If there was ever a more un-politically correct topic to broach than religion ... politics maybe being a close second, but regardless I have some thoughts on the topic I would like to share.
The belief in Heaven or any type of comforting afterlife is important, not just to Christians but to many other cultures. The need for a "beyond and better" spans across most religions, and it is so vitally important. I believe that we as self-aware animals need this concept, so that we don't feel the "end" coming.
Maybe it is a built-in defense mechanism against self-harm, or maybe it is just a series of chemicals and signals in our brain. And maybe someday someone will find an absolute scientific method to completely disprove this, but I wouldn't bet on it.
From my own scientific portion of my grey matter, I believe there must be an after. Maybe someone will set me straight, but I believe energy cannot just stop existing. Energy creates such a ripple effect that I can't see how human energy just ends, in my opinion it must be reabsorbed, redistributed.
It is not just a finish line, but a cross over or mutation into some other form of energy. I'm not saying I believe in ghosts walking among us, what I'm saying is that even science cannot prove that energy ends.
From a religious point of view (or at least my version) I believe there is "something there" in the after. Maybe not the angels perching on the fluffy clouds with harps and halos, but my version is a much more mental exercise. A gathering of consciousness, energy with energy, remnants of memories mingling. I think there will be a calm without the body, a quiet without the existence of voice.
I think that the idea that we are a coincidence/big bang is ridiculous. I believe that would be one huge cosmic nasty prank were it to be true. The idea of a supreme force or extreme being having created us may be far fetched to some people, but I believe He created the thought of us, what we were to evolve into, how the earth would be shaped and formed into a habitable place, how the dinosaurs were given their time to be kings of the earth, until they too had to make way for what would ultimately be His original goal.
I wasn't raised in an extreme religion, but I was in Sunday School and attended a Catholic junior high. I wasn't forced to church when I was older, and I fell into an attitude of "I don't need it." And I didn't suddenly return to it, guns blazing -- rosaries and Hail Marys, thumping bibles and preaching at people.
I returned to it when I realized I believed. I realized this when I found out I have a loss coming my way. As everyone does eventually, but because I have had a lot of time to absorb it, to reflect, to realize what a gift I have at the moment, some parts of my life became a lot clearer. This is something that may have taken a lot longer, had I not had my eyes opened for me.