Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 51 – Can a Christian believe in reincarnation?
The reincarnation faith comes from India. It says that a person can be born several times, each time in a different body. In the Far East, reincarnation is considered as bad news: it is still not done, you have to start over again before you are freed from your body. In the West, people look at it more optimistically. They see it as a new opportunity after a failure. This Western variant appeals to quite a few people.
For several reasons, Christian faith and reincarnation cannot be combined. Christians believe that you only have one life. This gives you a special responsibility. What you do or don’t do is important and irreversible. This is different if you have multiple lives. If it doesn’t work now, it’s not so bad. Better luck next time.
Moreover, the Christian faith attaches great importance to the unique personality of each person. It is so valuable that it is mysteriously preserved after the resurrection*, in the afterlife. Reincarnation, on the other hand, assumes that the challenge lies in letting go of one’s own personality and merging into the great, divine whole.
The view of the body is also different. For Christians, the body is so important that they believe it will rise, even though the body that has risen will be very different from the mortal body. For people do not only have a body, each person is a body. Body and soul are one, inseparable whole. Reincarnation ultimately considers the body worthless. You have to become a pure spirit and free yourself from your body as quickly as possible.
Christians believe that the resurrection is a gift that God* offers just out of love. Reincarnation is about merit.
– Does it seem attractive to you to be reborn?
– Do you think having your own personality is important or would you rather get away from yourself and merge into a greater whole?
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 52 – Has Jesus laughed?
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If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.