What happens to us when we die? On the Death & Grief discussion boards, members have answered that very question. Below are some of the posts that deal with the topic of the afterlife.
"Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, perhaps we can agree that our existence continues after death in at least one way. Our actions have effects. The world is changed by our existence and by how each of us chooses to live our lives. Even if there is no individual or supernatural existence beyond death, our existence cannot be blotted out. It continues to have effects, however diffuse, in every generation that succeeds us.
Perhaps we can also agree that we participate, whether we choose to or not, whether humbly or grandly, in this astonishing undertaking that is Life. And, more particularly, we are participants both as fashioners and fashioned, in the great edifice of human culture. It moves from discovery to discovery, even in the darker passages of our human existence. Freedom, justice, truth, beauty, love -- they are all achieving new expressions in every age. And we get to watch, to act, and sometimes to create.
I have heard it argued that absent God or a retributive afterlife, we would all abandon our better principles, the 'better angels of our nature.' But I don't see why. If you identify with certain principles and believe that God endorses them, why would you abandon those principles if there were no God to support them? Why is your own endorsement not enough? If you believe that God is free to adopt or abandon any principle, freely, without prejudice, and you believe in certain precepts because God ordains them, then you must believe that those precepts are very good indeed. Why then would you abandon them if God were not there to enforce them?
To those that say that if there is no individual or supernatural afterlife, then your actions don't matter, I would say 'But your actions do matter.' Your actions are fashioning the world that your descendants and all of humanity (and Life) will inherit. Why not fashion to the best of your ability, just because it is beautiful in your eyes?
Then you are truly free to believe, or not, in God or an afterlife without penalty or prejudice, without need or coercion."
"Baha'is are taught that human souls all survive physical death and enter the spiritual worlds of God. We take with us only the spiritual qualities we have developed in this world. Some are much more developed than others, but we all go on. The thousands of near-death experiences seem to go along with this Baha'i concept."
"I am struck by what a paradox this is. Life is meaningless without death is meaningless without life. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, life and death "inter-are". One cannot be without the other. It is perfectly natural to fear death. We wouldn't be fully human if we didn't. How do we deal with this fear? By understanding the nature of life/death. And by understanding our fear."
"I agree that Christ died on the cross to affirm life after death for us. But, be careful how you interpret what Jesus said to the thief on the cross - it depends upon where you place the comma (the original Greek has no punctuation). Is it, "Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."? Or, "Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise."? Big difference. Jesus wasn't in paradise the day he died - he was in the grave."
"One of the reasons I believe in Mormonism is that it offers hope to the entire world, not just to Christians. Not all people have a chance in this lifetime to hear or understand the gospel. Would it be fair of a loving Heavenly Father to condemn them to hell? Of course not. This is why we have temples, so that spirits in the spirit world, will have an opportunity to hear the gospel and choose to accept it or reject it."
"Each time the river goes over a waterfall new droplet form, each with a different combination of H2O molecules. So my soul/spirit is made up of the energy of many, many others who have lived before. A new idea for me, but is resonates with my Pagan beliefs more than any other I have heard about."