Reincarnation and the Bible

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by Charles Stuart, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Although I too was raised a devout Catholic, and attended private Catholic school until college, I have for some unaccountable reason been drawn to reading, understanding and feeling compassion for belief systems which have been ruthlessly stamped out by Romans and Christians. Thus, I feel a great deal of resentment toward those who have steam-rolled over the Druids, exterminated the Albigensians of Langeudoc, persecuted the Protestants and tried to convert the nature-loving natives of the new world. For me the bible is little short of a highly edited compilation of books, legends and letters designed to promote, control and enforce the exclusivity of one belief system over all others. After significant study, however, I have come to believe that the original intent and foundation of what is in the bible was influenced 2000 years ago by a 500 year old philosophy, which is now commonly known as Buddhism. I also believe that the concept of Reincarnation may have been an integral part of early Christian beliefs, and that the earliest so-called "saints" felt it necessary to reinterpret some of the teachings and form dogmas that would be more universally acceptable to the kings and potentates of the Roman world. Over the centuries so much has happened to the Bible that I no longer feel it is a valid authority in matters of morality or philosophy, and that there is far more to be gained by reading Plato and some of the other ancient Greek philosophers.


    There is presently a large amount of rhetoric coming from the Vatican as well as from Protestant leaders about the danger of secular beliefs and influences on Christianity, which is based on the rather perverse idea that morality doesn't exist without the bible and without the fear of God. What this implies is that non-Christians are immoral. Yet, anyone who has met certain Buddhists, Hindus, Janists, Atheists and even Islamists would know that this isn't true. So, my question is, what authority or credibility does the bible have regarding Reincarnation?
     
  2. Khandisi

    Khandisi Khandasi

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    Nighttrain,


    You raise some interesting points.


    We may never know the entire story of why Constantine issued the edict that made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. History suggests that the Empire was in danger of fragmenting due to various issues. Membership in the Christian Church was on the rise, especially among the Roman army stationed to the north of Rome. Some say that Constantine first called for tolerance, then acceptance, of Christianity to secure the loyalty of the army. History also shows that he did not submit to baptism until shortly before his death, and continued to worship the so-called pagan gods concurrently with his Christian "faith".


    As for his calling for the various Councils of Nicaea, it is pretty well established that his goal was to unify the Church fathers of that period. He wanted them to come to consensus. Essentially, he didn't care WHAT they believed, as long as they all believed the same thing. Reincarnation was most likely a minority belief at that point in the Church, and thus was banned in order to reach that consensus sought by Constantine. And given that the Church was now free from persecution by royal edict, the members may have had sufficient reason to discard any belief or practice that would prevent consensus.


    You mentioned the question of morality. Some people who believe in reincarnation might wrongly be accused of moral relativism. Murder is murder, some might assert, and will be punished in this life or an afterlife. However, no one can rightfully judge a person without knowing what was in the person's heart and mind at the time the act was committed. Ultimately, only God can make that judgment. Adherents to the belief in reincarnation say that justice will be done at some time in the future, be it in the current life or some current life.


    Unfortunately, to deliberately commit an act of wrongdoing and leave it up to divine justice is gambling that one can "read" God's mind. For example, one might say that John the Baptist was fated to be beheaded as a karmic debt for acts in his life as Elijah. That's plausible, I suppose. But how do WE know? Now if that was the case, and John's execution was predetermined, is Herod guilty of murder for ordering the beheading?


    In the long run, we must all make our choices because we have free will to do so, and based on whatever the mores of our cultures. If our sense of right and wrong goes against the grain of the society in which we live, only God can make a just decision.


    In modern history, it might be said that Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. committed acts of civil disobedience to protest the laws of higher authority, and felt justified in doing so because earthly authorities were going against moral and spiritual laws. We can agree with their point of view, but their acts can only be judged by the Highest Authority.


    It is interesting that the one truth that appears in each and every religion is the Golden Rule, no matter how it is worded in the scriptures of every religion. I believe that is the standard by which we all are judged.
     
  3. Chevalier

    Chevalier Registered

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    Hello, Khandisi.


    The story goes that prior to the battle in which Constantine firmed himself as Emperor, he saw a cross in the sky, and was advised to paint the cross on the shields of his soldiers if he wished to be victorious. It was this powerful experience that guided his conversion, or at least that's how the story goes.


