Dinesh D’Souza, “Life after Death: The Evidence”

This is a really good book, and it ends with a chapter that is explicitly Christian.  I think the author sometimes overstates what he has shown, but he does show a lot and it is always helpful, even if it is not quite as definitive as he sometimes claims.

Obviously the existence of life after death is powerful evidence for theism, and to the extent that these accounts feature Jesus and/or a God consistent with Christianity, they also are a powerful apologetic tool.  I note elsewhere on this site (in the post “It Just Takes One”) the asymmetry here:  If even one such account is true, that’s a damaging blow to atheism.  (Perhaps not fatal, if the atheist is willing to argue that the supernatural can exist without God, or that an afterlife need not be supernatural.). Sometime I should probably group together on this site somehow a number of books on this topic I’ve read, like The Science of Near-Death Experiences (Dr. John C. Hagan III, ed.) (he’s a distinguished ophthamologist  and also edits Missouri Medicine:  The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association), and Dr. Mary C. Neal, To Heaven and Back, and her sequel to that, 7 Lessons from Heaven:  How Dying Taught Me To Live a Joy-Filled Life (she’s an orthopedic surgeon and a Christian).

Other notes on D’Souza’s book:

  • He argues (43-44) that religious truth can evolve (so long as it is consistent with Scripture).
  • If we are merely material beings, he says (143), then free will is impossible; but this means also that, if free will is possible, then we are not merely material beings.
  • He says (147) that Schopenhauer’s reputation rests on a single book, The Word as Will, and it sounds interesting to me.
  • He writes (211) that Muslim thinker Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s The Alchemy of Happiness predates (and may have been the source of) Pascal’s Wager, though it deals with the presence/absence of an afterlife rather than the existence/nonexistence of God.

Finally, at the beginning of the last chapter of the book, tying it into Christianity, there’s a good summary (starting at the top of page 220 and ending at the bottom of page 221) of the rest of the book, which you can read here [link:  https://books.google.com/books?id=62X4XYyp0gAC&pg=PA221&lpg=PA221&dq=dinesh+%22life+after+death%22+%22we+expect+knowledge%22&source=bl&ots=NveotDS2io&sig=62v1hnvaAT-UdHuqO5d_vtKoZrA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjroraFrK3YAhWmS98KHZhBAnMQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=dinesh%20%22life%20after%20death%22%20%22we%20expect%20knowledge%22&f=false].  It begins by noting the universality and uniformity of near-death experiences and that they cannot be explained away as the product of drugs or dying brains, and then discusses the support for them in modern physics, modern biology, neuroscience, modern philosophy, morality, and practical reason.