Do you believe in reincarnation? If reincarnation is not true, why do some people remember their past lives?
Human memory is not a reliable thing, which is why we prefer to have multiple witnesses to piece a story together that is likely closer to the truth than what just one person’s memory might conjure up. Even putting aside deliberate deceit (which in itself is no trivial thing), even earnest attempts to get into our own memories can produce lots of weird and untrue stuff. I know this from personal experience, in that I literally “remember” weird things like my dad living with my mom in a certain residence (which I factually know has to be a false memory because my dad died before my mom had even moved there.) And yet my memory inserts him into that setting because somehow my mind thinks he “just belongs there”! [And this isn’t just some sort of vague ‘he must have been around’ memory - but with convincingly specific details, like I remember him standing near the veranda with mom waving good bye to us as our family was leaving after a visit … I remember this in such a way that, if my mind wasn’t informed by the actual facts to the contrary, I could have earnestly sworn on the strength of my memory alone that yes - dad was there; and this isn’t the only seemingly specific memory I have of him about the place.] Our minds do have funny ways of dreaming / constructing things in ways that probably serve some sort of mental-self-care need, but might not be best tailored for getting at the literal [objective or external] truth of something.
So I’m not at all surprised that some people are convinced that they “remember” stuff that seems like it’s from another life. I think people have (or are given) visions of stuff - (some of that may even be from God - some of it is in the bible!) that might have meaning and value in some ways, but it’s not at all a good foundation for believing in literal reincarnation. Testing that against scriptures, we find instead that we are given one life, and we have the responsibility given us to live it well, and to in fact - invest it towards eternity.
Good morning! Great question. These are some interesting articles
I’m always so curious about the stories of the young children that seem to know someone or about something they weren’t alive for!
I personally don’t believe it in it.
As far as I know everyone who has ever claimed to remember their last lives have never passed being quizzed about things like dominate plants, major events that year that the person would know, or in depth details of the persons life.
It also would not fit with systematic theology in my opinion.
Brains are weird and do funny things. People have crazy dreams too. They don’t usually have any deep significance.
Yes, I believe in reincarnation because I have sufficient memories of past lives. I can’t recall any of them as I can my current rebirth, but I can recall enough to know that I had certain past lives. Very strong memories of death events.
In my previous life in India I was on the top of a train or tram, I think it was a train. I and other used to love sitting on the roof. The train got derailed and fell down a ravine. We of course fell off and the train landed on top of us. I recall other such events too.
The teaching of reincarnation doesnt line up with the christian teachings. It comes from Budhism. And im afraid that the goal is not to become an ant or something like that after your death but to actually end this line of suffering. So at a point you just cease to exist. Your goal is to actually end the reincarnation cycle. At least thats what i remember i ws taught at theology class
No. In fact, I am even hostile to this and equate it morally with demonic possession. In other word, even if it is metaphysically possible for a spirit to inhabit or overshadow a newborn, it is a very evil thing to do. So, for me it is creepy, pathological, and worthy of horror films not reality or an existence which God is a part of.
This is NOT a matter of being exposed to something which is strange to me and outside a worldview in which I was programmed. In my youth I not only was very interested in Buddhism but read a book called “Seth speaks” which was based on reincarnation and had the theory that people were a part of multi-personality spiritual conglomerations of some sort. No, my rejection of reincarnation isn’t cultural in any way shape or form – quite the opposite.
Possible explanations are legion. At the very least, if you think something spiritual is going on then there is the possibility of a spiritual connection with someone who has died. But frankly, the most likely explanation is pure imagination… something which we human have in such abundance that sometimes it goes overboard in schizophrenia.
No. “It is appointed for man to die once.” Besides, some people are extremely suggestible, especially children, and the mentally compromised. If there are no monsters in the closet, why do so many children believe in them?
And consider your own physiological response from the soundtrack of a scary movie. We are being manipulated–and we are okay with that! You all probably recall a movie from childhood that scared the crap out of you!
No. People’s imagination is capable of a lot and not all of it is inspired. Even when it is inspired, just as with interpreting the Bible, one can’t just assume a literal interpretation is warranted.
Beyond that, what possible justification could there be? I don’t know if there is any point of Christian theology it would serve, but I see no point whatsoever from my secular POV.
Kimberly…interesting question. The Bible does say “once to die and then the judgment.”
For me, that is key to the whole thing. We go around once, and no, grabbing for all the gusto is not “it.”
As for people remembering their past lives ---- remember the boy who said he died and went to heaven? and later recanted and said he did it for attention? and there were other stories…people can be honest or dishonest about such things, and there is no way to certify that what they say occurred really did occur – or really was the “reality” they claim — unless you have some verifiable outside source. In this case, the biblical sentiment about people returning from the dead (remember Saul with the witch of Endor) or returning from heaven or remembering some past life — the likelihood that they had a bad set of dreams, were deluded, are manufacturing a story for profit or attention — is a lot stronger than the likelihood of their account being real. A
And by “deluded,” I mean by psychological forces, demonic forces, intoxicating substances, etc.
That’s my two cents’ worth. Have a great week.
