Brave New Void? The Fearless Sale of Your Nonexistent Soul!

When we stop and really look at the world around us, it’s impossible to miss how basic yet crucial things like the four basic elements are (earth, water, fire and air). They’re not anyone’s property; they’re just there, doing their thing, keeping everything in balance without taking sides.

Now, think about something many believe is deeply within the course of our being, the “soul.” It’s been around for ages, but over time, it’s gotten all tangled up in countless beliefs and opinions. Different cultures and religions have tried to put their stamp on it, claiming it, dividing people because of it, or even using it to control a populous via the fear of hellfire and eternal damnation.

Religions have turned the soul into a product with a never-ending list of terms and conditions. And modern spiritual ideas, even though they talk a big game about freedom and understanding, often just put old wine in new bottles. They still keep the soul, our true self, at arm’s length, turning it into just another version of our everyday egos wearing a fancy hat.

But here’s the thing: our real essence isn’t something you can label or own. It’s much more like the elements—everywhere, shared by everyone, and connecting us all. Getting rid of these fake labels and fears is like taking a fresh breath of air; it helps us see things as they really are, no strings attached.

I have really come to like the term “Net of Being” as of recent. It’s all about how we’re connected, deep down. It’s not weighed down by all the historical baggage. We’re part of a huge, complicated web, and everything we feel and do sends ripples through it, touching lives and shaping the world we all share.

If the “Net of Being” doesn’t click with you, no worries. Find a word or idea that does. Call it whatever feels right, and own your part in this crazy, beautiful mess of life. Every connection, every moment matters—they’re the threads that weave us all together into this rich tapestry of shared existence.

Lastly, a heavenly shoutout: “Good God, Sweet Jesus, Holy Mother Mary and Joseph!” They’re certainly amused up there: “Still on about the soul, are they? Fear really is the oldest trick in the book!”

Offering all I can in the form of protection while considering this topic :heart::peace_symbol: :alien::v:.

Note: This post was pre-approved due to the sensitive nature of this topic for some.


Beautifully written, reads like you stole it out of a famous book. Very impressive writting!

I really like that term too.

Except for the slight inconvenience of Karma :wink:

How about Collective Soul :wink: :upside_down_face: :wink:


I find it very interesting that while not all religions agree on their terms and conditions, many do have some striking similarities in their beliefs of a soul:

Its eternal
It can accumulate merit in a lifetime
It will be punished or tormented for toxic behaviors
It can connect to a higher Power


Thank you, I am putting a lot more effort into this post due to how important I think it is.

I firmly believe in the concept of karma, with instant karma serving as an especially potent manifestation of this force. Instant karma could impose structure, inspire belief, and facilitate a direct dialogue with the cosmos. For instance, if someone makes fun of another, they might suddenly find themselves in a coughing fit. If such instances of instant karma were a consistent pattern, people might start recognizing this as a form of two-way communication, opening a gateway with opportunities for a deeper connection with the universe.

Taking it a step further, this understanding of instant karma may dissuade individuals from inflicting harm upon others because they understand the universe will respond swiftly in subtle ways.

My favorite concept of this is a combined approach: forgiveness intertwined with instant karma. There should be an extent to forgiveness, after which karma naturally ensues. This transition isn’t always black and white; there’s a gray area, much like the debate over the exact point where hot turns to cold or vice versa. It’s universally acknowledged that water at 200 degrees is hot, signaling a clear case for karma’s intervention. However, in the ambiguous zone, there’s room for either forgiveness or karma.


On topics such as this ChatGPT4 carries a wealth of knowledge.

I wanted to provide some of what AI considers “vast” differences. It’s easy to see the flaws when considering many of the religions and beliefs listed below employ absolutism in their belief systems.

(Click here for a small list of religions / belief systems that have "vast" differences in their beliefs on the matter)
  1. Hinduism: Believes in the concept of “Atman,” which is the inner self or soul. It’s considered eternal and part of the cosmic soul “Brahman.” The uniqueness comes from the belief in the transmigration of the soul, i.e., reincarnation based on karma, which is a distinct aspect differing from the linear concept of life and afterlife in many other religions.

  2. Buddhism: Many schools of Buddhism, particularly Theravāda Buddhism, reject the concept of a permanent, self-existing soul (anātman) and believe instead in a constantly changing stream of consciousness. This perspective deviates significantly from the more common religious conception of a permanent soul.

  3. Christianity: Most Christian denominations believe in an immortal soul that is distinctly separate from the body. The unique aspect is the belief in salvation and the soul’s eventual rest in Heaven or punishment in Hell, contingent upon acceptance of Jesus Christ and moral conduct during one’s life, with some variations in different sects (e.g., Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy).

