The belief that there is life after death is an indispensable religious concept used by many to explain the origin and end of all creation. Man has created various guises in his quest to explain the unexplainable. To these people who believe in such a concept, there are only two things which define the existence of man and his deeds on this planet. The main precept they believe on is that all the things which man does could only amount to good or evil. Their belief on the afterlife serves as reinforcement for them to do well and avoid evil to be able to attain the supreme happiness which the omnipotent one would give them as a reward for their good deeds.
The supreme happiness being referred to in this case would be passage to Heaven, or Nirvana, or becoming the Buddha, depending of course on the religious belief of the person concerned. Doing the opposite would mean eternal torment in hell, or being reincarnated to a lower life form. So it goes that the concept which fuels man's belief in the afterlife would either be eternal happiness in the afterlife or eternal suffering or damnation. It could therefore be assumed that without this infallible belief on the afterlife to look forward, the life of man is deemed worthless.
The belief that they foster is that "without any assurance of an afterlife, all things we do would amount to nothing". The said concept preaches that all the things we do is practically worthless if there is no afterlife to look after to. This afterlife, in their concept is the award which man would reap after proving their "worthiness" to the eternal being. On the other hand there are also Atheists, these are men who believe that there is no Higher being. It definitely follows that belief in the afterlife necessitates the existence of a higher being that sees to it that all men get their dues.
To these individuals, life on this planet is merely an accident of nature, unlike believers of the afterlife; these nonbelievers try to define things using hard, solid evidence, instead of blind faith. They also harbor the belief that after man dies, his existence as a whole comes to an end. Hence they try to live their life usually without any regard for another human being. They become hedonists, or beings who live solely for the sake of pleasure which the world could give them. The only thing of relevance to them is that they must do all things for the sake of happiness, whatever the form of that gratified need would be.
I am, for one thing a firm believer of the concept, that indeed there is an eternal being and an afterlife. However I am a very practical person, and I do believe that everyone must make do with what they have, even if, for instance the concept that there is no afterlife be considered true. The outlook of man towards life should not be based on rewards which they could not attain but rather on things that could be attained. In other words, Optimism in this life is the thing which we must consider in order to be content and happy with our lot, regardless of whether there might or might not be an afterlife.
In my opinion, life would still be meaningful even if let's say, for example, there is no afterlife. I have come up with this response because for one thing, it is a worthwhile experience after all to experience living even if for a brief moment. This opportunity given to us to experience life as a lowly organism on this planet is a great privilege which all of us should appreciate. We must in the course of things, try to make something good out of ourselves while we live, so that the future generation would remember us because of the legacy we left them. All living individuals should be thankful that they have experienced this phenomenon called life.
Instead of being pessimists, people should attempt to see life with a positive attitude. We should try to live life to the fullest, with the main goal of being good and useful members of society. This is in effect a slight assurance that we would live on in the memories of those who benefited from the fruits of our labors while we walk this planet. This, in itself should be reward enough. I am not saying that I believe that there is no afterlife. All I am saying is that Man should make do with what they have and try to make the best of everything, instead of pining away for things which they could not possibly have.
The concept which we call "death", only pertains to "physical death". In my opinion this phenomena should not be feared (I am emphasizing the word "should" because most of us even myself am afraid of dying) because it is the only thing which is certain to happen. Regardless of whether there is an afterlife or not, all organisms in this planet are bound to deteriorate and eventually die. I am a hundred percent sure that all of us feel apprehensive of this phenomenon (especially if the concept of the non-existence of an afterlife holds true). Sure, it is downright terrifying to be a part of the void or the nothingness as we may call it when we die, but we also have to look beyond our fear, if nothingness is really our end product, this practically should be our banner to rally in making something of ourselves.
It may be true that we might cease to exist once we die, but the deeds we do in this life has the chance to be remembered by the future generation, especially if it is something worth mentioning. Our mortal bodies may die, but the significant deeds we do for the future generation might give us a chance to be remembered by generation after generation. For instance, I could cite as an example the life of some exceptional human beings whose deeds become precedents like Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and others. They may have died but the things they did left their mark in history, and in my opinion made them "immortal" as long as our present civilization holds.
I guess, the only thing or event which would make us forget about their exemplary contributions to society would be when this world no longer exists. As I have mentioned earlier, our bodies may die and become dust but the legacy which we bequeath to our successors would live on especially if it is a thing which we did for the common good. If there is nothingness after life on earth ceases, then by all means it would definitely be better for us to be remembered by someone even if temporarily because of the good which we have done for society, rather than leave this planet without any remarkable thing to remember us by. This thing, in my opinion would be man's second death.