I'm not one for religion, just never took to it. However, we have a highly judgemental receptionist who is all high and mighty about how religous he is... anyway, we were ordering new sympathy cards for pet losses, and one had a cute dog and cat with a halo sitting on a cloud, super sweet card. He refused to order them because "they'd send the wrong message" that we think the pets are going to heaven, when everyone knows they dont.
I mean, seriously - how much of a jerk can you be??
I do think they have souls. Can you really look into your pet's eyes and NOT think so?
I think cats do possess souls. Personality and the possession of a soul are not one and the same, IMO. I suppose a lively discussion of nemotodes can be found on the Nemotode Forum, but I'm not particularly interested in them since they are not my friends or my pets.
A little tidbit about what NewRagdoll mentioned about cats being able to sense if its owner was not feeling well, etc. While I was out hiking at this park where a lot of Canada Geese are present, one looked at me and walked towards me. I just stopped and looked at him. He still walked towards me until I said "Sorry buddy, but I do not have any food for ya." Then the goose walked away.
The ability to care for their young and perhaps others are mainly a mammalian trait. The difference between mammals and their next evolutionary partner is relatively genetics. In the future, we can determine what genes makes a mammal a mammal, more specific, what genes make mammals care for each other. We will eventually find out what genes make up consciousness. We have already found the minimum amount of genes for life and certain proteins lacking in the mind between humans and orangutangs. We might strut around as the superior species, but there really is only a minor genetic difference between apes and us.
The point is that it comes down to genes. So basically people are saying if you have certain genes, you have a soul, but if don't these genes, then you don't, hmmm. That sounds weird.
of COURSE they have souls!!! and i think every animal does, i mean some people dont regard rats like they do cats, but i do. we have them for pets, also and i love them justa s much. so i think all animals have souls and all animals go to heaven.
There are at least ten different definitions for the word soul. None of them has anything to do with DNA or genetics. It's the spiritual part of a human being. Human beings appear to be the only living animal with an innate need to worship. I think this is the biggest difference between man and Tim's spider. (although Dr. Albert Scweitzer would have valued that spider's life as much as the life of a cat)
God is a spirit, and we too (most of us) are spiritual beings. That is; our bodies are mere vehicles for the soul, which is the real self. That's how most Christians explain the verse that says that we are made in the image of God. However, I don't think we need to go in depth regarding religious or scientific principles. God loves us, and He obviously knew that we would learn to love certain animals. Whether or not animals have a spiritual essence, God is a loving God. That's why I believe I will see my animals again.
I don't think we have to over-analyze this. Many of our members do not believe in God, but love their animals and expect to be reunited with them. Personally, I think that because of God's mercy and love for His children and His little creatures that we will meet again. They can't sin, and their love is much more pure than our own.[
The most direct references come from the book of Revelations, which talks of Heaven and a New Earth, which will be akin to Eden (Genesis). There are several verses that talk of animals in this New Earth, coexisting with man and each other. There are some other references in the Bible that are a little more vague, but definately hint at the idea of animals being in Heaven.