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Do animals have souls? Your thoughts!

AniwayasSong

Active Member
My beliefs are complicated. I believe the physical and spiritual realms exist and I believed that even before I was a Christian. I believe that humans have a body, non-physical mind and a spirit. What I would call a soul is that non-physical mind, which I believe every thinking being is granted by God, be they human, animal or insect. The spirit is something unique to humans and it's through the spirit that humans can know God in a way that no animal can.

Now I stress that these are my beliefs and there are many Christians who would disagree with me on whether souls and spirits are fundamentally different or if they're one and the same and that's fine. The Bible could be interpreted through either viewpoint and I believe it doesn't affect the core teachings of sin, salvation and the like. If you disagree and want to debate me about these things, please do so in PM and don't disrupt this thread!

Now, back to the topic: as how this relates to the afterlife. The Bible is pretty clear that there will be animals on Earth after it's been restored to the state of Paradise. It doesn't say if God will resurrect previously deceased animals to populate Paradise but I don't see why He wouldn't so I choose to believe that He would because I believe He loves animals too and He wants us to be happy.

As for whether or not they're awake and alive in Heaven, I personally don't believe that because I believe that Heaven is exclusively the realm for spirits, and it's there that we can have spiritual fellowship with God no matter if we're alive or dead. I believe that we will be reunited with our pets when we're reunited with our bodies during the resurrection at the end of days.
I was forced to attend Christian Schooling/Indoctrination from the time I was in Kindergarten, right up to ninth grade, when I finally refused to go any further, so took measures to guarantee they wouldn't let me (basically, I beat the shit out of one brat girl who refused to stop harassing and bullying another, this having gone on for years w/o the psychotic penguins/anyone putting a stop to it.).
I remember well getting into a near physical fight with one penguin about the topic of Souls, and how she insisted animals had none. My take on it, and what I asked and refused to back-down on was this- If 'God' made all things, including animals, before 'Man', then every living thing has been touched by God, and so has a part of Divinity in their existence. They have a Soul, too.
That was an epic event, and only one of many in my early years. I won't bother with the rest because it's not on topic with the O.P..
As someone who grew up on a working ranch (sheeps, cattle, horses, pigs, chickens/fowl, so on), and as an adult who hunts and is heavily invested in 'Animism' as a way of Faith, I genuinely respect every living thing and try to honor those who help me live. I never take an animal's life w/o offering a prayer of thanks and gratitude to it, and 'God' in the ways I think of it.
Now, if there's a 'Heaven', and if I happen to find myself there after this body dies, and my beloved critter friends aren't also there waiting to reunite with me? I'm leaving! :)
 

AniwayasSong

Active Member
Oh, interesting! You raise some very thought-provoking points! I really appreciate you explaining your thoughts on this; you've opened my eyes to some other aspects and made me want to go read up on some (a lot of) scripture. Thank you for that! I look forward to getting to know you better / hearing more from you.



As someone who was a vegetarian for a whole 3 days, I very much have guilt when I'm eating a burger. I constantly feel very conflicted. If I had to kill and harvest a cow, I just simply would not be able to do so.



I'm so glad I posted this, I love hearing all the different points of view.
Know what the Native American (really, any of the Indigenous People) definition of 'Vegetarian' is?
"Bad Hunter!"
:p
 

AniwayasSong

Active Member
I figured I'd share this in the thread because it's relevant to the topic. There is this incredible artist in Norway I follow who makes comics about animals after they've passed on, who are greeted by a compassionate and empathetic version of Death that comforts them. It can be both heartwarming and saddening. It's appealing to ones emotional and caring nature about our animal friends. The comics raise awareness on wild and domestic issues animals face, as well as comics that are meant to comfort people who have recently lost a beloved pet.
Jenny-Jinya (@JennyJinya) / Twitter
Loving Reaper
View attachment 105765
Oh, wow... Yes, I've seen many of her comics, and they really tear-out the heart strings!
 

Rassah

Well-Known Member
I'm gonna say no because there's no proof anyone has a soul.
 

Olivitree

Local Bizartist
Aww..! So beautifully said! Made me all misty-eyed...
I can really relate to your sentiment. After my dog of 18 years passed, I really, really struggled. I couldn't imagine ever having another pet because the pain in the end was just so incredible. My grandmother kept reminding me of all the fun times we had together and although it hurts, that I had given him a very long and loving life that he may not have had with someone else.

I now try to remember to appreciate all those moments with my pets (and other loved ones) and take mental (and actual) snapshots of our happy times together.


Also.. You rescue guinea pigs? I really wanted to get a guinea pig but after extensive research on all small pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, hamsters) I realized I would not be able to care for them to the extent I feel they should be cared for. As much as I want one! Those little faces... so I've settled for investing in outdoor bird houses and food to attract wild birds.
Exactly! Regardless of what comes next, we have all the wonderful memories and the knowledge we their lives good ones even if we miss them.

I do rescue guinea pigs, I have 6 at the moment, all rescues, they are a lot despite their small size, it's good that you did your research, it's the responsible thing that not enough folks do so good on you :3. Folks don't realise just how much space, time and cash such a small animal can take! I only just keep them in the minimum required space by rescues and I feel like they need more space! they already take up about an 8 by 3 foot space, then all their hay, hard food, carriers, etc etc. It's chaos! But I love each and every one of them, my fuzzy potatoes.<3
 

Mambi

Fun loving kitty cat
Jokes aside, I'd love to have a discussion or just hear thoughts / opinions on what you may believe. No pressure to state your religion if you're not comfortable.
While I would like this to be a discussion, I do NOT want people fighting or degrading someone else's beliefs. The purpose of this is to expand yours and my thoughts on the subject, not to convince someone they're wrong.

No problem responding fully from this kitten! <giggle> I'm Wiccan, I absolutely do believe that animals have souls/spirits, and as many already know from the forums I even believe that my current one is from a cat as well, so they apparently cross-over in nature without issues.

Ironically I don't see why most religions would have any issue with that, other than they'd like permission from their holy leaders to be cruel to something alive guilt-free. All animals are shown 100% to have personalities, and even in the same family different personalities you'll see in nature documentaries all the time. Time and time again we observe animals grieve, play, love, hate, and learn...all with obvious sentience (i.e. not pure instinct like a fruit fly). In what possible way does that NOT describe an individual spirit/soul driving it? Are they saying their gods are not animal-lovers either? I can't be a part of any group that does not at least like animals out of pure moral principal. <lol>

This all assumes of course that someone already believes in "your" spirit/soul...if they do not believe anyone has one than of course they would not believe the animals do either so the whole discussion would be irrelevant and that's fine. But to say we do and they do not to me is like denying that water is wet...pointless and silly.
 

DorjeStego

Member
I'm a Buddhist. Buddhists don't believe in a Judeo-Christian notion of a soul, but do believe in a consciousness or mindstream that survives death and goes through the cycle of rebirth in perpetuity, and animals are included in that. There's no inherent difference between an animal or human consciousness - and both can be reborn as the other in future lives.

The difference between the concept of a "soul" versus a "consciousness"/"mindstream" that Buddhists differentiate is that the notion of a soul usually comes with the idea of a core personality surviving death, whereas the personality or ego doesn't for Buddhists.
 

Kumali

Lupine-American
Old folk tale, make of it what you will:

An old man and his dog die together and find themselves walking along a road that leads to a big pair of shining pearly gates. As they approach, the gates swing open, and an angelic figure in a radiant white robe beckons the man in, saying "Welcome!"

But as the man enters, the angelic figure points to the dog and says "Ah, but you'll have to leave your dog behind...we don't allow animals in here. Animals don't have souls, you see."

The man looks at the dog and the dog looks back at the man, and the man says to the angelic figure, "Well, then, thank you anyway, but I think we'll just try our luck someplace else." And they turn around and leave.

After walking the other direction along the road for a while, they come to a charming, peaceful village, where both humans and animals live, all obviously happy and content. The man sits under a shady tree, the dog curls up at his feet, and they watch the people passing by and the dogs, cats and other animals playing together.

After a while, the man becomes curious, and he calls out to a passerby, "Excuse me, sir, would you mind telling me what place this is?"

"This is heaven," says the stranger.

"This is heaven?" replies the man, startled. "I thought that place up the road with the pearly gates and the angel in the white robe was heaven."

The stranger laughs. "Oh, no, that's hell," he says. "That's where we send people who would abandon their best friends."
 

Tendo64

Siamese Weeb
I don't know if I really believe anything has a soul. Just that many animals are intelligent enough to experience emotion and love and whatnot like human do. It's depressing to think about but I personally feel like there's not enough evidence to suggest there's an afterlife for anyone, even if I wish there was.
 

