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Animal Souls

bananapanties
March 4th, 2008, 11:49 AM
So, my friend and I were talking the other day, and she has two cats and we are both ardent pet-lovers. She is also devoutly Christian, and posed an interesting rationale for why God wouldn't exclude our pets from Heaven. It is this:

Any being that has a personality, or an animus, has a soul. We have all borne witness to the personality of our companions. Anything with a soul answers to higher authority (good or evil). The innocence of our fine friends means they don't ever grow to know evil unless it's taught to them. Therefore, they simply must go to Heaven.

I don't know if there are exceptions to this; i.e., I used to breed snakes, and I love snakes, but they really don't have personality. Lizards, however, do (and they are only benevolent about half the time). Is there a line between which animals have souls and which don't? Does a pet tarantula? I can't look in my dogs' eyes and not see it, or my cat's. But if I tried to scold a snake for biting me, it wouldn't look away in guilt or shame.

Really interested in your opinions. :angel2:

LavenderRott
March 4th, 2008, 11:56 AM
Interesting theory. I like it.

Now - someone please tell me that beetles DO NOT have a soul!! :D

want4rain
March 4th, 2008, 12:13 PM
i consider myself an atheist in practice, agnostic in theory. my simple answer to that is 'a life is a life is a life'. do they bleed? feel pain? need and desire food and water and to reproduce?? i call this a life or a soul. i do not feel commonly bound to a rock but bacteria to birds, they understand pain, the need for sustenance, drive for reproduction, just because their ability to socially communicate in a way WE understand doesnt mean they do not communicate. i believe all living creatures (from bacteria/algae/plants/bugs/worms/mice/birds/etc) have a soul, a life force that binds them to all other life forms. a certain music to their existence that when taken as a whole creates the song of life.

but maybe im just being romantic. ;)

-ashley

bananapanties
March 4th, 2008, 12:20 PM
If you're romantic, I'm more so--I DO feel connected to rocks. And dirt. Trees. Water. Etc. I guess I'm kind of a hippie that way. :)

danaekitty
March 4th, 2008, 01:47 PM
Ash and banana - you two are my forum soulmates! I feel the exact same way about everything, I feel that attachment to all creatures, and it saddens me so when one gets hurt, or anything bad happens to any living creature.

I have a fish right now who is very sick. He is only a little tetra, and he clearly has a deadly parasite that is taking over his eye and brain. But he still swims happily and eats, so I am unable to euthanize him, even though everyone to whom I have gone for help has said that would be a good thing to do. I will not be the person to kill an animal, I simply can't. So I've seperated him so he doens't infect the auarium, given him his own little bowl and air stone, so he can be comfortable. He's only a tiny fish, the least expensive of all of them, and I don't even name my fish, but I love him so much and it's hard to see him dying. He looks so sad, even though I lgically know that he's not. My dad says I tend to give all animals human traits, see them as people, almost, no matter how insignificant - I forget the word for that - and I think that makes it harder for me to let go when the time comes.

I wonder - if animals go to heaven, is it only pets with personality, or would all animals go to heaven, even ones that have never seen a human being? Do their personalities differ from one onather in the wild the way hums' do in society?

This is an interesting thread. Ash, I'm with you - athiest in practice, agnostic in theory. Are people like us even allowed to discuss heaven on such a real level?

CearaQC
March 4th, 2008, 02:18 PM
Are people like us even allowed to discuss heaven on such a real level?

You might like reading Theosophy (a system of belief based on insight into the nature of God and the soul) for fun.

http://theosophy.ca/OnLineDocs.htm - all free to read

Here's a lecture "Have Animals Souls?"

http://theosophy.ca/HaveAnimalsSoulsHPB.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ - lots of free reading material there too

Why not discuss it? Is there some unwritten rule in society that says it cannot be discussed?

I don't really like putting a title on belief systems. You believe what you believe and have nothing to prove to anyone else. It shouldn't be categorized like some sort of science paper. No belief is right or wrong, it's just a belief.

Agnostic - A word first used by Professor Huxley, to indicate one who believes nothing which cannot be demonstrated by the senses.

It's better to discuss with like minds, where more information can be shared. Discernment should always be a priority, but it's OK to read or listen to new information, whether you believe in it or not. It helps to understand others when you know why they feel the way they do if you read their religious/atheist texts.

