Why have major world religions hidden and discouraged followers from learning about reincarnation?

From:  jagbir singh <www.adishakti.org@gmail.com>
Date:  Mon Nov 29, 2004  11:49 am
Subject:  Why have major world religions hidden and discouraged followers from learning about reincarnation?

>
> Dear Danny,
>
> In the meantime, I hope you don't mind but there are some more
> things to ask you about.
>
> The recent posting about reincarnation was interesting, and it is
> the first time that I have ever thought about this concept. The
> reason for this is as mentioned in the same post; 'the official
> custodians of dogma ignore or deny the concepts of reincarnation.'
>
> Why has this been so? Why have major world religions hidden and
> discouraged followers from learning about reincarnation? The
> quotes from the Christian faith do reveal that Jesus himself did
> not deny reincarnation; instead He gives specific examples of its
> existance? Why is it that such an important concept hasn't been
> investigated and expanded by religious scholars and teachers, and
> instead has been frowned upon and considered of no relevance? How
> do these scholars then explain the significance of what Jesus
> meant in this instance, if they do not accept the concept of
> reincarnation?

The following information on reincarnation has been taken from http://reluctant-messenger.com/origen2.html. (You may click on the icons and reach Amazon.com to purchase the books):

Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity

 

 

 

During the period from A.D. 250 to 553 controversy raged, at least intermittently, around the name of Origen, and from this controversy emerged the major objections that orthodox Christianity raises against reincarnation.  Origen of Alexandria, one of Christianity's greatest systematic theologians, was a believer in reincarnation.

Origen was a person devoted to scriptural authority, a scourge to the enemies of the church, and a martyr for the faith.   He was the spiritual teacher of a large and grateful posterity and yet his teachings were declared heresy in 553.  The debates and controversies that flared up around his teachings are in fact the record of reincarnation in the church.

The case against Origen grew by fits and starts from about A.D. 300 (fifty years after his death) until 553.  There were writers of great eminence among his critics as well as some rather obscure ecclesiasts.  They included Methodius of Olympus, Eppiphanius of Salamis, Theophilus, Bishop of Jerusalem, Jerome, and the Emperor Justinian.  The first of these, Methodius of Olympus, was a bishop in Greece and died a martyr's death in the year 311.  He and Peter of Alexandria, whose works are almost entirely lost, represent the first wave of anti-Origenism.   They were concerned chiefly with the preexistence of souls and Origen's notions about the resurrection of the dead.  Another more powerful current against Origenism arose about a century later.  The principals were Ephiphanius of Salamis, Theophilus of Alexandria, and Jerome.  

Reincarnation in Christianity

 

 

 

From about 395 to 403 Origen became the subject of heated debate throughout Christendom.  These three ecclesiats applied much energy and thought in search of questionable doctrine in Origen.  Again the controversy flared up around 535, and in the wake of this the Emperor Justinian composed a tract against Origen in 543, proposing nine anathemas against "On First Principles", Origen's chief theological work.  Origen was finally officially condemned in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, when fifteen anathemas were charged against him.

The critics of Origen attacked him on individual points, and thus did not create a systematic theology to oppose him.  Nonetheless, one can glean from their writings five major points that Christianity has raised against reincarnation:

(1)   It seems to minimize Christian salvation.
(2)   It is in conflict with the resurrection of the body.
(3)   It creates an unnatural separation between body and soul.
(4)   It is built on a much too speculative use of Christian scriptures.
(5)   There is no recollection of previous lives.

Any discussion of these points will be greatly clarified by a preliminary look at Origen's system.  Although it is of course impossible to do justice in a few pages to a thinker as subtle and profound as Origen, some of the distinctive aspects of his thought can be summarized.

Christian Reincarnation Index

  • The controversy erupts

  • The doctrine of reincarnation

  • Scriptural support for reincarnation

  • More scriptural support for reincarnation

  • The mystery of God in humanity

  • The Arian controversy

  • The Council of Nicea

  • The Fifth General Council

  • Conclusion

  • Proof of reincarnation?

