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For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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#1 Post by getreal » July 29th, 2011, 11:42 pm

So. For those christian sects which accept evolution (which I think would be all the biggie christion groups) at what point down the evolutionary tree did god decide to insert a soul? Did he wait till the first homo sapien was born before he added a soul, or did our homo-predecessors have one too?

Alan's catchy Bee song has brought about this particular train of thought.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Re: Souls

#2 Post by jaywhat » July 30th, 2011, 5:41 am

Funny I was reading this only yesterday. I wrote it in 2008 as the words of character I was developing in a novel writing exercise.

Do animals have souls? I hear you say, 'Of course not' is the typical answer. Of course not, because humans are superior and God only gave a soul to humans and not even other primates or near-humans let alone toads. Funny that' primate' means 'ape' as well as 'bishop' or other senior church person. Now what about Homo Erectus or Neanderthals or Cro-Magnons; all forerunners of Homo Sapiens. Did they have souls? Who would have a soul and who not? Were there human types alive at the same time, some of whom did and some of whom did not have souls? What has the toad done so wrong that it does not get a soul? The answer is that there is no such thing as a soul that lives on after the body has died. This is the one life we get whether we are a toad or a human; whether we are a monkey or a man; whether we are this sort of primate or that sort of primate.

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Re: Souls

#3 Post by animist » August 1st, 2011, 9:30 am

obviously I agree strongly with the above posts, and I remember MickeyD getting all anthropological when getreal's question was put to him. I suppose that the word "soul" is used so much in a non-theological sense that the Christians get away with the problems of their beliefs. To have "soul" in ordinary parlance is to be authentic, emotional, and real. Those are very inadequate adjectives, but you probably know what I mean. They probably apply more to the animals I know than to the humans, as with the former, what you see is what you get.

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Re: Souls

#4 Post by stevenw888 » August 1st, 2011, 12:08 pm

It's the whole "soul" thing that forced me to re-evaluate my stance some time ago on whether or not there was a supreme being. My logic took me down this path

Does Man have a soul - of course he does, it's common sense! We have been taught that he has a soul since we were tiny.
Does my dog have a soul - no, of course not, she's a dog, why should she have a soul?
Well - she has a character, she behaves differently to our last dog. She also behaves differently to all the other dogs I know. She has, what I would call "a personality". She responds to some stimuli with affection and others with her hackles up. She likes raw carrot - I don't know many other dogs that actually like raw carrot. Therefore she is unique. So - is it uniqueness that gives us a soul? Well, if it is, then my dog is unique therefore she too must have a soul. She's a living organism and as such is like a tree or a bacterium - therefore trees and bacteria must have souls too. So - what happens to all these souls when the bodies they inhabit die? There are trillions of bacteria in the world right now, there are trillions of insects and arthropods in the world right now. If, when they all die, their souls go to inhabit another place, then where is that place? And how big must it be? Answer - it's impossible - no one place could store all the souls of all the dead animals and plants since the arrival of living organisms on this planet. Ergo - man does not and cannot possess a soul.
So -as my wife would say - "Souls are out, then."
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Re: Souls

#5 Post by Fia » August 1st, 2011, 4:18 pm

I guess in answer to getreal's OP they would use the usual cop-out of god's mysterious ways. We know logical thinking is not required for having a religion :)

I think for Humanists soul is as tricky a concept as spirituality (not that I'm going there as we have at least 2 long threads on spirituality).
Just as the concept of, say 'mind' is something we can agree on, and we reckon it's probably in the brain somewhere, but we can't actually point to a cluster of neurons and label it as mind. The word soul seems now used as shorthand for, as animist said
authentic, emotional, and real.
and shared experience like soul music, soul food. It seems utterly ridiculous to us that this man-made concept to 'justify' religious belief actually exists. Yet I doubt any of us would argue we don't have a mind.

Soul is, however, on my banned list of words for having in any of my ceremonies :wink:

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Re: Souls

#6 Post by Nick » August 2nd, 2011, 12:16 am

I wonder about the meaning of the word too.

Especially when people tell me I'm "all soul".

At least, that's what I think they are saying..... :sad:

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Re: Souls

#7 Post by animist » August 2nd, 2011, 10:03 am

Nick wrote:I wonder about the meaning of the word too.

Especially when people tell me I'm "all soul".

At least, that's what I think they are saying..... :sad:
reminds me of an actual CofE service where the vicar intoned "Save our souls" with too much stress on the "our" - and much of the congregation giggled :wink:

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Re: Souls

#8 Post by Dan » August 2nd, 2011, 6:17 pm

It's worth noting that not all Christians are believers in "souls".

See for example: ... grath.html
Q So what you're saying is that at some point the ape that became the man, somewhere on that line he was imbued with a soul?

AMG I think that the whole question of what one means by a soul and when this process of transmission took place, it's a very difficult one. But for a scientist it's also a very interesting question, because at some point we can say that for example, the phenomenon of consciousness actually began to take place. And we know that at some point it was not there, we know it's there now - when did it happen? So we're dealing with some very exciting, very difficult questions. But ones I believe are fascinating.

Q And would you identify that arrival of consciousness with the arrival of the soul?

AMG Well I, again I don't really like this word 'soul' because it, it means s...

Q Well it's a religious word (laughs)!

AMG It's a religious word, but it's not a word I, I find really very much in the Bible. And it's come to be associated with unhelpful ideas. But certainly I would want to say that in some way being, being conscious of oneself and conscious of God is a very important, pivotal transformation point in human history.

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Re: Souls

#9 Post by Alan H » August 2nd, 2011, 8:11 pm

Do ghosts have souls? Do souls have ghosts? There seems to be a lot of similarities between the two. Are they the same thing?
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Re: Souls

#10 Post by ludite » August 2nd, 2011, 9:43 pm

Jehovah's wittnesses believe that the soul is the living breathing person you do not posses a soul but are a soul, so animals are souls as long as they are breathing. (removes wittness head and locks it away in a dark cupboard)

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Re: Souls

#11 Post by Dave B » August 2nd, 2011, 9:51 pm

Alan H wrote:Do ghosts have souls? Do souls have ghosts? There seems to be a lot of similarities between the two. Are they the same thing?
Yes, Alan, they are both figments of the religious/spiritualist delusion.
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Me, 2015

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