I want to play devil's advocate on the subject of everlasting spirit for just a moment.
If we truly perish with the body and there is no such thing as immortality, then our whole system of laws, manners and usages on which society is founded, is nothing more than an impostor. The maxims of charity, patience, justice, honor, gratitude and friendship, which sages have taught over the centuries and which we ourselves practice, would be nothing but empty words possessing no real and binding efficacy. Why then would we heed them?
And if we were to dismiss the notion of eternal life, what would become of tender family ties -- wife, husband, parent, sister, brother or friend? How absurd it would be to honor that which has no existence. How frivolous it would be to concern ourselves for those whose end, like our own, must soon be annihilation.
In truth, however, if we were to accept the sway of reason eternally espoused by nonbelievers the whole world, as we know it, would fall back into a frightful chaos:
- all the relations of life would be confounded;
- all the ideas of vice and virtue would reverse;
- the most inviolable laws of society would vanish;
- all moral discipline would perish;
- the government of nations would no longer have the cement to hold them together;
- harmony of the body politic would become discord;
- the human race would be no more than an assemblage of barbarians.
Such would be the world if belief in God and immortality were to die out of the human heart.
The external life of mankind is the creature of time and circumstance, and passes away, but the internal abides and continues to exist. Spirit triumphs over form. That is the basis of everything we hold sacred and everything that makes the world what it is today.
Just a few passing thoughts...Need I write more?