... a living person is not the opposite of a dead person. Death and life have no relationship at all. There's nothing about someone dead that suggests anything of what a living person is. It's more than opposite. It's nothing like being alive. In the same way that a television switched off is nothing like a programme that's on television. It's a lump of wood and glass and valves. Without the energy and the juice, it's nothing.

Now, rationally, you know once it's switched off, nothing is happening; it's not working, it's not sitting there thinking: 'I'm going to show some programmes later when I'm switched on', it's just inanimate. And you kind of know that a dead body is like that as well. That it's just nothing, that nothing is happening. None of that vital spark exists.

So what happens to all the things that were that personality, which is so much more than just someone breathing and having a pulse? Everything they thought, everything they did. Again I think it comes back to stories. People carry stories about them on. I think people live on in the memories of their friends. I don't mean that in a passive way: the stories, the vibrations of them live on through the narratives that they've left behind.

Linda Smith in an interview with Bel Mooney for BBC Radio 4 programme Devout Sceptics, first broadcast on January 1, 2004