  4. Islam: Muslims believe in the immortal soul, which enters a person’s body upon the ensoulment before birth. On the Day of Judgment, souls will be resurrected and held accountable for their actions, facing either eternal paradise or hell. The emphasis on submission to Allah’s will as a guiding principle for the soul’s earthly journey is a defining feature.

  5. Judaism: Views on the soul within Judaism can vary, but it traditionally acknowledges an eternal soul given by God and distinguishes between different components of the soul, such as “Nefesh” (vitality), “Ruach” (spirit), and “Neshama” (higher soul). The focus is less on the afterlife and more on the soul’s actions during earthly life, aligning with God’s laws.

  6. Sikhism: The soul, or “Atma,” is considered a spark of God, and the human goal is to merge with the Divine, which is a different view from the Abrahamic religions. The cycle of birth and rebirth (reincarnation) is governed by one’s actions (karma), and liberation (moksha) is obtained through living a righteous life and meditating on God.

  7. Jainism: Believes in an eternal, individual soul, “Jiva,” which accrues karma through various actions. The unique aspect is the extreme emphasis on non-violence (ahimsa) and asceticism to purify the soul from karmic particles, ultimately achieving liberation (moksha) and becoming a “pure” soul with omniscience.

  8. Zoroastrianism: Proposes each person has a “fravashi,” a pre-existing soul or spiritual essence, which acts as a guardian and guide. The unique feature is the cosmic battle aspect, where the soul is seen as part of the struggle between good and evil forces, and the soul’s judgment is based on the moral alignment of thoughts, words, and deeds throughout life.

  9. Shinto: This indigenous religion of Japan perceives the soul in a pantheistic sense, with “kami,” spiritual essences, residing in multiple elements of nature, including within humans. Rather than focusing on morality or an afterlife, the emphasis is on ritual purity and maintaining a harmonious relationship with the various kami.

  10. Animism: Found in various indigenous religions, this belief holds that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena, and geographic features. The distinctiveness lies in the reciprocal relationships between humans and nature’s souls, often requiring rituals, respect, and offerings.

  11. Scientology: Considers humans as immortal beings known as “thetans,” who are essentially good but haunted by negative experiences (engrams). The practice of “auditing” is used to cleanse thetans of engrams, differing substantially from traditional concepts of salvation or ritual purification found in other religions.

  12. New Age Spirituality: This highly eclectic and individualistic approach often incorporates beliefs in reincarnation, karma, spiritual evolution, and the existence of spiritual beings (like angels or ascended masters). The focus is typically on spiritual awakening and ascending to higher states of consciousness, which is less dogmatic and organized than in traditional religions.

  13. Bahá’í Faith: The Bahá’í view posits that the human soul, known as the “rational soul,” comes into being at the time of conception and continues to exist after the death of the physical body. The soul’s journey through the material world is to develop and acquire virtues, and life after death is a new stage of existence for further progress. This continual progress of the soul distinguishes Bahá’í belief from concepts of a final resting place or state.

  14. Taoism: Taoism views the soul as an aspect of the Tao, the natural order of existence. The soul doesn’t separate from the body as a distinct entity but is more an integral part of the life force (Qi). Taoism promotes living in harmony with the Tao (the Way), and this harmony affects the soul’s quality. The concept of immortality in Taoism also differs, focusing more on a harmonious existence rather than an eternal afterlife.

  15. Confucianism: Rather than a defined doctrine of the soul, Confucianism focuses on ethics and moral living as a reflection of one’s inner quality. It emphasizes cultivating one’s moral character and virtue (ren), affecting the individual’s life force or spirit. The ancestral worship prevalent in Confucianism also points towards a belief in the continuation of existence, though less defined than in other traditions.

  16. Gnosticism: An ancient religion with various sects, Gnosticism believes that human beings contain a divine soul entrapped in a material body. This soul is a part of the divine essence and is destined to return to its divine source, contrary to the material world’s evil. Salvation and the release of the soul come through gnosis, a spiritual knowledge of the divine spark within oneself, which is a fundamental departure from orthodox Christianity’s doctrines.

  17. Candomblé: An Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, Candomblé combines elements of Yoruba, Fon, and Bantu beliefs. It holds that every human has a soul connected to a personal deity (Orixá). These deities represent various forces of nature, and individuals must cultivate a relationship with their Orixá for spiritual balance and well-being, offering a unique interplay between the soul, nature, and the divine.

  18. Wicca and Neopaganism: These modern pagan movements often have varying beliefs about the soul, but many share a belief in reincarnation and the ability of the soul to evolve over many lifetimes. The soul is often seen as part of the divine whole, with a strong emphasis on the interconnectedness of all existence, differing from the Abrahamic religions’ separateness concept.

  19. Rastafarianism: Rastafarians believe in the immortal nature of the human soul, influenced by a mix of beliefs from Christianity, Pan-Africanism, and mysticism. Their unique belief lies in the eventual return of the soul to the African homeland, reflecting a deep cultural and spiritual connection with their roots.

