Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Got Soul?

by Pa Rock
Barstool Philosopher

Sunday's foray into the metaphysical left me thinking about the concept of the soul. When I sit and ponder, I wonder:

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that humans have souls. If that is true, does it necessarily follow that all humans have souls? People also have arms and legs, for the most part, but some do not. Not all humans possess the sense of sight, but most do. If the soul exists, is it necessary equipment, like a brain, or can a person function without one? Are we born with souls or do they develop as we mature?

Years ago a young man and I were talking about human life being created in laboratories, something that was well within the realm of possibility even then. He grudgingly admitted that scientists might be able to manufacture sperm and an egg, and thus produce life through chemistry, but he was adamant that such a laboratory creation would be born without a soul. So sex is necessary for the creation of a soul?

How would one know if an acquaintance had a soul or not? What would a soulless individual look like? Would he resemble a movie zombie, stumbling through a decaying cityscape and ripping the heads off of innocent bystanders? Or would he be a suave and charming sociopath like Ted Bundy, equally capable of flattery or butchery?

Is it possible for a soul to detach itself from the individual before death? Could a creature with a soul be a serial killer like Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer? Could a creature with a soul avoid service in a war (Bush, Cheney, Rummy, or Wolfowitz) and then cavalierly send the children of others, less privileged than themselves, off to the sands of slaughter? Could a person with a soul harbor that much evil?

Can a soul be consigned to Heaven or Hell for eternity by some overgrown hall monitor with a pulpit? What is Heaven? What is Hell?

Does conscience trump soul, or complement it? Or are they the same?

Is living well the best revenge?


Mike Box said...

This may depend, with due respect to Bill Clinton, on what is is. I have always accepted the primary dictionary defininition that a soul is the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life.

The second dictionary definition runs a close second in my book: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe.

While I think a soul is necessary equipment I do not think that it matters if person with that soul came into existence the old fashioned way or with some new fangled science. None of us are begotten all of us are made, one way or the other.

My more fundamentalist friends try to disagree. They become contorted when I point out to them the first sentence of the Nicene Creed: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

Then of course to drive home the point I repeat the part about Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visibile and invisible.

I simply ask why they try to limit God and why aren't they trying to love everyone and everything? That being their ordained primary mission, their theology as rote repetition gives them cause for much needed reflection.

Soul transference is a theory that I have heard discussed. I rather doubt it. But as I am neither the Maker of things visible and invisible, nor have the book on all things - I shall pass.

Why would it matter if your acquaintance had a soul? I refer again to that first dictionary definition.

As businesses begin to fail in this renewing economy I remind my friends that capitalism without bankruptcy makes about as much sense as Christianity without Hell.

Hell however makes sense only if it is true that each one of us only gets one time through on this extraordinary journey called life.

A friend once asked my how long eternity was. I told her it was the length of time for each one of us to fully live the complete lives of everyone one else who had ever been, currently was, or ever will be alive.

If we each take that journey then the concepts about the Mystical Body of Christ and the Buddha's Bodhisattvas waiting to get everyone over to the other side seem to merge. I hope for such a merger.

Sure, you bettcha, conscience complements and or trumps a soul.

Conscience being defined as: the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good

The good person listen to the conscience while the wicked one tune it out.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Thanks for that, Mike. So much to ponder.

A Google ad popped up on the page where I published last night's blog. It said, "Is there a God?" That demonstrates that the search engine has some reasoning ability since I never mentioned God in the post. Could that ad be proof of God's existence, and is her name Google?

Enquiring minds want to know!