I have really been thinking about this subject for as long as my life. I'm pretty sure anyone who is reading this has thought about this as well. This question, "what comes after death?" interests any human being and if they can think, all animals which are alive would ask this question as well. Since I am a philosophical soul, like my father, I've been thinking about this a lot, probably a lot more than any of my cohorts.
I introduce myself as an atheist, because there is no word that describes someone who believes in non-human form "creator". Not that I am aware of. So to make it simple, I just say I am an atheist, a person who believes that there is no god at all.
(It feels a little like a digression here, but I have a point that I want make by discussing this issue, so bare with me.)
If you study or just know at least some religions, Gods in most popular religions are always in the form of human. Egyptians believed in gods that looked like humans. Greeks and Romans certainly did with their myths. Scandinavian viking myths are similarly human-centered religions. Korean myth also portrays a god-like ancestor who is also a human that was once a bear. Christianity and Islam similarly have gods that look like humans. Buddhism even believes that every human being can reach the state of god-like serenity.
It is really hard to find any religion at all that is not human-centered. Why? Because we are all humans. We made or according to believers interpret the words of god. It is obvious that if the one that interprets or makes something then the thing that was made will be biased by the one that made the thing. It is obvious. That is where my thoughts and beliefs stem from. I believe in "god" or "creator" that is not human at all. Maybe not an organism or a living thing at all. The creator I believe in is something or someone or anything at all that caused the big bang, the start of our world and universe. Whoever or whichever caused the big bang is my "god" and "creator."
Don't you think that non-human creator is at worst feasible? Don't think that believing in God or gods that look just like humans a little bit unbelievable? Where is God, who listens our every prayers and acts upon them? I once was a dedicated believer of God, but that silence from the alleged answerer made me quit. I can't stand it. I do not understand people who says they believe in God at church and they do science at school. It is a total hypocrisy. It is not logical or rational at all to believe in both things at the same time. It is scientific, logical, rational, and not hypocritical to believe in the non-human creator ideas. It certainly is.
If you at least think that non-human creator can be real, then you can follow my logic to my conclusion to the question, "what comes after death?"
My conclusion is this: there is no life after death. Please think for a minute in the perspective of a person who believes in the non-human creator model. So you think that there is no god that looks like human or possibly an organism, but the "creator" is some kind of chemical or physical or metaphysical mechanism that started the big bang. Now think about the beliefs in the life after death. What do you think? There is no god that grants the afterlife. The person who dies, who is quite possibly have suffered some kind of aging and weakening before death, will be literally perishing. No god means no afterlife. Our soul, which is powered by a series of electrical signals among billions of neurons, goes off as soon as our brain stops functioning. Unless some extraordinary, paranormal phenomenon preserves the previously alive brain's activities, the dead person's soul is for sure gone.
Now, that is extremely pessimistic. It depresses us if we were to think that we are going to perish after our deaths. We don't want to just puff off out of this world, although this world isn't a very happy place. This is another reason why I believe religions are biasing people to believe that there is afterlife and therefore there is god. Religion soothes people. It alleviates mental, psychological pain. Believing that there is no afterlife is a pain. And I believe that religion functions to relieve the pain from believing there is no afterlife by forcing people to believe that human-like god grants afterlife. Almost all religions believe in afterlife. Almost all religions soothes people who might believe that there is no afterlife.
Yet another evidence comes from our common sense and our science. According to our common sense, our brains becomes feeble as they grow old, and as we grow old, our behavior goes a little childish, I would say. Even though we don't suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's, we as old people tend to be a little impetuous and unthinking compared to our younger selves. Scientists have found that brain connections grow weaker and slower as we grow older and that causes the childishness of older people. Most of us think that people have soul. We see the soul by seeing the soul owner's behavior. But the behavior is controlled and driven by hormones and chemicals which are chemical. We can control people with drugs. We are able to control a person's behavior completely if we were to let such action happen. Are we going to call it his soul if he is completely manipulated by other humans? Are we going to call it his soul if he is driven by some chemical that stimulates his happy gland (drugs)? I believe that the belief in soul is also hypocritical. Our every thoughts, emotions, and intuitions are all wired in brain and used by sending electrical, physical signals. Where can soul fit in? Where is it? How come we can't detect it? If we cannot detect it in anyway, then it doesn't exist. Therefore there is no soul and there is no afterlife.
Human's hypocrisy about soul and religion is very understandable. People aren't perfectly logical. People are driven by their hormones. All are. However, if we were to discuss this deep question, "what comes after death?" then we should be detached and cold. We should be logical and not biased. By realizing how self-centered religions and the belief in soul are, we can now see that the most feasible explanation to the start of our world is the big bang caused by some non-human creator and that there is, quite possibly, no afterlife.
Thank you for reading my pondering today. Please share your thoughts because my thoughts are not perfect nor is anybody's.
This was written by Justin Won.
Jin Woo Won
An undergrad at Columbia University, studying Computer Science and in particular artificial intelligence.