The Truth About Souls, death and Religion
We feel that we have soul in us. Why do we say that we have soul in us? There is feeling of living entity in us and that feeling of the living entity is what we call soul. We have that feeling that there is something more to us then the body. Also different religions and authority have told us that we have souls. All these make us believe that we have a soul. We do not say that there is a soul in our leg because the feeling of living entity is not in a leg. We have seen that, this feeling is a property of the brain. It makes us feel that we have some separate living entity called soul in us. The reason we say that we have a soul is because we have that feeling of separate living entity.
Before we can say that if soul exists or does not exists, we have to define its characteristics. According the common definition the way the word soul is used we can say that some of the characteristics of a soul are:
1. Soul defines our identity. As an example when you say that “My name is X” then the X refers to the central identify we call it “soul”. This is essentially same as the central feeling of “I”.
2. It is a separate entity from body.
3. Soul is a living entity within us. Soul gives us the feeling that we are alive.
4. During our lifetime it lives within our body but is not part of our body.
5. When body dies, soul does not die.
6. Soul never dies, but when body dies then it goes from one body to another body.
Since we have defined what soul is and have defined some of its characteristics then we can start discussing if soul exists or not.
Suppose if we start with the claim that soul exists. Then we will have following questions that we may need to answer about soul’s existence. These are only subset of questions. You may think of more questions then what I have presented.
1. Where souls are made?
2. Do number of souls remains same?
3. How does soul goes from one body to another body? And at what point?
4. If a body is not available for soul to go to, does soul go to some repository? Where is that repository?
5. At what point soul enters body of another animal or human being. At birth? At conception? How?
6. What is the driving force that makes the movement of the soul from one body to another body possible?
Question: Where souls are made?
Answer: Here we are assuming the existence of soul. If we say that soul exists then some where in the universe soul should have been made. When did the first soul was made? Where in the universe the souls are being made now? We do not know the answers of these questions. You can answer this question that God produces soul then where is God and which place does he or she resides and makes souls?
We do not have a satisfactory answer to this question. So we cannot justify the existence of soul.
Question: Do number of souls remains same?
Answer: Human population and living entities population of earth does not remain constant. When planet earth first existed then there were no living entities and later on population of living entities started increasing. From that standpoint the number of souls should increase too. Currently the population of living entities is increasing. In that sense the number of souls should increase and at some place souls must be made to fill the need of increased population. We do not know where souls are made so we are not able to give satisfactory answer to this question. We cannot justify the existence of soul.
Question: How does soul goes from one body to another body? And at what point?
Answer: We say that upon death of the body soul goes from one body to another body. When body dies then how does it go to another body? We have seen cases in medicine that after CPR, body does get revived in some cases. Does soul goes out and then comes back when body gets revived? If body does not get revived then at what point soul leaves body? We do not have answer to this question either. Don’t you think that the feeling of soul is produced by brain and it lasts only as long as brain is functioning?
Question: If a body is not available for soul to go to, does soul go to some repository? Where is that repository?
Answer: Suppose at some point population is decreasing. Then soul should go to some repository or they should get destroyed. Where these events are happening? We do not know. Let us not generate answers to questions we do not know. We have created the concept of soul but the characteristics that we have defined cannot be justified.
Question: At what point soul enters body of another animal or human being? At birth? At conception? How?
Answer: In most living species fertilization happens before growth starts. In bacteria just cell divides and new bacteria is produced. At what point the soul enters in the body of a living cell. Initially there is only one cell. Where in the cell soul resides? Does it reside in cell or a body? If it resides in a cell then each of our cell should have one soul. When cell divides then how soul gets divided? Please do not generate the answer but reason out the answer. We use our imagination and generate answers when we do not know the answers. These generated answers have no backing of reasoning and are detrimental to finding the truth.
Question: What is the driving force that makes the movement of the soul possible from one body to another body?
Answer: You may say that I am treating soul as an entity, which requires force. You may say that soul is not an entity. Then what is really a soul? If you say that soul exists then you should be able to explain what you mean by soul. Or is it that we have created some illusion that soul exists because we are afraid of death?
