Originally posted by twhitehead
This came up in the Evolution thread but is really unrelated to evolution so I have started a new thread.
I have started similar threads before but for some reason I get very few takers.
Originally posted by Penguin
[b]Not sure what you mean by divisibility. I suspect the religious will have some distinction between conciousness and 'soul'.
act in scientific language it doesnt even 'exist' if it doesnt take on physical form.
“Soul” has a bunch of usages; I have separated out the following from the dictionary, just so that those that don’t pertain to your question might be excluded from the get-go—
(1) the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life—
—one dictionary adds: “regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”
(2) the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings
(3) a person's total self [body and mind; intellect, emotions, sensations, perspective, tendencies, self-reference, etc.]
(4) the moral and emotional nature of human beings
(5) the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment
(6) spiritual or moral force (fervor)
(7) a strong positive feeling (as of intense sensitivity and emotional fervor)
I put (1) in bold, because that seems to be the definition you’re getting at; although (2) is related.
For my part, as long as “soul” is used just as (a) a “principle;” or (b) as a useful label for being/feeling alive, energized, etc. (much like elan vital
), without being treated as a substance in itself
; or (c) something like the sense of definition (3), for purposes of reference—then I have no problem. It’s when soul is treated as a “thing”—a substance is assumed from the substantive—that your questions take on relevance.
With that said, there seem to be two religious views in treating the soul as a substance:
I. That the soul is separable and distinct from the physical body. Those who think in this way can speak of “a mortal body and an immortal soul;” of the soul being “in” the body; and of such things as eternal souls, transmigration of souls, etc.
II. That the whole person is composed of an inseparable body and soul. This is the basic idea behind Christian beliefs about resurrection.
Those who hold these two differing views are likely to answer your questions differently...