They could simply say that the ‘perfect’ people had indeed reached nirvana and thus were no longer with us. The ‘saintly’ people were almost there and maybe just needed one more cycle of life. The horrible people are in the beginning of their life cycles. I don’t believe in reincarnation but this does make some sense.
Well…do you want a nuanced response or a polemical one?
I’m sure that the someone on CAF will jump on in a few hours bristling with Biblical quotations and speaking of the evils of Eastern philosophy, conflating the whole intellectual tradition with New Age movements and be off in a huff.
You could attempt to frame it as a “moral hazard/moral jeopardy” issue, or simply go with a much more scientific approach - namely requesting an argument from evidence.
Ultimately however, Reincarnation is like any other non-testable idea - whether it be the affirmation of the Resurrection, the supposed non-existence of God, the belief in that the underlying nature of reality is composed of Qi. Etc. etc.
ie: its one of those apparently “self-evident” bedrock assumptions that a person chooses to believe in, based on the criterion of what does and does not constitute evidence or a reliable source of knowledge.
There’s actually pretty convincing evidence for the Resurrection if you look at the behavior of the Apostles. They went from abandoning Christ out of fear of execution to boldly preaching that He rose from the dead. That they got bolder after He was gone means something significant had to happen to cause this change in behavior, and the significant event that best fits is that He actually rose from the dead.
For me “reincarnation” or “resurrection” are the same coin…different sides…we try to make sense of God’s justice and where our own imperfections come into play.
I don’t accept reincarnation as an adequate response since I am a Christian that believes it is thru Christ that our “perfection” exists. It is thru Him that our sins and sins effect are mitigated. He Himself has performed the Work not only to forgive me of my wrongs…but to perfect me as I share in His nature…In Christian thought at the resurrection from the dead all my imperfections and mortal flaws will be “swallowed up in victory”…“Corruption was sown, and incorruption raised:” to be with Him “like He is”…as I now share imperfectly in His divine nature, on the Last Day, I will be freed to share fully in His divine nature and “become like he is”.
Reincarnation centers in our life after life of striving to be better…to seek pefection…both reincarnation and resurrection are constructs we humans have devised to seek to relay a profound Truth of our Journey back to the Presence…neither concept captures the profundity of what occurs on the Last Day.
But why is it logical to even presuppose that we need to become perfect* here on Earth *as opposed to in Heaven or some other transcendent place (Purgatory)? I mean yes, we as Catholics believe we are “perfected” or “purified” in Purgatory, so it’s not as though we reject the concept of perfection in itself…but why is it any *less *logical to assume that perfection takes place as a continuous process after death by which we enter into the next and final resting place (Heaven), versus in a cycle that is repeated in an earthly (and therefore not spiritual) realm?
That almost makes sense, except…wouldn’t we see a greater number of saintly people, perhaps in even or maybe greater proportion than what we have now? To put it this way, if I believed in reincarnation then I, as any Christian, would try to be a good person so I could reach Nirvana/Heaven. Most likely I would fail, and Nirvana would not be attainable the first go-around. So now I am in my second cycle on Earth…I already am endowed with the knowledge that what I did the first time was not enough, right? So I kind of *have *to be a better person, because I wouldn’t want to keep repeating the cycle. So maybe you wouldn’t see a *majority *of saintly people on Earth, but we would see a heck of a lot more. Bad, or even mediocre people would be the minority.
And in case someone argued that the numbers would be more or less even because let’s say there are 2-3 live births to every person and therefore the people in the beginning cycles outnumber the ones who are in secondary or tertiary cycles, how would it be possible to assume that these new babies are blank slates equipped with ignorance and imperfection versus knowledge and near-enlightment? Isn’t *everyone *in a post-primary cycle? So shouldn’t we *all *know better, from actual experience, as opposed to faith, and wouldn’t that knowledge then be reflected in the amount of very good/saintly people out there?
=stanncie;9407743]I was listening to this radio show and the speaker was a big believer in reincarnation. He stated that it was illogical to believe that you only lived once because we are very imperfect beings.
To him you needed to be born multiple time to work on different imperfections to finally achieve I guess his version of heaven.
