Atheists sometimes seem to think that if they can ask questions of Christian doctrines that you can't answer them even though you give answers, and of course they also seem to think that if there are unanswered questions then the idea or position is trashed. I saw this tendency in the discussion in relation to Eric Sontac's piece on the soul on Secular Outpost (SOP). Eric himself doesn't display these tendencies but others did. One poster named Michael exhibited this attitude:
Let's take a brief look at the soul in Bible. There is no universality to the usage. The same words used for soul i n OT (Nephesh) is also used to mean life, life force, or living creature, When animals are called living creatures the same word is used and it is used of the human soul, The word for /spirit is Rawuch the two can be used interchangeably, Spirit can be used or consciousness or life force.
“Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures [soul/nephesh], and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature [soul/nephesh]that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20–21) see also Gen 1:24,30, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature [soul/nephesh] that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.” (Genesis 9:9–10)
This does not mean that animals have souls equivalent to a human, we might distinguish between life and soul and thus it's merely saying animals are alive but men are living souls. The Bible Distinguishes between man and animals on the grounds that humans can reason and animals do not.
“But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,” (2 Peter 2:12) and aslo “But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.” (Jude 10). We Know this is not exactly true. Animals do a fair amount o reasoning at a childish level and they have the same emotions we do,especially dogs. Moreover, as I grow older I am less and less impressed with the reasoning of a lot of humans,
Rather than saying that animals are stupid an humans are smart I thinks it's saying humans are made in the image of God. Not to say animals are not precious to God but humans do have a dimension animals do not. I think it;s talking about moral reasoning, the examples of men being like unreasoning animals (above--2 Peter and Jude) are about men who do not use morel reasoning. We see nothing about animals need to obey the Gospel and get saved, Animals are not morally guilty they do what nature tells them,They don't do moral reasoning,So they are not sinners, nor are they saved.
We can equate soul with consciousness. Soul, spirit, life force, consciousness these all have rough equivalency, I think there is a distinction between soul and spirit in a lot passages but I will speak of them as equivolant and interchangeable, New testament terms for spirit and soul both imply mind. Spirit is Penuma meaning breath or wind, but it also means mind, and the rational faculty.and soul is psyche, from which derive our word psyche or physiological that refers to mind. We could say soul is life and spirit is consciousness but we can easily find interchangeable uses. Moreover, if consciousness is what makes us who we are and what lives on after death then consciousness can be regarded as life too. The added dimension is the moral dimension, that that sort reasoning animals don;t have, but we could think of it as lesser degree of consciousness.
There are a couple of passages that imply that it all levels out. Men are essentially beasts a d animals have some kind of animal spirit even they may not live after death:
“I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that THEY THEMSELVES ARE BEASTS. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, THEY HAVE ALL ONE BREATH; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the SPIRIT OF THE BEAST that goeth downward to the earth?” [Ecclesiastes 3:18-21].
In Job 12:7-10 we read:
“Even birds and animals have much they could teach you; ask the creatures of the earth and sea for their wisdom. ALL OF THEM KNOW THAT YAHWEH’S HAND MADE THEM. In His hand are the SOULS of all His creatures and the breath of all humanity.”
now we re ready to look at atheist questions. On SOP there is an atheist named Joe. They designate me with my first and last name. So Atheist Joe asks
The question of reincarnation will have to wait for another tine, That is not going to make or break belief in the soul. Personally I see no evidence of it, As or what gives the soul its properties, if we equate the soul with consciousness we can ask what gives consciousnesses it;s properties. I am not convinced that modern science understands what consciousness is, Yet I think a valid theory and serviceable one is that it;s an emergent property that is produced by a level of complexity of brain function,Note this does not mean that it;s reducible to brain function,
At this point in the discussion Doctor Parsons (U.Houston) made an actual argument against the concept of the soul; "The problem with saying "a soul did it," is that, like saying "God did it," we have an immediate end to inquiry. We just hit a brick wall. In principle, no deeper understanding is possible." Even though I have great respect for Dr. Parsons I do not think much of this argument, Like the "God did it" refrain it employs it asserts a reality contrary to historical development of the concept. Historically belief in the soul has not meant an end to inquiry but the beginning.The soul probably began with speculation about animism rooted in observations of the wind, But by the end of the New Testament era we have the dawning of a sophisticated rudimentary notion if the modern self and the sense of consciousness that fed the trinitarian doctrine and furnished the foundation of modern selfhood beginning with St. Augustine.  If anything has meant the end of inquiry it's modern reductionism that tries to write off consciousness as a side effect o brain chemistry.
Parson's goes on:
Saying that a soul thinks or feels or whatever is like Moliere's "explanation" of the power of opium to cause sleep--because it has a "dormative potency." In other words, you make a posit and simply attribute to it an occult potentiality to accomplish whatever effects you want. If asked how the putative entity supposedly achieves those effects, the answer, effectively, is "Shut up." Again, and on the contrary, when asked for a scientific causal account, we can very often provide layers and layers of detailed, specific, understandable explanations.Yet if we understand soul/spirit as the basis of consciousness we can account for it as we do consciousness but the modern materialist view tries to lose the phenomena and explain it away, Consciousness understood as a basic property if nature explains the emergent property. See my essays on brain/mind. 
How does a soul achieve a physical effect? Please spell out the process. For instance when my soul tells my finger to move, how does it bring this about? What is the process? Have you solved the interaction problem? Please give me the details. Inquiring minds want to know.But that is just the point, modernistic reductionist views that seek to lose the phenomena but an end to inquiry with permanent all-encompassing answers like chalking it all up to brain chemistry. That means losing the phenomena of the hard problem and robotizing humanity,Understanding the soul is a means of preserving humanity and continuing investigation,. But the fact that we can;t produce a a scientific answer thiat subjects all questioning to onem odel is proof that the answers are more complex tahn reductionis alllows for. (see my essey i n fn 5).
 Eric Sotnak, "Consciousness and Souls," Secular Outpost, Nov 28, 2016, blog URL:
all the quotes atheists come from the comment section of this piece,
 Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010, 37. 38
 David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a theory. England, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 3-5.on line version: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16574382/David-Chalmers-The-Conscious-Mind-Philosophy Scribd, David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Theory of Conscious Experience, webstie Department of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Cruz, July 22 1995, visited 3/1/11 on line page numbers apply.
 Charles Taylor, Sources of The Self: The Making of The Modern Identity, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (March 1, 1992) 1-25,
for Augustine, see Ibid, 93, 127-143
 Joseph Hinman, "Mind is notreduceablev to Brain part 1" Metacrock's Blog,
MAY 05, 2014 URL: