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)