I believe in life after death. So do you. The death of once living animals and plants nourish us. That is why we eat. When plants and animals are eaten, they are transmuted into whatever life form consumes them. Even when flora and fauna are not eaten, their decomposition returns nutrients to the soil or sea. These nutrients are eventually taken up by some form of life and reincarnated. This is the way of the world. Living things die so that other living things may live. Life follows death.
I don’t, however, believe individual consciousness transcends death. How could it? Consciousness depends on, and cannot be separated out from, our biological living bodies. Yes, our sense of self –which is as close as I can get to understanding what people mean by the word soul– usually endures throughout our lifetime. It survives sleep and periods of unconsciousness. But it is always affixed to our bodies. There is no way for our sense of self to continue once our corporeal senses are dead.
When most people speak of life after death, they use sense words like seeing and hearing. They say things of the dead person like, “She is watching her daughter grow from a better place.” But seeing requires eyes and hearing requires ears. With what eyes is a dead person watching? With what ears is a dead person hearing? None. So clearly people who speak of life after death in that way can’t really mean what they are saying. They must mean something else. But what that something else is, I couldn’t say. And neither can they–at least I have never heard or read anyone explain what is really meant when vision or hearing is attributed to a dead person.
Seeing requires a viewpoint. One must be located somewhere in
space. One cannot be everywhere or nowhere and be able to see any- thing. Vision is a physical interaction with light. Therefore, to see, one must be a physical entity. One cannot be nonphysical, spiritual only, and see. The same is true of all our senses. So disembodied souls are senseless.
I believe in life after death whenever dead plants or animals are transubstantiated into the body of a still living being. And so do you. That is why you eat. I don’t believe in the continuation of individual consciousness after death. Do you?
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)