General Question

Amazebyu's avatar

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Asked by Amazebyu (488points) June 19th, 2011 from iPhone

Do you believe in reincarnation? Yes, Why? No, Why not?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

32 Answers

athenasgriffin's avatar

Yes, because I think that many things in my life could be explained by it.

ddude1116's avatar

I believe in reincarnation because it makes more sense to me than Heaven or Hell. I noticed similarities in people throughout everything, and got this insane notion about the subconscious, and started thinking of the soul. Eventually, I decided that the soul transfers and disperses anywhere and everywhere in time and that it cycles. That nothing ever changes, just the names and faces.

zenvelo's avatar

No, I don’t. I don’t think we all had prior lives, there aren’t enough prior lives for all of us alive today because of the exponential growth in population.

Ever notice that people that claim prior lives always had interesting lives? Nobody is ever an illiterate hunter who was enslaved and died on a slave ship, or a child who starved to death. They are always people who were warriors for Attila the Hun, or functionaries in the court of an emperor.

CaptainHarley's avatar

There seems to be a fairly significant amount of anecdotal evidence for reincarnation.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@zenvelo Obviously the people who believe they were Cleopatra are just using reincarnation as an ego trip. However, the theory of reincarnation never states that no souls are new.

faye's avatar

@zenvelo We’re not supposed to remember previous lives or there wouldn’t be as much value in doing it all again. People who lived in times that we have no knowledge of need the technical way of life we have now (or are moving into) to challenge their behavior in such a life. They were obviously not going to misuse nuclear power or it’s like 100 yrs ago. How would we know how many souls there ever has been? Besides, it’s a belief like all others- just a belief.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation explains a great many of the things that we find so puzzling (as in children who remember their past lives until they are told insistently that what they are “remembering” is not real & then they gradually forget). We may not get immediately reborn, we may have to wait for a specific set of circumstances, & some souls might get impatient with having to wait & might keep coming back to ‘check up on things’ – it would certainly explain the many real sightings that people have had of ghosts. Personally, I have seen ghosts too many times to doubt their existence.

zenvelo's avatar

Apparently they do in a Rabbinical Court

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Yes, I believe there is reincarnation. I have had too many memories and “chance encounters” with people that are so familiar to me they could finish my sentences.

Quantum physicists are examining the idea of parallel universes and realities which would mean that one soul energy can split into alternate realities and make different choices in every moment. This would mean that one soul is creating infinite realities and therefore living many different lives at the same time. That would be a possible explanation as to how/why with a burgeoning population there would be enough souls to go around.

And no, I was never Cleopatra or Helen of Troy or even Eleanor Roosevelt. I have remembered lifetimes where I was amazingly nondescript. I remember a lifetime being exterminated during WWII. I actually met my captor in the most unlikely place and without my ever mentioning a word, he began to describe the same memories that I had. (This was just one of a few encounters that I have had where the other person remembered me and our stories were parallel without my ever disclosing anything.) I do remember one or two noted lifetimes. But these are lives that were of notable people at the time and relatively obscure now.

It’s been known among researchers that many times one resembles the person they were in previous lifetimes. They also may have some of the same interests and passions as a soul often incarnates to finish tasks that were left undone in previous lives. One of the most famous researchers is Brian Weiss, MD. He has written a number of fascinating books on reincarnation containing contemporary case studies. link

While you can pooh-pooh what I say as the ruminations of a madwoman, the most interesting stories are those of children who recall their past lives because they do not really have the wealth and breadth of experience or knowledge of history to come up with these memories. There are a number of credible researchers who have documented hundreds of cases including Dr Jim Tucker and Carol Bowman. When my daughter was three years old, she turned around and put her hands on her hips with the most cross look on her face and pointed her finger and me and said, “You need to listen to me…because I used to be your mother!” Out of the mouth of babes. That made me laugh.

The most fascinating story of recent times is that of a young boy who began to be plagued with nightmares of a “little man” trapped in an airplane which turned out to be his memories of being shot down in WW2. This whole case was thoroughly traced and documented and it caused such a stir that even ABC News featured it link and Part 2 link
There is also a book on this case called Soul Survivor which is available on Amazon.

Skeptics will always scoff. But if you had told me twenty years ago, that I would communicate with the whole world on a tiny box no bigger than my hand that had a light in it and that I could access world libraries, order groceries, listen to and purchase music on it, talk to my friend across the world on it, look at the masterpieces of sculpture and art on it, read books on it and navigate my way around an unknown city with it…I would have thought that was simply a product of an overactive imagination (or you watching too many re-runs of “Star Trek”).

