Reincarnation

Feb 2019
197
Chicago
#31
In an earlier post it was suggested that these verses from the Christian Bible support reincarnation:
I humbly suggest that there are other ways to understand them.

Venu: I am glad to note that you have your own understanding of these Biblical verses. See my comments below.

...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap - Galatians 6:7
— what he does in this life has consequences, both in the physical world and the spiritual world.

Venu: I agree and this is called the law of karma by the religions of India. Not sure why the Bahai do not seem to acknowledge the law formally.

....for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword - Matthew 26:52
— refers specifically to the practice of violence which has consequences in this life, which leads both literally and spiritually to death by violence.

Venu: What you say is not true in all cases without reincarnation. For example the Greek emperor Alexander who waged unnecessary wars and massacred countless people did not die a physically violent death. Another example is the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb who killed his brothers and imprisoned his own father to grab the throne and later killed thousands of civilians and had his men rape numerous women when they were captured as war booty. He died a non-violent death. So for this verse from the Bible to be true in the case of people like Alexander and Aurangazeb, they would have to be born again in human form.

“Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? - John 9:2:
—This is a very profound question that leads to considering God’s justice and mercy. In the Old Testament, it says the sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the fourth generation (Exodus20:5), so Jesus might be referring to that belief, but later in th Bible, such as Ezekiel 18, God says that children are not bound by their parent’s sins. And Jesus is helping people understand that. There is nothing to imply sins committed in a past life.

Venu: How do you apply your understanding to the case of a child that dies in a few hours after birth due to a congenital medical condition. What does the child accomplish by such a birth and how is God fair to that child? Does the child go to heaven or hell after death. The child has not done anything good to go to heaven nor has it done anything bad to go to hell. So where does it go and why is God treating this soul differently from the ones that go to heaven or hell? The law of karma and reincarnation can explain the situation as follows. Some people who are emotionally and mentally unstable commit suicide. In the process they reject human life that is a precious gift of God. So when they try to reincarnate, they are denied a proper human birth for a certain number of attempts until the karma related to suicide is worked out. This happens through miscarriage, abortions and untimely death soon after birth.


Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out - Revelation 3:12

— shall not go out of the temple, in other words, remain faithful. It has nothing to do with past lives.

Venu: You haven't explained the "overcometh" part. What needs to be overcome and why?


What it means is that if you overcome your karma, you will permanently become part of God (reunited) and will not go out in to the world again (reincarnate)

—There is no tradition in Jewish or Christian belief to support this interpretation.

Venu: Here is a verse from Jewish scripture supporting reincarnation
The souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth, until they have acquired the condition which fits them for reunion with God. (Zohar, Vol. II:99)
I have responded inline.
 
Aug 2019
21
Berlin
#32
Let me add something:

You told, also in some statements before, that "it is not true that Christianity does not teach reincarnation", also in the statement now, that there are Jewish scriptures supporting reincarnation.

If we talk about religions, then we must see what they teach, not what is in their scriptures. If someone says, that Christianity doesn't teach reincarnation, then it means that there is no Christian confession who support the idea of reincarnation. The problem is often, that the teachings/theology drifting away from the scriptures. The problem based on the speculations about the scriptures over the centuries. If we speculate further about these scriptures and create our own philosophy, then we a part of the same problem.
 
Jul 2017
442
Olympia, WA, USA
#33
Very interesting, because we enter the large field of definitions. In der Bhagavad-gita it is written that the soul, before it become manifested, has the state "not manifested".
Regarding the soul, I only go with what was revealed by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi. I do not believe that the revelations from past religions exist in their original form. Moreover, they are subject to all kinds of distortions that enter the picture whenever humans become involved with scriptures.

“This is the Day when the loved ones of God should keep their eyes directed towards His Manifestation, and fasten them upon whatsoever that Manifestation may be pleased to reveal. Certain traditions of bygone ages rest on no foundations whatever, while the notions entertained by past generations, and which they have recorded in their books, have, for the most part, been influenced by the desires of a corrupt inclination. Thou dost witness how most of the commentaries and interpretations of the words of God, now current amongst men, are devoid of truth. Their falsity hath, in some cases, been exposed when the intervening veils were rent asunder. They themselves have acknowledged their failure in apprehending the meaning of any of the words of God.”
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 171-172


I also do not think there is any need to look to revelations from past religions because the former Dispensations have been unconditionally abrogated by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. Of course, I am a Baha'i, so I already have my work cut out for me, so I have no time to study older religions. There are many people who have no religion and no belief in God so it is a better use of my time to share my beliefs with them as opposed to trying to become an expert on religions of the past whose Dispensations have been abrogated.

