Can you believe in reincarnation & still be a monotheist?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Amica2, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Amica2

    Amica2 Member

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    I have heard argument for affirmative response and the negative one. But what do you think: is one still a believer in your respective religions if he believes reincarnation? Why or why not?
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    LOL, these days, you can be a monotheist and believe in anything!

    Short answer again: Did the Abrahamic monotheists ever teach reincarnation? No, not as far as I know. So why bring it up now?

    Metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls, seems to have arisen in the Orphic religion, and found a minor and dusty corner in Greek philosophy, and would have stayed there, until taken up by Plato, which of course then makes it prominent. But my point is, the idea was largely ignored in the West. No-one ever argued the point from Plato. Reincarnation never reared its head in the west It was never an issue in the Latin or Greek Christian Traditions, the Catholic Church never mentioned it until the last century.

    The Epistle to the Hebrews seems to refute it:
    "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27)

    And Christ seems to dispense with the idea of karma:
    "At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did." (Luke 13:1-5)

    Can't speak for Islam.

    +++

    Personally, I find reincarnation – in the commonly understood sense – to be bleak, cold-hearted, mechanical and hopeless.

    It has no appeal to me.
     
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Amica,

    Yes, you can believe in both. There is no reason why one idea negates the other.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Does one have to be abrahamic to be a monotheist?

    Do some abrahamic monotheists believe in some form of reincarnation?

    I believe the answers are no, and of course.
     
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  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  6. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Ahh ... there is if you understand the teachings of the traditions in question.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I dont believe Monotheism means you ascribe to any religion...any religion at all.
     
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  8. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    For the most part, the native peoples of Australia believe in a single creator God. In one form or the other, most also embrace the idea of reincarnation.
     
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  9. Craz

    Craz Active Member

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    In Esoteric writings of Judaism there is the concept of 'gilgul neshamot' - transmigration of souls.
    Hers's a clear explanation
    https://headcoverings-by-devorah.com/About_GilgulNeshamot.htm
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Interesting ... I did look briefly into this, and there is a suggestion that the idea was picked up by Jewish mystics from the Greek idea of metempsychosis.

    As the Kabbala took its contemporary form some time in the 12-16th century, it's hard to trace it roots back beyond that, although oral traditions speak of transmission from Moses, or from Abraham, or from Adam.

    All that aside, three things stand out for me:
    1: Reincarnation was never a big deal before the New Age Movement picked it up from Asiatic teachings (and not inherent in western traditions)
    2: Most westerners (and not a few in the east) really don't understand it and think 'they' reincarnate – another bite of the cherry/FMO
    3: As said above, I find the doctrine most unattractive, and would like someone to explain its appeal ...

    Lastly, 'salvation' as defined in Abrahamic monotheism is far, far more hopeful and optimistic, and I am at a loss to understand why anyone would trade that for such a chilling doctrine.
     
  11. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    Why does one have to be traded for the other? Can they not co-exist? That is, perhaps repentance is not always achievable in a single lifetime.

    Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" Perhaps this simply means not merly once, but at least once.

    Really?

    Romans 2:6-11

    6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi NJ —
    A possibility. Karl Rahner suggested something along those lines.

    But I don't think Scripture can be construed to support the idea. It's a bit of a stretch to read it into Hebrews.

    And we're back to the persistent problem:
    If, as many assume, person 'A' reincarnates as person 'B', who accrues the virtue of the life of 'B'? Assuming A accrues the virtue, what has happened to B. And when B reincarnates as C, who is accruing virtue now? And so on. It would seem person A renders all subsequent persons as subsidiary or subordinate to his/her own advancement?

    And any system that leaves each player 'blind' at each step seems a tad unfair. and when we understand that one can attain to incarnation 'T', and then make a mistake which results in being in a worse state than person 'C' ... so 450 years, 18 generations of development, are wiped out, and it's on we go again ...
     
