Andrew asked me if a deathbed conversion was likely. I assumed the question was facetious and answered in a flippant way. But I've taken it on notice and will give it some attention.
The short answer is no—I don't believe there is anything remotely like life after death (LaD) and therefore nothing to convert to or for. The LaD terms have their own meanings but taken together become fuzzy—even "after" is problematic…When does a "near" death experience become LaD?
A problem is that while people would convince us of the truth of LaD, we have our own reasons for wanting to believe, but I think my reasoning is beyond that. I am not insecure or have any need for LaD.
The reasons that might justify LaD are not sustainable, let alone believable; when 99% of the dogma that the Pope and George Pell (and the Dalai Lama and all the rest) spout forth are lies, and can easily be demonstrated to be lies (to my satisfaction anyway), logic tells us that on the balance of probabilities the other 1% (i.e. LaD, which is impossible to prove or disprove) will be lies too. (Try it in front of a judge in a court of law…) Because we want to believe something doesn't make it true.
Behaviourists are saying that we may be hard-wired genetically through evolution to believe in LaD as a survival mechanism to bolster social cohesion. But this doesn't make it true either—it simply means that for millenia there have been generations of shamans like Fred Nile who prey on the susceptible.
There are apparently 40,000 religious sects currently in the world all with different views on LaD and each with exclusive rules about the benefits and who misses out. I believe that LaD, if anything at all, must refer to all life and all death. There is no logic that confines it to sentient beings. If I pull a weed out of the garden and it withers and dies in the sun should I believe that if only the weed could think, it could live on? And yet we are prepared to believe that because only humans are capable of imagining LaD (apparently), the experience is exclusively ours. I can't see any logic there.
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I could also treat the question less literally and consider my feelings about coping with death. Of course, I'm scared of the process, but I'm happy with the concept of death without any LaD. It is difficult to imagine not being here any more—but I have been through it all before—there was a previous time when I didn't exist, possibly known as DbL (in which no-one is generally much interested, even the weed apparently!)
Like everyone, of course, I'd like a 'clean' death, but will be happy if I'm still lucid enough at the time to say goodbyes (at least in my head) and, to distract me from the pain of leaving, sing Elvis songs as I exit the building!!
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Thanks for the typing assistance, Helm…