In several Beliefnet message boards and dialogue groups, atheist, agnostic, and other members debate the possibility of an afterlife. Here is a sampling of quotes from these discussions. Share your thoughts with other members here.

Can you believe in an afterlife without believing in a higher power?

"Can you be an atheist and also believe in some sort of 'after life' without having to admit to a 'higher power'? I simply cannot imagine not seeing my dogs and family again after death, even though I would call myself an atheist. It may simply be a 'weakness' -- I'm not certain."

"I see no way in which belief in the afterlife and disbelief in a god are able to exist simultaneously. There is less evidence (as I see it) for existence of an afterlife than existence of a god. Aren't wishful thinking and skepticism mutually exclusive?"

"The question is whether it is possible to be an atheist and believe in an afterlife (or the supernatural). The answer is an unequivocable 'Yes!' An atheist is a person who lacks belief in gods. Period, end of story. Belief in an afterlife or the supernatural is a separate issue that has no bearing whatsoever on being an atheist."

Is death really the end?

"The scientific part of me says when you're dead, you're dead. Game over. Your parts stop pumping and your bits stop beating and you become worm food. However, the human mind has a lot of energy in it. Perhaps when the body dies, and the mind no longer has to deal with all that control and administration, that energy is free to escape. Perhaps it could combine with other minds that passed away before it. And, perhaps, what we think of as God is merely the combined mental energy of all the humans gone before us. But that's just the imaginative side of me coming out."

"I can't imagine not being alive after death because there isn't anything to imagine. I can't fathom cessation of existence, but that doesn't make it less of a fact."

"I don't think there is any special place for us...though I can't also say that I know that there is no afterlife...it is hard to know something which goes beyond the laws of physics."
--Yang's Matrix

"It seems painfully obvious what happens to us, we die and are fodder for worms. And our "spirit, soul, life essence" whatever you call it what about that? It was a creation of the mind...and we CEASE TO EXIST, except our bodily remains and the memories others have of us."

Living This Life to the Fullest

"Some have asked me if there is no God, no reward in heaven and most importantly no hell, then why bother leading an ethical life? In most cases, however I think this attitude is relatively short lived, almost like a transition phase."

"Is the conviction that there is no life after death, in a way, a positive thing? Knowing that all that awaits is decomposition, we may be compelled to live life to the fullest."

And on the Lighter Side...

"I am a Frisbeetarian: I believe that, when we die, our souls fly up and get stuck on the roof. We may pass on, but we all leave a legacy for the world to see. It fades into obscurity (what goes up must come down), which brings final death. This is how I see the afterlife. You are what you leave, and you'll never know what it looks like after your body dies."

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