|Author(s): Dinesh D’Souza
Publisher: Regenery Publishing
Rating: (Out of five)
To say that life after death is not an interesting topic would be an understatement. What makes this discussion even more challenging is the fact that most who do not hold to a faith system of some kind would dismiss any religious attempt to defend the proposition of life after death as superstition or wishful thinking. This is where Life after Death: The Evidence comes in. While not shying away from his own personal faith Dinesh D’Souza embarks on the near impossible. He asks the question of whether life after death is a probable hypothesis and goes about the task of looking in every direction, except religion, to see if there is sufficient warrant for such a belief.
In the end what the reader discovers is that there is ample evidence to bring the claims of the non-theist into question, i.e., that there is no life after death. D’Souza first unmasks the self-defeating arguments of atheism and shows that as a philosophical system it has no legs upon which to stand. Or put another way, the basis of “belief” in atheism is the same as that of any other religious system. In both cases there is an element of “blind faith” that one’s system better represents the facts of our experiences.
After dismantling the arguments of the “Vendors of Unbelief” the author looks at the two overarching conceptions of life after death – The Western and Eastern views. This provides some insight to what people have believed over time. Following this is an investigation and analysis of near death experiences and what they tell us about the connection between the body and the mind, and provide some basis to continue the process of investigation. Don’t lose heart because this can be difficult territory, but the rewards of continuing on are worth the time spent reading.
Over the course of the book D’Souza looks at physics, evolutionary suppositions in the sciences and philosophy and the newly overturned earth of brain chemistry. The questions about where the mind resides within the brain and the implications of epistemological arguments from philosophy are brought to bear on the overall argument that is being shaped. Finally, D’Souza wraps up by looking at the issues of justice, societal order and the development of virtuous living as a result in belief in life after death to tie all of the strings of thought that were analyzed throughout the book.
All-in-all this is a good read and is worth the investment in time and mental effort to see that the case for life after death can be made and that a belief in this life should inform the choices and direction of our lives here and now. The implications of life after death are far-reaching and have ramifications of an eternal nature.
I will cite D’Souza near the end of his text in summation.
Some people may respond to this data by saying, wonderful! Let others believe, but not me. This is the position not of belief but of “belief in belief,” and it is held by quite a few people who like to think of themselves as sophisticated and above the popular multitude. This position, however, is quite irrational. If others stand to benefit from lives full of hope, purpose, and charity, why not you? Given the weight of the evidence in favor of belief, there is no room for unbelievers to claim that their position enjoys a superior claim to rationality. On the contrary, unbelief is neither intellectually plausible nor practically beneficial.