Don't only human beings have a soul?

Don’t only human beings have a soul?

There are many people who believe in the traditional religious view that only human beings are made “in the image of God” and that only humans have souls. Although I personally do not agree with this view, this view is held by some vegetarians and animal rights activists. Vegetarians with this view would point out that regardless of whether or not animals possess a soul, animals still feel pain and suffering just as we do, and animals still value their lives just as we value ours. Therefore, many of the people who believe that only humans have souls still agree with the principle that it is wrong to inflict death and suffering on animals simply for the pleasure of tasting meat.

Although it is possible to believe in animal rights while still adhering to the traditional religious view of animals, I would like to point out that this traditional religious view of animals is inadequate. For example, the traditional religious view states that only humans are made “in the image of God” because only humans have the ability to make moral decisions, and a soul is required to be able to know the difference between good and evil. However, we now know that other animals do know right from wrong. In fact, they sometimes know it much better than we humans do.

Quote from Animal Rights and Vegetarian Ethics by Eugene Khutoryansky

I’ve yet to read a scientific proof that anyone has a soul!

According to Buddhist and Hindu ideas, you have a soul, and you can be reincarnated as an animal. So it follows that an animal must have a soul.

Many children are told that their pets have souls, and go to animal heaven. I have difficulty believing that people have something that an animal doesn’t.

The problems is that Christians don’t really care what Hindu or Budhhists say. They think that they have permission to kill animals and they use it at the fullest because there is no punishment.

Sadly I think this is true - though I’ve noticed some people incorporating ideas from other religions into their personal belief system?

In fairness, there are Christian vegetarian organisations: just google Christian and Vegan / Vegetarian!

I don’t agree, I’m Christian and vegan. I do believe that there is a punishment, and I do care what Hindu or Budhists have to say. I care about what everyone has to say, I don’t believe that anyone is any better than anyone else. I also don’t think that anything needs to be harmed or killed for me to live happily, whether it be for food, cleaning, clothing, etc. I believe that we were all given free will to do with as we please. It’s the choices that we make with that free will that make the difference. I try to stay as open minded as I can. I do stand by my beliefs, but it’s not my job to force them on you or anyone else. It’s my job to live them as an example of them. I don’t kill, therefore I hope that sets an example to those around me to not kill. :smiley:

Hi CrashCrew! It’s really good to hear your views: I think a few Christians get all the others a bad reputation :frowning: I could tell countless amusing stories of Christians trying to recruit me! I’ve even been to corporate events where I’ve been expected to pray or say grace before eating! :astonished: It’s quite shocking how intolerant some people can still be! Only yesterday, some people turned up at my house, inviting me to a new “Family Church.” At first they were nice, but they really didn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer - I don’t think they realised how rude and disrespectful they were being. I’m feeling quite militant now :stuck_out_tongue:

Some of my cousins have gone really Jewish; having that identity gets people to back off a little. Sometimes. It’s strangely tempting, but it feels wrong, to use a heritage in that way. And my Grandad just tries to mess with Evangelists’ heads: he used to discuss religion and philosophy a lot with other conscientous objectors during the war. Noone can win an arguement with him! :laughing6:

Anyway, I’m curious… How does this work? :unamused: I’ve heard that the Ba’hai believe that all religions are different facets of the same God: is Christianity starting to lean that way? :dontknow:

And I’ve always wondered: do you get a lesser punishment for not killing, without being a Christian? :wink:

Hi BigBecka! :smiley: No, Christianity is not leaning that way, but bible believing Christians and Evangelists (both of which I am) believe that all humans were created equal and should all be treated with love, understanding and respect. I can no more force my beliefs on you or anyone else as you can force yours on me. Biblically it’s my job as a Christian to love all as I love myself and to follow in Christs footsteps. None of which include insulting, pressuring or bashing anyone for any reason. That being said, I have to agree with you about the door to door “sales” of Christianity. That drives me nuts. I believe that we need to spread the Gospel of Christ, just not in a pushy manner. If you’re interested in learning more about the Christian view on veganism, here’s a great page to browse, although if I remember correctly from other posts, you’ve already seen it.

OPPS! I’ll get this quote thing down before long. :laughing: :confused2: :blush:

Hey :slight_smile: Thanks! I had seen that page, though not for a while… I don’t reckon I’m going to convert any time soon :wink: but it’s an interesting source of all kinds of information 8) I was interested to read

Bible Question: I’ve been asked many times, “Will we see our lost pets in heaven?”

