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Is reincarnation God's way of redressing karmic imbalance?





jeffryjon
Since most of us know cases where someone does a lot of good/bad without being rewarded/punished to the same extent, is reincarnation God's way of satisfying the guidelines given in the scriptures?

Is it also possible that the heaven/hell spoken of is a reference to the quality of life received next time around?
Bikerman
Which God? As far as I know Christians don't believe in reincarnation, and the idea is actually contrary to Christian scripture which teaches resurrection only on the day of judgement....
jeffryjon
Yes but this isn't a solely Christian forum and even if it was Jesus and others made references to reincarnation in the New Testament.

And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Matthew 14:2)

But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. (Mark 6:16)

"Who do men say that I am?". And they told him, John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; and others, one of the prophets (Mark 8:27/2Cool.

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (acts 24:15)
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
Yes but this isn't a solely Christian forum and even if it was Jesus and others made references to reincarnation in the New Testament.

And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Matthew 14:2)

But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. (Mark 6:16)

"Who do men say that I am?". And they told him, John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; and others, one of the prophets (Mark 8:27/2Cool.

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (acts 24:15)

But if you are talking about 'God' then it is surely important to be clear which God you mean. Believers in reincarnation do not generally believe in Yaweh or Jesus as Gods.
I think there is also some confusion about what reincarnation means. It doesn't mean resurrection.
jeffryjon
OK let's be clear. As far as I'm concerned there is only ONE God regardless of what people choose to call God. There are also many gods, just as Jesus made reference to the texts and in other faiths gods are defined as many, yet still as having a supreme God of which the gods are aspects.

Here's a quote from Hindunet as an example.

Hindu dharma accepts the existence of several Gods or deities, it accepts only one God, the Supreme.
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. are not three independent and separate deities, but three different aspects of the same Supreme God, while engaged in the processes of creation, sustenance and destruction of the universe, in that order.

In any case, as you know my previous post clearly referred to Christian texts. Reincarnation not resurrection is what many believed around Jesus. As far as I'm aware He neither denied or confirmed it (at least as far as the traditional texts go).
watersoul
jeffryjon wrote:
Since most of us know cases where someone does a lot of good/bad without being rewarded/punished to the same extent, is reincarnation God's way of satisfying the guidelines given in the scriptures?

Is it also possible that the heaven/hell spoken of is a reference to the quality of life received next time around?


Personally, I'm drawn to thinking that a belief in any kind of reincarnation/afterlife, which is determined by the goodness (or not) of the physical life, is just a way of placating "the flock" and hiding the injustices that clearly exist in the world.
If people are allowed to become truly aware of the unfairness of the world they could possibly then question the believed perfection of their god. While there continues to be a 'get out of jail card' (by believing that goodness is paid back after death) then less people will feel ripped off by their god when there appears to be no tangiable help available for the 'good' in the physical life they 'know' they're living now.
Excellent strategy in my opinion, let the 'good' have faith in the 'rewards' after death, but allow them the crumb of comfort in belief that the 'bad' will be punished in another life.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
OK let's be clear. As far as I'm concerned there is only ONE God regardless of what people choose to call God. There are also many gods, just as Jesus made reference to the texts and in other faiths gods are defined as many, yet still as having a supreme God of which the gods are aspects.

Here's a quote from Hindunet as an example.

Hindu dharma accepts the existence of several Gods or deities, it accepts only one God, the Supreme.
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. are not three independent and separate deities, but three different aspects of the same Supreme God, while engaged in the processes of creation, sustenance and destruction of the universe, in that order.
But this is incompatible with the Christian notion of God. There are superficial similarities (ie a 'trinity') but I'm sure you would not wish to say that the Holy Spirit is in any way comparable with Shiva, the destroyer of worlds..or would you?
Quote:
In any case, as you know my previous post clearly referred to Christian texts. Reincarnation not resurrection is what many believed around Jesus. As far as I'm aware He neither denied or confirmed it (at least as far as the traditional texts go).
No, that is not correct. Reincarnation is the belief that, after death, the spirit is reborn in a new host body. John the Baptist was (apparently) resurrected, not reincarnated. The same applies to Jesus.
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
OK let's be clear. As far as I'm concerned there is only ONE God regardless of what people choose to call God. There are also many gods, just as Jesus made reference to the texts and in other faiths gods are defined as many, yet still as having a supreme God of which the gods are aspects.

