Philosophy of Religion

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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 the same memories, emotions, fingerprints, and so on. People would agree he was Smith. If he died and reappeared in this world, again identical, people would agree he was Smith. If he died and reappeared in another world with other resurrected people, he would be Smith. This is called the replica theory.
• God is not restricted by death and holds man beyond natural mortality.
• Martin Luther wrote: Anyone with whom God speaks, whether in wrath or mercy, the same is certainly immortal.’

Richard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene (1976); River out of Eden (1986);The Blind Watchmaker (1995)
• Dawkins the evolutionist argues that humans are merely carriers of DNA, ‘just bytes and bytes of digital information.’ 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…...

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