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Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan



The Soul
How We Know It's Real And Why It Matters
by J. P. Moreland
Moody Publishers

The author is an Evangelical philosopher and he has written a highly readable account in defence of the soul.
 
Sacred Scripture reminds us that we are more than our bodies. Even the most vulnerable among us has a dignity of infinite worth. That is why Christians defend the most vulnerable.
 
What happens when we believe that science alone can give us all the answers? We end up believing that there are qualitative differences between humans, that there are some lives that are less valuable than others.
 
What is of interest in this work is that the author uses philosophy to defend the Christian position. He bases his arguments in favour of substance dualism, that we are bodies and souls, on rational grounds.
 
The author examines the nature of free will and morality. If we are just bodily beings, as proposed by atheists and materialists, then everything is determined. There is no such thing as free will. If there is no free will, then there is no such thing as moral obligation.
 
I liked the author's argument that there has to be something that persists beyond time, namely the soul,  for there to be moral agency. If one takes the Buddhist notion that there is no such thing as an eternal soul, then what is transmitted from one life to the next is karma. But why should I be responsible for what I become in the next life if "I" do not exist?

One of the best parts of the book is on hell. The author believes it exists and that souls are in danger of ending up there. It is not a fashionable belief among certain "Dare we hope" Catholics. I believe the author is right. It is surely related to our free will.
 
The author has demonstrated that Scripture, sound philosophy and common sense all point to the reality of an immaterial soul.


        
Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2022

Version: 10th  December 2022



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