At what point does a person gain a "soul"? This is the fundamental question asked during many random debates between myself, cousin Billiam, and cousin Travis. Personally, I believe that cognitive thought is necessary for a soul to be created.
The reasoning behind this is my understanding of the Christian Bible. Of course, there is no bible verse that specifically states such a thing...just the same as there is no specific bible verse stating that "life begins at conception".
Through literally more than a century of medical studies, modern science has told us several things about the human brain. First, it is most definitely possible for muscular action to take place in the absence of cognitive thought. Second, the most "mechanically vital" portions of the brain develop first, as this is most mechanically necessary for survival. Third, the frontal lobe is the portion of the brain responsible for cognizant thought.
Yes, you have a heartbeat, lung activity, and "brain waves" early on in pregnancy. However, the forebrain does not truly begin to develop to the point of basic cognitive self-awareness until approximately seven and a half months into a normal 9-month pregnancy.
Now, back to the whole "biblical" thing I was talking about earlier...
It's quite apparent that God gave free will to mankind. Without free will, the Morning Star would not have rebelled against God. Without free will, Eve wouldn't have been tempted by the serpent...nor would Adam have been tempted by Eve. Typical mainstream Christian beliefs hold that a child without any spiritual guidance and/or knowledge cannot be sent to hell for failure to believe in Christ, as that child is considered "an innocent".
This leads me to believe that the essence of the human soul is the ability to think on his own, and I have yet to see anything suggesting the contrary. If our decisions in life are what determines our ability to attain salvation, is it not the ability to acknowledge our own existence what gives us the essence of our soul?
Furthermore, if we have no soul, are we truly a "living person" in the rational sense? Of course, we may be brain-dead and still have a beating heart/breathing lungs...but are we truly alive, if we are unable to know we are alive?
The reason I ask such questions, of course, goes back to the original argument that I had with my cousin Billiam, about the righteousness of abortion.
Unfortunately, he could not do any more than quote me random bible verses. While the bible obviously gives us guidance, it must be taken in context.
Most of these bible verses center around the phrase of "I was sinful from the time my mother conceived me", as if that were supposed to be some sort of reference point for when "life" begins.
I'm sorry, but Romans tells me that ALL HAVE SINNED, AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. Yes, that means that any human being on earth is sinful. If you manage to be a part of the human species, you are sinful.
Some take the "life begins at conception" thing from Psalm 139:13, in which we were "knit together in the womb". Yeah, it should be obvious at this point, that I believe God is responsible for the molecules being put together into the formation that is known as human life. Does that mean that the soul is created when the "life cycle" begins? If so, I'm somewhat confused. Seriously. Science tells us that the human body is made of cells...which are, at its most basic levels, nothing more than carbon-based organic chemicals formed by reactions from other carbon-based organic chemicals. If this is the case, then our "life cycle" began the moment God gave the breath of life to Eve. Adam was already created, but Eve was necessary for reproduction through "natural" means. From the point where God created Adam, we have been nothing more than an amalgamation of molecules organized in the most intelligent way, so our life cycle began several thousand years ago...at a minimum.
The part that really burns my ass, however, is how people would like to pretend they are God...by attempting to enforce their ideals upon others through legislation.
It really doesn't matter if it's the subject of gay marriage, abortion, school prayer, et cetera...it all boils down to the same pile of bullshit. People attempt to take away the availability of free will through legislation, as if they had any authority from God to do so.
Last time I checked, the Almighty One True God of Abraham doesn't need any help, any money, or any support of the Republican National Convention. Yes, he really is that awesome and all-knowing.
I'd also like to say that if you impede upon a person's ability to make personal decisions upon his own life (obviously talking about an adult, not your own child), you are attempting to undo the very basis of free will that He himself so obviously set out to create.
Lead by example, not legislation. The world needs moral guidance, not a police state...
Also, I'd like to add, for my relatives who tend to disagree with me on religious matters...
Have enough human decency to explain yourselves, in your own words, instead of ONLY quoting scripture. Seriously, I've already read the book. I have biblegateway.com in my bookmarks. I don't need a refresher course here. Please don't quote scripture at me, if you aren't prepared to explain WHY you quoted it.