Acceptations of the soul in various systems of philosophical and religious thinking

Dialogo 6 (2):233-244 (2020)
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The Soul is considered, both for religions and philosophy, to be the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, conferring individuality and humanity, often considered to be synonymous with the mind or the self. For most theologies, the Soul is further defined as that part of the individual, which partakes of divinity and transcends the body in different explanations. But, regardless of the philosophical background in which a specific theology gives the transcendence of the soul as the source of its everlasting essence – often considered to survive the death of the body –, it is always appraised as a higher existence for which all should fight for. In this regard, all religious beliefs assert that there are many unseen battles aiming to take hold of the human soul, either between divinity and evil, or between worlds, or even between the body and the soul itself. These unseen battles over the human soul raging in the whole world made it the central item of the entire universe, both for the visible and the unseen worlds, an item of which whoever takes possession will also become the ruler of the universe. Through this philosophy, the value of the soul became abysmal, incommensurable, and without resemblance. The point for making such a broad overview of the soul in religious beliefs is the question of whether we can build an interfaith discourse based on the religions’ most debated and valuable issue, soul? Regardless of the variety of religious beliefs on what seems to be the soul, there is always a residual consideration in them that makes the soul more important than the body. This universal impression is due to another belief or instead need of believing that above and beyond this seen, palpable, finite life and the world should exist another one, infinite, transcendent, and available all the same after here. This variety stretches from the minimum impact that soul has on the body, as being the superior essence that inhabitants and enlivens the matter, to the highest impact in which soul has nothing to do with matter[1] and is only ephemeral linked to it, but its existence is not at all limited, defined or depended on the matter [2], or even placed to the extreme, as the very life of the matter thus this seen universe is merely a thought in the soul/mind [3]. In this extensive variety of soul overviews, the emphasis of the soul’s importance gives an inverse significance to the body/matter, from being everything that matters to a thin, dwindle item that has no existence at all outside consciousness.

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Tudor-Cosmin Ciocan
Ovidius University of Constanta


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