  20. Unitarian Universalism: As a liberal religion, it draws on many religious beliefs, focusing more on spiritual growth and ethical living than specific creedal requirements. Individual Unitarians have their own beliefs about the soul, with the congregation supporting personal growth and searching. The soul here is considered in a broader, often more metaphoric sense, encouraging a personal journey of understanding.

  21. Spiritism: Originating in the 19th century, Spiritism, particularly as practiced within Kardecism, believes in the immortality of the soul and its evolution through successive incarnations. Communication with the spirits of deceased individuals is a prominent aspect, intended for the moral and intellectual improvement of humanity.

  22. Tenrikyo: Originating in Japan, its followers believe that humans are granted a mind by God and that happiness comes through its proper use. The soul’s journey is less emphasized than joyful living through gratitude and mindfulness.

  23. Mandaeanism: Followers of this ancient Gnostic religion believe in the journey of the soul, which, freed from the body, ascends through a realm of planetary spheres to unite with the supreme form of life.

  24. Yazidism: An ancient faith that emerged in Mesopotamia, Yazidis believe in the soul’s continual reincarnation on earth until it purifies itself to ascend into the Heavens.

  25. Druidry: Modern Druidry is a continuation or revival of pre-Christian spiritual practices of Celtic Europe. Many Druids believe in a form of transmigration of the soul, which can lead to reincarnation or existence in a spirit world.

  26. Cheondoism: A modern religion based in Korea, blending Confucian, Buddhist, Taoist, and Catholic beliefs. It emphasizes the divine nature of humans and teaches the cultivation of the inner divine potential, sometimes interpreted as the soul.

  27. Bön: an ancient Tibetan spiritual tradition, perceives the soul (‘la’) as a vital essence integral to life and consciousness, existing within a broader system of spiritual components. The tradition emphasizes maintaining soul harmony to ensure health and well-being, advocating rituals to protect and, if necessary, retrieve the soul. The soul’s journey doesn’t end with death; Bön upholds a belief in reincarnation, where the soul transitions through various realms based on karma. Specific rituals guide and aid in securing a favorable rebirth, reflecting Bön’s complex, animistic, and shamanistic spiritual framework.

  28. Ayyavazhi: An offshoot of Hinduism, focused on the teachings of Ayya Vaikundar, considering the soul as a part of the ultimate consciousness that seeks union with the divine by following dharma.

  29. Quakers (Religious Society of Friends): While there’s a wide range of beliefs within different Quaker sects, most tend to emphasize personal, ongoing revelation and ethical living over specific dogmas about the soul.

  30. Jehovah’s Witnesses: They believe that the soul is not inherently immortal, that it is synonymous with the being itself, and that souls not attaining salvation will be annihilated after death rather than tormented eternally.

  31. Satanism (LaVeyan): This atheistic belief system asserts that there is no soul and does not believe in the afterlife, emphasizing the individual’s ego and personal development rather than spiritual concepts.

  32. Theosophy: This spiritual movement teaches about the complex development of the soul and its progression through various stages of spiritual evolution, both in one’s life and through reincarnation, integrating ideas from various religions and philosophies.

  33. Raëlism: This modern religious movement holds that scientifically advanced extraterrestrials, known as the Elohim, created life on Earth. The soul doesn’t exist, but through scientific advancement, humans can achieve eternal life.

  34. Falun Gong: Practitioners believe in the existence of a human soul that is complex and multi-dimensional. Moral living, meditation, and cultivation of one’s xinxing are believed to purify the soul.

  35. Ancient Egyptians: The soul, or ‘ka,’ was considered an individual’s life force, born simultaneously with the body and living on after death. The ‘ba,’ another aspect, represented the personality, effectively making each person unique. These elements, along with others like the ‘akh’ (a transcendent, eternal essence), were integral to one’s identity and journey in the afterlife. The Egyptians practiced elaborate death rituals to protect these soul components and ensure their safe passage to the afterlife, aiming for ultimate union with the divine. This belief system underscored the intricate mummification processes, tomb inscriptions, and funerary offerings characteristic of Ancient Egyptian burial practices.

To me the word is comparable to the word sh*t in the English language. This comedy bit explains what I am trying to express :smiling_face::

From Hinduism’s Atman and the Buddhist notion of anatta, to the Abrahamic faiths’ immortal soul, and indigenous beliefs in spirits residing in nature and all living things, interpretations of the “soul” are as varied as humanity itself. These beliefs, deeply rooted and often central to each religion or belief system, are reflections of our innate need to comprehend life, death, and what, if anything, lies beyond.

