How do you even begin debunking reincarnation?


#1

I have a friend who says she believes in reincarnation.

How the heck do I even try and debunk that? Of course I’ll have to go into some metaphysical field, but still…

And that reminds me, with such radical different beliefs across the world, how in the world did the Christian missionaries convert, for example, those in Feudal Japan who practiced Buddhism? The person who immediately comes to mind is St. Francis Xavier. I suppose the fact that one can say that Christ was some sort of samarai sacrificing himself for his lord is easy enough, but how does one go into the more metaphysical doctrines?

Thanks :slight_smile:


#2

Hebrews 9:27.

Missionaries generally pointed to the reality of sin, then offered the answer: the cross.


#3

[quote="The_Scott, post:1, topic:239806"]
I have a friend who says she believes in reincarnation.

How the heck do I even try and debunk that? Of course I'll have to go into some metaphysical field, but still...

And that reminds me, with such radical different beliefs across the world, how in the world did the Christian missionaries convert, for example, those in Feudal Japan who practiced Buddhism? The person who immediately comes to mind is St. Francis Xavier. I suppose the fact that one can say that Christ was some sort of samarai sacrificing himself for his lord is easy enough, but how does one go into the more metaphysical doctrines?

Thanks :)

[/quote]

You can probably start by asking why she believes in it and what it is based on.

As Catholics, we have the evidence of the witnesses before us. We have a Bible written from many different sources, all relating to what we understand to be the Judeo-Christian God.

I am not sure how missionaries converted such people either....:shrug:


#4

The Church Fathers wrote against reincarnation several times catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/buddhism/incarnate.htm

The bible tells us we die, then we get physically resurrected in our same bodies (though be they glorified bodies). If reincarnation is true, then what happens when a person has multiple bodies, is one of them simply lost forever in the resurrection? Also the belief in reincarnation can allow for immorality knowing that you can just have another shot at life once you die (though it might be a lesser body, but still!) When people are resurrected in the bible, there is no difficulty where it says "their soul was already reincarnated, so they cannot be resurrected"

In the bible people waited in Abraham's bosom or hades for Jesus, they did not go thru an endless cycle of rebirthing


#5

[quote="The_Scott, post:1, topic:239806"]
I have a friend who says she believes in reincarnation.

How the heck do I even try and debunk that? Of course I'll have to go into some metaphysical field, but still...

[/quote]

If you can't remember your past lives, it is exactly equivalent to having no previous lives. Those who do claim to remember past lives only do so after sessions with hypnosis, and it turns out that every woman was Queen Cleopatra VII in their past life, and every man was Gaius Julius Caesar, except that somehow in this life they no longer understand a word of Greek. So it's really just a vanity issue.


#6

[quote="The_Scott, post:1, topic:239806"]
I have a friend who says she believes in reincarnation.

How the heck do I even try and debunk that? Of course I'll have to go into some metaphysical field, but still...

And that reminds me, with such radical different beliefs across the world, how in the world did the Christian missionaries convert, for example, those in Feudal Japan who practiced Buddhism? The person who immediately comes to mind is St. Francis Xavier. I suppose the fact that one can say that Christ was some sort of samarai sacrificing himself for his lord is easy enough, but how does one go into the more metaphysical doctrines?

Thanks :)

[/quote]

If man had no final state, he would be an anomoly in God's universe. No act of his could influence his ultimate state, or produce an absolute and permanent result. If his will-acts are indefinitely reversible, then he flounders through an endless existence in helpless impotence. There is no ideal in the ultimate attainment of which he may find repose, no perfect achievement which renders his manhood complete

Granted an immortal being with free will, surely heaven and hell, eternal confomity or opposition to God, eternal happiness or sorrow seem necessary deductions, unless free will be robbed of its only dignity, of that which alone constitutes its connatural purpose and value.

Man by his actions can permanently and definitely affect his own innermost being, he can make or mar himself for good, and since his soul has a never ending existence, he can do what can never be undone, even for all eternity.


