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LEADER RESOURCE 1: Soul Statements

1. When you die, your soul lives on and goes to one of three places: Heaven, or Hell or Purgatory.

This is the Roman Catholic belief. Purgatory is a nasty place where souls are purified until they are ready for heaven. Some other Christians have similar beliefs about what happens to the soul after death.

2. When you die, your soul lives on and goes to one of two places: Paradise or Hell.

This is a Muslim belief. It is similar to some Christian beliefs. This is not surprising, because the religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam have much in common. For example, the prophet Abraham plays a major role in all three religions.

3. The soul "refers to everything about us that is not physical." It "cannot get sick, it cannot die, it cannot disappear."

These thoughts are from Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi in the Conservative (moderately traditional) movement and a popular author. He said the soul "refers to everything about us that is not physical." He also said, "Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter."

4. The soul in us is reincarnated from one form of life into another.

This is a Hindu belief. The Hindu idea of reincarnation says that people's current lives reflect the way they lived in the past. People's present lives help determine what their next lives shall be. The better you are in this life, the better your next life will be. When you have lived enough lives, your spirit—your soul—no longer takes a human form and instead lives with God.

5. People are not the only creatures who have souls. Animals do, too

This is the belief called animism. In fact, some animists say that not just animals but plants and objects like stones have souls. Animism has sometimes been a part of pagan religions and is still a belief in some of today's other philosophies and religions.

6. Soul is God in us.

Many people who believe in God say something like this. They say that this explains why the soul is eternal and never dies.

7. Soul is the Divine or holy part of us.

This is similar to the idea that God is in us, but you can say it whether or not you believe in God. You do not have to believe in any god to believe some things are holy or Divine. You might say your divine soul connects you to the Great Mystery, or the cosmos or the spirit of life.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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