## Something out of nothing.

• 29
It is my belief that there is a hidden problem with secular humanism, its reliance on existentialism. Humanists declare that a life well lived has meaning in and of itself, and that there is no need for supernatural myths. The problem is that they base their conclusions on the period prior to physical death, and consciously or unconsciously dismiss all inquiry into the period after.

When someone named Bill is born he exists. If there is no non-physical life after physical death, after the physical death of Bill he does not exist. After his physical death those who are alive can search the entire physical universe, but they will never find Bill. Bill has no present and no future, simply because Bill does not exist. What is usually missed is that in addition to no future, Bill has no past because Bill does not exist.

"Past" references both that which is part of an object (a “past” which belongs to the object, like a person’s memories that “belong” to the living individual from birth to death), and the existence of the object from a third party’s view (a “past” which is a chronological description of an object, like a photo album containing a lifetime collection of pictures of an individual who has died) (from <https://Lifenotes.org>, my detailed discussion of meaning). An individual who does not exist has a history that those who are alive are aware of, but he or she does not have a past which is their past, which they are aware of.

Philosophers from Nietzsche and Camus, to the neuro-existentialists Flanagan and Caruso, acknowledge the dilemma - "How, given that consciousness is a natural phenomenon, does human life mean anything? What significance, if any, does living our kind of conscious life have?" (from <https://www.philosophersmag.com/essays/194-neuroexistentialism>). They try to create Übermensch, or hope for some breakthrough because "naturalism is the only game in town" (Flanagan and Caruso).

Naturalism is not the only game, indeed the science behind naturalism rejects as absurd any search for meaning in a purely physical life. Efforts to imbue with meaning that which does not exist are futile attempts to make something out of nothing. Science shows us the folly of attributing positive or negative traits to physical objects, including human beings, who have no physical existence. A logical argument for meaning and value in human life can only be built on a non-physical existence. It is far more rational to seek meaning in the possibility of a non-physical life after physical death, no matter how unlikely you may believe it to be, than it is to create a humanistic myth attributing positive qualities to that which is nothing.
• 1k
When someone named Bill is born he exists. If there is no non-physical life after physical death, after the physical death of Bill he does not exist. After his physical death those who are alive can search the entire physical universe, but they will never find Bill. Bill has no present and no future, simply because Bill does not exist. What is usually missed is that in addition to no future, Bill has no past because Bill does not exist.

Bill exists potentially, before his physical life, during and after it, so long as those who interacted with Bill during his physical life can still relate to his existence. Bill therefore has a potential past existence, as well as a potential present existence (insofar as those who remember him continue to interact with their relation to him), and a possible future existence - even though he no longer has an actual or physical existence.
• 29
That is true. Yet the possibility of future existence is not equivalent to existence unless it actualizes. After his physical death Bill does not exist as a physical entity, even if the possibility of future physical existence is real. He may have a non-physical existence but not a physical existence.
• 715
Welcome to TPF, sir!

Naturalism is not the only game, indeed the science behind naturalism rejects as absurd any search for meaning in a purely physical life. Efforts to imbue with meaning that which does not exist are futile attempts to make something out of nothing.
You seem to be arguing towards (nonevident here•after) rather than from a given position (evident now•here). :chin:

I begin with life, living, being alive ...

The capacity to value - select, interpret, relate to - and, thereby, to be valued for (e.g.) following fighting feeding fucking etc seems intrinsic to life itself (if, by life, what is meant is, in part, 'ecology-bound agent-systems maintained and self-replicated via metabolising, while being metabolized by, other ecology-bound agent-systems'). From amoeba to gut bacteria, flatworms to silverback gorillas ... the very existence of the living seems to consist in, at least, evaluating their ecology for affordances to furthering survival.

To live is to evaluate.

In Spinoza's terms, every life seeks to persist in its existence - continue, survive, grow-develop (à la 'will to power'); thus, every life values - is valuable to - herself; and insofar a life recognizes other lives as valuable to themselves, a life enters into reciprocal valuing with and among them, to value and be valued by other lives. Thus, value, or meaning, does not come "out of nothing"; it comes from community - natality, sociality, fatality - and reinforced, or enriched, by communicative practices (e.g. cooperative labors, crafts-arts, rituals, trade, discursive dialectics (e.g. scientific / historical / philosophical inquiries)).

Quite naturally, physically, existentially.

Proximately not ultimately - what good is ultimate meaning to proximate living? No promissary metaphysics or spirituality relieves the living of the factity of living here and now as natural natal-social-fatal creatures who survive by the courage to learn & make, judging-deciding on the basis of the facts of the matter, and not by hoping for miracles. The comparative significance of nature and 'the supernatural': yeah, we don't live by bread alone, but we certainly will starve with nothing but 'faith' in otherworldly - "non-physical" ergo fact-free - shadows & fantasies.
• 317
Bill, upon death, is still conceptualized by those who know him. He had existed. Death is that this existence must pass, and it becomes the past, metaphysically.

Does this imply other existences?

At least other an aspect.

So as well as he is past universe existence, he is other, because we can't know if Bill is now not present...

Bill is a concept he is out there somewhere. He probably is known or spotted by someone? He probably isn't heard by someone without paired eyes.

Unless very important to impede delay I think you refresh in a sea of the dead, and become new life. That either paying debt or just significant enough to select a new life.
• 29
Agreed that the existential here and now is to be lived to the fullest, yet that does not address, or even attempt to address, that which is or may be after physical death. That is the reality that is most often ignored.
• 29
"Unless very important to impede delay I think you refresh in a sea of the dead, and become new life. That either paying debt or just significant enough to select a new life." I think you are suggesting that Bill has a non-physical existence after physical death. My long held belief is that believing in the possibility of some form of life after death is a rational argument for meaning in life, and that attempts to construct meaning in a naturalist physical world are not rational, or at the least given our current scientific knowledge, are magnitudes of order less rational than acceptance of the possibility that there is a non-physical life after physical death.
I would argue that the only non-physical after-life worth believing in is one that exhibits the most positive aspects of our current life. But my initial concern is for humanists to recognize the irrational myth of any form of Übermensch or other attempt to posit meaning for a being for which it is true - being x does not exist.
• 317
of course.
• 715
↪180 Proof Agreed that the existential here and now is to be lived to the fullest, yet that does not address, or even attempt to address, that which is or may be after physical death. That is the reality that is most often ignored.
If "after physical death" is a "reality", then there must be evidence by which we can discern it from unreality (i.e. mere fantasy, wishful/magical thinking, etc), no? Provide such evidence and I'll consider it and "the reality" entailed by that evidence. (Btw, uncorroborated scriptural or testimonial accounts won't suffice because they only beg the question - like pseudo-scientific woo woo.) Absent that, CS, on what grounds (i.e. publically accessible facts of the matter) ought we to concern ourselves - organize our lives & societies - with respect to some nonevident here•after?
• 317
We are too weak to discern what's not now.

We have no idea what is not now so we're typo-typo agnostic intellectually, at most.

You would have a down view on what's possible.

You need to elaborate: It could be this thing, what is this thing, to have any knowledge on the matter.

Does energy interact with us somehow? Then I theorize yes there can be massive affection. We are all linked.

It's energy, it's most common representation, light.

It's more like what light is than what the darkness is. These are strict laws. These are how stars are made.

Nothing is state, it's just as easy for something to be present. They are both states. Why don't we argue that something existed? It's the answer.
• 29
Either something is subject to scientific proof, or it is not. Statistics is the heart of science. We can never be 100% certain that X is true, yet the statistical probability that e = mc^2 is extraordinarily high to the point that it can be and is said e = mc^2. My comfort in that fact is because I can provide physical evidence through experimentation that results in statistical certainty of a very high order.
While some claim proof, I cannot honestly say that I can offer such objective evidence that there is a non-physical existence after physical death. I can even admit that the lack of scientific proof leads me to believe that it is highly unlikely that there is a non-physical existence after physical death. But that feeling I have is objectively irrational.

