Human beings all share the same fate: death. You can’t escape from it. You can’t change it. We all die.
And yet we Americans never speak of it. It is, like sex, a verboten subject. In other cultures I’ve lived in, death and sex are both spoken of openly and casually and are accepted as normal topics of conversation. But not in the U.S.
That said, I’ve never met anyone from any country who welcomes death. Except for the suicidal—which I make no claim of understanding—every last one of us wants to go on living. We struggle with our death sentence and look for ways to change it. One way to escape from it is to believe in life after death.
We have no direct evidence of life after death. Skeptics say that people’s insistence on the existence of an afterlife is pure wishful thinking.
Maybe so. And maybe I’m as fanciful as the worst of us. But I’m struck with the fact that all the great religions of the world accept some form of an afterlife. Only the nonbelievers, the atheists, and the doubters, agnostics like me, reject or question the idea that people go on living after death. Since there’s no proof one way or the other, I am free to believe as I see fit. So I choose to believe in the afterlife just as I choose to believe that God exists. But faced with a lack of evidence, I can’t quite convince myself. So I end up where I started: an agnostic.