The Soul Scapegoat

What do you do when someone is doing something you don’t agree with, but you can’t definitively say why it’s bad? Well there’s one thing that you can always claim is feeling something even though there is no physical or emotional stimulus by which to measure it:

“It may not be bad for the body, but it’s bad for the soul.”

That’s what someone said to me when he was trying to explain to me why homosexuality is a bad thing, because for some reason this argument is still going on in Orem, God Damn Utah.

Yes, claiming something happening to the soul is a great way to shut people up for a few seconds because, for some reason, even many atheists are reluctant to say it doesn’t exist. If they don’t call it a soul, they’ll call it something else: Life force, energy, aura, or sometimes even just something.

Why are people so drawn to the idea of invisible, intangible things that they have no reason to believe exist but still think they have a complete understanding of what’s good and bad for it?

“You should really try meditating from time to time, Taylor.”

“That’s never really been my thing. I just don’t get anything out of it.”

“Well you should really give it another shot. It’s good for the soul.”

Dude, shut the hell up. That’s a really condescending statement. Insinuating my life is somehow less fulfilled because I can’t appreciate this one thing that makes you feel better from time to time. Attacking someone’s “spiritual fulfillment” is one of those masked pretentious arguments. The non religious type that brings up the soul is the kind of guy that wants you think his life is so well put together and he’s reached total nirvana- not that he’d ever admit that. No, it is his habit to act continuously humble, act like there’s so much about this “big amazing world” he doesn’t understand and how he just wants to go see all of it. The type of guy who never gets angry and always has a big fucking grin on his face.

I know your life isn’t as great as you want me to think it is, man.

This is one of the first image results for "soul." Makes about as much sense as any other interpretation.

This is one of the first image results for “soul.” Makes about as much sense as any other interpretation.

Going back to that example, how is saying that any different than telling me I should pray? They’re both insistences that there’s some supernatural experience I’m missing out on because I’m not getting it right.

What I really love about the fact that I don’t get anything out of prayer or meditation is that it’s apparently because I’m “not really trying.”  That’s beautiful. In an exercise that is literally just sitting and concentrating on something, I’m somehow not doing it right (And here is where the religiously pretentious will shake their heads and say “he just doesn’t get it”).

No, the real problem is that after I sit there long enough I don’t instantly believe that the slight shift in my physical being is god or enlightenment. I’m not going to fucking sit there and fall prey to confirmation bias. I won’t tell you that whatever you feel is fake, so don’t fucking tell me that my not feeling something is because I’m just not trying. Screw you, man. I was 10 once, I gave prayer an honest shot. Didn’t do anything for me. It was always an empty feeling. Are you going to insist that’s my fault? I wasn’t skeptical back then, I believed what everyone told me to believe, but I never felt what they told me I was going to feel.

The soul is a nice imaginary construct people have created to give them a term to measure progress in things that really aren’t making any difference in their lives at all.

“Go for a walk, it’ll be good for your soul.”

…. Man, there’s like 50 other reasons taking a walk is good for you, and you chose to go with that one? What the hell does that even mean? You may as well have told me it would be good for the humours. Seriously, sit down and explain to me what you mean by that statement. How is that good for my ‘soul’?

They can’t do it. All they’ll do is use a lot of buzzwords.

“It just fulfills you and clears your mind.”

You could have just said it clears my mind in the first place. Saying its good for my soul gives me no clear idea as to what will be beneficial about taking a walk. I’m just going to go out there hoping it makes me feel better without any inkling as to what will be improving.

But that is what people who promote the soul concept want you to feel like. Because without a clear marker as to why it’s good or bad, it’s impossible to say that it isn’t. Homosexuality, masturbation, tattoos, cursing, there’s absolutely no legitimate reason why these things are bad, but god damnit, they’ll twist your soul until it’s black and shriveled.

Meanwhile celibacy, which causes so much frustration and physical pain because it goes against your body’s natural instincts and every fiber of your being will scream at you “FUCK FUCK FUCK”, is good for the soul. Why? Well because it’s godly. Don’t you want a nice, clean, pure white soul? You may not feel better physically or emotionally, but in pretend land you’re doing fantastic!

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