Philosophy of Religion

an online textbook

Philip A. Pecorino, Ph.D.

  • CUNY:  Queensborough Community College

  • CUNY: Graduate School and University Center, School of Professional Studies,

  • SUNY, Suffolk County Community College

Chapter  7: The Existence of Souls and the Resurrection 

Section 1. Introduction

For as long as humans have had consciousness there has been the awareness of pain, suffering and death. All human cultures have evidence of speculation on what occurs after death. The religions of the world, past and present, have a varying set of beliefs concerning death, the soul and the afterlife. While they do not all agree they all do have something to offer those who must face death. One of the most popular ideas that humans have continued to pass on from one generation to another is that the death of the human body is not the end of the human individual.

Some religions hold that the essence of the human being survives after the death of the body and is reincarnated into another body on earth or some other location. Some religions hold that the reincarnation process continues for many lifetimes until final extinction altogether (Buddhism) or unification with the original source (Hinduism).

Some religions hold for one lifetime in a human body and then after death there is a resurrection of the body and the person lives on again in another realm or dimension for all eternity. Some religions hold for the survival of the soul or spirit alone and its continued existence in another realm for all eternity.

In the West the three prominent religions hold for the resurrection of the body; for continued existence in a physical body after the death of the body. While this is the doctrine of the Western faiths, most members of those traditions are uncertain about what their religion holds as doctrinal truth or describes in its scriptures. They commonly believe in the survival of the soul or spirit alone!


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Copyright Philip A. Pecorino 2001. All Rights reserved.

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