I would liken my agnosticism about God and the afterlife to someone who is agnostic about life on Mars. At this point in the 21st century, we have enticing Martian clues about methane on the planet, but nothing definitive (it could be the product of life or volcanism). And Mars, like death, is (to put it in Shakespearean language) an “undiscovered country”. Martian life, if it exists, is an enigma for which there are clues from which we can draw inferences, but there is no definitive evidence one way or another. And yet, like with God and the afterlife, we have people who express near certainty about life (or nonlife) on Mars. Indeed, we even have some enthusiasts in the UFO community who have persuaded themselves that there is not just life on Mars, but that God or aliens may have placed a 2001-like monolith on the small Martian satellite of Phobos. Here’s Buzz Aldrin hinting at this wild idea:
In other words, we have claims about Mars that are no less elaborate than claims about heaven (and equally without foundation). And yet, we all know what is the sensible response to both believers and disbelievers in life on Mars: agnosticism. Likewise, claims about God and the afterlife inhabit precisely the same “epistemic space” as positive and negative claims about life on Mars. When dealing with an undiscovered country, it’s best to keep your perplexity, not your certainty, at the fore.