Why are we here if we are to not learn and grow? And is it living? Or just existence? There has to be a reason.

want4rain
March 4th, 2008, 02:24 PM
CearaQC- i..... .....will get back to you in a little bit. :D

Danae- if you can, pick up the Jungle brand antibacterial FOOD, crush it up and feed it to your little tetra as often as he will eat it. make sure you change out ALL of his water at least once a day, replace it with water from the tank. if you can, toss a small handful of your tanks gravel onto the bottom, even if it looks yucky.

Ash, I'm with you - athiest in practice, agnostic in theory. Are people like us even allowed to discuss heaven on such a real level?

i think we are the ONLY atheist allowed to talk about this seriously. :D its the whole 'agnostic in theory' part that gives us permission, in the godly sense. :laughing:

ill get to the heart (haha) of this matter when i get back from my doctors appointment. :D

-ashley

CearaQC
March 4th, 2008, 02:28 PM
CearaQC- i..... .....will get back to you in a little bit. :D


Uh oh!

*runs and hides*

:D

Be gentle!!

danaekitty
March 4th, 2008, 02:33 PM
ceara - thanks for the links, I will check them out!

ash - thanks for the fishy advice...I'll hook him up with a water change as soon as I get home.

everyone else - do you think that people who aren't religious would have a better time dealing with death, both of loved ones and their own mortality, if they had a belief system in place, such as a religion they chose to follow?

bananapanties
March 4th, 2008, 03:17 PM
Religion is one of those weird things....I seem to adhere mostly to basic Buddhist tenets, and I figure if Christ died believing that his death was for me, and every person between me and him and after me, bully for him and I ought to take that seriously. I also figure that if the Boddhisatvas came back from nirvana to teach me to get there, I'd best listen up. Since Muhammed seemed to think that prayer (which I interpret as meditation) and family values are pretty important, well, he seemed to have something there. Like my dad says, if it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid. So I guess I'm loosely Christian, mostly because I celebrate the holidays.

Surely animals in the wild have personalities. Ever watch Meerkat Manor?

danaekitty
March 4th, 2008, 03:30 PM
I watched meercat manor once, and LOVED it, but couldn't bring myself to watch it again because I was too afraid the grandma ate her kids' babies. I'd cry.

jiorji
March 4th, 2008, 03:51 PM
If you're romantic, I'm more so--I DO feel connected to rocks. And dirt. Trees. Water. Etc. I guess I'm kind of a hippie that way. :)

but you dind't feel a connection to a snake?? that's interesting..


ok here's my :2cents:
how do dogs go to heavne if there isn't one?? or to hell? :shrug:

if there is none of that then They end up nowhere...which is what i believe in. Spirits get "recycled" in a Hindu/buddhist kinda way...and animals have just as much reason and personality as humans do. I don't see a difference between the two except that some souls choose lesser animals for different reasons...rest i guess. There's a lesson in anything, and even if you don't "feel", i'm sure a snake has his own life meaning like a dog would. And I'm sure trees have a spirit too. I like trees :D

anyway....where pets end up is ultimately based on your own personal belief.
I HIGHLY doubt my cats will go to heaven for the reasons stated above

06canyon
March 4th, 2008, 03:52 PM
everyone else - do you think that people who aren't religious would have a better time dealing with death, both of loved ones and their own mortality, if they had a belief system in place, such as a religion they chose to follow?[/QUOTE]

from personal experience, people who do not have a religious background in place do not have an easier time dealing with death. It doesn't matter to me what you believe dealing with death is difficult.

I have no religious background but I have spirituality.

bananapanties
March 4th, 2008, 04:24 PM
but you dind't feel a connection to a snake?? that's interesting..

I do feel a connection to them. And I find them pretty comforting. I just said they don't have a lot of personality.

But, as your comment states, there's far more than meets the eye. I'm not sure about much, so I won't state any absolutes here. I just brought up Heaven because that's how my friend put it, and it's nice to think that after a life of toil we can rest in joy and peace. As for everything having a meaning, I'm pretty sure you're right there. But your comment makes me think that maybe Christianity in general puts things in terms of black and white far too much, whereas the gradients provided by the Eastern religions could prove more enlightening.

