cuchulain

Does the human soul exist?

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To prove a soul exists, you first have to have a distinct, detailed definition of soul. Once you have determined the qualities that are unique to a soul, you need a way to measure those qualities. You then need a way to control for other variables that may be effecting your measurements.

Unless a soul is a very simple thing, this cannot be a simple process. As such, the ability to recognize proof of a soul as such may require specialized knowledge or access to rare materials or equipment. This means that providing proof to others may be an even more complicated process than simply finding proof.

This all assumes you are looking for proof of a scientific nature. Otherwise, all it really takes is for you to see something you can't figure out how to explain any other way. When we get desperate for answers, we tend to see proof everywhere. ;) 

Edited by mererdog

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1 hour ago, mererdog said:

Long ago, my grandmother's doctor suggested Tai Chi to help with her arthritis. The first teacher she tried spent the first half hour of the class talking about what chi is and how it can be harnessed for healing purposes. She didn't stay for the whole class and never tried another teacher.

Luckily, her first yoga class wasn't heavy on the "chakra talk." The regular exercize and the social environment did her a lot of good.

My primary Tai Chi instructor doesn't talk about Chi at all.  My Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor mentioned Chi along the way but focused on correct breathing.  What you get depends on where you go.  It is helping my Arthritis.  I'm more interested in results than theory.  

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1 hour ago, mererdog said:

 

 

I have encountered some groups that were not fun experiences.

There were the "Skeptic" groups.  Talking about Therapeutic Touch sends them into a frenzy.  Like they had to defend science at all cost.  Well, science isn't all that fragile.  Reality prevails.  

I also had to leave a few Atheist groups.  I had the nerve to say "Agnostic".  To me, Atheism is simple non-belief.  Not even disbelief.  Non-belief. To these groups -- wow.  It was like I had walked into their church and pissed on the altar.  No perspective at all.  

It would start off as a normal conversation.  Someone would ask -- "If you had to join a religion, which one would it be?"  I said, "Agnostic".  Just like that, it was on.  You probably had similar experiences.  Holy warriors disguised as rationalists.....  Atheists that can't live with Agnostics.  What are things coming too?  

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2 hours ago, mererdog said:

To prove a soul exists, you first have to have a distinct, detailed definition of soul. Once you have determined the qualities that are unique to a soul, you need a way to measure those qualities. You then need a way to control for other variables that may be effecting your measurements.

Unless a soul is a very simple thing, this cannot be a simple process. As such, the ability to recognize proof of a soul as such may require specialized knowledge or access to rare materials or equipment. This means that providing proof to others may be an even more complicated process than simply finding proof.

This all assumes you are looking for proof of a scientific nature. Otherwise, all it really takes is for you to see something you can't figure out how to explain any other way. When we get desperate for answers, we tend to see proof everywhere. ;) 

This is like a lot of arguments about God.  We have all been in them.

"Prove that God doesn't exist."

"Define God."

"You worship the Devil and you're going to burn in Hell."

"What?"

"Pray for understanding."

"What?"

"Read the Bible."

"I did.  That's why I don't believe."

"You don't have the Holy Spirit.  You can't understand without the Spirit."

"Are you on medication?"

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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On 6/6/2017 at 5:22 PM, cuchulain said:

It's something I have been thinking about lately, trying to determine if I can believe logically in a soul.  There are many cultures and philosophies and religions that insist it exists, and that it is obviously self evident and cannot be questioned.  I question it.  

I know the Christian answer presupposes it's existence, and I can appreciate that they believe it, but what I am looking for is philosophical or scientific evidence, if possible, either way.  I understand(perhaps wrongly) that Buddhists don't believe in a soul but DO believe in reincarnation?  Not sure how that works without a soul...

I think there may be some confusion as to what a soul is. I'm not going to try to speak for all Christians here however, from what I've been taught just as God is a triune being so too is man. The human experience is encompassed in three ways. Body, soul and spirit. When I was younger I thought soul and spirit were just different words for the same thing. Many Christian scholars have defined the three as being different aspects of our being. As I understand it, the body is just a vehicle through which we experience the world. The key components of the body are the five senses. The soul is what makes us all different individuals. The soul is said to consist of the mind, will and emotions. The spirit is the part of us that was breathed into us by God. The spirit may be said to be made up of your intuition (sensitivity to the Holy Spirit), conscience (determining right from wrong) and communion (with God). 

When looked at in this way it can be said with certainty the soul does exist. We have a mind, will and emotions.

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I think in order to scientifically define anything you start with observation, don't you?  Observe the soul, then define it based on that observation, then test that definition to see if it works?  So shouldn't the first step be observing the soul?  I don't know how to observe the soul.

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

I think in order to scientifically define anything you start with observation, don't you?  Observe the soul, then define it based on that observation, then test that definition to see if it works?  So shouldn't the first step be observing the soul?  I don't know how to observe the soul.

Or, you start with an observation, and you theorize the soul as an explanation for that observation. You would then define the soul according to the qualities necessary to explain the observation. As you got more precise measurements over time, the definition would either be adjusted to fit, or be discarded in favor of a more fitting explanation. Atoms, germs, and Planet X were all originally defind this way. 

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A living soul is just the essence of who you are, its yourself and its existence transcends the temporary body we currently occupy. The spirit is the intellect of the soul, both of which transgress mortality. The only thing that perishes is our flesh bodies, we are changed at death (1 Corinthians 15:52), and the soul inherits a new incorruptible body, of which the spirit possesses. Your soul is just your being, and only God can destroy it (Matthew 10:28). That's a Christian perspective of course.

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I can appreciate the Christian perspective, Dan.  I simply need some observational evidence to go with it before I can consider the biblical verses to be accurate.

