The belief of a soul or spirit that can exist independent of a brain is a romantic idea that I don’t often go out of my way to debate. After all, believing that the essence of one’s identity continues after death is an understandable comfort to those dealing with mortality. That said, I’ve been asked recently why exactly I don’t believe in disembodied consciousness and figure that here is the perfect place to record my thoughts.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t an atheist issue. The existence of a God doesn’t imply an afterlife nor does the absence of a deity imply that there can’t be a hereafter. The fact that the two beliefs are so often tied speaks to how religions have positioned themselves to appeal to desires in order to gain a following. By this I mean that a master who must be worshiped and a church that must be paid doesn’t fulfill many emotional wants, however, a master who can eternally reward worship and a church that serves as the proxy for heaven--that’s desirable to many. Still, the afterlife, like God, is an issue for skeptics. Neither can be proven or specifically understood and they both rely on supernatural assumptions. It’s impossible to say for certain that we don’t wake up somewhere else post-mortem, but below are my reasons for doubting.