To be able to scientifically prove something we must be able to test our hypothesis and show that it is statistically highly likely to be true, that no observation has been made that is opposite to what our hypothesis predicts. It is human nature to assume that if we have never observed X, then X does not exist or is highly unlikely to exist. However to make any statistical judgment we must observe how often X occurs, or doesn't occur, over a given interval. If X is beyond human ability to observe, then we cannot say that X did occur or did not occur during the interval. The false conclusion is that because we did not observe X it does not exist anywhere / anytime. In fact we have no scientific way to determine if X exists or does not exist. The result is that we cannot say that it is likely that X exists or that it is likely that X does not exist, in fact we cannot say anything at all about the likelihood that X does or does not exist.

There may or may not be a non-physical existence beyond human ability to observe. I cannot offer proof that there is or that there is not, in fact I cannot say anything at all about the reality of an after-life. But I can say that there is a possibility, or at least that there may be a possibility, that anything (or nothing) exists beyond our physical universe. It is simply impossible to prove that which is beyond human ability to observe. Yet that does not mean that there is no non-physical existence and after physical death, nor does it mean that there is. It simply means that we cannot say anything objective about the possibility. If there is an after-life then the possibility was real, if there is no after-life then the possibility was an allusion and not a possibility at all.
• 1k
That is true. Yet the possibility of future existence is not equivalent to existence unless it actualizes. After his physical death Bill does not exist as a physical entity, even if the possibility of future physical existence is real. He may have a non-physical existence but not a physical existence.

The possibility of ‘future physical existence’ for Bill is dependent upon a sufficient consensus of perceived potential for ‘reincarnation’ (ie. future physical existence) by those who continue to interact with his potential existence. They simply relate his potential to another physical existence, in the same way that we recognise the child we knew years ago in the physical existence of the adult.
• 34

When someone named Bill is born he exists. If there is no non-physical
life after physical death, after the physical death of Bill he does not exist.


This assertion is false in General Relativity. In GR, all of space-time exists forever. The past still exists and the future already exists. In GR time is kind of like space. My father died when I was young, but in GR, he's still there, just at a different location in time than I am. It's kind of like he's in California, only in time there's less freedom of movement than there is in space. So, while my father is alive and well in California (or actually 1969), I just can't get to California from where I am currently located.

In GR, I am not located below my feet or above my head, and likewise, I am not located before I was born or after I die. But I exist always between the bottom of my feet and below the top of my head and for the time between when I was born and before I die.

|>ouglas
• 115
On this, I tend to disagree, I won't get into it deeper, but my thoughts is that at the "beginning" of everything, there was some eternally existing source behind the things which came after the fact, this does not necessarily equate to "God", or the Judeo-Christian God, for the record.
• 4.9k
A logical argument for meaning and value in human life can only be built on a non-physical existence. It is far more rational to seek meaning in the possibility of a non-physical life after physical death, no matter how unlikely you may believe it to be, than it is to create a humanistic myth attributing positive qualities to that which is nothing.

What is it exactly about the non-physical that is so attractive that we should think of the physical as nothing?
• 1k
When someone named Bill is born he exists. If there is no non-physical life after physical death, after the physical death of Bill he does not exist. After his physical death those who are alive can search the entire physical universe, but they will never find Bill. Bill has no present and no future, simply because Bill does not exist. What is usually missed is that in addition to no future, Bill has no past because Bill does not exist.

I still don't understand what you are trying to get at here. Granted, one can only predicate things about something or someone that exists. But what does this have to do with the search for meaning? Bill may or may not find his life meaningful while he is alive. After Bill dies, or before Bill is born, there is no sense in talking about the meaning of his life, except in the past or future tense. So what? (By the way, do you also require that Bill must have an eternal pre-life, as well as an eternal after-life in order for his life to have a meaning?)
• 1.8k
It is far more rational to seek meaning in the possibility of a non-physical life after physical death

You make a good argument for this. How do you suppose we go about researching life after death?

The scriptures are garbage. But what other source of evidence can you get of life after death? For one, there is the argument you made. But for any other? There is none. No witnesses, no first-hand experiences, no visible signs or signs detectable by any means. So how do you go about your quest, how do you suppose to make others join you in this belief, other than it being a possibility?
• 317
conflating dreams and hallucinations with some sort of non-physical intelligence.

You may know what dreams are, but you're still not a full time dreamer, you are only a part time dreamer.

Isn't it fair that they can belong above you? To someone who is only a dreamer/force?

Isn't this intelligence present in a dream?

