Beliefs about the Afterlife across the world’s religions are varied but can be broken down and categorized into three different high level perspectives. These three high level beliefs will be referred to as the Secular, the Western and the Eastern beliefs.
Each of these high level beliefs appear to be incompatible or contradict each other. Relying on the foundational belief of Omnism that all are different perspectives of the same underlying Truth, we can attempt to resolve these apparent contradictions.
The Secular belief about the Afterlife is the belief held by Materialists, Atheists and many Agnostics. The belief is that after we die there is nothing and we simply no longer exist. This belief neglects to take into consideration one important fact. Death simply returns us to our original state prior to our birth.
Returning to Original State
Before we are born and are alive, from our perspective there was nothing and we did not exist. After death we return to this same state of there being nothing and us not existing in the physical world as we currently know it. When we update the model to account for this we arrive at cyclical model.
Using only observable evidence we have expanded the Secular belief!
A common theme in Western beliefs is some form of judgement meted out by one or more Gods. In ancient Egypt our heart would be weighed on the scales balanced against a feather of Ma’at to determine where we go. Hearts (the soul in Egypt) that are equal or lighter than the feather are judged as righteous and sent to Aaru while those heavier were sent back to Duat. In the Abrahamic Faiths such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam it is a common belief that the God of Abraham judges us after we died and we are sent to Heaven or Hell. The Norse believed those who died went to realms such as Valhalla or Hel.
While the specific details may vary, many western beliefs have the concepts of anthropomorphic gods and judgement that determines where our soul (or consciousness) goes after we die. For those that have been judged as “unrighteous”, they are denied entry to “heaven”, a place most simply described as the realm where they are with the God or Gods they worshipped where suffering does not exist; and sent to Duat, Hel or Hell where they are separated from the God or Gods they worshipped where suffering does exist.
We currently live in a realm separated from the God or Gods many believe in and worship and one in which suffering does exist. Therefore it is a logical conclusion that we are in fact already in the realm that many refer to as Hell as our realm matches the description of it. With this observation we can update the model for the Western Afterlife as follows.
Which looks very similar to…
The Eastern Afterlife
A common theme in Eastern beliefs is some form of reincarnation cycle and a method of escape from the cycle of suffering that we inflict on ourselves through Karmic Law or similar beliefs in Samsara.
When we look at the expanded Secular model and compare it to the expanded Western model we at arrive two different models that originally were incompatible and contradictory with each other that are now perfectly compatible and complementary with each other as well as the Eastern model of the afterlife.
Expanded Secular Model
Expanded Western Model
Which leads us to the following question…
Which is the Truth?
All of Them!
They are all different perspectives and descriptions of the same underlying Truth.