For a long time I have been curious about the difference in feelings people have about eternal life or after life.
Many religions tell that there is life after death; some talk about good and bad places where you go depending on how you were in your life; some tell about an intermediate plane to stay for a while before coming back to life thru reincarnation, etc.
Many people follow a religion that teaches these concepts, and these people claim to be believers of those concepts, yet when it comes to feel by heart what they have been taught, the big majority reacts as if there was nothing after death, defying with this their own beliefs and the teachings they have received from their religions.
They are scared of death, even if they suppose to go to a better place where there’s no physical pain and suffering for physical things; a place of peace for the mind.
In everyday situations they tend to react more according to the feelings of the moment or the conveniences rather than based on the ways they suppose to react in order to ensure their place in this promised after life, as if in reality, opposed to the teachings from their religions, this after life didn’t exist.
So the concept of life after death is more like a fairy tale in the minds of people than a “confirmed reality” as taught by their own religions, the ones they follow their entire lives respecting and applying the customs required.
It seems that the entire religion becomes a custom to follow; more as a social element to get acceptance, than a real belief to live by. If you claim you don’t believe then you are segregated and tagged as selfish and arrogant by the others, so you have to comply with the customs and traditions extended thru generations in your family and follow the customs of their religion.
Easier said than done, of course; to be part of the custom and to follow the procedures that will ensure you a place in your community you just have to be present when service is provided and emulate the words and movements institutionalized throughout decades, hundreds or maybe thousands of years, then you are accepted as one more of the group and no questioning occurs.
That’s the easy part!
The complicated one is to acquire by heart the teachings to the point of reactions to many everyday situations are natural and spontaneous and according to the teachings received.
So the result is people following religions as a tradition; as a condition of their birth, like the place, country or language under which they grew up, with customs followed the same way the type of clothing is worn, more than a real belief as a concept learned throughout study and understanding of the teachings received and that were accepted by heart.