Over 20% of Christians believe in Reincarnation

reincarnation-awakeningAt the beliefnet site, there is an article that discusses the growth of the belief in reincarnation among Christians. It is an interview with Dr. Christopher Bache;


 

Dr. Christopher Bache is the author of Life Cycles: Reincarnation and the Web of Life and a professor of religion at Youngstown State University. He spoke with Beliefnet about the recent surge in interest in reincarnation and its implications for Christianity. Do you think a belief in reincarnation is becoming more mainstream among Americans?

I think very much so. The Gallup polls taken in the mid-1970s and mid-80s show that approximately 24% of the American adult population believes in reincarnation. This is a remarkable statistic, given that medical, academic, and scientific institutions generally have not supported that belief.

A fairly recent Gallup poll–I believe in 1999–indicated that over 20% of the people who self-identify as Christians believe in reincarnation. What do you think is going on?

Several things. One thing is that people are slowly becoming aware of the high caliber of evidence that supports reincarnation. Not only Ian Stevenson’s extraordinary studies with children, but also therapeutic evidence and the large number of clinical psychologists who are doing past life therapy. That discipline has matured a great deal over the past twenty-five years.

Another thing is that reincarnation opens up a new avenue within which to view the problem of suffering.

You’re saying a belief in reincarnation helps us understand the existence of suffering and evil?

What it does is expand exponentially our understanding of how much time we have to refine and perfect the life process. As a teacher, how much knowledge I can expect a student to demonstrate on a test or paper is directly related to how much time I give them to perform it. If it’s a one-hour test, I can expect a certain caliber of response. With a two-hour exam, I have higher expectations. If by reincarnation you expand the idea that we have not a hundred years, but millions of years–

To become good people?

I think that’s too narrow. By expanding our temporal horizon, it expands the horizon of what the creative project is all about. Clearly there’s the problem of suffering and the sense that life somehow can get twisted along the way. If we approach that phenomenon within a reincarnation perspective, we can see that some challenges, wounds or hardships leave such a mark on the soul that they contract or twist the soul in a way that might not be fully resolved within one lifetime. It might take several lifetimes to resolve and work that out.


 

All of this is great news. For it shows that the general tenets of Spiritism are being accepted, even if it is under a vague feeling that there must be something more than just one life. The idea that people, independently, without the knowledge of the Spiritist Doctrine, are familiar with the concept of improving ourselves through trials shows us the potential for the Doctrine to become accepted by people already questioning their spiritual beliefs.

Trust in the Word of God

jesus-sermon-on-the-mountAt the time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. (Matthew, chapter 11:25)

As with many passages in the Bible, this could be interpreted in different ways. According to the doctrine of Spiritism, the most likely answer is that little children represent our humble aspect, where we look up to our parents and gladly take in what they offer us, without question, and with the trust of an innocent. Not, with the attitude of a teenager, questioning everything and secretly (or not so secretly, depending on the mood), thinking that we know best and everyone else is irretrievably stupid. Hence, we should accept the Word of God as children accept the word of their parents, knowing their love will see us through and that we shall become wiser with age, but the foundation of our moral code is strong, stable, and everlasting.

And what was hidden from the wise and learned? First, the attitude of humility, the knowledge that we have little knowledge, that we always have more to learn. Next, the fact the Universe does not rotate around us, but that we must be the givers and not the takers. Lastly, love is a powerful force that doesn’t bloom in a field of pride and selfishness. How many of the wise and learned understand this? I am sad to say, it took me a very long time.

Can Humans Reincarnate into Animals and Vice Versa?

Man-into-animalMany people and some religions believe that the souls of humans can be reincarnated into animals and then back again. According to The Spirits Book, the answer is a no. But there is a hint of a qualifier.

Here is what The Spirits Book tells us;

613. Can a spirit which has animated a human body be incarnated in an animal?

“No; for such an incarnation would be retrograde step; and a spirit never retrogrades. The river does not flow back to its source.”

Hence, we are told with no uncertainty that a human soul can’t transfer to a lesser form. Now, for the question can an animal, at some point, after a series of reincarnation, begin life in a human body. It is answered;

601. Do animals follow a law of progress like men?

“Yes; and it is for this reason that, in the higher worlds in which men are further advanced, the animals are more advanced also, and possess more developed means of communication. But they are always inferior to man, and subject to him; they are, for him, intelligent servitors.”

Therefore, animals progress via their own path and do not intersect with humans. So it would seem that there is no cross over at all between animals and us. But, the origin of a spirit is unknown, even to the spirits themselves. This hole in the knowledge of where a spirit is first created leaves the door open to some sort of progression from lower life forms.