#7

[quote="Teresita99, post:5, topic:239806"]
If you can't remember your past lives, it is exactly equivalent to having no previous lives. Those who do claim to remember past lives only do so after sessions with hypnosis, and it turns out that every woman was Queen Cleopatra VII in their past life, and every man was Gaius Julius Caesar, except that somehow in this life they no longer understand a word of Greek. So it's really just a vanity issue.

[/quote]

I agree, it's just people wanting to think they used to be someone important. I remember talking to someone about it and they said 'how come nobody was ever just a serf or a housewife?'


#8

Scott, these articles might prove helpful:

catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510dr.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/1995/9504frs.asp


#9

I believed in reincarnation when I was young and silly.

The first thing I noticed was brought up in post 5 by Teresita99. No one who "remembered" their past lives ever talked about being a lowly peasant, or a slave, or, anything bad. It was always something romantic or noble, like, being a queen on Atlantis or something. Yet, 99% of people were in the lowliest states.

The second thing that got to me was knowing how few people there were in ancient times compared to now. If our souls are supposed to be evolving, why are there more than ever? And why are so many in poverty, crime, squalor, sin, and the like. We're supposed to be getting better.

The third thing was the fact that, people were just better when I was a kid. They had dignity, even the poor ones. And, they were just smarter over all. In spite of the improved technology, people are generally colder, meaner, and more shallow than they were. It just doesn't add up.

Last of all, I couldn't understand why we would not remember, and, if not, how we were supposed to learn from past mistakes. Eventually, in light of the Church's teaching and the Bible, it just seemed tiresome and stupid.

I would keep asking questions to explain how it is possible, and the mechanics of it all, and, I think the whole theory will fall apart. It just doesn't hold water.


#10

[quote="The_Scott, post:1, topic:239806"]
I have a friend who says she believes in reincarnation.

How the heck do I even try and debunk that? Of course I'll have to go into some metaphysical field, but still...

And that reminds me, with such radical different beliefs across the world, how in the world did the Christian missionaries convert, for example, those in Feudal Japan who practiced Buddhism? The person who immediately comes to mind is St. Francis Xavier. I suppose the fact that one can say that Christ was some sort of samarai sacrificing himself for his lord is easy enough, but how does one go into the more metaphysical doctrines?

Thanks :)

[/quote]

Does this person claim to be a Christian?
If so - it's *easily *debunkable** . . .**


#11

From what I understand re: reincarnation, one is on a path to perfection. We should improve our lives every time we come back. However to many of those who have this belief and are living miserable and seem to have as their only hope that they will come back as a better person, the question should be, if they are currently miserable, what sort of persons were they before? They musta been in pretty sad shape if they "improved" to a miserable state. Also how did they start? Who created their soul? Does one start in a lowly state and progress to a higher and better state each time the soul is reincarnated? If a person is a murderer, a scum, what must they have been before?

Or can a person go from nearly perfect and blow it and regress to a lower state because of some bad decisions? :eek: Who determines how they are to come back. Who judges them and says "Hmmm!!!!! you did pretty good this time. Now the next life you are going to be very wealthy and maybe the life after that you will come back as a millionaire and live in luxury." Somebody or someone has to judge if they progress.

Yeah,, its funny how many claim they have been Cleopatra, or some king, or another. How can one soul come back as several souls.

Hebrews 9:27 "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."


#12

There is no real way to debunk reincarnation just as there is no real way to debunk heaven or hell. And I certainly don't think that quoting the Bible would be effective. That is like a movie saying on the cover "This is the best movie ever" and then using that as evidence that it is in fact the best movie ever.

You can try to debunk reincarnation with logic stating that it seems improbable that reincarnation exists and there isn't really any evidence for it, but the same can be said about heaven and hell. The likelihood of the Christian afterlife is the same as the likelihood of reincarnation...both have very little actual evidence and both are from traditions that go back thousands of years.


