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Extension of Objectivism discussion regarding the soul
Various | Various | Various

Posted on 05/08/2003 9:44:29 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl

On several of the various threads on the general forum which concern Objectivism, which evidently excludes God in definition of objective moral truth, the discussion has turned to the concept of the soul and more specifically, the words used in Scripture to describe the soul and how it has been understood by Jews who first received the Word and studied it for so many centuries.

I promised unspun that I would try to collect information on the various aspects and present it for Freeper discussion. Following is the first draft of that effort with a very rough organization, links and excerpts. Please click on the links for more detail as these articles are “treasure troves” of insight to the subject.

One other point, although this inquiry is directly related to the Objectivism threads and probably ought to be posted on-thread --- the size is prohibitive and thus a new thread is necessary. The result is a thread that is clearly “religious” in terms of forums, but an extension of a prior “general forum” debate. So although I am posting this to the general forum, I would fully understand the moderator choosing to move it to religion forum.

Definitions, putting it in perspective:

How did Spirituality Evolve? - from Evolution by Prof. Salomon Kapach

One difficult question which evolutionists will have to face is the question of spirituality. How will they explain the vital force of the spirit, the psyche, free will, and the soul? What adaptation could cause one's spirit to evolve? At what evolutionary stage does a soul mingle with flesh and blood? How is "mind over matter" achieved?

These questions and others have forced evolutionists to deceive themselves, contending that souls do not exist. However, since the declaration that souls don't exist (or basically that anything non- observable is non-existent) is an illogical claim (and at the very least an unsubstantiated one) some scientists who believe in the theory of evolution have taken recourse in various outlandish, even humorous, assertions.

One historic experiment endeavored to scientifically test and prove or disprove the existence of the soul. In the conclusions of the renowned zoologist who conducted the experiment, the following observation appeared: "I have disected thousands of corpses, but never once found a soul." No doubt, even a thousand vivisections would not have proven any more useful in finding a soul…

Whatever various claims may have been made by individuals to attempt to fill the void, the simple fact remains that science does not begin to pretend to have concrete answers to the many mysteries of spirituality vs. matter, regardless of the prejudices of more than a few scientists on the issue.

On the other hand, one should note that Judaism does address the issues. Midrashic and Kabbalistic sources consider the nefesh, ruach, and neshama (psyche, spirit, and soul) to be three separate entities which, although linked one to another and sharing a common origin, are nonetheless distinct one from the other. Once we cease to view the spirit and the soul as evolutionary spin-offs of the brain, and realize that they exist separately, many questions are solved.

Generally, we expect the working assumptions of scientists to be those which solve the most riddles. But it would seem now that the riddle which needs most to be solved is why so many scientists and thinkers, contrary to that rule of thumb, have adopted a working assumption which does not solve any riddles in this most critical of all areas of research, and quite the contrary, turns clarity into mystery, and significance into void

Afterlife by Ilil Arbel, Ph.D.

A human being on earth unites two parts -- a body and a soul. Each part is extremely complex in structure and consists of multiple components. While the body's structure is reasonably well understood, the structure of the soul is a mystery many tried to analyze. One Talmudic opinion divides it into three major segments:

Nefesh: the lower, animal part, related to the instincts and to the reactions of the body.

Ruach: the spirit, or the middle soul, linked to the understanding of morality and the ability to differentiate between good and evil.

Neshama: the higher soul, linked to the intellect, and separating humanity from all other life forms. It allows the person to be aware of God, and to participate in the afterlife.

According to the Zohar, which leans toward a mystical view of the universe, two additional soul parts may be developed by very few, select individuals who have the capacity of sublime levels of intuitive cognition:

Chayyah -- the part of the soul that is aware of the divine life force.

Yehidah -- the highest part of the soul, capable of achieving full union with God.

When the body dies, the soul components come apart, and each segment follows a separate road. The lower parts must undergo purification; the higher parts aim to join with God. Nefesh remains with the body for about twelve months, guarding the grave and occasionally roaming the earth for the purpose of learning. Ruach goes to Gehinnom (Purgatory), to purge itself from the sins the person committed in life, and prepare for the future life of the soul. Neshama goes to the lower Gan Eden (Paradise), Chayyah and Yehida return to Upper Gan Eden.

The Order of Realization by: David S. Devor

It can be said that any essence or entity (including a soul) consists of the substance of which it is made together with the "light" or "spirit" with which that substance is imbued and which sustains that entity's existence. It is this light or spirit, for instance, that distinguishes between a living person and a corpse. A corpse, on the other hand, has its own existence and, depending on the level of its decay, has its own quality of light. This is similarly true of the dust to which it will eventually be reduced.

Besides its technical meaning in the hierarchy of the five levels, "soul" is also the generic term for the "inner part" or "light" or "heart" or "center of gravity" of any entity. This usage is particularly appropriate since the technical term "soul" (Neshama) is the middle one or the "heart" of the hierarchy we'll now examine.

There are many types of nomenclature for the five levels or aspects of "soul" depending on the context but the main one is:

5. Yechida (unity/individuality)*
4. Chaya (eternal life)*
3. Neshama (soul)
2. Ruach (spirit)
1. Nefesh (animus)*
'Roots' Jewish Style

The human soul, or Neshama, much like the human body, is a complex entity that is subdivided into various parts. The highest part, the origin of the entire entity, is referred to by the name of the whole and is called Neshama. This part of the soul is described in Jewish tradition as being a part of God Himself. It is from this contact point of the Neshama with God that we originate spiritually, and it is through this part of the human soul that we can connect ourselves back to God. As God is a metaphysical being who can only be accessed through the realm of thoughts and ideas, the Neshama connects us back to Him by generating the thoughts and perceptions that we human beings require to be able to understand God. The vessel that traps the Divine light generated by the connection of the Neshama to God is the human mind.

The next part of the Neshama is referred to as the Ruach, or the human spirit. Our perception of the purpose of life and the basic elements of our characters are generated by this part of our souls. The Ruach takes the ideas produced in the mind by the contact of the Neshama with Divinity and applies them to formulate the conceptual structure on which we construct our lives and shapes the character of our interaction with the outside world. The vessel that receives the Divine light generated by the Ruach is the human heart.

The lowest part of the human soul is called the Nefesh. The Nefesh is the only part of the soul that is actually contained in our bodies. The Nefesh is the life force, the energy and joy of life that course through us. The vessel that traps the Divine light of the Nefesh which is provided by the contact of the Ruach with the Neshama is the blood that circulates through our bodies and generates the life force required by our limbs. The focus of its power is in the liver, the body's laboratory for processing blood.

Through the Torah one Word at a time

Kabbalistically- the soul is described as 'comprising' five levels of consciousness-experience.

The second one is referred to as RUACH. The levels are:

Nefesh-connected with physicality.,' that which animates existence in terms of life force, it acts as the source of human's capacity to think, to imagine, to dream, to contemplate." Corresponds to Olam HaAssiya-World of Doing.

RUACH-"above the primal soul, there exists in every human being, a divine soul. This is the first spark of consciousness beyond that of the zoological species, beyond even the consciousness of higher or more developed animal, and is directly connected to divine essence...It exists in each and every individual being, hidden and veiled as a spark of a higher perception, of a superior aspiration, and touches the higher level, which is Spirit." (Steinsaltz, 13 Petalled Rose , p. 57)

Corresponds to Olam HaYetzira: World of Formation Neshama: (breath, soul) -"higher awareness, defining quality of human consciousness. Zohar-"The nefesh and the ruach intertwine together, while the neshama resides in a person's character. This is an abode which cannot be discovered or located. Should a person strive toward purity in life, he or she is aided by a holy neshama. But should the person not strive for righteousness and purity of life, this person is animated only by two grades: nefesh and ruach." (Zohar:83b, quoted in God is a Verb, David Cooper. p.98)

Corresponds to Olam HaBriya: Word of Creation Chaya:(living essence)-"we gain awareness of this level only when we enter altered states. In those rare moments when we experience oceanic unity and a bright light of pure oneness, we are tapping into chaya consciousness" Cooper, p. 99)

Corresponds with Olam HaAtzilut:World of Emanation Yechida:(unity)"center point of the soul and it disapppears into the infinitude of creation...the aspect of the soul that is hardwired directly into the essence of the Divine. It is not 'with' us, but we are never apart from it...where duality dissolves"(Cooper, p.99) One 'goal' of spiritual practice is to experience the fullness of our being. As we grow spiritually we learn to integrate more of and open more to our "Divine' self. Climbing the ladder of our soul as it were.

Exploring Theological Myths - Different ways of looking at traditional beliefs.

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen – Do we have Souls?

'They called the soul by five names. Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Yechida, Chaya. Nefesh is blood... Ruach is the spirit that rises and descends...Neshama is the personality of a person... Chaya, even if all the limbs are dead, it still survives in the body... Yechida, all limbs are in pairs but this one it remains unique.' ...

In the Torah we will see several different words used to describe soul or spirit. The rabbis added even more words. And yet the assumptions that have been handed down can be and in practice are challenged and varied throughout both the Bible and the Talmud.

There are three main words used in the Torah for what we call 'soul'. The first is 'ruach', spirit, which appears initially as another word to describe the presence of God 'And the spirit of YHVH was hovering over the deep'. Some commentators suggest that God caused a wind to blow, like the one that divided the Red Sea for the Israelites. But most take this to mean the Shechina, the presence of God. Since God cannot be confined to any place or said to be in any one place, the rabbis devised a way of talking about the presence of God without it implying the totality of His Being. This is the Shechina, the presence, literally it means ' The Dwelling' or 'Where She is ', the place where God has chosen to have an impact. It does not have an independent reality or function in the way that ' The Holy Spirit' is often thought of. Later on, when talking about the flood, the Torah says that God will destroy ' All flesh that has the spirit of life ' using the same word, 'ruach' . So the word ruach, is applied both to God and to all living creatures as though it is a common link. There is an altogether different use of 'ruach' to describe a human passion . Firstly, when Jacob hears that his son Joseph is alive the Torah says that ' His heart ' missed a beat ' or fainted because he did not believe them ' but then when he is reassured ' his soul ( ruach) comes alive again.' There 'ruach' means his spirit as an aspect of his personality, state of mind. When describing the jealous husband who suspects his wife of infidelity the Torah says that a ' spirit of jealousy overcomes him' and the term used for this feeling is ' ruach ' . This only underlines the ambiguity of the word.

