Wait, history can absolve people? His. Story. The story of humanity. It is written by other people. Can other people yield absolution?
Religion is history.
Consider this a second. Religions, at least the Abrahamic religions, are pretty much an oral history of some stuff that happened to some folks in the desert.
The bible is a chronicle of how folks should be remembered.
Now, bearing in mind that there is no proof of god, and thus no god we can conclude something: the after life is actually history. Historical documentation is the afterlife. You live after death in the memories of the people whose life you were in. If you were a bastard scum bag, your after life sucks. In everyone's memory you're an awful person, and they hope that where your energy went (since energy can neither be destroyed nor created) that it is in some way suffering.
Let me bring this down to earth for a second. Ever had an immediate supervisor or a co-worker who didn't answer to you and acted like it? Nothing you would say to that person was relevant, and they might say they answered to a higher authority. That's how some people are viewing god. They assume that pleasing their one upper supervisor is all that matters. (interestingly, the teachings of Christ completely conflict this style of working, so anyone who isn't team player could theoretically be a bad Christian as well).
That analogy and the general style of this little essay makes clear a certain something. Man, humans, people don't like to be at the mercy of other people. If you were at the mercy of other people's memory of you, you wouldn't have anywhere near as much clearance to be an asshole. But if you only answer to god, if your guiding force is god's will, then you can be a bastard to everyone and god will forgive you.
Let's also consider that two thousand years ago, gods were as real to everyone as cars are to us. Everyone saw evidence of some god somewhere. Remember that initially gods were the explanations for natural phenomena. Then god merely became the reason people died. All people everywhere died because of him, because that is way easier to accept that random terrible things happening. Now, the will of man can wipe out large numbers of other people. Now the will of man has become stronger than natural disasters. Now we recognize that when people wage war it's never god's will; it's their will that's in play and that is what is making them scramble across your borders like ants with rifles.
Now; this is very converse to the idea that the body is a prison; but check it out: there is an energy, a spark, something that makes us go. When not inside the body, in fact when freed from the body is it possible that those energies are at the mercy of a great many things? Not the least of which is the feelings of other people. The body is not merely a temple; it is a bunker.