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Life and Death and Freud and Nietzsche
What are the similarities between Plato's concept of life after death and the early Christian concept of life after death? How did later Christians combine these concepts? What is the evidence that Jesus came back to life after execution?
Plato is often considered as one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. He wrote about the concepts of justice and social order, of moral right and wrong, and about the dichotomy of life and death. Throughout a person's life they are inexorably moving ever closer to their own demise. It is inevitable and yet people are terrified of this event even though it is as natural a part of living as is breathing or the beating of your heart. In one piece, Plato expresses his beliefs on the immortality of the soul (Peterson 214). He explains this in different ways, first of which is the "cyclical argument" which is that since the human body is mortal and can perish, then the soul must be a formal opposite. Just like matter cannot be either created or destroyed, only changed, so too the human soul cannot either begin or end; it simply changes forms. The second argument is the "theory of recollection" which states that at the moment of birth, people already have some knowledge, such as how to breath and how to cry and how to relate to mother and father. The only logical reason for this prenatal knowledge is if the soul is older than the physical body and has already been through a life before. Thirdly, he argues that there are two types of things which exist: the tangible and seeable components of the world and the more ethereal, invisible aspects. Just because they are not visible, does not mean that these things do not exist. The final argument in favor of the presence of the soul is that it participates in the life process. Since to exist, something must be temporary and something infinite, it is only logical that the soul not only exists, but it also eternal. The soul cannot die. Therefore, man cannot really die. His body may perish, but the soul continues on into the next plane of existence. If the soul is immortal, then this part of man is also immortal. Philosophers, being perhaps more insightful than other members of the society, will understand this immortality and will celebrate the death of their body as the potential for rebirthing of the soul.
Christians-based much of their belief system on both Judaism and on the religious and philosophical teachings of the Roman which whom they co-existed. The concepts of the afterlife regarding heaven and hell as they are understood today came a bit later. According to Christians, there was an immoral soul, as described by Plato. However, they asserted that human beings could only ascend to Heaven after the death of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection was making up for all of the sins perpetrated by mankind and by sacrificing himself all humans were forgiven. Those who accepted Jesus as their savior and accepted the teachings of the Christian religion could hope to achieve Heaven after their death while those who refused to accept the new religion would be doomed to go to Hell where their souls would be punished for eternity. Whereas Plato and the Greeks postulated the soul as something powerful and therefore better than the human body, the Christians used this concept really as an intimidation tactic. Not wanting to burn because of being wicked, naive members of the society would dedicate themselves to Christianity out of fear rather than because of a true belief in the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Further, in order to prove that their religion was the only true one, Christians elevated Jesus's importance to make him the direct son of God. To this end, people were enlisted who would provide eye witness evidence as to his divinity. They claimed to have seen Jesus Christ in the cave days after his death (Peterson 212). There is of course no empirical evidence to prove that Jesus resurrected after his crucifixion. The only evidence which has ever been made available are the testimonials of witnesses, many of which were recorded only decades if not centuries after they were to have occurred.
2) How is the belief in the Judean-Christian-Muslim God possible after the penetrating genealogical critiques of Nietzsche…[continue]
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