The second word for 'soul' is ' nefesh', as in ' 'And YHVH said Let the earth produce all kinds of living souls, animals, reptiles and beasts, and it was so ' . And when forbidding the Israelites to drink blood, the Torah says ' For the life of a person ( nefesh ) is in the blood ' . Nefesh is the word used almost interchangeably with 'adam' , a person, to describe a human who comes to bring a sacrifice in the book of Leviticus . Significantly, when the Torah institutes the law of fasting on Yom Kippur, the term it uses is ' Afflicting your souls' using the word nefesh . When the affliction referred to could simply be fasting, a physical act, in this context it is clearly meant to have penitentiary and therefore spiritual connotations as well.So this is a clear indication of the dual role of 'nefesh'. Throughout the Torah, the words 'nefesh' and 'ruach' seem to be used in similar situations with a heavily spiritual content, nevertheless, both are applied to ' All living beings', animal as well as human.

The third word for 'soul' and the one that in the Torah ( but not in rabbinic literature ) is only used of humans, is the word ' neshama'. 'And YHVH Elohim said formed man from the dust of the ground and He breathed into his nostrils the breath ( soul ) of life.' But this breath of life does not mean that it is automatically 'good'. And so later on in the Torah, when talking about Cannanite tribes that have to be destroyed because of their corruption and the threat they present to the newcomers, the word 'neshama' is used simply to mean all living humans. 'Do not let any breathing being ( neshama ) live.'

The Torah also uses the words ' neshama' and 'ruach' together describing the destruction of life by the flood, ' Everything that had the breath of the spirit of life ( nishmat ruach ) in its nostrils that was on dry land, died ' . So the distinction between the way the two words are used is blurred and ambiguous as to whether it applies to all life or only human life...

Symbolisms:

Five Levels of the Soul -- Inverted Seal - The Jewish Home

The five levels of the soul are called nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, yechida. The yechida reflects itself in the nefesh. This is revealed in the relation between Mashiach and King David. Each of the five levels of the soul correspond to a general soul root. The Arizal explains that the general soul root of the nefesh in all of Am Yisrael is King David. The ruach is the prophet, Elijah. The neshama, which is the mind, mochin d'Imma, is Moses, as stated in the Gemorah that Moses merited binah. The chaya corresponds to the ideal and primordial, blissful state of Adam and Eve before the sin. Had Adam stood that trial successfully, he would have risen to the level of yechida. Since he failed the trial he fell from all the levels of Olam ha'Atzilut. The highest level, yechida, is that of Mashiach, may he become revealed speedily in our days.

Nefesh - King David
Ruach – Elijah
Neshama – Moses
Chaya - Adam and Eve
Yechida – Mashiach

Parshas HaShavua

Man must relate to three aspects of life - his G-d, his world, and his very self.

These three dimensions are reflected in the three different parts of his soul - Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama. The Nefesh is known as 'Shituffa D'Guffa' - a partner of the body, the forces that man utilizes in his relationship to the world around him. The Neshama is the most exalted element of his being, and it remains eternally in heaven, relating to the G-d of creation. The Ruach is that part of man known as 'I' - man as he is meant to be.

These three elements are meant to be perfected, and with them the world arrives at its intended destination. It is only by refining these three aspects of his character that man becomes an appropriate vehicle to express the word of G-d.

This is the perfect 'Asher' - the world connected to G-d, approved and assured by heaven, and guaranteed to fulfill its mandate of destiny.

This concept finds expression in two seemingly disparate ideas - the prayer of 'VaYechulu' recited every Friday evening, and the Parsha of Parah Adumah, the purification from sin, death, and defilement.

Parshas Emor – Candles

Physical desires are not as physical as we think. Obviously, they are not an integral part of the body as an arm or a leg, as we see that after the spirit departs the body no longer craves food. Desire, in fact, is an expression of the life force the Creator implanted within our bodies, the Nefesh, that craves sustenance and pleasure. Even its gratification is not from the physical world itself; by eating we seperate the spiritual elements in the food from their physical shells: spirit touches spirit and dust returns to dust.

A higher part of our being is the spirit, the Ruach, which is the district of the emotions, where love, hate, anger, accomplishment and other sentiments all dwell side by side. Like a candle the Nefesh and the Ruach constantly fluctuate, craving, being depressed, sometimes both, and most often - all of them and then some. The initials of Nefesh and Ruach together even spell the word Ner, a candle.

In the Tabernacle, right outside the innermost chamber, there were candles constantly. In the morning they were extinguished and prepared for the evening when they would be lit till the next morning. Although candles constantly fluctuate, by placing them perpetually adjacent to the Holy of Holies, the Neshama of the Sanctuary, they acquired a certain degree of permanence. Miraculously the six side candles, which represented the Ruach, all faced the middle candle which represented the Nefesh.

Indeed, so essential is the Nefesh that right next to the candelabra was the table on which the Show-bread were placed. Unlike regular bread which is limited by the constraints of time and space, these loaves stayed piping fresh all week long. Although many Kohanim shared them, they all became full after eating a mere morsel, because the little bit of physicality in them was packed with satiation. It was not a physical satiation. It was the Nefesh receiving sustenance from the holy Name Lechem, which amounts to the numerical equivalent of three different punctuations of the Tetragrammaton, and is an expression of Hashem's Simple Will to Give.

Although we no longer have those holy loaves, their spiritual source still exists, and anyone who eats regular bread with the intention with which the Kohanim ate the Show-bread can tap into that holy Source of sustenance. When we light Shabbos candles and watch them flicker, we can watch our spirits flicker and dance to that Holy Light.

