Some people don t believe in (a) life after death because of their upbringing. Just like Christians, if children are brought up in an Atheist (or Agnostic? ) environment and hold Atheist beliefs and values, they will think it is normal that God does not exist. Additionally, attending Atheist (government, public) schools implies that they will have little contact with religious beliefs, and since they are also surrounded by peers who are influenced by Atheist thoughts, this will strengthen their belief that God does not exist. If God doesn t exist, they will naturally believe that there is no life after death, because the belief(s) of (a) life after death can only be proven through non-material, religious ideas. For example, Christians believe there is (a) life after death because they believe Jesus Christ died for their sins and resurrected into Heaven, and told the criminals crucified next to Him, Today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). However, science disproves of (a) life after death because firstly Heaven is believed to exist outside the dimensions of space and time, and since science eliminates the possibility of this, therefore it cannot exist.
Heaven is also non-material, and science believes only in material things, for example, the body. This also leads onto Xinyi s point about the soul being non-material, therefore science disproves this, and if the soul doesn t exist, this disproves the Christian belief of immortality of the soul, and therefore there is no life after death. Furthermore, applying he Atheist belief of a person having no soul (just the body), this disproves the Biblical teaching for dust you are and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19); this raises the question, what lives on? Therefore science disproves in (a) life after death. Apart from this, unanswered prayers may also disprove God s existence and therefore disprove (a) life after death. For both theists and atheists (and agnostics? ), the point of prayers is for God to listen and respond, but if they feel that God is not listening or responding in any way, this could disprove His existence, and therefore also life after death. For example, one may pray for a relative to be cured of a terminal illness like cancer.
If the sick relative s condition doesn t show any sign of recovery or even worsened unexpectedly, this may lead to the belief that God does not exist, and also disproving (a) life after death, because life after death only comes through a omnipotent and ultimate Being like God. Related to this point is the presence of evil and suffering in the world. The fact that there is moral evil like wars and natural evil like earthquakes suggest that God is not omnipotent, omniscient and/or omnibenevolent – and if He lacks these qualities, this signifies that He lacks the ability to be God, once again reiterating that if God does not exist, there can be no afterlife. Therefore some people do not believe in life after death. Sorry, I ve probably written too much but you would get 8 marks if you wrote something along these lines, with these points: science, no soul because it is non-material, unanswered prayers and the presence of evil and suffering in the world.
Patheos asks, and uses it as a round-up for various posts on certain topics.
One topic is the afterlife: Tough for an atheist to answer this question in any depth. I usually default to my wife s answer, we rejoin the nitrogen cycle. But it seems like something more is called for, so let me lay out why I m not moved by most of the discussions of life after death. Alright, a couple of points. First, if we re going to talk about life after death, I m only interested if it means I get to experience it. I m not trying to be selfish, I m just trying to make the point that if something that is not me survives, like some mindless spark of life or shard of the infinite that loses all individuality, then I don t care because that s not really me that is surviving. What does have to survive? Let s be clear that I am the whole of my being: my thoughts, my memories, my personality and so one. I see those things as interwoven, so I don t believe that I could drink from the and really still be me. My experiences, retained in my memories, shape my personality and make up who I am. Second, some background: many members of my family suffer from mental illnesses.
I ve become very familiar with the effects of lithium and other such substances. I know that a sprinkle of this chemical and a pill of that chemical can completely alter someone s personality. I ve learned that we are material, and that who we are is chemistry. I m open to the idea that the material is not all there is. But whatever your theory for the spiritual aspects of humanity, it has to explain my relatives and their experiences. Further, it has to explain all the evidence we have that the physical brain gives rise to our minds. Under the euphemistic heading of natural experiments, there are hundreds of cases where accidental damage to the brain has altered a person s perceptions, memories, personality, emotions the whole self. Finally, the verdict: I do not see how the being that I am could survive the shutdown of the system that my personality arises from. I cannot fathom how there could be a life after death that would be consoling or meaningful. I m open to suggestions, but I don t understand how we can get beyond the above points.