Back in 2005 I was in a MySpace group (remember MySpace???). The group was visited by a person who sought to convert the pagan heathens dwelling there. The person posted the following questions to challenge our spiritual outlooks, and perhaps, to shake us from our beliefs. In fairness, these questions were intended to be "zingers" that pointed out the errors of our ways. One person's zinger is another person's "huh?". In the spirit of outreach, I took it as an opportunity to explore my beliefs. I’m not going to post all the answers, but I will post the ones that deal with the afterlife.
The original blog with all all the questions / answers is here.
Q: Someone mentioned about neither a good or bad afterlife, but a singular afterlife that everybody goes to. Would this not give me the reason/excuse to do, act, say, and think anything I want?
A: You can do anything that you want, and those around you can also do what they want in response. It’s called karma. It can extend across multiple lifetimes.
Q: Since there are contradicting teachings, standards, and philosophies amongst them, does it stand to reason that one, or both, are wrong?
A: Yes, No, Maybe
Comparisons of religions can be done in one of three ways:
(1) One of the religions of man is so incomparably superior that no significant religious truth is found in any of the others which is not present in equal and clearer form within this religion itself.
(2) The relation between religions is that in all important respects they are the same (examples: Golden Rule and Man’s self-centeredness is the source of his troubles)
(3) All religions are not the same, though there is unity in certain respects. Simultaneously, all important truths will not be found in a single tradition. The revelation of God has taken different facets and different forms according to the differences in nature of individual souls and the differences in character of local traditions and societies.
Response #3 is the most measured response, and in this response is the most divine truth. Response #1 is dogmatic and fearful in its path. Response #2 deprives a religious faith of its historical and tribal relevance.
Q: If we all just go to this one afterlife, why don’t we all just kill ourselves now and go there since it will be better?
A: There are varying beliefs about the number of afterlives. Killing oneself now would disrupt the (re)connecting with the divine while we are alive. Sides, it can be fun to be alive.
Q: Since there is no concern for ending up in a good or bad one and for reward or punishment, then why don’t we take off and live happily ever after in that afterlife
Q: But I suppose that wouldn’t matter then since everybody is going to the same afterlife anyway?
A: Are we? This reminds me of a joke… stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A pagan dies and goes to Heaven. St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Peter gives the pagan a tour of the Summerland , Valhalla, and other culturally relevant sites. Soon the two come across a tall wall. St. Peter says, “SHUSH!”. They tip-toe by the wall. After the two pass the pagan has to ask, “why were we so quiet when we walked past that wall?”. St. Peter turns to him and says, “The Evangelical Christians are in there and they think they are alone!”.