Do Christians believe animals have souls?
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23-11-2013, 01:34 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
The teaching that the catholic church tends to follow is that of Aristotle and Aquinas. Although I think they only assert dogmatically that humans have a soul, they do tend to believe that animals have a soul. The soul is considered to be the automotive power of life in aristotlian philosophy. The difference is that humans are given a rational and free will soul as opposed to the animal soul which merely acts on instinct.
As a side note, the rational soul and free will is what catholics consider the imago dei, or image of God, and is what catholics believe is meant by "created in the likeness and image of god".

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23-11-2013, 01:51 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(22-11-2013 05:37 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  So do Christians believe non-human animals have souls?

No. (They inherited this idea from Judaism.)

Quote: If not, are humans "special" because we supposedly have souls while other animals do not?

Yes.

Quote:If that's the case, what would it mean to Christians if another species of animal developed enough intelligence to form communities/cultures/tribes that could communicate, through language, to each other and us?

Some non-human animals do communicate with each other and us using language (broadly defined) and they also form communities with cultures.

Macaques--for example--live in socially stratified communities and they teach their young how to do certain things such as how to make certain tools and how to use them--that is culture. They communicate with each other verbally and somatically so they can be considered to have a primitive "language".

The Palm Cockatoo exhibits vocal communication using a repetoire of syllables which they combine in various ways. The Palm Cockatoo also has an apparent craft culture. The male makes a drumstick and uses it to drum on a hollow as part of its mating ritual. Male Palm Cockatoos teach each other how to make a drumstick and how to use it. That is a form of culture.





Even if say a non-human primate developed the ability to speak etc. it would not alter the Judaeo-Christian view that only humans have souls.
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23-11-2013, 02:14 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(23-11-2013 01:34 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  The teaching that the catholic church tends to follow is that of Aristotle and Aquinas. Although I think they only assert dogmatically that humans have a soul, they do tend to believe that animals have a soul. The soul is considered to be the automotive power of life in aristotlian philosophy. The difference is that humans are given a rational and free will soul as opposed to the animal soul which merely acts on instinct.
As a side note, the rational soul and free will is what catholics consider the imago dei, or image of God, and is what catholics believe is meant by "created in the likeness and image of god".

In Catholicism human souls are immortal, animal souls cease to exist when animals dies.
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23-11-2013, 03:01 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
I used to wonder about the soul a LOT in my more agnostic questioning days. Now I think it's just a straw man that doesn't get challenged as such. It seems like a very romanticised concept used in place of cognitive self awareness. I don't think animals have souls, neither do we.

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23-11-2013, 03:01 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(23-11-2013 02:14 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  In Catholicism human souls are immortal, animal souls cease to exist when animals dies.

That isn't the only difference. Catholics also believe that plants have a "soul". When Catholics say plants and (non-human) animals have a soul they are just saying plants and animals are alive. That is all. See http://www.rosary-center.org/ll50n4.htm The "soul" of plants and animals is supposed to be material that is why it is doesn't survive physical death. Only the soul of man is said to be "spiritual". The notion of a "material soul"--what plants and animals are supposed to have-- seems to be a leftover from the idea of vitalism.
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23-11-2013, 09:01 AM (This post was last modified: 23-11-2013 09:09 AM by Adrianime.)
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(23-11-2013 12:19 AM)ih8mondays Wrote:  I think it would seriously damage a lot of egos -- not just Christian egos, but anyone who considers themselves to be apart from the animals. I imagine that other religions have their share of those individuals as well. Plus it would probably create a pretty big problem for those who believe the animals were placed under their dominion (and to whom they do pretty what they please). The world would either change quite drastically, or those in power would do everything they could to prevent the animals from progressing further -- because who knows what animals might actually tell us about ourselves. (Frankly, they should be furious at most of humanity. But that's my opinion.)

Slavery comes to mind. Especially the fake science trying to designate Africans as non-humans or animals or smaller brains or whatever. Animals should be pissed. We humans ... well let's just say if there was a mother nature, she would hate us.

Quote:Cultures would be icing on the cake.
Star Wars FTW?

Quote:But, wow, it would sure make eating meat a bit more difficult. It's hard enough as it is now -- most of us are separated from the act of killing our food by several degrees -- but if animals ever get to that point, I might just have to give up my beef.
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23-11-2013, 09:09 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(23-11-2013 01:51 AM)Chippy Wrote:  Some non-human animals do communicate with each other and us using language (broadly defined) and they also form communities with cultures.
I think you know what I meant..

Quote:Even if say a non-human primate developed the ability to speak etc. it would not alter the Judaeo-Christian view that only humans have souls.
Right now I'm picturing a group of penguins coming to us with a trade agreement haha. I'm thinking of a species developing more or less the same cognitive abilities/potential as humans.

If a penguin learned to read, and could display belief....and it read the bible, and believed it...would that make it a Christian? Haha I wonder..
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23-11-2013, 09:34 AM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
I have always believed that animals are equal to humans. I don't see any reason why the Christians seem to say that humans have souls but other animals don't. They can't even use their own bible to support that belief.
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23-11-2013, 01:20 PM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
(22-11-2013 05:57 PM)Elesjei Wrote:  As it is, most people view humanity as completely separate from other animals.
That's really ignorant,no it really is.. especially considering that humans are primates and mostly share 95% of DNA with chimps.. its pure ignorance&hypocrisy to believe that you're "too good" to be an animal.
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23-11-2013, 01:45 PM
RE: Do Christians believe animals have souls?
Bonobos (other apes), and dolphins, among others, are intelligent, self aware, and have emotional lives. The boundaries which the RCC set up have been destroyed by science.

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