I have trouble believing in the unobservable, and yet I see seeming sane people the world over having no trouble claiming unshakable belief in things without any proof or evidence of their existence. The common idea that we will have a life in a body just like the one we presently possess, after we die, strikes me as unproven, and probably unprovable. That belief presumably gives people comfort in the absence of a recently dead relative. They believe that, perhaps thinking it of great benefit if it’s true, and that it does little harm to anyone if it’s false. Also, with that belief they can face their own imminent death with greater equanimity.
What are the consequences of having an unshakable belief in something that isn’t provable, and by all logic and tests of a likelihood it is false? Is it really harmless to believe in things that are probably false? Personally I think it is harmful because it sets the individual up to believe a whole trail of other things which are also probably false. Such as, you will meet your loved ones in this postulated afterlife, and you will be restored to the most perfect form of your current incarnation.
If you can believe those kinds of thoughts you can also easily be convinced that you will win the lottery, even when the odds are a hundred million to one against it. “Well, someone is going to win, and it might as well be me!” is shouted back. Perhaps that is true about the lottery, but the odds are fantastically against your winning, and the odds on your being reassembled after death are much worse. There is a very tiny provable statistical chance that you will win the lottery if you place your bet, and absolutely nothing to prove you will be resurrected if you put your money there.
Do people have so little courage in their own ability to face the unpleasant facts of life that they willingly believe what are obviously lies by self-seeking promoters of those lies? Well, obviously I am wrong, and I should be the first to confess it, because I was having this argument with a close friend when he had a multimillion-dollar winning lottery ticket in his pocket. On the other hand I had a similar argument with another friend, about this same time, who claimed he would never die. He was a wonderful man, friendly and kind, but from my point of view and that of my living friends he did die. That was sad for me. From my point of view if he had said he was going to live for a hundred and twenty years it would have seemed possible, highly unlikely but possible, but saying forever is clearly impossible. And, being reconstituted as a living, thinking consciousness after death is incredibly more unlikely than living forever.
Some things may be difficult to observe, but they may be knowable. Other things may be impossible to observe and therefore forever unknowable. We should place our confidence in what we can know and avoid taking extreme chances on those things which are clearly beyond our ken and always will be.
Place your confidence in what is knowable, and avoid blind faith in the unknowable.