Do we survive death?

In This article basically we cover some important arguments regarding immortality. The beginning will focus on Russell argument against immortality along with the views of other philosophers.

Immortality means that the soul will continue to live on even if the body perishes. It is an important tenet of religions like Christianity, Islam and also Orthodox schools of Indian philosophy.


Russell argues that immortality is claimed to be real on three grounds. Firstly,the fear of death that is instinctive, makes us believe in it. He further says that such fear is contrary to the courage needed to survive in early societies. Other thinkers also criticize this argument . Freud considers fear to cause making up of a fatherly figure for people. While, Flew says that ‘can a man witness his own funeral?'( Contradictory). Secondly, Russell says immortality is defended on the grounds of intelligent design. In it, the universe is shown as purposeful. So, how can man who is so well designed, be destined to perish?. This argument is flawed if it is understood that nature is itself purposeless. It has come about by evolution, not intelligent design by the creator. Third argument was made by Kant. For morality to work, he said we need a moral judge (God) and immortality. Russell questions this reasoning by saying that morality isn’t static as the theologians assume. Nietzsche’s ideas have influenced dictators. He also says that people have done enough harm in the name of moral fervor guided by religion. Other thinkers suggest that we have secular ethics, so there isn’t need for immortality.

Immortality is justified by believers as a gift by God. This is obviously based on faith.  Pascal’s wager also suggests that it’s better bet to believe in immortality to avoid being condemned to hell if it’s proved right afterwards. This argument is fallacious as God being the supreme creator will already know about such a mischief.  Some theologians follow Plato’s view on soul. That the soul is imprisoned in the body, freed only during death. This idea is rebutted by Dawkins who believes that soul is not a different entity. The body is just matter based on evolution. Hume also rejected soul itself. But his idea was that soul is basically a bundle of perceptions which we join by memory and imagination.

Immortality though important for believers, has a lot of arguments which can counter it logically.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s