This title can be read as either a statement or a question. For some it is a matter of their belief system; to others it is the same desperate inquiry humanity has been raising ever since the first cave dweller fell dead and stunned his peers. Probably it all comes down to either there or is not an after-life.
Among the world’s great belief systems are these conclusions [here in layman abbreviation]: Jews differ on an afterlife, but generally agree our immortality is in the memories of those who loved us … Christians envision a heaven and a hell, but many say hell has been already emptied by God’s mercy… Muslims speak of a paradise of pleasures for those who have followed the Prophet…Hindus see each death as another birth until the cycle is completed in a final state of perfection.
Then there are the world’s agnostics and atheists who doubt an afterlife, because our species is perceived as essentially another form of evolved matter which when it dies is dead forever. One thing believers and unbelievers alike can agree upon — no one has ever returned to positively identify any after-life. Which makes its possibility either all the more enticing or all the more foolish.
Can we say we’ll all know the minute after we die…? Well, yes, if there is an after-life; but, no, if there is none in which to know. Which brings us to the classic Pascal Wager. The ascetic philosopher put it this way. If you live the “good and moral life” but discover at death there is no afterlife, what have you lost? However if you have not lived the “good and moral life” but discover at death there IS an afterlife, you have risked spending it in eternal punishment.
He concluded it was a much smarter bet to live the good and moral life. I’m wondering what the Attilas, Caligulas and Stalins of the world would say. Or if not them, what are the Vegas odds-makers saying? In the final spin of the wheel, it probably all depends on what each of us is saying to us.
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