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.

It isn’t whether reincarnation is real or not, it’s as real as quantum reality is real. When we can wrap our brain around a quantum universe, then the idea of soul as energy continuing (and never being destroyed) makes complete sense. Is makes more sense to me that our souls are “recycled” so to speak and not just perched on a cloud playing a harp (or dancing on hot coals, elsewhere.)

crisw's avatar

No. There is no physical evidence that it’s possible, or that it happens.

As for Soul Survivor, see here. It’s nowhere near as miraculous a story as it’s made out to be.

“But if you had told me twenty years ago, that I would communicate with the whole world on a tiny box no bigger than my hand that had a light in it…”

The huge difference here is that someone could posit how, in scientific terms, this could happen. That person may have been wrong, but their explanation would have been rooted in science. The same is not true of reincarnation; there’s no scientific explanation for it. It’s all wishful thinking.

seperate_reality's avatar

I believe in “rebirth” without a doubt. I know for a fact I am a non-physical, immortal, spiritual being operating a mortal, physical, human body. Therefore, it makes sense to me, that when this human body dies, I go and get another physical body, new name, new parents, etc. There has also been quite a lot of research on rebirth or reincarnation mainly with young children. A lot of these children know things, that they could only know, if they had lived these previous lifetimes, that they remember and openly talk about. One such researcher was Dr Ian Stevenson, who started out as a skeptic and even has investigation techniques so good, that quite a few law enforcement agencies started using them. This researcher over time and 3, 000 cases later could not help but conclude, that there was most definitely something to reincarnation.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, that would involve a belief that there is something that survives death. I don’t believe in any kind of soul or afterlife. How would there be an increasing number of beings if reincarnation was possible? To start with, there were X number of beings, and today there are billions more. Where did they come from? How could reincarnation account for that, unless you also believe that there are billions of new entities created for every one that is reincarnated.

AdamF's avatar

Quantum physics provides as much empirical support for reincarnation as the theory of gravity does for the existence of angels.

Kardamom's avatar

As much as I believe in Santa Claus. It’s fun to talk about it, but there is not proof that there is any type of re-incarnation. People that meet people who they seem to know are just lucky that they’ve met someone with whom they have some common interests. I’d call that lovely, not re-incarnation. I’d have to believe in a soul to believe in re-incarnation, and I do not.

And yes, I too have noticed that people who believe they had a past life always have had a really neat one that fits in with their current interests. My cousin who is extremely into rock and roll and the Renaissance Fair, is conviced that she was a court musician or that she was married to one, in Jolly old England (her dream country to travel to in this life) during the middle ages or the renaissance. How convenient. Apparently she wasn’t a pig farmer or a soapmaker or a hide tanner.

Qingu's avatar

No. Your brain is a computer. When you smash a computer, that computer’s software doesn’t get magically transferred to a newly manufactured computer.

And anyone who claims that quantum mechanics supports reincarnation doesn’t know anything about quantum mechanics. Seriously. Just because a branch of science seems “mysterious” and vaguely deals with alternate dimensions doesn’t mean you can trot it out to support ancient superstitions.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The human brain is far more than “a computer.” If you believe that, it’s no wonder you’re so cynical!

Qingu's avatar

Explain the difference, please.

CaptainHarley's avatar

No. YOU figure it out!

Qingu's avatar

Does the answer involve magic or a “soul”?

LostInParadise's avatar

By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.

Book of Genesis

As an atheist, I do not take this as the word of God, but it is most poetically stated.

To believe in reincarnation one must believe in the soul, some incorporeal thing that interacts with the corporeal (how can this be?). All evidence points to whoever we are being contained in our physical brain. For those who believe otherwise, kindly explain how it is possible for someone who is schizophrenic to take medication and then act normally. Is there some kind of soul exchange going on? Is the soul affected by chemicals? I don’t get it.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Everybody who trashed my opinions.

It’s amazing how your knickers get in a twist when someone challenges your safe paradigms. I don’t get on the Fluther to start arguments or debates nor to be called on as being “idiotic” for believing what I do. I am not here to tell you that you are wrong for what you believe. I simply answered a question from my own reality and what I have _experienced in my own life._ I am not on here to convert you to my view. I answered a question. I answered it from the point of view of a spiritual person and a mystic. The only thing I want to say is this: The idea that quantum physics has nothing to do with spirituality is unfounded. Quantum mechanics is the first science that begins to address science and spirituality. and about how science can explain the mystical. How our minds can alter realities on all dimensional levels thereby moving spirituality from “woo-woo” to science. I cite the work of Dr. Michio Kaku and Oxford professor Ian Morison (to name a few). To simply cut me off without knowing cutting-edge research and the new wave of physicists who are examining these issues is rather unfair. It is true not all scientists agree, but it is that way with all science even that which has established empirical proof. Can you prove that love exists? Where is it? Can you see it, hold it, touch it? Does that mean it isn’t there?

