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Examine the argument that 'I' will survive death in some form

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Introduction

Katie Barfoot 10/11/2002 Examine the argument that 'I' will survive death in some form The concept of life after death is one of much controversy. There are three main types of afterlife in which the religious may believe: the survival of the 'soul,' a notion adhered to by many philosophers and theologians; the 'resurrection of the body', and finally, reincarnation. The latter is an idea supported by both Hinduism and Sikhism, but rejected by Christianity. The resurrection of Christ's body is central to Christian teaching, as is belief in eternal life: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' (John 3:16) If a Christian were to reject the existence of an afterlife, then they would, in effect, be rejecting their faith. In any case, there is much evidence in support of Jesus' resurrection, Those materialists in support of life after death also accept the resurrection of the body, since it is their belief that the 'soul' cannot be separated from the physical body, hence this being the only way in which survival could transpire. ...read more.

Middle

According to Flew, a resurrected individual would not be the same person. Idealism also contradicts this view, holding that the physical world consists of 'ideas' rather than matter, and that matter is really spirit. Therefore there is no physical body to decay at death. Many Christians, despite belief in the Resurrection, have a Platonic perception of life; life's purpose is to give meaning to the afterlife. Such ideas beliefs have given fuel to the claims of Marx, who asserts that religion is an illusion, and belief in life after death simply gives hope to the oppressed in society. In spite of this, the work of Plato has had a profound influence on the work of philosophers. He asserts that the soul is immortal and part of the unchanging world of 'ideas,' where it existed before entering the human body. The soul aims to return to this realm, and upon death it will do so, leaving the human body behind. For Plato the soul is our personal identity, so after death the true spirit of the person continues. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is much evidence to support the existence of life after death in some form. Near- death experiences may be cited as proof, for advances in technology have resulted in a number of people being resuscitated after being declared clinically 'dead.' Research carried out by Dr Raymond Moody has revealed patients' accounts of experience to be very similar. Similarly, regression to past lives under hypnosis may support the theory of life after death in the form of reincarnation. However, it is doubtful as to whether memories of a former life can be classed as 'proof,' since the individual may be confusing information gained in childhood with a former life. It is also possible that we have a cultural gene which passes down information of our ancestors. Failing that, some 'memories' may be the result of psychological problems. Other arguments for afterlife include sightings of the dead, spiritualism and cryogenics. In conclusion, there is no absolute proof of afterlife. However, for the Christian it is a matter of faith; life after death undoubtedly exists. ...read more.

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