Hello all, this is my first post to the forum. I am a college student taking some online classes, one of which is World Literature. Last week we had to read from Genesis and Psalms, and discuss what he thought of the readings in an online discussion board. One of my fellow students is an atheist, and was responding to a lot of the believers in the class and calling them out for their belief in God. He made a post and in that post said something along the lines of that he could promise that nothing happens after we die. I responded to him and challenged him, saying he could not promise such a thing, as there is no way he could know that nothing happens after we die. I invited him to email me privately, he did, and we have been having a back and forth conversation about who we are and what we believe.
In his first email he linked an article from Psychology Today discussing how the idea of dualism can’t be true because our understanding of how the mind and body work do not allow for a soul to exist. Obviously he subscribes to the idea that once we are dead, our brains shut down, the thing that is us ceases to exist, and our body begins to decompose.
I responded and linked an article from the Catholic Answers website written by Tim Staples, " Seven Proofs for the Natural Immortality of the Human Soul," that used St. Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of the soul, and told my fellow student that because the soul exist outside of our understanding, in a realm that science and math can’t measure, trying to use science to disprove the existence of a soul wouldn’t work.
In turn, his response was that I was using the logical fallacies of “argument from ignorance” as well as “an appeal to authority.” On top of that he linked an article from Catholic Answers that was titled “Do Animals Have Souls like Humans?” He said his understanding was that souls are split between the relationship to rationality, and that the Catholic viewpoint seems to also be that ones ability to be rational is determined by ones ability to be spiritual. I think he misunderstood the article that he linked, because it was saying we, as humans, have rational souls because we have spiritual souls, not material souls like plants or animals. Not that we have the ability to be rational because we can also be spiritual.
I know this is a wall of text. What I am asking is what is the best way to proceed with this person? How can I make solid arguments for the existence of an immaterial soul? He will not accept anything on faith, and as is obvious, is looking for logical fallacies in any argument I make (although I disagree that I made an appeal to authority, I was merely using St. Thomas to help describe my own understanding of what a soul is, not to say that I am right because St. Thomas says so.) I would like to continue my conversation with him, as I feel I have an obligation as a Christian to try and help him understand the truth about the existence of God. Also, I would have linked the articles I referenced, but being a first time user, I don’t think I am allowed to put links in post yet.
I appreciate any help that the community can give me, and look forward to reading the responses.