Most people who believe that "souls" are a thing, assume two things about them:
that only humans have one, and that all humans have one.
I'm not so sure either of those assumptions is correct.
What do you think?
I don't think we have a soul I believe we are one, at this moment we have been placed in a temporary vessel that we call a body. this body is part of a matrix (for lack of a better description ) for the purpose of judging the way we interact with are fellow beings. the way we interact with our fellow being will Determine if we will be allowed to progress beyond this temporary existence.
Whether a soul exists, independent of the human body, is irrelevant to the thoughts of the body. If there is consciousness beyond human life it is meaningless to the human experience. Just as we have no awareness of ourselves prior to birth, it is inconceivable that we would after death.
I believe all sentient beings have souls. It may be a bit of a stretch to believe a unicellular organism has a soul, but anyone who owns a dog or a cat would most likely say they have souls as wells. To ask what exactly is a soul is a question I don't believe a mere human could answer.
We have no sure way of knowing, however I believe all humans have a soul. I understand animals also have a soul and many of the "lesser" species have a "collective" or group soul. There is much information on this from Theosophy, particularly found in the 3 volumes of the "Secret Doctrine". Much of this has been derived from the Vedas, Puranas, and the Upanishads.
Whenever you venture beyond the realm of the five senses and our cause and effect logic circuits, you’re in Silly Putty land, as far as reality is concerned. Our language necessarily reduces such phenomena to fit into our preprogrammed parameters. Call it ”God,” call it “Divine Force,” call it “Higher Power,” they all stuff something ineffable and unknowable into a box tiny enough to wrap our brains around.
I personally have never had such an extra-dinensional experience myself, but there seems to be sufficient documentation of such experiences that acceptance of realms beyond the material isn’t really that much of a stretch. But when we try to quantify and define those realms and the things that happen there, we start tripping over ourselves.
Ever since I read “Journeys Out of the Body,” by Robert Monroe, I’ve accepted the idea that “something” exists apart from our physical self. Monroe never tried to explain it, or define it; he simply described what happened to him over the years. Call it what you want: second body, soul, astral body, it doesn’t matter. Anecdotal accounts will never satisfy the hard-core materialist. Logic won’t dissuade the believer.
I must not be one of the "most people". First, I agree with waveoflight, that we need to define 'soul'. The "best" definition of soul, I've found, was Watchman Nee's many years ago, when I read his book, Spiritual Man. If I recall correctly, he said, within the soul are the mind (intellect), will, and emotion. That part of us (living creatures) that thinks, chooses and feels. If that is the definition, then, of course, anyone who knows animals knows they have a soul, which is a conclusion even God agrees with!
When people talk about souls, I've mostly heard people say that they believe that all beings have them, not just humans. Although I'm a sceptic personally, I do find the topic of souls to be quite interesting. So I'm curious what someone who believes in souls would answer here. Do only humans and animals have souls? What about insects and plants?