Here’s a five-minute video by conservative Jewish “pundit” Dennis Prager; it’s part of his “Prager University” series of short videos, some of which are okay but most of which are dire. In this one, Prager himself explains why he believes in an afterlife. The reasons boil down to these:
- “If there’s a God, then there’s an afterlife. It’s that simple”. Well, not to Jews, many of whom believe in the former but not the latter.
- The injustice and suffering of this life demands that it be set right in the next life. This presumes that God wants to fix things, but it doesn’t explain why Prager’s “good and just God” would allow people to suffer in this life. Why would he let kids get leukemia or other people suffer, and not from the depredations of other humans? If God were both good and just, he wouldn’t let that shit happen. Prager never explains this “unjust suffering” coming from his loving God.
- Since God isn’t physical, there must be parts of reality which are also “nonphysical”. To Prager, that means that therefore there is a nonphysical soul that survives the death of our body. This is a horrible piece of logic. Why couldn’t God be the only nonphysical thing in the cosmos?
- We can’t become immortal through our deeds. After all, our good works disappear, and kids may die without producing any “works”. Further, Hitler’s bad deeds would make him “far more immortal” then any good human. Ergo, there must be ANOTHER way to live on: the divine afterlife. This is another ridiculous piece of logic.
- If there’s no afterlife, none of us will ever again see the departed that we most love. Therefore, a good God wouldn’t do that, ergo an afterlife!
- If there’s no afterlife, then this life, which is all we have, is a “meaningless crapshoot.” Prager can’t abide that, so there’s an afterlife.
- The biggie: while Prager says he doesn’t have any idea of what happens in the afterlife, he does know that “my belief in the afterlife keeps me sane.” If there were no afterlife, bad people would get away with their misdeeds, and Prager wouldn’t see his loved ones again. As he says, “This would drive me mad.” Well, it doesn’t drive most of us atheists mad. We may not like it, but there’s a lot about reality that we don’t like. Reality doesn’t exist to make us feel good.
It all boils down to two things: Prager’s assumption of not only a God (for which there is no evidence), but a good God who, while allowing bad stuff to happen on earth, will make up for it in the afterlife. There’s no evidence for that, either, nor for an afterlife. The real message that Prager has is this: “I believe in God because it makes me feel good, and I’d go nuts otherwise.”
Well, there’s a lot of stuff that we could believe in that isn’t real but could make us feel good. As an example, Sam Harris has used the delusion of an enormous diamond buried in his backyard. Prager uses the delusion of a God, which, though equally unevidenced, is socially acceptable because it’s common.
Truly, it baffles me that someone with a modicum of intelligence can produce a video purporting to give evidence for an afterlife when all he’s doing is pretending that what gives him comfort really exists. And most Americans are content to either live with such delusions or accept them in other people.