This article is about life after death. For the Japanese movie, see After life.
Afterlife (also known as life after death) is a generic term referring to a continuation of existence, typically spiritual and experiential, beyond this world, or after death. This article is about current generic and widely held or reported concepts of afterlife. See Underworld for a comprehensive catalog of specific traditions about afterlife.
by having seen the afterlife during a revelatory vision
by a unique personal gift of remembering an afterlife (before-life) existence
Testimony of individuals who are presumed to have special insights into the afterlife
Claimed testimony of visitors from the afterlife
Human intuitions of goodness assumed to emanate from the afterlife
Speculation and extrapolation
While there is information available from all of the above sources, a preponderance of concoctions, speculations, and extrapolations have arguably historically characterized formal descriptions of afterlife. Religious traditions have historically formalized and codified ideas about afterlife in widely divergent forms. Though the onset of the information age is bringing to light increasing credibility and uniformity of evidence on afterlife from across and without religious boundaries, most afterlife conceptions continue to follow traditional descriptions, often viewed as rationally weak by skeptics who -- particularly atheists and agnostics of a secular humanist mindset -- hold that we entirely cease to exist.
For those who do believe in an afterlife, the various conceptions about it differ in their answer to the following questions:
Is the afterlife a normal life, or a different type of existence?
Are afterlife conditions a consequence of good and bad actions during life?
Is afterlife eternal?
Is it possible to reincarnate as a human, or as an animal/plant/mineral?
Many religions hold that after death people get reward or punishment based on their deeds or faith.
The Christian Bible, for example, contains the words of Jesus: "The measure you give will be the measure you get." (from the Sermon on the Mount?). For many, belief in an afterlife is a consolation in connection with death of a beloved one or the prospect of one's own death. On the other hand, fear of hell etc. may make death worse.
In view of the eternity of afterlife, some consider regular life as relatively unimportant, except for determining whether or not afterlife follows, and/or what kind. It is just a provisional situation, and the metaphor of a tent as provisional housing facility is used as quoted below:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.(Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:1)
In what we know of Egyptian religion, afterlife is very important.
The believer had to act well and know the rituals explained in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
If the corpse was properly embalmed and entombed in a mastaba, the defunct would relive in the Fields of Yalu and accompany the Sun god on its daily ride.
If, during the psychomachia, the souls of the defunct was found faulty, the Devourer monster would eat them.
Others, including some Universalists, believe in universalism which holds that all will eventually be rewarded regardless of what they have done or believed.
Another concept which is found among Hindus and Buddhistss, believe we reincarnate, whether as humans or as animals. One consequence of the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs is that our current lives are also an afterlife, and both Hindus and Buddhists interpret events in our current life as being consequences of actions taken in previous lives. Although there is some scientific research that seems to suggest that humans may reincarnate as humans (see, for example, the writings of Dr. Ian Stevenson and Carol Bowman), there is very little (if any) evidence to suggest that humans reincarnate as animals, or vise-versa.
Some Neopagans believe in personal reincarnation, whereas some believe that the energy of one's soul reintegrates with a continuum of such energy which is recycled into other living things as they are born.
Many christians believe in reincarnation , although it is against the teachings of modern christian churches, which state that there is only one life to merit reward or damnation. However, some consider reincarnation as a lost teaching of Christianity.
The question of whether or not there is life after death is closely related to the mind-body problem, and like that problem is one of the classic problems of so-called rational psychology and hence of one (now largely outdated) notion of the scope of metaphysics.