Uncertainty about the Afterlife

In response to the problem of evil, believers typically claim that God must have a perfectly valid reason for allowing great evil in the world even if we cannot discover or understand it and that the proper response is to trust him without questioning. I recently encountered an interesting idea from Robert M. Price which addresses this response in a new way. He rhetorically asks how Christians would react if, upon death, God canceled their ticket to heaven (faith in Jesus, life of good works, state of grace at death, etc.) and sent them to hell without any explanation whatsoever. Applying their argument to this situation, they couldn't complain at all, for God must have a perfectly valid reason for sending them to hell even if they cannot discover or understand it. No Christian could honestly counter that it's an absolute impossibility; this is the same deity who slaughtered multitudes of Egyptian babies in their sleep and who they acknowledge threatens to send billions of souls to hell for mere disbelief. It's a perfectly valid rhetorical question without any clear answer.

Dr. Price's idea reminds me of the major issues I had with scrupulosity and fear of hell before I deconverted. For years, I had regular, persistent doubts about whether my confessions were valid, whether I was forgiven, and whether I would be damned to hell if I died at that moment. Priests regularly told me to trust in God's love and that God wouldn't condemn me if I honestly did my best to obey him, but their assurances never helped me because I also believed this was a deity who didn't hesitate to send souls to hell for all eternity for something as absolutely ridiculous as masturbating or missing mass one Sunday; I had no trouble imagining him on judgment day telling me that I sinned by listening to my confessor instead of my own conscience and casting me into a lake of fire to burn forever. It was mental agony to believe one is constantly being watched by a despicable, malevolent being who demands blind love, blind faith, and blind obedience and who will probably eventually capture and torture you. It's a lot like being Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, but with infinite consequences. This is why the day I deconverted was the best day of my entire life.

While I'm on the topic of the afterlife, I want to say that sometimes I rather wish there were a way for arrogant religionists who claim certainty in their beliefs to learn they're wrong before they die. If my belief is correct that our consciousness is forever extinguished upon death, it's really a pity they can all pass out of existence without ever being forced to admit the magnitude of their stupidity.