Again in The Spirits Book, it is written;

“The starting-point of spirit is one of those questions which have reference to the origin of things, and to the secret design of God. It is not given to man to comprehend them completely, and he can only form, in regard to them, suppositions and theoretic systems, more or less probable…

It is thus, for example, that all spirits do not think alike in reference to the relations which exist between man and the animals. According to some, spirit only arrives at the human period after having been elaborated and individualized in the different degrees of the lower beings to creation, According to others, the spirit of man has always belonged to the human race, without passing through the ascensional degrees of the animal world.” [Allan Kardec, The Spirits Book, p. 336]

So we could have started off as an animal and after a long and laborious trial of eons, grow into the ranks of humans, or we could have first just entered the physical body of a primitive human and then started our path. The relationship between our souls and the souls of animals is unclear and we will have to be content with the fact, as Allan Kardec wrote, “as for the mysterious kinship which exist between man and the animals, that we repeat, is God’s secret.” [Allan Kardec, The Spirits Book, p. 337]

 

 

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Beggar Woman – found by Prince Galetzin – Story of a Reincarnation

beggar-womanIn Leon Denis’ book, Life and Destiny, he relates different stories about reincarnations. In one intriguing anecdote, which occurred in the summer of 1862, he tells us that Prince Galetzin and Count R were together in Hamburg;

“One evening during a stroll they found a poor woman lying on a bench. Finding she was hungry and penniless, they took her to the hotel and fed her. After she had satisfied a ravenous appetite, the Prince, who possessed magnetic powers (meaning he knew how to hypnotize people), desired to experiment with her.” (Denis, 2012, p. 165)

Read More.

What Happens When a Child Dies?

Most Spiritist believe that when a child dies, the spirit returns to an adult form, so they may start over. In some of the books by Andre Luiz, there are mentions of places where spirits care for children. One would think this would be a rare occurrence, after all newly formed spirits are first reincarnated upon primitive worlds. There is an explanation to this mystery in the book Between Heaven and Earth, by Francisco C. Xavier, inspired by the spirit Andre Luiz. Andre Luiz is talking to his companions when they are visiting a center for spirit children and as usual, Andre is curious about such centers, he records the following conversation;

Between Heaven and Earth

Between Heaven and Earth

“According to the old, classical theology, newborns remained in limbo after death, without the glory of heaven or the torment of hell, whereas of late, with the new concepts of spiritualism, such discarnates have been thought to immediately resume their adult personage.”

“A lot of times that is what actually happens.” Explains Blandina. “When the spirit has reached an elevated evolutionary level and has assumed mental command of itself, it acquires the ability to easily disengage itself from the imposition of the physical form, overcoming the difficulties of pre-adult discarnation. We know of great souls who were reborn for a very short time, simply with the objective of awakening beloved hearts to the acquisition of moral values. Then, right afterwards, they recover their former appearance. However, the same does not apply for most children that discarnate. Souls that are still prisoners of unconscious automatism are relatively a long way from self- governance. They rest and are led by nature, like babies in their mothers’ laps. They are unable to undo the ties that bind them to the rigid principles that guide the world of forms: thus, they need time in order to be renewed. That is why we cannot do without the recovery time needed for someone who has left the physical vehicle in infancy, because after the biological struggle of reincarnation or discarnation for those who are in the early stages of acquiring mental power, time has to function as an indispensable element for restoration. The length of that time depends on how the learner applies him or herself to acquire inner light through his or her own moral growth.” (p. 68)

Hence, once again, our ability to free ourselves from the materialistic world and concentrate on love and helping others, does make a difference in subsequent lives. With a superior pool of knowledge we are able to recover our spiritual form, while those who have been reincarnated to begin another trial without first attaining a taste of the wonderfulness of spiritual life are at a disadvantage. We truly are creatures of our own mind. We should invest as much energy in the development of our inner bodies as we do in our outward appearance.

Hell – What is it like? (According to Spiritism)

hell1Is there really a Hell? And if the answer is yes, do truly bad people reside there forever? According to Spiritism, there is a kind of Hell, and it is one that you create for yourself or you are at a place because of your like-mindedness with others. By the way, you stay there as long as you wish. Read More.

What are the Levels of Inhabited Worlds in the Universe?

In the book The Gospel According to Spiritism, by Allan Kardec, in Chapter 3, there is an explanation of the different worlds that Spirits will inhabit during their long trek toward purification.

the-gospel-according-to-spiritism1. Primitive World – Intended for the first incarnations of the human soul. The beings that inhabit them are, to a certain extent, rudimentary. They have the human form but are devoid of any beauty. Their instincts are not tempered by any sentiment of refinement or benevolence, or by any notions of right or wrong. Brute force is the only law. With no industry or inventions, they spend life in conquest of food.

