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Questions, Questions

truthIn his encyclical last week PopeFrancis/Benedict XVI poses two questions that surely must be at the core of our understanding of the meaning of all human life: What is Truth? What is Faith? Or are they the same thing?

What is Truth?  - what we are told by the scientist?

What is Faith? - knowledge? superstition?


I haven't looked specifically at Jain policies on abortion, but I would suspect that it would not be viewed in a positive light.

In Jain thought, all things have a Jiva, which can be thought of as a "soul" but it is envisioned quite differently. Jivas go about collecting karma, good and bad. The goal is to collect as little bad karma as possible. Bad karma can be cleared by certain actions. It is a very, very complex system which I only studied for one semester.

At any rate, it is all dependent on the existence of the Jiva, which cannot scientifically verified, just as there is no scientific proof of a soul. This is where matters of Faith and Truth come in. At what point does a fetus have a Jiva? At what point a Soul? Do Jain fetuses have Jivas and Christian fetuses souls? What about Atheist babies? None of this is provable one way or the other. Hebrew scripture says that a baby does not have a soul until the father breathes it into the baby, and, I don't believe the New Testament says anything about it at all.

I personally, believe that there is only one soul... the soul of a single living organism which is constantly doing everything in its power to survive and grow. Our individual consciousnesses are an illusion, but a necessary one. By each individual consciousness striving for its own individual survival, the organism as a whole continues to grow and improve itself.

Can I prove this? No. But neither can anyone prove the existence either of a soul or of any form of divinity. Some things we just take on faith. I, personally, like the idea of one massive soul and a beneficent divine, but not everyone else does.