Do Animals Have Souls?

Drew is home, and watching his usual parade of animal shows.  He’s especially fond of those narrated by Sir David Attenborough.  (Drew insists that we use the “sir.”)

In a show we watched, today, an adult meerkat was teaching a very young meerkat how to hunt for ants.  This young one was not his offspring.  He just saw that the youth was having trouble catching ants on his own.  He began by teaching his student how to burrow.  Once he’d burrowed for a while, he found some larvae.  He shared it with his student.

The next scene was elephants.  I’m especially fond of elephants, and I think everyone in my family who has ever given me a gift has given me an elephant at some point.  But that’s another story….

This was a mama elephant who was trying to help her baby elephant out of some mud in which it was stuck.  This was mama’s first baby, so she was struggling as much as her baby was.  Thankfully, Grandma was nearby, and saw that the big problem was that mama was actually pushing her baby deeper into the mud with her efforts.  Grandma poked Mama in the butt with her tusks, and Mama ran forward.  Grandma then helped guide the baby out of the mud and back to her mama.

I believe that all living things contain a little bit of God.  I think we see it manifested most clearly when we truly Love.  That’s why, when I imagine God’s love, I imagine the way my dogs love me, no matter how little energy or time I have to give them.

I also believe in science and and evolution, so I debate with myself about these things.  The debate I’m having tonight is:

If animals don’t have souls, why would they help non-offspring?  I understand an urge to sustain your own life, and even the lives of your offspring.  But why care about the offspring of others?  They’re just more mouths to feed, right?  Competition.

I know someone will say, “it’s instinct to want our species to perpetuate.”  But why?  How does the existence of meerkats 100 years from now impact a meerkat, today?

If I was to ask that same question regarding the existence of humans, people wouldn’t hesitate to say that it’s just the right thing to do.  But by whose rules?  The only way to answer that without invoking God or Souls is to say, “it just is.”

And that’s not a very scientific answer, is it?

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August 10, 2019

I think if souls exist, which is a whole different thing (don’t ask because I’ve never wondered, so I’ve got nothing if they exist or not), then I would say any animal would have one. It seems weird to me to say that only humans can have them because of what we can do. And to me, if someone says only humans have a soul, that hints that souls are a human idea. What’s so special about humans? Look at all the terrible, dumb stuff we do.

August 10, 2019

St Francis believed they had souls. I know they do

August 11, 2019

i would hope my Jasper is waiting for me in death. otherwise what was the point of loving him in this life?


August 11, 2019

Of course animals have souls. Who says WE do?

August 11, 2019

If we have souls I would def say that animals do as well.

August 11, 2019

Interesting theory. I think that animals have a concept of religion, and are smarter than we give them credit for.

August 11, 2019

What is, just is and sometimes there is no explaining… is a question for you….

If you were to adopt a child or even a grandparent would you treat them any different then your blood relatives?

August 11, 2019

@jaythesmartone, I have adopted a child, not legally, but in spirit.  I would never treat her any less than any other member of my family.

My family is unique in that very few of us are related in the way that people tend to assume people are related when they hear a particular relation.  None of my siblings are “full,” meaning that we share only one parent in common.  Two of my siblings don’t share any blood, but they are family, and their children are my family.

And that just covers my siblings!