However, this kaleidoscope of spiritual understanding comes at a cost. The absolutism inherent in most religious teachings — the conviction that one’s own path and interpretations are the “truth” — can turn these beliefs from bridges to understanding into dividers that segment societies. What is intended to provide moral structure, comfort in the face of mortality, and a connection to the ineffable, can become points of severe contention and often spark conflict due to the belief that there is one absolute truth.

While the concept of the soul is a source of inner exploration for many, it also introduces a complex psychological dimension that can inhibit spiritual and personal growth. The doctrines surrounding the soul often carry with them the weight of eternal consequence, shaping behaviors and beliefs through hope for salvation or fear of damnation.

This profound sense of accountability, while guiding moral standards, can also instill a paralyzing fear, particularly when individuals encounter spiritual experiences that conflict with their religious teachings. The fear of eternal punishment or the corruption of one’s soul becomes a driving force behind self-censorship. In this atmosphere of apprehension, individuals often restrain their spiritual curiosity, avoiding questions or exploration that strays from doctrinal guidelines. This self-imposed limitation can place them into an internal struggle, a state of unease where their true spiritual identity is clouded by the looming threat of divine retribution.

In this context, the journey of the soul, instead of being a liberating exploration of one’s deeper self and the universe, turns into a cautious walk within a confined path laid out by the doctrines one adheres to.

The vast, potentially enlightening landscape of spiritual experience narrows drastically, as the consequences of deviating are taught to be too perilous. Instead of fostering a direct, personal connection with the divine or a higher consciousness, these fears can bind individuals to a limited set of acceptable experiences and beliefs, inhibiting genuine spiritual growth and understanding.



Justice and Karma, like the hand of God, are usually not swift, but when they do pack a punch, they hit hard.

Theres an older guy at my gym who rubs me the wrong way becuase I know h really likes to gossip about people. I often have wondered if that is the only reason why he is freindly towards people, just to collect material so he can use it as gossip later, like a bitchy spy.

Last year he got all his teeth knocked out. Aparantly the dentist did it.

He had to wait months, (close to half a year), before they could put the implants in for some reason.

Goes to show you the power of clean speech.


Interesting thoughts.

This concept fucks with free will though.

It also would not provide a way to discriminate between one time offenders, vs those who are rotten to the bone.

If you believe time is a construct, and in Buddha standard time, then Karma is more or less instantaneous.

I would push back on this. I think the “very subtle body” which reincarnates is basically identical to the ‘soul’ of most of the other major religions.

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I dont see the interpretations to truely be all that varied at all.

Narrowmindedness is unfortunately a part of life.

I think your perception of this ‘absoluism inherent in most religious teachings’, is somewhat Narrowminded.

Open minded and open hearted people in most of these religions do not cling to the absolutism of the religious teachings the same way the narrowminded people in those same religions do.

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First, I wanted to address something in my previous post where I used ‘most’ when referring to absolutism in religious teachings. My intention was to say ‘many,’ acknowledging the overlaps that exist among them. I corrected this just before introducing my list of 35 faiths but missed correcting it everywhere else in the post.

My observations on absolutism within religious practices stem from personal experiences, particularly highlighted during my interactions with a devout Catholic colleague. Over the five years we worked together, his insights into his three-decade long religious journey often revealed distinct absolutism in interpretations and doctrines, something I noticed while seeking his guidance on complex biblical themes.

Similarly, my understanding deepened through the account of someone I know personally who endured a rigid upbringing within the Jehovah’s Witness faith, ultimately resulting in their own mother and father disowning them. These experiences aren’t abstract theories but realities that underscore the absolutist tendencies in different religious practices.

Diving into the intricacies of the term “soul,” the divergence in its understanding even within various Christian sects is extreme. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses entertain a unique afterlife viewpoint. They identify a group of 144,000 who will ascend to heaven and rule with Christ, while other righteous followers enjoy eternal life on a restored Earth. They dismiss the traditional concept of an eternal hell. They believe that souls devoid of eternal life are annihilated and cease to exist.

In stark contrast, Catholicism and similar denominations advocate for the immortal soul’s journey post death, directed towards heaven, hell, or a transitional state, Purgatory, contingent upon one’s earthly actions and faith. This doctrine speaks of eternal consequences, with hell described as perpetual suffering.

Recognizing this disparity between two sects under the broad umbrella of Christianity highlights the oversimplification often made when using the term “soul” in conversation. It reinforces the point I raised earlier and is also why I compared the term “soul” to “sh*t” (the comedy sketch above explains this comparison :smiling_face:).

The comedy video in my previous post is meant to be a light hearted break in our discussion. If you haven’t watched it, I believe it’s worth your time for a moment of levity.

Am I correct in interpreting your statement as meaning that Buddhist beliefs regarding reincarnation are essentially the same as the belief in the ‘soul’ found in other major religions?

