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Author Topic: Reincarnation. Or Not.  (Read 4193 times)

ehbowen

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Reincarnation. Or Not.
« on: January 22, 2018, 10:26:06 pm »
Redirecting from another thread...

Reincarnation. I personally find the concept abhorrent; for others it is a central tenet of their religious and philosophical worldview. As with heliocentric and geocentric models of cosmology, both cannot be right. Now, I'm not trying to say that there was no worthwhile philosophy or mathematics or scientific observations achieved by those with a geocentric worldview, nor am I saying that the simplistic heliocentric model is the be-all and end-all of the matter; you need to take into account Kepler's discoveries of orbital mechanics and the fact that the solar system itself revolves around the galactic center, which in turn...enough. But if you have to condense cosmology into six words, "The earth revolves around the sun" is a helluva lot more accurate than, "The sun revolves around the earth."

Let me first say that if anyone here takes the position, "true for you, not true for me," you've already lost me. Truth is and must be absolute, else it be not Truth. If you assert otherwise, you are yourself asserting an absolute in the opposite direction. I am willing to consider the possibility that we can both be wrong; the chances that we are both right are slim and none...and Slim just left town.

I want to be careful about putting words in others' mouths; I'm hoping that someone else will be willing to make the affirmative case for reincarnation. My intention in this first post is to state the negative case. Still, there are a couple of quotes from the other thread to establish a framework:

Karmic effects cannot all be resolved within one lifetime of a soul or even within the lifetime of one universe. Even universes are born, die and are reborn....It's not a matter of "getting it right", it's more a matter of not having enough time in one lifetime to accomplish work that needs to be done by the jiva (an embodied soul).

IF I thought there was only one life, that would certainly make my religion look rather unfair and unappealing. In such a case, how could a mere mortal live up to the high expectations his Gods place on him, in only one life? ...I personally think that one life is not enough for most people to get it right.

The issue I have with these quotes is that their authors have apparently never come to grips with the concept of, "eternity." I fully expect to outlive this universe. Several universes, in fact. Now, it may not appear that way to you, as the timeline branch which we are currently following decomposes and the core you (temporarily) loses sight of the core me...but I expect for my consciousness and intellect to continue on without a break. If "getting it right" means that I need to sit through long division in fourth grade yet again...I'll take my chances on getting it wrong!

I used the word "abhorrent" above, and I need to explain. If you truly have accumulated a 'karmic debt'...actually, IMHO, ANY kind of debt...YOU need to be the one to pay it off. Not some echo of you in centuries future, YOU. [See page 90 for one writer's summary.] Allow me to use an extreme example. "Spoofing", or placing a securities order with no real intent to execute it, is illegal in the United States under the Dodd-Frank Act with a statutory penalty of up to ten years in prison and a $1 million dollar fine per incident. I believe that my God accepts this as a just law and an appropriate penalty. High Frequency Traders routinely flout this law; I saw an article where one such trader averaged 7.4 million such illegal transactions every day!

If this trader had any sense at all he would be BEGGING the FBI to prosecute him...I believe that, if you own up to your crimes and accept the penalty imposed by a human court, your chances of having that payment accepted by my God are fairly good. But, if you think that you've 'gotten away' with it...well, as we used to say in the Navy, Stand By For Heavy Rolls. It seems quite likely to me that this particular trader is racking up criminal penalties of 74 million years imprisonment and $7.4 trillion in fines for every single day he is at 'work'...and that doesn't even begin to touch what he probably owes in civil restitution.

I'm sure that you're saying that this is ridiculous, that no one could ever begin to pay such a penalty. It only goes to show that you yourself have not come to grips with the concept of eternity, nor have you internalized Jesus's warning in the Sermon on the Mount about not being released "until you have paid the very last penny [Matt. 5:26]." I'm sure that many will ask my God, in so many words, to be given a break...only to hear him reply, "What, do you want a quantity discount?" They're much more likely to be assessed a quantity penalty!

Especially when you look at the really egregious cases, I believe that most times you are dealing with a composite of many spiritual personalities. You have Alan, the real human, the fall guy, who thinks he's found easy pickings by calling up senior citizens and telling them their son has been arrested and will go to jail unless they give him their credit card information right now. But riding him, spiritually, is Bael, who gets whatever spirits get out of such things. And he owes fealty to Crocell, who in turn is under Daevas's sphere of influence...and so on and so on until you get to the Big Nasty himself.

So if Alan gets into trouble with the law the spiritual influences move on to a new target, leaving Alan to deal with the consequences on his lonesome. Maybe there's something going on behind the scenes; maybe Bael gets tagged by some righteous spirit. Still, the rest of the hierarchy (or, as C. S. Lewis postulated, the Lowerarchy) breaks away, untouched. I honestly think this is Satan's M.O., that he pushes the idea of reincarnation because he wants to be the one shaking off liability, karmic or otherwise, and dumping it on someone who is only peripherally involved, if even that. I've mentioned the idea of "fractional distillation" before; I think that the reason my God is allowing evil to persist and even, apparently, triumph in this present age is because he is quietly tracing down all of those chains to their ultimate end. It's not so much "payback is a bitch," Jainarayan; I think that it's more, "Pay me now...or pay me later!"

You see, getting back to the heliocentric/geocentric illustration, the key thing is not the elegance of the theory, it's the issue that there are certain hard facts out there and that, if one is to understand them and move on to the next level, one must adopt and/or develop a model or paradigm which fits the data. And I really don't think that reincarnation ever get there. While I'm still open to learning facts and adding details to my own model, I find it a great deal more plausible and appealing than the idea of starting over...particularly starting over as a cow or monkey or earthworm!...every hundred years or so.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

MadZealot

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 11:39:28 pm »
If you truly have accumulated a 'karmic debt'...actually, IMHO, ANY kind of debt...YOU need to be the one to pay it off. Not some echo of you in centuries future, YOU.

Well, I think those systems which do believe in karmic debt and reincarnation also hold there is a 'core' You which survives from one life to the next. Maybe the relevant info is stored in the subconscious and uploaded, so to speak, when the 'core' You checks in with Godhead.

Quote
I'm sure that you're saying that this is ridiculous, that no one could ever begin to pay such a penalty.

And that's probably why it takes lifetimes. Strait is the gate, and all that.

There's really nothing "abhorrent" here. You don't have to agree, and you don't have to like it. But.


Spider Man 3 never happened. Change my mind.

Darkhawk

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 11:53:00 pm »
I want to be careful about putting words in others' mouths; I'm hoping that someone else will be willing to make the affirmative case for reincarnation.

The problem with this proposition lies in "the" and likely also in "case".

There are multiple systems in which the presence of reincarnation is an axiom.  There is no single theology that underlies those systems, no common set of axioms, so there cannot plausibly be a "the" affirmative case.

And the second thing is: axioms are not disputable.  They are the givens that one assumes, often in the absence of evidence, in order to build a logical structure afterwards.  One doesn't make a case for axioms; one argues from them.

You operate under a certain set of assumptions, and are not going to be argued out of them, because those are your core assumptions about how the universe works.  Other people have different assumptions.  Trying to argue about whose unprovable assumptions are the real unprovable assumptions is a pointless exercise.

(I mean: What's the affirmative case for your multiple-universes gradualist omnipotence?  There isn't one.  It's what you believe, for reasons you find sufficiently convincing.  You know you can't make headway against a hostile audience, and I know you do, because you've explicitly said that that is why you hang out here, where the standards of polite behaviour include, more or less, letting people have their axioms.)
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ehbowen

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 11:56:39 pm »
Well, I think those systems which do believe in karmic debt and reincarnation also hold there is a 'core' You which survives from one life to the next. Maybe the relevant info is stored in the subconscious and uploaded, so to speak, when the 'core' You checks in with Godhead.

