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What is a soul?

What exactly is a soul, and what function does it serve?

Let me stop the Cartesian Dualists before we begin. Mind and consciousness are strictly physiological phenomenon, we can observe this in brain damaged patients, we can observe it in mental disorder.

So what is a soul? what does it look like or behave like? and what exactly is it's function?


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    Apr 27 2011: I am a Christian, so the idea of the soul is very significant for me. But with that said, it has also been a concept that I am still a little perplexed by its full understanding. However, allow me to share my opinion just the same. Some may also refer to it is as your spirit, chi, etc. It is the core of who we are. Not our earthly fleshly being, but rather our true nature. It is that inner voice that constantly reminds me who I am. It is the "reality" of the situation as it were. For example...I can call myself a Christian all I want, but if inside all I really do is hate, lust, and anger...well, I am faced with a harsh reality.

    I always liked the concept of the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other constantly fighting for control. Our soul is constantly fighting for Identity. We want to know who we are and what we stand for. But the fact that the soul is not flesh and blood, it means that it is not limited to the earthly realm of death. As a Christian, I believe that this earthly vessel I am walking around in is only temporary, but the soul is eternal. It longs to share in the riches and blessings of Heaven when I am a rewarded for a living a life worthy of the calling. But if eternal Heaven is possible, then eternal Hell is as well. So therefore...the soul is trainable and teachable. It can be molded to become the men or women we wish for them to be. It absorbs our true desires from the worlds and either tames them or releases them to be free in teh world.

    It is not our bodies that leave this world, but our souls. They are the eternal gift from God. It is the soul we are to be worried about keeping faithful and pure. This body will wither, die, and decay, but my soul will go on to something better than what is now.
    • Apr 27 2011: "It longs to share in the riches and blessings of Heaven [...] But if eternal Heaven is possible, then eternal Hell is as well."

      But how could heaven and hell exist if we designate them as places? Pain is a purely physical phenomenon. I tend to believe that they are states of being. Because if we transcend beyond the material universe, then how are places (terms associated with space-time) still even possible? I think our souls literally enter a heavenly state, not an actual "heaven". I am an agnostic Christian, so I don't necessarily disagree with your premise about the eternal soul, I am just curious as to why you think heaven and hell as places can possibly exist.
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        May 7 2011: Biblically speaking, we are told that our mortal bodies can not pass into the heavenly realm, and yet that earthly spirit still keeps us connected to a Heavenly God. So I view thinks in an not tangible realm on both the heaven and the hell aspect of things. Judgment renders where are souls will spend eternity, not our earthly shells.The physical body will deteriorate whereas souls are eternal.

        When God breathed in life to our us, He was giving us our true soul...the life in us that will not die.

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