Philosophy Of Religion Essay

619 words - 3 pages

Review Plato’s distinction between body and soul in the foundation unit so that you can make comparisons with the thinking of Hick and of Dawkins.

John Hick
Philosophy of Religion (1973); Death and Eternal Life (1976)
• The soul is a name for the moral, spiritual self formed by the interaction of genes and environment. The human is a psychophysical person with a divine purpose.
• The person shall be resurrected through a divine act of recreation or reconstitution in resurrection, rather than reincarnation as Plato would have it, through God’s creative love.
• The new body is not the old one brought back to life but a spiritual body inhabiting a spiritual world just as the physical body inhabited a physical world.
• Hick conducts a thought experiment with a hypothetical person called John Smith. Smith disappears from the USA and reappears in Calcutta, India. He is physically identical with ...view middle of the document...

’ Information flows through time, the bones and tissues do not.
• The belief in an immortal soul is anachronistic and damaging to human endeavor. There is ‘no spirit-driven life force, no throbbing, heaving, pullulating, protoplasmic, mystic jelly’
• Dawkins argues that myths (such as Plato’s Forms) and faiths are not supported by evidence; scientific beliefs are. Life lacks purpose and is indifferent to suffering. There is no creator God.
• Evolution is the only rational theory. It is not our soul that guides us but our genetic make-up. Over time, the good genes survive and the bad genes die out.
• We are as we are because of our genetic make-up, not the efforts of our soul to guide us towards the realm of Ideas. No soul continues, only DNA, the function of life.
• Our sense of self and individuality is based on digital information, not the soul. Our genes are a colony of information that wants to be replicated. It is easier for this to happen in a multi-cell organism. ‘We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.’ (The Selfish Gene, 1976)
• The genes are found in behaviour, so the bodies acquire individuality. We feel like a single organism, not a colony, as selection has favoured genes that co-operate.
• Genes working together give us a sense of individuality not the soul. The colony needs a central control. The genetic model becomes more complex and thinks about itself as an individual and considers the consequences of its actions.
• ‘Consciousness arises when the brain’s simulation of the world becomes so complete that it must include a model of itself.’ (The Selfish Gene, 1976)
• This leads to human culture, a ‘replicator’ or ‘meme’ (tunes, catchphrases, quotes, teachings), which are heard and lodged in the brain and then imitated by it.
• At death, we leave behind genes and memes, though the genes will quickly be dispersed. DNA survival brings about the body and individual consciousness creates culture. This is the soul.

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