Arguments against reincarnation?


#1

What are some arguments against the belief in reincarnation and karma?

Or does anyone have links to sites with good information?

I’m thinking of simple things I can say in conversation to plant the seeds of doubt without being confrontational.

Is there anyone who came to the Church after believing these things, and if so, what (besides the grace of God) changed your heart?

Any help or comments would be appreciated.


#2

From a Christian standpoint, it has no place in our beliefs. The Scriptures are entirely devoid of any support for this concept.

Start here where the Catechism Of The Catholic Church quotes Hebrews 9:27:

1013 Death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” There is no “reincarnation” after death.

Here’s an article to get you started.

catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=198


#3

[quote=Fidelis]From a Christian standpoint, it has no place in our beliefs. The Scriptures are entirely devoid of any support for this concept.
[/quote]

I do, of course, realize that reincarnation is incompatible with Christianity. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. I was thinking of someone who belives in reincarnation as a Buddhist.

Thanks for the link.


#4

Well, I am not sure if this really counts as an arguement against reincarnation, but you may find it helpful. This idea that we come back necessarily as another person is an Americanized version of reincarnation. I’ve had friends who were into the whole wicca/new age/reincarnation thing as well as a very good friend who is a devout Buddist. The thing is that according to the original idea of reincarnation you can come back as anything…a slug, a bug, a plant, fungus, whatever. Knowing this I have always thought it interesting that people who are into this stuff always have past lives that are people…especially important people. This was one of the points (there were several) that got my friend out of the wicca/witchcraft religion. I guess he didn’t want to believe he might come back as a bug…LOL! :thumbsup:


#5

Wasn’t there a story in the NT where the apostles ask Jesus who he is? They guess Elias (Elia?) or some other guy. Was the same query posed to John the Baptist? Does this indicate a belief in reincarnation?


#6

[quote=Ken]Wasn’t there a story in the NT where the apostles ask Jesus who he is? They guess Elias (Elia?) or some other guy. Was the same query posed to John the Baptist? Does this indicate a belief in reincarnation?
[/quote]

Not really. There are two ways of explaining this:

  1. Elijiah never died. He ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot ( I don’t remember the scriptural reference off the top of my head). Elijiah was said to return some time in the future. In fact there are two prophets that appear in Revelation and many believe that they will be Enoch and Elijiah (two men that were both taken into heaven without dying). Though, that, of course, is just speculation.

  2. I believe it is Luke that refers to John as possessing the “spirit and power of Elijiah”. I’m not certain of how that would sound to an ancient audience but in a modern context that certainly sounds like it could be figurative.


#7

[quote=Ken]Wasn’t there a story in the NT where the apostles ask Jesus who he is? They guess Elias (Elia?) or some other guy. Was the same query posed to John the Baptist? Does this indicate a belief in reincarnation?
[/quote]

I think you maybe referring to Matthew 16:16-18: ‘When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’

So in effect the people who said Jesus was someone else got it wrong. It was Peter who got it right. Now it was thought that some of the old prophets may return, but that was not a reincarnation idea rather that they would actually return. And in fact Elijah and Moses did return at the transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew chapter 17. Here again, these were not reincarnations, but the real thing!


#8

There is an interesting book out by a new convert to Catholicism from Buddhism. His name is Paul Williams and the book is called The Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism. He is very well known in buddhist circles. According to a recent article his introduction to Mahayana Buddhism is the most widely used in the English speaking world. Anyways, there is an excerpt from this book on the web which happens to deal with some problems with reincarnation. It can be found at the Catholic website Second Spring. secondspring.co.uk/archive/williams.htm
He’s been interviewed by Marcus Grodi for his The Journey Home program on EWTN, though I don’t remember if they discussed reincarnation. The audio of this interview is available at the EWTN.com website. Do a program (not series) search at their audio library page for “Paul Williams” and it will come up.
Hope this helps.


#9

Thank you BriJohn!. The book exerpt was very interesting. My local library doesn’t have the book, though! :mad:


#10

I have never believed in reincarnation simply because my God is too mercifiul to make me go through more iterations of life before the afterlife!!!

This is NOT a do-it-over-until-you-get-it-all-right thing!

Also, the entire point of reincarnation is to – whenever you’ve gotten it “all done” – is to slip into nirvana.

Nirvana is NOT heaven. It’s a state of non-beingness.

:eek:

As for karma, the simple idea on karma is that “what goes around, comes around.”