  • It has been noted historically that the rejection of reincarnation was personally motivated by Justinian, the Emperor of the Eastern Empire, and his wife, Theodora. Although the vote at the Council relied on bishops from both the Eastern and Western Empire, only two bishops from Rome came to Constantinople to vote. As two previous popes had been murdered after they denounced the dropping of the belief of reincarnation of the Bible, many of the Roman bishops were afraid to vote against the wishes of Justinian. After the vote, all Bibles were confiscated throughout both empires, burned and rewritten."

    The doctrine of reincarnation states that "
    the individual soul can return to earth in different bodies, many times in order to achieve perfection and ultimate union with God.

    It is very easy to understand how this idea would be in conflict with a State linked Church that used religion as a tool for the control of the masses.  The concept of a divine link with the monarch, encompassing the Divine Right of Kings, gave the state a very powerful tool with which to control and governs the people.  That tool combined with the ultimate control of the Church over the destiny of the immortal soul of the individual was perhaps the most powerful instrument of government in use over the centuries.

    The great power wielded over not only individual people but also states as well by the sentence of excommunication for individuals, or interdict for states by which whole nations were cut off from the benefit of Holy Mother Church!  Consider the trauma in England at the time of King John when not only he but also the entire nation was excluded from the benefit of the church.  So feared was this sentence that King John actually gave England to the Pope in return for release from it.  Hence his nickname 'Lackland'.  However he received it back again as a Papal Fief!

    This is just a small illustration of the power that the Church can exercise over the masses and specifically individuals.  An incorporation of the doctrine of reincarnation into the scheme of things would have very greatly diminished the power and control over not only the ordinary people but also Princes and their entire states.

    No wonder the Pope was given the Keys of Heaven as successor of St. Peter and named Supreme Pontiff, the great bridge between Heaven and Earth.  No one entered Heaven except through the portals he opened!

    However, the concept of reincarnation not only has much physical evidence to support it, through remembered past lives but also through the teachings and experience of other great religions such as the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The majority of Spiritualists are utterly convinced that reincarnation is not just a probability, but also a fact.  It is for so many of them as much a certainty as was the afterlife for the Ancient Egyptians. 

    Reincarnation makes so much sense when the entire spectrum of existence is perceived as a great arch between materialism and spirituality.  The base line of that spectrum is life on Earth and the furthest extent for it is the life of sublime bliss with the creator, the ultimate goal of the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and indeed probably all religions!

    Reincarnation is also a reasonable explanation for so many little things that we experience on Earth.  Our links with other people are not really by accident.  How often have you encountered someone for the first time and experienced an 'at oneness' with them. 

    The only explanation for that is a common link in a past life.  People may try to explain it away as 'chemistry' between two people and to a certain extent that is true because we are beings of flesh and blood that is the substance of chemistry.  However, the deeper, spiritual links are eternal and each one of us has roots in past lives that weave a rich and complex pattern within our current life. This is the means by which we have the opportunity to learn a lesson essential for our spiritual advancement.

    Everyone has not experienced the same number of incarnations on this Earth Plain.  Some souls are 'older' and consequently have much to teach the rest of humanity.  Such old souls are to be found in the greatest of the worlds teachers and philosophers, they are those who have made their mark on humanity and hope to lead it in the direction of Light."

    So what is the reason Christianity cannot accept reincarnation? i have taken a fundamentalist anti-reincarnation Christian quote to provide the best reason why it cannot be accepted despite a number of rebirth verses and Jesus' admission of his own reincarnation on Earth, "Before Abraham was I am" (Jn.8:58):

    "The idea of reincarnation was never accepted by Christianity because it undermines its basic tenets. First, it renders futile God's sovereignty over creation, transforming Him into a helpless spectator of the human tragedy. Because He is sovereign and omnipotent over creation, God can punish evil and will do it perfectly well at the end of history (see Matthew 25,31-46; Revelation 20,10-15). There is no need for impersonal karma and reincarnation to play this role.

