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Religious views of the afterlife

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Religious views of the afterlife Resurrection; reincarnation; rebirth Concepts of heaven & hell Coherence of these theories i.e. strengths and weakness of each – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Religious views of the afterlife


1
Religious views of the afterlife
  • Resurrection reincarnation rebirth
  • Concepts of heaven hell
  • Coherence of these theories i.e. strengths and
    weakness of each
  • Disembodied existence / identity theory
  • Coherence of this idea
  • Implications for problem of evil essential for
    explanation of evil? Adequate response to evil?

2
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Resurrection is central to Christianity
  • Belief is based on Jesus resurrection sign
  • Why it is so key that the latter is regarded as a
    physical event
  • St Paul defends a bodily resurrection using this
    example of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 1512-14
    first fruits of the resurrection of the dead

3
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Problems
  • Jesus reportedly walks through walls
  • Not easily recognised
  • Still needed food and drink
  • Resurrected bodied different to our current
    bodies?
  • it is sown a natural body it is raised a
    spiritual body St Paul, 1 Corinthians 1544

4
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Christianity
  • Resurrection at the end of time when Jesus
    returns
  • 1 Thessalonians 416... Dead in Christ will rise
    first followed by those living (see next slide)
  • But what happens prior to this?
  • 1) Soul is immediately united with God
  • Thief on the cross (Luke 233-43) that day
  • 2) Intermediate stage e.g. Catholic purgatory as
    preparation for Beatific vision

5
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • New Testament afterlife as paradise, a state of
    continued existence with God after death
  • For since we believe that Jesus died and rose
    again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring
    with him those who have died 1 Thessalonians
    414
  • Distinctive for Christianity not just soul or
    identity but body in some way as well
  • Peter Geach resurrection only meaningful way
    of discussing life after death, unity of body and
    soul meaningfully identified
  • KQ what do they mean by resurrection of the
    body?
  • The Particular Judgement personal to an
    individual
  • Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew
    2531-46)

6
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Reward/punishment integral to religious ideas of
    resurrection
  • HEAVEN state of existence with God after death
    e.g. Beatific vision face to face (Catholicism
    and Orthodox)
  • Ideas stems from first followers of Jesus
    e.g. reflected in teachings of St Paul for now
    we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see
    face to face (1 Corinthians 1312)
  • State of fulfilment, all longings and wishes are
    in a right relationship with God Heaven is the
    ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human
    longings, the state of supreme definitive
    happiness (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
  • Ultimate goal of human beings
  • For Catholics and Orthodox Christians this is
    achieved through actions in life need to desire
    to do what is good (i.e. Gods will) and actually
    do it

7
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • HELL state of punishment for those who do wrong
  • Two traditional features state of separation
    from God (lost chance) and place of punishment
    (justice)
  • for mortal sin which is contrary to charity a
    person is expelled for even from the fellowship
    of saints and condemned to everlasting
    punishment (Aquinas)
  • Imagery of fire, pain, suffering and torture is
    used to describe hell convey this
  • Linked to retributive theory of justice
    otherwise God not just?
  • But if true, then God not benevolent and
    forgiving?
  • Are people choosing right action for its own
    sake?
  • If physical suffering, where is it?

8
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Many Christians place importance on free will,
    moral responsibility and a rejection of the idea
    of predestination
  • However, some Christians do believe in Divine
    Election ? PREDESTINATION e.g. Calvinists
  • Doctrine of Divine Election John Calvin some
    destined for relationship with God (the elect)
    but some are not
  • Not a matter of human choice beyond human
    comprehension
  • Often associated with Predestination peoples
    fate is determined Calvin believed that peoples
    actions in life are a sign of whether they are
    among the elect or not
  • Book of Revelation 712 refers to 144,000
    servants of God who are to be saved
  • Ultimately, idea that Gods justice prevails and
    the good are saved

9
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Hinduism
  • Reincarnation is the transmigration of the soul
    through the cycle of samara
  • Operated by the law of karma
  • Brahman pure consciousness and thought
  • Atman personal soul (ultimately part of B)
  • Maya created universe, in a sense of unreal
  • Liberation of atman (moksha) ? united with
    Brahman
  • Problems of identity? Body, memory (deep within
    our consciousness?) or personality remains
    constant?

10
Resurrection, rebirth, reincarnation
  • Buddhism
  • Nibbana /nirvana/ enlightenment awareness of
    truths about life (right living meditation)
  • Rebirth... No soul (anatta)
  • Impermanence (anicca)
  • No continuation of persons identity, instead
    contributory cause of future
  • Aspects of continuous stream of consciousness

11
Coherence of these theories?
Arguments for life after death Arguments against life after death
NDEs common among resuscitated patients What once was attributed to the soul can be explained by neuroscience located within physical brain
Paranormal phenomena e.g. Telepathy, ESP, mediums (not all can be dismissed scientifically) Hume fragility of mind, more likely to be destroyed than to survive death
Almost universal belief... Why would so many cultures share similar ideas? How do we establish that person in next life is same as embodied who died?
Summum bonum cannot be achieved in this life I will survive my own death meaningless
Hicks replica theory logical possibility even if no souls Freud Shows more about human psychology i.e. Wishful thinking
Memories of past lives
12
Disembodied existence
  • Required even if intermediary stage?
  • Plato permanent disembodied existence?
  • Reincarnation and resurrection stage where soul
    is away from the body?
  • Is the idea of disembodied existence coherent?
  • Can the existence of a person without a body be
    proved?

13
Is the idea of disembodied existence coherent?
  • Requires belief in non-physical soul or mind
  • Is this in keeping with modern science?
  • How could people recognise each other?
  • Assertion that mental characteristics e.g. memory
    key to identity
  • John Locke prince and pauper
  • What would it be like?
  • H.H. Price mental world, dream state formed by
    mental images and ideas, shared by others
  • Hick inconsistent created by desires but shared

14
Can the existence of a person without a body be
proved?
  • NDEs
  • Dr Ray Moody traumatic operation patients,
    similarities, description of items in room
  • Susan Blackmore chemical reactions generated by
    dying brain
  • ESP and mediums
  • H.H. Price either evidence of disembodied
    existence in another world or unconscious,
    telepathic part of mind
  • not be too sure that you will not continue to
    exist as a person after your physical organism
    has died (Problem of LaD, 1968)
  • e.g. Chaffin will case, USA, died 1921, dream 4
    years later

15
Implications for problem of evil
  • Essential for explanation for evil?
  • Adequate response to evil or simply delays
    problem?
  • Role of free will as an explanation for the
    existence of evil morally accountable for their
    actions because of FW
  • BUT if God is just why does bad things happen to
    good people?
  • Kant good ought to be achievable, good actions
    rewarded ? summum bonum in next life
  • Augustinian theodicy sin ? death, damned
    embodied and burning forever in literal flames
  • Hell immoral? Infinite punishment for finite sin
  • God predestines some to save unjust? Free will?
  • Irenaean theodicy development of soul Hick
    soul making hell not literal due to
    benevolent God Swinburne death essential part
    of theodicy emphasis on our actions must
    include possibility of damning ourselves

16
Implications for problem of evil
  • Essential for explanation for evil?
  • Adequate response to evil or simply delays
    problem?
  • God does not want any to perish, but all to come
    to repentance (Ecumenical Council of Trent,
    1547)
  • Reincarnation useful solution suffering result
    of actions
  • Our situation isnt random solves difficulty of
    social injustice
  • Does this simply delay the problem of evil? If
    one were to trace back through lives, how does
    one explain the situation they found themselves
    in their first life?
  • Is this the same for Buddhism and the idea of
    rebirth?
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