The debate about whether or not animals have souls has been around for as long as philosophers and theologians can remember. It is a question rooted deeply in religious ideals and values, and with a new age of science, researchers are starting to look at the soul in general, whether it be human or any other animal. People who tend to believe in a Christian faith believe animals do not have souls. Theologians say animals do not have souls and through that man is created superior to animals and cannot be equal. Furthermore, interpreters of the Bible believe animals have “the breath of life” from God, but not an immortal soul. On the other hand, the prophet Isaiah says that God will include animals in heaven and John, the apostle, views heaven as including all animals of the Earth.

Another point to the argument that animals do have souls is through personal experience. Kimberlee Berlin from The Guardian reminisces about one of the times she believes she saw a soul in her animal friend. “For months, whenever I would find myself crying, clutching my belly, Gracie would rush over to me, rest her head on my lap and look up at me with kind eyes that understood. She definitely had a soul which spoke to mine, and I would get down on the floor with her and hold her, the warmth of her furry body calming me down.”

One can argue that animals do not have souls through logic. The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational, theirs aren’t, and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material. Animals and plants can’t do anything which transcends the limitations of matter. Although some animals seem clever, they don’t actually possess conceptional intelligence. They can’t, for instance, conceive of the abstract notion of justice. One might even argue that other creatures are more cognizant of feelings than humans are, because they possess a primary form of consciousness: they are aware of themselves and their environment but are less burdened by complexities such as reflection and rumination that typify human consciousness. Animals that express gratitude, play, contemplate nature, act to save a fellow creature, or react mournfully to the loss of family members or other close companions, are all, in my view, demonstrating aspects of connectedness. Such connectedness is the root of spirituality – with the capacity to feel and emote being central.

Then, there is the timeless argument of science. There aren’t many findings on the soul scientifically, because of the soul’s abstractness, however, one article puts into words the recent research and findings on such an abstract ideal. Whether person or flea, the experimental findings of quantum theory suggest that the content of the mind is the ultimate reality, paramount and limitless. Without consciousness, space and time are nothing. From this viewpoint, by virtue of being a living creature, you and your soul can never die. And the same thing goes for animals.

So, do you believe animals have souls and why?

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Do Animals Have Souls? by Sophie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

7 Comments
  1. Baby Lulu 9 months ago

    I am interested in your post because I think that animals do have souls as well. They understand when people are sad or they are mad. I feel like if they didn’t have a soul they wouldn’t be able to comprehend was is going on.
    One thing that stands out for me is “For months, whenever I would find myself crying, clutching my belly, Gracie would rush over to me, rest her head on my lap and look up at me with kind eyes that understood. She definitely had a soul which spoke to mine, and I would get down on the floor with her and hold her, the warmth of her furry body calming me down.” I think is is so intelligent because the dog was so smart because they have a wise soul.

  2. Johnatan 9 months ago

    This post to me was very interesting, because I have had always thought to myself if animals really did have souls but in reality they are living things that eat,sleep,drink, and do other things like what a human does. But honestly I do not think plants have souls for many reasons.
    One thing that had really stood out to me was when “The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational, theirs aren’t, and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material.”but I still disagree the part of the plants because I personally do not think they have souls like humans and animals.But this post had shared lots of information to me and opened my mind a little more about this question do animals really have souls?

  3. Jade 9 months ago

    Sophie, I love how you defended your argument because you used facts,statistics,and true stories to defend what you were arguing. I like how you also brought religion into it and with me being a religious person I do believe that all things are made with a soul and have feelings. I like how you said “Our souls are rational, theirs aren’t, and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material.” this stood out to me because it made a very strong point between the difference of the human soul and the animal soul.

  4. Mason 9 months ago

    Sophie, I thought this was a very compelling post. I really enjoyed how you addressed both sides of this topic giving explanations for both points of view. I think we can all appreciate this topic, because many of us have pets that we would consider a part of our family. I know that coming home and having my dog greet me is one of the best parts of my day, and I know that my family considers our dog to be an essential part of our life, so, I have also thought about this a lot. I thought this was an interesting topic to research and post about, it definitely made me think.

  5. Jessica Oulona 9 months ago

    I’ve always wounder if animals had soul but I never came to a conclusion or an answer to that inquiry. I came with my own conclusion that every being had a soul and everything that could breath, so animals for me had a soul. I concluded that based on many personal analysis with different animals. Reading this gave me more information to compare my own knowledge. Why I say animals have soul is based on how they behave, some behave mostly like humans and if humans had soul then why not them? I loved reading this, and the more i read it the more i question myself.

  6. Chidiogo 9 months ago

    Sophie, well done on this topic. I never would of thought for something this interesting. I have always in a way though have wondered about this topic whenever the quote, “a dog is man’s best friend,” comes up. I really like the way you went in depth and discussed how and why people may think that animal’s may have souls. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Colin 9 months ago

    Sophie, this post is something that is very compelling to me and something I have thought about to myself for a very long time. As a catholic, I tend to actually believe animals do have souls because I personally cannot tell the difference in quality of life between a human and an animal. If God created everything equal, then why would animals be left out of that? Simply because they don’t have vocal chords or rational thoughts? I don’t think that is right and I think your third paragraph was spot on. Another point that I always wonder about is why people seem to care about larger animals and value their life more. For example, people seem to be far more compassionate about this topic when talking about animals such as tigers or elephants than they are when talking about frogs or insects. If this argument about souls is true, then shouldn’t all animals be treated the same? Sorry if that was confusing, it’s just something I have thought about for a long time and it’s hard to put into words.

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