posted on Mar, 12 2010 @ 05:15 AM
Why do humans believe in an afterlife?
As long as your question means why do people believe in the possibility of an afterlife, then I really don't see how they couldn't believe it at
least to be possible.
I think the root reason is pretty much surface, not "deep" in the psyche. We cannot conceive of what it would be like not to exist, for the
excellent reason that it wouldn't be like anything.
The closest you can really come is to recall that you didn't exist before you were born. Which is a good start, I think, but not fully convincing...
now that you have existed, what would it be like to revert to the earlier state? That really isn't the same as never having been in existence.
Plus, of course, you really can't be sure that it would be the same "the second time around," anyway.
Sleep, regularly scheduled unconsciousness, is practice, but then there are dreams. Are there dreams after you're dead? Hamlet's question... nobody
actually knows the answer.
And when living people dream of dying? Often enough, they wake up. But if their dream continues, then they continue, in some inevitable sense,
since you must be in order to experience. That may not be an "afterlife" in any religious sense, but it is isn't extinguishment, either.
So, it's not just NDE survivors who have had personal experience of something interpreted as persistence of consciousness after death.
Beyond that, "humans," as a species, don't believe in an afterlife. Some humans do believe, others don't. Once the possibility is in play, that
some would believe seems inevitable.
For those people who do, there are probably many, many reasons that persuade them, and usually also persuade them that the afterlife will be a
particular way (or maybe one of a small number of specific alternative ways).
But me, I haven't gotten that far. I'm still with Hamlet.
To die, to sleep—
To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
Oh... and if the Tibetan Buddhists turn out to be right, then I'm stepping into the clear white light. No questions asked.
Beyond that, my plans are flexible. Probably, I'll need asbestos underwear. Meh.