Here’s the main reason why it’s rather foolish to believe in an afterlife, and I say this as someone who would be ecstatic & glowing if I had reason to believe there was one. Who wouldn’t be? The main thing you have to do is get past the comical notion that human beings are special cases in the grand scheme because of their small brains, their ability to contemplate their mortality and their ability to generate religious beliefs and feel reverence for certain divine wise men like Yeshua of Nazareth.
There is, of course, a perfect order and an undeniable flow-through harmony — some kind of exquisite mathematical order and inter-connectedness — to the universe. But imagine, just for comedy relief’s sake, that there is an actual great and grand and reasoning entity with a white beard (or clean shaven…whatever) and freshly-pressed white robes called God.
This grand fellow, trust me, would not be nearly as enamored of homo sapiens on the little speck of terra firma called earth as we are. He would be respectful of what we’ve achieved and felt and created and the songs we’ve sung, but because we are so far down the evolutionary scale (and that is indisputable) he would not be saying, “Whoa…hold on…these guys are special. I mean, if any life form in the entirety of the universe deserves to be given eternal life through a spiritual afterlife consciousness that would include an awareness of an eternal cosmic playground and a sense of continuance, these homo sapien guys qualify! Because they have the ability think and reason and place faith in me. I mean, Me! Me Me Me Me Me! So…you know, that makes them pretty damn special from my perspective!”
Utterly delusional bullshit.
No, God would perhaps regard us with a certain fondness or love, but primarily as just one of many millions of expressions of life. Perhaps one or two levels of development up from animals (which we obviously are) and nothing more, and several…make that dozens of levels below Him/Her. In short, Mr. Cosmic Kingshit wouldn’t afford us any kind of special dispensation as far as afterlives are concerned. No more than he would grant an afterlife gift to dogs, worms, grasshoppers, ants, electric eels, birds, whales, cats, otters, fleas and other life forms that live and die on this third stone from the sun. Because in the cosmic eyes of a mythical God, we’re really not significantly different than these creatures whom we regard as lessers. Somewhat, obviously, but not in a way that would greatly impress, say, the beings behind the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Would that we possessed the ability (or willingness) to regard the grand scheme from a truly cosmic perspective. Hah! But we don’t. I mean, I do along with several thousand other perceptive souls, but most people don’t. Especially doctrinaire Christians from the heartland, whom I personally regard as the most arrogant and malicious humans on the planet, and not just right now but for the last several hundred years (considering the blood that has been shed over the centuries in the name of God’s will or God being on “our” side). Along with Islamic fundamentalists, of course. It’s a toss-up as to which group is more self-aggrandizing. Should we call it even? I don’t want to get bogged down in tribal loathings. I’m trying to say something bigger here.
We are capable of writing books and building temples and writing songs and making magnificent films and making life seem pretty damn glorious when we want to, but in the cosmic perspective we are little more but leaves on a grand tree, enjoying the sun and life’s glorious bounty and blah-dee-blah. Which is pretty damn wonderful on its own. One day we will fall from our particular tree branch, and we will float to the ground and turn brown and gradually become mulch, and there isn’t a lot more to it than this. Sorry.
Nobody would love to really believe more than myself that we HAVE been granted some kind of special dispensation by God, that we indeed HAVE some kind of divine pass that affords us a shot at cosmic immortality in some kind of blissfully serene after-realm. I love reading about reports from people who have temporarily died that they felt enormous serenity and bliss upon being released from their bodies. I love that stuff. Really. But alas, I think those visions are a result of some kind of send-off enzyme that the body releases upon the moment of death that we all experience in order to de-traumatize our dying moments. Sorry — I wish it were otherwise.
Be Here Now. Be grateful for the gift of life. It’s pretty damn wonderful. But show respect for yourself by throwing out all those childish beliefs and superstitions that the masters of past cultures felt obliged to push in order to keep the riff-raff in line.