[I said earlier in a different thread one hallucination, interpret it this way and you'll be able to imagine universal strangeness parasites in the abyss. You are are returning with a force rhythmic in nature, possibly understanding. They could bop you out of rhythm now.
• 1.2k
How do you suppose we go about researching life after death?

Don't mean to interrupt while waiting for Commonsense's response, but just a couple of commonly widespread tools at our disposal, are studies in: phenomenology, Near Death Experiences, inductive reasoning, cognitive science (William James), etc.

Were you unaware of those kinds of things?
• 317
Other simulations may merit laws that appear as chaos to someone from this universe.

I guess this because of how the universe is a non-standard simulation; it's a super-massive lock-out from what I guess to be standard simulations. If my guess is good we might be able to scan and further understand chaos or that might be impossible.

Worlds are made luckilly, but with good odds.

If we were ever to transition to a purer simulation type, we would be harmonious with these laws.
• 464
A logical argument for meaning and value in human life can only be built on a non-physical existence. It is far more rational to seek meaning in the possibility of a non-physical life after physical death, no matter how unlikely you may believe it to be, than it is to create a humanistic myth attributing positive qualities to that which is nothing.
That is indeed the strategy of most religions : to look for life's meaning in some kind of afterlife, either in spirit-body or in re-incarnation. Because when you're in the middle of your life-story --- it's all Second Act, it doesn't yet make sense. That's why meaning-of-life questions usually refer to the Setup (or backstory) and the Resolution (tying-up loose ends), because we --- the not-yet existent or no-longer-existing actor or protagonist --- are not there to see where-we-came-from, or where-we-are-going.

Only the omniscient story-teller and the objective audience can know the Prelude and the Denouement. Hence, they can place a single life-story into a larger context. For the Protagonist, the only way to know the whole story is "to create a humanistic myth attributing positive qualities to that which is nothing". Pre-life and Afterlife myths fill a need for closure, that is lacking in the open-ended life-as-lived. But, those religious and cultural myths are obviously [to some] popular fictions, not objective reports from the hereafter. There are common themes --- as in the Hero's Journey thesis --- but the details are relative to specific locations and cultures.

However satisfying the Preface and the Epilogue might be to a complete personal history, the most important part is the development of the Protagonist in the process of navigating the exigencies of life. Ironically, most theories of Afterlife seem to assume a continuation of the Second Act. When psychics relay messages from the dead, their situations and activities seem to be more of the same mundane life-story that they left behind --- only this time in Utopia. So, personally, I don't worry about the nothingness before and after Life. Instead, I focus on writing my own life-story day-to-day, by developing my character as best I can. After all, some famous philosophers have opined that "to philosophize is to learn to die". Thus, we learn to live, by doing what needs to be done, which develops the kind of character that doesn't waste time on worrying about non-existence. :cool:

Hero's Journey : "Campbell describes 17 stages of the monomyth. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey

Learning how to die : Michel de Montaigne begins his essay “That to Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die” by quoting the same idea from Cicero:
https://sententiaeantiquae.com/2015/09/19/2343/
http://essays.quotidiana.org/montaigne/that_to_study_philosophy/
• 715
Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits. — Ludwig Wittgenstein
:death: :flower:

In GR, all of space-time exists forever. The past still exists and the future already exists. In GR time is kind of like space. My father died when I was young, but in GR, he's still there, just at a different location in time than I am. It's kind of like he's in California, only in time there's less freedom of movement than there is in space. So, while my father is alive and well in California (or actually 1969), I just can't get to California from where I am currently located.

In GR, I am not located below my feet or above my head, and likewise, I am not located before I was born or after I die. But I exist always between the bottom of my feet and below the top of my head and for the time between when I was born and before I die.
Interesting ... :clap:

