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What is a soul?
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Posted 5/19/10

DomFortress wrote:

The paradox for those who want to objectively prove the existence of the human soul, is the fact that they'll always be subjective towards their opinion/belief/theory about the human soul, due to a lack of justification when they can't even prove to themselves that they each posess this so-called soul.


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Posted 11/4/10
From a biological perspective, I'd say if there is a soul it's based in the prefrontal cortex, specifically the orbitofrontal cortext, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Why? Well, the orbitofrontal cortex is associated with morals, guilt, strategy, and other higher order processing. The ventrolateral prefrontal cortex is associated with inhibition of emotional responses and differentiating (i.e. good vs bad) The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is associated with planning, organization, regulation, etc.
In studies where a person has a lesion (damage) to OFC they can become very similar to a psychopath. In one study, a man with a tumor near OFC gradually developed socipathic traits. He eventually raped a family member, went to a mental institution where he attempted to rape a nurse, and then finally had a brain scan and his tumor was discovered. Upon removal of the tumor he regained moral judgment.
Anyways, cognitive thought occurs at prefrontal. A tumor in the right place will cause the most God fearing person to denounce God and become indifferent to human rights. In many developmental disorders, differences in the brain are found at the prefrontal. (e.g. most autistic children are quicker to anger and violence, which is associated with abnormal ventrolateral prefrontal function). Sociopaths have dysfunction of dlpfc, vlpfc, and ofc. Those we consider souless have brain dysfunction, therefore the soul must also be a brain function. This part's a joke.
Other things that can affect your 'soul', dementia, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse (particularly meth abuse). Meth loves to f' up the prefrontal. There are a host of things that can make you 'evil' and send you to hell, so you better hope that you're either born normal or die before you experience brain damage. If it was up to me I'd give a frontal lobotomy to religious fanatics. jk
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Posted 11/5/10 , edited 11/5/10
Uh, all that brain info.... ok-
I'd like to parade a different idea... I kinda want to know about the "thing" that gets a brain working in the first place--a type of energy?

Brain functions can sometimes be replicated in experiments to imitate muscle actions, react to pain stimuli, etc. etc. etc.
If so, a work of fiction like "Frankenstein" really wouldn't be so far fetched.

All that still leaves me wondering about a definitive explanation of why do "living" brains function w/ cognitive abilities, self awareness & / or creativity?

Lest you're thinking I've gotten off the topic!!!!--Here's my proposal............
I like to think of my consciousness as being the soul part of me.
When I die, since I chose to plug into the collective source for this energy driven consciousness, which I acknowledge as the creator God, my "soul" will be joined or incorporated into the universal eternal energy grid, if you will.

I suppose just about any collection of words or descriptions can be used to explain this sort of idea, hence the multiple faiths, belief systems, & scientific explanations. I'll take the opportunity to reiterate a view I've shared before elsewhere: I feel it unwise to take the words used in the Bible so literal. One must take into account the limited scientific awareness of the world available to the people and the times in which the Bible was written.
Maybe try using some more realistic & modern terminology as synonyms in the often archaic verses of the Bible which describe what we know about the earth today through the discoveries of science.........really, try it. It could offer a laugh or two if not enlightenment. Please, don't rage against my potentially heretical comments here-- it's just one woman's offering of her opinion. I truly have no proof or comparative arguments. Thanks!
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Posted 11/5/10
Why would God be limited by what science is available to us? If prophets and such were influenced by god it wouldn't matter what knowledge was available on Earth at the time. Could God create the universe and not understand physics or neurology?
You're right, energy cannot be created, only transferred, so when you die your body can release energy in the form of heat or some other working energy. What gives the brain energy? Glucose mostly. If the soul could act as a stimulant then there would be no need for carbs. You know what's cool, is looking at human brains vs sheep vs monkey vs rats and noticing what systems are different and which are not. They're all very similar, but you know what the others lack? A big prefrontal cortex (ours are relatively huge). Prefrontal is the consciousness part of the brain. So they don't have souls I guess.
Would you say that anyone born with abnormalties to the prefrontal cortex (sociopaths, autistic people, schizophrenics, ADHD, and so on) are souless or just damned from birth? If the Bible is correct, a sociopath will go to hell unless they're killed before puberty.
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Posted 11/5/10

brainbasher wrote:

Why would God be limited by what science is available to us? If prophets and such were influenced by god it wouldn't matter what knowledge was available on Earth at the time. Could God create the universe and not understand physics or neurology?

Actually, I would never attempt to limit God. The limitations I'm referring to are ours, humankind's, within the time the Bible was written & to the then far from scientifically literate audience. The overall capacity of humans to understand the world, life, the universe, has increased over the centuries. If the Bible were to actually be (re) written today, I've no doubt representations & descriptions-- of origins, for instance, would use more modern terminologies & scientific explanations-- because today we would be able to understand & accept them, but to the majority of people during Bible times, much of today's info (but maybe not all) would be meaningless.


You're right, energy cannot be created, only transferred, so when you die your body can release energy in the form of heat or some other working energy. What gives the brain energy? Glucose mostly. If the soul could act as a stimulant then there would be no need for carbs. You know what's cool, is looking at human brains vs sheep vs monkey vs rats and noticing what systems are different and which are not. They're all very similar, but you know what the others lack? A big prefrontal cortex (ours are relatively huge). Prefrontal is the consciousness part of the brain. So they don't have souls I guess.

(& I remember reading the animal with an eyeball most close to our own is the octopus. I really get a kick out of such info & comparisons.)


Would you say that anyone born with abnormalties to the prefrontal cortex (sociopaths, autistic people, schizophrenics, ADHD, and so on) are souless or just damned from birth?

Gosh, if that were so, I've no hope of melding my soul energy with the everlasting someday, as I've a clinical case of ADHD. My opinionated guess would be a definite no for your query to 'soulessness'. One of the most sincere & genuine people of (Christian) faith I've ever experienced is my Down's Syndrome cousin. So, for my vote, all born as humans have souls......


If the Bible is correct, a sociopath will go to hell unless they're killed before puberty.

Don't forget, for the believer, the Bible includes a New Testament with the offer of forgiveness & salvation for the confession of sin.
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out how this fits in with my soul energy theory, but I'm still working on it...(?)

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Posted 11/5/10

Actually, I would never attempt to limit God. The limitations I'm referring to are ours, humankind's, within the time the Bible was written & to the then far from scientifically literate audience. The overall capacity of humans to understand the world, life, the universe, has increased over the centuries. If the Bible were to actually be (re) written today, I've no doubt representations & descriptions-- of origins, for instance, would use more modern terminologies & scientific explanations-- because today we would be able to understand & accept them, but to the majority of people during Bible times, much of today's info (but maybe not all) would be meaningless.



Well, wouldn't God know that some humans would be born with say the XYY sex cromosomes and would therefore be more prone to violence. Or that some people would lack the ability to morally reason out that murdering children is wrong. Or that some people are born with female/male genitally but have the brain of a male/female and would have a higher chance of being gay. If so then I don't think the commandments would be the same nor the actions taking against nonbelievers and 'demon' influenced people. If he did know and still decided to destroy sodom and gomorrah, then he would be a sick mofo. The point is that the Bible was written by people wo wrote it to most benefit themselves. By not being all knowing they didn;t know what we know today and therefore created contradictions and fallacies. I like to believe in what would be called a God but not the Bible God. I mean if you consider all energy in the universe condensed into a single form and then being distributed to form multiple lesser forms of energy then yeah God would be in all humans and living things and eventually everything would return to God if the energy consolidated again.


(& I remember reading the animal with an eyeball most close to our own is the octopus. I really get a kick out of such info & comparisons.)


Well, the octopus eye is very different from all invertebrates eyes. Our's (mammals) are an extension of the brain and theirs are not. The similarities I speak of are specific. The structures are the same, in the same locations, same functions and features, same everything. Some of our structures like olfactory bulbs (sense of smell) are smaller in comparison to a rat, dog, sheep, most mammals. As smell is less keen to our survival, the bulbs are smaller and other areas (prefrontal) larger. There are other extremely intelligent animals (like dolphins and elephants) with a large prefrontal. They might have 'souls,' I wonder if they go to heaven or hell.


Gosh, if that were so, I've no hope of melding my soul energy with the everlasting someday, as I've a clinical case of ADHD. My opinionated guess would be a definite no for your query to 'soulessness'. One of the most sincere & genuine people of (Christian) faith I've ever experienced is my Down's Syndrome cousin. So, for my vote, all born as humans have souls......



Exactly. But, ADHD is not nearly as severe as ASPD (sociaopathy). But I'm sure you noticed the impulsivity and 'free spirit' nature you may have experienced over the years. Caused by the vlPFC as mentioned earlier, among other things. I was naming off things that were caused by prefrontal differences. By the way never take methylphenidate (ritalin), causes all sorts of problems (depression, problems with dopaminergic pathways, etc). I don't sympathize with sociopaths but I understand that it is what it is. Probably why they wrote the Bible, to try and scare sociopaths into not hurting them.


Don't forget, for the believer, the Bible includes a New Testament with the offer of forgiveness & salvation for the confession of sin.
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out how this fits in with my soul energy theory, but I'm still working on it...(?)


Well, I doubt a sociopath is going to sincerly beg God for forgiveness and be saved. A schizo probably would due to the paranoia. The whole point of the disorder is that your belief system, morals, emotional recognition, empathy and so on is all messed up. I mean no guilt what so ever. Fear, yes. Guilt, no.
Hell, before I die I'll pray to God because I rather pray and be wrong than not pray and be wrong. Maybe I'll take some mind altering drugs so that I'll sincely believe in God aswell.

I like the soul energy idea, reminds me of many animes. Maybe overweight people have more soul as they have more energy stored. haha soul food.

Please do not take anything I write as offensive. I mean it all in the most thought provoking way and not as an insult. A closed mind is a shame, which is why one must consider other possibilies than religion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDNDRDJy-vo - this is what happens when you have severe amnesia. This guy Clive has no sense of time, everyday is like dying with blips of consciousness. This is what real death is probably like, nothingness. If you've ever been under for surgery, you know that from the point you go out to the point you awake is in the blink of an eye. Nothingness.
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Posted 11/6/10

brainbasher wrote:
Well, wouldn't God know that some humans would be born with say the XYY sex cromosomes and would therefore be more prone to violence. Or that some people would lack the ability to morally reason out that murdering children is wrong. Or that some people are born with female/male genitally but have the brain of a male/female and would have a higher chance of being gay. If so then I don't think the commandments would be the same nor the actions taking against nonbelievers and 'demon' influenced people. If he did know and still decided to destroy sodom and gomorrah, then he would be a sick mofo.

I've heard this argument before, but I've never really asked those who propose it; so if you would please indulge me:
Isn't holding God responsible for all that's bad & things gone wrong merely an attempt to remove responsibility from self? To hold an omniscient Being responsible just because It knows what's coming or how we'll respond would remove our right to choose. Since such control does not seem to be how the world works, it should be safe to say we've retained the right to think for ourselves, & so are inclined to make errors from time to time.


The point is that the Bible was written by people wo wrote it to most benefit themselves. By not being all knowing they didn;t know what we know today and therefore created contradictions and fallacies. I like to believe in what would be called a God but not the Bible God. I mean if you consider all energy in the universe condensed into a single form and then being distributed to form multiple lesser forms of energy then yeah God would be in all humans and living things and eventually everything would return to God if the energy consolidated again.


