What is the soul?

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I was looking at an amusing argument between two Christian churches, one claimed humans were unique in having a soul while the other said all living creatures had souls and because of that pets would make it in to heaven.

Lots of back and forth with no answer left me wondering is there actually a definition of the soul that the majority agree on?

I've heard some people say it is who you are, it is your thoughts and attitude, but the problem is we can change who we are through drugs, alcohol and brain damage. So what is unchanged by the physical?

If you fall into the camp that only humans have one then what do we have that animals do not?  They show fear, love, loss, justice/morals, selflessness, empathy etc. So what is so special?

The only answer that I could find seems to be a god of the gaps answer, so as we understand more about the brain the claims have reduced until now you get 'the spark of life'. A vague description of some kind of life energy that doesn't do anything.  This also seems to suffer from the problem that physical damage to our bodies results in the death of a supernatural energy.

So what were you taught?  Is there a description that is actually clear?

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We have a hard time accepting death as the end. Almost everybody believes there is a non-local consciousness. Some religions think it's God's special and unique creation for each human being, perhaps even that it will be rewarded or punished after bodily death, some think everything in existence has this consciousness, some focus on reincarnation and learning "lessons," and NDE folks have a rather different opinion due to their experience. As long as science is unable to find proof (unlikely) and an explanation, people are free to imagine anything they want to. Of course people believe what they want to even in spite of evidence to the contrary all the time, so I guess it really doesn't matter.

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This is how ancient humans, and some today, attempt to explain the consciousness created by our brains.


From a software engineering point of view, my theory is that consciousness is an iteration of a "software" application in our heads. If you restart the app your consciousness will disappear and a new one will appear in it's place. Of course this is an oversimplification of what is likely taking place in our heads, but your get my drift. 


As far as behavior coming from a soul. My mother underwent electroshock therapy back in the 70's wherein they attempted to destroy parts of her brain where really bad memories were. One of those memories was probably my nose coming out during the berth process. That must have hurt like a bitch!


Anyway, that women never came back from the hospital as far as the fams are concerned, as the electroshock changed her personality so much.



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