I used to be a strong Christian, but now I’m not so sure (that’s another story…). When I had a strong faith, this involved a belief in life after death.
The key thing is that there is no way to prove it. Different faiths and religions have their own interpretations of life after death and I’m not familiar with them all, but I know the Christian Bible talks of a very separate afterlife that happens after what it describes as the end of the world. If this were the case, then there would be no way to go backwards and forwards between lives, or communicate with the dead, or anything – it would all be something that happens later. Because of this, there would be no way to prove it, it would just have to be a ‘wait and see’.
It’s fine to have faith in things outside of science, but science itself concerns itself with things that can be tested. Life after death can’t be proved, but it also can’t be disproved. So, my personal philosophy is just to make the most of the life I have at the moment!
This is a question that has left the world’s greatest thinkers stumped since the dawn of civilisation. There have even been attempts to scientifically prove it by testing whether when someone dies they weigh less due to a soul leaving the body. These experiments have not been particularly well designed (it’s tricky to get someone on their deathbed and weigh them accurately).
In 1901, a man called Duncan MacDougall decided to try this. He concluded that the soul weighs 21 grams. Now, his methods were flawed so I don’t believe his conclusions (you can read more about it here http://www.historicmysteries.com/the-21-gram-soul-theory/ ) and if you think that a soul might not have mass (a bit like how light has energy but has no mass) then this experiment might not prove that the soul doesn’t exist, even if there’s no weight change.
Why am I telling you this? Basically to show you the lengths some people have gone to in order to try to answer this question! We don’t have a definitive answer, and I think that’s a good thing. I think it’s nice to have some mystery in life. Personally, I don’t believe in an afterlife, or an immortal soul. I think that when you die, you just stop forever. Like Aaron, I think it’s more important to be a good person while you’re alive than to worry about what might or might not happen next.