Did Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis have a soul?

Jul 2017
341
Olympia, WA, USA
#1
On another forum I was talking to an atheist and I was talking about how humans have a soul. I told him that only Homo sapiens have a soul, but then I wondered if that is correct... I said:

"I spoke a little too soon because I do not know if it is actually a Baha'i belief that only homo sapiens have a soul. Perhaps homo erectus or homo neanderthalensis also had a soul. I might ask another Baha'i what they think about this.​
Meanwhile, it is a Bahai belief that the soul is a sign of God, so it came from God. We believe in evolution and that man evolved from the animal but that man is a separate species, and it is the soul that differentiates man from other animals. Somewhere along the line during the process of evolution man got a soul but I have no idea when or how that happened."​

He does not believe that there is any such thing as a soul, but for whatever reason he is waiting for an answer to this question:
Did Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis have a soul?
 
Oct 2014
1,787
Stockholm
#4
I would pose the question the other way round: do humans have souls? If we look at the behaviour of cats and dogs, we can see obvious signs of their having souls: they show such qualities as selflessness, courage, love, compassion, etc. But if we turn our eyes to the human world, it seems like humans, to an increasing degree have learned to live without souls.

Do gnats have souls? I don't know. :)

Best,

from

gnat
 
Apr 2011
1,075
Hyrule
#5
I would pose the question the other way round: do humans have souls? If we look at the behaviour of cats and dogs, we can see obvious signs of their having souls: they show such qualities as selflessness, courage, love, compassion, etc. But if we turn our eyes to the human world, it seems like humans, to an increasing degree have learned to live without souls.

Do gnats have souls? I don't know. :)

Best,

from

gnat
Well, gnats do help other beings remain self aware whenever they swat them away. Hence the origin of the term social gadfly? Perhaps they do have soul.
 
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Jul 2017
341
Olympia, WA, USA
#6
I would pose the question the other way round: do humans have souls? If we look at the behaviour of cats and dogs, we can see obvious signs of their having souls: they show such qualities as selflessness, courage, love, compassion, etc. But if we turn our eyes to the human world, it seems like humans, to an increasing degree have learned to live without souls.
I fully understand your sentiments but if we are going to go with what Abdu'l-Baha said only humans have souls...
Animals have animal spirits.

Human souls are often turned in a downward direction. That is what we see in today's world. :(

In a sense they have lost their souls, according to Jesus:

Matthew 16:23-26 ““But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Do gnats have souls? I don't know. :)
I know the gnat I am posting to has a soul. ;)
 
Apr 2011
1,075
Hyrule
#7
Here's an excerpt from Human Station in the Baha'i Faith (and click on the link to read more):

"By the same principle when we refer to the soul of something we really mean the "self " of that thing, and thus, when we refer to the soul of a human being we are referring to the actual "self " of that person: the soul of man is nothing more than his "self ". Avicenna, in his "Isharat" (Definitions and Counsels)2 points to the same concept where he says: when you say "I", or when I say "you" it is our souls that are speaking; therefore, the words "my soul" and "I" become interchangeable.

For example, in phrases such as "I went" or "I came" or "I saw" and even in those phrases in which the self is used as the object such as "I told myself" or "I reprimanded myself ", we call the determining reality to which the verbs are applied soul or spirit; this is the same reality that exhibits the attributes, conditions and actions that are identified as "I" and which makes that "I" distinct from all other subjective realities.

Therefore the words soul or spirit should not evoke something strange, alien or astonishing. It is due to this point that when He sets out to offer proof of the nature and existence of the Spirit, 'Abdu'l-Baha in Some Answered Questions presents arguments in support of man's distinctive attributes and merits.3 In other words, the proof of the existence of man's soul is nothing but the expression and demonstration of those qualities and traits, which set him apart from other categories of existence. Therefore, 'Abdu'l-Baha's method in proving the existence of the soul is to show that in the human species there exists a quality, an essence which belongs to him solely. So, human soul is nothing more than this distinguishing feature that makes him a uniquely separate and superior being.

