Does everybody have a soul, or only some people? If you think everybody has a soul, do you think they are all the same, or are some larger/older/more developed/stronger/or whatever you think would/could differentiate souls?
Please note, I am soliciting your personal opinions. I do not want citations from any books, unless you personally wrote that book.
I equate myself with my soul. I believe that I have contact with the world thru my body and contact with the spiritual world thru my spirit. (I believe in the tripartite concept of man: body, soul, and spirit.)
I believe that everyone has a soul and that all souls are equal. I do not accept the doctrine of reincarnation, so there would be no oppportunity for souls to change from their creation by multiple passages thru life.
JayR, thank you for your answer. I have a question for you about the "tripartite concept". You say "body, soul, and spirit". Would this be analogous to body, soul, and mind? And also, if not, which I think you don't see it that way, what is the difference between soul and spirit? I have heard other people use them as different things, and still not equate them with normal daily consciousness, but equate consciousness instead with the body section of the tripartite..
I would equate soul (this is the eternal me.) and mind. Consciousness is a state of being aware of the physical world. The soul/mind is alert and functioning. If I knew more about computers I could give you a better analogy, but, I look at the soul as the CPU. Body and Spirit are I/O devices that allow interaction with the physical world or the spiritual world.
I do not think that one's eternal destiny depends on a correct answer here.
[St. Peter, "GOD, there are two more here at the Pearly Gates, but they got this answer wrong. They have appealed to you for a second chance."
GOD, "Pete, you know the only one that is going to get a second chance is the heart of .38 Special.* Call Satan and tell him to get two rooms ready."]
People are going to define these terms differently. The concepts that I use merely help me to understand stuff. I don't claim that they are correct.
This is my less than theological story, and I'm sticking to it.
PB- I truly hope that some of this was helpful. I will always be happy to take another shot at something. Just ask. I have always appreciated your answers.
*Second Chance, from Rock and Roll Strategy by .38 Special.
JayR, thank you for the reply. I agree that no one's eternal destiny depends on a correct answer here. I like the idea of the mind and soul being the same, but when you factor in that people go crazy or mindless (catatonic), does that mean the soul is crazy or gone? Or could the mind/soul combination be referred to as the conscious/subconscious?
Also, when the body dies, does the spirit die with it? Or do you conceptualize a spirit form that contains the soul/mind and continues on?
Perhaps the soul could be viewed as an electic panel and the mind as circuit breakers. There can be a malfunction in the circuit breaker and the panel will be fine. I do not think that the soul goes crazy or becomes absent. With the soul occupying the body, the brain provides the means by which the soul expresses itself. (There is a book that was just recommended to me, My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Taylor. She was a neurobiologist who had a left brain stroke. She describes the connectiveness she felt with everything while functioning totally thru the right brain. I was told that this was a quick and easy, but very insightful, read.)
Upon death, I think that the concept of spirit is moot since the soul has moved into the spirit realm
JayR, thank you for the explanation. It is rational. Whether it is correct, I can't say. It does point out something that I have thought before, that we need some new words to discuss spiritual/cosmological/consciousness issues. That is one of the reasons I ask so many questions about spiritual matters, to find common ground in concepts when our language puts us at odds with each other.
If you peruse the question I asked, "does God talk to you aloud like he did Moses", you will find people arguing at cross purposes, but I eventually revealed their underlying meaning, and in the end tried to show that everybody was saying pretty much the same thing. You might find it an interesting read if you skip through all the scripture quoting.
Boy, what a glorious can of worms you opened with this question! I love it.
For myself, I believe, in direct answer to your question that, yes, everyone has a soul (hard to believe sometimes, definitely). Are there "larger/older/more developed/stronger"? Yes. We are all at different stages of development. I do believe in reincarnation and the idea that we are all,hopefully, learning and growing with each lifetime, the aim being to become (best word available) enlightened. At this time in my life I see enlightenment as finally being able to let go of the pull that the physical life has on us. Its kind of an addiction of sorts. In the grander scheme of things, it is a very powerful ruse that we all buy into. As far as whether the mind is the soul...I do not believe that it is. I feel that the mind comes along with the earth suit (the physical body)... it is a tool to deal with living here. I think that we have all become addicted to the mind in an unhealthy way...just as we might to an initially healthy thing like food, sex, work, etc. This is why you see Buddhists spending so much time on letting go of thought. This is what, inevidably gives us peace.
Elena, thank you for your well thought out and lucid answer. Opening cans of worms is one of my favorite hobbies.
As long as we can keep this question/blog going the way it has, it should prove to be enlightening. If I may, I would like to ask you some questions.
You relate mind to the physical body/plane of existence, and discrete from the soul, correct? Now, when the soul leaves the body and begins to inhabit another one, does it happen immediately, and if you say no, does the soul retain the functions of the mind in the intermediary state? By functions I mean cogent thought, memory, problem solving ability, self-awareness, an ability to communicate. Some or all of them?
In the earthly plane, how much sway does the soul have with the physical mind, and controlling bodily and mental behaviour?
Other people asked questions on similar topics, check out the answers they received:
Other people asked questions on various topics, and are still waiting for answer. Would be great if you can take a sec and answer them