A more detailed look at the soul and sin:

The Soul - Part Four - To Catch a Thief

Let us selectively extract the information we learned in previous articles to orient ourselves properly towards the present discussion. The soul is made up of Naran, an acronym for Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama. Its source is in Azilut, where it is called Knesset Yisroel, which is also the Shechina, a name for the Divine Presence, the reason why the soul is called a part of God. (Responsa, Chavot Yair,210) Each of these soul parts is independently self-conscious and is subdivided into ten constituent sub-parts joined together according to the pattern of the Ten Sefirot from Keter to Malchut (see Soul #3 hyperlink). Each represents the human being in one of the four levels of reality; the human being of Azilut is called Knesset Yisroel; of Briah he is called Neshama; of Yezira he is called Ruach; and of Assiyah he is called Nefesh.

The most efficient way to tackle our present topic is to state a set of conclusions concerning reality constructed on these axioms, and only then explain how we fit into this reality as spiritual beings. Without a glimpse of the overall picture, even though at this early stage in our understanding of Kabbalah it can only be poorly understood, it will be difficult to unravel the tapestry of knowledge into individual threads.

Beginning at the conclusion

1. Nine of the ten Sefirot of the lowest part of the soul called Nefesh are detachable from their attachment to the higher part of the soul called Ruach by a process referred to in the Torah as Karet, excision.

2. There are different degrees of Karet. The most severe form has the effect of detaching nine Sefirot of the Nefesh from the Ruach, starting with Chachma and ending with Malchut, while the mildest form of Karet will detach only the bottommost level of the Nefesh, the Malchut of the Nefesh, leaving the remainder of the Sefirot of the Nefesh attached to the Ruach.

3. The levels of the Nefesh that are so detached are trapped by the forces known as Klipot who draw their life force from detached Nefoshot.

4. The highest portion of the Nefesh, the Keter of the Nefesh, can never be detached from the Ruach, because the Keter of the Nefesh is also the lowest Sefira of the Ruach, known as the Malchut of the Ruach. The parts of the soul are held together like the links of a chain. The Keter of every lower level functions as the Malchut of the level above it. The Keter of Nefesh is the Malchut of Ruach; the Keter of Ruach is the Malchut of Neshama; the Keter of Neshama is the Malchut of Knesset Yiroel.

5. Because this highest Sefira of the Nefesh cannot be detached, the parts that were severed by the Karet can always be rescued from the Kelipot and reattached to the Keter and thus to the Ruach once again through Teshuva, or repentance. Teshuva draws a bright spiritual light from the source of the Neshama in Azilut, which flows through the Neshama, passes from the Neshama through the Ruach until it enters the Malchut of Ruach, which is also the Keter of the Nefesh. The intense light that is generated in the Keter of the Nefesh cuts through the Klipot, and reattaches the severed Sefirot of the Nefesh back to itself, and as the Keter of the Nefesh is also the Malchut of the Ruach, the Karet is healed and the Nefesh and the Ruach are once again joined together.

6. Sins have the very reverse effect on the opposite extremity of the soul, the Neshama. The top nine Sefirot of the Neshama are detached from the Malchut of the Neshama, which is the Keter of the Ruach by certain types of sins. Again, the link between the Neshama and the Ruach can never be completely severed, as the top Sefira of the Ruach is also the bottom Sefira of the Neshama; the potential for healing the break is always in place.

7. As in the case of the Nefesh, the detachment of the Neshama from the Ruach is not an all or nothing proposition; not all nine levels will necessarily detach. The most severe form of detachment drives away the nine top levels of Neshama from their connection with the Ruach, from the Yesod to the Keter of the Neshama, while the mildest form of detachment will involve the separation of the level of Keter alone.

8. When the Neshama detaches from the Ruach it returns to Kneset Yisroel, its roots, the source of the Neshama in Azilut, where it is once again a portion of the Divinity itself.

9. The Ruach is the only portion of the soul that cannot detach from the rest. This prompted the Gaon of Vilna to declare that the true spiritual level of living human beings is the Ruach. The Neshama is above us and the Nefesh is beneath us. Each tugs at the Ruach in opposite directions, and it is on the level of the Ruach that we choose the overall direction of our spiritual development. But while the Ruach is unable to detach, certain sins have the effect of causing it to contract and shrink, reducing its effectiveness as a passageway that connects the Nefesh with the Neshama.

10. The healthy integrated soul is an expression of the Shechina. The Nefesh in the body connects to the Ruach; the Ruach connects to the Neshama; the Neshama connects to Knesset Yisroel, the Shechina; the spiritual light emanating from the Shechina flows all the way down to the Nefesh unimpeded and is expressed by the actions of the body as the light of God in the world.

These are the points that we shall spend the next few essays developing. There is far too much to learn to be able to include everything we need to understand all these conclusions in a single essay. Nevertheless, it is essential to focus on the entire picture as summed up in these ten points to be able to comprehend the detailed dynamics of spiritual functions.

What do souls look like? - by Rabbi Noson Weisz

To comprehend the structure of the soul, we need to begin by describing how reality itself is structured.

We live in a created universe. This means that God created the universe out of nothing. When God initiated the creation process, there was no space or time, no matter or energy [other than God's own, needless to say]. He could not fashion the universe out of pre-existing materials.

