Examine at least 2 reasons for believing in life after death (12)
There is one thing on which all philosophers agree: “ our earthly life in our current physical form will end”(Jordan). According to Collins English dictionary death is “the perminent end of all functions of life in an organism.” Many people accept death as the end of any form of existence. Others would argue that death is not the end of life, and that we continue in some form after death. However, there are various reasons for believing in live after death, all of which differ in nature.
Some believe the existence of an afterlife is necessary on, moral grounds. Immanuel Kant taught that when we look about the world we see many injustices that seemingly go unpunished. Kant based his argument on a similar question: why do some people who lead an almost sinless life end up being killed at an early age or die of rape, and some who sin all through their life die rich and happy? The fact that many injustices go unpunished in the world, led to Kant (and Hick) to adopt a belief in an afterlife as a “necessary postulate.” In other words, people believe and see life after death as a place where unjust and just will be finally dealt with.
However this argument is very vulnerable to criticisms. People do not like the idea of being treated unfairly and would always prefer to believe that injustice will always be overcome by justice. Many believers would state that “although I have a “bad” earthly life, when I die, God will reward me with a “good” afterlife.” By basing his argument on a similar idea, Freud claimed that belief in live after death is simply a “wish fulfilment” where we believe in what is pleasant for us to believe and not in what many would claim to be the “reality,” (ie: “the end of life”).
David Hume adds to the criticism of believing in life after death, suggests that instead of spending time in prayers and dedicating our selves to God, for the sake of good after life, we should be sorting out the problems in present life (eg: injustice such as poverty). Hume therefore asserts that it is “immoral to believe in good after life,” as it is simply a waste of time that can be used for better good. He also adds that the idea of life after death seems to be unjust as it “only rewards one type of virtue.” In the case of Christianity, it seems that to have a good/heavenly afterlife, one has to believe in God and Jesus Christ, and avoid sinning. However Hume calls attention to fact that Christianity and other religions do not give any credit to those who, although sin and do not believe, but for example, spent their lives composing beautiful music or producing breath taking paintings that fulfil others with joy.