Isn’t time a funny thing? I noticed your post was from 7 hours ago, and it’s quite the coincidence because just 2 hours before that, I was discussing how time isn’t linear with my mom. It seems our thoughts might be more interconnected than we realize!

I’ve only said prayers two other times that I can remember. One was during a period when I was deeply immersed in spiritual texts with Jesus as the central figure like “A Course in Miracles.” At this point in my life, I prayed to Jesus asking for a sign and settled on it being a chair (the one I had was pretty beat up at the time). Just a few days later, I got called about a broken rocking chair in our Maternity department. It wasn’t just any chair — it was the one mothers used for those precious first moments, rocking their newborns before they were stable enough to join their parents in the recovery rooms. Imagining all the loving energy experienced while in that chair still sometimes brings a tear to my eye.

The timing of it all struck me profoundly. Here I was, praying to Jesus, and shortly after, I receive this broken wooden chair, almost a nod from the carpenter above. While most wrote it off as junk, to me, it was a prayer answered. This chair is one of the few things I truly treasure in this world. I fixed it up, giving it new life, and it has been with me ever since.

The third time was when I said a prayer for your safety while you were camping recently :slightly_smiling_face:.

I think there’s a bit of misunderstanding about my take on instant karma. I’m not suggesting a direct cause and effect scenario where, for example, someone punches another in the teeth and then immediately experiences the same pain. I imagine it as receiving subtle feedback in day to day life. Hints from the universe, a kind of gentle guidance system. This consistent ‘whisper’ from the cosmos doesn’t impede our free will but rather enriches our journey, allowing individuals to deepen and accelerate their spiritual connection and ascension.

Also, it wouldn’t really matter if someone messes up once or they’re always causing trouble. The karma concept isn’t about keeping score. It’s more like, “Hey, we see you and what you’re doing,” and nobody’s off the hook. Whether you slip up once or are a bad to the bone offender the universe will organize events perfectly in time sending those things back at the person they eminented from.

By engaging with these subtle signs, we would gradually lift the veil of secrecy and reveal the universe’s infinite intelligence, leading us towards a life of deeper fulfillment and a hopeful anticipation for what comes after. It’s less about cosmic retribution and more about fostering a harmonious existence, where the understanding of these gentle nudges from the universe becomes a guiding light.

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It certainly would not be the first time this has happened! :wink:

I would too. The energies resonating within it have got to be truely profound. Talk about a very precious artifact! No doubt Indiana Jones would want to get his hands on that one :cowboy_hat_face:

Thank you for dong that my friend. I think it had a very big impact!

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Interesting, I did not know this. Wondering what sources or religious texts back this up?

I liked the video.

Yes, more or less. I am not saying the desciptions are identical, but I am saying in ‘essense’, they are saying things that are basically the same thing:

There is a immaterial essense that does not die when the body dies, and like God, it goes by many names, and words and concepts do not do it justice.

Even with the Jejovahs witness example, is the soul really being ‘destroyed’ or is it being chained to oblivion for all eternity?

I really resonate with Andrews work because he says no one has a patent on truth. That means not me, or any person on this planet. In my expereince the people that claim to have a patent on truth, also tend to be extrememly narrowminded.

Because words dont do this converation true Justice, I will leave you with 2 quotes :upside_down_face:. Both of which I think help conceptualize the soul and God, but still fall very short:

“What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”


" Tao Te Ching – Verse 25

There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene.
Eternally present.
It is the mother of the universe.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.

It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things.

The Tao is great.
The universe is great.
Earth is great.
Man is great.
These are the four great powers.

Man follows the earth.
Earth follows the universe.
The universe follows the Tao.
The Tao follows only itself"

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This is their official website that they share in all of their flyers etcetera.

When it comes to Buddhism, the idea of what survives beyond death is quite different from a ‘soul’ concept that’s common in many religions. Instead of a fixed, unchanging identity, what carries on is a kind of consciousness flow, more related to karma than a soul, per se. It’s all about change and continuity, rather than a permanent self, moving from one existence to another. This unique view sets Buddhism apart, especially compared to beliefs where the soul faces judgment and ends up in an eternal afterlife scenario.

About the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I feel we might be circling the same idea but with different words. Their teachings note that souls in mortal sin go to hell and face ‘eternal fire,’ with the ultimate punishment being eternal separation from God. They also say that hell is more like a grave in which the wicked cease to exist.

This depiction of hell suggests a state not of perpetual suffering but of non-being, non-consciousness — or oblivion, in your terms. This aligns with annihilationism, where the unsaved don’t endure eternal torment but instead face extinction — a permanent cessation from life and consciousness, essentially being erased from existence by the divine source of life.

I appreciate the quote from the Tao Te Ching highlighting the ineffable nature of these spiritual concepts. They indeed remind us of the limitations of language in capturing the depth of spiritual experiences and truths :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:.