It follows that the universe is actually made of pure Divine energy, the only 'substance' that was available for God to use. This is an important point to establish and one whose implications are far from obvious at first glance…

The separation of Divine energy from its origins is described as speech. The curtain that brings about this first level of separation is known as Briah. In the world of Briah man is called a Neshama, Soul. He has already crystallized out of the composite man of Knesset Yisroel into individual form, indeed, he is even male and female, but on this level of Briah, man is male and female as a single entity; his male and female parts have not coalesced into separately identifiable elements. So God created (Vayivrah-from the word barah) Man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1,27)

From the level of Briah and outward man exists as an individual. As this level is just across the curtain from Azilut, the human being of Briah is aware of himself/herself as just having separated from Knesset Yisroel, from the collective human being whose energy of being was still a part of God. Man as Neshama is totally conscious of his Divine origins and cannot imagine himself either as existing without God, nor as existing separately from his male/female element. At this level man has no evil inclination or aspect and he has no freedom of choice.

Yezirah and its human inhabitant

As the Divine energy continues to flow outward from the source, a second curtain descends. Reality on the outer side of this second curtain is known as the world of Yezirah, "creative thought" in English, and man exists in this world as a Ruach, a pure spirit. It is at this level of Yezirah that he is separated into separate sexes and he makes contact with the world of his body, although the body itself does not exist in Yezirah and is located on the other side of the next curtain, where the outward flow of divine energy takes on material shape. And YHVH God, formed (Vayizer-from the word Yezirah) the man of dust from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the soul (Nishmat-from the word Neshama) of life, and man became a living being. (Genesis 2,7) In the succeeding verses the separation of Eve from Adam is described…

Assiyah-our own world and our familiar selves

As the divine energy continues its flow outward from the source a final curtain descends. The world on the other side of this curtain is known as the world of Assiyah, meaning "completed action"; the world which we are actually conscious of inhabiting. In this world man is a Nefesh, a life force or energizing spirit, and he also has a body.

It is here that things begin to get rather more complex. The Nefesh that is an appendage of the Ruach is as spiritual as the rest of the human soul from which it stems. It is the outermost part of man's Neshama after all. Man's body on the other hand is purely material and non-spiritual. There can be no direct union between body and spirit. Entities that are diametric opposites are unable to stick to each other on a permanent bases. The union of body and pure spirit is analogous to a union between fire and water.

The shotgun marriage between two opposites

To solve this problem, man was given a second Nefesh as well to mediate between his body and the Nefesh that is the outer aspect of his Neshama. This second Nefesh is called the Nefesh Habahamith or the animate nefesh; it is what we know as the life force.

It is this animate Nefesh that is described in the Torah as being attached to the blood. Any man of the House of Israel and of the proselyte who dwells among them who will consume any blood-I shall concentrate My attention upon the soul (Nefesh) consuming the blood, and I will cut it off from its people. For the soul (Nefesh) of the flesh is in the blood and I have assigned it for you upon the Altar to provide atonement for your souls(Nefashot-Nefesh in the plural) for it is the blood that atones for the soul (Nefesh) (Vayikra 17, 10-11)

The part of the Nefesh that is attached to the Ruach is called the Nefesh Elokhit (The Divine or Godly Nefesh). This Nefesh Elokhit is wrapped into the Nefesh Habehamith which is the life force that powers the body. It is through the mediation of the envelope of the Nefesh habehamith that the Nefesh Elokhit attaches itself to the body.

This means that man is in a state of ceaseless existential conflict in the world of Assiyah. There are two Nefashot inhabiting his body in this world and they are both intelligent. The Nefesh Habehamith is still somewhat spiritual otherwise it could never mediate between the body and the Nefesh Elokhit. At the same time, as the Nefesh Habehamith is directly attached to the physical world of the body and is the life force that energizes that body, it is drawn to do a superior job and provide the body with the ultimate sensations of physical pleasure which bequeath the body with its sense of being alive. The Nefesh Elokhit which is enveloped in this Nefesh Habahamith but is purely spiritual and connected to the Ruach in Yezirah, and through the Ruach to the Neshama and above is always attempting to pull the entire organism of man away from the body towards the Neshama.

These may be on the fringe:

The Arizal on the Torah

The letters of the divine name Havayah, the five principle partzufim, the five worlds, the five "kingdoms" or levels of life in this world, the five levels of the soul, and the five aspects of the sacrifices all correspond and are summarized in the chart…

Healing the Vessel: A Conference on Jewish Healing - June 7-8, 2003

Breathing into Wholeness - Jeffrey Kessler

The breath carries the current of life throughout our bodies, feelings and thoughts, and is a natural vehicle for the integration and healing of fragmented aspects of our being. The Hebrew language points to the primacy of breath by naming the different levels of soul with breath-words: nefesh, ruach, neshama. In this workshop we will explore and expand the range of our breathing through gentle movement, chant and meditation. Our aim will be to encourage wholeness while turning and opening to the Divine Presence.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: aynrand; crevolist; kaballah; objectivism; pilgrimmage
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Please post your views or additional research on the subject. Thanks!
1 posted on 05/08/2003 9:44:29 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: unspun; Diamond
unspun, here's the thread as promised. Please ping anyone you'd care to the discussion.

Diamond, I know you have information on the subject you might wish to post here for Freepers and Lurkers.

