Reincarnation is deception!

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PetriFB
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Reincarnation is deception!

Post #1

Post by PetriFB »

If we start to examine basic views of the New Age movement and the Oriental religions, it is good to start from reincarnation. This doctrine is namely in the background almost in all teaching of the New age movement and it is also the basic belief of the Oriental religions, in other words of Hinduism and Buddhism. About its commonness has been estimated, that about 25 % of people in the western countries believes in it, but in India and other countries of Asia, where is the origin of this doctrine, the percentage is naturally much bigger. There, in other words mainly in India and other countries of Asia has been taught this doctrine already at least for 2000 years, and obviously it was accepted generally about 300 before Christ, not just before it.

When it is a question of reincarnation, it in any case is based on the fact, that our life is believed to be continuous circulation. Its is believed to be continuous circulation, so that each person is born on the earth again and again and again, and gets a new incarnation always according to that, how he has lived in his former life. All that bad, what happens to us today, should only be consequence of the earlier happenings, and that we must now reap it, what we have sown earlier. Only if we experience enlightenment and at the same time are freed from the circulation, in other words we will achieve moksha, so this circulation does not continue eternally. (However in the western view achieving of moksha is not very important. Instead of that, in the western world reincarnation is seen in positive light, in other words mainly as a possibility to develop and to grow spiritually. It hasn't similar negative nuance to generally in east.)

But what can we think about reincarnation; is it really true or not, and is it worth while to believe? We try to search for answer to this matter in this writing.

http://koti.phnet.fi/elohim/Reincarnation

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

PetriFB wrote:But what can we think about reincarnation; is it really true or not, and is it worth while to believe?
I have not seen any more evidence for reincarnation than for the various other forms of afterlife as asserted by other religions.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
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Post #3

Post by DrProctopus »

Multiple people who are not burdened with a religious belief who have had near death experiences have mentioned that, among the other things they were shown during their experience, they were shown that we live multiple lifetimes in order to gain experiences.

This is probably where the new age belief in reincarnation gets most of its support from.



The skeptic explanation for some components of the near death experience just isn't sufficient. For example, why is a complex life-review, complete with commentary from a guide, something that appears in all cultures? Furthermore, the life-review is often contrary in nature to the beliefs of the individual. For example, the life review focuses on the deeds that you have performed, and how those deeds have affected other people. Christianity places great emphasis upon belief, not just deeds. However, the life review is not primarily about what you believe, it is about what you did.

Why do people describe, with clarity, what was going on in the emergency room with their bodies during periods when their EEGs were flatlined?

Yes, there are skeptical explanations for these events - but they just don't seem very believable to me. They only work if you start from the assumption that any sort of survival hypothesis is the least reasonable explanation. I see no justification for starting from that hypothesis.

(This will probably lead to skeptics bringing in Occam's razor, to which I will respond by arguing in favor of solipsism.)

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #4

Post by HughDP »

McCulloch wrote:
PetriFB wrote:But what can we think about reincarnation; is it really true or not, and is it worth while to believe?
I have not seen any more evidence for reincarnation than for the various other forms of afterlife as asserted by other religions.
How about scientific evidence? Energy/Mass is neither created nor destroyed - it merely changes.

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #5

Post by McCulloch »

PetriFB wrote:But what can we think about reincarnation; is it really true or not, and is it worth while to believe?
McCulloch wrote:I have not seen any more evidence for reincarnation than for the various other forms of afterlife as asserted by other religions.
HughDP wrote:How about scientific evidence? Energy/Mass is neither created nor destroyed - it merely changes.
What are you trying to say? Are you saying that because matter|energy cannot be created nor destroyed that the same must be true about souls? But if your soul is what happens when a particular configuration of matter and energy occurs, as in your brain, then it can be destroyed. Or are you saying that since matter and energy cannot be destroyed, then there will be a time when the matter and energy which was me will come together again as me?
Either way, evidence is lacking for your assertion.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #6

Post by HughDP »

McCulloch wrote:What are you trying to say? Are you saying that because matter|energy cannot be created nor destroyed that the same must be true about souls?
Forgive me, I'm not sure where 'souls' come into it. I'm saying that everything that is the 'essence' of us is reincarnated as something else - reused elsewhere in the universe.
But if your soul is what happens when a particular configuration of matter and energy occurs, as in your brain, then it can be destroyed. Or are you saying that since matter and energy cannot be destroyed, then there will be a time when the matter and energy which was me will come together again as me?
Ah, this is where we have conceptual divide. If one takes the Buddhist standpoint (which is where this thread started) then there is nothing that can be described as 'you' or 'me' in that precise manner. No soul; no dualities. Just one ever-changing 'whole' which, as far as I understood it, was what current scientific understanding is saying too.