Maybe the original writers or Biblical texts, were indeed divinely inspired to set down the words of godly instruction. The argument of writing for their own benefit hardly fits much of the usual "easy way out or path of least resistance" mentality humankind would take. Social & cultural norms of the day did dictate certain behavioral mandates, probably for maintaining authority & control-- ie. men as head of household; government; monarchy; above/before women, ad nauseam.
The dictates for food handling & daily life activities ( food preparation, specific food source dos & don'ts, rituals of handling the dead, etc.) do actually have meaningful reasoning during a time when disease transmission & bacterial infections were misunderstood or unknown, yet, right there in chapter & verse, we can see how the rules fall into the healthier means necessary to food preservation, & habits of cleanliness for a safer environment- this, most likely w/o the understanding of what they were doing or why. So who got these right & how did they know? (Maybe it was those aliens who left the monoliths?)

I struggle with the sciences, never had a strong foundation in them, but I am so fascinated by them, esp. physics! It would be impossible for me to adequately expound on theories, or recent discoveries within the topic of the universe's origins ( so forgive me also for obvious omission of details & sources), but a recent TV science show was giving info on the latest research indicating it did not begin with the heretofore Big Bang event. What was explained meshed pretty well w/ my Energy creator idea.
[ In the beginning (time), God (energy) created (force) the heavens (space) & the earth (matter).]




There are other extremely intelligent animals (like dolphins and elephants) with a large prefrontal. They might have 'souls,' I wonder if they go to heaven or hell.
maybe the difference is an ability to perceive the higher order of energy- & what is heaven or hell?
Inclusion into the collective energy vs. being left out or completely eliminated? (what a waste of existence, experience & time, eh?) Let's agree it's heaven for the sake of happy thoughts!


Exactly. But, ADHD is not nearly as severe as ASPD (sociaopathy). But I'm sure you noticed the impulsivity and 'free spirit' nature you may have experienced over the years. Caused by the vlPFC as mentioned earlier, among other things. I was naming off things that were caused by prefrontal differences............. I don't sympathize with sociopaths but I understand that it is what it is. Probably why they wrote the Bible, to try and scare sociopaths into not hurting them. Well, I doubt a sociopath is going to sincerly beg God for forgiveness and be saved. A schizo probably would due to the paranoia. The whole point of the disorder is that your belief system, morals, emotional recognition, empathy and so on is all messed up. I mean no guilt what so ever. Fear, yes. Guilt, no.


Yes, extremes do often present exceptions to a "rule". Within my immediate family there is also a diagnosed Obsessive/Compulsive, & a case ADHD with very weak impulse control. Impulsiveness, yes, but they both are still able to make choices, if not able to adequately perceive all possibilities, outcomes & consequences. Ultimately, we are only responsible for & to ourselves, & I don't mean that selfishly. As a parent, I made the choice to raise additional human beings. It is my responsibility to teach them by instruction & example how to positively function & contribute beneficially to the whole on humankind. Yet, they will then have to make their own decisions in life, & live with the outcomes/consequences, as do we all.
As for the sociopaths etc., these extremes are a tough to fit into the norm (whatever the heck that is!!) & as members of the social community, we are often forced to deal with the decisions & consequences they create which are a risk to us. If I ever achieve some epiphany for solving this dilemma, I promise to share.



Hell, before I die I'll pray to God because I rather pray and be wrong than not pray and be wrong. Maybe I'll take some mind altering drugs so that I'll sincely believe in God aswell.
I like the soul energy idea, reminds me of many animes. Maybe overweight people have more soul as they have more energy stored. haha soul food.
Please do not take anything I write as offensive. I mean it all in the most thought provoking way and not as an insult. A closed mind is a shame, which is why one must consider other possibilies than religion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDNDRDJy-vo - this is what happens when you have severe amnesia. This guy Clive has no sense of time, everyday is like dying with blips of consciousness. This is what real death is probably like, nothingness. If you've ever been under for surgery, you know that from the point you go out to the point you awake is in the blink of an eye. Nothingness.

