Problems With An Afterlife

The idea of living asfter death is common, despite the idea being rather irrational. If people lived backwards would as many think there was a life before birth? Some believe that they have lived before even now. I can't remember anything before my early years. If I have lived a life before, that life has made zero contribution to either my current life, so a previous life is not relevant and can be treated in the same way as no previous life.

Society in Heaven

If there are other people in heaven then there will be some sort of social interaction. Social interaction means social rules, some people will find somethings acceptable and some things unacceptable. Everyone likes different things and prefers one thing to another. Society forms an extension of those preferences into a social order. If an afterlife exists it would be a society and have a social order. Some people will inevitably break the social rules sometimes. No person can please everyone in society at all times so what would happen to those who break the rules in heaven? Punishment? Even if the person was politely informed of their transgression, the social discomfort caused might make heavenly society unpleasant for that person.

One might say that in heaven everybody will like everything equally, lets examine this. Deceased relatives and friends that you might encounter would be different people because their tastes had changed, in fact they would have no tastes, and everyone's tastes would be identical. Heavenly artists could create anything and be treated with equal praise, and feel as equally content with their work as any other inhabitant. If everyone liked everything equally, people would not be people.

Entertainment in Heaven

If people cannot die then survival is not necessary. Food and sex are not important, and acclaim or progress in a particular field equally pointless. Heavenly people presumably wouldn't wear clothes or need cosmetics, and most of the housing (if it existed) would work without maintenance, so no tradespeople or workers would be needed. Certainly, no police or army, or medical personnel would be needed. Perhaps a heavenly society would consist only of artists, and consumers of art. Crucially though, no matter what heavenly society was like, it would not change and so would always become boring to every inhabitant. If exsitence in heaven goes on without end, for all time, for infinity, for ever, then every activity would (eventually) be experienced by every inhabitant until an infinite amount of boredom sets in.

Depression due to the pointlessness of existence happens in all decadent societies on Earth. In heaven, the most decadent society of all, pointless existence goes on for ever without end. Depression would be a serious social problem in any possible heaven.


In the olden days, people didn't know how the wonderful world was made. They didn't know where the plants and animals came from, or the stars (or what stars were), and nobody could remember where humanity appeared from. People were used to making things, but they were crude tools although clever people could make nicer things than average. Perhaps, they thought, a really clever person could have created everything. Perhaps some super being, the most intelligent of men, could have made animals, plants and everything else. They called this person God, and (usually) presumed He was the big bright yellow fireball in the sky.

By the twentieth century, God had changed from someone who was good at woodwork into someone who was good at maths. People could see scientists making plants and animals too, and the ultimate result became the assertion that God did not make those things but did make the rules that made the Universe possible, mainly because there was no other explaination for the existence of those rules.

Ultimately people can decide these things because they posess a property called intelligence. Intelligence is a process resulting from some rational rules, whether it is how an ant colony behaves or whether it is how a mind works. Intelligence can only exist because of some set of rules. Therefore it is not possible for an intelligence to create all of the rules in the Universe, the rules for an intelligence must exist first, therefore no intelligence could have created the 'laws of nature'.

Mark Sheeky, 17 Mar 2006