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Old 05-26-2007, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
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I was reading one of Jerz's posts and she mentioned reincarnation. I'm curious what others think of this concept. It is a part of Hinduism and Buddhism, with millions of followers.

I realize it is not part of Christianity, and most people on this forum are either agnostics/atheists or Christians. However, I'd love to hear from others why they think reincarnation might be a possibility and why. I'd like to leave this thread to the possibility of reincarnation.

Someone else can start a thread about why it is not possible.

I find it an interesting concept, and sometimes when you meet someone whom you have just met and immediately feel a connection with them and it's as if you've known them forever, I sometimes wonder. With the popularity of quantum physics, this question is popping up more.

Why do you think it is a possibility? Have you ever had experiences that made me you think reincarnation is an option?

A touchy subject, but interesting. Thanks!
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:17 AM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley, CA
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Well...I know I brought it up but I didn't go into any details. I figured people would figure it was weird enough as it was.

But since you asked...

I don't think reincarnation is any less logically possible than any of the other "mystical" stuff from any religion. In other words, most religions believe a person has a soul or divine essence or whatever. That soul is usually thought to *enter* the body at birth. Think about this for a second...if it enters the body, that means it didn't start out there. It was hanging out somewhere else, right?

Then the soul is thought to leave the body at death. Obviously we can see that a dead body has no "life spark" left, that it no longer moves, talks, cries or whatever. So we say that the soul has gone on to "wherever" (heaven, for example).

Well, if souls can enter and leave bodies, then there's nothing stopping reincarnation as a theory. A soul is floating around, and a baby conceived, and pop!--in it goes. EXACTLY like it would in Christianity...as far as I know.

If it can do it once, there's nothing saying it can't do it twice, a hundred times or a thousand times.

Now personally, Buddhsim and Hinduism, though they would be the logical choices, don't "hit me" any more than Christianity does. I truly am beginning to think that in this lifetime (wink-wink) I am not meant to be able to follow any specific dogma. In other words, at this point I'm no longer allowed to rely on the words of others but instead must seek out God myself, through lots and lots and lots of thought (meditation).

Bodies only last a certain amount of time, but souls are eternal, yet if a soul isn't "finished" yet--if it hasn't learned all its lessons in order to be only a positive influence on the whole--then it can't just go back to the Source, I think that's the basic reincarnation belief no matter what religion or lack of religion a reincarnationist follows. That would make sense to me. In Christianity, if you don't do things "right", then you go to hell, and that's how God deals with you, by putting you and others like you in one place away from Him somehow. Kind of like Alcatraz or like Australia when it used to be used as a prison.

In reincarnation, that wouldn't do because the negative would still be around, and the vibes would carry, no matter how far away it was; reincarnationists are the ones who believe the beat of a butterfly's wing could eventually have repercussions halfway around the globe, remember. Or that today, we might breathe in for one of our breaths the final exhalation of Christ almost two thousand years ago. So rather than pushing all the bad souls under the carpet and having to shut his ears to their wailing, the God or source would urge the soul back to earth in order to put itself in a position to re-take the lessons it missed the last time.

So, I know you were asking how reincarnation could be possible...I don't think it's any more fantastic or implausable than believing we were scooped up out of dirt by God's hand, or that we mutated from something totally else, or any other belief, be it religious, secular/scientific or whatever. I don't know if you were asking how reincarnation actually "operates," but I figured I'd give my take on it and then hopefully others can chime in.

For the record, karma doesn't really imply punishment per se. It isn't God going, "Oh, so you'll think you'll do X? Well just wait until I hand you Y and Z. You'll be screaming for help but I'll tell you that I never knew you." Rather, karma is seen to be more of a matter of balance. I think the idea is that you can't really have empathy unless you've been in a certain situation yourself, and if you do really bad things, it has to be because you truly don't understand how it feels. Or that you do know it feels bad but that you think you'll mete out someone else's karma. From what I understand, most reincarnationists believe people need many, many human lives before they can go back to the Source and not harm it (achieve nirvana).
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:26 AM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley, CA
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Oh! Also, I don't think reincarnationists believe that every single thing that happens to us in a given lifetime is a result of something we did "wrong" previously. In other words, even if you believe in reincarnation, you can't assume that you "deserve" bad things. Remember that even as you are working off old karma and handling it well or poorly, other people are dealing with old karma well or poorly too. This can cause them to make terrible choices which can affect others badly. Sort of like friendly fire. We've all probably done this too. If you've ever screamed at a driver on the road, then thought about how maybe you effed up his whole day by being so loud and nasty and he therefore went home and kicked the dog or snapped at his wife, then you'll know what I mean.

