Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What About the Soul?

"Humankind are creatures in which spirit and material meet together and are unified in a single whole."-- Ratzinger

The word soul conjures for most things like: immutable, essence, animating, spiritual; also leader, fervor, exemplification or personification. Some say there is no such thing while others say it is as the wind--known by feeling, not by sight.
and while a majority of the world's people may admit themselves to the notion of an afterlife or an idea of reincarnation, what about the soul?

In the west, the soul is given often as a separate entity from the body. However within some of the great religions (great in terms of world wide adherence), be it Judeo-Christian, Muslim or Zoroastrian, some forms of Buddhism and Hinduism and others, there not only is a well developed sense of reincarnation but also of the corresponding soul, which ascends.

In recent times there is increasingly talk about a soul but a clear confusion, even avoidance of what it means. It seems more frequent that people wish to talk around it whenever possible. Ratzinger writes: Some Christian denominations try to persuade that it is actually a Pagan conception and somehow not within the Christian realm. This thinking is indeed at odds with the basics of Christian thought for it involves the splitting of the body from its spirit; in this way there cannot be unity for all manifestations of creation joined with the Creator for which we may take part.  Paraphrased

While the concept of the soul may be present in many, many cultures, within the Christian tradition, it is a part of faith, a part of the way of the Christ. He who has come into the world, has come both in a body and a spirit so that we may know the Creator and our part in the creation. Humankind are creatures in which spirit and material meet together and are unified in a single whole.

And if we are to set aside the notion of soul as some would do, then the body is alone, robbed of its dignity and without exaltation as both a creator and the product of Creation itself. It bears no part in the Creation of the world.
Many times people have fallen to speculation that a body has indeed fallen from its spirit, that the spirit roams about unattached. Indeed in Chinese folklore, for example, these spirits are often referred to as hungry ghosts who roam about looking to attach them self to matter. Many times as a result, the living are abhorrent to enter a cemetery for fear of possible entrapment by these spirits. And for those who say the disembodied soul is an absurdity, perhaps they have not understood the teachings on the matter of faith, as it were.

In at least the Christian tradition, the people of the Lord are known as the Body of the Christ; within this body there is the one Lord, whole and unified.  They are the people of the Christ; believers who cannot be lost as spirits, for theirs is contained within the greater body of this Christ!

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