Now we have to consider whether or not, there actually exists in the human species something that is conspicuously lacking in the animal. Of course on the face of it the issue seems to be clearly obvious since when we consider man, we see him as distinct and superior to the animal as we find in him gualities and traits that are patently absent in the animal. This matter is clear and obvious. What remains is for us to show that when we say human spirit or human soul we do not refer to anything other than these distinctive features. Once we demonstrate this concept, the existence of human spirit is proven or at least has become undeniable.

Now what are these distinguishing features that only exist in the human species? One such feature is the power of thought. Man thinks and the animal does not. This is an idea that can be confidently put forward. The animal does not think. Of course the animal is possessed of intelligence; the higher category of animals such as chimps and various species of anthropomorphic monkeys possess intelligence of a practical nature and are capable of finding solutions for a difficulty that may confront them, but this is not the power of thought. At its core, thinking is a deductive process, which is the capability that empowers man to devise practical solutions for any problem that confronts him. It enables man to discover both the nature of and solution to any problem once and for always. Moreover he possesses the capability to make such a solution universally applicable without the aid of any outside element or source and make of such a process a general and universal rule applicable in all similar cases. The generalization of discovered findings or solutions to problems, their accumulation and storage and their application to relevant future cases is the sole specialty of the human mind, and of which power the animal is completely bereft.

Of course modern psychologists who are more inclined towards materialist philosophy have attempted to show that the animal is capable of generalization of concepts. However, this has never been proven in practice. Man is capable of completing certain preparatory steps that would lead him to a conclusion. This conclusion is a new phenomenon that up to that point had been non-existent and therefore unknown to him. The discovery therefore increases his knowledge and becomes the basis for discovery of other unknowns thus revolutionizing his thoughts, his science, his industry, his life and himself. This phenomenon, that is, the changing of oneself through one's own ingenuity is specific to man; some scholars say that man is the only species that has a history. Of course every creature, both individually and as a part of any given species has a past. In the course of time the creature goes through a process of modification and transformation the description of which could be regarded as its history. However, man s history is written by himself. In other words, man does not merely change but is the prime cause of that change. Unlike man, an animal is changed by the reguirements and exigencies of nature or other external forces. Therefore, evolution in animals is a forced or compulsory process whereas in man such an evolution is deliberate, scientific and logical. It is the human species that can discover an unknown and in so doing change himself and become what he had not been before.4"
 
Likes: Trailblazer
Apr 2011
1,075
Hyrule
#8
On another forum I was talking to an atheist and I was talking about how humans have a soul. I told him that only Homo sapiens have a soul, but then I wondered if that is correct... I said:

"I spoke a little too soon because I do not know if it is actually a Baha'i belief that only homo sapiens have a soul. Perhaps homo erectus or homo neanderthalensis also had a soul. I might ask another Baha'i what they think about this.​
Meanwhile, it is a Bahai belief that the soul is a sign of God, so it came from God. We believe in evolution and that man evolved from the animal but that man is a separate species, and it is the soul that differentiates man from other animals. Somewhere along the line during the process of evolution man got a soul but I have no idea when or how that happened."​

He does not believe that there is any such thing as a soul, but for whatever reason he is waiting for an answer to this question:
Did Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis have a soul?
See the definition of soul above in the previous post. May redirect your convo with the poster. Then again, some atheists deny the self exists, taking their atheism to its logical conclusion. The best bet is to help any atheist see where the road leads to if they don't see it: the denial of the self. A dead end. I mean, literally, you're just annihilated if you don't act right (not too different from a popular afterlife scenario floating around in the camp of a few Christian and, yes, even Baha'i intellectuals). Also, there are dead ends here philosophically speaking too. Just my opinion.

Don't mind Gnat. He is simply disappointed with human beings. Or maybe he is trying to change the convo to something more productive than talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Or a bit of both.

Do gnats have souls? I don't know. :)
Right, Gnat? :p
 
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Likes: Trailblazer
May 2018
89
New Zealand
#10
Looking at some anthropological artivles , both Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis, are believed to have been religious or to have had "religious capacity " .. .

You could make some inferences from that ... but it is all complete speculation of course..

maybe best to devote our energies to nurturing our own souls ..

-T
 

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