Stray Cat Terry

고먐미
I believe soul never equals observable intelligence. And, I believe every particles have souls--it's only the matter of how deep we can acknowledge them.

By the way--off topic--I believe I shouldn't define one's intelligence just because it can't get into any valid logical interactions. (Eg: a rock vs human) Perhaps, it's us who ain't enough to logically interact with something we can't.... Science ain't backing up my beliefs for certain, but I still believe....

Anyways! Those could just be me, no need to get serious if you don't get it. After all, we're all doing fine by how we believe and act, no pressure! UwU
 

Telnac

Fundamentalist Heretic
Old folk tale, make of it what you will:

An old man and his dog die together and find themselves walking along a road that leads to a big pair of shining pearly gates. As they approach, the gates swing open, and an angelic figure in a radiant white robe beckons the man in, saying "Welcome!"

But as the man enters, the angelic figure points to the dog and says "Ah, but you'll have to leave your dog behind...we don't allow animals in here. Animals don't have souls, you see."

The man looks at the dog and the dog looks back at the man, and the man says to the angelic figure, "Well, then, thank you anyway, but I think we'll just try our luck someplace else." And they turn around and leave.

After walking the other direction along the road for a while, they come to a charming, peaceful village, where both humans and animals live, all obviously happy and content. The man sits under a shady tree, the dog curls up at his feet, and they watch the people passing by and the dogs, cats and other animals playing together.

After a while, the man becomes curious, and he calls out to a passerby, "Excuse me, sir, would you mind telling me what place this is?"

"This is heaven," says the stranger.

"This is heaven?" replies the man, startled. "I thought that place up the road with the pearly gates and the angel in the white robe was heaven."

The stranger laughs. "Oh, no, that's hell," he says. "That's where we send people who would abandon their best friends."
Wasn't that a Twilight Zone episode?
 

Netanye Dakabi

people call me queen
Religion confuses me.

The old religions believed that ONLY animals had souls and humans didn't.

Then the Amens came (the guys that later became the Jews and the Muslims) and they said that nobody had a soul.

Then the Lopa (really ancient Greeks) started saying ONLY humans have souls.

And the next few thousand years after that are just a complete mess frankly.
 

Stargazer Bleu

2b forgot is worse than death
I have basic Christian beliefs, tho I do agree about the living things have a soul as well.
I just find it difficult to believe they don't.
I think if one type of living thing has a soul then all living things do.
Know what the Native American (really, any of the Indigenous People) definition of 'Vegetarian' is?
"Bad Hunter!"
:p
I laughed at this more than I should of.
 

Netanye Dakabi

people call me queen
Know what the Native American (really, any of the Indigenous People) definition of 'Vegetarian' is?
"Bad Hunter!"
:p
Yeah but they hadn't discovered a viable source of anima protein yet.
Now we can get that from natto beans.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
I'm not convinced there are souls.

There is a gradient of self-awareness across animals. While we might like to imagine that humans or apes possess souls, maybe koala bears and dogs,
the idea becomes nonsensical as you begin to ask whether tunicates, starfish, pterobranchs, sponges or nematodes possess immortal selves.
Some of these organisms do not possess meaningful self-identity in the first place.
 

Xitheon

I may be mad but I'm perfectly good at it.
I don't believe in souls, but I do believe that animals are as conscious/sentient and capable of feeling as humans are, which is basically the same thing in more scientific terms. Animals are people.
 
D

Deleted member 134556

Guest
Factual or not, I willingly choose to believe in a concept that creatures have some sort of spirit or soul, because it's one of the ways that motivates me to have a strong empathy and compassion for them, and the desire to help many of them. It also helps me cope with the loss of my pets throughout my life, and gives me a sense of comfort.
 

Kuroserama

Just a fox.
Factual or not, I willingly choose to believe in a concept that creatures have some sort of spirit or soul, because it's one of the ways that motivates me to have a strong empathy and compassion for them, and the desire to help many of them. It also helps me cope with the loss of my pets throughout my life, and gives me a sense of comfort.
I hadn't thought about it like that but that's a great point. Certainly, I am much more delicate and caring about the plants and animals around me as opposed to like.. a fork or a frying pan.
 

Netanye Dakabi

people call me queen
i think that if God said your dog wasn't going to heaven you'd be rallying everyone in hell to mess him up
 
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