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7 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I can appreciate the Christian perspective, Dan.  I simply need some observational evidence to go with it before I can consider the biblical verses to be accurate.

 

It's a pure faith statement.  There is no evidence.  

 

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On 6/6/2017 at 5:22 PM, cuchulain said:

It's something I have been thinking about lately, trying to determine if I can believe logically in a soul.  There are many cultures and philosophies and religions that insist it exists, and that it is obviously self evident and cannot be questioned.  I question it.  

I know the Christian answer presupposes it's existence, and I can appreciate that they believe it, but what I am looking for is philosophical or scientific evidence, if possible, either way.  I understand(perhaps wrongly) that Buddhists don't believe in a soul but DO believe in reincarnation?  Not sure how that works without a soul...

This came across my Facebook feed this morning. I just thought it might fit well into this discussion.

What is a Soul

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On 6/14/2017 at 0:20 PM, cuchulain said:

I can appreciate the Christian perspective, Dan.  I simply need some observational evidence to go with it before I can consider the biblical verses to be accurate.

 

The spiritual world is in a different realm, its not observable. Your soul perishes in its physical form, but your intellect (self awareness) doesn't perish when your brain dies.. Its a belief not backed by observational evidence, unless you count the resurrection of Christ. He said the only sign would be that the Son of Man, like Jonah, would rise after 3 days.. That was observable and witnessed. Every observable thing that exist was not created by anything physical, so everything seen is evidence of a spiritual existence. Eliminate what's known and your left with what's unknown, and God is the answer to that, at least for me.

 

3 hours ago, Pastor Dave said:

This came across my Facebook feed this morning. I just thought it might fit well into this discussion.

What is a Soul

 

Saw the film "Lucy", and Scarlett Johanson pretty much said the same thing at the end  :). We are contained and restrained by time, but we are everywhere outside of it..

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8 hours ago, cuchulain said:

If the spiritual realm is not observable, how is it known?

 

How indeed?  There is much in the religious world that is based on "faith" instead of evidence.  Structures of belief built on sand.  

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11 hours ago, cuchulain said:

If the spiritual realm is not observable, how is it known?

 

Its not known, it is believed.... If the bible stories are true, then a spiritual world exist (Matthew 17: 1-9). If the stories are fabricated, then its anyone's guess.

 

I personally choose to  recognize that a creation demands the existence of a Creator. Our physical surroundings are evidence of an intelligent Designer. God's divine nature is clearly understood by the visible things that God has made (Romans 1:20). Even a purely secular mind knows the consequences of good and evil (right & wrong). I think that  a God-given awareness, a consciousness, of His existence, is instilled in everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not. 

 

"Mankind has been gifted with an awareness of God's existence. Like most things in life, this awareness must be confirmed, developed, and lived by in greater detail, but the proofs of God's existence are readily available through an honest observation of the creation. The evidence is so obvious that, in God's judgment, it leaves humanity without justification for not knowing of His existence. What is really difficult is proving God does not exist!

Most people merely accept His existence as a fact, but few appear to make it foundational to their way of life. On the other extreme are those who utterly reject it because they have faith only in what they call “science.” That faith is an impossibility because they have no scientific answer to where life came from in the first place."

 

 

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11 hours ago, Dan56 said:

 

Its not known, it is believed.... If the bible stories are true, then a spiritual world exist (Matthew 17: 1-9). If the stories are fabricated, then its anyone's guess.

 

I personally choose to  recognize that a creation demands the existence of a Creator. Our physical surroundings are evidence of an intelligent Designer. God's divine nature is clearly understood by the visible things that God has made (Romans 1:20). Even a purely secular mind knows the consequences of good and evil (right & wrong). I think that  a God-given awareness, a consciousness, of His existence, is instilled in everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not. 

 

"Mankind has been gifted with an awareness of God's existence. Like most things in life, this awareness must be confirmed, developed, and lived by in greater detail, but the proofs of God's existence are readily available through an honest observation of the creation. The evidence is so obvious that, in God's judgment, it leaves humanity without justification for not knowing of His existence. What is really difficult is proving God does not exist!

Most people merely accept His existence as a fact, but few appear to make it foundational to their way of life. On the other extreme are those who utterly reject it because they have faith only in what they call “science.” That faith is an impossibility because they have no scientific answer to where life came from in the first place."

 

 

 

That is a big If.  I am making different assumptions and finding different answers.     :rolleyes:

 

On this point, I am certain.  You are mistaken.      :mellow:     

 

One more detail.  Even if you could prove an intelligent designer -- you have not done so -- it still would not be proof of your god.  

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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On 6/8/2017 at 6:18 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Skeptic is a problem word.  One of the worst.  If your goal is to avoid offending people, I would find something different.  

I don't see it as a problem word.  To me it denotes doubts. You can clarify with being a hard skeptic (nothing will convince a person otherwise) or a soft skeptic (want to believe, but can't without truly convincing evidence) but overall it  isn't all it's just a word that  implies the level of belief a person has about something.  How would that be offensive in and of itself?

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3 hours ago, AmberLF said:

I don't see it as a problem word.  To me it denotes doubts. You can clarify with being a hard skeptic (nothing will convince a person otherwise) or a soft skeptic (want to believe, but can't without truly convincing evidence) but overall it  isn't all it's just a word that  implies the level of belief a person has about something.  How would that be offensive in and of itself?

That is certainly one way to look at it. Most tend to see "skeptics" as debunkers or bullheaded non-believers, in my experience. They do have that right, but it also misrepresents the word to me. I think along the lines as you just expressed.

Skeptics are just truth seekers, or theory testers, if you will.

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