Such claims so easily happen through tricks of the mind, and get passed one person to another, even if there is no truth to the claims. That is why I include Zen Buddhism as one of the untruthful disciplines. Buddhism too easily succumb to foolishness and people believe it for reasons having more to do with wishful thinking than critical thinking.
I hope most of us realize that all god myths are human stories. Some people find comfort in them and in the concept of a life after death. These can be dangerous beliefs. My son, now deceased, once wrote in a note to his friends concerning his impending death, "I am in a better place." Believing that death will lead one to a better place can discourage the will to live.
Personally, I hope my deceased mother was right. She believed that "death is the end of suffering." The mind can only function when the brain is alive. There is no consciousness to exist after the brain dies, nor any place for it to exist. When we die, all that's left is ashes or bone fragments and memories. When those who remember us die, all we once were ceases to exist. However harsh this may sound, it is a rational, healthy belief that encourages us to stay alive.
L Ross, I am so very sorry to learn of your deceased son. "I am in a better place," is only one of the dreadful consequences of believing lies about life and death. Obviously, being in a bad place, suffering some loss, or facing some challenge is tough, however depression and pessimism can be transformed into involvement and healthy interaction with others. So terribly sad he chose a permanent solution for a temporary situation.
It is precisely where belief and faith fail to meet the criteria of truth. There is just no evidence to support such claims of life after death, even though there are those to claim to talk to the dead and see ghosts of their loved ones.
Immortality, to me, is surviving in the memories of others. Live life in such a way that loved ones want to remember me and tell stories about me to their children. I have two great-grandmothers that live today in memories, even to my great-grandchildren. My great-grandson has a tool that belonged to my great-grandmother. That is seven generations, and he tells her story as if he lived it.
Yeah, death ends it all. Happiness, unhappiness, everything.
Easier to say, perhaps, because I have no offspring.
For fun I have long enjoyed telling people, especially xians who know I'm an atheist, that in my next life I will be a part-time lawyer and a part-time massage therapist. Doing both, I will get my clients' bank accounts and their bodies.
Lately I've added that I will choose my next parents more carefully.