Is reincarnation a fiction or a Lost Truth? In our ‘modern’ society we don’t value philosophy or introspection and haven’t given it much thought let alone discussion. Yet we use our well-developed sense of humour to make a joke of it by pretending it’s a type of punishment, eg. ‘this guy is so bad he’ll probably come back as a pig or a blade of grass’.
It’s much harder to consider something may be real if it’s fodder for joke-telling or popular sarcasm. Westerners don’t have historical artefacts such as the Chinese Dazu Wheel of Reincarnation to remind them it once had a legitimate place in religious belief.
As it happens you don’t have to dig very deep in history to find what happened to the credibility of reincarnation in Christianity. There is documented history which explains why it vanished as a truth from the ‘modern’ mind.
In the first few hundred years after the time of Jesus, reincarnation was one of the cornerstones of Christian belief. The early church elders, like St Gregory and Basilides, taught reincarnation of the soul as a matter of course. It was written about in the original Bible.
But by the early Dark Ages from the year 553 AD, the majority of the Church decided to deny reincarnation. What systematically drove it out of modern Christian teaching was the purge during the 6th century reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. It resulted from a selfish decision which would imprison humanity for over 2,000 years in a false paradigm of the reality of life and death.
It’s another human irony like the ‘butterfly effect’ that it came down to one individual. The power-hungry Justinian was married to a woman who equally shared his lust for power and also held great ambition for herself. Theodora, Emperor Justinian’s wife, had accelerated up the social ladder using her sexual services to advance herself with powerful men. She was adept at getting their favour and was manipulative enough to wield a powerful influence over the Emperor’s decision-making. It was her decision, out of vanity, to seek, find and remove all references to reincarnation from the early bible.
Empress Theodora wanted for herself god-like status through her own deification so she could have her place among the old Roman Emperors who in their time were naturally deified. It was Christianity which had helped bring about an end to this automatic succession.
But Theodora wanted nothing more than to be an empress and this did not make sense if reincarnation was held to be true. She knew that as long as it remained a pillar in Christian belief the people would never accept her as a goddess. So it had to be systematically removed from the Bible. She employed a team of dedicated monks to carry out this detailed task. (By the way, they didn’t manage to delete all references to it in the Bible as we know.)
This selfish move had incredible consequences and skewed Christian logic about personal responsibility, life and death. Now we had a single pointless life which gave rise to the question: how could there be a loving God if he allowed some humans to live like kings while the majority slaved in horrible lives. Imagine how it must have affected the faith of many Christians.
Over the centuries the connection to God was loosened and a more expedient and careless outlook resulted in the sea of human motives. It had profound effect on the wisdom of ‘what goes around comes around’ so if someone didn’t suffer the consequences of their actions in this life, or in plain sight, it was thought they got away with it. Whereas in reincarnation it is known that if not in the current life then in a subsequent life – the soul pays for their harm to others or nature one way or another.
It is said there are times in earth’s human history when the cauldron of events create an environment, a vortex of sorts, that is very attractive to demonic forces (We are living in such a time now – 2016). The act of taking away the firm belief in consequences of actions created a vacuum in that people’s sense of self-responsibility became distorted and victim-hood took over.
The connection with soul became atrophied as the very concept of a soul makes little sense in a single life scenario. Humanity forgot their reason for being, their native divinity, and apathy or atheism became attractive for many to this day. While others wait to be saved by a second coming of Jesus, completely missing the point that they are here to save themselves.
Jesus set the example of the dedicated purpose of a life. Even though his manner of death was so dramatic it was well remembered throughout the Ages. But the doctrine of ‘He died for our sins’ threw out any possibility of waking up to the fact that a life is just one life. This belief that ‘Jesus died for our sins’ is another spiritual dead-end imposed by the church – a belief that power is outside the person and making a Saviour out of Jesus, rather than the Master that he was, to be nothing more than a scapegoat relegated to the purpose of a sacrificial animal.