So, in other words, with respect to my question: there are no grounds (i.e. evidence) for "the reality that is often ignored" or you simply can't answer intelligibly because all you've got is that old-time woo you wish was true (but know it ain't).
• 29
Thanks for the references - I have indeed carefully considered every alternative that seems to have a reasonable chance of being true. In general, I rank possibilities in order of estimated probability (estimated because if we knew which possibility was the right one there would be no possibilities or probabilities - i.e. every possibility disappears when proof shows the probability is 100%). I have an ebook aimed at freshman level students that addresses NDE's, reincarnation, etc., available FREE (I am not trying to sell anything) on Apple and Google books and for the minimum \$1 on Kindle "Something Out of Nothing" ISBN 9780965523776 It also goes into depth about problems with block universes and existential reality. It pretty much sticks with philosophy and science, my theist beliefs are in other booklets.
• 29
One misconception from relativity is that a block universe implies a permanent me that spans my worldline from head to toe, in a sense I am my worldline as you suggest. However the requirement that no event be given precedence over any other event, means that each point on the worldline is unique. A fine physicist, John Baez, once said that at every point on our worldline there is an approximate isomorph of me. The fact is that that we cannot identify an individual being on a worldline simply because there are an infinite number of me's on the line. Beyond that is the problem of Being and Becoming, presentism vs possibilism vs eternalism.

From a scientific standpoint I am pretty much convinced that the evolving causal set theory model, which is consistent with relativity and QM, will prove to be true and will replace traditional block universe models with a timeless model where event X does not exist - X exists - X does not exist.

A brief comment on "woo woo", which is regrettably an appeal to emotion and not logic. What I "wish to be true" has no effect on what is true or false. The reason for pointing out that we cannot say anything objective about that which is beyond human observation is that the statement is logically true. It does not posit the existence of "woo woo" outside the domain of human observation, nor does it posit that there is nothing outside the domain of human observation, it simply says that human statements about the possibility that there is something or is nothing beyond human observation are products of human nature, hubris, and folly that lead to proclamations that humans are somehow better able than other creatures to understand reality. Neither you, nor I, nor the smartest person on earth know, or can even predict, if there is something beyond the physical, or nothing. (Perhaps that does not reject the value of intuition - Saul Kripke, "Naming and Necessity")
• 29
The problem is not with the First Act, nor is it with the nature of the Second Act, the issue is summarized by “Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” William Shakespeare, Macbeth. When the First Act is over and the walking shadow enters the dark, does the actor have a Second Act or does the First Act become for him or her "that which never was".
I fully agree that we should live the most positive physical life that we can, even if on our physical death - nothing. Yet that does not change the fact that if "nothing", then for each individual all will be as if it never was. This is vastly different from saying that we can live a meaningful existential life if there is no extension after death, it says that if we do not exist after physical death then all will be as if it never was (which is certainly not to be feared or even thought about). The logical conclusion is that if on physical death all will be as if it never was, then the rational choice is to live the most positive life that we can with belief in the possibility, no matter how slight, that there is a non-physical life after death which gives meaning to both the First Act and Second Act. To do otherwise is to believe in the myth of the Übermensch.
• 29
"Worlds are made luckily, but with good odds" is not statistically true. Roger Penrose, an agnostic, put that argument to rest when he "calculated that the creation of a universe in which we could exist required the selection of 1 universe out of 10 raised to the 10th power raised to the 123rd power (1010^123) of all possible universes. This is a deceptively large number, which in fact cannot be written. If you tried to write it out by writing the number 1 on a piece of paper, you would have to write a 0 on every single atom in the universe just to approach the number of zeros that follow the 1, even then you would not be close to writing out the entire number."Penrose - The Emperors New Mind

Note that this is the odds of creation of our universe at the "big bang", it is not the often quoted lesser number for the odds of creation of life out of inanimate matter - an apples and oranges comparison.
• 29
I do not believe there is a path to any kind of objective proof. The best we can do is follow intuitive conclusions, Saul Kripke said “Of course, some philosophers think that something’s having intuitive content is very inconclusive evidence in favor of it. I think it is very heavy evidence in favor of anything, myself. I really don’t know, in a way, what more conclusive evidence one can have about anything, ultimately speaking.” Perhaps Kripke is saying that since we cannot know anything with absolute certainty what can be better than our best intuition of what is true based on our rational evaluation of reality. I wrote a theist ebook "LifeNotes" ISBN 978-0965523738 (free on Google and Apple) that admittedly is an emotional plea (based on my thought that I have a reader's attention only 1 time in their life) that discusses what a life after physical death might look like.
From a purely rational basis it seems to me that there are two most probable consequences of physical death (1) that there is nothing and all (including our past) will be as if it never was and (2) that there is a life after physical death. Since if 1 is true there will be no positive or negative consequences to physical death, living for the possibility that 2 is true is the logical choice. Therefore we should live the most positive physical life possible, not based on the humanistic myth that physical life has existential meaning, but rather on the possibility that there is a non-physical life after physical death that gives meaning to both our physical and non-physical lives. We will know if 2 is true after our physical death, if 1 is true we will never know because the question will die with us.
• 29
We should not think of physical life as nothing, physical life should be lived to the most positive extent possible. The point is that it is most likely that our positive physical life has meaning if there is a non-physical life after physical death, and likely that it does not if there is "nothing". That makes belief in the possibility, even if infinitesimally small, of life after physical death rational, and belief in the myth of existentialism irrational. Remember that even if you believe that the possibility of existence after physical death is minimal, if there is an afterlife then the possibility has
100% probability and is actually a certainty.
• 29