Regarding the driving force needed to move the soul there is no force and we cannot justify how it operates. This whole concept of soul is a delusion that was imagined because of fear of death.
As we have discussed there is no such thing as soul that has the properties that we described. There is that feeling of “I” or feeling of identity within us but it is the property that brain produces. The feeling of living entity is also produced by brain. The feeling of soul and living entity is essentially one feeling.
What is really a living entity? We feel that there is something within us that is alive. This is just feeling that is produced by brain. We are just like machines. Our body-machine has organ brain and brain is the one who is producing the feeling of soul, “I” and feeling of living entity.
The question I would now pose is “who are we”? What is death?
We are just our body. We are like a machine. Like a machine, body has different parts and organs. If some of the parts do not function, we die. The body as a whole stops functioning. As an example, your heart has to be functioning all the time else death of the body will occur. You can replace the heart but a functioning heart is a must else death will happen. Brain is another organ, which is necessary else body will stop functioning. When body stops functioning then we can say that death of the person occurs. I am not trying to define exact definition of death here. When body dies then brain also stops functioning and the feeling of “I” also goes away. The feeling of living entity that is created by brain also dies with the death of the body. All our memories and perceptions that brain has stored over the years, goes away too. The unique genetic combination that produced this body in the universe is not going to get repeated. We are not talking about cloning here. Even after cloning the different body will happen and it will have a different “I” feeling then you had during your lifetime.
Death of the body is the end of all your existence, your memories and your perceptions and feeling of “I” and feeling of living entity.
This leads us to a question. Is there reincarnation? Is there anything like hell and heaven? What happens to us after death?
What is reincarnation? We feel that there is a separate living entity within us. We do not like to die. We do not know what happens to that living entity once we die. We have seen that the feeling of living entity is a feeling that is produced by brain. There is no such real living entity that lives in our body. We are our body. Our body consists of parts and organs. Brain is one such organ. The feeling of “I”, soul and living entity are nothing but feeling produced by brain. That is how our brain is. Producing such feelings are property of brain. There is no separate living entity that lives in us.
This leads us to conclusion that when our body and brain dies, these feelings die and there is no point in discussing what happens to the living entity because the feeling of living entity is a transient feeling. These feelings go away when you are unconscious. They will go away once and for all when your brain dies. There is no such thing as reincarnation as the feeling of soul and living entity are just product of brain.
Now let us look at what is hell and heaven. One of the property of the brain is that when it does not know it imagines. It creates imaginations. You do not know what happens to you after death. When you think about it there is no answer. Now we know that “I” is just a feeling and it is a product of the brain. We know that what happens after death. These feelings go away once brain and body are dead.
When brain did not had an answer to the question then brain imagines. When brain did not had a satisfactory answer then brain gets scared and creates imaginations such that it can handle fear of death.
The whole concept of reincarnation, hell and heaven is an imagination of the brain. Answer these questions. Are heaven and hell places? Where are these places? In the sky? Where in the sky? Who lives in these places? How do they go there? If you look outside in the sky then there is grand vast universe. There are stars and galaxies. There is no heaven and hell. There are lot of stories about heaven and hell. These are just fairy tales. They are not real.
I suggest you read 'The Power of Now'
It is misconception to assume that there is a soul living in a body in the first place.
Is Beethoven inside the radio when we are listening to Beethoven sonata in the radio?
Is there an actor moving here and there in the television set that you watch?
There is no solid proof that memory are stored in the brains. Brains are just like a radio and television. If a surgeon went inside your brain, there would be no trace of information about what you eat last night for example. Memory resides at the level of the soul until we call it up. Once we consciously decide to recall our dinner, electrical activity and a release of chemicals signal that the brain is at work. But before we pull up the memory, it has no location in your brain. Simply asking a question or trying to recall an event converts a virtual memory into a real memory.
And I suggest you delve into Advaita Vedanta.
