Why is punishment necessarily meted out in an afterlife? What if punishment were to be inflicted more directly and more immediately? By that I mean, barring accident or illness, one lives the usual three score and ten, or even four score, and then passes on, but why to an afterlife? If one believes, as a matter of positive evidence and knowledge, that life is but a brief interval here on earth, followed by eternal and utter oblivion, then why should that not be his fate? What could be more merciful and just? The one, who believes that life is finite and is followed by eternal oblivion, receives exactly what he expected; no more, no less. His free will is not even violated.
A firm belief in God and submission to Him: Don't leave earth without it!