So by no means should a person feel he or she deserves terrible things. Part of a lesson, though, is how we deal with the friendly fire that comes our way. I mean no matter what your beliefs are, this is probably true. Christians will often say they are "tested", their faith is tested or their integrity is tested or whatever. Same with reincarnation. You don't have to be a bad person for bad things to happen to you, but part of life's lessons is about how you handle others' negativity.

Reincarnation is a belief that stands very much on its own feet, though. I know I posted this another time, but I'll repeat it. Not verbatim b/c I'm just recalling this off the top of my head. But here is a little story:

Once a student of the Buddha's asked, "Master, what if I passed a lake and saw a man drowning in it? Shouldn't I just walk by? After all, it might be that man's karma to drown."

"Indeed, it might be," the Buddha agreed readily. "But what if it is your karma to save a drowning man?"

Karma changes second by second and there is no one single book of rules, it requires that you think for yourself and use integrity in the moment...at every moment.
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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There's one major flaw in how reincarnation would be able to work. If people were dying and then suddenly being reborn there would have to be an equilibrium in the population. There are now 6.7 billion people living on the planet. In the year 1000 the estimated population for the whole world was only 275 million people. Ok, where were all of the souls of todays living population in the year 1000, waiting in line for a new body? Do you see what I mean, from a practical standpoint it just doesn't make any sense.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:18 AM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaGuy View Post
There's one major flaw in how reincarnation would be able to work. If people were dying and then suddenly being reborn there would have to be an equilibrium in the population. There are now 6.7 billion people living on the planet. In the year 1000 the estimated population for the whole world was only 275 million people. Ok, where were all of the souls of todays living population in the year 1000, waiting in line for a new body? Do you see what I mean, from a practical standpoint it just doesn't make any sense.
Well, I don't know, where were all those souls in the year 1000 even if we're only meant to be born once?
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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JerZ wrote:
Quote:
Well, I don't know, where were all those souls in the year 1000 even if we're only meant to be born once?
I don't believe in souls at all and I think that we're just biological so from an atheist point of view there's no confusion about the issue. I believe we live one life and this is it so there's not any questions about what happens before or after our life. I just think we cease to exist.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:01 PM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaGuy View Post
JerZ wrote:

I don't believe in souls at all and I think that we're just biological so from an atheist point of view there's no confusion about the issue. I believe we live one life and this is it so there's not any questions about what happens before or after our life. I just think we cease to exist.
Well, so...there ya go! The OP was asking how it could be *possible*. I was delivering answers based on the reincarnationist view. Obviously, being a belief system and not a science, if one doesn't believe, then one will automatically feel it's impossible. Same with any religion. What you're arguing against isn't reincarnation specifically--it's the existence of the soul, period. So really, your answer would apply to any thread started about any religion. Actually, the "there is no God" viewpoint could be its own thread.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
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I'm glad Jerz brought this topic up because I, too, am basically Agnostic, and I have been studying various religious topics for decades. It is fascinating, and I do not choose one over the other...there are similar threads of belief in all of them.

The reason I find reincarnation an interesting theory is that I have had some strange personal experiences that defy explanation. Oh, one could “explain” them, but it would still be hypothetical. Since there is no way to definitively know the explanation, I will merely share one experience I had that left me musing about this possibility.

When I lived in Colorado, I lived downstairs from Tom and Claudia and their cat and dog. Tom was a counselor, and Claudia was a serious law student at the University of Denver Law School.

One night, I awoke to the booming cries of a baby. It sounded like someone had stuck 10 rock and roll stereo speakers into my bedroom. Although the sound was booming and surrounded me, I could also detect a direction coming from my spare bedroom, to the left of the room I was in. I sat up straight for about 7 or 8 seconds (which is a long time when something like this is happening) listening to the booming cries of the "baby." Finally, the sound dissipated, and I jumped out of bed, ran to my window, looked outside and there was a beautiful, calm, silent, starry night with the mountains silhouetted in the background. Our house was on a corner lot, and nothing was nearby.