Okay, then...where is Adolph Hitler's 'core you' right now? Who is in the process of paying off that debt? Does that personality even begin to understand that he is suffering because of decisions made and events occurring before he was born? If he does, does he accept that as just? Should he? (See the further discussion at the link I posted in paragraph 5.)

And that's probably why it takes lifetimes. Strait is the gate, and all that.

I think that one is more likely to make far more progress in a thousand years of focused effort than in a million restarts from ground zero.

There's really nothing "abhorrent" here. You don't have to agree, and you don't have to like it. But.

But. The question, in my mind, is: What IS?
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

ehbowen

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 12:07:36 am »
The problem with this proposition lies in "the" and likely also in "case".

There are multiple systems in which the presence of reincarnation is an axiom.  There is no single theology that underlies those systems, no common set of axioms, so there cannot plausibly be a "the" affirmative case.

And the second thing is: axioms are not disputable.  They are the givens that one assumes, often in the absence of evidence, in order to build a logical structure afterwards.  One doesn't make a case for axioms; one argues from them.

You operate under a certain set of assumptions, and are not going to be argued out of them, because those are your core assumptions about how the universe works.  Other people have different assumptions.  Trying to argue about whose unprovable assumptions are the real unprovable assumptions is a pointless exercise.

(I mean: What's the affirmative case for your multiple-universes gradualist omnipotence?  There isn't one.  It's what you believe, for reasons you find sufficiently convincing.  You know you can't make headway against a hostile audience, and I know you do, because you've explicitly said that that is why you hang out here, where the standards of polite behaviour include, more or less, letting people have their axioms.)

Well, while I can't argue against that last, I do also believe that if Copernicus and Galileo and those like them had just hewed to the standards of polite behaviour and let people have their axioms, there would be little or no chance that Neil Armstrong would ever have set foot on the Moon. I do believe in polite and friendly discussion, but I also believe that there is a time for debate.

I'm not saying that the human and even many of the divine personalities which believe this position are "evil"...although I do believe that evil is involved in an ultimate sense. Many of them may sincerely believe that, when they hold these axioms, they are speaking truth. But I think that, if they do so believe, they are sincerely wrong...and that re-examining their premises may help them gain understanding and make progress.

Again, while I don't intend to go around stomping my boots in this hither and yon, I do think that it's worthy of a thread in P & M. And I want to be up front about where I stand.

--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

MadZealot

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 12:14:25 am »
Okay, then...where is Adolph Hitler's 'core you' right now? Who is in the process of paying off that debt? Does that personality even begin to understand that he is suffering because of decisions made and events occurring before he was born? If he does, does he accept that as just? Should he?

Well, if the system holds, then I suppose 'core' Dolph could be suffering bigtime in a backward shithole somewhere. Maybe he's reincarnated as a progressive missionary somewhere, learning a thing or two about compassion. Maybe time is slippy and he has to live the agony of every poor soul who suffered and died in one of his camps. (Were I G-d, that'd be my pick.)

But when dealing with karmic, or any other form of divine 'justice', I'd say accepting it is not an option. Learning from it, however, is.

Quote
I think that one is more likely to make far more progress in a thousand years of focused effort than in a million restarts from ground zero.
Well, that's just like, your opinion, man.

But in other belief systems (which I need not name here), ol Dolphy can just go mea culpa, see how collossally he fucked up the errancy of his sin, and 'repent'. Then he gets to pass the gates and have latkes with Elvis and Mother Theresa.

Others would find that abhorrent.


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What IS?

Bacon. Forever and ever, amen.
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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 12:22:48 am »
Well, while I can't argue against that last, I do also believe that if Copernicus and Galileo and those like them had just hewed to the standards of polite behaviour and let people have their axioms, there would be little or no chance that Neil Armstrong would ever have set foot on the Moon.

Yellow flag on the play, fifteen yard penalty.

