A shame it seems -- those times when we discuss religion more than practice it, caught up, as we all can become, in academia, Church politics, and theological exegesis (instead of taking what has been handed down by Jesus, in simple words, and applying it to our afterlives).
Let a story tell it:
In India was once a holy man named Sadhu Sundar Singh who was born into a Sikh family in the village of Rampur Kataania, Ludhiana (Punjab state) in northern India. As a teenager, in despair over the death of his mother, he ridiculed Christians and got to the point of threatening suicide -- telling God that if He did not reveal Who the true God was, he would throw himself on railroad tracks.
That night, it's said, Jesus appeared to Sadhu -- and from that point on, he was a fervent Christian, giving up a rather luxurious life with his father and turning into a roving, celibate, ascetic monk-evangelist in the mysterious foothills of the Himalayas.
No one is quite certain when Sadhu died. It may have been in 1929, and if so he was just forty years old. Other accounts have him living an extraordinarily long life -- well beyond a hundred -- and dying in a supernatural way (literally, wrapped in a blaze of holy fire).
Whatever is the case, Sadhu left a number of writings about what turned out to be a lifetime of visions, some glimpses of the afterlife. A relevant one:
"The soul of a German philosopher entered into the world of spirits and saw from afar the incomparable glory of the spiritual world, and the boundless happiness of its people," recalled the Indian mystic. "He was delighted with what he saw, but his stubborn intellectualism stood in the way of his entering into it, and enjoying its happiness.
"Instead of admitting that it was real, he argued thus with himself, 'There is no doubt at all that I see all this, but what proof is there that it has objective existence, and is not some illusion conjured up by my mind? From end to end of all this scene I will apply tests of logic, philosophy, and science, and then only will I be convinced that it has a reality of its own, and is no illusion.'
But continued Sadhu, "Then angels answered [this philosopher]: 'It is evident from your speech that your intellectualism has warped your whole nature, for as spiritual and not bodily, eyes are needed to see the spiritual world, so spiritual understanding is necessary to comprehend its reality, and not mental exercises in the fundamentals of logic and philosophy. Your science, that deals with material facts, has been left behind with your physical skull and brain in the World. Here, only that spiritual wisdom is of use which arises out of the fear and love of God.'
"Then said one of the angels to another, 'What a pity that people forget that precious word of Our Lord, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of Heaven"' (Matthew 18:3).'
"I asked one of the angels what the end of this man would be, and he replied:
"'If this man's life had been altogether bad, then he would at once have joined the spirits of darkness, but he is not without a moral sense, so for a very long time he will wander blindly round in the dim light of the intermediate state, and keep on bumping his philosophical head, until tired of his foolishness, he repents.
"'Then will he be ready to receive the necessary instruction from the angels appointed for that purpose, and, when instructed, will he be fit to enter into the fuller Light of God in the higher sphere.'"
We can analyze and debate and become immersed with so much church-religion talk that little room is left to pray (and prepare for forever)!
The devil -- keep in mind always -- is a spirit that seeks to take you to extremes.
God is a God of balance and is there for those who have eyes to see.
[resources: books on the afterlife]