I turned on all my lights, said a prayer for what I thought might have been a spirit baby, and slipped back under my covers.

The next day, I heard a "knock" at my front door. It was kind of a quiet knock, so I listened again, and the knock repeated. I went to the door and there was Claudia. I said to her, "I thought I was hearing things again," and began to tell her about the baby crying.

At that, she interrupted me and exclaimed, "Wait a minute, I heard it, too!" I asked her what had happened and she explained: "I was sleeping and I awoke to the sound of a baby crying. It sounded like it was coming from our spare bedroom," (which was over my spare bedroom) "and I jumped out of bed and ran into the spare room. When I got there, nothing was there, and I turned around to see Tom and the cat and dog still sound asleep on the bed."

We discussed it for awhile and I asked Claudia if she had ever had other such experiences. She said that occasionally she would experience something, but not much. She was a serious law student and really had little interest in metaphysics. So, I suggested we say a prayer for what we thought might be a spirit baby. The house wasn't very old, so I wasn't sure about a baby having died there, but, one never knows. We said some prayers and Claudia left.

About a month later, Claudia came downstairs again to visit. She suddenly said, "Remember that night we heard the baby crying? .... I think I'm pregnant, and I think I conceived on that night!" Sure enough, 8 months later, Claudia was the proud mother of a bouncing baby boy!

Our impression was that Claudia was receiving a "message" from the soul that was to inhabit the baby she would have. And because her bedroom was above mine, and because I'm sensitive and have clairaudience which is not blocked by walls or ceilings, I, essentially, "eavesdropped" on her message! This was extraordinary to me. Claudia and I both independently shared the same psychic experience!

To me, not only was this remarkable in that it confirmed my own experience, but it also appeared that the soul "chooses" his parents, and that the soul is separate from the body. This can be a great comfort to those who have lost a baby, to know that the soul continues to survive. Not only does the soul choose its family, but it can also communicate its presence.

I only relate this because it was “shared” independently by someone else. I know there is no real explanation for this, and only hypotheses. However, as a person who has had unusual experiences, and is not crazy, but also very intelligent, it both befuddles and amazes me. Whatever the reason for this experience, it makes me have to look more in-depth at various possibilities. And that's why I'm open-minded and Agnostic!
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Old 05-27-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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The idea of reincarnation is tied to the fact that we are self-aware. Possessing this ability, we can imagine our individual consciousness as being interchangeable, i.e.; we can form questions such as, "Why wasn't I born rich?" or "Why was I born in the 20th century?" We can imagine what it might be like to be "in" someone else's body. As such, consciousness takes on an identity of its own, separate and unique from the physical body. The physical becomes a "placeholder" for consciousness, which can be "deposited" into bodies time and time again.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Catskill mountains NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaGuy View Post
There's one major flaw in how reincarnation would be able to work. If people were dying and then suddenly being reborn there would have to be an equilibrium in the population. There are now 6.7 billion people living on the planet. In the year 1000 the estimated population for the whole world was only 275 million people. Ok, where were all of the souls of todays living population in the year 1000, waiting in line for a new body? Do you see what I mean, from a practical standpoint it just doesn't make any sense.
According to Edgar Cayce, at the time of human incarnation here, there was a fixed amount of "entity" available for a human population. As the population increased, more and more people are born with "splinter spirits".
These Splinter spirit people have a real tuff time accepting ANYTHING spiritual in nature. Through the act of reincarnation, many of these people grow their spirit by gradualy learning the value of selfless living. People who are very self centered are of the baby phase in spirit. We have no shortage of these folks in todays huge population. An old spirit person is one who finds it very easy to walk in some one eles's shoes so to speak. This world was specificaly designed to "grow God" over the many civilization cycles.
For any one looking into reincarntion, a great starter book is The Case for Reincarnation by Joe Fisher with foward by the Dali Lamma. In Jesus's day, reincarnation was a widely accepted phenomina. Once Jesus began performing miracals, the people all began to wonder which Profit had been reincarnated in Jesus's form. Unfortunately, Iv found the majority of folks on this forum are basical interested in sound bites and meaningless biblical written word details. Esoteric subjects have a very small following here. May be the splinter thing is to blame for that
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