I don’t have the answers to the question of where humans or other animals go after they die. Instead, I have a different approach: To make decisions based on the relevance they have to my life right now as well as how my decisions affect other people who are living at the same time.
Children, at the start of their lives, know absolutely nothing. They don’t know that they are even going to die. Then a strange thing may happen. They may know someone who dies. They will naturally ask questions about death for which humans are as poor at answering as they are at answering sex questions.
If a child is told that if they do a certain thing (or fail to do something), that they will be sent to a place called hell that is full of fire that burns them forever, or that Santa Claus won’t bring them any presents this year, they will try to do whatever is expected of them to avoid the punishment. This can continue even if they have forgotten what the punishment would be.
If your eternal life depends on what you do (or do not do), then that means that you have to constantly remember which bad things you were supposed to avoid. This is a terrible waste of your limited memory. You will screw up in either this life or the next.
If your eternal life depends on believing that something is true, then you are faced with the problem of figuring out what is true or false. The problem with this is that it would require you to be taught something correctly so that you know what it is your are supposed to believe. Then, you would need to be killed immediately before you have a chance to doubt.
Belief is not always a choice, there are plenty of reasons a person may not believe something. Simply dying before someone has explained it to you or before somebody could write a book on the subject in your language, would automatically mean you would never even have a chance to know why you ended up in the wrong afterlife.
Some people think that their afterlife is entirely determined by God randomly deciding who goes where (predestination) . If this was indeed the case, then both our actions and beliefs would be entirely irrelevant to our afterlife.
I think it is sad that so many people spend their life planning for their death. Will they spend the next life wondering what they could have done in this one?
Either way, I think people should ask tough questions such as “What happens to babies when they die?”.