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Old 08-10-2013, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHartphotog View Post
Believing in souls has NOTHING TO DO with believing that people should abide by rules of ethics and morals.

Organized religions would have us believe that unless we follow their dictates (and financially support them), there will be chaos in society. Yet in practice, religion usually ends up being the REASON for chaos in society--terrorism being the most obvious example.

As to believing in something because it's a nice idea, that doesn't really work in logical minds. I'd love to believe in life after death, but you can't force yourself to believe something that defies all logic and reason.
This for me as well.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
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The soul, in many mythological, religious, philosophical, and psychological traditions, is the incorporeal and, in many conceptions, immortal essence of a person, living thing, or object.[1] According to some religions (including the Abrahamic religions in most of their forms), souls—or at least immortal souls capable of union with the divine[2]—belong only to human beings. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but taught that only human souls are immortal.[3] Other religions (most notably Jainism) teach that all biological organisms have souls, and others further still that non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This latter belief is called animism.[4] Anima mundi and the Dharmic Ātman are concepts of a "world soul."

This is a definition I took from Wikipedia. There are three definitions of soul here. The OP seems to be focusing on only one. Personally, if I were to believe in one, I like animism the best. When I look into my cat's deep blue eyes and she looks back if there I could imagine a "soul" being in there.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
That seems an incomplete definition in that animals are subject to feelings, but that alone does not generate a soul. Don't all fish have pretty much the same personality?

Wouldn't it be "Something that feels and is capable of thinking about those feelings?"
Under my former self-created religion, I would have never thought of my dog as not having a soul. I probably would have thought of fish, or ants, for that matter, as having souls.

I still remember watching ants with fascination with their existences...and then smashing them for amusement, but I think I remember thinking of them as having souls of a kind. If ants can have souls...fish can definitely have souls.

While not smashing them at least, I viewed the ants as having existences which mattered to the ants...and that was good enough of a reason for them to exist irrelative of whether or not they ever assisted beings which could understand their emotions. I viewed the ants as having a reason to exist for the purpose of serving themselves, and so I viewed them as having souls of a sort.

I don't know what level of awareness most people would view as having a soul.

Your view seems like a common view of what types of beings people would view as having a soul though. It definitely seems to be the case that once we view life as being able to think about its emotions, that life gains much more value in most people's eyes.

Last edited by Clintone; 08-10-2013 at 10:17 PM..
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post

Your view seems like a common view of what types of beings people would view as having a soul though. It definitely seems to be the case that once we view life as being able to think about its emotions, that life gains much more value in most people's eyes.
In a religious sense, anything can have a soul, there are no rules when you are just making stuff up. If as I explained earlier, soul is being used as a substitute for personality or consciousness, but not with any religious implications, then of course it would be limited to humans, unless all horses are actually like Mr. Ed but without the power of speech.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I would be down with "soul" as interchangeable with consciousness or personality if the word was not so strongly and traditionally associated with religious belief and theories of immortality. But since that association does prevail, then I think it best to drop "soul" and simply employ the less vague terminology. There will be fewer misunderstandings that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
That would be best. I can live with 'Soul', provided that it is explained just what is meant by that, not leave it nicely vague so it can be applied to someone' latest album and then used to suggest that we have already accepted that the soul in any other convenient definition is therefore to be regarded as equally real.

There are a great number of terms used to describe this form of rhetorical argument, but they all mean essentially the same.
Whether the term is misleading or not, and whether the ways it is misleading are relevant depends on the context it is used in, I think.

A: I doubt 20% of the western world wouldn't know what "the soul of the city" means.

B: When someone says, "I feel it in my very soul," nearly everyone will know what that means. They would probably additionally assume the person has a belief in a theistic soul...but there's no reason for them to be positive about it.

C: If I say, "I have a soul too" I think that means something like, "I have worth like everyone else." It also probably would strongly imply to many people that the person believes in a theistic soul.

Regarding A, I have no idea what problems might be caused by talking about the soul of the city that would outweigh the benefits of not bothering to remove the word from one's regular vocabulary.

Regarding B, the statement, "I feel it in my very soul," that might be a little misleading, but I'd usually view that as irrelevant.

Regarding C, I'd probably avoid that one, unless I'm being pelted with fruit by a mob due to having some sort of physical deformity and desire a way to escape.

