Reincarnation and Karma Reincarnation- the conscious self transmigrates from one physical body to the next after death Buddhism- After the death of consciousness, a new consciousness arises. The dissolution of skandhas new consciousness non-identical with the former, but not completely different from it. There's causal connection b/w them as are a part of the same causal continuum Karma- ethical dimension of the process of rebirth 2 main functions in Indian Philosophy- 1. Motivation to live a moral life 2. Problem of Evil Reincarnation- connected with karma: we have to bear the good & bad fruits of our actions, either in this life or another. It seems unfair that one child is born healthy into a wealthy family whereas another is born sickly into a poor family. If there is a creator God, He seems to be unloving & unjust. However, if they are reaping consequences of their actions performed in previous lives, this seems to provide a justification for the inequalities "As we sow, so shall we reap". Immortality of soul Indefinite continuation of a person's existence, even after death. Immortality for theism God of theism is creator God, who out of abundant love, created the universe to give rise to creatures to be molded into souls. Only such souls could enter the Kingdom of God If the universe was created and its aim was making of souls, then should they be allowed to perish after they have once emerged? 2 further considerations- 1- No person, however great & successful can say that his purposeful activity has no more grounds to cover. A Newton, a Kant, a Gandhi have ample room for purposeful activity 2- Creator of this universe is supremely good & infinitely intelligent He cannot allow a saint, a sage, a scientist or any person of value to perish, i.e. the task for man is infinite and time allowed on earth is finite. 1. 2. W/o conserving these saints & seers, God would be kind of a divine playboy or an aborted artist. So, He perpetually gives Himself in his finite creatures. God's Purpose: If the end of life, mind & spirit are considered true, the purpose of God is defeated. If the divine purpose is to produce free spirit as the end result of a long and tortuous process, it seems tragic that the purpose will finally be defeated on death. Only feasible alternative-continuation of spiritual life with love and other values in spite of death of the body. Kant's argument for immortality of Soul Kantian approach is based on moral experience. Moral requirement for immortality- we seek moral ends & destruction of human
personalities could make this unattainable. It would be a curious world if a man were obliged to do what he cannot do Obedience to the moral law- required endless progress but endless progress is possible only on supposition of an endless duration of existence and personally of the same rational Problems with the notion & endless duration of personal existence: This is a logical expectation, of endless survival including the survival of memory & the prospect of the presence of same earthly purposes for their better realization. Problem- The presence of higher purposes & their realization is based on earthly circumstances of fear, passion, hope, socio-economic condition. If the continuance of earthly circumstances is necessary for pursing purposes then it demands endless cycles. But religious hopes of survival in a paradise are considered w/o earthly circumstances. They refer to a state where there are no tears & sorrows. But w/o the fear of defeat & possibilities of failure, there can be no energetic activities & risky undertakings. For becoming a soul, an individual has to be free & freedom has no meaning unless there's a possibility of choosing the wrong Hence, Indian thinkers talked of release from the chains of endless births and rebirths. Endless chain meant imperfection & continuance of sorrow rather than of hope. Conclusion The hope of personal immortality can only be by belief in a perfect, benevolent & creator God Whole consideration is on accepting that a perfect God creates creatures that could be children of God Once they emerge, how can God allow such beings to perish? Any God who allows value-possibilities, value-making &value-realizing beings to die for no good reason, is guilty of a crime. Persons who would find no reason for immortality might disbelieve in God Plato- "The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that comes faster than death"