Shri Atmananda's works are excellent and I highly recommend them, but Adi Shankara's commentaries on the Upanishads are the gold standard.
In short, there are two key concepts:
The Supreme Cosmic Principle or Brahman is the One without a second, the whole and the only reality. Other than Brahman, everything else, including the universe, material objects and individuals are unreal.
Brahman is the omnipresent, omnipotent, impersonal, transcendent reality of all Being. It is the substratum of the material world, which in turn is its illusory holographic self-manifestation. Due to ignorance or avidya, Brahman is visible as the material world and its objects; Brahman is beyond attributes and forms, which is why frequently its is spoken of by the Sanskrit phrase, "neti, neti", or "not this, not this". It is often spoken of as "Satchitananda" (Sat is Truth, Chit is Consciousness and Ananda is Bliss).
The individual self (Atman), is the same as Brahman. It is not a part of Brahman that ultimately dissolves into or merges with Brahman, but Brahman itself . The "soul" (note the quotes; soul is a poor terminology) is not an individual entity. Atman is only one and unique. It is a false concept that there are several Atmans or "souls".
Adi Shankara famously illustrated with the metaphor that just as the one ocean appears on the surface as many individual waves, so does the one Atman (Brahman) appears as multiple Atmans in our bodies because of maya, or false perception of Reality. When the Atman is enveloped by avidya (ignorance), Atman becomes jiva, or a living incarnation with a body. However, this is not real; it is trapped in the matrix of maya, or what is unreal. At the transcendental level, only the One without a second is real.
The only way to realize the above is through deep meditation or Self-Enquiry.
I have to say I strongly prefer the perspective Antarananda presents. The entire post you've constructed, Radical, is difficult to follow: the questions you ask don't appear to come from any particular context, and there are oodles of assumptions built into every question that I can't see from where you're drawing them.
For instance, your first question presumes that souls are created things. This is why your answer is so wishy-washy; you're forced to struggle with the context of creation, rather than actually consider the question itself.
Your second question broaches the assumed question of whether or not souls exist in animals, in plants, in living organisms. It does not even begin to wonder what life actually is. People spend so much time obsessed with death that they don't actually have any idea what life is, except the not-death. I've never been able to stomach this; death is the not-life, not the other way around.
I could go on. I would recommend that you start with a simpler, more fundamental question, answer it, and then tackle the next stage.
Everything in the universe is energy.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed in form.
Thus, there is life after death, but of what type is what we do not truly know.
I agree that you've made way too many assumptions to try to tackle all you do at once starting with your first sentence - "We feel that we have soul in us. Why do we say that we have soul in us?"
Who's "we"? Your entire post talks about "we" and yet you can only obviously speak for yourself. Start with "I feel I have a soul in me" and work from there.
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Wait. You define a soul as a person's identity, and then say you argue that it doesn't exist?
Are you listening to yourself? You're not making logical arguments. If you want to refute the existence of souls, tell me what they are first. Ask for agreement. Then show how they are impossible, following from that definition.
Hmm, I've heard this anti soul argument so many times before and I really don't understand how this disproves a soul.
You went wrong, IMO, in your first step where "we" (and this is who? you and your buddies or what you have gathered the proverbial "we" believes about souls?) define what a soul is. I don't think this definition "we've" come up with actually describes what the average soul beleiving person thinks.
Why do souls need to be bound in an earthly body to exist? What spiritual information did you read that leads you to beleive people who beleive in souls feel this way? Why would there need to be a soul repository? The entire idea of a soul is that it is some force or energy that does not need the physical to exist. There is no container, human, repository or otherwise required. Why does the uncertainty of when a soul enters a body negate the existance of a soul? How does not knowing where/how/by whom souls are made mean they can't exist?