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If you read snippits and short summaries of religious beliefs, then yes it does appear ‘quite different’.

Keep in mind though, many Christians (and possibly Jews as well) believed in a soul that could reincarnate, hundreds of years after Christs death, until around 400AD, when that belief was erradicated from holy doctrine. It lost by 1 vote by some counsel that wanted to reinvision christianity.

So do you see how its impossible to see these Apples and Oranges as being quite different, when historically speaking, the Apples were Oranges at one time?!?!

The fact that God incarnated as Jesus, seems somewhat similar to the Buddhist belief that holy monks can split their ‘souls’ (consciousnesses) and reincarnate as multiple beings.

You can get caught up in the differences and nit pick the details for an eternity. But I think if you dive deep into most of these religions, you will find the similarities far outweigh the differences.

At its core, I think religion is the human mind (imperfect) trying to conceptualize God (perfect), which is impossible to do. The power of the religious teachings is they offer ways to connect with God, which is a subjective experience, one that writing about it objectively, will never do justice to.

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Andrew has riffed on this powerful insight a few times before:

What is more Indestructable than Space (emptyness)?

What is more accomodating (loving?) than Space?

I think the same things cam be said about God

Amd something very similar can be said about the soul.

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Absolutely, reflecting on your point, it’s clear that the conversation isn’t just about nitpicking minor theological differences. In religious beliefs, subtle nuances can represent vast, unbridgeable divides. Consider the unique concept within Jehovah’s Witnesses’ doctrines where the ‘wicked’ are not eternally tormented but are instead annihilated — this stands in stark contrast to mainstream Christian doctrine, which revolves around eternal damnation or redemption. This discrepancy exists within the broader realm of Christianity itself, illustrating the complexity of theological interpretations even within a single faith tradition.

When we turn our attention to more diverse beliefs, like those of certain radical Islamic factions, these contrasts escalate dramatically. Claiming that Buddhist views on reincarnation align with the ‘soul’ concepts of other religions is a gross oversimplification. The term ‘soul’ itself is laden with a spectrum of meanings across different religious traditions. Using it casually can lead to serious misunderstandings. If we’re not precise, I might suddenly think we’ve shifted the conversation to something entirely different - like the well traveled souls of my shoes. Spelling was never my strong suit, after all! :blush:

I still think what you are explaining is more in line with what Buddhists would call karma, even then there is a strong seperation due to the final judgment present in many traditions.

Each one has its unique interpretation and beliefs associated with the soul, from its nature to its journey after death. Misinterpretations or overgeneralizations can cloud these deeply held beliefs, leading to confusion or even conflict.

For example, in the realm of extremist ideologies, the concept of the soul’s ultimate journey — to heaven or hell — is an inflexible doctrine. This absolutist belief system often rationalizes radicalized behavior, permitting brutality in the name of ‘saving souls.’ Such extremism is a far cry from mainstream religious beliefs and paths like those in Buddhism, which advocate mercy, compassion, and a peaceful spiritual journey.

Addressing the historical diversity within early Christianity, it’s critical to understand that those beliefs in reincarnation were more the exception than the rule. The notion that entire belief systems hinged on a single vote dramatically oversimplifies the historical evolution that took place over centuries. Various beliefs coexisted and competed, with orthodox doctrines emerging from complex processes of debate, discussion, political maneuvering, and social transformation.

Regarding God being Jesus, it’s important to understand the nuanced distinction in Christian theology. The relationship between Jesus and God is considered unique and not a straightforward case of one being the other. Yes, Jesus is recognized as the Son within the Holy Trinity, but his divinity holds special significance. He’s not just another incarnation of God but stands as a unique entity within the Trinity. This relationship doesn’t imply interchangeability but rather, it underscores a profound theological assertion: the events of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection are divine interventions, unparalleled and unrepeatable. These cornerstones of faith don’t point to a deity donning different faces, but to a singular act of salvation and grace available exclusively through Christ.

One word seems so simple, everyone knows it, but peel back a layer, and it’s a world of different meanings to different people. The crazy thing is how these ‘soul’ interpretations have molded entire societies. The whole reason I started this post was to tackle the kind of fear and confusion this tiny word can stir up. It’s powerful, and sometimes, a little scary.

Honestly, I think I hit the nail on the head in my first post about the fear aspect. But hey, this is a journey, and I’m all for keeping this conversation going. Who knows what other insights we might stumble upon continuing our discussion.

Only for the narrow minded.

Not really. Its still a form of eternal damnation, just less gruesome than eternal torture. But keep in mind, the bible does not give much in terms of describing what happens in hell.