"Physics" is not "metaphysics". That's why they're different words.  (And "metaphysics" just means "the bit we wrote up after 'physics' in the traditional order of these treatises".)  Treating those axioms as being of the same kind is flatly erroneous.  The mistaking of mythological truths as being the same kind of thing as scientific facts is one of the most grievous intellectual sins, and it is impossible to have a good faith discussion when they are being confounded.
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ehbowen

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 12:29:19 am »
But in other belief systems (which I need not name here), ol Dolphy can just go mea culpa, see how collossally he fucked up the errancy of his sin, and 'repent'. Then he gets to pass the gates and have latkes with Elvis and Mother Theresa.

Others would find that abhorrent.

And that's certainly fair enough...and, actually, I agree with you, to a point. I believe that if you're thinking of God's Forgiveness, in the Christian sense, as a free pass, then you're going to find that you are quite wrong. IMO, it's much more akin to declaring bankruptcy and starting over again with a secured credit card. Ultimately, though, the books must balance.

While my God does believe in justice and punishment, it is with a purpose: To get us to accept responsibility for our actions. And so, if you repent...genuinely repent...then, in his eyes, you get to make that fresh start. If your repentance is of the, "Oh, I'm so sorry I got caught" variety, though...won't do you a whole lot of good.

Ultimately, again IMO, maturity and responsibility is evidenced by the unforced desire to make real restitution. And, yes, in many cases that may take several years to develop. But when you can look back on something that you did and say, "I'm ashamed I ever did that. I really wish I had a chance to set things right," then I believe that my God will give you that chance.
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

ehbowen

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 12:39:42 am »
"Physics" is not "metaphysics". That's why they're different words.  (And "metaphysics" just means "the bit we wrote up after 'physics' in the traditional order of these treatises".)  Treating those axioms as being of the same kind is flatly erroneous.  The mistaking of mythological truths as being the same kind of thing as scientific facts is one of the most grievous intellectual sins, and it is impossible to have a good faith discussion when they are being confounded.

You appear to be arguing that truth and precision in the spiritual and eternal realm is less important than it is in the temporal and physical realm. With that I disagree.
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2018, 01:34:40 am »
You appear to be arguing that truth and precision in the spiritual and eternal realm is less important than it is in the temporal and physical realm. With that I disagree.

I am arguing that you should present a consistent, coherent, and well-formed argument.  If you wish to disagree with that, that is upon your soul.
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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 11:11:36 am »

The issue I have with these quotes is that their authors have apparently never come to grips with the concept of, "eternity." I fully expect to outlive this universe. Several universes, in fact. Now, it may not appear that way to you, as the timeline branch which we are currently following decomposes and the core you (temporarily) loses sight of the core me...but I expect for my consciousness and intellect to continue on without a break. If "getting it right" means that I need to sit through long division in fourth grade yet again...I'll take my chances on getting it wrong!

"Getting it right" does not mean to sit through long division in fourth grade yet again. It means to attempt to advance spiritually, the goal of which is moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Though the soul may not remember any of its past lives ("The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have had many births, O Arjuna. You have forgotten them, while I remember them all" Bhagavad Gita 4.5), there are karmic effects, gunas (qualities, attributes) that are attached to the soul and accompany it. An ant, a baby, an abused animal, a young child with cancer, or any number of beings cannot create new (kriyamana) karma, but its life is to use up karma. And karma is not a single thing. There are at least three main forms of karma (summarized from Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma_in_Hinduism#Definitions):

Everything that we have ever thought, spoken, done or caused is karma, as is also that which we think, speak or do this very moment.[2] Hindu scriptures divide karma into three kinds:[2]

Sanchita is the accumulated karma. It would be impossible to experience and endure all karmas in one lifetime. From this stock of sanchita karma, a handful is taken out to serve one lifetime and this handful of actions, which have begun to bear fruit and which will be exhausted only on their fruit being enjoyed and not otherwise, is known as prarabdha karma.

