In your personal spiritual beliefs, do animals have souls? Are they interchangeable with human souls? In the past few days I've spent some time looking into my dog's eyes, and I can't decide what I believe...
Am agnostic, but yes. Don't see myself unequal to animals. If I had
many lives and could choose to visit places like earth, I might like
to visit in other forms like a bird.
I agree with you, knolyourself, that I see myself as equal to animals. And I know it to be true that animals have the capability of love, which I guess is the main factor of having a soul (in my mind).
So then, lack of intelligence does not equal lack of a soul. But don't we think of our thoughts and named feelings as our soul? What is the soul if not our consciousness?
I don’t believe that animals and people are equal the religious texts indicates a difference. I believe that humans are part of the animal kingdom. As for soul, I believe that all living entities have soul given by God and each soul is different. I think the souls of animals are not human souls but rather specific souls created by God for his purpose. I don’t think Angels have human souls but Angel souls so I don’t expect animals to have human or Angel souls. Spirit, however, I believe more universal and made of the same stuff human or animal.
Okay, interesting. So based on what you said, you certainly don't believe in reincarnation, right, Adam? Where do you think the stuff of the Spirit comes from and ends up?
Reincarnation, hmmm… nobody ever asked me that. Yes and No. The popular TV show 7th Heaven has meaning. The term 7th heaven is a reference to the different levels of “Heaven” found in religious texts such as the Bible. (http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe127.htm) The book of Enoch tells of Enoch’s (a descendant of Noah) travels through the heavens all numbered. Each heaven has different beings and creatures. I think when a soul, animal or human dies they travel to a different heaven according to God’s plan. God’s plan my include sending a soul back as a different soul form. Meaning, an animal can travel to where humans are in the heavens and decide to become human instead. God gives choice. However another possibility, I think a soul exists in all heavens and an Animal may really simply be an extension of your own soul from a different heaven. So, in this case it’s not really reincarnation but rather re-manifestation of a part of your own soul. (when a dog dies). Maybe that’s why you can peer into your dogs eyes and feel their soul? Spirit is what powers the soul and exists everywhere in everything. I’m not really sure what it is but it does seem very energizing and many people can feel its presence. I equate soul with identity and sprit with universal life. Check out http://www.sacred-texts.com/ it may be helpful to you.
I understand that animals have a group soul...I guess a collective for greater learning capacity. They can evolve to higher consciousness animal forms, but I don't know if they "become" human.
Humans have an individual soul, of a higher consciousness than animals. That is why we are to have wise dominion over animals...point being "wise dominion". Which means we are to take care of them, live with integrity with all of nature's creatures and environment so that healthy cycles of life for all continues...not what is occurring in many places on the planet now.
I have had dogs that I believed were the same dog "soul (of the same soul group). I mean in one life with me the dog was part Great Dane and German Shepard, was with me for ten years. And in his next life he was part Collie, Golden Retriever and Lab, was with me for 12 years.
It was very apparent he was learning from me, evolving. He was so tuned into my feelings/thoughts. All I had to do was look at him with the message on my mind and he knew what I wanted or was going to do. We learned a lot from each other, and had great respect for each other. He was truly a friend, more loyal than any human friend.
What ever you beleive technology just may help you simply ask your dog. Yes, dog communication software. Who would have thought. See the article at: http://www.news.com/Scientist-Computer- … l?tag=item
A long time ago a stray dog came to my door and I took him in. Had a shop in the garage and always had the door open. He would stand a few feet from me for hour after hour wanting me throw whatever stick he had brought, drooling with his eyes all glazed. So after two weeks of this I thought this is ridiculous, I got to get rid of this dog.There was nothing I could do with him. A few days later he had some kind of attack, and fell down in the street. Took him to the Animal Shelter and they pronounced him dead. They called it most likely heartworm. Went home and was in shock, and on the TV was a movie, someone lost in a snow storm, all white haze with voices, and on and on like that it went. In my stunned grief, my mind in a bit of a haze itself, I got the idea that I was seeing on the TV, that dog's soul lost on the other side.
Animals have feelings, they feel pain and happiness. They dream. I firmly belive that they have souls.
Plants have souls is more difficult to explain.
There is a real story in which a murder took place under a tree. When the murderer was caught he was taken to the tree where the event took place. A scientist placed electrodes in the tree and was surprised to see high electrical activity in plants during the whole time the murderer was near the tree.
The word 'soul' is derived from the Greek phrase, "To breathe" or simply "Breath" hence when someone died, their soul disappeared.
The current definition of 'soul' is loosely defined as the 'immaterial part of a person' although no such thing has ever been detected. The question would then be, what mechanism from the physical would interact with the 'immaterial' soul, if the soul did in fact exist?
Further, what exactly is the soul?
Oh yes, I do believe that animals have a spirit within them that is eternal as well as our is...
But, what makes 'man' unique - is that we have the ability to understand law, and use agency according to our understanding of the laws to then CHOOSE accordingly.
This is what makes 'man' such a miracle and the greatest of all the creations of GOD.
Because of this great gift of agency... we are able to learn by our experiences - and judge between good and evil.
Can a dog judge? They definitely have a good level of intelligence innately, as we all know how sensitive animals can be.
Can they choose? Sure.... my dog Lexie can really be a stubborn bugger at times.
