I realize that being an atheist means disbelief in any god and (arguably) nothing more. I agree. However, just as with believing in some god or other relates to religious practices, not believing likewise calls for answers to questions regarding that non-belief, at least to oneself if to no one else.
This is especially true if a change such as deconversion was involved. Answers may take any form from I don’t know to hypothetical suppositions, or even well-supported theories. It can get murky, but that seems to excite those who think they see the light.
For example, I don’t know what happens after someone dies. Neither do you. For now, barring evidence to the contrary, I assume death means you’re gone. Body, mind, and spirit: kaput. All other possibilities and claims are unsupported hypotheses of approximately equal value. The continuation of the human spirit might be so, but there is no evidence for that.
While not all believers resort to threats of punishment to be carried out after people stop living, such as Purgatory or Hell, a great many do. I realize that many believers manage to focus on life, “right here, right now.” I say that and believe it. I can meet them there.
Yet, just as with the existence of any god, afterlife of any kind, spiritual as with a “soul,” in some unknown form of consciousness, or even physically as in reincarnation, not one of the seven billion or so people alive today can be certain of anything concerning death other than it is not quite the same life as it was. Even the concepts of human resurrection with the second coming, or rapture do not promise a redo. Die and you’re done—not alone. Just finished with living.
My mother was a lifelong Roman Catholic. I recall her, while lucid but dying, lying on her death bed, after I asked if she wanted me to fetch a (Catholic) priest, saying to me, “When you’re dead, you’re dead.” She died without receiving last rights. Yikes, Mom! Why didn’t you tell me?
Afterlife is crucial to all Christianity. The biggest Holy Day in any Christian’s liturgical year should be Easter: The Resurrection of Christ. Life after death (not Christmas).
As the sign in my neighbor’s yard says, “He is risen.” The largest single religion on Earth, and the evidence for its rationale has been an unnecessary nothing for two-thousand years. The neighbor’s sign is not very convincing. But the beat goes on. Salvation is unnecessary if you cease to exist. Unless…