Here's a quote from Hindunet as an example.

Hindu dharma accepts the existence of several Gods or deities, it accepts only one God, the Supreme.
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. are not three independent and separate deities, but three different aspects of the same Supreme God, while engaged in the processes of creation, sustenance and destruction of the universe, in that order.


But this is incompatible with the Christian notion of God. There are superficial similarities (ie a 'trinity') but I'm sure you would not wish to say that the Holy Spirit is in any way comparable with Shiva, the destroyer of worlds..or would you?


I'm making no comparison beyond that there is God (absolute) and His various aspects which some choose to call gods.

Bikerman wrote:
jeffryjon wrote:
In any case, as you know my previous post clearly referred to Christian texts. Reincarnation not resurrection is what many believed around Jesus. As far as I'm aware He neither denied or confirmed it (at least as far as the traditional texts go).
No, that is not correct. Reincarnation is the belief that, after death, the spirit is reborn in a new host body. John the Baptist was (apparently) resurrected, not reincarnated. The same applies to Jesus.


The various texts are open to various interpretations and I in no way see that as the resurrection of Jesus which is an entirely different matter. In any case, I at no point am restricting myself to a Christian definition (even though I may use some to highlight a point).

Reincarnation is a matter of faith and this is a faith forum - no need to prove it to you - I've seen enough evidence to have it proven to me.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
I'm making no comparison beyond that there is God (absolute) and His various aspects which some choose to call gods.
But, as I said, that is not compatible with the beliefs of those who generally believe in reincarnation; and reincarnation is not compatible with Christian theology.
i. The Hindu God - Brahman - is not a personal God like Yaweh or Jesus.
ii. Reincarnation involves one spirit inhabiting many bodies serially. This is not compatible with Christian theology because Christian theology proposes that each 'person' has a unique and distinct 'soul'.
Quote:
Quote:
No, that is not correct. Reincarnation is the belief that, after death, the spirit is reborn in a new host body. John the Baptist was (apparently) resurrected, not reincarnated. The same applies to Jesus.
The various texts are open to various interpretations and I in no way see that as the resurrection of Jesus which is an entirely different matter. In any case, I at no point am restricting myself to a Christian definition (even though I may use some to highlight a point).
Reincarnation is a matter of faith and this is a faith forum - no need to prove it to you - I've seen enough evidence to have it proven to me.
I didn't ask you to prove it. I merely point out that reincarnation is completely different to resurrection. Jesus was not reincarnated, and in Christian theology nobody is or can be reincarnated.
jeffryjon
I didn't say Jesus was or was not reincarnated - just that He made reference to it. As such, the church's theology, as with many things is out of alignment with the texts
Bikerman
Where is reincarnation mentioned in the NT ?
ocalhoun
A little bit closer to topic, I think reincarnation is not a reward or punishment, but just happens...
Bikerman
Well, the Hindu version is very much tied up with Karma....the 'soul' is reborn into different bodies until it attains perfection. The next incarnation depends on the actions in the current one.....
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
Where is reincarnation mentioned in the NT ?


Jesus made reference to the belief in it when asking whether people thought he was this or that person. There is NO direct statement, though once again just like the world made in 6 days doesn't have to be taken directly. I already said that Jesus didn't confirm or deny, but He obviously (te me at least) wouldn't have asked who others thought he was in such a sense if it wasn't a belief held by some He interacted with.

On another point with the Christian limitations, if we reap as we sow and yet see quite clearly that it doesn't happen that way for everyone in the same life then how is the balance restored? Maybe some would use the heaven and hell thing to answer this, but if that is so then someone would have to go to hell to receive the consequences of their bad actions and then be transferred to heaven once their punishment was over. Alternatively they would have to live both in heaven and hell for whatever they've done, neither option makes anything but nonsense to me.

For someone who doesn't believe in God, it may seem that people can do whatever they like just don't get caught if others dislike it.