“In conclusion of this theme, I feel, it should be stated that the Revelation identified with Bahá’u’lláh abrogates unconditionally all the Dispensations gone before it, upholds uncompromisingly the eternal verities they enshrine, recognizes firmly and absolutely the Divine origin of their Authors, preserves inviolate the sanctity of their authentic Scriptures, disclaims any intention of lowering the status of their Founders or of abating the spiritual ideals they inculcate, clarifies and correlates their functions, reaffirms their common, their unchangeable and fundamental purpose, reconciles their seemingly divergent claims and doctrines, readily and gratefully recognizes their respective contributions to the gradual unfoldment of one Divine Revelation, unhesitatingly acknowledges itself to be but one link in the chain of continually progressive Revelations, supplements their teachings with such laws and ordinances as conform to the imperative needs, and are dictated by the growing receptivity, of a fast evolving and constantly changing society, and proclaims its readiness and ability to fuse and incorporate the contending sects and factions into which they have fallen into a universal Fellowship, functioning within the framework, and in accordance with the precepts, of a divinely conceived, a world-unifying, a world-redeeming Order.” God Passes By, p. 100
 
Jul 2017
442
Olympia, WA, USA
#34
It's interesting that people says they have a memory of past life. But primarily for me are the scriptures more topic of interest.
I was not sure what is in the Writings about reincarnation, so I decided t look into it further.
If we are Baha'is, In order to be faithful to the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, we must accept the Writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative.

Reincarnation and the Nature and Progress of the Soul



From letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to individual believers

12. As to your question concerning reincarnation: The Bahá’í view of the life after death can in no way be reconciled with certain Indian and Sufi doctrines which teach that the human soul can pass from one body to another. This doctrine, known as metempsychosis, is not only too materialistic in its view, but is purely imaginary and fatalistic. Bahá’u’lláh teaches that after its separation from the body, the human soul begins to lead a new life, of which we can have no definite knowledge, in the same way as the child in the embryo cannot visualize the type of life it is destined to lead in this world.
(10 August 1934)

13. The Bahá’í view of “reincarnation” is essentially different from the Hindu conception. The Bahá’ís believe in the return of the attributes and qualities, but maintain that the essence or the reality of things cannot be made to return. Every being keeps its own individuality, but some of his qualities can be transmitted. The doctrine of metempsychosis upheld by the Hindus is fallacious.
(27 March 1938)

14. Evolution in the life of the individual starts with the formation of the human embryo and passes through various stages, and even continues after death in another form. The human spirit is capable of infinite development.

Man’s identity or rather his individuality is never lost. His reality as a person remains intact throughout the various stages of his development. He does not pre-exist in any form before coming into this world....

The passage on page 156 of “Gleanings” regarding the evolution of the soul after death clearly proves that the soul after its separation from the body keeps its individuality and its consciousness both in relation to other souls and to the human beings in this world.
(26 November 1939)

15. No Revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception; we do not believe it goes on to another planet.
(1 April 1946)

16. Regarding your question about reincarnation: we Bahá’ís do not believe that one individual soul keeps returning to this earthly life in different bodies. This is a very ancient belief, and based on a great truth—namely that the soul does go on developing and unfolding and returning towards its Creator. But the concept of its returning to this physical world is erroneous, and an outgrowth of man-made doctrines which have grown up about the fundamental concept of the progress of the soul. It would be like putting the child over and over again back into the world of the womb. It is unnecessary; but from state to state spiritually, after death, the soul does go on and go higher, so to speak.
(26 December 1948)

17. We know from His Teachings that reincarnation does not exist. We come on to this planet once only. Our life here is like the baby in the womb of its mother, which develops in that state what is necessary for its entire life after it is born. The same is true of us. Spiritually we must develop here what we will require for the life after death. In that future life, God, through His mercy, can help us to evolve characteristics which we neglected to develop while we were on this earthly plane. It is not necessary for us to come back and be born into another body in order to advance spiritually and grow closer to God.

This is the Bahá’í Teaching, and this is what the followers of Bahá’u’lláh must accept, regardless of what experiences other people may feel they have. You yourself must surely know that modern psychology has taught that the capacity of the human mind for believing what it imagines is almost infinite. Because people think they have a certain type of experience, think they remember something of a previous life, does not mean they actually had the experience, or existed previously. The power of their mind would be quite sufficient to make them believe firmly such a thing had happened.

We must use the Writings of the Prophets as our measurement. If Bahá’u’lláh had attached the slightest importance to occult experiences, to the seeing of auras, to the hearing of mystic voices; if He had believed that reincarnation was a fact, He, Himself, would have mentioned all of these things in His Teachings. The fact that He passed over them in silence shows that to Him, they had either no importance or no reality, and were consequently not worthy to take up His time as the Divine Educator of the human race.

