Just throwing some ideas outÖ
There was (is) a professor from Texas who wrote a contraversial book called Omega Theory. In it, he expounds the idea, which he calls Omega Theory, through complicated and, for me, indecipherably complex mathematics, that we will (probably) have eternal life through some kind of looping mechanism. I didnít understand that much of it, because the math was way over my head.
If you look at the many-histories interpretation of quantum mechanics, perhaps in this universe/timeline you die but in an alternate one you continue living.
Regarding atheism, there are a variety of reasons a person might choose not to believe in god. Perhaps a personís god let him or her down in a very important way -- such as a loved one dying in an accident. Perhaps the person grew up in a religious environment in which they were hurt by misguided practitioners of that religion -- as in my maternal grandmotherís case, who became an atheist after a bad experience with abusive nuns. Perhaps the person grew up among atheists (like me). Perhaps the person is rebelling against an oppressive religious upbringing. Who knows?
Personally, I think maybe thereís a god -- but if so, it doesnít have a sex and I cannot personally appeal to it. My idea is more of a pantheism-- the miracle of the emergence of life in the universe, and the miracle of the universe itself. Not intelligent design, necessarily. Just an appreciation of the permutations of events that led to us being here-- the improbability of it and the hugeness of it. The fact that we come from stars is pretty amazing. Could that be called god? maybe not.
I prefer to leave each person their own ideas. If youíre Christian, fine. Buddhist? A-okay. People should be allowed freedom of thought, freedom to form their own opinions. But, on the other hand, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins-- your right to your ideas is fine as long as your ideas do not include limiting or eliminating my rights. In other words, people should respect each otherís religious - or nonreligious - metaphysical beliefs, instead of killing each other, hurting each other, and going to war with each other over them.
I mean that in the broadest possible senseÖ