Religious and Secular views on Life after Death

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  • Life after Death
    • Religious
      • Important to consider whether or not the SOUL exists as the soul can be seen as the ESSENCE of a person
        • If the soul does exist then there is potential for a person to live on after death
          • Dualists believe a human is made up of the body and the mind, which are separate elements but work together.
            • Rene Descartes (Dualist) believed that when a human dies the spiritual element of the person lives with God
            • Plato also supports concept of Dualism - The soul doesn't need a physical body to survive beyond death
      • John Hick put forward the REPLICA THEORY, (God is so powerful he can create a new body for the soul after death)
      • Aquinas put forward: The soul 'anima' animates the body into life so should NOT be able to continue beyond death. HOWEVER, God allows the soul to be preserved after death till  union with body
      • Christians believe God gave humans a soul which sets them apart from other creatures.
        • Genesis 2:7 "The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
        • They also believe in life after death because of Jesus' resurrection and revelation in the scriptures..
          • " I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live"
            • Supports Christian notion of bodily resurrection (Judgement Day)
      • Plato believed in a 'World of forms' - soul continues after death of body to reach perfect life.
        • Also spoke of RECOLLECTION in which humans do not learn new skill but remember ones from a past life
    • Secular
      • MATERIALISTS, believe that the body and mind are inseparable - No such thing  as a soul and at death the body dies and personal identity ceases to exist. Can't live without physical body.
        • Dawkins (Materialist) Can't live without soul. We are gene machines, purpose of DNA is survival.
      • HUMANISTS - no life beyond physical death. The British Humanist Association - strapline 'for the one life we have'
        • After death the molecules that make up the body still exist in the natural world
          • Edvard Munch (Humanist) "From my rotting body flowers shall grow and I am in them, and THAT is eternity"
      • MARXISM, believed that we should consider the world we are in - rejects afterlife.
        • From the moment we are born, we begin to die, death and replacement of cells allow development and thus allows one to continue living.
        • We should try and make the world a perfect place for everyone, fair and just for all.


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