Thursday, 7 July 2016
Souls And Belief
Freda refers to elves and trolls as "...two soulless tribes..."
If "soul" means self-conscious/intelligent, then elves and trolls have souls whereas, if it means an immortal immaterial intelligence, then I believe that human beings are soulless. Indeed, the Buddha taught anatta, "no soul." However, The Broken Sword is a fantasy that assumes the truth of certain medieval beliefs.
Freda also thinks:
"...surely God would not withhold belief from a man like this."
I think that beliefs should be based on evidence and reason. From evidence, e.g., that ships sink beneath the horizon, we reason that the earth is not flat and believe that it is round. Sometimes belief is strong enough to count as knowledge although there is no clear dividing line. Knowledge is a matter not of inner certainty but of conclusive evidence and irrefutable reasoning. I know that there is no highest prime number because the proof is mathematically certain.
Some Christians think that belief is based on choice and that unbelievers are condemned for making the wrong choice. Another strand in theistic religion holds that belief is entirely bestowed by God. See here. In Biblical terminology, the heart was the organ of understanding. Thus, the hard-hearted were not the uncompassionate but those who lacked understanding. God hardened the Pharaoh's heart, i.e., prevented him from understanding, so that He would be able to demonstrate his power by sending the plagues. Thus, in Calvinist predestinationism, God alone determines who believes and is saved and also who disbelieves and is damned. In fact, I think that Calvinists go further and say that some may believe yet still be damned. But, in any case, they hold that whether we believe or not is entirely determined by God. Freda seems to hold this view.
Addendum: See A Peculiar Question.