It's my opinion that all of the major religions are based on the idea of the soul. That religions are simply a means of explaining what happens to your soul when you die. That denouncing the idea of the soul automatically denounces all the subsequent religions. Do you agree or disagree?

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I think that neither one came "first" because the romans in their infinite wisdom created the new testament to keep their slaves in line....hey be a good little slave, and you get to live forever in heaven after we kill you....be a bad little slave and you get to suffer in hell forever.  That's why slavery was ok, and had rules.  Idiotic rules, i'll give you that, but rules nontheless...the old testament was a bunch of myths told around the campfire by  nomadic tribes until one day they said...hey let's write all this stuff down.  Everyone had their own ideas about what should be written down, so began errors and other nonsense.   http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/about_t... 

People can lose their religion and faith in god but keep their superstitions beliefs in astrology, psychics, ghosts, reincarnation, spirits, and plenty of other things. However, I don't see how someone could denounce the idea of a soul and keep their religious beliefs. Since one is dependent upon the other, I think it's obvious that many superstitious beliefs including the concept of a spirit or soul must have come first.

Since this concept of a soul or spirit is often the last belief to go on the path to atheism and/or skepticism, I'm not sure how it could ever be denounced as a first step. In fact, some of the most atheistic countries in the world like Sweden still have a fairly high belief in a "spirit or life force."

This was a fascinating question. Thanks!

Thanks for playing :D

How many times have we heard this..."I'm not religious... but I'm spiritual!"

I've met a few people who also thought that the possibility of denouncing the soul would be a more difficult task than denouncing religion. The two challenges certainly share commonalities; semantics: lack of a clear definition and a seeming inability to acquire evidence for or against the existence of which..

But is there surely no way to prove there is nothing after we die? I'm not convinced... Can we not imagine possibilities of how this could happen?

I've had to deal with people claiming to be "spiritual" who didn't think that the concept implied the existence of spirits. I think they related it more to the "school spirit" kind of spirit. Also, frequently when people say they aren't religious, they mean they don't belong to a particular religion, although they in fact do have religious beliefs.

Yeah... these means of muddying words doesn't help anything. I prefer to separate the word and semantics altogether.

Confucianism is basically a system of ethics and manners. If the Chinese believe in a soul, I don't think it's because it's part of the Confucian catechism.

Also, Buddhism in its original form (known today has Hinayana Buddhism) is a special case. It has a concept of the soul but the theology is far different from Western theology. While the purpose of the soul in the West is for the individual to persist forever, the goal in Buddhism is for the soul to gain extinction through leaving the cycle of birth and death. Once that is accomplished, the individual is gone forever, merged into The One. What The One is is open to discussion.

What you should denounce is the practice of letting something other than yourself determine your moral standings


Umm...so what's right is whatever one wants to do. Oneself and one's wants, desires, and inclinations are the ethical standard? There is no external independent or universal standard? In that case, people are only wrong when they deny their wants, desires, and inclinations.

I don't think the soul is a necessary requirement for religion.  It's easy for people to imagine a situation where the human body itself is re-created (or "resurrected") after death to participate in a material afterlife.  Indeed, it's possible to interpret the Quran in exactly this way.  I think I would modify your theory to say that religions are based on the idea of life after death (whether through the immortality of the soul or otherwise).

I would say that religion came first. What you say is correct, a lot of religions are based around a soul or a spirit that is separate from the body. Religion would of came about to explain things we couldn't understand. Way back when there were a lot of things that were attributed to religion and myths (I am referring mostly to Greece , Rome , Egypt, ect). So when people tried to explain things and they came up with these stories that they heard from the gods one of them probably explained the soul or the spirit. The idea took off and became a basis for the major religions today.   

I think it's safe to say that about 85% of religious people in the world believe in a religion that is somehow dependent on the soul... Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism being the big four. Most if not all of these religions cannot exist without belief in a soul. In most cases could never have even been conceived without a prior belief in the soul.

http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

the soul or essence the idea of it came first same with seasonal celebration of the pagans an the philosophys high jacked an perverted an held for ransom by religion so denouncing the soul is not denouncing  religion the way you denounce religion by denouncing religion

cuase im a humanist /atheist/agnositc and i believe in the soul

Yours is a general explanation of religion. The idea of a soul is not a necessary component in many religious belief systems. Granted the soul is an element portrayed in the current big three religions which arose after literacy and language was developed. Religion engrosses much more psychologically than just a soul.

I am nearing the end of anthropologist Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained- the evolutionary origins of religious thought. It is a profound read and has opened my eyes to a better understanding of religion's development from the perspective of evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology.  

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