I thought the following comment from Dave (whose blog you should definitely check out) deserved its own discussion thread:
I’m almost finished reading a book called Joker One and part way through the book the author (a former marine lieutenant who served in Iraq) starts to talk about God. He is recounting his time in Iraq and just described the first loss of life that occurred within his own platoon. He decides that it is better to believe in God and his logic goes something like this:
If there is no God then there is no hope for his dead comrade. He is gone forever and has served and died for no ultimate purpose.
If there is a God then there is hope that this man is still alive in Heaven and has sacrificed himself for the greater good serving a higher purpose.
I think the point he makes brings up a good question: Would we be better off having hope in an afterlife from a pragmatic point of view? Would we be happier and less prone to become depressed if we at least clung to some *hope* that there is a better life waiting for us after we die? Would this hope do us any harm in the here and now or is it possible that holding on to this hope could make us a better person?
Let the discussion commence!