Belief in reincarnation is not Christian

By Fr. John Girotti | Special to The Compass | May 31, 2017

There seems to be an innate human desire to live forever. It goes against our human nature to want to die; death to us seems totally absurd. Yet we do die, and human beings are troubled by this. Why do we die?

Until recently, our Western culture dealt with such questions by turning to its Christian roots. Now that many have drifted away from faith in Christ, there is a desperate grasp for an answer to this troubling question. Sadly, some of us are turning towards paganism in order to find a solution. To this end, I would like to address an issue which I have been hearing a lot about in our community these days: Reincarnation.

Modern-day paganism comes to us under the guise of the New Age movement. Needless to say, the New Age movement is not compatible with Christianity. This broad movement includes everything from feminist goddess worship to environmentalist earth religion, from the supposed power of crystals to ancient Asian mysticism. And within this ever-expanding movement, lies the common belief in reincarnation.

The New Age movement takes the view that only the spirit is real. Time, space and matter are all illusions. All is God and death is merely an illusion. The spirit lives on in other people and things – hence, reincarnation.

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul or character of a person who dies is reborn into another individual’s body. This belief states that the soul is the true self and that the body is in actuality a prison. Those individuals who are most detached from worldly things will eventually reach a state of bliss after they die, but those souls who are weighed down by attachments to this world will return to earth after death and inhabit another person’s body until they reach a state of eternal bliss. In this way, the modern-day belief in reincarnation is similar to the non-Christian religion of Buddhism.

Although the belief in reincarnation seems to appreciate the dignity and beauty of the human soul, it departs very quickly from our Christian faith. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, came to this world to save human beings from sin. We do not save ourselves by being reincarnated until we finally make it!

Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross for animals or other created things. He suffered and died for all of us — this should show us the greatness of our human dignity. We cannot and will not inhabit another body after we die — our own bodies are the perfect reflection of our individual souls.

Our individual soul simply cannot express itself in any other way. To say otherwise, would imply that God didn’t get it right the first time! And furthermore, the belief in reincarnation is simply not Christian because it makes a mockery of Jesus’ passion, death AND resurrection. Christ rose again after his death in his own glorified body, not in someone else’s! And we too shall rise again.

Fr. Girotti, who serves as vicar for canonical services and associate moderator of the Curia, is author of “A Shepherd Tends His Flock.”

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