June 24th, 2022
“So you believe in a soul?” she asked.
“I do, but I have a complicated relationship with the word ‘soul’,” he said.
“Do tell,” she said.
“Well,” he started, “soul is a word that doesn’t actually mean anything. Like, if I say orange, you think of the color, or the fruit. It describes something that exists. There is no definitive measure of a soul, and everyone seems to have a different definition for it. And there are a lot of words like that. ‘God’. ‘Devil’. But if the words make you feel something when you hear them, they then become real themselves, because they have real effects.”
“I’m following, but this is a hell of rabbit hole we’re tumbling down,” she said.
“The problem is when we use words that don’t exist to affect things that do. For example, there would be no abortion debate if we didn’t believe in souls. We think that as soon as a sperm fertilizes an egg, a soul is put in there, too. That is the only reason we could think fetuses are fully realized human beings.”
Maya couldn’t believe this man thought this was flirting. He went on.
“Can you imagine if I took two pieces of thread, made two stitches with them and then told you that was a hat? That is not a hat, not any more than an egg/sperm collision is a human being that can think and feel and play the guitar.”
“So do you think abortion is murder?” she asked.
“Is it murder to pull the plug on a man who has no chance of ever recovering the use of his brain?” he asked in return. “A lot of people, myself included, think animals have souls, but don’t have a problem killing them. Is ending any life we consider to have a soul in any way murder?”
– excerpt from Cold World, pg. 67 & 68
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