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You Bet Your Soul
When I was a small child this was the bedtime prayer I had to say: "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Needless to say, the first few times I said that one with my mother I had a few questions for her. Like: "Am I going to die? Is that why I have to say this creepy prayer?" And: "Can I please have another prayer to recite because I don't like this one so much?" After those questions, I wondered aloud to her: "What is a soul?"
She told me. Your soul, my mother explained, is something that's inside of you, but invisible and it is you and it leaves your body when you die. Probably that's as good an explanation as any to give a small child. I couldn't actually picture what a soul looked like so I envisioned it as sort of a translucent stadium horn, and for years that's what I thought a soul was. Later on I decided that a soul was your exact replica, only inside you taking up just a little bit less space than your physical body - otherwise how could it fit inside of you?
Right? Makes sense doesn't it?
Christianity isn't the only religion that believes in a soul. Pretty much all of the major religions, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism also believe in a soul. They all disagree on what happens to your soul when you die. For example, in Christianity you can either go to Heaven or Hell, but for Hindus and Buddhists you got to come back. God, that's got to suck. At least in Christianity and Islam you have a chance for eternal paradise, but with those other two you know you're going to be right back where you started out from the first time. Nice.
Most of the time you only get one soul, but in some esoteric literature there are postulated to be five or six different spiritual bodies that you possess. I have no idea how that would work out. One soul inside of one body I can understand but six, one inside of another seems illogical. What would be better is one soul and many physical bodies at the same time. That way you could decide who you wanted to be on any particular day and take that body out for a spin, much like fabulously rich celebrities have multiple cars that they can use.
I don't believe in a soul, exactly (since you've been wondering) but I go for what I call the quantum physics multidimensional multiverse version of having a soul. You see, our world actually has many more than the accepted four dimensions of classical physics, but instead exists in several dimensions and many other universes. Thus, we are multidimensional beings existing in all of those dimensions and therefore locality and serial time are merely illusions of our apparent four dimensions.
Sorry, that's the best I can explain it. But it works out. Trust me.
Once when I was in college I was playing poker with some other college buddies, one of whom was an avowed atheist. We were playing penny ante, mostly just for fun. Of course, no one much had a lot of money so even the few dollars that changed hands was high stakes for us. The avowed atheist went bust and I offered to front him some money for the deed to his soul - fifty cents, I recall. Enough to get the atheist back in the game.
He refused and I absolutely couldn't fathom that. Why wouldn't he want four free bits? Obviously he wasn't a very good atheist because that should have been an offer that he should have jumped at, but for some reason he wouldn't. All I was asking for was a deed to something that he told us he thought was entirely imaginary. I'd bet if I asked him for the deed to the Easter Bunny he would have bit, but not this. He had no courage of his convictions, which disappointed me.
Many years later it occurred to me that maybe the reason he wouldn't put up the deed to his soul was because he'd gambled it away previously. Come to think about it, I should look on e-bay to see if that's what happened and it's still up for sale. It would probably bring in a lot more than the fifty cents I offered.
By the way, has anybody ever put their soul up for sale on e-bay? If not, I freely give that idea to anyone who wants to, since I'm way too superstitious to do it myself. As a matter of fact, I think I'll check e-bay to see if it's possible to buy a soul and how much they go for. Maybe I'll even get one for myself.
I'll bet it looks like a stadium horn.
About the Author: Steve Sommers is the author of Breakfast with the Antichrist. His new novel, Rexroi, along with the best of Australian Science Fiction - is available as an ebook at www.rspublishing.com.au, OR if you ABSOLUTELY need to turn pages when you read - at www.lulu.com/content/306670