Bible Answer: I have taught before that man is the only creature with a soul, while animals do not have souls, based on the ending of this one verse in the King James, Gen. 2:7, “and man became a living soul.” But that is not what this verse really says.

W.E. Vine’s “An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” says the Greek word translated “soul" is psuche, which means “an animate creature, human or other.”

The Hebrew word used here for soul is “nepesh,” according to “Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words,” which says, “The KJV alone uses over 28 different English terms for this one Hebrew word. The problem with the English term “soul” is that no actual equivalent of the term or the idea behind it is represented in the Hebrew language.”

Vine says the use of “soul” in Gen. 2:7 is “an unfortunate mistranslation of the term.”

“The KJV Parallel Bible Commentary” says this about the KJV use of “living soul” in this verse, “A better translation would be ‘a living creature or person,’ as the phrase (identical) is also used of animals (Genesis 1:21, 24). Thus, soul is not a reference to the concept of body, soul/spirit, but rather to the fact man became a living being. Man is distinguished from animals by being created in the image of God.”

So, do animals have a “soul”? When Adam sinned, the penalty of death came upon the entire creation, so does that mean we can assume animals did not die until that time?

Romans 8:19-22 refers to when man will be redeemed with new, spiritual bodies, and says the other parts of God’s creation will be delivered also, referring to all other life.

“19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”

Does that mean animals will be resurrected into new life, like humans? I don’t know.

Perhaps the writer is accurate who wrote, “Heaven is the place where when we first arrive, we will be greeted by every animal we’ve ever loved.”

It is certainly within the power to God to resurrect any of His creations, man or animal. Heaven will certainly be a perfect place where we shall want for nothing.

First of all, I bow down to this Mr.crashcrew1974!!!Few men hold such a pure ,causeless and beautiful mindset coz all are busy in thier aggresive mind ,cut-throat action and no-mercy approaches , forget animals…are the co-humans treated any where close to being humane - asking respect for other species would be asking too much .

Second - Soul or no soul for animals - first of all, got to understand what soul is esp. since it is assumed humans do have soul and hence, the humans who posses should be answerable , to what it is that they claim to possess ,step-by-step, right.When that is understood - wht this heck soul is about - , then the question raises of animals and plants etc.

Let me try to put it - and iam no means imposing my ideas but sharing what scientifically convinces my grey matter.Now, Iam a brahman,Hindu.And bhagvad gita - “song of the god” - gives definition the soul to be

1.that which is not matter, that which is in size so minute that it would make atoms giant (yeah atoms - sanskrit ‘Anu’ - was defined way back) and yet power the entire body where it dwells into a single unit . Indestructible , permanent, lot more … (Bhagavad Gita As It Is)

2.characteristically - herez wht answers the Q - that anti-matter which gives the perception of induviduality in a body(matter) - that yeah i exist - and that which empowers the body into a unique single induvidual and the sense of existance and feeling.Love, anxiety, anger,fear … made in soul. :stuck_out_tongue:

Like a battery and a car.You put the battery in and the car is wrooooommmm, provided the mechanics of it function well - so is the case of body.Soul is mighty power - Can any atom of carbon monoxide or silica speck or any good old chemical move by itself - but yeah u can, all life can, So powerpacked yet so invincible that it is no where in the picture.But a thorough post-mortem of the living life and the dead - man , beast , plant - would give a better perspective.

More simply…Soul is that which puts life into an otherwise dead body.The body is made of water and DNA and that and this and blah blah… Question is - all this are dead matter -H2O u drink or the one ur body is made of or the DNA or vitamin a b c d … z - can life be brought from these dead matter which is what your body is composed of-dead molecules - but still , you are LIVE.How come?Now, biology says life to be an interaction of chemicals and molecule within the body and its resulting products and by-products and phew…dont want to be too technical.DNA exists, water is the source of maintaining life.True.But the link is missing somewhere.If not, Y not bring life from the dead.Reverse the chemical process and by-processes and bring ur dead relative back.Crazy ? but i thought even if crazy, the question prevails.

