Is there any scientific evidence for life after death?
Troy Anderson: After defending Christianity from the onslaught of attacks by the New Atheists in your bestselling book - "What's So Great About Christianity" - you're now taking on the question everyone ultimately faces: What happens when we die? What prompted you to turn your attention to this fascinating topic?
Dinesh D'Souza: Well, in a way, the topic of life after death is broader than Christianity because it's something that every religion asserts and it's something that everybody at some point wonders about: Is this life the only life, or is there something more? In this book, I set aside the faith-based argument and I say, "Okay, let's look at reality and lets see what modern knowledge and scholarship has to show." And the beauty of this approach is we find that modern scholarship and knowledge - far from undermining the idea of the afterlife - provides some important supportive corroboration for it.
Anderson: Although you point out in your new book - "Life After Death: The Evidence" - that 80 percent of Americans affirm life after death and the percentage is closer to 100 percent in non-Western cultures, the New Atheists tell us there is no afterlife. Why do you believe they are wrong?
D'Souza: First of all, the New Atheists are at the tip of a certain kind of social iceberg.
They are the most aggressive advocates of a view that many intelligent people have in our culture. This is what I call the Enlightened People's Outlook. Historically, these people may be a minority, but they are very confident of their view because they believe that they are supported by the evidence of science. Their view is reductive materialism, which means there is really only one kind of stuff in the world and that's material stuff. If that is all that we are then there is no life after death. So the core of my book is to refute this materialist idea and to show there actually are positive arguments for the afterlife.
Anderson: In the book, you offer three key arguments in support of the afterlife: one from neuroscience, one from philosophy and one from morality. Would you tell us why they offer a persuasive legal brief for what happens when we die?
D'Souza: The first one is called, "Why It Matters?" Why is the issue of life after death important?
Second, "Why It's Possible?" and here I show that physics and biology offer no obstacles to the religious understanding of life after death, and specifically the Christian understanding. Then, in the third section, I show "Why It's Probable." In other words, why this is not only possible, but it's actually makes sense. Nevertheless, I concede that it's a topic in which you can't have complete certainty. And therefore I bring in practical arguments for believing in life after death.
Anderson: Let's start with the first argument. What does neuroscience tell us about the possibility of life after death? (click here for the rest of the fascinating interview)
Jesus of Nazareth answers this question by saying, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)
Here is the book: