It is quite universal for different religions to have a promise of life after death. What makes difference between these is the way they describe the second life. Many describe the afterlife as a better place than the one we are living in. What is better in afterlife seems to strongly depend on what is culturally desirable.

What do you expect to happen in your afterlife? Are you going to play harp on a cloud or is there going to be dozens of virgins to entertain you.? Are you going to water pot plants and talk to god, or are you expecting to fight every day in great battles?

Evil people (like those who teased you in school) are of course sent to a nother place. The english word Hell comes from the ancient norse goddes Hela. She lived in a terrible halls of ice and bad guys suffered as her guests. The nomads of Levant described the bad place of afterlife as a lake of fire. When eskimos where turned into christianity, they did not understand the concept of Hell until it was explainen to them as an extremely cold place.

The christians believe, that only one person has returned from beyond the boundary, but he never said anything about what it is like there after having a sneak peek. The Jehovas vitnesses seem to think the other world is green pastures where lion and lamb play together. This seems wery close to roman pagan vision of their Elysium. What the lion is soposed to eat is never explained.

The vikings firmly believed, that the best warriors would be taken to Valhalla where they would fight every day and feast every night in anticipation of the final great battle of Ragnarök. If that was what they expected and hoped for, would they have been happy in any other kind of eternity?

In my opinion the hope for life after death is produced by a primitive need. When peoples lives are short, insignificant and full of pain, it is only natural and somewhat comforting to hope for something better after death. When a close relative dies and a child asks what happened to him/her an easy answer is that the belowed relative has gone to a better place. Today in western urban culture it is even common to tell the same to a child about a dead pet. Christian religion does not accept animals to Heaven, no matter how much loved they were.

To me the afterlife seems not more believable than any other childrens fable. If you can accept that babies do not come to world via storch, or that Santa Claus does not ride flying sleigh on christmas evening, you might be also able to accept that there is no afterlife.

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