#13

Well, first you join 3DOCTORS' "Reincarnation Rebuttal Apologetics and Evangelization Group" ;) here:

forums.catholic.com/group.php?groupid=834

We'd love to have all of you - this thread has some really good answers as well as some good links! I'm going to post a link back to it on the group wall! :thumbsup:

My personal favorite argument is that it seems rather strange that an omnipotent God couldn't create a new soul for every human at the moment of conception. My Dad (RIP) used to by "retread" tires for our cars and I would think "I don't think we have 'retread' souls." Granted, that was my personal, idiosyncratic metaphor, not any profound theological or Scriptural revelation. But I present it here simply to say that for me, even common sense argues toward individuality, which argues for individual souls.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. If it turns out I'm wrong and I get reincarnated as a bug feel free to step on me.


#14

[quote="3DOCTORS, post:13, topic:239806"]
Well, first you join 3DOCTORS' "Reincarnation Rebuttal Apologetics and Evangelization Group" ;) here:

forums.catholic.com/group.php?groupid=834

We'd love to have all of you - this thread has some really good answers as well as some good links! I'm going to post a link back to it on the group wall! :thumbsup:

My personal favorite argument is that it seems rather strange that an omnipotent God couldn't create a new soul for every human at the moment of conception. My Dad (RIP) used to by "retread" tires for our cars and I would think "I don't think we have 'retread' souls." Granted, that was my personal, idiosyncratic metaphor, not any profound theological or Scriptural revelation. But I present it here simply to say that for me, even common sense argues toward individuality, which argues for individual souls.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. If it turns out I'm wrong and I get reincarnated as a bug feel free to step on me.

[/quote]

It is very likely that someone that believes in reincarnation doesn't have the same concept of God as yourself. Using the Christian concept of God, Jesus, or the Bible to argue against reincarnation is like a Muslim using the Koran as evidence that Jesus didn't die on the cross while arguing with a Christian.


#15

Sorry I haven’t replied back in a while! I’ll get to your posts in a second!

See, answering her with the Bible would do nothing, I don’t think. If she believes in reincarnation, then she wouldn’t believe that the Bible had any real truth to it.

I’d be like a Hindu quoting the Vedas to me to prove that his/her gods exist. It just wouldn’t work.

I suppose that’d be a logical step to take

Thanks! I’ll take a look at it! Although, like above, I’m sure the Church Fathers were writing against “Christians” who believed in reincarnation, and thus used the Bible to show that we have one life. I’m sure they weren’t thinking about the Buddhist-view of the doctrine.

I’ll take a look at it nonetheless. :slight_smile:

I like this, a lot.


#16

[quote="FCEGM, post:8, topic:239806"]
Scott, these articles might prove helpful:

catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510dr.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/1995/9504frs.asp

[/quote]

Thanks a lot! I'll check it out.

[quote="Ceil-1, post:9, topic:239806"]

The second thing that got to me was knowing how few people there were in ancient times compared to now. If our souls are supposed to be evolving, why are there more than ever? And why are so many in poverty, crime, squalor, sin, and the like. We're supposed to be getting better.

[/quote]

This second point I'll be specifically addressing. While I'm not certain either way, what am I to say to her if she believes that, for example, she was a dog in her past life? What if she doesn't believe that it's a solely human to human reincarnation, but a nature to nature basis. For example, I was a good dog in the past life. As a reward, I get reincarnated as a human... Conversely, if I was a bad human in the past life, I could now be a human in a miserable state (as punishment).

[quote="elvisman, post:10, topic:239806"]
Does this person claim to be a Christian?
If so - it's easily **debunkable . . .**

[/quote]

I'm leaning towards the "no" direction of that question.


#17

[quote="jimjack, post:12, topic:239806"]
There is no real way to debunk reincarnation just as there is no real way to debunk heaven or hell. And I certainly don't think that quoting the Bible would be effective. That is like a movie saying on the cover "This is the best movie ever" and then using that as evidence that it is in fact the best movie ever.

