Hey all, this is kind of my foundation of atheism so I thought i'd post it as my introduction. First post! I've mostly been an agnostic throughout my life but I came to find that I don't even believe in the soul. There is just as little evidence in a soul as there is in evidence of a god. That is what made start calling myself an atheist. In fact I find it hard to understand how an atheist could believe in souls and if one does i'd like to know their reasoning behind it. Anyway, this is my take on it...
I believe consciousness is an emergent property of our incredibly complex biology. This belief does not make me any less in awe of life.
I believe the soul is something humans invented to ease man's natural fear of death. A fear shared by all life. The idea of the soul came before their respective religions. Tribes of early man wanted to understand this thing called death and wanted to give hope and understanding to those mourning lost loved ones. So they implanted the idea that when one dies they are merely shifting onto another plain of existence. They could again see their loved ones. They would again be able to experience life in another form.
This idea then needed to evolve with man. It needed a "backstory" or mythology, if you will an explanation or religion. So man, governments, those in power began inventing them. Most incarnations of these mythologies (religions) if you think about it are nothing more than explanations for where your soul goes when you die. But noone stops to think about WHY they actually believe they have a soul to begin with.
I believe when we die we will once again experience that which we experienced before we were born. Nothingness. Remember that time? Before you were born. There was nothing. That is what we will be returned to in death. Can this not be beautiful?
Except, of course, that the flying spaghetti monster does exist - in our hearts. :)
Seriously though, I've thought of just making up a new word to refer to the concept of a non-local consciousness that can be entreated to intervene in the natural order. I've thought of calling it a 'gazoo' and moving forward to proclaim I am a contragazooist.
It is how you would define soul, take philosophers, they talk on the big questions and influence generations to come.
This can also be said of religious icons but we may feel different about the outcome.
All based on definitions.
Interesting way of looking at things and I agree. And the persons work & the impact s/he left on the ones around them would count too. And if the person did some exceptional work or was famous then s/he would live on in the memories of millions of people & in the history books.
I guess this is why animals have the urge to mate - to pass on their genes.
Sassan read it again, he explained it quite well. It's a good point. He is not claiming any sort of supernatural existence. He is simply saying that through genetics and the memory of others we do "live on", so to speak.
I think this is how people should take comfort in the loss of loved ones. I think it is better than trying to force yourself to pretend they are in some sort of "heaven", "waiting for you". For the simple reason that, it's true.