"In their innocence, I thought they would go to heaven," Yates told Dr. Lucy Puryear about five weeks after the June 20, 2001, drownings. "I just -- since they were so young," she stammered before trailing off and starting to cry.
Andrea Yates did not believe that killing her children would result in their actual non-existence. Andrea Yates believed in the afterlife - life after death. Andrea Yates believed that death wasn't really death, but just a passageway to another dimension or stage of life.
And that is the problem with life after death and afterlife belief. Such beliefs remove the real meaning from the word "death". Why don't we take a look at the dictionary definition of death:
The act of dying; termination of life.
Death is, by definition, termination of life. The phrase "life after death" becomes meaningless. It's like saying "bachelorhood after marriage".
Of course, many afterlifers will take issue with my use of the dictionary definition. Many afterlifers would respond by saying "death only means termination of life as we know it in this reality" or something of the sort. Well then I ask them in response "then what word would actually describe the termination of life, period? The concept exists, so it needs a word."
And in popular usage, people recognize the dictionary definition of the word death that I quoted. Ask any John Doe on the street if they agree that the word "death" means "termination of life" and they will certainly agree with the definition.
When one believes in the afterlife, then that person cannot believe in "death" or "termination of life". Death becomes redefined to mean something other than "termination of life". Instead it becomes a term to describe a way to achieve a different life, and an allegedly better life.
Andrea Yates recognized as much. She believed that the afterlife would somehow be better than this existence, and she wanted her children to go there. I daresay that Andrea Yates murdered her children out of love. She clearly murdered them because she believed she was helping them, as crazy as that sounds.
And afterlife belief is most definitely crazy. It rules out, a priori, the ability for the existence of an individual's consciousness to be terminated. If belief in the ability for a person to die is removed from one's belief system, then it's hardly wrong, in that person's eyes, to die or to even murder someone. Andrea Yates did what any faithful true Christian should do out of concern for their children: send them to the afterlife - the better life. According to Christianity (and indeed all afterlife beliefs) those kids can't really "die" anyway.
Afterlife belief makes people do crazy things. That's because the afterlife is a crazy belief, and society (somewhat unknowingly) admits as much when it collectively responds with moral outrage at the infanticidal actions of Offspring Murder Club members such as Andrea Yates.
So many Americans share the beliefs of Andrea Yates: belief in a God, in an afterlife, in a blissful Heaven and an agonizing Hell, and belief that death isn't really death, but just a transition to another kind of life. So how do these people justify their condemnation of Yates' actions? Andrea Yates isn't being prosecuted for disobeying God's will, but for taking the lives of her children. She is being prosecuted for her murderous acts to the sovereign individual lives of her children. The only way that Yates’ fellow God-fearing Americans can justify their condemnation of her is through admitting the truth: that death = termination of life or conscious existence, and that there is no afterlife. And the beautiful part is that they implicitly admit this fact when they condemn Yates.
Afterlife belief negates death, and when you ignore the reality of death, you become much more susceptible to it (either by getting yourself killed or killing someone else).
Afterlife belief is anti-family. Afterlife belief is hazardous to the lives of everyone. It's either the afterlife, or us. So let's all go out and kill us some afterlife! Do it for the children!