Here’s a thought. If you want to disprove — or at least throw an industrial-sized monkey wrench into — current conceptions of God and the soul, then prove time travel. For time travel, you see, is not compatible with the notion of an indivisible soul, particularly if that soul is en route to an eternal afterlife of punishment or reward.
Think about it. Were you to go back in time five minutes and face yourself, would both of you have your soul? You might come up with some ad hoc solution here, such as the soul actually dwelling outside the body, and being somehow able to perform its metaphysical duties across time and space, and within multiple bodies simultaneously. After all, we go through one body after another in a lifetime, but the soul stays the same, and is what makes today’s me the same person as that bouncy little infant from decades past.
This sort of ad hoc gerrymandering is what got us our present notion of the soul. Over the centuries, serious thinkers have relentlessly tweaked the idea in an attempt to accommodate changing conceptions of God, and in an effort to temper the ever-building discord between ancient theological frameworks and advancements in philosophy and science. Over time, the soul has gone from maybe (or maybe not) immortal, to definitely immortal (thanks, perhaps, to Egyptian influence), and has become the metaphysical explanation for many of our most inscrutable observations about the human situation. Consciousness, perceptual experience, bodily mobility, and personal identity among them.
But such ad-hocery won’t save the time traveler who’d like to posit the soul outside the body. Continue Reading