Doesnt matter, whether it was only 10 percent or 65% of early Christians with this belief. The point I am making is you are trying to argue concepts that you take to be completely solid, and then nit picking th details of those solids as if ALL the followers cling to these details as if they were gospel. The truth is, for many followers, these concepts are far more muttable than I think you realize.

Do you understand the irony of this statement? While criticizing other religions terms, conditions, and labels for the soul, you have done the exact same thing. :upside_down_face:

Ignorance is just as old, maybe even older.

If you live a good life, there is nothing to fear.

If you hurt people, the I think there are serious consequences that you will be accountable for, either in this life, or the next.

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Again this is a matter of perspective, I think you are getting caught up in the details of individual trees, and that is blinding you from seeing the forest as a whole.

At its core essense, I see very little difference between A Buddhist that believes Putin will be reborn as a child sex worker in a 3rd world country (perhaps for many thousands of lifetimes, or even an eternity of lifetimes) vs the Christian who believes he will be tormented and tortured in hell with all sorts of unimaginible forms of pain, for all eternity.

Again when you zoom away from the minor details, or dive deep into the actual substance, the core essence of these teachings look very similar, if not nearly identical.

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Your dismissal of nuanced differences in religious beliefs as a hallmark of the “narrow-minded” may warrant reflection. Narrow-mindedness isn’t about acknowledging intricacies; it’s the refusal to do so. It’s the insistence on painting diverse traditions with the same broad brush, thereby negating the rich tapestry of human religious experience. Each thread in this tapestry tells a story, encapsulates a history, and gives life to doctrines and dogmas that have shaped societies. To trivialize that is to deny the complexity of human thought and the depth of our spiritual quests.

On the matter of annihilation versus eternal damnation, suggesting a semblance between the two overlooks a fundamental difference in divine judgment’s nature. Imagine standing on that precipice yourself, faced with eternal torment or the cessation of existence. Annihilation, in contexts of faith, isn’t just an alternative punishment; it’s a merciful release from perpetual suffering, an eternal peace rather than an endless nightmare. To equate these speaks to a profound misunderstanding of the emotional, psychological, and spiritual gravity these concepts hold for believers.

In pointing out the mutability of doctrines among followers, you’ve underscored the very reason I highlighted specific religious sects. These examples serve to illustrate how multifaceted and diverse religious adherence is. It’s not about percentages but about the real-world implications of these beliefs. They influence life decisions, moral judgments, and community dynamics in tangible ways. To gloss over these details is to neglect the lived realities of millions.

Addressing the irony you’ve pointed out, the term ‘soul’ indeed carries with it centuries of theological and philosophical discourse. What I advocate for is not another restrictive label but an invitation to liberating dialogue. It’s a call for introspection for those feeling constrained within these precepts, a suggestion to reassess what speaks to one’s deepest truths away from the fear and dogma that sometimes cloud spiritual journeys.

Your assertion about the consequences of our actions, while seemingly rooted in moral conviction, edges toward absolutism. Stating as fact that harm begets harm in this life or the next presumes a certainty that no human holds. We navigate our lives shrouded in mysteries of existence, guided by beliefs, yes, but never with complete claim over universal truths. As wisely put, not verbatim, by Andrew, “no one has a monopoly on truth.” We’re all just travelers on this road, gathering stories, not conclusive evidence.

Lastly, your analogy, drawing upon a figure like Putin, inadvertently strips away the profound differences between Christian and Buddhist cosmologies. In the Christian narrative, the final judgment is not merely a verdict but an eternal sentence. Imagine Putin, subjected to ceaseless torment in hell, a scenario where divine justice has no provision for parole, no concept of eventual rehabilitation. Now, juxtapose this with the Buddhist perspective, where even a figure like Putin, after enduring eons in hellish realms, still retains the seed of Buddha nature. No being is written off as irredeemable. The wheel of Samsara turns, sometimes excruciatingly slow, but it grinds forward. Hell is not a forever home; it’s a harsh transformative crucible. The potential for liberation and ultimate enlightenment, the journey to becoming a ‘Buddha Putin,’ persists. This isn’t a mere detail—it’s a monumental variance in how we understand consequence, redemption, and the very essence of the being’s journey.

Let’s also consider the wisdom of Nikola Tesla: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” These principles might extend beyond our scientific understanding, reaching into the profound depths of spiritual and cosmic consciousness.

Not a dismissal, go back and read the words I wrote carefully.

Is it really? I think if you really understood the teaching devoutely, you would see this as true believers see it: a horrific eternal punishmnet. Not a slap on the wrist.

Again you have misunderstood what I wrote.

Not all the followers of these religions adhere to their religious beliefs with an iron fist. I would argue the vast majority of them do not, and among the true minority of those that do, its the narrow minded and stubborn followers who cause the problems that seem to be upsetting you.

