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chelle21689's avatar

What is the term if you believe there is an after life but no God?

Asked by chelle21689 (6866points) August 9th, 2012

Let me explain myself. I want to say I am agnostic because I don’t think you can prove there is a God and you cannot prove there isn’t in my opinion. I am leaning more towards that there is no God, but I’m not sure. Even if there is a God, it’s not the image I have in mind of what most organized religions would believe it to be like human form or whatever. Maybe it’s just some cosmic energy or force…I don’t know.

What I do believe is that there has to be more to this than our life. I don’t think that it just stops at death and there is no more. I’m not sure what it is afterward but it may be something that our mind can possibly not comprehend, it may be some state of happiness, etc.

I don’t think I’m an atheist because they believe in basically nothing.

Please be respectful of my beliefs. I don’t want this to be some lecture of one person trying to prove who’s beliefs are right or wrong… ugh.

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24 Answers

ETpro's avatar

I do not know of a single word for all the different sets of beliefs in an afterlife sans a god providing it. What it is called depends on the particular belief system. Buddhist believe in an afterlife that is an escape from the eternal suffering of rebirth, and a joining with nothingness, or oneness with all. The Dharmic religions focus on rebirth on this plane till an individual eventually progresses to the realization they are one with Dharma. Believers in naturalism often see this Earthly plane as one of confusion and limited seeing. They believe we pass from this to awareness of the spiritual, intelligent nature of the entire universe. Scientology even preaches a warped form of naturalism.

I am an agnostic atheist, and believing in nothing melts my mind. Nothing is probably the one thing I cannot conceive of. And nothing you say is likely to change that. :-)

Wikipedia had a good beginning discussion on different belief systems and their views on an afterlife. Looking into it is an interesting journey. May you travel with “Fair winds and following seas.”

Haleth's avatar

That sounds a bit like deism. They don’t exactly match up, but it might be a good starting point.

chelle21689's avatar

I’m okay with there not being a label but I was just curious to know if one existed for what I believed. I just use the term agnostic…I have theories but I’m not really sure what happens…I just don’t think it’s “nothing” though. Lol

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think there is any one term for it, but I propose we call it “chellism” from now on. :)

ETpro's avatar

@augustlan It would be a rewarding project to post on Google preferred groups and forums about Chellism, with a link to here for definition, till the word gets adopted into the major dictionaries.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Good heavens! This sounds almost exactly like me. I am not kidding.

I could easily believe in a power above this plane, but I doubt it takes a form that any religion on Earth uses. I could just as easily say there is no transcendental power, but there is still something beyond what our senses can fathom.

My personal feelings lie almost parallel with New Age philosophies. I find common ground there with many of its practitioners, but I diverge on some points, too. It’s a difficult place to exist.

I don’t have a word for what I believe. The closest I’ve come is “stillness” as used in a poem by T.S. Eliot called “Burnt Norton” from Four Quartets. For me, the word sums it up, but I use it specifically as it is used in that poem. When I pray, I invoke stillness or universe or one.

ucme's avatar

Eternal optimist?

Aster's avatar


Sunny2's avatar

Chelle is as good as anything to call your belief. I’d agree to that term. It’s a good word.
To me, heaven is wishful thinking. Afterdeath is nothingness. It’s the end of suffering and everything else that exists for sentient beings. It just is.

chelle21689's avatar

Chellism! Awesome! LOL

Hey, that’d be weird if I saw that it became a definition and no one would ever believe that it was named after me.

chelle21689's avatar

At the same time I don’t think there is anything wrong with wishful thinking. Whether it’s a happy place or whatever I still think something happens to our consciousness/spirit/energy after life.

