Is There an Afterlife?

I just had a great discussion with a Rice freshman about whether or not there is an afterlife. As somewhat of an empirical pragmatist, I reasoned through it as follows:

People I know who have died continue to have an effect on me. I think about them, I make decisions based on ways they have influenced me, and sometimes they even show up in my dreams. So, from my perspective (and from the perspective of the many other people whose lives they touched), they all have afterlives.

The only afterlife of which I am not certain is my own. From a practical perspective, though, that point is essentially moot. After my death I will either A. have a conscious afterlife and know it or B. not have a conscious afterlife and not even be able to contemplate the question.

As such, I conclude that there is effectively an afterlife. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I vote no - if there were a conscious afterlife, and if everyone effected those who live in on in the way you describe, the human race would have a collect knowledge that would prevent the hatred/bigotry/general retardation of populations that we see today. Human knowledge of our own death (knowing that it will occur) freaks us out and we try our best to think that we will each be immortal in some way. The burden of proof lies with those who claim there is an afterlife - and no proof (as in irrefutable FACTS) of that exists. And once you understand the true nature, fragility, and value of life you'll take more take not to loose yours or take anyone else's.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I think you are wrong. We are dealing with spiritual issues here. It is very possible that Bryan can hear his dear ones because he is listening. It is possible that the hatred/bigotry etc. only happens from people who are not listening.