Michael Shermer has a lot of interesting things to say, about the supernatural in general and issues like life after death.
It has been estimated that in the last 50,000 years about 106 billion humans were born. Of the 100 billion people born before the six billion living today, every one of them has died and not one has returned to confirm for us beyond a reasonable doubt that there is life after death. This data set does not bode well for promises of immortality and claims for an afterlife.
Religion promises two things, the existence of a creator and life after death. Of the two, you can make a case that life after death is more important—if most people had to make a choice between
- There’s no god, but there is life after death, and
- There is a god, but no life after death, dead is dead
I think the first choice is by far the more attractive one. In fact, people want life after death so much that they’re willing to believe—or pretend to believe—all the other crazy dogma that religions throw at you claiming that it adds up to a coherent whole. Which it doesn’t.
If you don’t agree, just imagine that Jesus came back tomorrow. Assume that we were all in agreement that he was for real and that he brought with him the genuine word of god. And then imagine that Jesus said, “Okay, everybody, God told me to tell you that he’s having second thoughts about life after death, he thinks that the immortal soul turns out not to be such a great idea, and starting immediately the afterlife is canceled. So make the most of your time on earth, because it’s all you’re going to get.”
My guess is that Jesus stock would go way down.