Re: [asa] consciousness, ASA article feedback (was: RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Fri Sep 25 2009 - 11:35:25 EDT


I have a problem with your problem with a god that would "re-create"
people just for the purpose of eternal torture.

At issue is what is regarded as more fundamental. In wave/particle
dilemma of atomic entities what is more fundamental? One could take the
empirical results as more fundamental or perhaps the coherence of our
story. Do we simply jump unto the complementarity wagon or do we insist
that there is a "rational" resolution?

So too for the existence of the soul and our theodicy.

As I understand your argument, it is a form of reductio ab absurdum (I
had to look it up to get the spelling correct):

If there is no soul/body dualism (eternal soul substance), then
God must re-create those who receive eternal life.
If there is a hell, then God re-creates those for eternal torture.
God would not re-create people for eternal torture.
Hence, there can be no hell.
If God does not re-create those for hell, then unbelievers are
If there is no hell and only heaven, then everyone is saved.
Hence, if there is no body/soul dualism, either unbelievers are
annihilated or there is universal salvation.
However, there is a hell and universalism is false, hence there must be
a body/soul dualism.

I agree with the logic. Indeed, I probably agree with your conclusion.
The problem I have is with the premises. I have
no idea what an "afterlife" would be like, which suggests that I really
don't understand what a "beforelife" is about. I don't really understand
why something is Real and others not, or what sustains a thing, or even
what makes something alive. I keep livestock and it always amazes me how
quickly and mysteriously life ebbs away. Given this profound ignorance,
it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to know what the possibilities

I simply take, as you, the data as more fundamental than my understanding
or coherence of thought. That there is a Hell and there is a Heaven I
take as fundamental. How that works out is beyond my ken. It's a little
like talking about mulitverses, only significantly more difficult. It
seems to get at the nature of substance and reality, something not even a
multiverse addresses. For it is the Uni-verse behind the multi-verse.


On Tue,
22 Sep
2009, Jack wrote:

> "I think the main point of the argument was that neuroscience experts and
> many modern theologians now see the soul as emergence, as in a form of
> monism. "
> Obviously there has to be more to your concern than just this article, but
> what makes you think that the author of this article is correct?
> Personally, I agree with your position that without an eternal soul,
> Christianity is meaningless. Monism, defined as a Christian philosophy where
> there is no mind/body dualism that nevertheless allows eternal salvation,
> leads to two possible outcomes, annihilationism, or universalism. Either all
> unbelievers cease to exist after death and God "recreates" and resurrects
> believers, or everyone is recreated and saved. (I have a theodicy problem
> with God creating a body/mind just for the purpose of eternal torture.) So,
> monism is not consistent with Christianity.
> But there is nothing in modern science or philosophy, in my opinion that
> convinces me that the traditional concept of an eternal soul is incorrect.
> You have to keep in mind that we see, hear, understand, and reason within our
> brain, so our seeing hearing and understanding are limited to those functions
> that our brain can sustain. Which is not to say that there are not
> experiences beyond our understanding, i.e. beyond our brains ability to
> process it.
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Received on Fri Sep 25 11:36:00 2009

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