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The best advice about the afterlife (and God) comes from the Buddha. It does not matter. Noone can give you the right answer. There simply is no evidence. Therefore, it’s useless to ask. THere are more useful questions about what makes life more or less meaningful to contemplate.
I want to add a little bit to it. Nothing particularly insightful.
In a sense, God must exist. There is a first cause that made the universe exist; that has been responsible for the laws of physics and chemistry. The only thing that is logical even in the absence of God is mathematics. It can reduce to itself. We can argue about Godel1, but there is at least the possibility of a self-referential reductionist logic.
In contrast, even when a physical phenomenon can be reduced to a more basic mechanism, in the end, this deeper mechanism must come from somewhere else. Quantum physics can explain …, but what explains quantum physics? And, even if we can push this back one step further (explaining quantum physics), what can explain this?
Alas, this God is nothing like the God of organized religion. There is plenty of evidence that God is not particularly interventionist—the problem of evil is comprehensible even to the most casual philosopher. And maybe Jesus has talked to you recently (or the neurons in your brain have made you think so), but he has not talked to me lately. I see no direct evidence of activist divine intervention. To me, it seems like we (the universe) are now pretty much on our own.
But, as a humanist, I am always appalled by the weird logic in many interpretations of religious scripture. Who in their right mind would ever believe that an all-powerful God would be jealous? Or wants us (pets) to do particular things for him (like kill infidels) or test us (what does he not yet know that he has ordained but now wants to find out?). It’s God, for God’s sake. If God really wants the infidels dead, he does not need us to do it. He is plenty powerful enough. He has no need to test anyone. And he could not possibly be that petty.
So, please: feel free to believe or not believe in God. But never use religion to justify the inhumane.
The name Godel may as well have been a pun on the subject of God. ↩