Re: What if there is no soul? — Ds Advocate
Even though I do believe in a God, for the most part, I have a lot of respect for atheists and agnostics. Often they are much more humble and realistic about their existence and place in the universe than believers in God, who can have a tendency to “go wild” with their unverifiable perceptions of reality, and idea that they are superior beings (which often starts out as just a psychological defense mechanism, but then ultimately ends up in sheer egotistical craziness).
Often I have found atheists to be some of the most moral people I have come across, too. And yet they suffer a bad rap from people who just assume that they are not.
I think you could be right that we are not that much different than other animals, such as squirrels, etc. And that it just feeds a wish of ours, to think we are higher than the rest of life’s evolutionary forms.
Once I read some material written by a nun from almost a thousand years ago, Hildegard of Bingen. She said that everything (eg. in nature, etc.) is responsible to everything else. If we would think more along those lines, I suspect that EVENTUALLY we would live much more harmoniously. (There might be a few rocky adaptations to different lifestyles at first.)
But by God, she said that almost a thousand years ago, so you’d think we might start to try her advice. Instead of just assuming we are “higher,” and therefore have no responsibility to other life forms, letting our prejudices steep us into arrogances, get way out of hand and go to extremes.
Regardless of whether or not man has a soul, still we have our being (as we know and are aware of it), which consists of emotions and thoughts, etc. And this is why “even” an atheist has the common sense to know that murder is not justified. (Sorry if putting it that way — “even an atheist” — sounds arrogant, but that is how many people would view it.)
An atheist friend of mine tells me she believes that when she dies, everything about herself will be all over. Personally, I think she (as everyone) will still exist in a spiritual plane. Since I haven’t been dead, I can’t say exactly what that will be like. I’ve just read a couple of books by people who have had near-death experiences (NDE’s).
In my opinion, the “limits” on cloning should have everything to do with respect for the individual — namely, the parents who would raise the clone.
Human reproduction should never be decided by anyone other than the autonomous individuals who will raise the child, or clone, and who will therefore have the best interests of the child at heart, and in mind.
One of my main concerns about cloning centers around the fact that we will presumably always have this group of people around who will try to underhandedly monopolize and control everything, as if life was some kind of sports game they are playing to see if they can make more money than the rest of us. Frankly I’d be surprised if cloning was an exception to the potpourri of things they want to monopolize and control. They don’t stop and realize that as long as they are a decent and respectable person, people will do anything to help them and they don’t need to go off on this power craziness in order to have a worthwhile existence and life.
If anyone wonders what I am talking about in the above paragraph, they can check out the www.prwatch.org website, and perhaps read the books displayed there.
Anyway a main point I meant to make (or re-emphasize) is that regardless of whether or not we have souls, of course we will still have the issue of our conscious existence and being as we know it to consider, and which is of course why murder is a universal crime, regardless of whether or not anyone believes in “souls,” as such.
This means that of course we would not want to ever “extinguish” a life form which was well on its way to being being independent and viable outside of the womb.
Which means determining some kind of standard to not “experiment with” thereafter.
As for my own opinions on this, I see no problem experimenting with human cell clusters which are up to the point identical twins are formed. This is because it stands to reason that the individual “being” (as we know life) has not come into existence before then, unless the one individual soul (if that is the right term) were to split into two.
Also I believe this “point” of demarcation (whereafter we should not experiment) probably should center around the stages of brain development.
However, one other factor involved would be that I don’t think we should ever experiement will cells which would ultimately form a human FRIVOLOUSLY. It should be done cautiously and respectfully, and always for a greater purpose (eg. besides our own entertainment, or even mere education, etc.)