John, the afterlife, as most religions conceive it, is only a myth. For many people, of course, it's a comforting myth. It soothes the heart in the face of loss and fear. That's a big reason people want so much to believe that death is not "the end."
But, by all the evidence, the truth is that humans are material beings with short lives, no different in that respect from whales, beetles, chickadees, maple trees, and bacteria. As we have evolved, we humans have slowly acquired self-awareness and language, and these traits have been used against us by those who would control our thinking and behavior.
Do some reading. That's my advice. Do a lot of reading. Only learning and contemplation will give you the basis for determining what's true and what isn't.
Welcome to the Think Atheist community John! Join us in the chat on the bottom right of the screen and feel free to ask questions and get involved as much or as little as you want! Welcome again and make yourself at home!