If you believe (and stand firm in that belief because there is no way to "prove otherwise" that there is no life after death, then there is no need to be "good". After all, why bother? No worries. Do as you desire. Morality and ethics are out the window. There is no "good" or "bad". If it feels good, do it.
Rob's response is sufficient for this. I must ask you, "Is a perceived threat from a "supernatural" power all that is keeping you from murdering, raping, and generally being destructive to society?"
If you believe there is life after death, then it must fall in the "heaven or hell"/purgatory/reincanation category.
I disagree. What if the part of you that lives on after the body dies just floats around on earth? What if that part of you zips around the universe unconstrained by the laws governing matter? What if you enter into another reality that is neither a "heaven" in that it is a paradise nor a "hell" in that it is eternal torture nor a waiting chamber for either? Once you allow for a "supernatural," there are an undefined number of possibilities. It's all up to your imagination.
If you believe in "heaven or hell", then you must also believe in God and the devil and good/evil and you live your life accordingly.
Plenty of cultures have believed in a "heaven"-type place and a "hell"-type place without believing in anyone named God or anyone called "the devil. All of them that I have looked at had some standards of good and evil though you might be surprised by some of these standards. The Maya Quiche, for example, placed a high value on deceit and trickery.
If you believe in purgatory, then you also believe in God and the devil and good/evil and hope that someone still living is praying for your soul to go to Heaven.
Not sure about a waiting place, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the Greeks or any other culture had something similar, again without believing in "God" or "the devil."
If you believe in reincarnation, then you must also believe in good and evil because you must choose to be "good" so that you will return on earth as a better creature. If you're not good, you might end up as a fly and have to feed on excrement and such.
Again not true. Some who believe in reincarnation do think that your behavior affects your next life, but there is no reason to make this assumption. One could very well say that you are reincarnated, and nothing you do now affects how you will return.
And as a fly, will you still have the ability to choose between good and evil?
I like this question. It may be a conundrum for some people who believe in reincarnation and that your actions affect the form in which you are reborn.
In all these beliefs except the first one, the "soul" of man has to be acknowledged and accepted as fact.
If you rigorously stick to the definition of "soul" here as the part of man that lives on after the body dies, then I think we can use it. Be careful not to slip any extra, superfluous characteristics onto "soul" that may be unwarranted.
Someone once told me that man is created with three parts - the body, the soul, and the spirit.
Was (s)he ancient Greek? Anyway I guess since this whole discussion falls into dualism, we might as well go with it. Do you have any non-arbitrary way of distinguishing soul and spirit?
The body is the "flesh". The tangible part of man.
Ok, the body is material. I agree.
The soul is the eternal being of man; unseen, reasoning, believing.
What about the brain? Doesn't it do the reasoning and believing? Still in order to talk of afterlifes we must have something that lives on after the body is gone.
The spirit is the part of man that is also unseen and acts upon the body based upon the reasoning of the soul.
This is incredibly vague. Also couldn't we interchange the roles of spirit and soul without loss of generality? It just sounds like a very poorly thought out story. For instance, I could also say that there is a fourth component called the spiroul that is also unseen aids the spirit in acting upon the body or maybe a soulirit that is unseen and aids the soul in acting upon the spirit. Either one is as good as you've got there.
Why not just stick with dualism? Body and Spirit (or Soul). No need for that superfluous intermediary.
You can use your senses and generally accept the fact that you have a body.
You can reason and ask why and give answers to the best of your reasoning. You can do math and calculus and argue the existance of God. Let's call this the soul.
Uh . . . Ok I guess. Although scans of the brain on a patient doing math problems make me think that the brain is responsible for these things. I guess the soul is the homunculus in your head.
You see a stoplight. You decide to stop. You press on the break and stop your car or you step on the gas and run the red. Let's call this the spirit.
Where is the spirit here exactly? So far all I see is the effect of the brain and the neural system in coordination with the muscular system. I think your spirit is incredibly vague and superfluous. Why can't you say that the soul decides to stop, and then the brain and body take over from there?
If you believe there is no "body", then you don't exist in this realm. End of story.
Or you are a solipsist. Or maybe you just believe that you are only a soul and the rest is just a perception of the soul.
If you believe that man has no soul, then there is no need for accountability. You can do as you please and accept what is done to you.
See my first paragraph in this post.
You are nothing more than an animal that can be owned, whipped, put to labor, beaten, chopped up and put in the stew. You can also be cherished, fed, petted, trained, and put in the pound when you get old.
Gosh you can be awefully cruel to animals. Be careful. According to the hypothesis you've laid out so far, you can't be sure if animals don't at least have a spirit. I mean what else makes them run/swim/fly this way or that way? Also just because something can
be done does not necessarily imply that it should
If you don't believe in having a spirit, then you are comatose and unable to respond. Again, end of story. A worm wriggling to get out from between your fingers would be more spirited.
Oh so I guess animals do have spirits. I guess they must also have souls then. Since the role of the spirit is to "act upon the body based upon the reasoning of the soul."
There is no reason to think that a "spirit," whatever that is, is required for you two interact with the material world. Again this is what the brain and rest of the body are for.
If you say that without a spirit you are comatose, then why is it that a swift blow to the head, causing damage to the brain, can make you comatose? The same goes for a overdose of the right drugs. How do these material things damage the non-material spirit?
I know i've probably generalized quite a bit and there are many here that is very reasonable and, admittedly, quite intelligent in their reasoning.
So, if I have missed something, please post.
Well, that's my thought on the matter. When I was a Christian, I used to come up with models of how the body, soul, and spirit interacted. In the end, just about anything worked for spirit and soul as long as they were unseen and some how connected to the individual.
Is there life after death for humanity?
Maybe. And if the animals have souls then maybe for them too. I doubt it though. I suspect that we are simply material beings and that the particles that make up our bodies become seperated, dispersed, and/or reassembled in a new way after we die.