Sunday, November 30, 2008

Check your soul before using phone

[Image is of Father Federico Lombardi]

When I read that a Vatican poohbah warned about how using a cell phone could put my soul at risk, I immediately looked at the bottom of my shoes. But my soles were just fine. Then I realized Father Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Pope, was talking about my "soul" and not my "sole."

What is a soul, anyway? Has anyone ever seen one? Has anyone ever described one? Can the definition of a "soul" be put into words?

Lombardi obviously believes such a thing exists. Does it exist independent of the body? Does the soul exist independent of the brain? Is it the same thing as one's mind?

I don't think that anyone can answer any of those questions. This is one of those things in which you just gotta have faith! And lots of it!

And if you believe you've got a sole, er, a soul, and if you also use a cell phone and fool around on the Internet, watch out, 'cause you're in real danger of losing your soul! That's right. That's what Lombardi, spokesman for the Pope said. And that means the Pope believes it, too! You've got to remember, though, that Lombardi is a Jesuit, and Jesuit's are known for their sophistry!

"In the age of the cell phone and the internet," warned Lombardi, spokesman for the Pope, "it is probably more difficult than before to protect silence and to nourish the interior dimension of life."

I kinda like the notion of protecting "silence," if that means turning down the music and turning off the TV.

But what is the "interior dimension of life"? The stomach? The intestines? The lungs? Now if anyone of those goes, you've got one hell of a problem.

But, obviously, Lombardi is talking about something else. "There is an interior and spiritual dimension of life that must be guarded and nourished. If it is not, it can become barren to the point of drying up and, indeed, dying."

Oh, my.

Don't say you weren't warned! There is something inside of you that cannot be seen, described, or defined. It is a Soul! It is an "interior dimension of life." It needs nourishment. It can die without nourishment.

The idea of a "soul" is a Greek concept adopted by the early Christians. It helped make sense of the notion of an afterlife when clearly one's body disintegrated after death.

Today, science has shown clearly that there is no such thing. When the brain goes, everything goes. Human beings are animals with very large brains. We call the brain the mind. Death cancels all functions. There is no "soul" that wafts its way into the heavenly realm, so far as we know.

The Apostle Paul understood that implicitly, and that's why he insisted on the resurrection of the body. In 1 Corinthians 15, he goes into a convoluted and nonsensical theological construct as to how it will work. And later, the Church included in its creeds the specific declaration, "We believe in the resurrection of the body."

The trouble is, of course, that belief and reality are not necessarily the same and often conflict. And until science can show, describe and define the "soul," I think I'll just keep talking on my cell and futzing around on the Internet.

I'll also work on the bottoms of my shoes. I least I know what those soles are like.

Or maybe the Vatican could work on a "soul phone" that could be used to make normal calls but also as a direct line to God? As the Nike corporation would say, "Just Do It!"

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