I shall have to meditate on it. :)

I'm also pretty attracted to the concept that everything has a soul, and joins a collective subconscious, etc. Am I threadjacking my own thread?

bananapanties
March 4th, 2008, 04:25 PM
And perhaps the real point of it all is that I have no clue what I believe. And that's okay, too, as long as I think about it, I guess.

jiorji
March 4th, 2008, 05:57 PM
But your comment makes me think that maybe Christianity in general puts things in terms of black and white far too much, whereas the gradients provided by the Eastern religions could prove more enlightening.

I shall have to meditate on it. :)

I'm also pretty attracted to the concept that everything has a soul, and joins a collective subconscious, etc. Am I threadjacking my own thread?

I find Western religions to be more focused on a supreme god rather than your own mental power as a conscious being responsible for its own creation and redemption, which i find is what Eastern religious thought tends to teach.

so yes...meditate on it:D :laughing:

the All That Is...all spirits make up everything and all energies create the shifts and changes in the world. I read that in a book. I kind of agree.

want4rain
March 4th, 2008, 09:06 PM
Uh oh!

*runs and hides*

:D

Be gentle!!

i just wanted to read through some of that... thanks for chewing up the last 2 hours!!!! :D im reading through north american shamanistic stuff. very cool stuff!!

-ash

happycats
March 4th, 2008, 09:24 PM
Yes I believe they have souls, and yes I do believe they go on, to where exactly I don't know, but I don't think death is the "end".

I lost my cat Lucky in September, he was my oldest he also reminded me (he would lead me to the laundry room barking all the while)
when the food was getting low( so their bowls were NEVER empty) but since his death I have to acually go into the laundry room (that's where their food is ) downstairs and checkit becausenone of the others let me know. THe strangest thing happened about 2 months ago, I went downstairs to get something, and just as I was about to run back up the stairs I heard his distinct bark! I stopped dead in my tracks, shook my haed and thought I must be going crazy, but then I turned back and went nto the laundrry room, and sure enough the bowls were empty!
I believe Lucky was there that day, so yes I do believe they have souls

JanM
March 4th, 2008, 09:56 PM
jiorji "how do dogs go to heavne if there isn't one?? or to hell" - what if heaven and hell are concepts of "places" created solely by the human mind?? What if heaven and hell are right here, right now and are what we actually make of our own lives? We humans have unique ways of interpreting things - animals just live in the now. If we humans could learn to do that we wouldn't be having this discussion :D

Having said that - I'm sure not there yet but I'm striving for it..

danaekitty
March 5th, 2008, 07:49 AM
I went downstairs to get something, and just as I was about to run back up the stairs I heard his distinct bark! I stopped dead in my tracks, shook my haed and thought I must be going crazy, but then I turned back and went nto the laundrry room, and sure enough the bowls were empty!
I believe Lucky was there that day, so yes I do believe they have souls

***Chills!***

Jim Hall
March 5th, 2008, 10:53 AM
we are spirits inn the material world and if we live this reality doing no harm and practicing love and kindness with al our fellow cretures we will eventually not need a material body and attain nirvana
All souls have been here since om started the world

jiorji
March 5th, 2008, 11:26 AM
What if heaven and hell are right here, right now and are what we actually make of our own lives? We humans have unique ways of interpreting things - animals just live in the now. If we humans could learn to do that we wouldn't be having this discussion :D


sorry- heaven and hell were created by Christianity!
Many religions have NO heaven and hell. So it's not the human mind, it's the church :p hahah

and many humans DO live in the now, not thinking that what they do today may damage tomorrow. Off topic, but how many forests are being cut down just because they need wood TODAY and nobody stops to think...oh but tomorrow, weather will be all thrown off balance because there's no more forests. :shrug:
Ignorance is not bliss....you have know what's going on around you. You have to stop and think.

bananapanties
March 5th, 2008, 03:09 PM
What a cool thread.

Thanks everyone for sharing!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I DO think that trees and rocks and water have meaning, soul, etc. I'm also a pretty firm believer in spirits, and don't think modern science can explain away a few of my experiences.

So, as odd as it may seem, beetles must have some type of soul or animus or whatever. And it seems like the further removed from humans something becomes, the more sure of its place in the world it is. Beetles work endlessly at their jobs, helping the great life cycle, etc. Our dogs, however, are unsure of the world if we are not with them. Our cats don't like it when we leave. Our reptiles become accustomed to our scent and may not let others handle them. The blessing of being human is also its curse--we feel separated by our big brains or whatever, and we drag our companions, over millennia, into our separatism.

Now I have to prepare for class tonight.