2 posted on 05/08/2003 9:45:50 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop; Phaedrus; exmarine
Your spiritual insight on other threads suggests to me that you might be interested in this subject.
3 posted on 05/08/2003 9:46:40 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: general_re; Hank Kerchief; PatrickHenry; donh
Would you care to offer your comments to this extended subject?
4 posted on 05/08/2003 9:48:11 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
This discussion remains over my head, but the recent comment by a simple Catholic Priest regaled my soul: (to paraphrase) 'It is the soul that wraps the body as it develops in the womb, not the body making a place for the advent of the soul.'
5 posted on 05/08/2003 9:51:49 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
So is this a Liberal or a Conservitive Issue or did the major political parties take this up( or considering to) as party of there party platforms?
6 posted on 05/08/2003 9:58:56 AM PDT by bluetoad
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To: Alamo-Girl; Rachumlakenschlaff; r9etb; stuartcr; RnMomof7
Thank you, o font of so many fruitful blessings, even though you didn't catch any fish on your trip, Alamo-Girl! Personally, I hope to have have read this by the time post #50 comes along and enjoyed it greatly!
7 posted on 05/08/2003 10:00:10 AM PDT by unspun (keyboard imprinted forehead)
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To: bluetoad
So is this a Liberal or a Conservitive Issue or did the major political parties take this up( or considering to) as party of there party platforms?

Conservatively, I believe I can say this has to do with the beginnings of Classical Liberalism.

8 posted on 05/08/2003 10:02:17 AM PDT by unspun (I'll need something sharper than any two-edged sword, to deal with this subject....)
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To: MHGinTN
Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful quote! I agree with the sentiment. Hugs!
9 posted on 05/08/2003 10:13:12 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: bluetoad
Thank you for your post! As I mentioned in the introduction, although this is a continuation of the discussion of Objectivism - it is also clearly religious in nature, so I would certainly understand it being moved into the religion forum.
10 posted on 05/08/2003 10:14:42 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: unspun
Thank you so much for your post! I'm looking forward to your "take" on the subject.

Indeed, the fish remain safe and secure in the Lake of the Ozarks. They were able to eat all of my live bait without getting hooked. It also saved me from having to clean and fry them (LOL!)

11 posted on 05/08/2003 10:16:42 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
I think that the main motivation that keeps people believing in religion is fear of death. Implicit to me in Objectivism is the end goal of using technology (the rate of which is sped up by capitalism) to cure the diseases of aging.
12 posted on 05/08/2003 10:20:22 AM PDT by aynrandfreak
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To: aynrandfreak
Thank you so much for sharing your view on Objectivist end goal of extending physical life!
13 posted on 05/08/2003 10:25:12 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl; Diamond
If the discussion digresses into the Aristotelian concept of the soul, as I suspect it might, please feel free to flag my attention (preferably by FReepmail). Tx.
14 posted on 05/08/2003 10:32:48 AM PDT by eastsider
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To: eastsider; betty boop
I'll be glad to ping you if the subject turns to the Aristotelian concept of soul!

I'm pinging betty boop to your interest in the subject because she is a treasury of information on the classics - and quite likely to raise the contrast.

15 posted on 05/08/2003 10:42:00 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Massive effort! I'll try to read it and make comments, if I have any. [Smooch!]
16 posted on 05/08/2003 10:54:29 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
Bump for later
17 posted on 05/08/2003 10:55:50 AM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: PatrickHenry
I'm looking forward to your comments! Hugs and *smooches*!
18 posted on 05/08/2003 11:02:23 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: JmyBryan
If you'd care to share them, your views would be much appreciated!
19 posted on 05/08/2003 11:04:21 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
One difficult question which evolutionists will have to face is the question of spirituality. How will they explain the vital force of the spirit, the psyche, free will, and the soul? What adaptation could cause one's spirit to evolve? At what evolutionary stage does a soul mingle with flesh and blood? How is "mind over matter" achieved?

I stumble at the beginning. The issues you raise are not (in my ever-humble opinion) scientific issues at all. I doubt that science can ever deal with these matters.

20 posted on 05/08/2003 11:14:34 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: Alamo-Girl; unspun; betty boop; Diamond
I highly recommend that you all get a copy of "The New Atheism" by Dr. Robert Morey. It is absolutely the best book I have ever read on atheism and how to debunk it. Believe me, atheists do not want you to read this book. Morey is in the tradition of Dr. Schaeffer (knew him personally) and he has debated virtually anyone who would debate him, and I do not think he has ever lost a debate. Dr. Morey is highly gifted by our Lord.
21 posted on 05/08/2003 11:16:37 AM PDT by exmarine
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To: PatrickHenry
I suspected you might have that comment, as I would expect it from all who are epistemologically materialist, even if they are not metaphysically materialist. But please do keep reading; I would very much like to hear all your views! Hugs!!!
22 posted on 05/08/2003 11:19:30 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
I've skimmed the article. That doesn't begin to do it justice, considering the effort you've obviously poured into this work, but in all honesty this just isn't my kind of subject matter. I can't really focus on it. But I'm wild about you, A-Girl!
23 posted on 05/08/2003 11:21:02 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
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To: exmarine
Thank you so much for the endorsement! For everyone interested in getting the book, here’s the Amazon listing for The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom
24 posted on 05/08/2003 11:24:56 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: PatrickHenry
Well, I'm wild about you too, PatrickHenry! Hugs!

If you ever develop an interest in the subject of soul, I'd love to explore it with you.

25 posted on 05/08/2003 11:27:12 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Thank you alamo-girl. I was too lazy to go get the listing...
26 posted on 05/08/2003 11:29:27 AM PDT by exmarine
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To: aynrandfreak; Alamo-Girl
Genesis 11
The Tower of Babel
1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, [1] they found a plain in Shinar [2] and settled there.
3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

Alas, I digress without reading the article yet, but I find the above quote very analagous to your interesting observation about avoiding death. That may sound curious, but the reason is that this came after "the flood" in Biblical history -- and the people, from what commentary I've heard, found out that baking bricks made them relatively waterproof.... ;-)

The point is, that from a "Scripturalist" point of view, like the flood that came later, earthly death is a judgment from God, for man's sin. Naturally, man has the choice to turn to God in the discipline, or look for ways to avoid/postpone the judgment.