Read the title of this thread “…The Fearless sale of your NONEXISTANT soul”,

You dont see how that is just another seriously restrictice label? You dont think that spits in the face of the billions of religious people on the planet who believe in a soul?

I did not state it as fact, again you seem to really have a problem with reading carefully what I actually wrote.

Do you see how this serious problem could be what is preventing you from a deeper understanding of what is being talked about?

Using the words “I think” is not stating something as fact, quite the contrary, its labelimg it as opinion.

To be honest, if you have trouble understanding a simple statement like that, do you see how it makes me question your abilty to understand the deeper and more complex thoughts I am trying to relay to you?

If you want absolutism and fact stating, look no further than this line:

“The Fearless sale of your NONEXISTANT soul”

This certainly presumes a certainty that no human holds.

Liberating for who? Introspection for who? Reassessing who’s deepest truths?:

Everyone in the world EXCEPT for you?

I think we have gotten to the real core problem at hand. You are preeching the same dogma you wish to erradicate, you just dont see it, becuase its got a different ‘fancy hat’ on it.

Spiritual journeys are journeys inward, they are not telling the people in the world what they should think, or which dogmas they should and should not adhere to.

Remove the clouds from your own spirtual path and the ones blinding your sight. Those are the only clouds you truely have the power to remove.

If you really want to change the world, change the world within your self (your mind), and you will watch with awe and wonder, what profound changes start taking place all around you.

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Dismissal might not be your term, but it sure is your game. Acknowledging subtleties is where true understanding begins. Maybe a revisit wouldn’t be such a bad idea, not to your words but to the concept of open-mindedness.

The beauty of interpretation is that it’s not one size fits all, unlike your take on ‘devout understanding.’ Mercy is in the eye of the believer, and horror in the certainty of the preacher. Isn’t it curious, though, that the real issue may not lie with the teachings but with your stubborn commitment to peering through a single, inflexible lens? For my part, I’d take non-existence over an eternity of torture any day. My bad, thinking there was mutual understanding in your desire to be tortured infinitely vs what I would consider eternal rest and peace.

Reflecting on Mark Twain’s words might serve us well here. He mused about being dead for billions of years before his birth without the smallest inconvenience. It’s a view that strikes a chord for those not seeing annihilation as mere child’s play but maybe, just maybe, a tranquil return to the void that came before our consciousness.

Upsetting me? Hardly. What’s genuinely upsetting is the presumption that adherence is a matter of force, not choice. I’m not misunderstanding you; I’m disagreeing with you - a difference you should perhaps start recognizing.

The only thing ‘spitting in the face’ is your refusal to recognize a rhetorical device. The ‘NONEXISTENT soul’ is a challenge, a question to be grappled with, not a dogma to be swallowed whole. Perhaps the true disrespect lies in underestimating a believers’ capacity for engaging with challenging ideas.

Your ‘I think’ thinly veils an absolutist stance, almost as transparent as your attempt to shift blame onto my comprehension skills. Maybe the 'serious problem isn’t in the reading but in the writing that masks opinion as a foregone conclusion.

Ah, the ‘everyone but you’ card. Classic. The dialogue I speak of isn’t bound by ‘except for yous’ or ‘only for thems.’ It’s universal, and all inclusive. But your fixation on who’s excluded reveals more about your stance than mine. This ‘fancy hat’ of dogma you’re so keen on tossing around? It’s not a one size fits all. People wear all sorts of hats. Bowlers, berets, baseball caps… and yes, some, like yours, might be a bit too tight, distorting comfortable views into preachy doctrines.

Now, onto these inward journeys. Quite poetic, and rightly so, but here’s a little twist: they aren’t just silent soliloquies. They’re dialogues, debates, symphonies of shared experiences. If one’s path is so clouded, why, wouldn’t they seek a little weather report from others? Forecast calls for a bit of humility with a chance of expanded perspectives.

And finally, this magnificent transformation within reflecting outwards, creating a butterfly effect of awe and wonder… Bravo. But here’s a thought: if everyone’s too busy gazing inward, who’s admiring your profound changes? Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about the echo of our own voice in the void. Perhaps it’s about the harmony we create together, in this vast concert of existence. Other players may exist. The symphony is far richer than what’s conducted from just your podium.

Enjoyed the club, my wife said she saw a side of me which she never knew and she loved it!!

I absolutely loved our time meeting these people.

The craziest thing of all is that the first costume I saw at the ‘alien invasion’ was Anubis. I think I gave him about 5 fist bumps throughout the night while I was dancing!

This person walked up to me and pushed their mask against mine. Completely unexpected, I admired their dedication. After they passed me I turned around and peeled off the selfie tape that I normally have on my phone. Then I asked them for a picture which they seemed happy about but didn’t say anything.

This reminded me of my wife’s favorite slot machine.

This guy was super vibrant at the club!

This is my wife!

Some more pictures"

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