Question for christians

…more specifically Christians who accept evolution.

Being as that animals don’t have soul and people do, where do you draw the line saying ‘this is the point where man graduated from animal to super animal’. How exactly and more importantly why exactly did man get his soul. Was it a gift from god to one life form on earth for having evolved to some level, or is it something which is given to all animals when they pass a certain level in evolution?

I don’t know of any Christians that believe in the weak theory of origin of species, I would venture that all that claim to believe in evolution are talking about microevolution, which is obvious.

Lower orders of intelligence cannot logically give birth to higher orders of intelligence, it’s the old something from nothing absurdity.

I’m really not sure what a soul is, to be honest with you. And I’m doubly not sure of what God’s relationship to animals is. I’m sure they are there for His enjoyment, and not just ours. That being said, I think it’s likely that souls are either an emergent, developmental quality that doesn’t have to be either ‘absolutely there’ or ‘absolutely absent’, or the placement of souls in humans was a historal event, allegorical to Adam & Eve, which began the relationship between God and man we have now.

Why don’t you think animals have a soul? The soul is synonymous with the psyche. Traditionally this was thought of as the mind, emotions and will. Animals evince intelligence which is the objective correlate of mind. They exhibit emotions such as love, anger and fear. They show their will by being docile, stubborn, independent, impetuous, etc. Some have been taught to use language creatively to express their minds. Empathic perceptive people are able understand and communicate with animals. The soul is not supernatural. It refers to our subjective consciousness.

03.09.07.1996

This has to be the shakiest thing I’ve ever read of your writings here on ILP Ucc… What about Christianity’s over-emphasized importance of the soul? The life hereafter is so much more important than the one now, so much to the degree that this life we live is merely a test and that the real life is the one to come. To take some position in the middle that the soul isn’t “absolutely there” or “absolutely absent” shakes the foundations of your own belief system. Isn’t the soul supposed to be a physical and ever-present part of your being… like the Holy Spirit (it’s always around, and you’re going to go to Hell if you have one thought of denying it!).

Seen the movie 21 Grams? It got the title from the work of this man, who not only was sure a human’s “soul” exists, but thought that it was a physical element of the human body that had weight (his findings suggests that animals; specifically dogs, had no souls). I have been surprised that it’s been 100 years to this month (literally) and no one has tried such an experiment (to cash in on all that Templeton Foundation prize money).

[i]In our real world, you can consider the concept of a “soul” as a religious idea, but nothing more. In religion, a “soul” is more than just an idea, it’s the definition of existence.

So yeah… I’m shocked at your words Ucc. Shocked. [/i]

You obviously have not met many Christians; and the last thing evolution is is “weak”.

A lower order of intelligence is “nothing”? I’m intrigued… how have you come to this conclusion?

Must I be concerned with being ‘defeated’ every time I open my mouth? Yes, I suppose I must.
It is a shaky thing I wrote, Sage, because I’m not confident that Scripture has much to say about it, and I’m not at a stage where I feel comfortable going very far outside the bounds of Scripture. I do not think that this life is ‘merely a test’ at all, though. That I’m pretty confident about.
I do think the soul is a an ever-present part of my being, whatever a soul may be. I certainly do not think it’s physical, not sure how that would work. I don’t think people claim that the Holy Spirit is physical in the way I understand that word, either. And I certainly don’t think people are damned to Hell for ‘even thinking of denying’ the existence of the Holy Spirit. When I say that it’s not either absolutely there or not, I mean in lower life-forms. That is to say, some pre-human primate may not be absolutely soulless, for that matter frogs and bugs may not be absolutely soul-less. Souls may be similar to consciousness, in that they exist on a grade. But again, that was only one of the options that I presented. The other, more conservative option, would be that souls are an introduction to man at a particular point in history, and only apply to humans as defined from that moment forward.

Because I am not aware of anyone observing a source of lower intelligence giving birth to a higher intelligence, are you?

Are you saying Christian thought cannot be compatible with scientific thought. Are you claiming that they cannot both be right?

Ucci,
As far as I know, the soul is what Christianity is all about. I can’t count the times I’ve heard a Christian proclaim something about not being able to wait for their soul to leave their body to go to heaven, or what such. Isn’t Christian doctrine a guide for how the body which contains the soul must behave in order to go to heaven?

I did not bring this topic up as a “ah ha!” but rather to inquire as to how Christian ideology can possibly be compatible with science, as I’ve often read it declared as such here.

The evidence of evolution asserts that that actually is a possibility. Religion and science (in this case) don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

I’m not a Christian, but a Jewish friend of mine (the only fundamentalist Jew I’ve ever met. And to be clear, I mean fundamentalist in the perjorative rather than the more technically correct version, though he also fit that one) stressed the point that it took God a while to find a tribe to settle on. He said, “Other people were chosen by their gods . . . but the Jews, we chose our God!”

Not sure what the scriptural support of this is, but I think if one were so inclined, one could choose to think that such a story could be an allagorical expression of how God cut a deal with humans and not other creatures for a soul to exist.

 Heck no, I don't care about Heaven, I honestly barely think about it. Christianity is a guide for how to live [i]this[/i] life, first and foremost. It's medicinal. But, yeah, I've heard some Christians say the things you're mentioning, too.  Most of them were teenagers, but still.

