There is one life for an individual, and no afterlife. “When you are dead you
are dead” captures the notion that, at death, the body simply decays. Some
rationalize “living on” through progeny, or through the consequences of
actions taken during life (e.g., good works). Some would characterize death
as a rejoining with the universe. Broadly held is the concept that the single
life span “is all there is,” and so whatever time is available had best be used

BUDDHIST Worldview

At death, each life continues in some other form—human, divine or animal,
depending upon the results of behavior in the last life. The goal of Buddhism
is to extinguish the flame of wanting or attachment to the sense of self so that
rebirth does not occur and Nirvana is attained.


There is one life only. Beliefs about death vary. The soul may ascend to
heaven and be judged by God; or, the soul and the body may be raised on
the Day of Judgment, at the end of time, and will then be judged.

HINDU Worldview

Depending upon the karma—the consequences of action in this present
life—at death, the soul (atman) is reborn in either a higher or lower physical
form. Through devotion or correct behavior it is possible to ascend through
the orders of reincarnation, achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirth, and
be reunited with the Divine Power.

MUSLIM Worldview

There is one life only. After death, the individual awaits the Day of Judgment
when all will be brought back to life and judged. Paradise awaits those who
have lived according to the will of Allah and those who have failed to do so
cannot enter Paradise.

JEWISH Worldview

There is one life only. Most religious Jews believe the individual awaits the
Day of Judgment when God will raise all to life and judgment. Some,
however, believe that the soul is judged immediately after death.

SIKH Worldview

Each individual has many reincarnations, but being born a human means the
soul is nearing the end of rebirth. God judges each soul at death and may
either reincarnate the soul or, if pure enough, allow it to rest with him.

TAO Worldview

At death, the soul is judged by up to ten different gods of Hell, is purified by
punishment then reborn again. Certain schools believe death is avoidable.
By practicing special meditations or eating certain things, one can make the
body immortal so that the person lives forever.

DEIST Worldview (of historical interest)

Although the Deists denied the possibility of the supernatural as it might
appear in miracles or any phenomena contrary to natural laws, some
conceded the philosophical doctrine of a hereafter along with their
acceptance of natural laws and rational principles of conduct. Their belief
was that a rational person, deducing the advantages of a moral life, would
regulate his conduct so as to receive salvation in a life to come. This moral
way of life and the salvation have always been available to
all people, as a
part of the fundamental laws that the Creator gave his creation. These
“immortal” deists rejected any future rewards and punishments, though, as
did all the Deists. Reasoning of “mortal” deists yielded a denial of

Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism