You asked a lot of questions in your post. Assuming they are not all rhetorical, and that you are interested in other people's answers, I will give you the answers that come from the theory that I currently would bet on if I had to bet.
You summarized my idea of God fairly well in
"2) God created the world, and did the best he could do. God is not perfect as is commonly thought, and sorry folks, but this is the best of his abilities. God has been Peter Principled (exceeded his talent level by trying a task a little outside his range). He tried to destroy the world in a flood to fix things, and quite couldn't get the courage to do that either."
I don't buy into the part about trying to destroy the world, and, although being "Peter Principled", I would say that he is still learning, growing, and improving so this universe may be only "the best of his abilities" so far.
Now, for readers who need a little brush up on what my theory is, you can read the primer at
So now, based on that theory, let me answer your questions.
"How is an afterlife possible given that ...mental abilities...are found...in the brain?"
Since the one primordial consciousness pre-existed biology and exists outside the body, along with memories, emotions, personality, consciousness, etc., there is no problem with that consciousness continuing on in the absence of the body. (The answer is more complicated, however, because the one consciousness exists and operates in a different temporal dimension than the body does. But, no matter what you mean by "afterlife" in the context of multiple temporal dimensions, the answer is still the same and just as simple and straightforward.)
"What does it mean to be 'you' or 'me' when throughout our lives we are many people.[?]"
We can make this question more general by asking 'What does it mean to be 'you' or 'me' when there are billions of other people who also claim to be 'me' when they speak in the first person?'
The answer that comes from my theory is that there are many parochial ways of interpreting personal pronouns, and those connotations are useful in human speech and interaction. But when it comes down to the question of identity, and you want to know exactly what is the entity that knows, thinks, feels, wills, etc. the answer is that there is only and exactly one of those. That is the one primordial consciousness. When we typically speak of 'you', or 'me', or 'him', we mean the coincidence of a particular body at a particular point of (our familiar dimension of) time. That might be a particular runner, a person who just won the Mr. Universe title, or an obese person before they lost weight. But that identification does not identify exactly who or what is doing the experiencing. There is only one such, and that is the primordial consciousness.
"Is [the nature of the afterlife] just picking up where we left off here in this life?"
What do you mean by "we", white man? (Sorry, I just can't help using my favorite punch line at every opportunity.) If you think of "we" as a collection of individual humans, then your question makes sense and there seems to be a mystery. But if you think of "we" as the identity of the humans, i.e. the part of us that is conscious, then there is only one of those.
"Do we live another 100 years,...or does it just go on and on without any end?"
It goes on and on without any end getting more and more complex all the time. It's gotten pretty complex so far, don't you think?
"What prevents us from getting bored with life after say 100 billion years?"
As each individual organism is "driven" by the one consciousness, the one consciousness is unaware of any information that doesn't come directly from that particular brain. So it appears to the one consciousness that it is actually nothing more than that organism trying to survive in its particular circumstance. That may be boring some of the time, but it may also be terrifying. As you move up levels, the consciousness would probably experience similar levels of excitement as the problems and experiences of unfolding new reality continue. So I would say the thing that prevents boredom is the continual appearance of surprising novelty and the challenge to accommodate this novelty into the fabric that is being woven.
"Do we change throughout our existence?"
"What happens if we meet new people, do we expand our number of friends and family?"
Once again, What do you mean by "we", white man? The term 'we' as we customarily use it refers to human beings here in this manifold of space-time. When you talk about an afterlife you are talking about an existence outside and beyond that manifold. Furthermore, the illusion that there are separate and individual thinking "souls" identified with individual humans, does not apply outside of the manifold. In reality, there is only one "soul" so you can't meet new souls in the sense that we meet new people down here. Friends and family make sense down here but they don't have the same, if any, meaning when you leave this manifold.
"In short it seems to be problematical if there is not something drastically different about an afterlife than this life."
Most true. In my theory, there is something drastically different about an afterlife.
"So, any 'theory of souls' or 'theory of an afterlife' would need to account not only for the biological issues of how such information lives on past our biological existence, it would also have to account for any identity issues that are more complex than what we might imagine."
Mine does both of those easily and obviously.
" The sense of 'us' is based on a temporal timeline, and our attitude of ourselves change throughout that timeline. "
My theory also explains that. Just as there is a virtual timeline in which you play a video game, and a separate "real" timeline in which you, the player of the game, live, there is a separate timeline we call time on earth, and a separate timeline (actually several of them) in which higher levels of reality operate.
"And, finally, any theory would need to frame an afterlife in a new setting that we would find pleasurable, but not one in which we would find a need to start a business or wrote a novel so that we could explore our human need of self-actualization. Any needs for self-actualization would only cheapen the whole effect of an afterlife, and giving it that 'Highlander' after effect."