  13. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    All in how you look at it really. One man's stumbling block is another's stepping stone. If you see person 'A' as separate from person 'B' and person 'C' then it's unfair. On the other hand, if you see person 'A', 'B' and 'C' as building blocks for ones true self, then it's fair and just. Ah, but we've been down that 'true self' circular path many times haven't we?;)
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi NJ —
    D'you know I've never clocked that before, and it makes sense ...

    Maybe it's not so much 'true self' as 'true to self'?

    If we can say:
    You cannot see life as such, only in its myriad and infinite manifestations as living things, and yet each living thing is wholly and 100% alive ...

    Or:
    You cannot see human nature as such, only in its myriad and infinite manifestations, and yet each human being is wholly and 100% human ...

    Can we then say:
    You cannot see the self as such, only in its myriad and infinite manifestations of living creatures who say 'I' (possess reflective self-awareness), and yet each self-aware 'I' is wholly and 100% itself ... but whether that concept of self is illusory (false), or illumined (true) is the crux of the question?

    Supposing 'self-as-such' seeks to manifest itself in its every myriad and infinite possibility, our cosmos being just one possibility among the myriad infinite, and each person being a possibility among the myriad infinitude of human being, then it causes-to-be every possible cosmos, and every possible mode and manifestion of being within the particular limitations of that cosmos ...

    And the reason and purpose and end of each and every living thing is to attain the perfection of its own being, that perfection being the reflection in the mirror of itself – its soul – of the 'idea' of itself as it exists in the mind's eye of 'self-as-such' ...

    That being the case, if a particular living thing does not attain that perfection, then 'self-as-such' causes-to-be another, not the reincarnation of that first attempt, but the re-incarnation of the image, of the exemplar, in another being that is in no way related to the first or any other being, but who nevertheless can be seen, from that perspective, as a building block ... and this brings about the popular but erroneous idea of the individual self reincarnating.

    Metaphysically, it is in the nature of 'the Good' never to repeat itself, thus while no two people are identical, there is no reason why a given perfection that did not come to fruition in one life might find its fruition in another life, a quite different mode of being in another cosmos ...

    Remembering of course that whilst most people tend to view reincarnation in a temporal, linear sequentiality, there is also the aspect of reincarnation happening spatially (across the cosmos, and across all possible cosmoses), simultaneously ...

    Thoughts?
     
  15. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Across cosmos, across universes, across dimensions, and not timeline constrained... Simultaneously

    Uneyer1, the eggman, the walrus
     
  16. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    It would appear, the aforementioned circular path has an unforeseen turn-off.
    I seldom delve as deep, but by Jove you may be onto something there.
    Evolutionary stage in soul development? The Michael Teachings come to mind for some reason.
     
  17. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    **Jesus "Died" and rose on the third day, and, ascending to the right hand of the father in Heaven.** ---This is re-incarnation.

    It is re-incarnation, unless you think re-incarnation in something else.

    Why is it difficult to recognise this elementary premise?

    **A good Muslim goes to paradise upon death** ---This is re-incarnation.

    **A bad Buddhist takes another birth upon death** ---This is re-incarnation.

    BTW, is a Buddhist a Non-monotheist?
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Well, more correctly it's Resurrection — it's not a re-incarnation in that it's the same incarnation resurrected.

    It's a popular assertion in the West that Buddhism is non-theist ... I'm not so assured.
     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    My understanding is some Buddhists are theists...most are agnostic, and that either way it isn't critical to their belief. That most concede they don't know for certain, and that there are many other known safeconcerns, suffering, violence, poverty, starvation...that are more pressing than arguing about the unknown.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, pretty much my own understanding.

    Hence the appeal of Buddhism, which in many ways is indistinguishable from any humanist ethic. In that sense Buddhism has no transcendent object, ceases to be a religion, and is really an ideology?

    Not a complaint, far from it! An observation. We could do with a lot more Buddhists, except not of the Myanmar type!

    What really makes me laugh is that the essential message: "don't worry about that, it's beyond your understanding. Just do this ... " is fine when it's Buddhism, but it's 'blind faith' when it's Abrahamic, and one of the constant sources of the criticism of western religion! :D
     
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