I'm not sure how misleading, "my soul" is. I do think it's less misleading than, "I believe I have a soul," or "I have a soul." I'd be understanding of people who go out of their way to never use the phrase, "my soul," who don't believe in a theistic soul...though I'm not one of them.

Last edited by Clintone; 08-11-2013 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144 View Post
Okay, based on what I've come up with, most Atheists don't believe in superstition (magic, supernatural creatures, luck, and generic black cats/breaking mirrors/etc), souls, God/gods, and sometimes creation itself.

You don't have to believe in the other stuff, but you should at least believe in souls.
Atheists don't need to believe in jack squat.

Now read this, direct from Administrator: No proselytizing in this sub-forum
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:15 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,251,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Whether the term is misleading or not, and whether the ways it is misleading are relevant depends on the context it is used in, I think.

A: I doubt 20% of the western world wouldn't know what "the soul of the city" means.

B: When someone says, "I feel it in my very soul," nearly everyone will know what that means. They would probably additionally assume the person has a belief in a theistic soul...but more likely than not...that's probably mostly because of the large percentage of the population that do, and they lack a reason not to assume such things. They'd assume, but I doubt they'd know.

C: If I say, "I have a soul too" That means, "I have worth like everyone else." It also probably would strongly imply to many people that the person believes in a theistic soul.

Regarding A, I have no idea what problems might be caused by talking about the soul of the city that would outweigh the benefits of not bothering to remove the word from one's regular vocabulary.

Regarding B, the statement, "I feel it in my very soul," that might be a little misleading, but I'd usually view that as irrelevant, unless it's stated in a church or to someone who is a known Bible-thumper or something.

Regarding C, I'd probably avoid that one, unless I'm being pelted by fruit by a mob due to having some sort of physical deformity and desire a way to escape.
The problem is not really in general conversation. It is kind of specific to debate and discussion of religious topics. Just like with the word god, often people want to expand the definition and say that the soul means a self identity or the ability to think or consciousness, and then implicitly build off of that, adding unspoken characteristics that are part of the baggae of the word itself. Then they might say since we agree that a soul exists there has to be a source for these immaterial, eternal, non-physical entities, therefore... God! But we never had a common understanding that a soul was any of those things.

Language shapes thought, so when trying to handle philosophical ideas, precision in language is vital.
This is why, in that context, I don't use the word "soul". In "real life", it is a perfectly good word, filled with many shades of meaning, and of course it should be apart of our lexicon. It just doesn't lend itself to the specificity that is often needed to discuss religion and philosophy.

-NoCapo
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Canada
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soul is air
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
The problem is not really in general conversation. It is kind of specific to debate and discussion of religious topics. Just like with the word god, often people want to expand the definition and say that the soul means a self identity or the ability to think or consciousness, and then implicitly build off of that, adding unspoken characteristics that are part of the baggae of the word itself. Then they might say since we agree that a soul exists there has to be a source for these immaterial, eternal, non-physical entities, therefore... God! But we never had a common understanding that a soul was any of those things.

Language shapes thought, so when trying to handle philosophical ideas, precision in language is vital.
This is why, in that context, I don't use the word "soul". In "real life", it is a perfectly good word, filled with many shades of meaning, and of course it should be apart of our lexicon. It just doesn't lend itself to the specificity that is often needed to discuss religion and philosophy.

-NoCapo
Yes...avoiding the usage of the words, "God, soul, spirit, demons, heaven, Eden, hell, damnation," is a good idea for pretty much all philosophic and religious discussion in which they are not the theistic versions.

Also, everybody who wants to stand out as an atheist should cease using Christian or Islamic terms that have secular meanings in addition to their theistic meanings, in the real world.

Last edited by Clintone; 08-11-2013 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:57 PM
 
Location: USA
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I suspect there's a soul, or that at least some part of us goes on after death.

That being said, when one looks at the world full of evil and suffering and constantly sees over and over again in one's own life that hard work, effort, and doing the right thing lead only to punishment while criminal behavior, cronyism, and stupidity are often rewarded, it is very difficult to believe in a loving, caring god. Considering that he is supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful, why has he done absolutely nothing for me in my time of need? Why did he stand by and allow my life's work to be destroyed and my reputation slandered while at the same time shielding the useless and evil from consequences for their actions? If he does less than us comparatively powerless mortals, than either he doesn't know about us, doesn't care about us, or just plain doesn't exist. But even if he doesn't exist, I still say WE exist, and some aspect of us lives on after death.
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