Sunday, 30 March 2014

Reincarnation - three explanatory functions

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1. Animism - reincarnation is the unending circulation and transformation of a finite number of immortal souls through multiple sentient entities - this circulation and transformation is  'life' itself.

2. Eastern Hinduism/ Buddhism/ Jainism - reincarnation is the purpose of life: reincarnation is a punishment. Life is suffering, but death is not an escape unless or until multiple lives have educated the soul to die and escape reincarnation, when individual self-hood is extinguished and reabsorbed into the primary energies.

3. Modern New Age-ism - reincarnation is the purpose of life: reincarnation is an ascent towards divinity; necessary because one life is not enough to accomplish all the learning and spiritual progression needed to bridge between the human and the divine.

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Christians, I take it, believe that reincarnation simply does not happen, at least not as a norm; although I don't think Christians would regard reincarnation as absolutely impossible, if it was necessary in some way to God's purposes - which means it might have happened, but exceptionally and not as a standard part of God's basic plan of salvation. 

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