2. World of Trial and Expiation – You are living on this world. There is more evil present than good. Now you know why life is not easy, because it is not supposed to be while you are reincarnated on the planet Earth.

1. Spirits from Primitive worlds – They are on earth for an education, a chance to develop themselves through contact with more-advanced spirits.
2. Semi-civilized spirits – Spirits that are indigenous to earth, who have evolved little by little through long centennial periods.
3. Spirits undergoing trials from other planets – These spirits have already lived on other worlds, from which they were banished because they persisted in evil, and because they were a cause of disturbance to the good inhabitants. They have been relegated to living for a time among less advanced spirits, and since they carry with them their developed intelligence and the seed of acquired knowledge, they have the mission of helping them advance. That is why punished spirits are found in the midst of the most intelligent peoples. Having more sensitivity, the miseries of life are bitterer to them because sufferings bruise them more deeply than they bruise the primitive peoples, whose moral sense is more obtuse.

3. Regenerative World – Where souls still have something to expiate (pay off the debt of a past sin) may absorb new strength by resting from the fatigue of struggle. There is still evil, but much reduced, the good out weighs the evil, consequently there is no motive for hatred or discord. The foresight of their future, which is intuitive in the people of these worlds, and the sense of security resulting from a conscience void of remorse, cause them to look forward to death without fear, as being simply a process of transformation, the approach of which they perceive without the slightest uneasiness.

4. Happy Worlds – Where good outweighs evil. On Happy Worlds, we still retain our human form, although the senses are more acute. The body changes, as described in The Gospel According to Spiritism, “The specific lightness of the body enables rapid and easy locomotion; instead of dragging itself laboriously over the ground, it glides – so to speak – over the surface or sails through the air with no other effort than that of the will, in the way in which angels are portrayed.” With the improvement in our bodies, the years of infancy and adolescent are shorter, while the average lifespan is much longer than on earth today.

Politically on such worlds, “relationships between nations are always friendly and are never disturbed by the ambition of dominating their neighbor, or by war, which is its consequence. There are no masters, slaves or privileges of birth; only moral and intellectual ascendancy establish the differences of conditions and confer supremacy. Authority is always respected, for it is conferred only on those who have merit and it is always exercised with justice.”

Hatred, jealousies and selfishness are not present. All feel a sense of fraternity and love, where the strong assist the weak. Possessions are in keeping with a person’s intelligence and no one lacks their basic needs for living. From here, the next transition is to a purified spirit, who lives on a heavenly world.

5. Heavenly or Divine Worlds – Where good reigns completely, all inhabitants are purified spirits. There is no evil.

How long do we live in the Spirit World between Reincarnation?

reincarnation-awakeningLeon Denis, in his book, Life and Destiny, reports on what he has detected, in conversation with spirits, are the spans of time experienced by spirits between one physical life and the next. He shares with us what he has heard;

“According to some theosophists the return of the soul to flesh is effected usually each fifteen hundred years. But our own testimony, gained from great spirits does not confirm this. Interrogated in great number and from various centers, they reply that reincarnation is much more rapid than that. The souls eager for progress dwell a brief time in space; they demand a return to this world to acquire new merits. We possess information regarding past lives of certain persons, gathered from the lips of mediums who know nothing of these people, yet which was in perfect accordance with the facts and intuitions of the interested parties. These statements indicated that ten, twenty, thirty years only separated the terrestrial lives of some individuals, but there was no precise rule. The incarnations were separated widely or followed closely, according to the state of the souls, their desire for work and advancement, and the favorable occasions offered them. In the case of premature death reincarnation was often immediate.” [Life and Destiny, Leon Denis, p. 151]

What Leon has described coincides with what I have read in Andre Luiz’s books. Spirits who are dedicated to improving themselves do request to return to physical life within a decent time period. On the other hand there are spirits who have wandered the earth for hundreds of years, seemingly stuck in place for a very long time. Although, eventually they will awaken to the call of a better life.

In the book, Memoirs of a Suicide, Camilo Castelo Branco, stayed in his celestial colony for a considerable time longer than the others in his group who also killed themselves. While they spent the range reported by Leon Denis, ten to thirty years being rehabilitated and then jumping back into their physical trials, Camilo, dreading the required difficulty of his next life, spent longer in the spirit world.

Therefore, independently of Leon Denis’ observations, I believe he is correct; first, there is no set time, as in the physical world, everyone is different. But, for those who are actively pursuing their path of improvement, the pace of returning to earth is more regular.

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