    It was Constantine's desire that there should be a consensus, yes, but I believe the main reason behind the exclusion of reincarnation in the doctrines and dogmas of what became the official Roman Catholic religion was the thought that by preaching it this would enable man too much time to repent for his sins. "The sooner the better", I believe, was the thought behind such an exclusion. But sadly, without the concept of reincarnation, indeed we are left with the image of a merciless God who would condemn a portion of His children, of His Creation, to a lifetime of eternal suffering in a place called "hell".


    I doubt not that such a place exists, though personally I believe that most of what we rescue from our past errors takes place in each incarnation via the Law of Karma. The good news is that no hell is eternal... :thumbsup:
     
  4. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator

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    Khandisi, thank you for your thoughts, we think very much alike! I too was born and raised Catholic, kindergarten all the way up. As a high school seminarian "Gregorian," I thought I had found all the answers I needed spiritually, until a woman came along:rolleyes:! I could never reconcile the beauty of this relationship with the abstinence required... it made no sense, still doesn't! But I was not willing to give up the traditions that, for me, were so sacred and heartfelt. It is hard for someone on the outside to understand this beauty when every thing the church does seems so stupid, archaic and pompously arrogant. Yet my spirit soars during the mass. And I can say beyond a doubt it is a result of a past life as a priest at the Abbey Melk in Austria sometime in the 18th century. To me this love-hate relationship with the Catholic church is some how apart of my soul's personal journey. I see all the contrasts and paradoxes and still I know my Christianity is an integral part of who I am now and who I was in the past.


    Like you, for the past four years I have studied Buddhism. My yearly retreats to the Shambhala Mountain Center have led me into incredible discoveries. My faith, whatever one chooses to label it, is beautiful and it is solely mine. And as each day leads into new horizons, the roots of my Christianity, the wisdom of my Buddhism and the uniqueness of me, are on one heck of a soulful ride. In the depths of it all I have come to learn so many things; above all the compassion and tolerance for everyone's thoughts and beliefs. One of my mentors, Fr. Richard Rohr of New Mexico, says that rather than condemn the beliefs of another instead show compassionate desire to understand. It sure made sense to me.


    Nightrain I too feel that resentment towards the church for its cruelty and horrid behavior to others... it is and was evil. I've read several books on the Cathars and it only led to anquish over the utter stupidity. We think very much alike. Thank you for your thoughts.


    Well I best quit, thank you Nightrain, Khandisi and others for your most valuable input on this subject. Religion is such an ignition point for some and discussions can often become lost in personal grudges... but here the thoughts and postings are so relevant and helpful.


    Blessed be!! More later


    Tinkerman
     
  5. Chevalier

    Chevalier Registered

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    Tinkerman, my very dear old friend, what harm can there possibly be in raising one's thoughts to that which is sublime? And which is unfortunately so difficult for so many people to believe in? In the realization that there is a spiritual realm? That there is a Creator God? That there is His first created son, who came into this world in an age of barbarianism even greater than today's to teach a lesson of love, tolerance and understanding?


    The great beauty of it all is that it is all a part of the same "truth". That we are eternal beings. That even beyond physical death we persist to exist as individual consciounesnesses, in a spiritual body that for whatever I may be able to know might be of a dimensional nature or even consist mostly of neutrinos...


    We don't have the answers, my friend. Personally I believe it will still be many, many years before science might prove such a wondrous reality to be true. What pleases me, however, and fills me with delight, is that you, like me, know this "reality" to be true, by all we have experienced and so deeply pondered upon, amidst us all here, for a good number of years now.


    I salute you, my dear old friend...


    Charles
     
  6. dking777

    dking777 Senior Registered

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    The Concept of "Hell" Everlasting


    A few years back - I ran across a PBS documentary titled, The Bibles Buried Secrets.

    This documentary sheds light on another theory that expresses the idea of 'heaven and hell' came into the Hebrew religion after that period of captivity in Babylon based on the teachings found in Zoroastrianism.

