Why do Christians react so negatively to the concept of reincarnation?

Yes this religion @Shawn_Murphy describes is fundamentally one of self-perfection requiring multiple lives to achieve it. This is Hinduism (aka Hari Krishna) not Christianity. I don’t blame people for looking to such alternatives considering how so much of Xtianity, which under an obscuring rhetoric transforms grace into an indulgence style purchase of salvation by believing the “correct” things.

But there is much more to Christianity than such distortions. Perfection in the sense of removing all sin is indeed a requirement of heaven – there is no doubt about that. We just know that this is not something we can do for ourselves no matter how many years or lives we have to do it. Sin doesn’t just go away – quite the opposite, it grows like a degenerative illness. And that is not the purpose of the physical life anyway – how could it be since as you observed that is exactly where sin starts and comes from. Neither is grace an escape from the consequence of our choices and actions, but has to do with the fact that the consequences depend greatly on how you deal with them.

Another big difference is that we know this is not some ideal system – not the way things were supposed to be. This is about fixing something which is broken. Hinduism on the contrary seems to be trying to make life into some ideal system where we can reach perfection eventually by trying over and over again. We see no hope in that at all and see more hope in resurrection as a restoration of way things were meant to be – a relationship with God without sin. The big question is how can this come about, because if this is envisioned as some instantaneous transformation by divine magic then I cannot believe in that any more than Shawn. The death of Christ on the cross and the call to take up the cross and follow Him, should point out that this is not something we should expect to be so easy. But we do need to be willing and thus a choice of some kind is required.


Dear @mitchellmckain and @Mervin_Bitikofer,
I appreciate your perspectives and I appreciate you trying to understand mine. I was gifted with an Old Soul as an only daughter, who, from her first day in pre-school at 3 1/2, has demonstrated grace every day of her life. Even while she she was being forced down in the back seat of the kidnapper’s car, with the blood of her companion flowing over her, she was praying for God to forgive them. Already at 22, she has experienced more than most people will in a lifetime and never once displayed “a degenerative illness”.

I do not hold to the Hindu belief, becuase I do not see God’s hope in it. Where I see God’s hope is symbolized in the making of the samurai sword. It is the repeated firing and forging of the metal that drives out the impurities and creates the perfect blade. The most powerful meditation for me has been to imagine that I am the blade that, one day, will be worthy for the King to wield.

There is no way I will ever be as virtuous in this life as my daughter is and was on the day she was born.


As we so often hear from scriptures … from the mouths of babes you have ordained praise! It sounds like you have much to rejoice about.

To continue to give answer to your earlier query:

In 1 Peter 4 we get yet more answer to this.

For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.

So we see that the hope of Christ is not limited to “the living” only, but was even made available to those who had gone before - without needing to bring them back via any reincarnation.

We read on later in the same chapter:

For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?”

Suffering definitely is one of Gods main [only?] tools to purge us of our evil inclinations, as much as we rebel at the thought. It sounds like your daughter has already faced more than her fair share of it in her young life.


“Once to die and then the judgement…” The Bible does not teach reincarnation, and in fact says it does not happen. This would be why followers of Jesus do not believe in reincarnation.

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Robin, Where does it say this in the Bible?

At the end of chapter 9 of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews.

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28).

“Let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22) You must be very careful when quoting any passage of the Bible that refers to death. There are actually three meanings to death used in the Bible. 1) The fall from God’s Grace, 2) The king of this world (John 18:36) or the god of the dead (Mark 12:27) and 3) the end of a mortal life.

We all have died once (1).

Shawn…we die when we die. People who do not have the spirit of God are spiritually dead, even while walking around. But Hebrews is discussing physical death, and so (I presume) were you. Reincarnation from physical death is not part of biblical teaching.

The second death is the Lake of Fire…I am not misquoting the biblical text. The Bible opposes a lot of the things you seem eager to espouse — NDE, and so on. It is in the Old Testament as well as the New. The statement you cited in Matthew is part of Jesus’ radical definition of discipleship in response to someone who appears to have been dragging his heels — perhaps it would be years before the man’s father died, for example, and yet he wanted to hang about until he could bury the guy. The issue in that conversation was/is about following Jesus and Jesus was talking about not being distracted in following Him – not by anything. . In Hebrews, the writer was making an equation between the reality of human death and the general concept of Jesus’ physical return. That is just as we die once (and then there is judgment). In the same way, Jesus died once (for the sins of many) — one = one —and will appear a second time. First He died (and was resurrected physically) and then He (eventually and physically) will return.

