“You” are Not Your Brain. You Have a Brain. You are a Soul.
Are we just flesh and blood, and the “soul” of a person no more that synapses firing in the brain? And when your brain dies, therefore you die?
This is a vital question to be answered, for if “you” are no more than your brain, then you have no “eternal soul” apart from the body. And when your brain dies, “you” die as well. What Evidence is there for a Soul apart from the body?
Mounting Scientific Evidence for a Soul
From an article in Psychology Today: “The reality of the soul is among the most important questions of life. Although religions go on and on about its existence, how do we know if souls really exist? A string of new scientific experiments helps answer this ancient spiritual question. Traditionally, science has dismissed the soul as an object of human belief, or reduced it to a psychological concept that shapes our cognition of the observable natural world. The terms “life” and “death” are thus nothing more than the common concepts of “biological life” and “biological death.” The animating principle or the “soul” as we call it are simply the laws of chemistry and physics. There is not soul, so they say. But is this really true, and supported by the latest evidence?
Lately, new experiments are beginning to show that there is something more going on: why we have a subjective experience remains mysterious. The problem of the soul lies exactly here, in understanding the nature of the self, the “I” in existence that feels and lives life. But this isn’t just a problem for biology and cognitive science, but for the whole of Western natural philosophy itself. Our current worldview – the world of objectivity and naïve realism – is beginning to show fatal cracks.
Significant Neuroscientists who Advocate for a Soul
So, are there any other significant neuroscientists who advocate for a soul? What about Mario Beauregard? Beauregard (PhD, University of Montreal; https://drmariobeauregard.com/bio/) has been involved in several projects that call the scientific “consensus” into question by re-envisioning science in a post-materialist way (i.e., science is not beholden to a worldview that is governed mechanistically, and is non-intentional and non-experiencing all the way down).[iii] Beauregard is famous for showing that our emotions, which are presumably not physical in nature, can actually change our brain states—even more they can affect our epigenetic patterns.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, speaking on the topic “You are Not Your Brain”
Beauregard certainly isn’t the only scientifically-minded intellectual who believes the soul exists and has some important role to play in our investigation of the world. So also does Jeffrey Schwartz (M.D., research psychiatrist at the University of California at Los Angeles; https://jeffreymschwartz.com/about/). Schwartz is a famous psychologist who has argued for the soul as an important datum that informs our way of thinking about humans and the world. In several places, Schwartz has argued that you are not your brain, but, in fact, you are something more or above and beyond your brain. You are something other than your brain is illustrated by the fact that your brain can actually be shaped by you—its almost as if you are an outside force that can shape and form your own neural patterns. Scientists have referred to the neural phenomena as neuroplasticity (i.e., the view that our neural patterns are malleable), which Schwartz has deployed as a way of showing that we are the kinds of agents that can change our brain states.
Experiments that Support the Idea that You Are an Observer that Can Affect Reality
Although the current scientific paradigm is based on the belief that the world has an objective observer-independent existence, real experiments suggest just the opposite.
- Consider the famous two-slit experiment. When you watch a particle go through the holes, it behaves like a bullet, passing through one slit or the other. But if no one observes the particle, it exhibits the behavior of a wave and can pass through both slits at the same time. This and other experiments tell us that unobserved particles exist only as ‘waves of probability’ as the great Nobel laureate Max Born demonstrated in 1926. They’re statistical predictions – nothing but a likely outcome. Until observed [by a person, a soul or mind], they have no real existence; only when the mind sets the scaffolding in place, can they be thought of as having duration or a position in space.
- In fact, just this year a team of physicists (Gerlich et al, Nature Communications 2:263, 2011) showed that this principle of “observation leads to reality” also occurs in the human-scale world. They studied huge compounds composed of up to 430 atoms, and confirmed that this strange quantum behavior extends into the larger world we live in.
We are taught to think of life as just the activity of atoms and particles, which spin around for a while and then dissipate into nothingness. As a result, you are told that your existence has no meaning, and the world has no purpose. But if we look at the mounting evidence that you are not just you body, but something much more – an eternal soul that acts on, and animates your body – we can explain some of the major puzzles of modern science, including the uncertainty principle, entanglement, and the fine-tuning of the laws that shape the universe.
Evidence of the Soul from Near Death Experiences (NDEs)
An article in Catholic365 explains: “Compelling evidence for the validity of NDEs from scholarly and medical studies of thousands of NDEs includes: (1) confirmed observations of the physical world when unconscious or during clinical death, (2) blind people seeing during an NDE, (3) meeting previously unknown deceased relatives during an NDE, and (4) the dramatically changed lives of people who have had an NDE. It is virtually impossible to explain this intensely studied evidence of NDEs unless human consciousness actually survives bodily death.
The combined weight of all this medical and scholarly evidence affirms that there is a component of human beings that is not reducible to our mere physical body. This immaterial and spiritual part of our being has traditionally been called our soul and is linked to human consciousness.
- As stated by Dr. Pim van Lommel, “Until now, the concept was that the brain is the producer of consciousness and the producer of memories. But when you study near-death experiences, we have to reconsider this concept: perhaps we should consider the brain not as a producer, but as a receiver of consciousness.”
