In Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity he asserts that "Man—this is the mystery of religion—projects his being into objectivity, and then again makes himself an object to this projected image of himself thus converted into a subject." (EC 29) Here he summarises a commonly held argument - namely that religion is nothing but the projection of the ideals of man. God is but a framework; a mould in which humans strive to conform to. It is foolish to imply that we could ever reach His perfection in the concrete: that contradicts the very notion of an ideal. Rather, we must spend our lives in quest of His absolute benevolence. Perhaps this may ascribe a certain nobility to the pursuit of God, however further development outlines the inherent hedonism in this conception of religion. Consider the afterlife. At first it may seem to comply with the humility of this artificial take upon religion: after all, linear belief does heavily dwell upon punishment as well as salvation. In short, if you do not comply with the absolute morality imposed by Abrahamic Religion, you will suffer (most gruesomely) for your evil-doing. Though this may not seem particularly appealing for any Christian, regardless of their orthodoxy, the raw belief in the afterlife itself outlines an implicit plea for certainty and consolation in a perplexing world. Life After Death is a fundamental self-deception, and no belief can erase the anxiety at the thought that life, together with this entire world, is meaningless. In Sartre’s Nausea, Roquetin remarks upon this feeling with fulfilling clarity: “the essential is contingency. I mean that, by definition, existence cannot be identified with necessity. To exist is to happen without reason.... Everything is purposeless. This garden, this town and myself.” It is this feeling of nausea (of which Sartre titles his novel after) that seems to envelop all the claims of theism. Thus, the atheist may conclude that belief in the afterlife is merely that ‘leap of faith’ taken upon wishful thinking. Logical Positivism would confirm this question of its meaninglessness, of which it is the absence of demonstrable truth that compels us to propose a ‘God of the gaps.’ 

    The argument simplifies to this: 


    [1] Belief in Life After Death requires faith

    [2] Faith is irrational

    [c] Therefore, belief in Life After Death is irrational


A further examination of what we term ‘faith’ will outline issues in this reasoning. “To have faith is precisely to lose one’s mind so as to win God.” - Sickness Unto Death. In Kierkegaard's writings upon the nature of faith, he draws an important distinction between two types of truth: Objective Truth and Subjective Truth. The former term is ascribed to all empirical truths that follow from demonstration. Objective truths dwell in the scientific and concrete. Subjective truths, on the other hand, are a sort of personal empiricism. It’s like trying to explain what music feels like to a deaf person, or what colour looks like to a blind person: it can’t be done. We all know that death lies upon our horizon, yet none of us can describe it until we experience it for ourselves. That’s not to say faith is blind; the atheist is merely looking for an explanation in objective truth, rather than in subjective truth, and this is precisely why it seems so ‘irrational’ to them. For Kierkegaard, faith is not an article of dogmatism; rather it is the balance of doubt and belief. He terms the one who, despite expressing doubt, chooses the path of belief, the Knight of Faith. That is, for Kierkegaard, the true expression of what we mean when we refer to ‘faith’. The atheist must accept that this notion of ‘rationality’ transcends objective truth and thus is not contradictory when attributing it to faith. On the contrary, doubt, a necessary constituent of Kierkegaard’s faith, is precisely an instance of this rationalism in the very concept of religious belief.


Hopefully then, I have outlined some reasons to hesitate upon declaring the irrationality of Life After Death. These arguments by no means justify belief in any specific school of thought; it merely encourages a thoughtful uncertainty upon the idea of the afterlife.