I had heard of reincarnation before and ‘learning’ during each ‘life’ but never that reasoning. I agree that we are very flawed but how would you respond to this line of reasoning?:shrug:
So we are to believe because this person calims to Know More or Know Better than God? Of perhaps both:shrug:
Granpa used to say when we seek trouble we usually find it:D
READ the Bible and you’ll gain someting useful:thumbsup:
The Sacraments Notablly Confession and the Eucharist are the BESTway’s besides prayer and sacrifice to CORRECT our flaws… TRY IT; you’ll like it.
Thanks for your honest response. I have come to a similar conclusion. I do find the theory of reincarnation intriguing and it does make sense in that framework. Ultimately like you said it’s a matter of faith in what you believe. I’m not Buddhist and I do believe that God has revealed himself through the person of Jesus and I also believe in the scriptures, this is why I’m Christian.
On the other hand I can see why a Buddhist would believe in reincarnation. :shrug:
Because they can CHOOSE to fight and succeed mentally, physically, spiritually, isn’t that awesome? To make a bunch of robots would be perfect if god had anyone to answer to…but he doesn’t…his perfection is based on the fact that it doesn’t have to be…but literally, the only thing keeps us fighting futility and nothingness is love…and the bible tells me that god is love. It’s so inticate and complex…and yet so simple.
First, who set this mechanism in place? Who judges when perfection is reached? What is the standard of perfection, and why that standard and not another?
Second, if we are to work on our imperfections, why can’t we remember them? Reincarnation reminds me of walking into a math test without ever having studied math and being told “well, you missed 57% of the questions yesterday, try and do better today.”
I would say (1) that our imperfections are worked out through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and not through our own work, lest we boast.
(2) that we are probably not going to achieve perfection in mortality, but in eternity.
(3) that his logic is obviously flawed, since if we’d already been through dozens of lives already, would there not be some people around today that were somewhere close to perfect? Look around. Do humans today act like folks that have had dozens of lives to work out their imperfections, or do they act like newbies to this planet, making the same dumb old mistakes that their predecessors made?
If i may paraphrase our our Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Catholic Brethren - God is not a Mathematical Proof.
Human reason alone is a poor substitute in order to attempt to encapsulate God. No less a man than Thomas Aquinas, who sits ponderously over the intellectual edifice of our Church, spoke toward the end of his life that “All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.”
The Son of Man came amongst his disciples with power…not polemical arguments for justifying who he was. And like you, i have in the Nazarene and faith in his own example.
As for your Reincarnation question - allow me to offer a perspective a bit different than a mangled attempt to discredit it.
Reincarnation in its Indic format (i’m assuming that’s where the person you heard it from got his idea from) appears to be an outgrowth of philosophical thinking during a time when questions within the Vedic Tradition arose amongst the Aryas.
Many modern day Hindus are incapable of actually reading the Vedic texts that comprise the heart of their religion, Sanskrit being a language kept alive only by their priesthood much in the way that Latin is within the Catholic Church.
However - if you do happen to read some of the Vedas, you’ll notice much (although not all) is meant to appease the various gods and bring fortune (health, happiness, long life) to the recipient of the ritual.
Somewhere along down the lines - the Aryas started asking questions, namely “Is that all there is to life?” As in - is the whole point of life just “feasting and fighting” if you will. Was there nothing more?
Such questions somehow became applicable to their thoughts on the afterlife.
Does man have a soul? Is the soul immortal? How do we know that even after attaining the Heavens of the Vedic Gods at some undisclosed time a person just doesn’t die off again?
What i find particularly intriguing when Westerners view the concept of Reincarnation - they translate it as “Rebirth” and attach to it a very positive connotation.
…Whereas within the tradition it grew up in, a more correct translation would be “Re-Death” - emphasizing the negative aspect of cycle - Dying again and Again.
Its one of the reasons why you’ll find many Hindus devote themselves to an Ishta-Devata. To them beings like Shiva, Vishnu, and the myriad forms of the Goddess are not Olympian beings hurling thunderbolts on unsuspecting mortals.
They care. Because such beings function as teacher and personal savior - to help their children escape the eternal run around the block so to speak.
In my biased belief, I do honestly think that the impulse to seek out salvation is a common trend within humanity. I just so happen to believe it is accomplished through one man.