But His second advent is not to deal with sin but to come for His people. The statement is a parallel thought — that is, just as we die once and then there is judgment, so Jesus died once (to pay the price for sin), and then will come (eventually) in judgment–and for His people…

Now you did ask, initially, why Christians are reluctant to accept the idea of reincarnation, and this is why.

Dear Robin, I know this teaching and grew up with it, but it has many logical holes in it. But back to my original question. I can get the Bible to say nearly anything I want to believe; as has been done to justify killing, enslaving and discriminating. So, I am not looking for a biblical quote to answer my question, but your true underlying belief why you are afraid to think that reincarnation could be real.

Is it becuase Jesus saved your life and you feel you have met His requirements?
Is it becuase you cannot forgive someone and therefore, are happy to think they will reside eternally in the lake of fire?
Is it becuase your life has been so dreadful, you could not imagine living another?

No one has yet really admitted their honest feelings in my opinion. I ask you to consider the thought experiment of arriving in Heaven and finding that they are not happy with your life, and ask you consider where you have failed. This is my meditation, when I reflect on the life of Jesus and compare it to mine, I see I have failed many times to live up to His example.

Well, Shawn, first you wanted to know why Christians react negatively to reincarnation. Now you want to know my true underlying reasons.

My reasons lie in the teachings of the biblical text itself. If I look at an electrical socket and think “what would be so wrong about my wetting my finger and then jamming it into that socket” — and then am told by someone “don’t do that or you will electrocute yourself” — my choice is to either say " I accept his knowlege" or “What does he know? and into the socket my wet finger will go!!” At my funeral, no one will say “she had a lot of intellectual curiosity.” They will say “dead and stupid. Shall we go out for Italian after the funeral?”\

And yes, there is truth to the statement “I can get the Bible to say nearly anything.”

And so too, it seems, you can get the same from many writers hawking books about visions that in one case include a Jesus who looks like a blow-dried 1970s BeeGee wannabe …and in another case a writer who saw no Jesus but said he was accompanied in the afterlife by a pretty woman (was she also buxom?) on a butterfly wing? (Always sounded like a male wet dream to me) People will say anything. The underlying motive may be ka-ching, ka-ching…

The three questions you listed have nothing to do with “why I am afraid to think that reincarnation could be real.” I think I have answered that.
If the Bible has taught once-to-die-and-then-the-judgment, then I go with that. It was Jesus — not simply spiteful humans — who referenced an existence in hell for those who have rejected Him. It is actually what the text says.

There are good angels and bad angels. By saying this, I am not getting into yin-yang or any Eastern concept. It just happens to be true that evil beings can and do use other things by which to speak to humans.

Thus, one can get led astray by veering away from what the Bible teaches and into other things.


We could rate the fear of all kinds of possibilities. I shall do so for my case.
Afraid that people are reincarnated? 0%
Afraid that people experience possession by evil spirits? 20%
Afraid that children are overshadowed by spirits of the dead? 40%
Afraid that people have memories of things which happened to others? 60%
Afraid that people are influenced by the spirits of their ancestors? 80%
Afraid that people are prone to making false memories of things which never happened? 100%


In my previous life, I was born an Egyptian Princess

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Princess Allen it is!!

Dear Alice,
This is all over the place, what specifically did you want to say with this link?
Best Wishes, Shawn

The Bible, which clearly tells us that we die once and then face judgment Hebrews 9:27.

Jesus told the criminal on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise"Luke 23:43. Not that you will have a second chance at life.

Yes, Paul said that we die once, but did he mean physically die or spiritually die? (See above.) Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must re-enter to womb in John 3.

But, please tell my why you think that reincarnation is so horrible?

One of the things that is attractive about reincarnation (I’m trying to steelman things here) is that the sheer burden of imagining all that we do (temporally, in this life) could have eternal consequences. Thus, the idea that a single sin could throw us into Hell is rather overwhelming.

However, the idea that God isn’t like that–that He’s a loving Father who brings us to Him eventually, before or after death (in my opinion, that’s more like George Macdonald’s idea than reincarnation, which exhausts me to think of) mitigates that fear.

Thanks for your discussion.

The counter to this argument is the following. The only alternative to what we do having eternal consequences is that ether what we do doesn’t matter or that we have no eternal existence. Consider that in a matter of minutes the sperm and egg combine to decide the DNA pattern with profound affects upon a whole persons life thereafter.

All it takes is one virus, bacteria, or parasite to infect us with a life threatening disease. It’s not the quantity that matters but the fact that these things grow and multiply.

Some kinds of fear are healthy. Other kinds of fear are not. The kind of fear make one cling to being in control all the time is not healthy. Some times you just need to surrender (to the correct thing of course).