Death – The Final Frontier?

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I recently began an article on different beliefs about the afterlife. The first sentence went something like “Every culture has its own beliefs about the afterlife.” Almost immediately I realized this was pretty much wrong. Maybe in the old days different cultures contained large groups of people adhering to specific religious doctrines. But not today.

Some might disagree, noting that there are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics out there—a huge faith group that believes in the afterlife as taught by the Vatican. Well, yes and no. From my experience as a Catholic, people tend to have their own private views. Get to know them a little better and their opinions leak out.

For instance, one person I knew was a Greeter at their local Catholic church, and they quietly believed in the idea of universal salvation. That means that everyone gets to heaven sooner or later, not just the pious on Earth or those in purgatory. This person was an upright Catholic, respected by many, who held this secret “radical” belief (The Vatican does not endorse the idea of universal salvation, but says that hell is eternal).

Afterlife (TV series)
Afterlife (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another Catholic person I knew was enamored with Benny Hinn, a former Catholic schoolteacher who made little swipes against the Catholic Church on TV.

Let’s face it. The world is fragmented and complicated. Even in the old days it was. Some scholars might, for instance, say that the ancient Mesopotamians believed in a shadowy underworld. But did everyone? Surely there were some hard core materialists back then who would have viewed the whole afterlife idea as rubbish.

To take another example, in ancient India there was a school of thought called Charvaka, which advocated materialism. And yet some Indians and believers in Hinduism see India’s ancient spiritual traditions as a backdrop to that country’s unique status as the “guru of the world.”

Again, not all saw nor see it that way.

Instead of going through the major world religions and their beliefs about the afterlife, I thought a more hands-on approach would be more informative. But I need your help. I’m going to ask what you believe.

So here we go. These are some guidelines to get you thinking. Please don’t feel obliged to answer all of these points.

  • What happens after we die?
  • Do we go on?
  • Why?
  • In what form?
  • Is it good or bad?
  • Do we disappear into oblivion?

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Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. If we get enough replies here, perhaps I’ll republish this as a new article.


Michael Clark, Ph.D.




  1. Great post, I think I wrote something about this topic a couple of years ago, can see the image I posted but not sure if it was about out of body experience lol

    Here are my thoughts:

    What happens after we die? – my understanding is that we hover around for three days until the silver cord is fully severed (may explain some people coming back alive after 24 hrs) and then we (soul) go to the Healing rooms, where we are cleared of the eotional/physical attachment to the life we left. From there we go to the halls of learning to do a life review and decide what to do next. Be reborn, help in the ether or whatever else free souls get up to 🙂

    Do we go on? – Yes

    Why? As part of the whole, we come to earth so that Creator/we can fully experience all life has to offer, dark and light and to work through life lessons/karma that we acrue along the way.

    In what form? – Energy

    Is it good or bad? – It is what it is, personally I dont resonate with good/bad.

    Do we disappear into oblivion? – No



  2. I am generally an orthodox Christian. What I think about the life after this one is fiction, my imaginings. What I am assured of by Christ is that there is a life after this one. I will be a bit wiser. I will have at a minimum the additional knowledge of what is after this life. I believe I will retain myself and my recognition of others as Lazarus and the rich man retained themselves and at a minimum the rich man could recognize Lazarus and Abraham. Lazarus did not speak after death in the story, but Abraham did converse with the rich man. If I choose Christ in this life, I choose service to heaven. If I choose no allegiance to Christ, God, I will likely be left to my own devices in a cold, dark void, for my creative power limits me to the little hell I can muster. The life after this one, is in large part a mystery, for a people living by faith in someone greater. Universalist may have a point. Believers do not rely on their virtue, but on faith in the virtue and magnanimity of God. To what degree must a person have confidence in the non-existence of God or confidence that God is not worthy of their worship, so that God will not force his presence and authority on them? When those without faith see God and accept his authority will he admit them into heaven or will it be too late? I do not know if all things are possible for God, but I am reasonably certain he restrains himself from doing all he can do, much as he ask us to restrain ourselves. Like King David all we can do is insist that we will serve in the house of the Lord forever and in so doing encourage others to join us.


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