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #7

Post by McCulloch »

HughDP wrote:Ah, this is where we have conceptual divide. If one takes the Buddhist standpoint (which is where this thread started) then there is nothing that can be described as 'you' or 'me' in that precise manner. No soul; no dualities. Just one ever-changing 'whole' which, as far as I understood it, was what current scientific understanding is saying too.
Forgive my misunderstanding, if there is no essential 'you' or 'me' then what is meant by reincarnation. What precisly is alleged to be reincarnated? There is no doubt that the energy and matter that makes up what I think of as me, will be dispersed irrevocably after I die.
Reincarnation
  • embodiment in a new form (especially the reappearance or a person in another form)
  • the Hindu or Buddhist doctrine that person may be reborn successively into one of five classes of living beings (god or human or animal or hungry ghost or denizen of hell) depending on the person's own actions
SAIVITE VIRTUE reincarnation: "Re-entering the flesh," describing the process of individual souls experiencing an orderly sequence of lives. Reincarnation provides the means for the soul to mature, and ends when all karmas have been resolved and Self-Realization has been attained. This is known as Moksha or Liberation.
Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies Reincarnation - the doctrine that the Soul lives more than one life. In each life, the Soul animates a new physical body, constructs a new personality, and works out different karmic issues. The records of your former incarnations in this cycle of time can be viewed in the Akashic Ether of the Abstract Mind Plane.

Do let me know if you are using some different definition of reincarnation.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #8

Post by HughDP »

McCulloch wrote: Do let me know if you are using some different definition of reincarnation.
Alas it seems I am. See Reincarnation, definition 2.

The definitions you have chosen, in so far as they relate to Buddhism, relate more to the Tibetan-like philosophies, which take quite a literalist view on some of the Sutras.

Strictly speaking, reincarnation is a poor term to apply to Buddhist beliefs because so many definitions of it (except maybe the one I chose above) relate to a soul or a person being reincarnated. The preferred term in a lot of Buddhist interpretations is actually 'rebirth', taken in the context of 'rebirth moment by moment': an ever-changing series of creations.

I guess it's open to a lot of inetrpretation, even amongst Buddhists.

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #9

Post by McCulloch »

McCulloch wrote:
Do let me know if you are using some different definition of reincarnation.
HughDP wrote:

Alas it seems I am. See Reincarnation, definition 2.

The definitions you have chosen, in so far as they relate to Buddhism, relate more to the Tibetan-like philosophies, which take quite a literalist view on some of the Sutras.

Strictly speaking, reincarnation is a poor term to apply to Buddhist beliefs because so many definitions of it (except maybe the one I chose above) relate to a soul or a person being reincarnated. The preferred term in a lot of Buddhist interpretations is actually 'rebirth', taken in the context of 'rebirth moment by moment': an ever-changing series of creations.

I guess it's open to a lot of inetrpretation, even amongst Buddhists.
Thank you. I often find that clearly defining your terms does go a long way towards better understanding.

2. A reappearance or revitalization in another form; a new embodiment.

You still have not, however, specified what is the object of this reincarnation. What is getting a new embodiment? What gets revitalized?

One thing that is enduring about Buddhist beliefs is that they are so malleable. I am not the same person that I was twenty years ago or am I? Have I been reincarnated? Are we in a continual process of reincarnation?
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Re: Reincarnation is deception!

Post #10

Post by HughDP »

McCulloch wrote:Thank you. I often find that clearly defining your terms does go a long way towards better understanding.
Can't argue with that!
You still have not, however, specified what is the object of this reincarnation. What is getting a new embodiment? What gets revitalized?

One thing that is enduring about Buddhist beliefs is that they are so malleable. I am not the same person that I was twenty years ago or am I?
As far as I understand it there are various interpretations of what rebirth means to a Buddhist depending upon ones particular strain of Buddhism and even an individual Buddhist's personal perceptions. Strange as it may sound, that is not a worrying thing for a Buddhist, whose goals are less about establishing universal truths (inasmuch as such a thing can exist) and more about establishing personal liberation.
Have I been reincarnated?
The first sticking point we have here is this word 'I'.

To a Buddhist the concept of self is a false one. There is nothing 'real' that can be defined as 'I' - no unchanging 'part' which uniquely defines a person. The concept of 'I' comes about from the ego's need to cling to some stable, definable self but, the Buddhist would surmise, that concept is a false one.

So we're talking about rebirth outside of the idea of an individual being reborn.
Are we in a continual process of reincarnation?
That, as far as I can tell, is closest to what is meant.

One commonly held Buddhist belief is the one about transience. Things are in a constant state of flux; ever-changing and ever being 'reborn' moment by moment.

It would be simpler if that was where it ended, but many forms of Buddhism do seem to believe that there is something more 'definite' about rebirth which hints at an 'I' being reborn, regardless of how false that concept of 'I' might be in the first place.

This 'thread' of 'I' is often pinned down as being related to karma.

Karma clearly does have an effect beyond the death of the physical body. Things that we do when we're alive have knock-on effects after we have died, but if we are to believe in non-self then what is reborn so that a person receives the results of their karma in a future 'life'?

Again we're back into the trap of trying to visualise an 'I' somewhere along the line.

One way it is often described is that the universe is like an ocean and we are ripples on that ocean. Each ripple is distinct for a moment, yet still one and the same as the ocean itself (the Buddhist would say that it is not-one and not-two at the same time). Furthermore, each ripple causes further ripples that span the ocean with their knock-on effects forever more. Karma is often seen as the driving force of those ripples in the same way that kinetic energy might be seen as the driving force of the ripples in the real ocean.

I don't have a complete handle on the concept of rebirth myself (and I've spent 20 years reading and thinking about it), so I only have my 'best guesses' to present to you - sorry!

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