The mystical life is also an integral part of our human experience. Shame that the naysayers have never had the depth or breadth of experience to even attempt to delve into the world of that which is unseen and unknown….oh, but wait…I forgot….it doesn’t exist.
The unknown doesn’t exist. If we don’t see it or have proof, it just doesn’t exist.

I am not going to revisit this thread. If you want to continue telling me I am a fool for my beliefs, go for it. I am in good company with others who have known the unknown before science had a handle on it. I will not be revisiting this thread.

You are entitled to your views and I respect your opinion. This is a forum, not the Coliseum.

Qingu's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus, I’m sorry, but quantum mechanics has nothing to do with spirituality. Quantum mechanics has to do with the motion and behavior of subatomic particles. This behavior seems strange to us for the same reason that cellular behavior seems strange to us—because it is very small, and we are not adapted to understand reality at that level.

Nevertheless, there is nothing “mystical” about an electron. An electron’s behavior derives from a wavefunction. That means that an electron doesn’t actually exist at one place and time, but rather is smeared out in a “probability wave.” At any point in this wave, the electron has a certain probability of existing at that space and time.

There is nothing mystical about it. There’s nothing even that strange about it, once you understand the math. And there is nothing in quantum mechanics that says anything about how our minds can alter realities on dimensional levels. You are just making that up.

And I don’t respect your opinion because you clearly don’t know the first thing you’re talking about. You’re also being intellectually dishonest by pretending you do.

nikkiduq's avatar

Nope. There’s no evidence of it.

Qingu's avatar

And @DarlingRhadamanthus, I’m sorry if I come off as a jerk. It’s cool that you’re interested in quantum mechanics. QM is rad. It’s beautiful and mysterious and it forces us to think about reality in a way that people would never have even conceived of even a century ago. (It’s also allowed us to build technology, like computers and nuclear weapons, that would seem like magic to our ancestors).

But if you’re going to talk about something, and form an opinion based on something, you need to understand at least a little about what that something is. I would really encourage you to take a step back and pick up an introductory book about quantum mechanics, or physics in general (so you can see how it ties into the rest of our knowledge). Learning about this stuff has certainly changed the way I think about reality and the universe—just not in the way you’re thinking.

chewhorse's avatar

I didn’t believe in reincarnation the last time I was here either :- J

faye's avatar

There is a site, It discusses what a rabbi says about reincarnation. Very matter of factly saying it happens even to the point of coming back in an animal’s body.

zenvelo's avatar

An observation from Calvin and Hobbes .

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@Qingu…Thank you for your advice which assumed that I had never picked up a book on quantum mechanics .

I didn’t realize that I had to pick up your books to read on your list. I thought having a professor from Oxford teach me stuff was enough. Gosh, well, I learn something new every minute. I’ll have to go buy those books now and revise my crazy, ridiculous ideas, eh?

(And you did…about the jerk part. But thankfully, I have a short memory. Must be all those silly lofty thoughts about idiotic subjects like reincarnation and parallel universes and string theory.)

LostInParadise's avatar

I respectfully (unlike some others) disagree with you. Quantum mechanics is so removed from our intuition that New Agers have a field day claiming that it supports their various beliefs (everything is energy). Until such time as there is scientific evidence to support spiritual entities, I am not going to seriously consider them.

throssog's avatar

Yes, I have sufficient, to me, proofs and evidences to satisfy my needs in this area.
As to evidences that will “stand up ” to examination by doubters: the British (East India co. and British Colonial Gov’t) had to investigate many such claims from Native Persons to settle disputes and quite family situations. These have been recorded and are attested to by Britishers of authority at the time (1800’s to 1948). Best of luck and enjoy this and each life.

kitszu's avatar

LOL! I do believe, maybe, but that was really funny, regardless.

kitszu's avatar

@Qingu Actually it might. My theory of the possibility of reincaration hinges on the “circle” of life”.

The idea that the human body is made up of energy, and that energy can can not be destroyed, only transformed. If we have a soul, it would present as an energy. Yes?

When we die (well, not humans but every other living thing) our bodies decay and return to the soil as nutrition for other living things, energy transformed.

We can take the “soul/spirit” part out of. The energy of our brains, what could it transform into?

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