How common are NDE’s and how well are near-death experiences documented? According to The Epoch Times, “near-death experiences (NDEs) are reported by an estimated 200,000 Americans a year, and studies around the world suggest NDEs are a common human experience.
- 13 million Americans, or 5 percent of the nation’s population, had experienced an NDE as of 1992, according to a 1992 Gallup poll cited by the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation.
- 774 NDEs per day are experienced in the United States, according to the same poll. That means another 6 million or so Americans may have had NDEs since the 1992 poll, raising the number of Americans who have had an NDE from 13 million to 19 million.
- A 1982 Gallup poll found that 15 percent of all Americans who had almost died (under widely varying circumstances) reported an NDE. About 9 percent reported the “classic out-of-body experience,” 11 percent said they entered another realm, 8 percent encountered spiritual beings, and only 1 percent had negative experiences. The findings were published in the book “Adventures in Immortality,” by pollsters George Gallup Jr. and William Proctor.
- In the book “Life After Death: The Evidence,” Dinesh D’Souza noted that In a 2005 survey of American doctors, it was shown that 59 percent believe in some form of afterlife, “a much higher percentage than is found in other scientific professions,” according to D’Souza.
Bottom line, the evidence from medical studies of NDEs affirms the longstanding understanding that human beings are composed of both a body and a soul, and that the soul lives on after death of the body. NDEs also support the reality of an afterlife that transcends physical death and is usually a very pleasant experience, much like what has been called heaven. However, some NDEs point to the existence of a hellish afterlife.
The famous 20th century philosopher C.S. Lewis said “You are not your body. You HAVE a body. You are a soul.” In looking at all the evidence, it takes more faith to believe that “you” are just a mass of chemicals and firing synapses, than to believe that you are a “mind” or soul that exists within the body, to act upon it, cause it to make choices, and to provide consciousness and existence to the things that you perceive and experience.
What the Bible Says About the Soul’s Existence
Throughout scripture, the Bible refers to people as “souls” human soul. Rather than refer to people as bodies, they are considered souls – and after death, that soul departs from the body. Thus the human soul is the part of a person that is not physical. It is the part of every human being that lasts eternally after the body experiences death.
Genesis 35:18 describes the death of Rachel “as her soul was departing” from her body. From this we can infer that the soul is different from the body, and that it continues to live after the physical death of the body.
Gen 35:18 – “And as her soul was departing (for she was dying),
she called his name Ben-oni;7 wbut his father called him Benjamin
Ex 31:14 – “You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.
Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. nWhoever does any work on it,
that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”
Ps 16:9-10 – Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol (the under world) or
let your holy one see corruption.
Ezek 18:4 – Behold, all souls are mine;
the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
Its recorded in Mark 8:36-37 that Jesus emphasized the existence and tremendous worth or a person’s soul:
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The human soul is central to the personhood of a human being. As George MacDonald said, “You don’t have a soul. You ARE a Soul. You have a body.” In other words, personhood is not based on having a body. A soul is what is required.
So I am Not my Brain. I am an Eternal Soul. Now What?
What does it mean to be a soul? Your existence continues beyond this mortal body. What you do in this life has eternal consequences. You will be held accountable.
- This means that you are an immortal soul. And everything you say and do has eternal consequences.
- You are either growing nearer to God each day, or further apart from Him.
- What you DO in this life will have eternal rewards, or eternal punishment
- For those saved by grace through faith, what is done in this life will be rewarded
What is done in this body in terms of evil, will also have consequences. Gods justice demands it
“Vengeance is Mine”, says the Lord. “I will repay”. To every killer, murderer, and wicked evil person that does wicked evil things in their life. God will repay – you can be sure of it.
Two Things That Last: God’s Word, and Your Soul
There are two things that last: the Word of God (Mark 13:31) and the souls of human beings. This is because, like God’s Word, the soul is an eternal entity. That thought should be both sobering and awe-inspiring. Every person you meet is an eternal soul. Each is of immeasurable worth!
Every human being who has ever lived is a soul, and all of those souls are still in existence somewhere. The question is, where? The souls that reject God’s love as expressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus are condemned to pay for their own sin, spending eternity separated from God (Romans 6:23).
But the souls who acknowledge their own sinfulness and accept God’s gracious gift of forgiveness will live forever beside still waters with their Shepherd, wanting for nothing (Psalm 23:2).
You Have a Vital Decision to Make
Are you a follower of Jesus, and do you know Him? If you do, then you have everything to look forward to – in this life, and in the life to come! You were made for a purpose, and receiving the Lord into your heart and walking daily with Him will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it. If you don’t have a relationship with your Creator, you can! Here is a link to Billy Graham’s web site that can show you how you can accept the Lord into your heart, and begin a right relationship with Him…
Go To Steps to Peace with God ==> http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp
Got Questions.org https://www.gotquestions.org/human-soul.html
Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz: https://jeffreymschwartz.com/
Christianity, Mind and Mental Health – March 2019. The Soul and Science: Challenging the “Consensus”, By Dr. Joshua Farris: https://hbu.edu/news-and-events/2019/03/22/the-soul-and-science-challenging-the-consensus/