Alan's catchy Bee song has brought about this particular train of thought.
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.
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."
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
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.authentic, emotional, and real.
Soul is, however, on my banned list of words for having in any of my ceremonies
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 giggledNick 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.....
See for example:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programme ... 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.
There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:
1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?
Yes, Alan, they are both figments of the religious/spiritualist delusion.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?