Can they love or hate? Totally, although their natures are to love, in general - unless exposed to evil, then they will self-defend.
What an animal is incapable of doing at the level of a human is to take all of these and other characteristics, etc... and then reason out the best course.
Thus, we lovingly adore our pets, knowing that often they are just 'dumb'. LOL
What we mean is that they are innocent.
Animals can teach us so much about all of these principles in life; from love, to unconditional love, humility (they lick feet) pride, viscous behaviors when unsafe... in other words they are very base in their existence.
But I feel that according to their intelligence - they are quite the creations - of which I am curious to learn from, else why would they be here?
Just my ramblings.
OK, now you guys confused me. Please, for a person whose English is not native language - what is the difference between spirit and soul?
In terms of religion, both have taken on similar meanings. However, no such thing has ever been demonstrated to exist, hence the definitions would be as ambiguous as ones imagination could take them.
To be fair, despite (Q)'s glib answer, there is a distinction in the way the words are used, even if neither concept has been scientifically demonstrated to exist.
Soul (relevant usages only - there are more)
1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come: arguing the immortality of the soul.
Spirit (again, relevant usages only)
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
5. a supernatural, incorporeal being, esp. one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits.
On paper, at least, it would appear they can be used interchangeably.
However, Christianity and thus Western culture has given "soul" a connotation of holiness, such that you could not correctly describe a demon or ghost as an "evil soul"; it would have to be an "evil spirit" - demons don't have souls. Souls can be "lost", but as the holy part of the human being they are never "evil". Spirits, on the other hand, are not inherently good, they can be benevolent, evil, or mischievous and uncaring.
Historically, pagan myths which couldn't be subverted by attaching them to a Christian icon were demonised (as witness Pan's contribution to the appearance of Satan), and things like pixies, elves, the faerie, and so on, who didn't fit neatly in with angels and saints, were shunned as "spirits".
While mediums and spiritualists sometimes refer to the supposedly departed human beings they "speak" with as "souls" or "spirits" interchangeably, Christian doctrine would tell you that they are not the real souls of the departed talking to the credulous - the real souls reside in Heaven (or purgatory or Hell if you're from a denomination which believes in such things). Rather, they are "spirits", ie of non-human origin, trying to deceive the living for fun or profit.
I can think of another half a dozen examples where the words can be used interchangeably, and another half a dozen where they can't.
I feel for anyone who has English as a second language and tries to make sense of the nuances between "soul" and "spirit"!
Can we take Jenny's input and start a new thread of "What is your definition of soul and spirit, and any differences thereof"
I would really like to write and exchange ideas on this issue to process my beliefs.
Can we do it, huh, please, can we do it ??!!!
intended to express child-like excitement
I suspect, at least I hope that when you stated my answer was 'glib' you didn't mean it was marked by lack of intellectual depth.
And no, souls have not been demonstrated to exist, scientifically or otherwise.
Exactly the point I made, however glib you may have deemed it. I would appear that you agree with me.
Of course, if you deep dive into the myths and superstitions of the varied religions, one can find all sorts of definitions for souls and spirits. But of course, one must first demonstrate souls and spirits actually exist before they begin structurally detailed definitions, or else one is merely deferring to the imaginative.
It has little to do with language and more to do with ones faith. You can talk blue in the face trying to explain those nuances and get nowhere unless you refer to ones faith.
No, I meant it was glib.
You avoided the issue completely.
Oh really? So the next part of my post that you quoted doesn't count, then? The part starting with "However ..." ?
I think you will find that many words refer to things which haven't been demonstrated to exist, but still have structurally detailed definitions.
Off the top of my head:
points of singularity
... I could go on indefinitely.
These are all well-defined concepts that have not been demonstrated to exist yet.
It is only through the imagination that science ever advances, after all.
I don't agree at all. One may not agree with the tenets of a particular faith, and yet be able to understand what they are, how they are defined, and even debate whether they are internally consistent.
Things do not have to be "true" to be defined, discussed, and debated using the rules of formal logic.
As a Buddhist I do not believe in a 'soul' or separate entity for any living being. Yet I do believe in rebirth. (I honestly think I'm too tired tonight to try and explain the complexity of how we can not believe in a soul but can at the same time believe in rebirth. This is just how it is.)
So for us, humans and animals are treated the same on the wheel of life. All sentient life is considered equal as we have all experienced rebirths as animals and humans and other beings.
To give a whacky example A mosquito that is bugging you in this life may have been your Mother in a previous life. That is why it is important to treat ANY life with compassion and respect and do our best not to harm it intentionally.
Animals and humans are equal spiritually. However humans have a greater capacity for achieving enlightenment simply because we have much more free will. A lot of animals are not in charge of their life. They are controlled by their predatory nature in the wild (kill or be killed) or are under our control if they are pets.
Don't know if this answered the question or not.
With respect, aren't you simply asking the wrong question here?
Surely, the pertinent question is not whether animals have souls: it's whether *anyone* has.
Certainly they have.No question of interchange of souls between the two.It might be
This explanation actually makes much more sense. It is still something to muse about for some time.
And I really appreciate you typing all those words just for me. I had to look up "glib" though
Q, I appreciate your effort to answer my question, but I think Jenny's answer was more - umm - comprehensive
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