    Second, believing in reincarnation may affect one's understanding of morality and motivation for moral living. An extreme application of reincarnationist convictions could lead to adopting a detached stand to crime, theft, lying and other such social plagues. They could be considered nothing else but normal debts to be paid by their victims, originated in their previous lives. Following this reasoning, social injustice should not be punished at all in order to not complicate even more someone's karmic debt. Therefore it is hard to believe that accepting reincarnation would transform us into better people, pursuing moral values with more conviction, as reincarnationists usually claim. The amorality proposed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, the demand to act totally detached from what results, is the highest moral status that can be reached as the result of accepting karma and reincarnation.

    Third, reincarnation represents a threat to the very essence of Christianity: the need for Christ's redemptive sacrifice for our sins. If we are to pay for the consequences of our sins ourselves in further lives and attain salvation through our own efforts, the sacrifice of Christ becomes useless and absurd. It wouldn't be the only way back to God, but only a stupid accident of history. In this case Christianity would be a mere form of Hindu Bhakti-Yoga.

    As a result, no matter how many attempts are made today to find texts in the Bible or in the history of the Church that would allegedly teach reincarnation, they are all doomed to remain pure speculations." (Ernest Valea)

    So Jimmy there you have it - No matter what evidence of reincarnation is presented all is doomed to remain pure speculation. The founding fathers of the Church who enforced this doctrine over the centuries also believed the Earth was flat, among a number of infallible beliefs that were proven wrong.

    But let another Christian group (www.askjesus.com) explain why it was necessary for the Church to ban reincarnation:

    "Let me illustrate this by asking you to consider a historical example. When Christianity started spreading throughout Europe, Europe had a very old culture centered around the ownership of land. The owner of a piece of land would pass that land on to his children in order to ensure their survival. When the Roman Catholic church began to spread its influence throughout Europe, the church did not own much land. Yet, after only a few centuries, the Catholic church had become the largest single landowner in Europe. The church did not buy land, and it did not (in general) use military power to take that land by force. How did the church come to be the largest landowner in Europe?

    Imagine that you are a large landowner who has lived the good life and therefore obviously committed a number of acts that the church has labeled as sinful. During your youth, you were not particularly concerned about these acts. However, you are now old and you are lying on your deathbed. In that situation, most people naturally begin to worry about what might happen to them after death. Therefore, you send for the Catholic priest, who comes to your side.

    You have been brought up with the idea of hell and eternal damnation, and you have a natural desire to avoid this. The priest asks you to confess your sins, and after having done so, you clearly realize that things don't look good. However, the priest offers you a way out. If you will donate a portion of your land to the church, the church will absolve you of your sins so that you can escape eternal damnation. Suddenly, the immediate need to avoid eternal punishment can outweigh your sense of responsibility towards your children.

    On the other hand, if you believed that you had many more lifetimes to work out your salvation, you had no need to buy that salvation from the church.
    Most people are aware that the medieval church did indeed sell letters of absolvency. Such letters allowed a person to buy forgiveness for sins that the person had not yet committed.

    I am not saying that this example is the only explanation for the fact that the Catholic church became the largest landowner in Europe. I am saying it is part of the reason, but what I truly desire to illustrate is that a power elite, who wants absolute control, simply cannot allow people to believe in the concept of reincarnation. This concept places the question of punishment in the hands of God, an authority that is above and beyond human beings.

    The power elite wants the concept of punishment to be controlled by themselves. In other words, to attain absolute control over the people, the power elite must eradicate the concept of reincarnation. They must make you believe that they hold the key to your salvation, and that it is now or never. If you don't do what they say, then you will go to hell right now, and there is no possibility of escape."

    The Secret Teachings of Jesus

    According to Kevin Williams (Reincarnation and the Early Christians) an "important Christian Gnostic teaching was the "
    Logos" which in Greek is translated as "the image of the Word." It is an important concept found in the gospel of John:

    "In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

    Logos is the part of God that acts in the world. It is the perfect unity of the human and the divine. This is affirmed by John when he wrote that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." When John stated that Jesus is the Logos, he is stating that Jesus became the Logos, the Christ. The Logos is the divine "spark" of God within humans that needs to awakened. Everyone has the "image of the Word (Logos)" within them and it is for this reason that Genesis describes humanity as created "in the image and likeness of God." The Logos is the divine Spirit in humanity. By using the Christian Gnostic idea of the Logos, John is not only affirming the preexistence and divinity of Jesus, but he is affirming that all sons of God created in the "image of the Word" as Jesus was, preexisted in spirit before being born. In other words, every human is an incarnation of the Logos and every human has to potential of becoming like Jesus, a manifestation of the human-divine unity. Every human can be a "Christ" and because of this, every soul will eventually be drawn back to God.

