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Shvoong Home>Social Sciences>Sociology>Why Behave Morally If There Is No Life After Death? Summary

Why Behave Morally If There Is No Life After Death?

Academic Paper Summary   by:robinsonphd    
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Moral behaviour and life after death

Secular humanist approach is that life after death is rubbish simpy as it is impossible to empirically prove. Human values as making sense only in the context of human life. However think of Hick’s eschatological verification. (He was soft materialist)

Kant argues we must follow the objective moral laws as this is our duty, not self-interest, we must treat people as ends and heaven is a place where morality and happiness meet. Aquinas advocated this view.

Life after death seems to justify suffering, but what if there is no post-existence? Do people put themselves through unnecessary pain in this life trying to get a better existence in the next life?

Universalist concept of life after death, where all are forgiven and united with God, may reduce our incentive to behave morally. In fact eastern religions, like Hindu’s, say life is controlled by large external forces. In Buddhism the concept of karma motivates one to do good and can be seen to justify evil, the ultimate aim is to reach Nirvana.

- good karma in Hindu has the ultimate aim of achieving moksha, that is liberation from samsara through dharma to be united with Brahman!

But if you were guaranteed oblivion when dead, why be moral?

Richard Dawkins was a hard materialist who argued from a biological materialist perspective. He takes a reductionist approach and proposes that

life amounts to nothing more that bytes of digital information contained in the 'quaternary code,' DNA.

He was also a monist in this respect. People are a single unity hardwired to propagate DNA, that is all.

Published: June 02, 2008   
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