life that would be otherwise unthinkable

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Does "life that would be otherwise unthinkable" mean "this unthinkable religious life"?

Because a religious life is absurd for the author. He's explaining the cause that leads to this kind of life.

Thanks in advance

What one believes happens after death dictates much of what one believes about life, and this is why faith-based religion, in presuming to fill in the blanks in our knowledge of the hereafter, does such heavy lifting for those who fall under its power. A single proposition—you will not die—once believed, determines a response to life that would be otherwise unthinkable.

-Sam Harris

Source: The End of Faith (PDF)
  • NewAmerica

    Thank you.

    But sorry I am none the wiser.

    The meaning of "life that (in other circumstances) would be unthinkable" is itself crystal clear, of course. But when "a response to" be put before it:

    a response to life that (in other circumstances) would be unthinkable

    It becomes a mess to me.

    Does it mean "a response to afterlife"? Some/a lot nuances appear to have escaped from me. I am bewildered.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's "a response to this daily life of ours which would be unthinkable if there were no life after death".

    In other words, the writer is asking "if we don't believe in life after death, how can we bear to live?"
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