    The Roman Church misunderstood what the Logos was in John and incorrectly concluded from this that only Jesus is divine - the Word made flesh. The orthodox Church either rejected or ignored this Christian Gnostic concept found in John. This may have been a factor when the gospel of John was almost rejected from New Testament canon when it was being put together. This was during a time when Christian Gnosticism became an enemy of the organized Church. Nevertheless, it was the idea of the preexistence of the soul and its corresponding doctrine of reincarnation that the Roman Church had great difficulty with.

    The Christian Gnostics emphasized spiritual knowledge rather blind faith as the road to salvation. They indicated that they possessed
    secret knowledge (i.e., "gnosis" in Greek) concerning the hidden meaning of the "resurrection." This was a part of the secret teachings of Jesus handed down to them by the apostles. This special knowledge was restricted to people who were given the public teachings of Christianity before qualifying to be initiated and receive the secret teachings. In contrast, the very term "Catholic" means "universal", implying that anyone could become a member of the Church by adhering to the public teachings of faith and rituals. The Christian Gnostics were harsh critics of the orthodox Church. The Christian Gnostics accused the Church of watering down the gospel in order to popularize it for the masses. The orthodox Church stressed salvation through faith alone and by the rituals of the Church.

    This secret gnosis emphasized spiritual "resurrection" (i.e,. spiritual rebirth) and physical "resurrection" (i.e., reincarnation) as opposed to a resurrection defined as people
    sleeping in their graves until it is time their corpses to crawl out of their graves at the last day. Christian Gnostics held the view that if spiritual resurrection was not attained in one lifetime, then the soul would be subjected to as many reincarnations as it takes until spiritual rebirth is attained.

    One of the great Church leaders was
    Clement of Alexandria in Egypt (150-211 A.D.) who indicated that he possessed the secret teaching handed down from the apostles.

    In the Gnostic text entitled
    The Secret Gospel of Mark, one of the Christian Gnostic texts discovered in 1945, describes Jesus performing secret initiation rituals. Before the discovery of this secret gospel, our only knowledge of it came from a letter written by Clement. Clement quotes from this secret gospel and refers to it as, "a more spiritual gospel for the use of those who were being perfected." He also states, "It even yet is most carefully guarded [by the church at Alexandria], being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries." Clement mentions elsewhere that Jesus revealed a secret teaching to those who were "capable of receiving it and being molded by it" He also affirmed that, "The gnosis (secret knowledge) itself is that which has descended by transmission to a few, having been imparted unwritten by the apostles."

    Jews, Christians and Muslims bury their dead because they believe during the Last Judgment the deceased will come alive. Shri Mataji says that is physically impossible. Her revelation is that all souls will be born again to take part in that Great Event ordained for all humanity. This is reincarnation, plain and simple.

    My question to all: Has Shri Mataji for the last three decades not only glorified Lord Jesus and revealed His secret teachings i.e., a more spiritual gospel for the use of those who are being perfected during the Great Event ordained for humanity?

    jagbir

     

    The Ruh of Allah Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
    Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi is the Comforter promised by Lord Jesus to bring to remembrance His teachings and guide humanity in this Millennium of the Last Judgment.

     

     

     

    "Of course there are some absurd things which grew with misinterpretation and interference from unholy people, which are common in these religions. For example, Jews, Christian and Muslims believe that when they die their bodies will come out of their graves and they will all be resurrected at the Time of Resurrection, at the Time of Last Judgment, at the Time of Qiyamah. It is illogical to think what will remain inside those graves after five hundred years. Nobody wants to think and understand that it is not the body but the soul that will come out of these bodies, be born again as human beings and be saved through Qiyamah and Resurrection."

    Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

     


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