In philosophy, religion, mythology, and fiction, the afterlife (also referred to as life after death or the Hereafter) is the concept of a realm, or the realm itself (whether physical or transcendental), in which an essential part of an individual's identity or consciousness continues to exist after the death of the body in the individual's lifetime. According to various ideas about the afterlife, the essential aspect of the individual that lives on after death may be some partial element, or the entire soul or spirit, of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity. Belief in an afterlife, which may be naturalistic or supernatural, is in contrast to the belief in oblivion after death.
- He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- The chief problem about death, incidentally, is the fear that there may be no afterlife – a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave. Also, there is the fear that there is an afterlife, but no one will know where it's being held.
- Woody Allen, The Early Essays.
- Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.
- How do we know there is an afterlife? Because the Bible says so. How do we know that the Bible is correct? Because God wrote it. How do we know that God wrote it? Because it says so in the Bible. Yes, we have to admit this is circular reasoning, and those outside the circle are unlikely to accept it.
- Dinesh D'Souza, Life after Death, 2009.
- All the human beings I met were either sure that there would be no afterlife or else that they would get preferential treatment in the hereafter.
- Philip José Farmer, To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971), Chapter 4
- There’s no objective evidence for an afterlife, and anecdotal reports of heaven cannot be distinguished from wishful thinking, self-delusion, and the effects of oxygen loss on the brain.
- When Cassie Fowler awoke, she was less shocked to discover that an afterlife existed than to find that she, of all people, had been admitted to it. Her entire adulthood, it seemed, year after year of spiting the Almighty and saluting the Enlightenment, had come to nothing. She’d been saved, raptured, immortalized. Shit. The situation spoke badly of her and worse of eternity. What heaven worthy of the name would accept so ardent an unbeliever as she?
- James Morrow, Towing Jehovah (1994), Chapter 4
- Sunt aliquid Manes: letum non omnia finit,
Luridaque evictos effugit umbra rogos.
- There is something beyond the grave; death does not end all, and the pale ghost escapes from the vanquished pyre.
- Propertius Elegies IV, vii, 1.
- The nurse started to explain herself.
Mom cut her off, saying, “Except I don’t believe in any of that.”
“You don’t believe in what?”
“The afterlife. Heaven and such.”
The nurse had to breathe before saying, “But in times like this, darling? When everything is so awful, how can you not believe in the hereafter?”
“Well, let me tell you something,” Mom said. Then she leaned forward her chair, her voice moving. “Long ago, when my husband was dying for no good reason, I realized that if a fancy god was in charge, then he was doing a pretty miserable job of running his corner of the universe.”
- Robert Reed, The Ants of Flanders in Gardner Dozois (ed.) The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Ninth Annual Collection, p. 410 (Originally published at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction July-August, 2011)
The unique aspect of biblical faith is that immediate, mundane history is beheld, affirmed, and lived as the true story of the redemption of time and Creation. Biblical ethics constitute a sacramental participation in history as it happens. ... In this saga, time is transcended within the events of a single day—today—so that all that is past, from the first day, is consummated and is anticipated; so that today is esteemed in its real dignity, as if it were the first day, as if it were the last day, as if it were the only day, as if today and eternity were one.
In this story, there is no other place actually known to human beings, except this world as it is—the place where life is at once being lived; there are no other places for which to search or yearn or hope—no utopia, no paradise, no otherworldly afterlife.
- William Stringfellow, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (1973), p. 48
- Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end?
- In general, despite centuries of seances, table rapping, mediums, magicians, and all kinds of mumbo jumbo, no one has ever come up with a convincing proof of an afterlife. Apart from personal vanity, it is clearly fear of death that causes the persistent belief in a future life, despite all indications to the contrary.
- If this life is all there is, there is no basis for any meaning, hope, purpose, or significance to life. Everything in your life would simply be a random change of fate at best, or an accident at worst. Your life, and your death, would not matter at all. The logical end of such a life is despair. Moreover, we can forget about being decent or ethical, with no basis for human dignity, rights, or liberty.
- Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose Driven Life," in "Life After Death" by Dinesh D'Souza, 2009, the foreword, pgs. x-xi.
- As you intend to live hereafter, it is in your power to live here.
- Gene Wolfe, Lake of the Long Sun (1994), Ch. 1.