Philosophy…the search for knowledge, the science of answering life’s great questions. One of those great questions is, ‘Does God exist?’
So what percentage of philosophers don’t believe in God? Any guesses?
Well, actually there was a study in 2013 where philosophy professors around the world were surveyed about their belief in God. The answer is that a staggering 80% don’t believe in God, including 70% who are atheist and about another 10% who are agnostic.1
It’s been several weeks since my last blog and I’ve been trying to figure out why so many philosophers (and to a lesser extent, many throughout academia) are nonbelievers. I’m sure there are a variety of reasons, but based on what I’ve found, I am confident that the reason for many is a lack of scientific proof.
It seems that the logic for many philosophers is that we can’t prove that there is a God. Moreover, the concept of God is so incredible that it is easier for them to argue that there is no God; they deduce that the things we attribute to God will be ideas that people can explain in the future when new scientific discoveries occur. In other words, we don’t have God, but we do have ignorance. (Personally, I choose God over ignorance).
Going hand-in-hand with a lack of belief in God is a lack of belief in the soul. You have to have a soul to have a God, and vice-versa. To have a soul above and beyond the physical body substantiates that there is indeed a higher power in the physical world. That higher power is the spiritual world, the world of God.
I’d like to relay some great news: YOU HAVE A SOUL!
Why is this news at all? Well, I will bet no one has ever told you that before. It has probably been frequently assumed or implied in conversation, but no one has ever told you: “you have a soul”.
As we grow up, we learn the various body parts: eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Parents and kindergarten teachers will help us identify our feet, knees, elbows, head, and left and right hands. In school, we are told that we have a heart, lungs, bones and muscles. Biology class will instruct us that, we as mammals, have a liver, kidneys, a gut and reproductive organs. And, of course they tell us the obvious: that we have hair – some more than others. We will even learn the parts of a cell and how it works, but they never mentioned that you have a soul.
As of the time of this writing, I have never been told that I have a soul. I have heard priests and ministers and others talk about saving my soul, but I have never been told what it is or that I even have one to save. I have been around enough to believe that most everyone else is in the same boat – they have never been told.
I went through kindergarten, six years of elementary school, two years of junior high, four years of high school, four years of college, four years of medical school and three years of internal medicine residency without being told about the soul. In medical school, I learned reams of information beyond belief and never is the soul mentioned. In anatomy, we dissected a cadaver and were forced to learn every body part except the soul. We even learned that the silly thing that dangles in the back of your mouth is called a uvula and the funny spot between your eyebrows is called the glabella. There is not much use in knowing what a glabella is, but we learned it and neglected the soul. We even debated: ‘do people with unibrows even have a glabella?’, but still we did not talk about the soul.
Since being out in private practice for twenty-four years, I have read medical information almost daily. I have lost count of the continuing medical education courses that I have attended, and never is the soul mentioned.
Decades of attending church on Sundays has taught me about the value of a saved soul. However, church sermons never told me that I actually have a soul or even elaborated what it is. Actually, they usually do not even mention the word “soul”, but instead talk about saving yourself.
I have read the Bible cover to cover. At first thought, I could not recall ever even seeing the word “soul” in the Bible, let alone telling me that I have one. I have gone back and found the word “soul” in the Bible. Nevertheless, there is so much else in the Bible that I would say that the concept of having a soul is not of major emphasis.
Why do you need to be told that you have a soul?
Well, if you have never been told that you have a soul, then how will you know that you really have one? If the fact that you have a soul has always just been implied or assumed, then how can you ever really be sure that you have one? We as humans tend to believe things that we are actually told are true. We also tend to have doubts about things that are just hinted about.
Philosophers doubt that we have a soul. But does that make sense? We’ll explore that next time.
- Bourget, David and Chalmers, David J., ‘What Do Philosophers Believe?’, Philpapers, November 30, 2013.
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