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Faith By Reason Contents



Chapter 2 ~ Continuance

TESTIMONIALS in support of life after death are often religious in the sense of being based on what is perceived to be divine revelation— through studying scripture for example.

Philosophical and documentary observations have also been made, such as in reference to the large volume of reports regarding the apparent reappearances and communications of the dead via dreams, apparitions, and mediums, as well as reports regarding the nature of near-death experiences.

In the first instance, while it is not uncommon to dream of departed friends and loved ones, these occurrences cannot be viewed as evidence of their continued consciousness— messages allegedly imparted to the living are not consistently of sufficient cognizance, specificity or accuracy to ascribe to more than the urgings of the sleeper’s own mind.

The same may be said of rarer awake manifestations.

Yet there are those who claim to be able to communicate with or through the dead.

Their messages and manifestations have down-to-earth explanations ranging from the innocent sincerity of subtle— even subconscious— hint-pickups and imaginaries to the callous misuse of magic techniques capable of fooling all but a Houdini (not excluding researchers and scientists), combined with an audience eager to believe.

Hauntings (apart from poltergeists, whose energies seem to focus around living persons) can usually be attributed to natural phenomena. Noises in old buildings often increase after a remodeling or major redecorating, but they’re the result of abrupt releases of structural tension caused by cumulative weight redistributions, not disturbed spirits.

Once sensitized to possibilities, inhabitants hear sounds they had before ignored. Yet older buildings are more prone to extraneous disturbance anyway— clanking pipes for roaming spirits, worn toilet valves for tank refills (mistaken for ghost flushings), crumbling foundations for admitting wildlife, etc.

Finally there is the argument for evidence of survival based on the frequency, consistency, and nature of accounts of so-called near-death experiences, that harken toward a hereafter.

Although some experienced near-death, it was, since they revived, neither termination nor anything remotely comparable— their brains (memories and consciousnesses) weren’t destroyed. Apart from analogous cultural backgrounds, stresses similar in type produce kindred body and mind chemistries, resulting in the remarkable likenesses of the accounts.

There have been instances where the witness claimed to have accurately reported otherwise impossible-to-ascertain facts from a position outside his physical body. While these phenomena are still being scientifically studied, they have yet to be substantiated.

On a more intellectual plane is the acknowledgment that our scientific understanding of the workings of the universe is still so incomplete that anything might be possible, including our possession of an immaterial constituent (or some other means of rescuing us from dissolution), capable of existing apart from the physical body.

Further, if there is an existent with the ability to utilize and offer such means to maintain our lives, this entity would likely have an intelligence so advanced that its own goodness would— since virtue tends to grow with knowledge— effectively mandate its conference of immortality upon all who desired it.

Any being with this capability would surely be cognizant of the randomness and brevity of human existence, so no more would such an entity deny us additional life than would we give someone a bite of pie without offering a slice.

The difficultly is that because of such a constituent’s necessary wonder and complexity, the presumption of non- existence renders belief in its likelihood untenable— unless there’s some verifiable evidence beyond pure speculation for its presence.

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© 1999-2008 Warren Farr — revised 1/25