Prarabdha Fruit-bearing karma is the portion of accumulated karma that has "ripened" and appears as a particular problem in the present life.

Kriyamana is everything that we produce in the current life. All kriyamana karmas flow in to sanchita karma and consequently shape our future. Only in human life we can change our future destiny. After death we lose Kriya Shakti (ability to act) and do (kriyamana) karma until we are born again in another human body.


Quote
I used the word "abhorrent" above, and I need to explain. If you truly have accumulated a 'karmic debt'...actually, IMHO, ANY kind of debt...YOU need to be the one to pay it off. Not some echo of you in centuries future, YOU.

It is the same "you". The soul does not die, it was never created, it will never be uncreated. It transcends time, space, universes, dimensions. "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be" - Bhagavad Gita 2.12

Quote
I'm sure that you're saying that this is ridiculous, that no one could ever begin to pay such a penalty. It only goes to show that you yourself have not come to grips with the concept of eternity, nor have you internalized Jesus's warning in the Sermon on the Mount about not being released "until you have paid the very last penny [Matt. 5:26]." I'm sure that many will ask my God, in so many words, to be given a break...only to hear him reply, "What, do you want a quantity discount?" They're much more likely to be assessed a quantity penalty!

Do we know for a fact he was referring to only one lifetime? It sounds an awful lot like samsara, the cycle of rebirth until the debt is paid off.

How does a serial killer pay this debt through one lifetime? See, what I find abhorrent is that a God, any God, being omniscient of past, present and future, would give any creature only one shot at redemption or liberation, knowing that for flawed humans it's not going to be possible, and condemning the soul to eternal torment. Sorry, no work for me.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Jainarayan

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 11:37:50 am »
Okay, then...where is Adolph Hitler's 'core you' right now? Who is in the process of paying off that debt? Does that personality even begin to understand that he is suffering because of decisions made and events occurring before he was born? If he does, does he accept that as just? Should he?

That would be cheating and defeat the purpose. Everyone's duty is to live as dharmic a life as possible no matter who or what you were previously, or will be. One of the last lines in the movie Gods of Egypt (how can one not like a movie with Nicolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler in skimpy tunics?) is "What we do in this life matters".  It doesn't matter if I knew I was Vlad the Impaler. There is no way in one lifetime I can remove the karmic debt of his atrocities. To condemn me to eternal torture for that is just as atrocious, considering that in future lives I just might do good that otherwise would not happen if I were burning in Hell, thrown there by a God who knows how things would play out (which I don't believe in anyway). My only duty now in this life is to do my dharma, my path, duty. And everyone's svadharma (personal duty) is to live a proper and good life. Whether one does or not will affect their karmic debt.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Altair

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 08:45:49 pm »
Redirecting from another thread...

As with heliocentric and geocentric models of cosmology, both cannot be right.

I reject your analogy. We're not talking about empirical reality here. I for one am reasonably comfortable holding two seemingly contradictory metaphysical notions in my head at the same time, and allowing that different perspectives and interpretations can offer valuable insights while both, in their own way, remain true.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2018, 09:29:35 pm »
Redirecting from another thread...

Let me first say that if anyone here takes the position, "true for you, not true for me," you've already lost me. Truth is and must be absolute, else it be not Truth. If you assert otherwise, you are yourself asserting an absolute in the opposite direction. I am willing to consider the possibility that we can both be wrong; the chances that we are both right are slim and none...and Slim just left town.


Well, it is possible that different people have different experiences after death. What you are identifying here as two mutually incompatible views may, in fact, be no more contradictory than the fact that some people become auto mechanics and others become administrative assistants.

However, I imagine that you are instead focusing on the payment of "debt" and the contradictions between how that "debt" is paid in your faith and the varying Dharmic religions.

But if we are going to discuss this "debt", I think it is important to understand where the various traditions think this "debt" comes from.

Now as far as I understand, in the Christian tradition, this comes from the (hypothetical) Eve and her decision? And that this debt (sin?) has been passed down, and requires the sacrifice of Jesus to free us from it? Would that be (a tremendously simplified) accurate summary of the basic proposition?

