Reincarnation and resurrection.
All cultures have in common a belief in life after death. It seems an inevitable belief arising as it does out of the human condition. Distress at the death of a loved one or the obvious inequality of some people’s lives have led humans since earliest times to believe that this cannot be the only life. Broadly speaking it has manifested itself in two main beliefs: reincarnation and resurrection. Reincarnation is the Eastern, Hindu and Buddhist idea that the soul being immortal passes from physical body to physical body in its efforts to perfect itself and ultimately achieve moksha (release from rebirth) and nirvana: reunification with Brahman the all spirit. Resurrection by contrast is the belief that there is only one physical life but because the soul is immortal it is resurrected into a new but spiritual existence. In Christianity this is achieved by faith in Jesus Christ, in Islam it is dependent upon belief in Muhammad and Allah as the One True God.
Both views have in common the fundamental belief in the existence of the soul and of its immortality. This belief is called dualism. As Plato put it ‘like is drawn to like’ meaning the physical body must perish as all physical things do while the spirit being immaterial must be immortal and have continued existence. Both also believe that since God gave life and ‘we are made in his image’ then like him there must be an aspect of us that is immortal too.
The major obstacle to both of these doctrines is the lack of evidence. Though both have a foundation in their relevant scriptures: from the Bhagava Gita….. to St Paul’s …. these are an insufficient basis on which to believe in either. Only in Jesus Christ has there been any significant evidence of a personal experience and since there is no historical support it too is insufficient. Of course believers would rightly say that it is a matter for faith and definitive proof would remove the need for faith.
Logical Positivists would level the accusation that the whole concept is meaningless since life after death is actually an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. And since the assertion can not be verified analytically or synthetically then the discussion is pointless.
Others like RM Hare would argue that believe in an after life is a blik, a cultural belief passed down from one generation to the next but without real basis like belief in the tooth fairy or even Father Christmas.
However as an argument