My original post (in faith) didn't question reincarnation as a reality anyway, just whether it is God's way of redressing karmic imbalances. I KNOW reincarnation is real so debating its existence is for another thread.
Bikerman
But do you not see that the whole notion of reincarnation is completely against Christian scripture?
If your spirit is transferred to another body when you die then what happens to the spirit (soul) already in that body? Christians believe that every human has a unique and eternal soul - it is this that survives death. Each person has one body - which will be resurrected physically at the 'end of days'. If you have reincarnated then which body comes back? What happens(ed) to the souls that your soul displaced?
Reincarnation doesn't solve the problem of evil either. Say you beat your wife. Karmic law says you should be reincarnated as the wife of someone who will beat you because of the negative karma. The wife beater in turn is reborn as a beaten wife---and so the roundabout progresses. The amount of evil in the world remains the same.
The other major problem is that reincarnation leads inevitably to fatalism. If you are suffering in this life then obviously it is because of bad karma in a previous incarnation - so you accept and put up with it, gathering more positive karma for the next rebirth. The notion of a Good Samaritan easing the suffering of others is therefore alien - since that would be to interfere with the cycle of karmic birth-rebirth. Take a trip to India sometime and you see the result in spades...
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
But do you not see that the whole notion of reincarnation is completely against Christian scripture?
If your spirit is transferred to another body when you die then what happens to the spirit (soul) already in that body? Christians believe that every human has a unique and eternal soul - it is this that survives death. Each person has one body - which will be resurrected physically at the 'end of days'. If you have reincarnated then which body comes back? What happens(ed) to the souls that your soul displaced?
Reincarnation doesn't solve the problem of evil either. Say you beat your wife. Karmic law says you should be reincarnated as the wife of someone who will beat you because of the negative karma. The wife beater in turn is reborn as a beaten wife---and so the roundabout progresses. The amount of evil in the world remains the same.
The other major problem is that reincarnation leads inevitably to fatalism. If you are suffering in this life then obviously it is because of bad karma in a previous incarnation - so you accept and put up with it, gathering more positive karma for the next rebirth. The notion of a Good Samaritan easing the suffering of others is therefore alien - since that would be to interfere with the cycle of karmic birth-rebirth. Take a trip to India sometime and you see the result in spades...


How can I 'take a trip to India' where I live with my Indian wife as I've said before? That aside, the Hindu concept is that the soul enters a body in the womb of the mother - it doesn't displace any other soul. That would in no way conflict with an eternal soul entering one body after another in much the same way that we can enter a house after leaving another. Hinduism also allows for the soul(spirit if you like) having periods between incarnations - there's little belief that a soul leaves a dead body and immediately reincarnates - hence the OP and the questions therein.

As for the question of evil remaining constant (your wife beater/beaten wife example), there is the addition of any original actions as opposed to constant reaction. Acceptance of what happens to you and doing good at the same time is the street-level interpretation of that and many subscribe to it. People further educated in Hinduism see this bish for bash effect of karma as only one of the principles and possibly extremely naive. A person could also be beaten for having the word victim tattooed on their foreheads, which is another effect of cause and consequence.

Why try telling me that reincarnation is against Christian scripture? I've already pointed out a few examples to bring that claim into question. It's certainly against the Christian Church's stance, though just try standing in a church and saying you can or one day will be able to do all that Jesus did and more and see how they react - that even when Jesus said the same thing in the books they use. I have no quibble with the scriptures adopted by the Christian Church - the church itself though is not something I follow and especially since they often directly contradict their own texts.
deanhills
Looked as though there was some acknowledgment of reincarnation in Christianity until the Council of Constantinople banned it in AD533:
Quote:
Later, in AD 533, reincarnation was declared a heresy by the Council of Constantinople.

The reason reincarnation was repudiated was because of the eschatological teachings of death and judgment which were established as orthodox Christian doctrine. In simplicity this doctrine states man has just one life in which to merit his eternal reward or damnation. Such a doctrine also strengthened the Church. However, many Christians still believe in reincarnation because they think it was taught by Christ.

Source: themystica.com
Bikerman
I haven't got time to reply in detail now jeffryjon - just a couple of things.
a) I didn't pick up that you were in India - my bad. I stand by the comment about fatalism though, and I'm sure that you must know what I mean if you live there - i only visited and it was apparent to me..
b) You say that you have pointed out examples which call my interpretation into question. I haven't seen any - just a vague reference to something in the NT that has not been clarified (unless I missed it). Please tell me which reference in the NT you mean....
jeffryjon
It's natural we miss/forget things, though I have made reference a few times - some months back admittedly. I've lived in India on and off for over 15 years and almost permanently since the end of 2006. One of the reasons being I was recruited to do the job of finding ways to overcome some of the major issues still remaining in rapid response disaster relief. Not an easy task but we have resolved many.

