Debate: Do Atheist believe they have a soul?
A soul is separate from the body. God has given us an individual soul that departs us when we pass from this life. Do Atheists believe in having a soul?--jp 12:32, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
- No. We are material beings. Mind, spirit, soul are functions of the brain. This isn't much of a debate for a atheist. MAnderson 22:37, 10 July 2008 (EDT)
- I can think of a few ways it could be justified, but they would have to be a strange atheist indeed. If you want one, your best bet would be one of the new-age types - they have such a grab-bag, you can probably find one that claims to be an atheist while still being effectively a theist of some description, just not willing to admit it. NewCrusader 19:11, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
No, I myself do not believe that we have a soul. For me, your consciousness is simply a function of millions of years of chance and random wiring in your brain - picking the good features that made your ancestors more intelligent, leaving the less intelligent ones to set fire to themselves or however stone age man killed himself through his own stupidity. Your ancestors bred, passed on their better intelligence, etc. etc. until one day you were born self-aware. That self-awareness is just the result of random wiring, and when you die, nothing will separate from your body and go to an afterlife. All that will happen is that all those electrical pulses that accidentally happen to give you self-awareness, along with those that tell your heart to keep beating and your diaphragm to keep pulling at your lungs, will stop firing. Nothing else will change - it'd be just like flicking off a lightswitch.
I've been asked how I can possibly sleep at night, thinking that my existence is bound to be short and, should I die during my sleep, I simply won't exist anymore. This doesn't trouble me because hey, I won't care that I'm dead, because I'll be dead. Yes, I'd really like to keep living, but once I'm dead it really won't bother me. If I had an aftelife to go to, I'd miss everything I left behind on Earth. So as far as I'm concerned, nothing leaves your body when you die - all of your consciousness is still there, in the same way your contacts stay on your phone after you've turned it off. Except you can't turn a human back on again.
Yes, it's depressing, but my conscience tells me that it must be so - I can't lie to myself and believe in heaven or a soul. If Christians are right (out of the countless religions on Earth, if Christianity turns out to be the correct religion) then I'm sure an all-forgiving, benevolent God will see that I've led a life free of major sins and have always striven to do what I believe to be right. Why would he punish me for falling for the traps that, by all rights, he put there for me, like all those pesky fossils? LibAsCanBe 18:53, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
- Because God isn't obliged to make sense to your thinking. He is the source of morality - he has the right to send you to hell for violating his rules. NewCrusader 19:11, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
Given the definition of a soul from the initial question on this page, I would say no. Atheists do not believe in a God given soul. However, if we expand the definition to include any kind of spiritual/non-material component to the body then I think you will find more variance to the answer. As for the above comments, I would have to say that I agree with LibAsCanBe, if God does exist and he is a loving and forgiving God as stated by the majority of the Christian faiths, being an atheist (or any religion) will not matter as long as you have lived a moral life. --ScottA 20:44, 24 September 2008 (EDT)
(Guys, i thought this was a debate about whether or not atheist's believe they have a soul, NOT whether or not a "God" has the right to judge human actions or determine the state of a human's "soul" - whatever that is supposed to constitute - after death)Anyway i would have to say in the sense of human functioning, emotions, consciousness etc. i would have to say that there would be no reason to believe that one has a soul because the idea of the soul along with all things supernatural is to me nonsensical (all that we experience seems to be cause-effect and material and so there is no need to assume there is anything past the material/physical).