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Outline the arguments for and against life after death? Assess the significance of the following: reincarnation, resurrection and the immortality of the soul?

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Introduction

Belief in life after death has taken many forms, some which are unique in particular religious belief systems, though; others can be found in more than one religion. 'For most religions, life after death is an article of faith. In Western religions, the belief is founded in scriptural evidence, but for all religions the belief in life after death is the same: life after death has been promised to humans by an all powerful'1 There are many views of life after death in particular which have been much adhered to and much discussed by philosophers. This essay will attempt to put forward some of the key ideas and arguments for and against life after death. One view of life after death does have a venerable philosophical history. It can be found in Plato's Phaedo. Here we are presented with the figure of Socrates who is about to drink poison because he has been condemned to death. His friends are grief stricken but Socrates assures them that he is perfectly able to survive death. His friends ask Socrates how he wants to buried and he responds to them by saying "however you wish, provided you catch me, that is, and I don't get away from you". ...read more.

Middle

Hume's views are stated in his 'essay on the immortality of the soul'. The first paragraph of his essay contains the following sentence- 'but in reality it is the Gospel and the Gospel alone, that has brought life and immortality to life'. This view of life after death is severely criticised because the argument does not seem to cohere. The philosopher Flew, an atheist argued that the idea of non-bodily existence is not just false but incoherent. However, there are some scholars that hold the view that immaterial existence is at least possible. In Jeff Astleys article 'thinking about life after death' he notes H. H Prices view on the survival of a disembodied self. Price paints a coherent picture of a dream like world of immaterial objects. Prices view was that 'souls inhabit a coherent immaterial world, one in which imaging replaces perceiving. Experiences would be like perceptions in dreams, in that they would be mind dependant and have their own space. Dream objects occupy their own space but this space is not part of the space of this waking world'6. If we experience and act in dreams via dreamed bodies so could we do this in a life beyond the grave. Price also went on and said that 'communication between minds would be via telepathy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is the view that when we die that is it, there is nothing more. Supporters of this theory include many well-known philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and A J Ayer who were both existentialists. The most notable philosopher is however a Greek one namely Epicurus. This philosopher stated that although death maybe painful, it is soon over and there is no life after death thus no hell. Epicurus maybe correct that there is no life after death but he is wrong in his thinking that his argument could overcome human fear of death because for many the fear of non-existing is the prime reason for the fear of death. To conclude, ultimately the only way life after death is verifiable is via eschatological verification. All of the views supporting the idea of there being a life after death are not coherent because they namely lack empirical evidence. 1 Philosophy of religion life after death by Jonathan Webber 2 Philosophy of religion life after death by Jonathan Webber 3 Topic 5 Human Destiny by Sarah Tyler 4 Philosophy of Religion by Stephen T Davis page 701 5 Philosophy of Religion by Stephen T Davis page 703 6 Jeff Astley- thinking about life after death 7 Jeff Astley- thinking about life after death 8 Philosophy of Religion by Stephen T Davis page 705 Philosophy of Religion: Life After Death 1 ...read more.

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