27 posted on 05/08/2003 11:30:13 AM PDT by unspun (I'll need something sharper than any two-edged sword, to deal with this subject....)
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To: exmarine
LOLOL! I just read the reviews on the Amazon listing after posting the link. It is hilarious as two of the "reviewers" attempt to rebutt Morey via commentary on Amazon. It’s the first time I’ve seen such blatant distress at an online bookstore.
28 posted on 05/08/2003 11:32:27 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Yes, Morey gets that type of reaction from people! I met him - he has a church here in Orange County and a radio program called "Bob Morey Live." You should hear him interact with hostile callers. Visit his website at: www.faithdefenders.com. I also recommend his books "Islamic Invasion" and "Winning the War Against Radical Islam" - you will find them very very provocative.
29 posted on 05/08/2003 11:37:54 AM PDT by exmarine
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To: unspun
Thank you so much for the Scriptures on the bricks and for your observation:

The point is, that from a "Scripturalist" point of view, like the flood that came later, earthly death is a judgment from God, for man's sin. Naturally, man has the choice to turn to God in the discipline, or look for ways to avoid/postpone the judgment.

Indeed, and very sad...

30 posted on 05/08/2003 11:41:48 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: exmarine
Thank you so much for the additional information!

Indeed, the reactions on the Amazon reviews were so visceral, I chuckled out loud imagining villagers with pitchforks and torches seeking to burn the book.

31 posted on 05/08/2003 11:43:40 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl; Zon; Romulus
Wow. Where to start. First, Zon and Romulus, I have conversed with you in the past, and was interested in what you said. Zon, I heard, understand and live by alot of what you say. I ping you here not to cause confrontation regarding mystic beliefs, but to futher comprehend if you choose to offer any responses. Romulus, you and I have had brief but I believe honest communications in the past. You once asked if I had any theology training because of the way I used certain words. I'm sorry I never answered that until now, but no I haven't. I only have an interest in futher developing / exploring my own spirituality.

With that out of the way I would like to make a comment and pose a question. I am fully aware of my humanity, free will, and consequential actions relating to the world I live on. However much I try to rationalize and deny my spirituality I just cannot do it. For me personally it comes down to all the reflection, emotions and thoughts at war within me as I prepare for confession and penance. The feelings overwhelm to the point of helplessness unless action is taken by myself. At that moment of breathing and giving voice to all that is troubling my soul it becomes an exhilarating avalanche of emotions that I do not want to end. Eventually it does end and when I'm given the grace, the feeling of peace is the greatest PHYSICAL experience I ever get. Afterwards when penance is completed I find that memories of my sins fade to the point of non-existance. Some of you who read this are going to call me nuts and I understand your fears, so please do so call me nuts on this forum and if I can't (or won't) try to answer your questions I'm sure others will. Thank you Alamo-girl for this post. I hope it can be discussed in a frank, honest and respectful manner.

My question is to you Zon. No matter what anyone refers to it as, do you believe it is possible to totally deny all thoughts of a oneness with a higher power other than ourselves. Once again I am asking not to judge anyone other than myself. If you would prefer, please feel free to FReepmail me with an answer.

32 posted on 05/08/2003 12:15:24 PM PDT by Kudsman (LETS GET IT ON!!! The price of freedom is vigilance. Tyranny is free of charge.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
I read the reviews on Amazon too. I found the one to be very interesting. He denied that atheists believe life comes from non-life or that personality comes from non-personality, but that BEGS the question: Where do they come from from an atheist's perspective? If life didn't come from God and the atheists agrees life can't come from non-life, then where in tarnation does it come from? Same question is begged on personality. How do you get personhood from a machine? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!
33 posted on 05/08/2003 12:38:41 PM PDT by exmarine
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To: Kudsman
Jeepers, Kudsman! I can truly relate to your post! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!

You needn’t be concerned about people calling you “nuts” – so what if they do? Betty boop and I have both shared some rather deep spiritual experiences that may have left a few others on the forum with an eyebrow raised and tongue in cheek. Nevertheless, we know what we have personally and directly experienced. It is part of who we are and informs our thoughts.

I am very much aware of being one with the Lord, as He prayed for us in John 17. Anymore, I can see the carnal me like an adverse and separate entity abiding in the same body but having no authority. Now and again, when I’m not being diligent in the Spirit - the old me, the carnal me, gets the upper hand and I feel immediately out-of-sync – very much like the sensation you describe. Paul describes these confrontations in Romans 7 and then immediately shows our freedom in Romans 8!

Using the terminology of the above article, the nefesh is like the carnal me and the neshama the spiritual me seeking unity (Yehidah) with the Messiah. The ruach is the mechanism of my conscious choices which I strive to keep directed only upwards, but sometimes slip.

As you say, when we feel we are out-of-sync and then repent our spirits are “raptured” and divine peace floods our very being to the point that we even physically sense the wholeness, the meaning and the purpose.

What can I say but Praise God! and thank you so very much for sharing!!!

34 posted on 05/08/2003 12:42:09 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: exmarine
LOLOL! Thank you for your post!

Perhaps it is the extension of their denial to include the physical realm as well...

Indeed, inquiring minds want to know!