    Prior to their captivity - it was viewed that the Hebrews worshiped a 'tribal God' - as in King of the Mountain. Every tribe in the region had its own 'temple' on a mountain top and a God they worshiped. When they got into a war - the victory was looked upon as having the more 'powerful' God. When they lost their homeland - and mountain top - they had to 'reshape' their religion.....and the documentary takes a more scientific approach to discovering the archaeological evidence that supports this. (Aren't they still fighting over that mountain top today? See: Temple Mount)


    Sincerely,


    DKing
     
  7. Chevalier

    Chevalier Registered

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    That's very interesting, Dking. In the Yoruban legends of the African tribes of the Angola and Congo regions there is the mythology that the Great God Olorun (the Creator of the Orun, the Spiritual Realm), created two eggs. From the first was born Oshallah, the first male being, and from the second Nanan, the first female being. To Nanan He gave the responsibility of creating the world, the physical realm, and to Oshallah the responsibility of ruling over all the beings that would be created in it - the world of duality, of Ying and Yang, male and female, light and darkness, good and bad... It is interesting how practically all myths and legends seem to contain an at least very similar common origin...


    In the synchretism that still persists today, Oshallah would have also been "involved in the denser matter of which the material realm consists", and lived several incarnations, including that of Yeshuah of Nazareth...
     
  8. dking777

    dking777 Senior Registered

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    This is very interesting. I did a 'Google' search to see what I could find - and found a few quotes that tie into my own research and study about common elements in the creation myths. (Specifically the God/Goddess aspect of Creation.)

    • In the mythology of the Yoruba people of West Africa, Olorun is the most powerful and wisest deity. According to Yoruba legend, Olorun was one of two original creator gods. The other was the goddess Olokun. In the beginning, the universe consisted only of sky and a formless chaos of marshy water. Source: Myth Encyclopedia
    • Olokun has male or female personifications, depending on what region of West Africa He/She is worshipped. In female form among the Yoruba, Olokun is the wife of Olorun and, by him, the mother of Obatala and Odudua. Olokun also signifies unfathomable wisdom. Source: Wikipedia


    During my childhood - it was hard for me to express direct testimony of my experiences in spirit while I was on the 'other side' of the veil because I would reference a 'feminine deity' that I visited. After my last NDE in 1988, I was in Hawaii and felt I could make a reference to it. When people asked who I went and saw on the other side - I replied, "I went home to visit the Goddess Pele, or what I called Mom during my childhood days. The Mother of my soul."


    When it comes to censorship - this is the aspect I feel has been cut from the bible and mainstream religion.

    When I was 15, I had a direct communication with this 'Divine Spiritual Mother' while I was awake and walking around. (I was at work that day when I heard her voice within.) I asked her when I was going to find evidence of her existence in the 'world I lived' in, because every time I brought up the subject of her (or reincarnation) - I would be scolded and mocked. When I was 15, I was told I would find a poetic reference to her in a proverb of ancient times. Specifically Chapter 8. (Many decades later, I found the exact reference written in Proverbs Chapter 8.) (See: Who is the Holy Spirit?)


    When it comes to 'reincarnation' - it doesn't matter what a book, religion, minister, preacher of an entire region of 'faith' will try and lead your mind to believe. The "Mother of our Souls" knows the truth and it is through that 'divine hand' of guidance that our minds are led on a quest for revelations in spirit that prove (beyond doubt or mere belief) and validate the truth regarding 'incarnation's' of the past - as well as the future.


    I agree that there are similar aspects to all 'creation' myths and it is a matter of reading between the lines to find the truth buried beyond the literal words.


    Thanks for the reference.


    Sincerely,


    DKing
     
  9. Chevalier

    Chevalier Registered

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    As with all myths, there are various versions, Dking... :thumbsup:

    It is interesting that according to the Yoruban myths the "element" of Oshallah is the air, whereas the "element" of Nanan, or Olokun, depending on which version, is the swamps, or "marshy waters", the mixture of earth and water. Combine all three and we'll have the necessary basic elements for the creation of life. But now we are steering away from the original topic of this thread... ;)


    Worthy of mentioning, however, and again in order to return to the topic of this thread, is that the name Oshallah (Oxalá, Osalá) means the "Son of Allah", the Son of God. The name "Allah" derives from "Allahballasheh", which means "He who detains the power of Creation". According to the Yoruban myths, Olorun delegated to His first created son, Oshallah, the power over all Creation. These connections between myths, deriving from so many different sources, have only reinforced, to me personally, the truth behind a common origin that exists amidst just about all ancient legends and myths, including those that are registered in the Holly Bible...
     
