Even Jews, who traditionally have not had any scriptural basis for believing in an afterlife, have begun acquiring it as a sort of contact high. The General Social Survey conducted annually by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago found in the 1970s that a mere 19 percent of American Jews confessed a belief in the afterlife; in the 1990s, that proportion rose to an astonishing 56 percent.
From an article on athiesm in Reason.The article seems otherwise fine thus far; but the idea that Judaism has Christianity to thank for the afterlife as some sort of hand-me-down is patent bullshit. I’m no expert on Jewish religious thought, but having just finished Milton Steinberg’s Basic Judaism, I can confidently say that belief in some form of afterlife has always been a part of Jewish faith. To be sure it has been vague, the form it takes subject to dispute, and long de-emphasized; but just because American Jewry is so secularized doesn’t mean that life after death is a recent, secondhand acquisition. Funny how even in an ostensibly objective article, the Christian idea that the bible itself is the only authoritative religious text is taken for granted.