Actually, I tend to agree. Just for now, I'll still believe in the Biblical source of info as my default.

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Posted 11/7/10
Hi hope this helps : ]

A soul is a life in its most primary form. The concept of a soul is that “In this temporary world we are born with nothing, as we live we own nothing- only use it a while, including our physical body, and when we die we take nothing with us- so a soul is the only constant. God doesn’t want your soul to burn in hell. He loves people so much that he doesn’t want us to live in a world that has evil in it, so he promises that one day he is going to re-create the world to be a better place for us to live in. He offers our soul a place to peacefully live until he carries this out. We essentially have a choice of whether or not we want to live among God. The only place that does not contain God is hell, so it is the only place you can end up if you really don’t want anything to do with God, since he won’t be there. That is how your soul would burn in hell. You choose to live among God by believing that he experienced a human life and death as Jesus- essentially, that he transcended death so that we can as well. You avoid burning by simply asking Jesus to save you from this fate. If you don’t know whether or not God is real, just say “God, if you’re real, then prove it,”
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Posted 11/14/10
i think it like a second life after us die.....
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Posted 12/14/10

LosingOrbit wrote:

^Didn't really answer the question.

A soul by religious context, is an eternal part of a living being held to be separate from the body. When a person dies, it is said that the physical body rots away, while the soul lives on afterward. The soul is then judged and depending on the person's actions during the time they were alive, is either sent to heaven or hell.

Although, there are others beliefs consisting that the soul is reincarnated in the next life or simply lives on forever. Supposedly a soul also exists in inanimate objects such as rivers, trees, plants, etc. even animals. It's very interesting, really.



but if the soul is immortal how can it be judged on what happened while it was alive? is it really judged by what it did while it was trapped in the shell that we call our bodies? are my questions pissing you off?
Posted 12/14/10

rindaja wrote:


LosingOrbit wrote:

^Didn't really answer the question.

A soul by religious context, is an eternal part of a living being held to be separate from the body. When a person dies, it is said that the physical body rots away, while the soul lives on afterward. The soul is then judged and depending on the person's actions during the time they were alive, is either sent to heaven or hell.

Although, there are others beliefs consisting that the soul is reincarnated in the next life or simply lives on forever. Supposedly a soul also exists in inanimate objects such as rivers, trees, plants, etc. even animals. It's very interesting, really.



but if the soul is immortal how can it be judged on what happened while it was alive? is it really judged by what it did while it was trapped in the shell that we call our bodies? are my questions pissing you off?


No your question doesn't piss me off because it's not to be taken seriously. If there were such thing as an immortal soul, then maybe I could answer it.
Posted 12/15/10
I am a soul.

Without it I would be like a cereal box without the cereal...

Empty.
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Posted 6/18/11
A couple of years ago I looked into the question of why no one read the bible, and why no one has the foggiest idea of what's in it. To my surprise, almost everything that people think is in there, isn't. And what's there, is totally unexpected. A lot of confusion is due to bad choices for translations of a couple of words; and a total reversal of meaning for a few words in the last 150 years to the opposite meaning. 'Soul' and 'heart' are two words that have flip-flopped 180 degrees. This is important, because the KJV (king james version) of the bible is so influential, and it's 400 years old.

Until 150 years ago, 'Heart' meant intellect; emotions were ascribed to the kidneys. The anatomical term for kidneys is 'renal'; you get 'reins' used as meaning deep instinctual emotions from 'renal' in literature of the 16th to 19th century; the reins of a horse 'reined in' the passions of a horse. Kidneys produce urine; peeing in your pants (or having your knees turn to water, the idiom in the bible) occurs when EXTREME emotions, like fear, are felt. (this is not the same root as reign, the rule of a king. different root word.)

