WOW! I missed a lot last night, lots of great posts and thoughts have been entered here. I bet Richard was kinda nervous to open this thread after seeing how quickly it grew!
First off I forgot to qualify something yesterday, I'm full of *censored*, if you don't believe it just ask anyone that knows me, especially my family. I try not to take myself too seriously but eventually my true colors show and my tendency for adhering to the statement "ask me what time it is and I'll tell you how to build a watch" emerges.
There are lots of carefully conceived and complicated explanations of where souls come from, and how angels are part of a hierarchy that leads to GOD (and many, many other variations), I choose to believe that all of that is the humanization of GOD that occurs so men can be manipulated to do the churches bidding (or Mosque or whatever other building has been erected in GOD's name). I choose to believe that the soul is the part that is never separate from GOD, it is GOD in us, we can't do "evil" and lose that connection, nor do "good" and improve it. The soul is not in a physical location in our body because it isn't physical. Every living thing has to have that essence, however the less evolved human forms (yeah that's right I said it, evolution, believe in it
) are more separated from awareness of GOD. An animal is not a thinking and fully aware being, it operates on instinct for the most part, the petri dish that might spawn life has no awareness of GOD until it forms into the Human form with a full compliment of the miracle that is the human form. In a sense that defines God's ability to have a human experience.
I believe souls are not manufactured, there are not condemned souls, new souls or any other kind of difference in them, we cannot conceive of the concept of a soul because it is not from our level of awareness of GOD. Our soul reunites upon our death and hence the smiles and peace, when birth occurs that piece of GOD is reunited with this human experience which can be ugly or beautiful, not always our choice initially, but in the end it is always our choice that determines beautiful or ugly. I believe in the resurrection of Christ, I believe in Buddah, I believe in Mohamed, I believe in the Jewish version of GOD, I believe in Krishna, and so on. What I don't believe in is the right of church leaders to control my spiritual life. I go to church when I feel moved to do so, I was raised in the Methodist church and was even a church youth group leader. I believe in the possibility for a strong community of church believers that support each other and create a spiritual life for themselves and others.
Devil I believe you said you don't need to believe in GOD you are just looking for some tangible proof, well then this discussion is a good jumping off point, reading books is another great way to explore that desire to reach a better understanding. I recommend "Conversation with God" (there are also several other books by him including sequelsl to the first) by Neil Donald Walsh, it is considered very secular by many but is quite thought provoking. There are lots of other great and beautiful writings that can feed your soul and meet the basic human striving for meaning in life.
My simple thought and feeling about GOD is that I see Her in everything around me, I can't help but be brought to tears by some of the beauty in nature and human interaction. I feel that each person must find what is true to them and not allow any person to intervene in each person's own process for realizing GOD.
Will check back in tonight and read all the wonderful inputs to this thread, is quite nice to see a thought provoking, open and civil discussion in this section of the forum. Right now I have to go finish the taxes and do some work.