November 30, 2009
LKL Web Exclusive: Is there life after death?
Posted: 01:05 PM ET
This is an LKL Web Exclusive by Dinesh D'Souza. D'Souza is a former White House policy analyst and scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of several best-selling books including "Illiberal Education, What's So Great About America" and most recently "Life After Death: The Evidence."
Is there life beyond the grave? If there is, we would think and act differently in our everyday lives. It seems of the utmost importance to know whether this life is all we have, or whether there is something more.
For thousands of years, people in different cultures have held that there is life after death, perhaps in the form of reincarnated bodies, or in the form of souls in Heaven and Hell. These beliefs, however, derive from religious traditions like Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity and are typically held on the basis of faith.
In recent times, atheists and secular people insist that there is no afterlife and death is the end. Although this position is offered as scientific and rational, it seems that the atheist is in no better position to know what lies beyond death than the religious believer. Both groups are pretending to knowledge that neither group actually has.
In my new book, Life After Death: The Evidence, I examine the topic from the perspective of reason and science. Drawing on some of the most powerful currents in physics, evolutionary biology, brain science, philosophy and psychology, I refute the atheists and show why the evidence favors survival beyond the grave. In particular, I show that:
–Life after death requires the possibility of eternal realms beyond this universe. Modern physics shows that such realms are possible, and that they help to explain physical realities in our universe.
–Modern evolutionary biology reveals a pattern and plan in nature that makes the evolution of complex life, and specifically human life, seem virtually inevitable. Our destiny on earth appears to be part of a larger purpose.
–Tens of thousand of people have had near death experiences that refute the idea that when our bodies stop functioning, all consciousness ceases.
–Despite attempts to show that the soul is a fiction and that we are purely material creatures, the findings of neuroscience confirm the exact opposite.
Consciousness defies a purely natural explanation, and the human mind has mental and spiritual aspects that are irreducible to the actions of atoms and molecules.
–The most original and powerful findings of modern philosophy reveal that our everyday world of experience is merely the shadow and appearance of a deeper reality. Skeptics who deny the afterlife seem unable to distinguish the realm of perception–what we can know through our senses–with the realm of reality, which is the sum total of what actually exists.
–Morality is a clue to the fact that we humans possess free will. Yet if the will is free, it follows that there is a domain of our lives that is not simply caused by the physical laws of nature. Free will is a clue to an eternal, imperishable feature of our humanity.
This book makes no appeal to religious faith or divine revelation or sacred texts, yet it confirms what religious people have long believed. On the basis of science and scholarship, it shows that a belief in life after death is not only rational but also good for us: it can give depth and significance to this life, a path to happiness and a reason for hope.
Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive
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