The question of the reality of reincarnation is answered by it’s place in the scriptures for those that hold the scriptures to be inherently true. For those that do not hold them to be true there is nothing I can do for you.
The leaders of all Christian denominations and sects notwithstanding there are several references to reincarnation in the New Testament (in fact the only two schools of Christianity that I know of that recognize this are the schools of Edgar Cayce and the school of Rudolph Steiner).
Two important references appear in the Gospel of Matthew. The first appears in chapter 11, verse 14 where Jesus speaking to the masses about John the Baptist declares that he is Elijah who is to come. He then returns to this subject in chapter 17 where he brings some of his disciples to a hill where while undergoing the transfiguration he is seen with the spirits of Elijah and Moses. When he is asked by one of the disciples about the prophecy that the prophet Elijah would return as a sign of the coming of the new Messiah (see the Book of Malachi chapter 4, verse 5) he responds that Elijah did return and “they did to him whatever they wished.” Matthew then comments that the disciples understood Jesus meant John the Baptist (chapter 17, verses 1 through 13).
It is clear from these verses of the scriptures that Jesus believed John the Baptist to have been the reborn Elijah. As we know from the Gospel of Luke that John the Baptist was born in a natural (but certainly not normal) way this can only mean that Elijah was reincarnated as John the Baptist.
(to be continued)
That’s not reincarnation. The Hebrew’s relied on the literary idea of “types.” So Moses was a type of Christ, for example. Elijah was a type of John.
That is about on the same level of credibility as finding star trek in scripture. If you are making a joke… it works. But seriously? No.
(In response to the two comments I’ve received to my post: to Christy Hemphill, I think a simple reading of the two passages involved makes clear. For those who have ears let them hear: when Jesus says they did to Elijah what they wished he wasn’t speaking of beheading a “type.”
As for mitchellmckain though I have clearly failed to convince him since he presents no arguments as to why there is nothing to respond to.)
The next reference to reincarnation in the New Testament is found in the Gospel of John chapter 9. There in the first verse Jesus and the disciples come across a man born blind. In verse 2 a disciple asks: “Rabbi who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind.” Of course if the man was born blind as punishment for his sins they must have been sins committed in a previous life.
Surely Jesus would have rebuked his disciple if he had uttered a heresy but he does no such thing. Rather he responds that the man was born blind to show the glory of God and of course it’s true of that blind man because he was destined to meet Jesus on the road and would be given sight but the disciple is speaking from Jewish mystical teaching which held that sins in one life could bring difficulties in a future life. In the East this is called karma.
This teaching was not a written teaching but an oral teaching given to those deemed worthy amongst whom were clearly the disciples. This can be confirmed by approaching just about any Hassidic Jew, consulting the Kabbalah, or Zondervan’s exegesis on the Gospel of John.
(To be continued)
Your reasoning from the Bible does not a reference to reincarnation make. Reincarnation is not in the Bible. Neither is the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at by reasoning from what is in the Bible just as you are putting on a show of arriving at reincarnation by reasoning from what is in the Bible. There is a difference however. Reincarnation is not from the Bible at all but from other religions, while the doctrine of the Trinity is uniquely Christian and is derived from the Bible. It is the consensus of Christians that the whole of the Bible taken together leads one to doctrine of the Trinity – that this is the conception of God which takes all of the Bible seriously. No such thing is the case with reincarnation – not by a long shot. It is syncretism pure and simple – taking a little bit from different religions and mixing them together to make your own flavor of religion. Good luck with that.
All you have to do is read the other responses by Christians above to learn that this is not something the majority of Christians are going to accept. For many like me, it is just evil and there nothing good about it whatsoever. But to be sure that sentiment is subjective like most of the things of religion and so I have little doubt that some other religion like the Hari Krishna will believe in such a thing.
This is a follow up question, but has anyone watched the documentary “Surviving Death” on Netflix? How do toddlers and children have huge details on a certain person and an entire different life that does not belong to them? These children were tested and the people that they had been describing and the life that they would be describing actually turned out to be a real person and their entire life turned out to be true that they had been describing such as their children, career, wives, death, etc. What do you all think about this
I think it is creepy. Fraud at best, and at worst there is the spirit of some dead person messing with the child… like a spiritual pedophile.
It’s worth noting that in cultures with a history of reincarnation beliefs claims of past life memories are relatively common, and in cultures without a history of such beliefs they’re rare. This suggests that it’s a cultural effect.
It’s also worth noting that newsworthy claims of past life memories are often in children - newsworthy because they appear to be too young to have the experience & knowledge to invent such detailed stories; but there will typically be parents or carers that have encouraged the child to elaborate and have wittingly or unwittingly supplied information (e.g. by leading questions).
Newsworthy reincarnation stories are also incentivised - the media will pay for eye-catching stories, and positive media attention gives some elevation of local status for those involved.
I spent some time a few years ago following up the reports of journalists who’d investigated the better-known examples of past life claims, and I didn’t find any that couldn’t be explained by other means.
They typically showed that the past life details were available to the individual or someone close to them, or that the details were substantially incorrect, or that no matching past individual could be identified and/or the history details were flawed. Exaggeration, confabulation, and deception (self-deception or wilful deception) were common features.
People have a tendency to believe what they want to be true.