#11

I called into a talk show once when a guest spoke in favor of reincarnation. I asked him, if reincarnation is true, then why does the world population of humans keep increasing over time?

He answered that I was failing to take into consideration “the transmigration of souls from other planets.”

I suppose there are many fanciful arguments one could make to answer my question, but I still think it is a good one to prompt the casual thinker to doubt reincarnation. A reasonable person is not going to jump to the concept of transmigration of souls from other planets!


#12

As far as I am concerned, reincarnation is a theory. It cannot be proven that a person who has died, will return as something or someone else. Just because it is claimed and declared to be so, does not make it true.

BECAUSE - And now my theory: As Christians we believe in a spiritual realm with beings we cannot see but they do exert influences on living human beings. Of course I am talking about good spirits - the good angels, who serve God; and the bad spirits - fallen angels, their being minions of the devil.

To people who use the argument that someone under hypnosis is able to tell of a previous life, and describe things into detail, this being proof that there is such a thing as reincarnation, I would say: Angels existed before mankind. The bad ones will always lead people astray; they already know the past.

I donot know much about hypnotism. Don’t you relinquish your conscious thought to a state where you lose control over your mind? If this is the case, then either your subconscious takes over and whatever you know about certain things of the past can be used to fit the personage you think you were or would have loved to be, OR
the bad, outside influences (for us Christians: demons) can easily put some nonsense in your head and, because you are under hypnosis, you might be able to describe certain things in detail.

My questions: How is it that there are so many people who have claimed that they are some famous person from the past: Cleopatra, Ceasar, or other? And
how many times will Cleopatra, Ceasar, etc. be reincarnated by different people?

Same with transmigration. What proof is there for it?

If others have better insight as to what I am trying to say, I am looking forward to their input.

Theodora


#13

[quote=BriJohn95825]There is an interesting book out by a new convert to Catholicism from Buddhism. His name is Paul Williams and the book is called The Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism. He is very well known in buddhist circles. According to a recent article his introduction to Mahayana Buddhism is the most widely used in the English speaking world. Anyways, there is an excerpt from this book on the web which happens to deal with some problems with reincarnation. It can be found at the Catholic website Second Spring. secondspring.co.uk/archive/williams.htm
He’s been interviewed by Marcus Grodi for his The Journey Home program on EWTN, though I don’t remember if they discussed reincarnation. The audio of this interview is available at the EWTN.com website. Do a program (not series) search at their audio library page for “Paul Williams” and it will come up.
Hope this helps.
[/quote]

Thanks for the book recommend! This one will go on my “wish” list. :thumbsup:


#14

[quote=Townsend]What are some arguments against the belief in reincarnation and karma?

Or does anyone have links to sites with good information?

I’m thinking of simple things I can say in conversation to plant the seeds of doubt without being confrontational.

Is there anyone who came to the Church after believing these things, and if so, what (besides the grace of God) changed your heart?

Any help or comments would be appreciated.
[/quote]

From the Old Testament:

"When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up. "He will not return again to his house, Nor will his place know him anymore. (Job 7:9-10)

From the New Testament:

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

another way to argue against it is:

If reincanation is simply the process of the spirit of the dead being reborn again in a new body, then for every death, there must be exactly one person born on earth. Yet we know that the number of humans who now live on earth is far greater than the total number of humans a hundred, two humdred or a thousand years ago. where did the “excess” come from?

If they will then argue that the excess came from those who died on other planets, that is pure speculation unsupported by empirical evidence, plainly lacking in terms of credibility.

Besides, reincarnation removes any sense of moral responsibility since it removes the concept of judgment and retribution, and the fear of punishment. Everything is then reduced to an impersonal law of karma. People would be led to the idea that they can make mistakes now and worry about it later. Anyway they can be “reborn” again after they die to “correct” their mistakes.

Gerry **

**


#15

One more point.

Reincarnation is allegedly intended to allow people to achieve restitution for past mistakes, that is people are born again in a new body so that they can “correct” their mistakes in their previous life.

Yet, we don’t remember our past lives. None of us do.

But if we can’t remember what we once did in the previous life, how can you correct it?

It is a self-refuting concept.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#16

Buddhists actually do not believe in reincarnation. Rebirth is a better term.

Isn’t it difficult to accept that God would give only one lifetime to a prematurely born infant who’s mother was addicted to drugs, and, then to only draw a few breaths before leaving this world again? How do most Catholics view this? (I am not trying to be argumentative)

with lovingkindness,
Buddha-Full


#17

Thank you for the question, Buddha-Full. I appreciate that you are not trying to be argumentative. For whatever it’s worth, I did not hear you as being argumentative, anyhow.