This is truly a crime against humanity to obliterate any chance of understanding that each life has a purpose and is an opportunity to expand awareness – a wonderful spiritual gift. Without honest work on the self you are not taking on your real self who is more powerful than that. As Jesus once said [hinting he is not a sacrificial lamb]: ‘He who taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me.’ (Matthew 10:38)
There are many sources describing how reincarnation was an integral part of East and West religions – mostly eastern. The mystical teachings of Judaism, the Kabbala, has many references to reincarnation. Some of the very early Eastern beliefs thought that since it’s directly related to karma, a person who misused their energy badly enough could reincarnate into a lower life form such as a particular animal. I personally believe this is inaccurate but feel this is how ancients interpreted the karmic cause and effect.
We since know through meta-science and even science that we are not just meat and bone but are at a more fundamental level made of energy. Each soul, whether human or animal, has it’s own energy signature which includes the DNA blue-print. As a journalist by education and with the curiosity of an investigative reporter, I realise this can’t be proved but educated common sense tells me (and I’ve heard it said by others who are experts in this field) that the energy signature of a human is not the same as that of an animal is not the same as that of a plant. I would suggest that animals have their own spiritual evolution, but again this is my guesswork.
Sometimes you find genuine curiosity at work in scientific circles towards metaphysics and spirituality – a healthy sign. In the Scientific American website there is an article about the late Canadian psychiatrist, Professor Ian Stevenson, who is well known for his research into children’s memories of previous lives and published many of this findings in his book Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.
His research over 40 years was meticulous. He studied children who spontaneously revealed details of a past life. He would follow a strict method of validating their recollections:
• Firstly he documented the child’s statements (word for word)
• If the child mentioned a deceased person by name whom they identified with, or described with enough detail to validate by other means, he would research the child’s memories against birth/death records and other related historical documents.
• He also matched birthmarks and other birth defects on the children to corresponding wounds and scars on the deceased verified by medical records such as autopsy photos.
The Scientific American article says that despite Stevenson’s very credible research methods, a majority of his cases are taken from Eastern societies where the culture accepts the concept of reincarnation. Whereas I would conclude this doesn’t diminish his evidence, on the contrary, when one is more open to an idea then information about that idea is more forth-coming as the individual is more receptive like a receiver. Despite other scientists who have investigated reincarnation such as Peter Ramster and Dr Brian Weiss, among others, most of the scientific community has ignored it.
You would be surprised to find that the elite, from all areas of society, are not so fixed in their thinking as the sceptical masses are who are trained and spoon-fed rather than self-educated and have fallen for the Big Lie. The famous Henry Ford was convinced he had lived before and a quote from the San Francisco Examiner (August 26, 1928) records his assertion:
“I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was 26. Religion offered nothing to the point….When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan. I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience.
Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.”
Reincarnation would explain the phenomenon of early genius, rather than ‘a gift from God’ or ‘gifted’. Mozart was composing entire symphonies by the time he was six years old. Today there are many examples of such genius such as the Russian harpist, Alisa Sadikova, who started sell-out concerts from the age of nine and who plays like a life-long professional adult way beyond her years. (Here is a link to a 3-minute video of Alisa Sadikova playing a classical piece at age seven.)
In Western culture reincarnation is shoved under the carpet by omission and blatant distortion and misinformation and not just in our modern religions. It is amazing how the American movie industry and Hollywood go to great lengths to throw young curious minds off the trail by calculated ‘positioning’ (yes like advertiser’s position products). A prime example of this is a science fiction movie made in 2013 called The Host. The outline of the movie plot says it all:
Earth has been colonised by the Souls, an alien race that wipes out the minds of humans and turns their bodies into hosts for interstellar travellers. Most of mankind has been eradicated, but some, like Melanie and her family, have survived and are hiding.
As a journalism graduate with media theory major, I can comment with some authority on the careful play of meaning here. Firstly the movie title ‘The Host’ has the obvious connotation of a parasite and the movie plot just reeks with it. That they chose to name the invading alien race, the Souls, is no coincidence. Can you see how they are trying to warp the curiosity about soul and distort the sketchy memory we have about it?
Artwork of two matches by Brett Whiteley titled “Almost Once”
Further reading and sources:
To read more about Dr Ian Stevenson’s work read this article Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics?
This article on reincarnation (if you scroll down) at Crystallinks.com has a comprehensive summary of eastern and western religious thought on reincarnation.