what happens to you in the afterlife. If one were to adopt the scientific or atheist perspective that there is no afterlife, a wise gambler would likely tell you to hedge your bets by behaving well in this life anyway.

User Responses (159)

Leave your comment

You May Also Like...