A little reflection should help us to see that the question of life after death is not merely a philosophical question; it is deeply and intimately related to our everyday life. In fact, our moral attitude depends entirely upon this question. If a person is of the view that the life of this world is the only life and that there is no life of any kind after that, he must develop a particular type of moral attitude.
A radically different kind of attitude and approach is bound to result if he believes that this life is to be followed by another life where one will have to render account of all one’s acts in this world and that one’s ultimate fate in the Hereafter will depend upon one’s conduct in worldly life. Let us try to understand this through a simple example.
Faith in Hereafter and its Impact on Moral Behavior
A person undertakes journey from Lahore to Karachi on the assumption that he is traveling to his final destination, where he will be beyond the reach of the police that could haul him up for an offense, and the jurisdiction of the courts of justice that could bring him to book.
Another person undertakes the same journey knowing that it is only the first stage of a longer journey which will carry him, beyond Karachi, to a land overseas which is ruled by the same sovereign as that of Pakistan. He also knows that the court of that sovereign has complete secret database of his activities in Pakistan and that this record will be fully examined there in order to decide what position and treatment he deserves by virtue of his past performance.
Now, it should be easy to realize how different the conduct of these two travelers of the same train will be. The former will prepare himself only for the journey up to Karachi, whereas the latter will keep in view also the requirements of the further stages of the long journey.
The former will assume that all the gains that he can possibly make, or all the losses or harms that he might suffer, will be confined to the journey up to Karachi, and that will be the end of it. The latter, on the other hand, will know that the real gains or losses of the journey will be realized in its last stages and not in the first.
The former will keep in view only those results of his actions as are likely to manifest themselves up to the time that he reaches Karachi; the latter’s visit will extend to the long term results likely to unfold themselves in the distant overseas lands where his journey will eventually take him. Now it is obvious that this difference between the approaches and attitudes of the two travelers results directly from their view of the nature of their journey and its end.
Similarly, a person’s views in regard to life after death have a decisive influence upon his moral conduct in this world. The direction of every step that he takes in his practical life will depend upon whether he treats this worldly life as the first and last stage of life, or whether he also has in view the Hereafter and consequences of his conduct in this world or the next one. He will move in one direction in the first instance, and in exactly the opposite direction in the other instance.
From this I should be clear that the question of life after death is not merely a fruitless intellectual or philosophical exercise but a question that intimately concerns and vitally affects our everyday life. There is, therefore no justification for any skepticism in this matter.
Any attitude that is determined by skepticism in regard to the Hereafter could not in effect be any different from the one based on a definite rejection of the idea of a life after death.
We are, therefore, obliged to make up our minds whether there is a life after death or not. If science can not help us here, we must seek the aid of rational thinking and logical reasoning.