Nowadays, 'soul' refers to some unseen, nonphysical part of us. 150 years ago and before, the 'soul' meant the living, physical part of us! Thats where 'SOS' --- 'save our souls' --- came from; and the phrase, 'only half the souls were saved when the ship sank'; or, 'it does my soul good'; etc. The shift in meaning has caused endless confusion.

IN the OT (old testament) bible, when people died, they 'slept'. They did not go to heaven or hell. Heaven and hell are recent innovations. The paradise in the world to come with the 'Christ/Messiah' is on Earth. Says so repeatedly. Jesus, Psalms, and about ten more places say that the paradise is here on Earth, on a restored garden of Eden, as Earth was meant to be. Yahweh, and his prophets say that the obedient (or 'meek', an archaic word) will inherit the Earth. If those who are obedient to the laws of the Creator live in paradise on Earth with the Messiah ——— then, who is going to 'heaven', in the 'rapture'? Sounds like some fools are being suckered into a big lie, just as Adam and Eve were conned into a bad deal. The OT prophecies describe the arrogant rebels who rip off the poor, being trapped and herded into a 'cabin' where they feel an 'earthquake' and the 'stars' fall downwards, and the sky becomes black, and 'the Earth and sun hide themselves'. I found that a few times. If the stars are going down, that means these guys and gals are being sent UPWARDS, away from Earth. This description is accompanied by 'the heavens are rolled up like a scroll'; a clever way of describing 'relativistic aberration', seen near lightspeed. Furthermore, the word for 'into' (as 'into a furnace') also means 'towards'. And, 'furnace' is a metaphor for the sun -- or for another sun, with another planet orbiting it.

In other words, the 'souls' of evil people being sent into a furnace forever, is a description -- quite complete and elegant -- of an army of messengers who are waiting for the signal to haul away the garbage from Earth, to a distant place of internment.

Also, 'men' and 'children' refer to both messengers of Yahweh (or, 'angels'), and to humans. These non-human beings are alternately called both 'messengers' and 'men'. The Author of prophecy apparently does not care whether you are born on Earth or somewhere else, as long as you follow his Laws. All Israel in the world to come, all angels, all prophets, and everyone who tries following the divine Law is described as a 'son of God' (or child of God).

and, 'only begotten' is an idiom that means 'a special one of several'. Genesis 22, Abraham has two sons, and he is told to sacrifice his 'only begotten son' (Christians and Jews say it was one son; Muslims say the other son). In Song of Solomon, the female narrator says that her sisters made her take care of their vineyards, so she had several sisters. Later, the male narrator says that she is 'her mother's only begotten daughter'. Of course Jesus is the 'only begotten son of God'. So are quite a few others.

And, 'only begotten'
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Posted 6/18/11
I don't know if we have a soul. To me, it doesn't seem that important of a problem if we did or if we did not have one. Yes, it's quite a question, the thought of it could drive someone up the wall trying to figure out the idea of what a soul is supposed to be. Some people believe it's a separate entity of the body, some believe it is a part of the body (people like Aristotle believed this, he believed that without a body, a soul cannot exist, for example, a chopping knife chops, and if it had a soul, it's purpose would be to chop, but if there is no body, the soul does not exist.....or something along those terms, it's a bit late so if I mixed it up, let me know please)....Personally, I believe that if I am a good person, then I should have nothing to fear in my afterlife. Whether or not there's emptiness or a God, or something we cannot even imagine. I feel like I might be able to face it with no fear. But the problem is, who decides on what's good? Eh....I try my best, but even so, truthfully, I still end up terrified of the idea of it. It is a comforting thought, that the soul could live on past my body, but a part of me just does not want to believe anything without concrete proof, and, as far as I am aware, there is no concrete proof of a soul even existing (correct me if I'm wrong, okay?). Sorry, not much of a help.
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Posted 6/23/11
I believe that a soul is persons own unique essence. Like a personal will to make there own choices.
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