To contemplate such an issue, one has to step back from learned prejudices, open one’s minds, and think ‘What if … … ?’
First, one has to imagine, without paying any consideration to priests, politicians, or even parents, that each one of us is an entity who lives, dies, and is re-born, with this cycle being repeated for a while. Why would this be so? Who knows! Just go with the flow, and see where it leads us. This will be easy for the adherents of the ‘forest faiths’ of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc., but not for the adherents of the ‘desert religions’ of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But I could be wrong about this.
Like a snail which leaves a trail, each of us may leave moral footprints whatever we do. At the end of a life, the Law of cause and effect (the Law of Cosmic Justice?) may result in ticks and crosses on a figurative whiteboard, indicating those imprints which offer benefits to one’s fellow humans, and those imprints which indicate the need for more learning, or care for others, or even for oneself. This balance sheet may be the template for one’s next Earthly existence.
In each Earthly life, one may compensate for one’s previous errors/sins, while earning gold stars for past good works, all the while learning, learning. The objective? To improve one’s soul-entity morally. I visualise this path as one’s personal destiny, created by one’s free will. Enticing or worrying? Pillow over head or head in the sunshine?
What I have done is to seek to operationalise what I had learned from my Hindu faith. I have stressed the role of free will because I am an integral component of the ‘can-do’ Western world. Yet, I have accepted that one’s Earthly existence, as well as the individualism of the immigrant-created Western nations, need a moral substrate and bulwark.