Compare and contrast reincarnation and immortality of the soul

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Start with soul:

Similarities:

  • Definitions – monism – dualism – Ryle ‘Ghost in the machine’ – Plato – Descartes – anima
  • Characteristics – eternal – spiritual – able to be perfected

 

Go on to what happens to soul after death:

Differences:

  • Eastern religions – Karma – new body – no memory – moksha – nirvana – drop in ocean
  • Western – one physical life – salvation through Christ – after life options – heaven, hell, purgatory, – judgement – eternal life – spiritual / physical – St Paul ‘clothed in incorruption’
  • Personal interference of the deity in Western Religions

Similarities:

  • Aiming for goodness – perfection – Kant summum bonum – soul eternal

 

Arguments against:

  • Not verifiable – BUT not falsifiable – religious language – cumulative evidence
  • No proof – BUT Scriptural – NDEs – past life memories – eschatological verification
  • What purpose? – fair – redemptive – gives meaning to this life
  • If no God then no after life – BUT if God then logical reward
  • Contradiction in terms – religious language – analogical – life different
  • Subjective not objective
  • Marxism – ‘opium of masses’, subjugation of people, inertia – Hume – Flew, death of a thousand qualifications – Basil Mitchell, 3 responses to challenges to faith
  • Problems concerned with identity – recognition – what kind of body? Lazarus / Jesus – what about mental problems or terminated lives?

 


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