The issue of the possibility of life after death has worried thinkers as well as ordinary people, especially those who tend to believe in life after death, for centuries. It may seem that there is evidence of life after death but in fact different sources of information are inconsistent. One of the reasons people like to believe in life after death is that they cannot conceive of death, and they want to live forever. People’s desire to believe in life after death is determined by their intentions to live forever and leave their close ones. Although, there are many proponents of the afterlife, the scientific approach proves that people live only once and nobody can live after death.
A Scientific Approach to the Issue of Afterlife
Many people disagree on various issues, and these disagreements do not necessarily reflect a lack of evidence but arise from different beliefs about the right way of understanding the world. There is no agreement in society on the question of whether there is life after death, and there is no means of reaching the agreement. Not only do people disagree but they do not even agree on what evidence might resolve the issue. Each party thinks the other party’s conception of the issue is incorrect, but there is no way to prove what is right and what is wrong. Someone could reject the scientific approach and advocate a very different one. Scientists believe that their theories are right. It is their assessment of the truth of the matter. Thus, the issue of afterlife has remained debatable for centuries. A scientific understanding of the world insists that there is no correct judgement about how people should act and think. However, it could be possible to note that the world was not created by God, but rather was a product of evolution.
These different views identify why it could be difficult for a person to formulate specific reasons as to why he believes what he does. Someone who claims that a miracle involves accepting a certain way of understanding the world believes in the afterlife (Edmonds and Warburton 102). The understanding of this issue depends on whether an individual believes in God. This approach to the issue of life after death contrasts with many philosophers who think religion can be dismissed. Many of them are sure that there is no life after death, reflecting their way of thinking. This disagreement between religious people and atheists is obvious, and both groups consider themselves right. Many of them proceed to view the issue in the light of the fact that the world has no objective meaning, and that there is no correct way of thinking, as philosophically or scientifically proven. Edmonds and Warburton (115) assume that philosophy can clarify the logical structure of human thoughts and concepts and clarify the real issues that humans face.
Uncertainties about Life after Death
There are several phenomena that appear to be related to the possibility of life after death, but which are not death-related. In the modern Western philosophical thought, scholars recognize that there is no life after death. As for me, I also do not believe that individuals continue to live after their biological death. To the contrary, there is evidence that biological death represents the final and irrevocable end of the individual’s life. Human life on Earth could, via a number of different routes, come to a sudden and catastrophic end at any time, and it will come to an end eventually. Zagzebski (128) noted that throughout history, philosophers have argued about the possibility of life after death, but even the brightest minds were just guessing. People who want to live forever may realize their desires through more realistic forms of survival. For example, they may live in the hearts of their children, through the memories of friends, or through lasting works of art. Although, many scholars provide evidence that mind and body do not die simultaneously, the brain dies with the body, and, as a result, the mind cannot exist without the body.
There are many interesting issues and questions about possible life after death. For example, Echols (36) wondered how people can be recognized and be reunited with their loved ones after death. If people survive after death, in what form will they be, and how will others recognize this form? Furthermore, many findings suggest that the issue of life after death involves at least two questions (Zagzebski 125). The first is whether one’s stream of consciousness continues after he or she is psychologically dead. This may be called the survival of consciousness. The second question is whether a person could communicate with his or her friends. This may be called the survival of personality. The survival after death, however, is a mystery; it is the desire of people to continue living regardless of their death. Interestingly, for most of history this important question does not have an obvious answer. Across the cultures of the world, both West and East, people have affirmed that this life is one chapter in a large story of existence. However, no evidence has been found to prove that idea.
The Fundamental Question in the Philosophy of Mind
One of the main questions of philosophy is: does the soul exist? Dualists, for example, believe that souls exist and they survive the death of the body. On the other hand, materialists believe that death brings the end of the human existence because the work of the brain is nothing but the physical activity that cannot continue after the death (Echols 38). Dualists claim that a person is identical with a non-material substance such as soul and mind, and it is possible to exist in separation. This statement proves that soul does continue to exist after death. They also believe that the idea of a separate soul has a long history. Many philosophers believe that the person is essentially an immaterial substance who can continue life after death while others consider that a certain body is what makes a person the person that he or she is (Edmonds and Warburton 123).
The idea that there is a separable soul has a long history, both in Eastern and Western philosophy. However, it is widely rejected today among Western philosophers. There is a number of reasons for skepticism about the existence of a soul because there is no answer to it. People do not know how to identify a soul after death, and moreover, they do not know how to identify it during life. To identify persons, it is common to describe his or her body, personal features, behavior, but it is impossible to identify soul. Dualists claim that if a person is identical with a certain body, it is possible for him to exist again after death because there can be a gap in the existence of a given body (Edmonds and Warburton 125). However, it is very unlikely that all the particles that make one’s body at death are available for reassembly hundreds or thousands of years later.
The issue of afterlife is a very controversial question that has not been able to find one decision for many centuries. Throughout history, people wonder whether there is life after death because they want to know what their mission in life is. Many religions believe that a human soul can never die and it lives after death in another form or body. Dualist philosophers also support the idea of afterlife, but materialists insist that when a person dies, his brain also dies, and there is nothing after the death. People can support different ideas in accordance with their beliefs and scientific preferences. Although, there are many proponents of afterlife, the scientific approach proves that people have one life. From the scientific point of view, life after death is widely rejected today.