One of the topics that is quite hyped these days is the study of human consciousness and its possible survival after death. The argument that human beings have souls that depart to a certain afterlife once we are dead is one of the major tenets of almost every religion. The materialist view, that we human beings, along with all the other life forms. are merely flesh and bones defies any such notion that human beings have souls or that they depart to some other world once we die. To this end, they also argue that there is no such divine entity, such as a godhead, that may have created life. The religious doctrines of creation of universe can be explained away with the help of theories of astronomy, cosmology and astronomy. Similarly, the religious doctrines about the creation of life and humanity can be explained away with the help of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Rationalists try to understand and study the nature of survival of human consciousness with the help of various ways in which they can try to tap into the afterlife and communicate with the dead. There might be a possibility that some religious people may have the ability to do it already. I heard (or possibly read somewhere) that Jews have been prohibited to do it according to Torah. Given that it is considered the old testament for Christians and a holy book to be revered by the Muslims, it may be supposed that the followers of these two religions are also prohibited from tapping into the so-called unseen world. Particularly, Muslims are advised to follow a set path and believe in the unseen and are advised not to long for miracles.
Whether or not there is an afterlife, or whether or not people survive bodily death cannot be proven by believing merely in someone’s word of mouth. A religious scripture no matter how convincing it may be is not a proof of any of the extraordinary claims it makes. The claims must be proven from sources other than where they have been claimed. Thus, objectivity demands an honest scrutiny.
People who are interested in knowing about human consciousness and its survival of bodily death leverage mostly from the research of near death experiences (NDEs). As the name suggests, in an NDE a person is subjected to a clinical death of sorts in which electrical activity in the brain of the subject stops. Once rehabilitated back to normal life, the subject is asked to describe his/her experience. A keen survey reveals that there are hundreds of thousands of NDE stories. A review of the NDE research also indicates that NDE research has become a mature field of study with considerable adoption of scientific method.
Another discipline that tries to tap into afterlife is spiritualism. Spiritualism is rather old and established itself in the late nineteenth century. In simply world spiritualism entails methods to communicate with demised soul and to tap into the spirit world. A wide variety of literature is available by various contemporary and prolific scholars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Older people include Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred Russell Wallace and William Crookes, to name but a few. History of spiritualism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is probably the best resource on the subject.
If the findings of NDEs and spiritualists are correct that human beings survive bodily death, and that human beings do indeed have souls that depart to another world as we die, it means that materialism and its related theories of evolution etc. have already been explained away. For skeptics it means that they would have one less dimension to think about as regards existence.
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