So.soul puts life to matter - body.Output.Life.Now, do animals possess soul?Too tough to answer in life.I’ll make it easy.A dead man and a dead or rather, as our fantasy , a tortured and slaughtered goat or chick or pig.Now, tell me.Who possess soul?What was there when both were alive and what is missing when dead - human with soul and animal with no soul - in life or in death? Please note that intelligence/brain power isnt soul power - Not Q of intelligence or beauty etc - humans are far above, agreed.

Now there is a plant link also here.It would take too much of space here.If interested, read Bhagavad Gita As it is.

Understand life by science.In a humble state - not by aggression , which is a common mistake the non-vegans make coz the very act of throat cut is agression and the result is , the world is a junkyard, animals throats are replcaed by human’ …Take a jail-convict census and see how many murderers decided not to harm a defenseless when they were busy slitting .My prediction - 0.Try it.You can assume a peaceful world by torturing one kind and then expecting peace for yourself and only for yourself but then, such expectations are only expectations…sorry to say.Facts.Log on to BBC /CNN and see the world and see the slaughter houses on the run.

P.S:Many would disagree with me.Not imposing anything.I respect christ as much as my sweet lord .And yeah, i live and let my co-beings also live.Peace.Cheers.

sreekeshpadmanabhan @ gmail com


The idea of eating only lower life forms such as plants does seem like respecting life. But i feel it is more of an afterthought on acquired dietary habits.Religions came very late for humans which lead to the question of where to draw the line for lower forms of life.It is very hazy. If one can eat plants, why not fish also? and then why not frogs and snakes and rodents also. So, it was easier to draw the line by saying that anything other than human can be considred for food.
Humans have had the need to survive its environment and through the evolution of human body is tuned to eating non veg aswell- It is an omnivore.
If you can agree that carnivorous animals can be pardoned and see that it is nature, then humans can also be considered in the same light.
Dietary habits are also formed by living conditions. In a nomadic desert culture where most of the Abrahmic religions took shape, agriculture was not possible. They had to depend on livestock for meat. In a coastal region, the economics of having sea food is better.
It is therefore better to leave the definition of lower life form suitable for food as something that is lower than humans.

On soul…
There are many things that we still marvel at - such as how are we or animals are conscious? We dont have to come to a conclusion about it and say that soul or God exists. Soul and God is a speculation. If you can believe that flying hippopotamuses created this earth and that we must worship it just because it cannot be disproved, go ahead and believe in soul and God. But the fact is they are speculations.
We indulge in a lot of primitivism calling each of our religions the best and authentic and true . They only make up for implied racist pride. We go further to quote from various scriptures written by men when they were still leading a primitive life. Religions are the sciences of the past and we must move on because today they are religions.

Hi, Neo.
The term “Lower life form” you are using is itself a speculative classification that is no different from religious dogmas.
In what respect are other animals lower than human animals? And what makes you think that these characteristics are enough to classify them as you did?

It is therefore Better than what?
During post war famine periods people often consumed each other, and it was a natural desire to survive.
But today this practice is totally unacceptable because it is not necessary. The killing and eating of animals is also not necessary for survival. So it will eventually become unacceptable. Human intelligence and compassion that evolves with every generation in my opinion will make it so.

Now there is a huge difference between eating plants and eating animals.
Animals can feel, move, react, think, analyze, learn, have a sense of fairness, have emotions and they clearly show that they do not want to die and be eaten.

On the other side plants do not feel, at least we can’t say they do, because they can not react. Scientists say plants do not have a central nervous system so they can’t feel. Plants can’t move to avoid pain and destruction. Many Trees will not allow their child trees to grow until they die (because of shade) so there is no compassion and love involved.
You can eat many fruits and vegetables without killing the plant itself. On the contrary many seeds are designed to be carried to distant places by the animals that eat the fruit. Many grains are collected when the plant is already dry and then the next year the plant will grow from the same roots.

:dontknow: Nobody knows for sure. It all depends on your beliefs, but whether you believe organisms have a soul or not you cannot question the fact that life is life, plain and simple. If we took out the soul part there would still be life. Even if people think that killing animals is justified because they don’t have a ‘soul’, that is not necessarily right. They are still taking a life, whether it’s an animal’s or a person’s. I think that taking a life food food is OK, not necessarily right or wrong. But I focus more on how that life was treated, lived, or is being lived. Basically my point is: A life is a life, no matter what form it is in, no matter how little or big it is believed to be. Life is life whether you like or not.