One of the most positive and potentially stabilizing ideas ever revealed to humanity is that life on earth continues after death in another realm. When this view is firmly held, it enlarges the sphere in which decisions here are made.
That’s a very compressed way of putting the case, but its importance, as a spatial analogy, is illustrated by the saying that he who believes the earth is flat will not attempt to circumnavigate it. If all values arise in the material realm and also end in it, why bother with “illusions” and the “airy-fairy.”
The idea needs fleshing out. It must also hold that this is a fallen world and not humanity’s ultimate aim. And that how we think and act has consequences beyond the grave. That the world is fallen—meaning the human part of it—is but a matter of observation. “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
That this world is unlikely ever to be optimized is well illustrated by, perhaps surprisingly, the stupendous progress achieved since, roughly, the Renaissance. It has produced the means to provide for a vastly swollen population—yet has failed to institute the earthly paradise. We need but read the papers. So where is the problem? We’ve learned again from Copernicus et al (again—for Hellenism was well aware of this) that the earth’s a sphere. But we have simultaneously flattened life, by making it a purely material phenomenon, whereas once, back in the dark ages, it pierced the skies and reached all the way to heaven.