The thought of death and life after death is ambivalent. It can deflect us from this life, with its pleasures and pains. It can make life here a transition, a step on the way to another life beyond -- and by doing so it can make this life empty and void. It can draw love from this life and deflect it to a life hereafter, spreading resignation in "this vale of tears." The thought of death and a life after death can lead to fatalism and apathy, so that we only live life here half-heartedly, or just endure it and "get through." The thought of a life after death can cheat us of the happiness and the pain of this life, so that we squander its treasures, selling them off cheap to heaven. In that respect it is better to live every day as if death didn’t exist, better to love life here and now as unreservedly as if death really were "the finish." The notion that this life is no more than a preparation for a life beyond, is the theory of a refusal to live, and a religious fraud. It is inconsistent with the living God, who is "a lover of life." In that sense it is religious atheism.