Saturday, May 15, 2010

UU Salon: May - The Soul

Over at UU Salon, they want to know: Does it exist before we are born?  Does it disappear when we die?  It is unchangeable, or capable of growing/shrinking/strengthening?  Can you lose your soul, or gain one?

I have refrained from reading other posts on this topic until I had time to mull over my own thoughts and get around to posting something. I really like this idea of posing questions to the blogosphere and then compiling them. Nice use of technology and community! 

So onward. Does it exist prior/after life as we know it? An interesting story: When I was exploring neopaganism, I loved the story in Circle Round (or at least I think that's where I read it, but I'm too lazy to get up and look) about how our souls all get mixed into this great cauldron and each time a new baby is born, we get a little bit of everyone in our new soul. During this time, my mother was driven to distraction by my "atheism," refusing to come to my wedding a few years before, etc. due to my lack of religious beliefs. I remember telling this story to my kids when they were little and loving it. Anyway, my mother is now in her last years. Her health is very poor and we've been talking about death and dying. I have always seen her as this pretty traditional but non-churchgoing Christian until the last few year, since I entered the journey to the ministry. Since then, my grandmother's Irish pagan roots seem to be coming out. My mom tells me stories of celebrating the wheel of the year, etc. But she blew my mind last month when she basically, word for word, said that the cauldron is what she thinks happens to souls when you die. Could have knocked me over with a feather. She just laughed and said her mother's beliefs are catching up with her (her mother was a seemingly devout Protestant, FWIW). 

Basically, the whole notion of matter and science and energy is why I am not a full-blown atheist, but rather an agnostic with a theistic bent. I like Deitrich's cosmic humanism - I believe that God, or what I would call Soul, is immanent in everything, and I have a hard time letting go of my faith that there is some intrinsic part of us that remains as some sort of energy and is passed on into other things - perhaps mingling with the very stardust of which we are made. It's probably just some unlikely concoction I've dreamed up in my limited understanding of physics and such, but I love the idea, and it brings me a lot of comfort. 

I think that your soul can change because it's energy, according to my theological view of the soul. I think that what we do impacts the energy that we emit and contain, and if we do things that are evil, that will change our very essence. It's where my moral authority comes from lacking the presence of God. 


Paul Oakley said...

Hi, Kelly! Good to see you making the time to respond to this UUSalon "Big Question."

While I would not agree on the level of objective reality, I LOVE your approach as metaphor. Certainly in terms of history and culture and family heritage, each person born gets a portion of what went before.

Hope you're enjoying the afternoon with the family. Blessings!

Kelly KH said...

Paul, I've been keeping in "unread" in my Google Reader and you sparked my memory to get back to it!

One nice thing about being a UU Cosmic Humanist is that I can have a mixture of objectivity and faith and still fit right in ;). I would also say that my theology is a work in progress, especially irt the soul and God.