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Humanism & Souls


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I have often thought that the concept of a "soul" BS, even when I was a Roaming Cattletick. Here is an article from "About Agnosticism/Atheism"



Metaphysics of Humanist Philosophy

Souls are typically a feature of supernatural beliefs — not inherently, but because belief in them is supported by religious tradition and not by any scientific evidence. While humanism does not necessarily exclude belief in anything supernatural, it does tend to exclude belief in things which are not only unsupported by science, but which in fact is contradicted by science.


This is the state of souls. Not only has science failed to find anything which might tend to support the existence of souls, but it has in fact provided contradictory information. According to what science has discovered about humanity and human minds, our mental life is entirely dependent upon the existence of our physical brains. When our brains are damaged, our mental life changes.


What this means is that who we are is a function of our memories and our personalities, neither of which have any independent existence apart from our brains.


If either is altered sufficiently (whether through physical damage, hormonal imbalances, or some theoretical medical intervention), then the identity of the person in question will also be altered. It will, in effect, not be the same person anymore.

This contradicts the traditional belief that a person’s basic identity is created by and stored in their soul — this is the belief that allows that when we die, some essential element of who we are does not actually end but rather continues to live in some other plane of existence. Clearly, if our identities are material and physical in nature, then they aren’t contained by a soul.


If we abandon this traditional function of souls, then there is little room left for the ability of souls to do anything — or have any meaningful place in our world. If we do have a soul, it doesn’t have anything to do with our memories or personalities. Should it survive our deaths, we won’t know it and it isn’t clear that we should really care. Thus, even if they do exist and live on, so what?


Humanist documents say very little about souls except to discount the likelihood that they might play any roles in our lives. Of the three Humanist Manifestos, only the second bothers to mention the concept of souls at all:


”Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the “ghost in the machine” and the “separable soul.” Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context.”

There is no inherent contradiction between humanism and belief in a meaningless soul, but it is unlikely that a humanist would bother believing in something so irrelevant. To believe in a soul which does have a meaningful role in the world or our lives would require discounting important discoveries about humanity made by medical science; again, it isn’t impossible for a person to do this and remain a humanist (science isn’t perfect), but it is quite unlikely.


Humanism is predicated upon a rational, scientific, and critical approach to knowledge. An imperfect application of that approach is compatible with humanism because we are all imperfect; however, willful abandonment of that approach in order to preserve a belief in something comforting or favored is not compatible with humanism.



As there is no soul (except David Soul) what is the need for Hell. What would burn in it's fires?


More Bullshit put out by Christianity to scare it's faithfull shitless and beat them into submission.



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A idea of a soul is nothing more than the fear of being without your inner voice, something within that you have never been without. Death is the ultimate silence, you can't know you are dead, you can't even "know." Some people just find that hard to swallow. So I usually ask them, what was it like before you were born? Answer: the same as in death.

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Jeff pretty much nailed it on the head. The idea of death being the ultimate end is frightening, and it's comforting to think some disconnected, incorporeal "part" of us continues on afterward. I'll admit there's a part of me would like that, but I do my best to come to terms with the much greater likelihood that death will all she wrote--which only makes life all the more valuable.


Simply because I dig everything ever written/said by "Mark Twain":


"When Samuel Clemens was asked whether he feared death, he replied that he did not, in view of the fact he had been dead for millions of years before he was born and had never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

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