35 posted on 05/08/2003 12:45:26 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Have you read the book Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis of Ethics by Moreland and Rae?

here we read of a view that say:
there is no internal essence or nature that guies the process of development rather properties are added and lost in the process of growht and aging." This is called the "property-thing" view of human nature - that we aren't human if we lack certain functional properties.

The other view is the substance-dualism view which indicates there is an essence to a human person that exists at the moment of conception and that this essence causes the properties of human persons to develop if not stopped or handicapped - but that it is this essence - this soul - that has a peculiar non-physical substance that is manifesting its nature in the body that grows.
36 posted on 05/08/2003 12:56:24 PM PDT by kkindt (knightforhire.com)
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To: kkindt
Thank you so much for your endorsement of the book! For everyone interested, here is the Amazon listing for Body & Soul: Human Nature & the Crisis in Ethics
37 posted on 05/08/2003 1:01:42 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
A typical jaw-dropping A-G compilation. Thanks!
38 posted on 05/08/2003 1:53:36 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: r9etb
Jeepers! You're quite welcome, r9etb! Thank you for the kudos (blushing here...)
39 posted on 05/08/2003 7:10:00 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Kudsman

No matter what anyone refers to it as, do you believe it is possible to totally deny all thoughts of a oneness with a higher power other than ourselves.

Sure it's possible. There's people that do all sorts of things and then deny doing them. I wonder what the point would be for the person that has a thought and then denies having had it.

40 posted on 05/08/2003 7:50:26 PM PDT by Zon
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To: Zon
There's people that do all sorts of things and then deny doing them. sinners such as myself. And the denial is to stroke the ego and ease the pain of sin recognition. But for me it can only last so long before I am compelled to atone.

I wonder what the point would be for the person that has a thought and then denies having had it. The only thing that comes to mind would be either fear of the unknown or masochistic tendencies.

Thank you. You didn't disappoint in firing up my thinker. Until next time, goodnight and take care.

41 posted on 05/08/2003 9:12:37 PM PDT by Kudsman (LETS GET IT ON!!! The price of freedom is vigilance. Tyranny is free of charge.)
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To: Alamo-Girl
These questions and others have forced evolutionists to deceive themselves, contending that souls do not exist. However, since the declaration that souls don't exist (or basically that anything non- observable is non-existent) is an illogical claim (and at the very least an unsubstantiated one) some scientists who believe in the theory of evolution have taken recourse in various outlandish, even humorous, assertions

I disagree with this entire notion that evolutionists disregard the fact that there is a soul, I will admit that some do, but not all, not by a long shot.

It is not scientifically verifiable or falsifiable, so therefore the discussion of the existence of the soul has no place within the halls of science.

It is a philisophical question, and to say that it has a place in the hard sciences, I believe, is a dead letter.

Evolution SHOULD NOT discuss the soul, it should discuss what it discusses, the continuing and past evolution of life and how it came to be the way it is.

Now, if you wish to discuss it on other levels, hunky doory, but do not discuss it in terms of hard science, because it does not belong there.

But it is fun to discuss, and as PH says, we love you A-Girl.
42 posted on 05/08/2003 10:13:24 PM PDT by Aric2000 (Are you on Grampa Dave's team? I am!! $5 a month is all it takes, come join!!!)
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To: Alamo-Girl
And why wasn't I pinged to such an interesting endeavor?
43 posted on 05/08/2003 10:22:13 PM PDT by Aric2000 (Are you on Grampa Dave's team? I am!! $5 a month is all it takes, come join!!!)
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To: Alamo-Girl
Das Vermissen ist die Unterscheidung zwischen Geist und Seele.

For another point of view: link.

44 posted on 05/08/2003 10:22:40 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Boy, and I thought Christianity was confusing.
45 posted on 05/08/2003 10:36:20 PM PDT by Aric2000 (Are you on Grampa Dave's team? I am!! $5 a month is all it takes, come join!!!)
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To: Aric2000
The Great God Ra, whose shrine once covered acres;
Now serves as filler for crossword puzzle makers.

-Keith Preston
46 posted on 05/08/2003 10:39:35 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Aric2000
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust Descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer and--sans End!

- Omar Khayyám
47 posted on 05/08/2003 10:40:43 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Aric2000
Thank you so much for your post, Aric2000! I love y’all too!!!

And why wasn't I pinged to such an interesting endeavor?

I apologize. When I pinged the article I wasn’t thinking beyond those who had recently engaged in the root debate.

Now, if you wish to discuss it on other levels, hunky doory, but do not discuss it in terms of hard science, because it does not belong there.

This has not turned into a crevo debate. I included that excerpt first in order to put the discussion in perspective, i.e. origins. And as I mentioned to PatrickHenry, yours is the reaction I would expect from all who are epistemologically materialist, even if they are not metaphysically materialist.

I’m looking forward to your “take” on the other aspects of the collection of articles! Hugs!

48 posted on 05/09/2003 5:07:23 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Thank you for the Egyptology link and all the witty quotes! I don't however speak the language of post 44 (is it German?) That one was lost on me.
49 posted on 05/09/2003 5:10:05 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: aynrandfreak; Alamo-Girl; unspun
I think that the main motivation that keeps people believing in religion is fear of death.

Gee, I thought it was the joy of Life. (One needs a way to express one's gratitude for unearned blessings. JMHO.) Do you really believe that technology is going to solve the death problem anytime soon, aynrandfreak?

50 posted on 05/09/2003 8:37:01 AM PDT by betty boop
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