You can try to debunk reincarnation with logic stating that it seems improbable that reincarnation exists and there isn't really any evidence for it, but the same can be said about heaven and hell. The likelihood of the Christian afterlife is the same as the likelihood of reincarnation...both have very little actual evidence and both are from traditions that go back thousands of years.

[/quote]

Hi,

Would you give Scriptural, historic or scientific evidence or information that backs up your opinion that reincarnation can or cannot exist?

The posters on this thread are attempting to use the valid resources at hand, not opinion, to help the original poster in the question. These sources include Scripture, Buddhist teachings, and so-called "New Age" writings of these ideas.

You and I live in a world where 2+2 *must *equal 4. Therefore, if math requires a precision and cannot be relative, then the existence, origin and destination of our souls (religion) must also have a specific outcome (not all can be true, nor can all be wrong).

Your statement that "There is no real way to debunk reincarnation just as there is no real way to debunk heaven or hell" doesn't stand on its own without evidence to support it. It's a non-answer.


#18

[quote="Teresita99, post:5, topic:239806"]
If you can't remember your past lives, it is exactly equivalent to having no previous lives. Those who do claim to remember past lives only do so after sessions with hypnosis, and it turns out that every woman was Queen Cleopatra VII in their past life, and every man was Gaius Julius Caesar, except that somehow in this life they no longer understand a word of Greek. So it's really just a vanity issue.

[/quote]

I agree on vanity. As a genealogy buff myself, I submit that the main reason many people do find that they are related to a notable person in history is because genealogy has its roots in heraldry--the tracking of birthright by royal lineage and assignment of knighthood or kingly authority. The surfs and peasants had no reason to note their lineage nor had the means to do so. Therefore, whatever confirmed bloodline you can connect to as you go back in time eventually connects to some member of nobility, however small.


#19

If you're working from the Bible you can use this:

DRC: Hebrews Chapter 9

[27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment: [28] So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation.

God Bless,
Holly


#20

[quote="Spencerian, post:17, topic:239806"]
Hi,

Would you give Scriptural, historic or scientific evidence or information that backs up your opinion that reincarnation can or cannot exist?

The posters on this thread are attempting to use the valid resources at hand, not opinion, to help the original poster in the question. These sources include Scripture, Buddhist teachings, and so-called "New Age" writings of these ideas.

You and I live in a world where 2+2 *must *equal 4. Therefore, if math requires a precision and cannot be relative, then the existence, origin and destination of our souls (religion) must also have a specific outcome (not all can be true, nor can all be wrong).

Your statement that "There is no real way to debunk reincarnation just as there is no real way to debunk heaven or hell" doesn't stand on its own without evidence to support it. It's a non-answer.

[/quote]

Can you disprove that I am sitting next to a fire breathing dragon right now? It is highly unlikely, but you cannot disprove it. Just as you can't technically disprove reincarnation. I agree that there are definite answers when it comes to the afterlife or the existence of God, but no ways to definitively prove one way or the other what happens after you die. What I am saying is that it seems unlikely that reincarnation or any afterlife exists because there is very little actual evidence to support these claims. In the absence of evidence I think the logical thing to do is conclude that it does not exist. Unless God revealed himself to the world in a public display to everyone, there is really no definitive way to know one way or the other. That is what I am trying to say.

I read a quote by the Dalai Lama recently that seems to pertain to this. Apparently someone asked him what he would do if a main tenant of Buddhism was disproven by science, reincarnation for instance. Without hesitating he said "well Buddhism would change to reflect this." This surprised the person that asked the question. With a large smile on his face though, he said "you are going to have a tough time trying to disprove reincarnation though." The reason he was smiling is because it is impossible to disprove reincarnation, heaven and hell, sheol, hades, or ANY afterlife. Since no one has come back from the dead and talked about the afterlife (I don't want to hear about near death experiences because those can be attributed to brain activity) we can never know for sure. If someone that was dead for a few years came back and said they were in heaven, I would change my mind, but I have a feeling that isn't going to happen.


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