Evidence; Part 8 Morality…

June 16

Have you ever wondered if animals have souls? I have.

The classic definition of the soul is that it is the collection of the mind, the will, and emotions. So, from this definition, we can draw some preliminary conclusions…

Daisy and Cody 1As I consider my two dogs (Daisy and Cody) it is fairly clear that they possess all three. At times, you can tell they are thinking about things (you can just see the wheels spinning). Rudimentary thoughts, I’m sure, but thoughts nonetheless.

As for the will… check. Especially Cody. He is an expert at exercising his will frequently (much to the consternation of his master!).

And as for emotions… you bet. In them, I have seen: fear, happiness, anger, anxiety, and even some sadness (especially when they sense we are leaving on a journey).

So if our dogs are typical of other animals… then, we might conclude that (according to the classic definition) animals may have souls. But does that make them equal to humans? And if not, what separates us from all other animals?

Tightrope Between ThumbsOne of the great differences is that human beings possess the capacity to determine what is right and wrong. We not only make choices (exercising our wills), we make moral choices. My dogs don’t do this. It seems that humans possess a “filter” that assists us in making the choices of our lives. We call this… a conscience.

But the real question is where did our conscience come from? How did it come to be within us? And why is it that only human beings seem to possess a conscience?

It is important to note that we are not just talking about an ability to use our minds to determine our morals (although this is certainly a part of it). There are some things that go beyond our moral feelings or reasonings. There are some things that appear to be embedded into the very fiber of our being.

first-respons_621Like when a natural disaster occurs, and there is a tremendous outpouring of help for those who are devastated by the tragedy. People feel compelled to give of themselves to help total strangers. They feel it is the “right” thing to do. Even if it is costly or inconvenient.

drowningOr when we are walking beside a river and notice someone drowning in the water. We are compelled to help – even if it could cost us our own life in the process of helping. And if we choose NOT to help, we feel guilty about our neglect.

Or when we hear of a school shooting, or a bombing at a concert, or the horrors of sex trafficking – we immediately feel the need to condemn such things, because “they are just wrong.”

Could our conscience have arisen through centuries of development? That seems unlikely. If we are products of natural selection and “survival of the fittest,” what is the DogEatDogbenefit of altruism towards others? If it has always been “dog eat dog” then it is more advantageous to just “eat the dog” than heal the dog. Survival is always easier when we make the commitment only to take care of ourselves, and our own.

Yet, there is something within us that actually seeks to help, and to heal, those who are in need, or broken. We actually feel this is “right.”

It is my contention that the best explanation for this, is that conscience was placed within us by our Creator (Who also has a Heart to help and to heal). He did this to aid us in making our choices – and in making choices that respect and honor Him.

The real problem with our consciences is that they are malleable. They can be shaped and reshaped in accord with our thought processes and our experiences. We can actually subvert our consciences, in our desire to adhere to some questionable passion or cause. It is even possible for us to silence our consciences completely – and to sear them to the point where they are no longer a help to us.

And it is at that point that we revert back to the animal world, with animal passions, that make our choices no better than any other animal’s.

Without conscience… animals are all that we are.

clear conscience

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About theheartseeker

I have spent years studying the Scriptures and seeking for God's answer to the question: What IS true Christianity? Let me share some answers with you...
This entry was posted in Conscience, Daily devotional, Faith, God as Creator, Morality and Morals, Reason, Seeing God, True Christianity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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