I wonder if it's because they realize that if there is a God, He can see through all the legalistic bullshit they use to justify their sins. Luther started the whole 'salvation by faith' thing that says that basically that one can be an asshole and still get into heaven by faith alone. Even when I was a Christian, I thought that was bogus--to me, faith and works are pretty much synonymous. Anybody can profess faith in just about anything, but if you want to know what a person truly believes deep in his or her soul, just watch their behavior.<quoted text>
I guess that most of them are still concerned about what lies for them beyond the grave. While they know that there is a Heaven, and while many of them feel that they are definitely ascending into heaven, many of them might be concerned with the sins of their past and consider the possibility that they are going to Hell.
Personally, I don't find death scary at all. Not in the least bit. What scares me is dying because that often involves a lot of physical pain. The thought that nothing but Oblivion lies beyond the grave is actually sort of a comfort, but I think that's because I feel that I've lived a reasonably full life. Also, it's because that life itself is a bit over-rated and I still haven't figured out whether existence is on the positive or negative side of the Joy-Suffering Continuum.However, to be frank, death is scary. Even if you know that there is something waiting for you after your life on Earth, it's still a rather strange and scary thing. I'll give death credit that it's not a very enjoyable experience for most.
The only sort of afterlife that makes any sense to me is what I'd call 'solipsistic reincarnation'. Not reincarnation in the usual sense of Hinduism, but the idea that there will always be a conscious that's aware of its own existence. In this system, there's no carry-over--no karmic bank account that goes from one existence to another, no memories of past lives, no precognition of future lives. There's no sort of chronological continuity--hell, every reincarnation might be in a completely different universe with it's own set of physical laws. Most importantly, there's no sort of goal like Nirvana (the concept, not the band), and every reincarnation, the Self goes through the same existential crap over and over again. There were an infinite number of past lives and there will be an infinite number of future lives, ad infinitum. Actually, I find such a concept depressing and almost would prefer Oblivion instead.
Of course, I do have a faint scintilla of hope that there's some sort of Paradise, but one of my own creation. The Christian version of paradise sounds like having to spend eternity in Salt Lake City, but even more dull. My paradise would look like a Maxfield Parrish painting, there'd be marijuana brownies growing on every tree, slapstick comedies would play on every movie screen, and there'd be plenty of large-breasted women interested in having scuba sex with me. But I digress :)