Saturday, December 26, 2015

William Hasker reviews an anti-afterlife book

Here.  Critics respond here. 


Edward T. Babinski said...

Prior prejudices and the argument from reason

Victor Reppert said...

What makes an intellectual predisposition a prejudice?

B. Prokop said...

This is one case where I sincerely believe in using an argumentum ad populum, in that since the overwhelming majority (indeed, a near unanimity) of people since the dawn of time (to include those alive today) have believed and do believe in "life after death", I am simply incapable of thinking that I somehow know better than the massed witness of 100 billion plus persons. I just don't have that kind of arrogance.

Jezu ufam tobie!

John Moore said...

It's not that I know better than other people; it's just that I ask questions that few other people bothered to ask, and I haven't found any reasonable answers.

For example, if the afterlife exists, what is it like? I live among Buddhists who think the afterlife is necessarily bad, and it's something you try to overcome. When I consider Christian or Muslim conceptions of heaven, that seems to contradict Buddhist teachings on desire and pleasure.

So it's not that 100 billion people all agreed on the afterlife and I'm bucking the consensus. By the way, it's possible that the majority of people in history who followed an organized religion were Buddhist.

B. Prokop said...

"By the way, it's possible that the majority of people in history who followed an organized religion were Buddhist."

More likely Pagan or animist.

As to details of the next life, I generally avoid speculation (or at least attempt to). I'm satisfied with Paul's "eye has not seen and ear has not heard" description.

I must confess that when I do engage in speculation, my personal conception of Heaven is distinctly Pagan (verdant hills, lush gardens, deep forests, towering ice-capped mountains, star-filled night skies, perfect beaches.. you know, an Elysian Fields sort of thing. I remember discussing this with Joe Sheffer long ago and he just laughed, saying his picture of Heaven was an ideal coffee shop in a great Celestial City. His imaginative picture was quite urban, whilst mine was all nature.

(My own vision of Hell is an obstinate will, totally shut in upon itself, refusing to take joy in anything, and mad as hell with existence itself.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Dave Duffy said...

I'm not sure pagan, animist, or Buddhist can be classified as organized. Sometimes, I wonder if even my Anglican church is an organized religion. Organization is at least one thing I respect about the Roman Catholics. With several hundred million Catholics, they probably ask themselves if they are organized.

Unfortunately, our Christian faith does not give a very satisfying picture of the afterlife, at least for us earthy humans. Perhaps it is like what Lewis wrote (paraphrasing)-- heaven is like explaining to a child how as an adult sex is a much higher pleasure than chocolate.

Unknown said...

Bob, you don't know me, as I haven't commented here before, but could you send me your email at travis.garrett(at) I'd like to discuss this blog with you, as I have followed your discussions here for some time. Thanks!

B. Prokop said...


What's wrong with discussing it here? I use my real name and have nothing to hide.

Travis Garrett said...

Well I was actually more interested in meeting face to face as I live close to the same area as you (DC area). Email would be a better avenue for discussing that.

brownmamba said...

I find Hasker's response to be interesting because he seems to be conceding the point that I was trying to make to Victor a few months ago: The existence of the soul (dualism) is a scientifically testable hypothesis.

What I've called on my blog as "The Problem from Physics", Hasker summarizes as follows:

"1. Nothing that goes on in the brain violates the predictions of physical science.

2.If there were an immaterial soul affecting the brain this would lead to a violation of physical formulas. Therefore,

3. There is no non-physical soul that might survive bodily death."

Hasker's two objections are all aimed at premise one( the first being his contention that the empirical evidence isn't strong at this point and the second being an argument that the truth of premise one would contradict evolutionary epistemology). Hasker, unlike Victor, however, doesn't object to the idea that empirical investigation can, in principle, verify premise one. Since Hasker doesn't object to premise two and furthermore believes that if the two premises are sound, then the argument is compelling, it seems that Hasker agrees with my contention that the soul is a scientifically testable hypothesis.