When Roger’s life is over, his light goes out. The current is switched off. The extinguished flame of a candle does not go anywhere; nor does Roger’s “soul”. His brain, his nervous-system, heart, blood-flow, breathing all shut down (no, his nails do not continue to grow : the flesh around them recedes, is all – pardon the Americanese). Roger is DEAD, a lifeless corpse, not one of the “faithful departed”. He’s not going anywhere, except either the cemetery or the crematorium – certainly not to Heaven or to Hell, to enjoy or to curse an “after-life”.
This has to be the most widespread and persistent of religious myths. Some people actually talk to the dead whom they call “Saints”. Many ask God to take care of their deceased loved ones and not punish them if, like the rest of us, they did not always walk the line. We laugh at ghost-stories, but light candles (modestly priced at one euro a piece) for dead relatives and friends. The flame is supposed to be a prolongation of our prayers for them. But that flame will go out, just as surely as will yours and mine. Forever. Copy that !