I still don't understand what you are trying to get at here. Granted, one can only predicate things about something or someone that exists. But what does this have to do with the search for meaning? Bill may or may not find his life meaningful while he is alive. After Bill dies, or before Bill is born, there is no sense in talking about the meaning of his life, except in the past or future tense. So what? (By the way, do you also require that Bill must have an eternal pre-life, as well as an eternal after-life in order for his life to have a meaning?)
You are looking at this from a third party viewpoint. Every living being can look at the history of Bill and discuss his life using tensed language. The past I am talking about is something that belongs to Bill, something that he is aware of. After Bill's physical death he has no past, present, or future simply because he does not exist.
[By the way, do you also require that Bill must have an eternal pre-life, as well as an eternal after-life in order for his life to have a meaning?)
No
• 29
When someone named Bill is born he exists. If there is no non-physical life after physical death, after the physical death of Bill he does not exist.

This assertion is false in General Relativity. In GR, all of space-time exists forever. The past still exists and the future already exists. In GR time is kind of like space. My father died when I was young, but in GR, he's still there, just at a different location in time than I am...
Sorry for my unorganized replies - just getting used to the markups. As I replied to 180_proof quoting you - One misconception from relativity is that a block universe implies a permanent me that spans my worldline from head to toe, in a sense I am my worldline as you suggest. However the requirement that no event be given precedence over any other event, means that each point on the worldline is unique.

A fine physicist, John Baez, once said that at every point on our worldline there is an approximate isomorph of me. The fact is that that we cannot identify an individual being on a worldline simply because there are an infinite number of me's on the line. Beyond that is the problem of Being and Becoming, presentism vs possibilism vs eternalism.

GR simply does not have an adequate mechanism to explain being and becoming. In the 5th appendix of the 15th edition of his book on relativity Einstein wrote “Since there exists in this four dimensional structure no longer any sections which represent now objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated.” What did he mean, “…happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended”?

He consoled the widow of a friend, saying that although her husband had preceded her in death it was of no consequence, “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Yet he also said “A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind.”
It is clear that Einstein believed that the past, present, and future coexist, yet he also realized that in some unexplained manner happening and becoming occur, “But as people live on, they change completely.” There is no answer to what being and becoming means in a block universe, indeed Einstein said “An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension.”.

From a scientific standpoint I am pretty much convinced that the evolving causal set theory model, which is consistent with relativity and QM, will prove to be true and will replace traditional block universe models with a timeless model where event X does not exist - X exists - X does not exist.
• 1.1k
A logical argument for meaning and value in human life can only be built on a non-physical existence. It is far more rational to seek meaning in the possibility of a non-physical life after physical death, no matter how unlikely you may believe it to be, than it is to create a humanistic myth attributing positive qualities to that which is nothing.
If there is no afterlife, then there is no transcendent meaning or value to human life. Nevertheless, there is meaning and value for a human life within the context of humankind. Individuals contribute to ther family and society, and these contributions can have an effect that persists long after their death (this is an "afterlife", of sorts).

A theist, I suspect, will tend to respond that this is insignificant, compared to the sort of metaphysical meaning and value they have in mind. That may be true, but it remains just a hypothetical. Perhaps it's one more motivation to WANT to believe in an afterlife, but such wishful thinking does not seem a rational basis for belief.
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