03.10.07.1999

What a strange quote… If read literally, it implies that your friend accepts that there are other gods, or goddesses for that matter, in existence besides the Hebrew one. As for the “we chose our God”… I could speculate that after the “escape” from Egypt, they were checking out different deities, to see which one would float their boat… only after the golden cow did Moses give them a god they would be too afraid to not worship… a sadistic god with a serious ego complex.

I’ve met a number of Reform Jews, and they were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Strikingly positive attitudes and a great sense of humor.

Wow Ucc… I can’t say I’ve ever met a Christian quite like you before. Can you expound a little on the scriptural basis that Christianity is less about the world to come and more about the world in the present?

Are you sure about that holy spirit thing? Check Mark 3:29 and Matthew 12:32.

The greek word that we translate as soul is psyche the subject of depth psychology.

[size=150]SageSound, they should do such tests with micro-measurement systems and a few lab-rats. It would be a very easy and possible test. What’s the freakin hold-up??[/size]

You’re taking a strictly metaphorical base for Christianity, and I’m not sure if that’s to be considered Christianity at all. By Christianity I mean religions which follow the story and message of Christ. The Christians this post is addressing is those who think their savior, Christ, went up to heaven, cleansed their souls of the first sin, then gave instructions for how to live this life, but the instructions for how to live this life, at least I thought, were given as a way of attaining eternal happiness[?] in heaven. In other words, Christianity teaches to live a certain way of life whilst on earth, but because there is a reward if you do live that way. In other words, if your body lives this certain way, then your soul will go to heaven. It is why animals are not Christians. It is why only man follows these doctrines…soul.

This soul is what this topic is about. How can Christianity and Biology be both right? Where, how and why did man get this soul(granting that the soul is the self) in the evolutionary process?

The Christians who answer are the Christians you get. If you discover that Christians have diverse thoughts and opinions, so much the better for you. The soul is the psyche. It refers to one’s subjective world. We know that other people have one, because they can tell us about it. Other animals can’t do that, because we lack a common language. I infer that they have their own subjective worlds. But, in any case, language is certainly a key to understanding how the human psyche evolved.

Tristan

Well, I believe that Jesus Christ was a Man who was also the second Person of the Trinity, who was killed, descended into Hell, then rose from the dead again on the third day through His own authority over death. So I don't think it's [i]strictly[/i] metaphorical.  I also believe in Heaven as a literal thing that happens to people who have died with their relationship to God repaired.  I just disagree Christianity is primary about how to punch a Heaven ticket. 

That is one of the consequences of living in the right way, yes.

Maybe for children, or people not capable of going further than that. But the real reason to follow Christ's teachings is because they are the truth. The premise is that there is a universal problem, and that Christ fixes it. Not merely for 'society', but for each person. Heaven is one result of that restored relationship, sure. 

I don't think the Scriptures, taken literally or any other way, have much to say about the souls of animals, their eternal fate, stuff like that.

If you would, answer me this in your own opinion. Can evolution and all the sciences which take it as a given, coincide with Christianity, given that Christian perspective on such things as souls and free will belonging to only humans amongst all the other life forms on earth? I’ve heard countless times been said that there are Christians who are also Biologists. It baffles me as to how, assuming that they have thought this thing I’ve brought up.

For the record, I don’t think eternal happiness is just a perk of living a measly 70 or so years on earth, but THE only reason for living the Christian way. The Christian way of life is not the right way, nor is it the wrong way. All it is is a way of living life. For a way of life to be right or wrong, there needs to be an outcome which is either fulfilled or not. In other words, “right” and “wrong” depends on the subjective ends of a moral doctrine in/by which one is judged.

Hey, Tristan, can I jump in here?

As felix dakat’s link to wikipedia on the “metaphorical christian” thread points out, for many medieval theologians there is no problem.

My own thought is that there are points in evolution which are jumps and not just steps in change of form. The first true living things – were they the same as chemically-reacting molecules? The spirituality of man, is that the same as of other animals? It seems to me such events in evolutionary history were special creations by God.

In any case, without God guiding evolution, I think we’d end up with a mess. There are so many steps in any evolutionary change before the mutancy becomes effective, there seems no other reason to bridge the gap between having a biological advantage and not having it, than God’s direction and design.

I’d appreciate a comment.

Ancient philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, held that the good life was a happy life.
If religion helps you to be good, it will certainly help make you happy.

mrn

Tristan

You're mixing two contradictory belief systems there. If Christianity is just a way of living life, and not [i]the right way[/i], then by all accounts the whole Heaven thing is baloney, so how could it be a perk of living like a Christian?  If Christianity is just an option, and not correct in any certain way, then the rewards that come in this life of living like a Christian are the only rewards there will ever be. 
By contrast, if Heaven actually exists and is a reward for living the Christian life, then living any other kind of life is a regrettable mistake, and so Christianity is certainly the right way. Now, that's not to say that Christianity is right [i]just because[/i] of the reward of Heaven. My point is that if the Christian Heaven is real, then all that other stuff Christianity claims is real too, so Christianity is correct in the sense that it claims to be. 

Certainly. One of the teachings of Christianity is that we all have the same Judge, and thus the same moral doctrine, and so Christianity is the correct option for mankind, not just for people who accept it.