The Existence of the Soul: Philosophy, Not Neuroscience

Melissa Cain Travis

In the first part of this series on the existence of the soul, “Man: Mind Over Matter or Mindful Matter?” I made the claim that “Some of the deep problems that plague physicalism cannot be solved by simply understanding the material brain better. They transcend neuroscience.” Remember, physicalism is the view that we are nothing more than our physical bodies and everything about us, from consciousness to higher rationality, can be explained by biochemical processes.[1] In philosopher-speak: I am identical with my material body. In this installment, I will discuss one of the several major problems with this view.

Many physicalists (both theist and non-theist) point to the great strides the neurosciences have made in correlating brain states (neuron firing patterns) with mental states (conscious experiences). For instance, if stimulation of brain region Q in a subject who is anesthetized but awake results in the subject reporting an experience of tasting an orange, the physicalist conclusion…

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#ThursdayTheologyBlogs :Why Did You Have So Many Kids?

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63520After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course, we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation.

As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.”

I raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and I. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement…

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Ethnic Images of Mary

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We are accustom to beautiful images of Mary picturing her as a white, European. However, she was from the Middle East and most likely looked Middle Eastern. Artist’s models and concepts of beauty are influenced by their culture. Now artists are emerging who are painting Mary as if she was born in their country because they can relate and connect better to the living Mary when their prayer is triggered by an image they are familiar with. The results are stunning, opening our hearts and souls to different qualities and graces of Mary.

84be07eb8d709743fae2e640b1486fcb Our Lady of LaVang

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Our Lady of the Philippines


The Holy Family, India

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Protestant’s Reactions to a Catholic Writer

Please read our Sister in Christ’s observation and plea. I lived in a small community in Alaska for almost a decade and I spoke up for Catholics and periodically would ask the Priest to forgive me for what my Protestant brother’s and sisters in Christ would say about Catholic brothers and sisters. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants form a “pale of Orthodoxy,”  despite any of our doctorial differences we are one body and I know Catholics are to be the Bride of Christ as well.  I came to Christ 41 years ago and it started by reading Thomas Merton’s Poetry. Despite doctrine the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church is our Mother. I don’t want anyone saying anything bad about our Mother. Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God we beseech you to have mercy on us all as we reach out to you.

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I am proud to proclaim

I am a Catholic.

A saved, born again, Spirit filled, lover of Jesus

who expects to be accepted

by Protestant lovers of Jesus

because I am a sister in Christ.

BUT, my culture and way of expressions seems odd to Protestant ears,

So I am misunderstood.

Perhaps in the Body, the Protestants are the feet and mouth carrying the Good News

and as a Catholic I am an ear.

I might not look like I belong but trust me,

although I look foreign I AM part of the same Body.

May my small acts of unity reverberate throughout  the entire Mystical Body of Christ.

 Before I discovered Catholic sites, I posted on secular and Protestant sites. I felt I had to hide my Catholicism. When I finally wrote about my Catholic faith, I was immediately grilled and interrogated by shocked readers and co-authors. Yet God had His…

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