I have been reading the old testament lately, and a passage from Ecclesiastes has had me thinking:
"The wise man has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that one fate comes to all of them. Then I said to myself, 'What befalls the fool will befall me also; why then have I been so very wise?' And I said to myself that this also is vanity. For of the wise man as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise man dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind."
It appears that the ancient Hebrews had no concept of an afterlife, or at least not one where any significant conscience remained. From reading the old testament, it appears that following the law was done primarliy for earthly rewards and to avoid earthly punishments. Obeying god's law meant that the nation would live in prosperity, while disobeying it would lead to their literal destruction while on earth.
This has me wondering if one would still feel compelled to follow these laws without an idea of an afterlife. The idea of literal destruction by god for disobedience no longer seems as imminent to many religious. So my question is, if you knew that your death meant the end of your conscience, would you still feel compelled to follow the moral laws of your religion? If so, why?