It came as a surprise to me that when I renounced belief in God, most people assumed I had relinquished any notion of an afterlife. I never really had an ah-hah moment or a note to self that said, “Now that I don’t believe in god, I’m should let go of all spirituality and assume death is final.” I guess I just assumed that god was one part of spirituality, not its entirety. But as time went on, I compiled evidence from comments left on social media, and thoughts discussed on forums, and relevant blogs by creative minds, and books written by thinkers, scientific and knowledgeable beyond my scope. Evidently, a disbelief in God goes hand-in-hand with a disbelief in an afterlife of any kind. We are, as one friend put it, all worm food in the end.
(Although another friend recently reminded me that Buddhists, while spiritual, don’t believe in God.)
Is rigid disbelief in afterlife any more reasonable than immutable conviction of its existence? Having abandoned religion for its strict beliefs in the unprovable, methinks some fluidity in my own opinions compulsory. And why should I be condemned to throw out the baby shampoo with the bathwater, when I can easily imagine several afterlife scenarios (sans Guy in the Sky) that are within the framework of imaginable science and discovery?
Full disclosure, I am not a scientist by any stretch. I might describe myself as science-curious, scientific-questioning, or a pseudo-nerd (being intrigued by science and technology, but not in full grasp of most of it.) I am, much more precisely, a hippy, a mom, a free thinker, an optimist, characteristics that will likely shine through in the theories I’ll soon share. I was inspired to share my thoughts on the afterlife while working on Jane’s interview. I have been very impacted by our meeting and our discussions about life and death.
I have also noticed that some of my readers were seeking clarification about my beliefs. Am I an atheist? Agnostic? Do I believe in anything spiritual? I thought, in fairness to my readers, I would attempt to create a very abridged compilation of my theories and present them on my blog, as a sort of waiver. As in, “Yes, I doubt the existence of God. But I have not subscribed entirely to doubt in the afterlife.”
And following that waiver, there ought to be a waiver to my waiver that says, “I am (sadly?) fully aware that my hope for an afterlife may be due to my own brain’s inability to conceive of its temporal state.” After all, to my mind, I am everything. I can understand how tricky it would be to embrace the relative “insignificance” of me, in the grand scheme of eternity. I can understand that the brain might refuse to accept its own very brief and finite existence, especially when all of existence is filtered through it, as it relates to me and me alone. Such a conundrum! However will life go on after I die, without my brain here to perceive of its existence?
For better or for worse, I’ll confess that I do think life after death is possible. I’m not even sure this is “life,” at least as we conceive it to be. And I guess it can’t hurt to entertain the possibilities. At least I can take consolation in the fact that, if I’m wrong and there’s no life after death, I’ll never know it!
I have eight theories about life after death, and none of them involve a creator, in the religious sense. And yes, I will be providing links to reputable sources for further study. If you are curious, tune in next weekend. May your week be full of joy, progress, knowledge, and the freedom to be your wonderful selves!