Again, the problem with the "we", but in my theory, it means the one consciousness which is "driving" a specific human body and "living" through that experience. In my theory, there is no reason why the "afterlife", meaning experiences of the one consciousness while it is doing something other than "driving" a human body, couldn't be pleasurable. I didn't see "The Highlander" so I can't comment on that effect, but I suspect that the entities corresponding to human beings, but which occupy higher levels of reality may be involved in activities similar to starting businesses, writing novels, doing science, and so on. You say it would cheapen the whole effect. I say it simply says that the thing is imperfect and developing much like our earthly affairs.
"Finally, there's the whole question of why humans have believed in an afterlife in the first place."
In my theory it is straightforward. It's like asking why the operator of a virtual reality game still knows they exist outside of the game. The one consciousness, while "driving" a human body, may not have completely forgotten everything about existence outside that body. Whatever dim recollection there is answers your question.
"which species gets an afterlife and which species don't? Do crocodiles get an afterlife? How about the mosquito that I swatted last night? "
In my theory they all do. When the one consciousness takes off the mosquito VR gloves and goggles after you slapped it, it simply leaves that space-time manifold and continues to operate in the space-time manifold at the higher level and continues to do whatever it does at that level.
"Does belief in an afterlife play any role?"
Good question. My theory doesn't force any conclusion on this. But, I think by "role" you meant does belief make a difference in whether or not you even get an after life? My theory would say no, "you" are in reality the one consciousness and that one consciousness exists all the time at all levels and doesn't go away, so "you" get an afterlife regardless of your beliefs. But, as far as playing "any role", I would say that since all entities in reality, from top to bottom, are somewhat confused as to what is going on, they are all working on trying to understand it. This understanding continues to increase as a result of all the effort. Particular beliefs by particular humans might contribute somehow to grand experiments that are going on at higher levels. I just don't know. I'm as confused as everyone else.
"Do atheists not get an afterlife because they didn't believe in one?"
No. They get an afterlife in spite of not believing in one.
"What constitutes the threshhold for those who get one and those who don't?"
If God (let me use the word 'God' instead of 'the one consciousness' from this point on. It's a lot easier to type) hopped in and "drove" a particular organism, he (forgive the masculine pronoun -- it's easier to type than he/she) always hops back out. So the threshold is very low: every organism that ever experienced consciousness gets an afterlife.
"Is ones religious beliefs a factor? Does God care if you are Catholic or Protestant? Irish or British? Muslim or Hindu?"
No. No. No. No. No. and No.
"Or, is reincarnation the correct 'theory' and that what constitutes getting an afterlife is simply being alive and being a 'good' mosquito or 'bad' mosquito determining if you move 'up' the ladder to become a bird or 'down' the ladder to become a creepy crawly insect?"
No. According to my theory, the biggest error in the common notions of reincarnation is that they usually presume to operate in our temporal dimension. That is, first you incarnate as Julius Caesar, and then after Caesar is dead, you move on to Napoleon. Even the 'after' which appears in the term 'afterlife' is misleading because it refers to our familiar time dimension in which things happen in an ordered sequence. In reality, there are multiple time dimensions and from any level, all time dimensions below it appear as spatial dimensions. They are static and entities observing those dimensions from the higher level can see all time (i.e. the lower time dimension) at once, just like we could roll out a movie film on the street and see all frames at once if we wanted to. This structure of multiple temporal dimensions permits a "reincarnation" mechanism which allows for the simultaneous (at least from the human perspective) "driving" of 6 billion humans and 23 gadzillion mosquitoes by a single driver!
"Ultimately, what becomes evident in looking at human belief about an afterlife is that human beliefs are there to fill a certain need and at least some attempts have been made to answer questions such as these. The attempts of offering an answer sometimes lead to different interpretations"
Precisely what I tried to say earlier. I repeat, "I would say that since all entities in reality, from top to bottom, are somewhat confused as to what is going on, they are all working on trying to understand it. This understanding continues to increase as a result of all the effort. Particular beliefs by particular humans might contribute somehow to grand experiments that are going on at higher levels. I just don't know. I'm as confused as everyone else."
"Therefore, we cannot look to any one religion to necessarily guide us..."
"Reincarnation, for example, has problems for humans since there are more humans today than in the past."
As I just described, it has no such problems in my theory.
"Does this mean new human souls are created each generation, or do chimpanzee souls get a crack at being human?"
Not in my theory it doesn't. In my theory, there is only and exactly one soul. That one soul "drives" all human bodies and all chimp bodies, along with mosquitoes, hippos, etc.
