reincarnation 1

Q. You believe in resurrection but we believe in reincarnation. Our system is more fair than yours as each person is rewarded or punished in the next life based on what he has done in this life. So no need to talk to me about Jesus.

A. Many people believe that you have your faith and I have mine. What’s true to you may not be true to me. Both are equally valid. Or we may be saying the same thing in different words, so don’t bother me. That is a classical error in post-modern thinking, a relativistic fallacy. In arithmetic, 1 + 1 = 2. It does not equal 0, or 3, or any other number. When you give $5 to buy a $2 snack, try to convince the storekeeper to give you $4 change because that’s “true” to you. No one will buy that logic. Why apply it to spiritual matters of eternal significance?

Everyone is entitled to his/her own beliefs, but the important thing is “Is what you believe in TRUE?” Because if it’s not, then you may believe with the utmost sincerity, but it will still lead you astray because it is false. In the same way some believe in reincarnation because it seemed fair to them, but is it true?

Before we look into its validity, let’s define what we mean. Reincarnation, or the transmigration of the soul, is the belief in successive rebirth of the soul or spirit, after biological death, into a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spirit, depending on the moral quality of the previous life’s actions. What evidence is there to prove it? Proponents claim that déjà vu, or the feeling that one has experienced something before, is the recall of past life memories. Often the recall is drawn out under hypnosis. Supporters view recall by young children that they have lived before as especially significant, on the assumption that they would be less tainted.

But a claim is not proof. First of all, the memory could be false. In psychology, false memory refers to the recollection of an event, or the details of an event, that did not occur. Some memories could be implanted by hypnosis using the power of suggestion. Others are ideas or stories people have heard when they were young and impressionable, and later retrieved from their memory bank but with the source wrongly attributed to a past life. This is especially likely when most of the cases occur in cultures which believe in reincarnation. As to the past life memories of children, a more plausible explanation is that the memories are suggested by evil spirits. Demons are fallen angels and they have been around a long time. They know past events and people, and can inject such ideas in people’s minds, including children’s.

Furthermore, notwithstanding reincarnation’s assertion that the rebirth of the soul could be in an animal body or as a spirit depending on the karma, none of the cases cited involved such entities. No evidence, not even false memories, had been produced for such claims. No pigs, dogs or any other animals. No disembodied spirits either. Published cases invariably describe alleged past lives as another human being, typically in a historical or cultural context the person had heard or read about, or known to the hypnotist. Now I am a simple guy, and in matters of logic or problem-solving, I adopt Occam’s razor i.e. the simplest solution is usually the correct one. So why believe a proposition comprising of multiple past lives across species when there is no concrete evidence supporting it?

But the main reason I do not accept reincarnation is Scriptural – the Bible simply rejects such teaching to be false. This is not a case of your words against mine, because the Bible has been around for two thousand years, been subjected to scrutiny by skeptics throughout history, and had stood the test of time with flying colors. It is attested by history, archaeology, fulfilled prophecies, testimonies of changed lives, and had proven itself to be reliable and trustworthy. The Bible says:

* Heb 9:27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment – You only live once in this world. There is no endless chance.
* Lk 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ – The parable of the rich man and Lazarus teaches that there is no going back; the judgment is final.
* Jn 9:3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. – Jesus dismissed the disciples’ speculation that either the man or his parents sinned, causing him to be born blind. He rejected the notion of the man’s sins before his birth i.e. in a past life, because there is simply no prior life.

We will discuss karma in the next post, but my conclusion is that if you believe in reincarnation, you have believed a lie. Examine the evidence and choose who you trust, because your eternal well-being depends on it.

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