Again, the entire concept of the soul is that it is beyond the physical realm. Proving or disproving it by using logic and scientific reasoning will always result in disproving the existance of the soul. Any evidence to prove that a soul exists cannot yet be officially verified, quantified and given Humanity's Official Seal of Existance and therefore doesn't count. This is the same with anything paranormal or spiritual. It doesn't work in a lab. But spiritual, soulful experiences happen to people. Perhaps if it happened to you, you'd have a better idea of what all these crazy, irrational, logic-hating people are talking about. When something happens to you that can't be logically verified, it really doesn't change the fact that it happened to you. I believe in a soul because of some of these things. I'm not afraid of death. And I'm not afraid of being wrong and fading out of existance.
The population argument is really common and is flawed. It mainly assumes that a) the population of souls is static, b) only humans have souls, c) souls must go directly from body 1 to body 2, and d) these bodies are all on this planet Earth. Since the human population is ever increasing, there are not souls. If you are seriously evaluating if the soul exists, you need to be more open minded. If animals have souls, this whole population thing is pretty much impossible to calculate. If you factor in the idea that there is life on other planets where souls can incarnate, the number of human beings on the planet is completely irrelevant.
If you are looking to disprove the soul's existance, which you appear to be, you've gone about it in an effective way. Narrowly defining the characteristics of a soul and then using narrow minded logic to disprove these innaccurate characteristics. This may provide you with what you are looking for personally, but this line of thinking will not actually disprove something to a person who is already has an open mind to the concept of a soul, spirituality, and the idea that there are things that exist that we do not yet have the ability to completely verify or understand. I'm not trying to degrade you or call you a narrow minded individual. I'm just saying it appears that you are not objectively and openly evaluating the possibility of a soul's existance, which would require a different mindset than the one you were using when you approached this question.
This isn't too relevant to the thread itself, but I just made up a little something:
A pessimist is someone who thinks the body is a prison for the soul; an optimist is someone who thinks the soul empowers the body.
And if you're Shang Tsung (ref: Mortal Kombat), then you're both an optimist and a pessimist. :p
You really make too many assumptions. There are many things you've conveniently decided to ignore. On reincarnation alone, I invite you to google these three names:
Dr Ian Stevenson
Professor Raymond Moody
Dr Brian Weiss
all three who have had outstanding academic backgrounds. At the same time, all three research the topic of reincarnation from fundamentally different perspectives.
Dr Ian Stevenson researches cases of young children who apparently recall past lives - based on their accounts, he has actually been able to track down still-living families and people who knew the child in his past life. Often the child will have a prominent birthmark which corresponds to how he died in his earlier life - eg a chest wound in one life will result in a prominent birthmark in the exact spot in his next life.
Professor Raymond Moody researches the near-death experience; people who very nearly died (eg in a car accident, of cardiac arrest etc) but survived and returned to give accounts of what they saw on the other side. Now you will learn the true origins of phrases like "the light at the end of tunnel" and "my life flashed before my eyes". You will even read about their conversations with ......... God. Or whatever you want to call him. Note that similar NDEs are reported by people from all walks of life - Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, agnostics - different nationalities, cultures etc. In other words, regardless of whether you believe in him or not, and regardless of WHAT you believe about him, at the point of your death, you ARE going to meet ..... God. Or whatever you want to call him.
Dr Brian Weiss researches the topic of past-life regression hypnosis. One of his startling discoveries is that people regularly travel with each other from one life to the next. For example, your wife in this lifetime may have been your best friend in a past life. Under hypnosis, you and your wife will give matching accounts of your past life together, in highly detailed fashion - even though you and your wife are separately hypnotised, and neither knows beforehand what the other is going to say.
My short little accounts above will probably raise more questions in your mind than provide answers. I just invite you to go read up on your own on the above. It's fascinating, and I wouldn't be able to do justice to the topics just by writing about them here.
this is fascinating! I hope that Erin adds more of her knowledge of the after-life experience in upcoming articles too.
I wonder about the 'life flashing before your eyes' -- is this the life review? It seems like by some accounts the life review is more comprehensive than that, and lasts longer than a few seconds.
"Dr Ian Stevenson researches cases of young children who apparently recall past lives - based on their accounts, he has actually been able to track down still-living families and people who knew the child in his past life. Often the child will have a prominent birthmark which corresponds to how he died in his earlier life - eg a chest wound in one life will result in a prominent birthmark in the exact spot in his next life."
It's too bad that research like this doesn't get any press, but then I suppose it's because it challenges the belief that you only get one shot here on Earth.
If you believe in souls, then is it that hard to believe that it can inhabit several bodies? Additionally, who's to say when a soul chooses to inhabit a body? The abortion debate has always fascinated me since if you believe in souls, what says that the soul must inhabit the body at conception? Why not wait till the first breath? (of course, there's that pro-reincarnation quote from the Bible about God knowing you before you were born....)
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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Age of Reason
i wish to know if getting rich spiritually can be possible with you and if so, how long and what should i do.
to see a person alive and latter dead , is to know a soul and what its 'presence' is.
my views on this subject is similar to that of Anatarananda's ...
truth plain and simple
when seperating the many things that make up a human body, you get stuck with a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ of data.
you`d need to proccess that data, and without the right equipment you can`t.
i have such equipment.
the soul is present just like the many other parts, if one of those pieces where missing then your physical body cannot sustain life.
life is basically an energy that fills us and is regulated from one force.
then life is overblown because it is considered the most valuable thing one can have.
death is also regulated by one force.
but death has many forms, any state where life isn`t present.
that is the plain simple truth about life and death.
then religion, although it has been discussed countless of times, religion is bollocks.
because it is worshipping an entity not yourself, while you are at least a god yourself.
and it is used as a monopoly standard nowadays and back when it started.
there is nothing more greedy as religion.
there is nothing more negative then religion.
because mankind cannot cope with things he does not understand.
and that`s the plain simple truth of religion.
if you want to be a god then go train yourself and achieve that goal.
go beyond the universe to understand reason from fact.
one force regulates all forces because it is included as that wich is.
truth: that wich is, not what is not.
ride along truth for a while and see for yourself.
I really do not understand it when people say that they are gods. I do not find it unfathomable because of societal conditioning but because of reason. A God is being who is infinite, has no limits. God is basically someone who is everything we are not. God is eternal, all-knowing, He is the Perfect Ideal. How can we humans ever hope to become the Perfect Ideal if we ourselves are not perfect? Since when do we control the laws of the universe? How come we "gods" have cancers and diseases? It's because we aren't gods. Religion (the correct religion anyway) acts as a guide to align yourself to law. Saying that it is useless is a bias towards the aversive attitude toward religion today.
I think that when people refer to themselves as Gods they are simply expressing that we are all a part of God and thus have the ability to call upon the powers of said God to create and manifest our own reality.
2. In any infinite system, the center is everywhere.
3. Therefore, there is no central location for god.
Every 'center', every-one, is god.
If you believe you are a god or God in the truest sense of the word, do something God-like - create a human being from scratch.
Personally I suspect this is one of those things that just has to be 'grokked' and can't be reached through logical thought alone...
ever considered the meaning of god as a word made by man?
it`s the ideal of that wich we seek.
everyone is a god, an entity of infinite possibillities.
the whole word god is just so blown up because it`s a tie to a religion.
i said it before and i`ll say it again, i don`t like religion.
it`s all praise to something you could achieve yourself if you`d just understand you know?
wich one is the correct religion?
why would i worship something that isn`t really concerned about me anyway?
aswell as why should i abide by the laws of that wich is not?
but enough anti religion ranting...
the things is that when finite or infinite, you are a part of something.
most people mostly just live a sheltered life, those who go out are not allways any better.
while i wonder about raising questions and answers.
if you want to know what the other side of the universe looks like, then you gotta find a way there right?
i mean give it a rest to try to get answers while you allready made up your mind towards an answer that you like best.
that way we`ll never get an answer on this topic.
true it`s dificult to attain a rank of god, but there are higher ranks then just a god, and i`d feel sorry for him being on the low ranks list.
"apple" is a word made by man, too, but I don't see you denying their existence.
Or to say it clearer, can infinity know itself?
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