  10. Chevalier

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    Also worthy of mentioning, and again in order to return to the topic of this thread, is that the name Oshallah (Oxalá, Osalá) means "the son of Allah", the son of God. The name "Allah" derives from "Allahballasheh", which means "He who detains the power of Creation". According to the Yoruban myths, Olorun delegated to His first created son, Oshallah, the power over all Creation. These connections between myths, deriving from so many different sources, have only reinforced, to me personally, the truth behind a common origin that exists amidst just about all ancient legends and myths, including those registered in the Holly Bible... :thumbsup:
     
  11. Pyramid man

    Pyramid man Registered

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    Resurrection


    Perhaps the resurrection is the the total awakening of the the soul in this realm to know all of ones lives, upon entry and exit and upon return, with the option of coming going or staying, here or there, perhaps this is the true resurrection?
     
  12. Vivienne

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    I think Mathew 17:10-13 makes the concept of reincarnation of Elijah as John the Baptist stated by Christ a reality and quite clear.


    In spite of this many Christians will deny the saying and interpret it as something else.


    As a hypnotherapist I have regressed myself to past lives and also done the same on others. The detail and information found is too compelling to be dismissed.


    As a Christian I like to keep an open mind,but for many reincarnation is at odds with their belief system. Generally speaking it is difficult to discuss this subject with others who will report reincarnation evidence as 'Work of the devil etc'.
     
  13. Traveler16

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    As a Christian, I am still trying to reconcile my faith with the concept of reincarnation, and I am trying to come to peace with this. I have had "other people's memories" for as long as I can remember, and they have always been a part of me, in good ways and in bad. I have always tried to push the memories down and explain them rationally. My aunt also has memories, but decided a long time ago that they were from Satan, and so has done her best to block them. I have realized that these memories underlie many of my greatest joys, so I don't believe they are from an evil place. However, there are also fears and traumas that I can't ignore, which have always been real to me and can't be fully explained by my experiences in this life. I have gone through times of being open to reincarnation, and then feeling like a bad person and putting it aside. But in the past year some things have happened, doors have opened, and I have gained a lot of insight into myself by meditating on these "puzzle pieces" of memories I have been trying to explain away most of my life. I am grateful to have found this forum, as it seems like a safe and supportive place, and I hope to come to more peace spiritually as I seek for answers.
     
  14. Vivienne

    Vivienne Registered

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    Because of the Christian dictum that Jesus saves and you go to heaven-end of story,many Christians will not accept any ideas pertaining to past lives.


    I saw a TV programmed on the Druize Christians in the Lebanon who accept reincarnation and actively seek evidence in their children.


    Many Christians have past life memories but are not encouraged to discuss or investigate them. The generosity and love found in Christ is not reflected in the institutionalised religion offered by UK churches. It seems to me that all personal spiritual anecdotes are frowned on. This includes near death experiences,spirit contact and past lives.


    Death seems to be a big taboo in Christian dogma and once the funeral is over that's it! No further thought required. This leaves troubled and hurting believers with no support and little information.


    People should not be made to feel guilty or satanic because they explore possibilities with the mind given by God.
     
  15. Traveler16

    Traveler16 Registered

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    I think there is a lot of fear of death that people have, and organized religions do not often address the deeper issues and questions. Also when people look at only a literal interpretation of the Bible, translated into English, or whatever modern language they speak, they are often missing deeper meanings and allegorical truths of the ancient texts.There are a lot of mysteries surrounding death, and the meaning of life, and we can't place everything into a neat little package. As a nurse, I have been present with people in the dying process, and this has reinforced my belief in an eternal soul. I have also experienced the presence of deceased loved ones. When I was younger, and more closed minded, I was "visited" by a patient I had grown close to while he was dying at the hospital and I was at home. He seemed very much alive and at peace, so when I found out the next day he had died, I was very upset, and it took me a long time to be able to process it, and not to fear the visitation as something evil. I have been fortunate to find some wonderful people with whom I can discuss such issues, who are open to these mysteries. But reincarnation, I find, is still seen as taboo, or flaky. But based on my experiences, I have to take a serious look at it, and consider that it may be a way for a loving God to bring learning and healing to people. Could coming back to live again and learn be the true meaning of the concept of Purgatory?
     
  16. Vivienne

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    In my view life is a place of learning. Frequently hard knocks and sometimes terrible endings. I do not believe we have one shot at it and if we mess up get more chances to improve our souls.


    I believe only those who offend God by breaking his Laws go to Purgatory which is a place of serious punishment. It is likely in my view that really good people who have found Paradise may elect to be reborn for altruistic reasons.


    Unfortunately we can only speculate as no one really knows and we do see through a glass darkly.


    In hypnotic regression subjects have described to me what happened right after they passed and left their bodies. The experiences vary but are fleeting and heavenly memories appear to be blocked.


    One man a Roman soldier in regression said as soon as he died he knew he had wasted his whole life by not having a family and children and had to cross a golden bridge to attain the afterlife. This man described how he had paid a hermit to administer hemlock to him as he was destitute in old age after leaving the army. This suicide by proxy had not affected his passage to a nice place-not exactly the teaching of the RC church!


    Many regression clients can tell of their immediate response as spirits after dying.


    Traveler you might find help by being regressed. You clearly have spiritual gifts and talents and you must not let guilt and fear block your learning.
     
  17. Traveler16

    Traveler16 Registered

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    Vivienne, thank you for sharing your perspective. I have not yet been regressed, but I am considering it strongly. It seems like since I've allowed myself to meditate on my glimpses of memory, that I've found greater insight into myself, and especially the places in my life where I seem to get stuck. I seem to have found the origins of some of my talents and interests, but also many of my unexplained fears and a sense of guilt that I carry with me for not protecting loved ones in the past. These things have held me back in my current life in ways I could never explain before. I believe that God wants me to use my talents and gifts, and maybe is allowing me access to these memories and insights so I can truly learn what I need to be a better person.
     
  18. heyabbott!

    heyabbott! Registered

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    The word eternal comes from the Greek word "aionion" which means age lasting, for an age (Ex. Matt. 25:46) so heaven and hell are not eternal, just temporary. Plus I think fire is a metaphor for purification. Let me reword that verse in that light. "Thus the wicked will go off to age lasting purification but the righteous to age lasting life." Sound better?


    Plus I love the John the Baptist / Elijah story and the blind man story in John 9:2-3. "Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?" The disciples evidently got the idea that a man's own sin could have caused his blindness and they had to have gotten it somewhere. And since Jesus didn't call then foolish or wrong (which he was quick to do when he encountered error) to even ask that question he must've taught reincarnation to them.
     
  19. SeaAndSky

    SeaAndSky Senior Registered

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    Hi Hey,


    I have another interesting speculation for you. The word aion itself also denoted a person's lifetime in Greek, i.e., a person's lifetime was his aion, the period of time he/she was alive. The word "zoe" translated as "life" in this context has more to do with the infused power of god-life--abundant, joyful spirit-filled life. (A quick google for the three NT words translated as "life" will give some good insights into "zoe"). So, an alternate translation might be: "Thus the wicked will go off to lifelong (aionion) purification but the righteous will receive aionion (lifelong) zoe. Future incarnation? Present incarnation? Both?


    I'm planning to formally study NT Greek at some point, but for the moment I can only speculate. Still, an interesting idea.


    Cordially,


    S&S


    PS--These speculations may be more indicative of my own ignorance than anything else, but I do wonder as I study the actual words used and what they mean. Translators make choices. In this case, particular choices have been hallowed as THE RIGHT DEFINITIONS AND UNDERSTANDINGS because they fit the theological ideas (and sometimes the Imperial ambitions) of particular eras, and have become fixed in everyone's minds over close to 2000 years. However, I wonder about mistakes made at the beginning and carried down century after century . . . maybe.
     
  20. rjmarzano

    rjmarzano rjmarzano

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    For me Edgar Cayce found some common ground between Christianity and other belief systems. Reincarnation is a central and reoccurring them in Cayce's teachings. However the most accurate term to describe Edgar Cayce is he was a Christian mystic.

    The original message talks about the prophet Elijah who was going to return. Christ Himself said Elijah had returned and the apostles realized He was talking about John The Baptist. Edgar Cayce confirmed that John The Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah.

    According to the New Testament people asked the Baptizer if he was Elijah and the Baptizer said no he wasn't. But who knows why he said that if that's even exactly what he said.

    What's interesting is Cayce said Elijah created bad karma for himself when he had the priests of Baal killed after the magic contest. Jezebel and Elijah were mortal enemies. Jezebel was reincarnated as Herod's wife Herodias and Elijah was reincarnated as John The Baptist. It was Herodias who orchestrated the execution of the Baptizer. John The Baptist was killed by the sword just as the priests of Baal were.
     

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