Pandora's avatar

Isn’t it a bit like believing in mother nature. I mean, Mother Nature isn’t really considered these days as a real goddess or anything but she’s kind of used to explain life and the universe. Like we are all a part of the universe and our energy, or soul or essence is simply passed on from one form to another. So in a sense we do not die. Just transform.
Scientology has no God I think. Just aliens. All other religions have some actual belief in a deity.

chelle21689's avatar

Pandora, interesting. You have a point. It’s sort of like that I guess. Hell, Einstein had uneblievable theories about time how past, present, and future simultaneously exists. I don’t know how. There are other theories about other universes and realms but it’d be impossible to see.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I don’t think there is any one word that can encompass the belief in an after-life that does not include a belief in a ‘God’. I agree with @Pandora , I think we transform into another form of energy (of course, a great many people believe in Reincarnation / Rebirth – which means coming back & living over again, until you get it right).

woodcutter's avatar


SavoirFaire's avatar

There is no term for the combination of a belief in an afterlife and no belief in God, just as there is no term for the combination of a belief in an afterlife and a belief in God. Though many Westerners have a prejudice that the God and the afterlife must go together, there is no principled reason why this must be so.

Jainism is one example of a religion that does not believe in any creator deity but does believe in an afterlife. The goal of life, according to Jainism, is the liberation of the soul from reincarnation. When this is achieved, we become purely spiritual beings that could be considered gods, though nothing like the Abrahamic God.

@ETpro Buddhists do not believe in an afterlife. Buddhist rebirth is not the same as reincarnation because Buddhists do not believe there is such a thing as the self that could live on past death.

@filmfann It only makes sense to call it “Hell” if there is a God from whom you are separated in the afterlife. According to the view we are being asked to consider, however, there is no God in the first place. So while your response might work if we could take other parts of Christian dogma for granted, the question is already operating outside of that framework.

@Pandora There are several religions other than Scientology that do not involve belief in a deity. Jainism, Buddhism, and Taoism are some other examples. Jainism explicitly rejects the existence of a creator deity, Buddhism takes the question to be irrelevant, and Taoism plays around with the imagery of creation without embracing the notion of a creator.

ETpro's avatar

@SavoirFaire As I understand it, truly informed Buddhists believe that rebirth is not something involving a unique individual spiritual being, or soul, but rather a simple expression of the laws of cause and effect that the Universe operates under. Their ultimate goal is to break this cycle, thus achieving Nirvana, or oneness with the great void. In this respect, it is very different from Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism; all of which believe in an eternal soul.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@ETpro That is my understanding as well. Enlightenment is achieved in this very life, and the enlightened person does not project karma into the future. Thus liberation from rebirth is not a sort of afterlife so much as something accomplished during life that assures our death to be the end of some particular chain of events.

Paradox25's avatar

Secular dualism. Actually there are quite a few individuals, both scientsts and nonscientists alike, whom are atheists but accept the empirical evidence for the afterlife. Also, acceptance of a likely afterlife existence is growing in the scientific community, and many of these paranormal researchers are not theists or religionists.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Paradox25 Secular dualism may be a belief set that includes both belief in an afterlife and no belief in God, but it is not the term for the combination of belief in an afterlife and no belief in God. One simple proof of this is that there are religious (i.e., non-secular) dualisms that also combine belief in an afterlife with no belief in God (e.g., Jainism). It is important not to conflate “religious” with “theistic” and “secular” with “atheistic.”

Sunny2's avatar

Hinduism? The life after this one may not be human, but it goes on. If I was to believe a religion, I’d look into this because life is energy and energy cannot be created or destroyed. It just changes type of energy.
The Hindus do believe in gods, don’t they. So my answer is not valid. Sorry.

Bill1939's avatar

Life uses and transforms energy, but I’m not sure that life is energy. It seems to me that life is a mental construct, an idea. While ideas provide psychological motivation, they exist wholly within the mind. The biological activities of the networks of neurons involved in thinking do not impart physicality to thought. Yet those who believe in an afterlife expect their mental representation of reality (including the self’s persona) will be present there. I have my doubts.

woodcutter's avatar

I have my doubts too.

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