Becuase if that is the case, to my mind at least, there are a significant number of assertions here that in and of themselves are so flawed that they render the whole proposition meaningless. I could point to the utter lack of evidence that humans descend from a single pair of humans, to the practical impossibility of producing a breeding population from two individuals, to the overwhelming evidence humans gradually developed over millions of years, and those are just some of the problems with one of your underlying propositions. This process can be repeated almost ad infinitum with every single assertion that your notion of debt requires.

You've said that "it's the issue that there are certain hard facts out there and that, if one is to understand them and move on to the next level, one must adopt and/or develop a model or paradigm which fits the data", but in the case of the model you are proposing, I do not see a single instance where "the model fits the data". The Dharmic religions may have unverifiable axioms, but at least those don't start by contradicting everything we know about basic biology.

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Re: Reincarnation. Or Not.
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2018, 11:40:54 pm »
Well, it is possible that different people have different experiences after death.

Oh, I'm not arguing that at all! And I'm not arguing that the subjective impressions of some people, both in this realm and in that unseen, may seem to indicate in the direction of reincarnation. But my strong suspicion is that those subjective impressions are the result of deliberate deception by parties that choose to remain in the shadows. So when good ol' Charlie disappears from the astral plane, and Tom, Dick, and Harry comment that Charlie is going back to Earth to be reborn, what actually happens is that ol' Charlie drops down the chute into the Second Death, and some salvage spirit gleans what he can of Charlie's emotions and memories and does his best to graft them onto Frank in an effort to persuade Frank that he's actually Charlie reincarnated. Frank believes it; Tom, Dick, and Harry believe it; but the real ol' Charlie is now trapped in some oubliette as the pressure builds in an attempt to break him and get him to give up hope of ever escaping or even being able to communicate his distress to any potential source of rescue.

Now that's all speculative. But what isn't speculative is the theses that Jainarayan advanced above, that the reincarnee may not remember any details of his past life(s) at all...but is still expected to learn from them. And that he has to pay off the debt that was accumulated by the personality that he never knew. It's exactly as fair as if I, having just paid my mortgage off, got slapped with a bill for two hundred and fifty thousand that was accumulated by Jim Smith of Cheyenne, Wyoming back in the 1920s. I don't know Jim Smith; I don't have any discernable connection with Jim Smith...why am I stuck paying off his bankruptcy and foreclosure? What sense does that make? What kind of real learning could ever be accomplished...at least by the unwashed masses who don't have access to divine memory? How could any kid ever advance past potty training if he had no memory of anything he did yesterday?

Now, I'm not arguing that there is no place for anything resembling reincarnation. My world view had better accommodate the concept of incarnation if I intend to keep calling myself Christian. And it does; not only for Jesus but also, I think, for the occasional angel or other spiritual entity who has such a passion for events on Earth that he or she is willing to take the plunge and dive in. Now, while I believe that many of them can "manifest" in such a physical form as to be able to interact with humans and enjoy some of this world's physical attractions, by "incarnation" I mean going all the way...all of their being into an embryo and a baby and growing up subject to human weaknesses and human vulnerabilities. But, while I can postulate this happening, I also believe that at some point...almost certainly prior to adolescence...their pre-existent spiritual nature fully unites with their human nature and they remember ALL the details. (Basing this off a little snippet of Jesus's life in Luke 2:41-49.)

But while I see a place for that exception that proves the rule, I think that reincarnation as a rule is untenable as a basis for any branch of Reality. I see it as fundamentally unjust (Want to discuss the concept of justice in relation to hell? I'm perfectly willing to join you if you open up a thread in Non-Pagan Religions.) and irredeemably flawed. If any deity out there thinks that it's a workable manner to structure a realm they believe they have dominion over, I would advise them to keep a look out over their shoulder. Someone who is bigger, stronger, and more righteous than they are may be looking for them. And they may not be in a good mood.