Please read my answer with the same lovingkindness as you have offered to us all here. :love:

As a Catholic (cradle, by the way) who happens to have earned an upper-division, public university minor in Comparative Religion… perhaps I can assist you with my answer.

First, there is no Christian doctrine or dogma from any Christian church (which does, of course, include Catholic) that does NOT believe any of what I’ll tell you next.

We are all conceived with both one mortal body and one immortal soul at the same moment. That’s all we get, and there ain’t no more. :thumbsup:

EVERYone has “only” one lifetime because we do NOT lose our life once our body has died.

When we die, we do not “leave this world again.” What we do do (do-be-do-be-do :whistle: ) is we leave this world “just once.”

We all will die (that is, our body will die) ONCE. When our body dies, our immortal soul continues.

When Jesus comes for the second time (the first time being when he was born of the Virgin Mary), everyone will get their own body resurrected.

CHRIST’S RESURRECTION – AND OURS

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a11.htm#I

There’s a difference between “reinstated” and “resurrected.”

Not “reinstated.” m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=reinstated

Resurrected. m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=resurrected&x=0&y=0

We do not have any idea of what exactly our resurrected body will be like, look like, etc. What we do know is that Jesus’ body, after His resurrection, had somewhat of a different quality about it.

I invite y’all to read this Web page at Catholic Answers that addresses your question. Does this help for you to understand our Catholic faith about this topic? (I hope so… :stuck_out_tongue: )

catholic.com/library/Resurrection_of_the_Body.asp

Here’s Paragraph #1017 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that is mentioned in that Resurrection of the Body article (above).

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a11.htm#brief

Our faith tells us that every human has been made in the image of God. Even if you’re not Christian, you too are made in the image of God.

(p.s. Realize, please, that we do NOT replicate God… we are simply and wonderfully made in His image)

When each of us die, we will be judged right then and there.

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a12.htm#I

*I. THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT

1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul–a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 – or immediate and everlasting damnation.596

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.597*

Hope all this helps you to understand this concept, Buddha-Ful?

:o :wave: :coffee: :heart:


#18

[quote=Buddha-Full]Buddhists actually do not believe in reincarnation. Rebirth is a better term.

Isn’t it difficult to accept that God would give only one lifetime to a prematurely born infant who’s mother was addicted to drugs, and, then to only draw a few breaths before leaving this world again? How do most Catholics view this? (I am not trying to be argumentative)

with lovingkindness,
Buddha-Full
[/quote]

Personally, as a Catholic, this world is not what we were created for. We were created by God to be untied with God. It is through the fall of the human race through Adam that got us into the predicement that we are now in. So that child who died because of a premature birth and a crack addicted mother wouldn’t get “another shot” as it were (and I mean no disrespect to Buddhism by saying that), but rather goes to be with our Lord, united in eternity with our Father, which is our true home. That is why Catholics/Christians refer to our time here on earth as a pilgrimage. Its kind of like being citizens of a glorious country, but having to travel to that glorious country by passing through other countries that are far less then glorious on our way to our true home.

Hope some of that made sense, lol. :slight_smile:


#19

[quote=ccav]Personally, as a Catholic, this world is not what we were created for. We were created by God to be untied with God. It is through the fall of the human race through Adam that got us into the predicement that we are now in. So that child who died because of a premature birth and a crack addicted mother wouldn’t get “another shot” as it were (and I mean no disrespect to Buddhism by saying that), but rather goes to be with our Lord, united in eternity with our Father, which is our true home. That is why Catholics/Christians refer to our time here on earth as a pilgrimage. Its kind of like being citizens of a glorious country, but having to travel to that glorious country by passing through other countries that are far less then glorious on our way to our true home.

Hope some of that made sense, lol. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Typo? WHAT tpyo?

:stuck_out_tongue:


#20

[quote=Buddha-Full]Buddhists actually do not believe in reincarnation. Rebirth is a better term.

Isn’t it difficult to accept that God would give only one lifetime to a prematurely born infant who’s mother was addicted to drugs, and, then to only draw a few breaths before leaving this world again? How do most Catholics view this? (I am not trying to be argumentative)

with lovingkindness,
Buddha-Full
[/quote]

Ah, because that infant will have eternal life, a life enfolded entirely in God. Isn’t that the great truth that the Buddhists realize–that a life lived engulfed in the eternal is the only life worthy of the name?


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