Dualism And Religion

1031 Words5 Pages

Dualism, as it pertains to philosophy, is the notion that the mind and the body exist in two distinct realms. The dualist position contends that though the body is physical and subject to natural laws, the mind is a non-physical, spiritual substance that transcends physical laws and can exist in a disembodied state. Although monism, the view that the mind and body are singular, has more empirical support, dualist philosophies are more prevalent, particularly among religious belief systems. It can be argued that death anxiety is the reason for the origin and perpetuation of the “ghost-in-the-machine” model that dualism proposes and religion perpetuates.

The Relationship between Mind and Body
There are two ways to resolve the relationship between …show more content…

Materialism holds that nothing exists apart from the material world and that consciousness is the function of the brain. Philosopher and theologian Nancey Murphy insists “we need not postulate the existence of an entity such as a soul or mind in order to explain life and consciousness.” Dualism is in effect unnecessary because biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science have indicated physical processes are responsible for specific mental faculties that were once attributed to the soul. The consequence of materialism is that there is no hope for an afterlife: when the body and brain dies, there is no continuation of the …show more content…

Dualist proposals deny the finality of death, resolving any existential concerns that arise as a result of mortality-awareness. Though secular dualist views are possible, dualist beliefs most commonly present themselves in religious belief systems, which may explain religion’s global success. The fear of death is universal, and though religions variation exists, most world religions promise consciousness persisting after death, in the form of heaven, paradise, reincarnation, or other manifestations of immortality, explicitly denying that death is the end. Religious beliefs are ideal to perpetuate dualism because they are all encompassing and rely on concepts that are not easily disconfirmed. This inability to falsify religion reinforces the cultural worldview, which is necessary to alleviate death anxiety.
Though mind-body dualism may have originated independently of religion, it is logical to propose that it was devised as a source of psychological security, and religion provided a means by which the cultural worldview (and therefore psychological security) is endorsed and perpetuated. Dualism cannot be proven because the spirit exists in a realm that is non-physical. Religion, therefore, provides necessary social validation of an individual’s beliefs to increase their confidence in their worldview, because insecurity in those beliefs would not alleviate death anxiety.

Open Document