So far in exploring the possibility of Hell I’ve come at it from the assumption that Hell exists. But there is a growing contingent within Christianity that is “metaphysically skeptic.” They question whether or not there is an afterlife; now this ranges from those who are simply skeptical, to those who outright deny an afterlife.
The argument goes that believing in an afterlife provides an escapist mentality here on earth. We look at the person suffering oppression and say, “He’ll get his rewards in Heaven” and then go about our day. The skeptic then points out that this does nothing to alleviate the person’s suffering now. From this, they generally seek to show that even if there is an afterlife, it shouldn’t concern us as our major concern should be about the now.
For others, however, the argument goes much deeper than looking to the negative effects that a belief in the afterlife has caused. Many of them doubt the existence of the afterlife because it is pure speculation. After all, as they argue, we have no real evidence of an afterlife and it just seems like hopeful speculation anyway. So why hope and plan for something we’re not sure about?
And such a position is partially correct in that we cannot know if there is an afterlife. At the end of the day, such a belief is ultimately based upon faith; but I would argue that all other beliefs about everything are equally based on faith. I am currently sitting on a chair, meaning I have faith that this chair will continue to hold me up. I have no 100% certainty, no empirical evidence, that this chair will continue to hold me up. While I know it probably will hold me up, I can’t know that for sure. But my lack of certainty doesn’t prevent me from sitting in the chair or continuing to sit in the chair.
Such an analogy exposes the major flaw in a denial of the afterlife. Just because we can’t know with certainty what will come, that doesn’t mean we can’t know with probability. Thus, the probability is based upon presuppositions dealing with a belief in God and the salvation story. If one believes in the Judeo-Christian God and further believes that Christ died on the cross and rose again, then the logical conclusion is that we too will be raised from the dead. If anyone denies any of the aforementioned propositions, then one has a bigger problem than a denial of the afterlife.
But the biggest issue I have with the skeptical viewpoint of the afterlife is that it is essentially materialistic. Though adherents would deny such a charge, it really is materialism. It’s skepticism on the future because we can’t know the future; but such skepticism comes from materialism or in some cases rationalism. So the underlying problem isn’t the denial of the afterlife, the underlying problem is the poison of materialism having seeped into the mind.
So is there life after death? If God exists, Christ died and rose again, then yes. If the answer to those situations is no, then we need to deal with those before we move onto the afterlife.