1. Standard memberAgerg
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    02 Nov '06 20:184 edits
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big *me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from? where is it? what is it made of? how *in detail* does it work?..please don't try to just sell me some off the cuff/ convenient answers

    secondly, I'd argue that my actions, moods, and my thoughts etc.. are governed by the electrical impulses within my brain...If I take drugs such as alcohol, they affect the way I think, and the way I feel...there are some states such as depression (controllable with certain drugs) that can even radically alter my personality...getting kicked in the head by a horse can do that too (and make me stupid as well)! I can even be hypnotised!!! It would seem that outside influences are able to affect me! But what are they affecting, my physical body or my soul?...

    If just my body then exactly what is the need for me or my mind to described by way of a soul or eternal spirit? what part does my soul play in life?...what happens when I no longer have a physical body (ie: when I'm worm food)? by what mechanism would I be able to think and be the same person that I am now?...please elaborate!

    and if my soul, how could you explain that a supernatural entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate
  2. Joined
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    02 Nov '06 20:57
    Originally posted by Agerg
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big [b]*me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from? where is it? what is it made of? how *in detail* does it work?..pleas ...[text shortened]... ral entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate[/b]
    The soul is supposed to have a mass of 21 grams. Its chemical composition is still unknown.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul should clear other things up
  3. Standard memberAgerg
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    03 Nov '06 11:073 edits
    Originally posted by mrstabby
    The soul is supposed to have a mass of 21 grams. Its chemical composition is still unknown.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul should clear other things up
    Firstly, when I saw this:
    The soul is supposed to have a mass of 21 grams. Its chemical composition is still unknown.
    my initial thought was "bollox" 😉 ...reading that wiki link shows that most people would regard this claim as *dubious*...very VERY dubious...with regards to clearing other things up...it merely talks about the faith of different religions and does not meet any of my questions.

    See...I'm asking these questions not as a theist that is ready to accept something that others believe on faith...I am an atheist, very skeptical of the supernatural and magic.

    Can anyone actually meet these questions with logical or rational answers?...again please refrain from convenient or off the cuff answers.
  4. Cape Town
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    03 Nov '06 11:171 edit
    Originally posted by Agerg
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big [b]*me* or mind behind a physical body.[/b]
    I have asked these questions on this forum before and never really got any answers. It very surprising that so many religious people seem to know next to nothing about the soul which is a core concept (and absolutely necessary) of most religions.
    In fact I would say that 99% of Christians I have talked to consider getting their soul into heaven as the most important thing in their lives and yet they don't seem to know what this soul that they are trying to save really is.

    [edit]
    I personally don't give a damn (pun intended) what happens to some 21 gram hypothetical part of my body does after the rest of me dies, so even if I did believe in the existence of God I would not consider doing anything for the purpose of 'saving my soul'.
  5. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    03 Nov '06 11:49
    Originally posted by Agerg
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big [b]*me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from? where is it? what is it made of? how *in detail* does it work?..pleas ...[text shortened]... ral entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate[/b]
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big *me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Are you identical with your physical body? If so, with what part? You say "my" leg, arm, head, brain. But if it belongs to you, it is not you, because belongs implies a distinction.

    Now, if you are not identical with your physical body, or any part of it, then don't you yourselves believe you have a mind "behind" your body?


    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from?

    The soul evolves gradually. It's not an all or none thing. And it isn't given to you; it is you.

    where is it?

    Nowhere. It doesn't have a spatial location.

    what is it made of?

    It's not made of stuff we way physical things are made of stuff. It still may be made of stuff, but in a different way. The details may be beyond our ken.

    how *in detail* does it work?..please don't try to just sell me some off the cuff/ convenient answers

    It would be easier to answer a more specific question about its mode of operation.

    secondly, I'd argue that my actions, moods, and my thoughts etc.. are governed by the electrical impulses within my brain...If I take drugs such as alcohol, they affect the way I think, and the way I feel...there are some states such as depression (controllable with certain drugs) that can even radically alter my personality...getting kicked in the head by a horse can do that too (and make me stupid as well)! I can even be hypnotised!!! It would seem that outside influences are able to affect me! But what are they affecting, my physical body or my soul?...

    Both.

    If just my body then exactly what is the need for me or my mind to described by way of a soul or eternal spirit? what part does my soul play in life?...what happens when I no longer have a physical body (ie: when I'm worm food)? by what mechanism would I be able to think and be the same person that I am now?...please elaborate!

    One question is whether this is possible in principle. It could be logically possible or impossible. And could be metaphysically possible or impossible. If it is possible, the question of its probability arises, and how it might come to pass. The possibility questions are tricky; the probability question has little to go on.

    and if my soul, how could you explain that a supernatural entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate

    That is the 64-thousand dollar question. The soul obviously depends on the body, but is not the same as the body. My view is that, because of our intrinsic mental limitations, we can't penetrate this mystery very far.

    I hope it's obvious that, by "soul", I mean something very similar to "mind", keeping selfhood, identity, and consciousness, the higher order aspects of mental function, in mind.

    The religious view of soul, however, proposes something above and beyond mind, or construes the mind more independently of the body than is rationally warranted. Hence, they have even a harder time explaining anything about the soul, as you rightly imply.
  6. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    03 Nov '06 11:50
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I have asked these questions on this forum before and never really got any answers. It very surprising that so many religious people seem to know next to nothing about the soul which is a core concept (and absolutely necessary) of most religions.
    In fact I would say that 99% of Christians I have talked to consider getting their soul into heaven as the mo ...[text shortened]... he existence of God I would not consider doing anything for the purpose of 'saving my soul'.
    "Saving one's soul" not only means surviving death, but achieving moral integrity. The two senses should not be conflated.
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    03 Nov '06 12:21
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    "Saving one's soul" not only means surviving death, but achieving moral integrity. The two senses should not be conflated.
    I have not come across your second definition before (except as a more or less direct reference to the first), though surviving death is not what the first should be either.
  8. Cape Town
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    03 Nov '06 12:28
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    That is the 64-thousand dollar question. The soul obviously depends on the body, but is not the same as the body. My view is that, because of our intrinsic mental limitations, we can't penetrate this mystery very far.
    You are effectively implying that you haven't got a clue what the soul is.

    If, as implied in your post, the soul is equivalent to consciousness, then I see no reason for 'intrinsic mental limitations' so better not use 'our' and 'we' in the sentence.

    So in your opinion do animals have souls? Do they go to heaven?
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    03 Nov '06 12:31
    Originally posted by Agerg
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big [b]*me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from? where is it? what is it made of? how *in detail* does it work?..pleas ...[text shortened]... ral entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate[/b]
    Your questions are only problemmatic within a [Cartesian] dualist framework.

    You might want to look at other formulations of 'soul' (e.g. Thomistic and Augustinian).
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    03 Nov '06 12:58
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Your questions are only problemmatic within a [Cartesian] dualist framework.

    You might want to look at other formulations of 'soul' (e.g. Thomistic and Augustinian).
    Please state which one you believe and give a basic description. I am sure however that there are even more problematic questions relating to any version you can suggest and not all his questions are specific to one framework.
  11. Jo'Burg South Africa
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    03 Nov '06 13:24
    Originally posted by Agerg
    See...this is yet another thing that bugs me about religion...this concept of an eternal soul...The big [b]*me* or mind behind a physical body.

    Firstly, when did I get my soul? (did it get taken away from me whilst in the sperm and egg stage of my life?) where did it come from? where is it? what is it made of? how *in detail* does it work?..pleas ...[text shortened]... ral entity such as my soul could be influenced by physical devices??? again, please elaborate[/b]
    As an Atheist, why are you interrested in the soul.

    Sometimes the only answers to alot of questions people have are "off the cuff/convenient answers" - because, it just is so.

    You really have to open to ALL answers to be able to get to know the truth.
  12. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    03 Nov '06 20:24
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    You are effectively implying that you haven't got a clue what the soul is.

    If, as implied in your post, the soul is equivalent to consciousness, then I see no reason for 'intrinsic mental limitations' so better not use 'our' and 'we' in the sentence.

    So in your opinion do animals have souls? Do they go to heaven?
    No, I am not effectively implying that I haven't got a clue what the soul is. I am stating that the link between soul and body is mysterious. That doesn't mean there's plenty of stuff about the soul people, including me, can understand.

    I didn't imply the soul is equivalent to consciousness. I stated that the soul was akin to mind, with especial reference to the mind's higher-level functions, which include consciousness.

    Your impression that you can summarize the subtleties of my view with a sweeping offhand statement is mistaken.

    I am quite content to assert that people in general are not constitutionally capable of fully understanding the link between mind and body. What makes you so sure the human mind, a product of nature, is designed to perfectly understand itself? Is humility alien to your intellectual perspective?

    In my opinion, (non-human) animals have only a very rudimentary soul, and perhaps don't deserve to be said to have a soul. I don't know if anyone goes to heaven. I suspect clams don't.
  13. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    03 Nov '06 20:251 edit
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Your questions are only problemmatic within a [Cartesian] dualist framework.

    You might want to look at other formulations of 'soul' (e.g. Thomistic and Augustinian).
    Those formulations are also problematic. In fact, all formulations of the mind-body relation are problematic. This is because the relation is inherently mysterious.
  14. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    03 Nov '06 20:29
    Originally posted by Nicksten
    As an Atheist, why are you interrested in the soul.

    Sometimes the only answers to alot of questions people have are "off the cuff/convenient answers" - because, it just is so.

    You really have to open to ALL answers to be able to get to know the truth.
    Why shouldn't an atheist be interested in theist's conceptions of the soul? Especially if they are problematic?

    I think you underestimate the problems implicit in religious conception of the soul. Hence, you think "off the cuff/convenient" answers can be appropriate. You are wrong.

    In your last line you appear to be asserting that agerg is biased, i.e., not open to all the answers. What answers should he be open to, and why?
  15. Standard memberAgerg
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    05 Nov '06 17:152 edits
    sorry for the late reply..I work long & wierd shifts

    As an Atheist, why are you interrested in the soul.

    Sometimes the only answers to alot of questions people have are "off the cuff/convenient answers" - because, it just is so.

    You really have to open to ALL answers to be able to get to know the truth.


    I could tell you that Harry the Hobgoblin lied to you all about God and is the only real deity, to some of us he gives us souls and to others, he doesn't...that too is a convenient/off the cuff answer...do you find it reasonable? 😉

    I am interested because despite the fact that I'm an atheist...I'd at least like this simple set of questions to be reasonably reconciled...all people that I have thrown these questions at in person have not even come close to giving me a decent answer


    Your questions are only problemmatic within a [Cartesian] dualist framework.

    You might want to look at other formulations of 'soul' (e.g. Thomistic and Augustinian).


    I have done a bit of reading but my questions are still very much problematic...for instance if you take this excerpt from wiki that pertains to Thomism:

    The senses are passive, in that they perceive, rather than create, their objects. However, the will controls the exercise of the faculties, and thus determines and shapes what they perceive and how they perceive it.

    this doesn't really answer the question that bothers me most...how is our *mind* affected by physical devices if it is a supernatural entity. I suppose you could go on to say "well, the soul just controls your brain and alters it's capacity to function after taking drugs etc..." (or whatever you would say)...but why the need for this third party influence?...If I get hit on the head and suffer extreme brain damage, does my soul dramatically alter my personality and mental faculties just for the sake of consistancy?...what if the good person I am now changes to some angry but stupid thug bent on making people stop having red stuff inside them because of my new mindset?...thats not a very nice soul then is it?...If the soul doesn't facilitate this, then exactly what does it facilitate? what do we need it for?


    Are you identical with your physical body? If so, with what part? You say "my" leg, arm, head, brain. But if it belongs to you, it is not you, because belongs implies a distinction.

    Now, if you are not identical with your physical body, or any part of it, then don't you yourselves believe you have a mind "behind" your body?


    But I would say that my arms, legs, eyes etc... are merely the components that allow my body to perform different functions...they don't necessarily belong to me, more they are whether I like it or not part of me... just as a cancerous growth is (yes I know...I'm not actually changing the nature of how they are connected with my body though a wording change does help reconcile the *implies a distinction bit* 😉 )
    The workings of my brain are the device which I would argue bestows upon me the ability to think and the things around me that I consider important (and for want of more time to better state my argument here...my personality)

    I respect your efforts to try and meet all of my questions Pawnokeyhole 🙂...but though I can see how many of the answers cannot be anything other than the form of
    Q: where is it?
    A: Nowhere. It doesn't have a spatial location.
    to avoid blowing the concept right out of the water...answers such as
    It's not made of stuff we way physical things are made of stuff. It still may be made of stuff, but in a different way. The details may be beyond our ken. is unfortunately still a convenient answer, others are convenient in a different way but I have to stop typing now so that i can go to work again (no doubt I'll think of a million edits that would better clarify my position)
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