However, I imagine that you are instead focusing on the payment of "debt" and the contradictions between how that "debt" is paid in your faith and the varying Dharmic religions.

But if we are going to discuss this "debt", I think it is important to understand where the various traditions think this "debt" comes from.

Now as far as I understand, in the Christian tradition, this comes from the (hypothetical) Eve and her decision? And that this debt (sin?) has been passed down, and requires the sacrifice of Jesus to free us from it? Would that be (a tremendously simplified) accurate summary of the basic proposition?

Becuase if that is the case, to my mind at least, there are a significant number of assertions here that in and of themselves are so flawed that they render the whole proposition meaningless. I could point to the utter lack of evidence that humans descend from a single pair of humans, to the practical impossibility of producing a breeding population from two individuals, to the overwhelming evidence humans gradually developed over millions of years, and those are just some of the problems with one of your underlying propositions. This process can be repeated almost ad infinitum with every single assertion that your notion of debt requires.

You've said that "it's the issue that there are certain hard facts out there and that, if one is to understand them and move on to the next level, one must adopt and/or develop a model or paradigm which fits the data", but in the case of the model you are proposing, I do not see a single instance where "the model fits the data". The Dharmic religions may have unverifiable axioms, but at least those don't start by contradicting everything we know about basic biology.

Shifting gears: The Genesis account does not contradict everything we know about basic biology. For over 30 years it's been widely accepted that the entire human race is descended from a single female. I call her Eve and place her in ancient Mesopotamia about six thousand years ago; they call her Eve and place her somewhere in East Africa 100,000-230,000 years ago. This is a topic worthy of discussion in its own thread; I'm not going to be dogmatic about Archbishop Ussher's chronology as it was apparently common practice in the ancient world to abbreviate genealogies to facilitate memorization. Also, I believe that history has taken shape in layers, and that Earth 1.0 (before the Flood) was upgraded to Earth 2.0 at some point during or after the Flood in such a seamless way that the transition was never noticed; were it not for the Genesis record we would have no knowledge of it at all.

Back to topic: I recognize different categories of debt. First is those debts which you have contracted through your own freely chosen actions, such as the mortgage you signed for. Second, though, and also important, is that which you share through your participation. Now the legalities of, say, a joint stock corporation may shield you from the repercussions of a federal court...but ultimately, I believe, you will be held accountable for that which you allowed to continue happening. So, if there is some major online merchandiser out there treating their warehouse help and delivery drivers worse than slaves, the managers who impose that treatment will be accountable directly...but if your 401K holds a mutual fund which holds their stock, and you haven't done your dead level best to change corporate policy or else divest it, you yourself are holding a goodly part of that wet, slimy bag. Ultimately, I believe, fictitious legal personalities (corporations) are not liable...people are.

And I do believe that a lot of what's going on now, behind the scenes, is a full-throttle investigation aimed at dissecting every action, every decision, and breaking it down to its component parts. And not just the actions in this human world, but also the spiritual forces "behind the throne." And people are being given a choice to "turn themselves in" through repentance...or by being terminated with extreme prejudice by the other side; think (possibly) Seth Rich...or to keep thinking, "I'm getting away with it," and continue going about their merry ways in this world without a care. I think that the latter group's accounts are accumulating exponentially...and when the Collections Agent finally shows up, he's not going to be inclined to settle.

So, yes, I do believe that we share in the debt which has been accumulated by humanity as a whole to the extent of our acquiescence to the evil which persists in the world. And also, on a smaller scale, that which is owed by our government or ethnic heritage or family history and so forth. But I also believe that if and when you are willing to stop pointing fingers and shoulder your own responsibility, it will become possible in the long run...perhaps the VERY long run...to pay it off. And then, you will be in a position to enjoy the dividends on that which you did right. I happen to think that my own God has structured Reality in such a manner that punishments are always temporary, but that REAL rewards are eternal.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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