Anyway, back to the post in hand.

Jesus was stated as questioning who people thought he was. Some thought John the Baptist who was apparently beheaded and had his head presented on a plate at the demand of a close relative of Herod who seduced his mind with an enchanting dance. The concept of resurrection as opposed to reincarnation would have seemed highly unlikely. Others thought He was Elijah, 1st written about in the book of Kings several hundred years before Christ. Reincarnation as FACT is something I haven't found in the Bible, but as BELIEF among some of the time seems quite obvious. Pretty much the same situation as today for most people who haven't had past-life experiences that are recent enough to get proof and even then it's rare to be able to prove it to others.
Bikerman
It might speed up this debate if I offer a source for you to consider, rather than me going through the reference piece by piece and dealing with it.
Read this if you have time:
http://www.comparativereligion.com/reincarnation3.html#03
jeffryjon
Bikerman wrote:
It might speed up this debate if I offer a source for you to consider, rather than me going through the reference piece by piece and dealing with it.
Read this if you have time:
http://www.comparativereligion.com/reincarnation3.html#03


Seems from this article that there were much the same types of debates we have here in this forum. For me the theory of the baddies in the Council of Constantinople is a perfectly valid conspiracy theory regardless of whether it's true or not, as human nature being what it is means there are/were people who feel they have the right to tell the masses what they want and withhold anything that doesn't suit - and it would be nice if we could find one person or group to blame for almost anything, though I can't see how that could ever be the case. I only use Bible references because it seems many participants are Biblically orientated (whether pro or against) and at best it seems to me that the compilation is incomplete, which would add weight to the possibility that the council or others were either in the same position as us or did indeed remove what seemed unsuitable for whatever they wanted to portray. I received an email today showing recent pictures of Hiroshima and Detroit trying to convince the reader that governments are worse than atomic bombs which could provide an equally lively debate.

I have no doubts about reincarnation - not necessarily about the human/animal thing but that the life/knowledge/effects of deeds can follow through into a new body and it certainly in the one case I'm sure about didn't take 1000's of years, but only a few. The original meeting that finalised the proof was made through visiting the place where the 'un-yet decided' past life took place and spending considerable time with the family - in particular one of the grandson's who was by that time was over 60 years old. Stories were related by me which were confirmed with physical evidence/photos etc provided by the family. Beyond proving the case to myself (and as it turned out also to them), it held little relevance in my life today beyond removing the question of 'one life/many lives' and the other biggie of 'one life then dot/ one life followed by eternal reward/punishment'. The fact still remained that this moment in this life is the most important thing with regard to defining the future. I'd always encourage anyone to find their own truth in this or any other subject that was considered important enough.
Bikerman
Well, there's nothing really to discuss. Whenever anyone says they are 100% sure then there is nothing left to debate. I can't say I'm 100% sure that reincarnation doesn't occur. I am 99 point something percent sure, but proving a negative is often impossible - as it is in this case.
jeffryjon
Yes Chris,

what I was wondering was based on perceptions of the reason(s) for reincarnation and especially the seeming anomaly of the heaven/hell thing.

1. From a human point of view, it would seem unfair that someone doing something good/bad would receive reward/punishment forever (or until the last days of time).

2. Others I've met believe you first are directed to a kind of 'hell' if there's any 'bad' karma until it gets burned up, then to a kind of 'heaven' to enjoy the fruits of any good and finally back to an incarnate form in some kind of neutral karmic state, but seeing the variety of situations in which people are born, this seems to defy the obvious.

3. I've also met people who believe the next life starts with some kind of starting point relative to where the karma created in the previous life(s) which had not yet been used up and the potential for improvement this time around.

The first theory seemed so unfair. The second appeared unrealistic since we can easily verify that we're not all born with equality of opportunity (it would be nice if we were).

My own take on the matter (which is still a work in progress) is that the reward/punishment is more of an immaturity of perception. Using the word 'sin' in the sense of straying from the correct path required for a particular result, (like used in archery for how far away from the bull's eye the arrow hits). I prefer to believe that since I've found more effective ways of doing and handling things as time goes by, the same opportunity for improvement is there for all of us if we pursue the goal with enough effort. The third theory is probably the nearest to my own.

I'm interested though - if you were to accept the possibility (but without knowing the exact reason) - what would be your theory for the reason of reincarnation? (This would obviously be a speculation - I'm not trying to convince or convert you)
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