What problem does the afterlife solve?

Wittgenstein

I’m not sure I agree with my dead buddy Ludwig on this one. I’m not convinced the afterlife is needed to solve any problems. My Christian friends claim it solves the problem of evil, allowing our medieval desires for vengeance the comfort in knowing that somewhere our transgressors will pay for their insults. This doesn’t satisfy me though, because “evil” is far too subjective for an “All-That-Is” entity to be concerned with. My atheist friends claim that the afterlife, for believers, solves the problem of fear. Fear of death, fear of loss. And although I’d say the philosophy on continuing life does offer some comfort, I’m not happy with that response either. The thing we really fear the most is change – the unknowable – and I’d say looking forward to an endless sleep is a lot less unsettling than the prospect of an immortal life of godknowswhat!

If there is an afterlife (and I for one am rock solid in my belief in the continuation of life) then I suspect it has little to do with the problems of humanity. As fantastical as this idea is: existence, All-That-Is, may not be all about us. I have a sneaking suspicion that instead we’re all about it. 

E.A.A Wilson is an author, minister of metaphysics, mom and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available now, online, at all major retailers. You can follow her here:

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4 thoughts on “What problem does the afterlife solve?

  1. “As fantastical as this idea is: existence, All-That-Is, may not be all about us. I have a sneaking suspicion that instead we’re all about it.”

    Yes, there does seem to be a self-absorbed mindset with those who hold to this idea in a religious sense. What if life after death has nothing to do with what we do and how we live here?

    Like you, I have a sense that there is something after this life. But after leaving Christianity behind, I had found that I became less and less concerned with what will be, and more and more concerned with what is. Friends and I have considered other beliefs on this subject, like reincarnation. But for me, reincarnation is just another form of “hell”. If I have to jump through hoops to proceed to a next life, then count me out!

    There are days, when this does come to mind. But if afterlife is how the religious see it, then I prefer going back to nothingness, if that is even where I began? Who knows, right?

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  2. Thank you for such a thoughtful and beautifully written reply!

    I think you’re bang on the money with being more concerned with “What Is” – and the only thing that trumps “What Is” in my mind is “What Could Be”. Then we’re able to look beyond our paradigms of reality and envision a better future. I like writing about the afterlife for that very reason!

    I’m pretty sure that like Christianity other religions also got a bit stuck in the quagmire of misinterpretation and superstition. I think the idea of reincarnation is beautiful – but not as a distribution of punishment, rather as an opportunity for our eternal souls to progress yet further, learn even bigger lessons, fulfill desires not accomplished in this lifetime, and strive for expansion and ever fuller expression of life. I doubt I’ll have learned all I can in this lifetime (I’m too busy drinking wine and laughing) and wouldn’t it be great if, after some recuperation and realignment, I’d get to give it another punt in some other marvelous body and time? I’ll ask for bigger boobs next time. 😀

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  3. I hope you don’t take this as sarcasm, but “this is the afterlife.” With 99% of all creation being spiritual in nature, and only a fraction being physical, it would be hard to call the largest part of reality, an “afterthought!” Many spiritual entities never incarnate, and some, only very few times. This reincarnational cycle, is just like a series of “pit stops” in the Indy 500!

    Problems? What problems? Have you seen Earth from space? Do you see any problems on Earth, when you start looking at the big picture? Problems are only a matter of perspective anyway. Even if Humanity blew it self up and that was the end of all of us,…is that a problem to an infinite spiritual being, such as we are? Granted, It does kind of screw up the real estate for the rest of the spiritual community, but in a few billion years, it will be back in the pink again, just like it never happened!

    The after life doesn’t solve problems because, “there are no problems.” It’s all God, everything, including us,…and guess what? God loves itself, in all its endless forms. God loves, and God forgives, because it is all God. That is the way God treats itself, and us,….to bad we don’t treat ourselves and each other that way.

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    1. This is such an incredible perspective and hard to reject if we accept the idea of an immortal soul, which 70% of Americans claim to do. Infinity is a jolly long time, which makes a single lifetime in the physical but a flash (if we accept the idea of time as a substance at all). Thank you for sharing that brilliant insight!

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