Everything You Need to Know AboutSouls & Consciousness

Christianity revolves around claims of a supernatural entity called a soul. In the Bible, we leave our bodies behind and our souls are what go to Heaven or Hell. Souls are the religious explanation for consciousness, but what actually is consciousness? And how did the concept of souls originate?

1The concept of souls were never based on evidence, just imagination.

There was never a reason to think souls exist. From the beginning, souls were just imaginative stories and assumptions to explain something we lacked any knowledge about. Man didn’t know what consciousness was so we assumed it was magic, something beyond natural explanation.

breath of life

2Originally, and in the Bible, we thought our breath was our soul and consciousness.

Ancient man, and those who wrote the Bible, believed our breath was a supernatural entity responsible for consciousness. They noticed the air inside of living things caused the lungs to raise and fall, and when a creature dies that air appears to leave the body. Because of this, it was assumed that our breath was the essences of life and thus the source of our consciousness.

3In the Bible “spirits” are just your breath and the “Holy Spirit” is literally just sacred air.

The imaginative assumption about souls is extra clear in the Bible, were souls and spirits are literally the air we breath. The word spirit, generally a synonym for soul, comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means ‘breath’. The words translated to ‘Holly spirit’ from Hebrew scripture actually mean ‘sacred air,’ hence why Jesus breathed on the disciples so they’d receive the holy spirit. (John 20:22)

In the KJV the Hebrew word neshamah (literally meaning ‘breath’) is translated twice as ‘spirit’ and once as ‘soul’. The Hebrew word ruach (literally meaning ‘wind’) is translated 240 times as ‘spirit’. The Hebrew word nephesh (literally meaning ‘breath’) is translated 428 times as ‘soul’, 2 times as ‘ghost’, 119 times as ‘life’, and 292 times as ‘spirit’.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost
John 20:22

4Nowadays we do actually know what consciousness is, and it's not supernatural.

Thanks to cognitive science, the study of the brain, we now know exactly what consciousness is and what causes it. Everything that makes us who we are including our consciousness, personality, memory, and thoughts are 100% based on and dependent on the physical structure of our brain. All of which can be manipulated, altered, or erased by physical changes to the physical structure of the brain. This leaves no room for the concept of supernatural breath (aka souls/spirits).

5Your memory cannot exist without the physical structure of your brain.

Our memory is caused by the synchronous firing of neurons that were involved in the original experience. The subsequent combined firing of the neurons reconstructs the original experience, producing a “recollection” of it. Our Hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for storing memories. If it is damaged or removed we can no longer create or retain new memories.

In 1953 surgery was performed on a patient known as HM to relieve the symptoms of severe epileptic seizures. The operation involved removing a large part of the hippocampus. This controlled the seizures but it also produced a severe memory loss. From the time HM woke up from the operation he was unable to lay down conscious memories. Day-to-day events remained in his mind for only a few seconds or minutes. When he met someone he could not recognize them no matter how many times they have met before. HM also believed himself to be a young man right into his eighties because the years since his operation did not effectively exist for him. His case shows how necessary the hippocampus is for our memory.

6Your emotions cannot exist without the physical structure of your brain.

Our emotions are physiological responses to stimuli which evolved to push us away from danger and toward reward. They are generated in our brain’s limbic system, and each emotion results in the release of hormones that produce physical reactions such as increased heart rate and muscle contraction. Feelings of pleasure specifically are caused by limbic system structures that reduce activity in the amygdala and in cortical, areas concerned with anxiety.

7Your personalities cannot exist without the physical structure of your brain.

Our various personalities are all linked to specific patterns of activity in our brain. People are aggressive if they have reduced volume and activity in the cingulate cortex. A strong reaction to stimuli in the amygdala results in people being shy. A strong reaction to stimuli in the striatum results in people being more social. Increased activity in the insula results in people being more cooperative. Optimism is linked to enhanced activation in the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex. These are just a few examples of how the physical structure of our brain dictates our personalities.

8Your brain develops & degenerates over time.

As the brain slowly develops a child’s abilities to perform particular motor skills and social skills also develops. In our later years the brain degenerates, its volume & size decreases 5-10 percent, and neurons are lost. This results in the person experiencing memory problems, slowed reflexes, and slowing thought processing. Our ability to process thoughts, control our motor skills, and recall memories are formed when our brain is formed, grow as our brain grows, degenerate as our brain degenerates, and cease to exist when our brain ceases to exist.


Everything the soul was once superstitiously credited for turned out to be 100% determined by and dependent on the physical structure of the brain. After taking the time to learn what consciousness actually is, instead of jumping to supernatural conclusions, the idea of souls starts to sound ridiculous.