"For reasons such as these, it would seem the best means to approach an afterlife is to do so metaphysically (i.e., in a philosophical sense), and ignore religion for a few minutes."
I agree. That is essentially what I did to come up with my theory, except that I ignored religion for some 50 years. (I am about ready to reconsider it, though. I just heard an interview with the author (I forget her name) of "Beyond Belief" in which she discussed some of what Jesus said as recorded in the gospel of Thomas. From what I heard, Jesus confirmed my theory. I think I will read that book.)
"Also, even addressing this subject must be done so on the assumption that the main reason that humans believe in an afterlife is because it provides significant meaning to life and that it makes the passing of a loved one much more of an acceptable event if we have such a conviction. Thus, any 'theory' of an afterlife must be true to those convictions and the meaning it provides."
Meaning can only exist in a consciousness. In my theory, there is only one consciousness. So all meaning is lodged there. Since that one consciousness is each of us and each of our loved ones, it is reasonable to expect that at higher levels, outside the human manifold, information, knowledge, and memories of "what it was like" to live the life of, say, Aunt Maud (or any particular loved one) would be immediately available to entities at the higher levels. The meaning of everything would permeate all reality all the way up from there.
"For example, any afterlife such as what Frank Tipler introduced in "Immortality of Physics" is not true to the meaning that an afterlife provides. A future computer randomly simulating lives and possible lives and just hitting on the simulation that somehow 'identifies' our lives, is a little silly to suggest that somehow this is comforting to us."
I agree. I agree because I am convinced that a computer, as we know them today, cannot achieve consciousness even in principle. In my opinion, a computer, or a brain for that matter, can only achieve consciousness if it is rigged to "tune in" to whatever communication channel exists to allow a direct two-way connection with the one consciousness. Our brains do that now but computers don't. So, I agree, that if Tipler's huge future computer can reconstruct every bit necessary to describe the entire lifelong experience of Paul Martin, and can replay the actions and experiences of his body, the real me (who happens to be typing these words at the moment) will not be comforted.
"Who cares what simulations are run, it isn't us."
You got it!
"We won't be there to enjoy the effects of the simulation. I think this response speaks for itself."
Here's the "we" again. If the one consciousness, or God, is able to put on VR gloves and goggles connected to Tipler's machine and go through those reconstructed experiences, then "we" would be there to enjoy the effects. Now maybe Tipler allows that that supercomputer will have the necessary communication link. If so, then I agree with him that such a resurrection mechanism would work. But my bet is that it is not possible in this 4D manifold no matter how long time goes on. I think it requires getting up out of this confined space-time manifold and into higher levels of both space and time.
"One interpretation of General Relativity Theory (GRT) is that spacetime 'exists' and that just like you can travel to a specific point in space if you travel a sufficient distance, you can in principle travel to a point in time as well (hence the name 'spacetime'). If this view of time is correct, then objects continue to exist after the present and before the present, and any lifeform that is out there can conceivably be resurrected by accessing those 'data points' and doing something that we know not what."
The thing is that the time dimension in which the "accessing" and the "doing something" is done, cannot be the same time dimension included in the 'data points'. The time dimension of the 'data points', being static as you say, is essentially reduced to a spatial dimension. That is exactly consistent with my theory so this scenario is perfectly plausible in it.
"The only problem with this scenario is that if one 'pulled' us out of the spacetime location that we were in to some afterlife realm, it would be no different if someone grabbed an object after moving a certain distance, and taking it with them. All those around them would see the event and know that the individual just disappeared into thin air"
Not a problem in my theory. Keep in mind that the "us" and the "we" are the combination of God driving a human body. So if the driver leaves the car, the car either is parked or it crashes. If God quits "driving" a body, it is either sleeping or dead. In neither case does the body disappear into thin air. It just quits moving around.
"Therefore, any resurrection wouldn't be a 'move' but a 'copy'."
In my theory it wouldn't be either one. It would simply be God abandoning a car (body) and doing something else.
"Copying someone's spacetime software code, for example, could do the trick. None of us would know that a person's spacetime address was accessed and the 'person' resurrected somewhere else."
According to my theory, you are making a mistake of identity. You are presuming that identity inheres in a body and/or that body's lifetime of experiences and that resurrection involves reconstituting, or reclaiming the body and memories of experience. In my theory, there is only one identity, that being God, and so the need for resurrection in the sense you are thinking of it is completely obviated. I suspect that God has accumulated a "Book of Life" from which he can retrieve at leisure the type of information you think is associated with an individual soul, and that he can "relive" any of those experiences at will. But whether he does or not I don't think has any bearing on the question of whether a "person" is resurrected or not.
Those are my answers to your questions. This post has gotten long enough so I won't comment on your answers to your own questions. I'll save that for later.