Chapter 8 – Moral Development in the Afterlife

While there are many threads in episode 8 relating to themes in future episodes, Chapter 8 presents the audience with an indictment of the permanency of the binary afterlife.  In many religions, there is the good place and the bad place.  Where one goes depends on one’s actions while alive.  Thus, a few short finite years determines if a person receives infinite punishment or infinite rewards.  Such a situation is complicated by the fact that some people live much longer than others.  Maybe someone living only 20 years would have made it into the good place if he or she had lived 60 years?  Or perhaps, the reverse is true where a person would have ended up in the good place if he or she had died young before making decisions that resulted in the soul going to the bad place.

If existence persists after death, then why should one view that one’s development ceases at the moment of death?  In order for the traditional concept of the afterlife to make sense, one must view one’s nature as static after a certain point.  The assumption of religion is that once a person is bad and goes to the bad place, then that person will stay bad.  Why?  If people are simply born good or bad, then it is not a person’s fault and people should not be rewarded or punished.  Reward and punishment only make sense if a person can be held responsible for one’s moral character.

Since consciousness persists in the afterlife, as well as the ability to make choices, then there is no rational reason to think that the binary afterlife model is fair.  Unless one is already perfect, one can continue to make moral development in the afterlife – just as Eleanor has.  If this is true, then it seems wrong to condemn or reward a person eternally for the small amount of years a person spends on Earth.  It would make far more sense to have an afterlife where people could continue to improve such that they can earn their place in the good place