We must turn our faces away from these things, and toward the actual practice of His Teachings in our everyday life through our Bahá’í Administration, and in our contact with other people and the examples we give.
(22 April 1954)

Reincarnation and the Nature and Progress of the Soul
 
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Aug 2019
21
Berlin
#35
Regarding the soul, I only go with what was revealed by Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi. I do not believe that the revelations from past religions exist in their original form. Moreover, they are subject to all kinds of distortions that enter the picture whenever humans become involved with scriptures.
I agree with you in this point. What I only wanted to show was the similarity of your statement, that "the soul of all humans comes into being at the moment of conception" and the idea mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita, that the soul before creation is unmanifested.

Of course, I am a Baha'i, so I already have my work cut out for me, so I have no time to study older religions
In the little book The Importance of Deepening our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, January 1983, we find the following statement:
122 Shoghi Effendi wishes me to express his deepfelt appreciation of your intention to study the Qur'án. The knowledge of the revealed holy Book is, indeed, indispensable to every Bahá'í who wishes to adequately understand the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. And in view of that the Guardian has been invariably encouraging the friends to make as thorough a study of this Book as possible, particularly in their summer schools.
Also I wish to add that every Baha'i is a seeker for the truth, and because of this it could be necessary to study the old revelations. Often there are links from texts of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi to verses of the old revelations. Important is to read these old revelations under the light of the revelation of Baha'u'llah to realize the hidden truth.
 
Jul 2019
1
Sweden
#36
Hi! Have been signed up for a while but not commented yet. So, interesting to be acquainted more with Bahaii!!
Seth


Skickat från min iPhone med Tapatalk
 
Jul 2017
442
Olympia, WA, USA
#38
In the little book The Importance of Deepening our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, January 1983, we find the following statement:

Also I wish to add that every Baha'i is a seeker for the truth, and because of this it could be necessary to study the old revelations. Often there are links from texts of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi to verses of the old revelations. Important is to read these old revelations under the light of the revelation of Baha'u'llah to realize the hidden truth.
Of course there is spiritual truth in the older revelations. I only wish I had time to read more. I barely have time to read the Baha'i Writings and I usually only read them because I am answering questions people have on forums or responding to them. But I have learned so much posting on forums, also about the other religions.
 
Aug 2019
21
Berlin
#39
Yes, time is often a problem.

Concerning reincarnation:

Helmuth von Glasenapp, a German indologist and religious scholar, wrote in his book "The five major religions", that the belief of reincarnation cannot be found in the early Vedic scriptures., e.g. Rig Veda or others. This belief of reincarnation can be found earliest in the Upanishads in 800 B.C.
 
Feb 2019
197
Chicago
#40
I was not sure what is in the Writings about reincarnation, so I decided t look into it further.
If we are Baha'is, In order to be faithful to the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, we must accept the Writings of Shoghi Effendi as authoritative.

Reincarnation and the Nature and Progress of the Soul



From letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to individual believers

12. As to your question concerning reincarnation: The Bahá’í view of the life after death can in no way be reconciled with certain Indian and Sufi doctrines which teach that the human soul can pass from one body to another. This doctrine, known as metempsychosis, is not only too materialistic in its view, but is purely imaginary and fatalistic. Bahá’u’lláh teaches that after its separation from the body, the human soul begins to lead a new life, of which we can have no definite knowledge, in the same way as the child in the embryo cannot visualize the type of life it is destined to lead in this world.
(10 August 1934)

13. The Bahá’í view of “reincarnation” is essentially different from the Hindu conception. The Bahá’ís believe in the return of the attributes and qualities, but maintain that the essence or the reality of things cannot be made to return. Every being keeps its own individuality, but some of his qualities can be transmitted. The doctrine of metempsychosis upheld by the Hindus is fallacious.
(27 March 1938)

14. Evolution in the life of the individual starts with the formation of the human embryo and passes through various stages, and even continues after death in another form. The human spirit is capable of infinite development.

Man’s identity or rather his individuality is never lost. His reality as a person remains intact throughout the various stages of his development. He does not pre-exist in any form before coming into this world....

The passage on page 156 of “Gleanings” regarding the evolution of the soul after death clearly proves that the soul after its separation from the body keeps its individuality and its consciousness both in relation to other souls and to the human beings in this world.
(26 November 1939)

15. No Revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception; we do not believe it goes on to another planet.
(1 April 1946)

16. Regarding your question about reincarnation: we Bahá’ís do not believe that one individual soul keeps returning to this earthly life in different bodies. This is a very ancient belief, and based on a great truth—namely that the soul does go on developing and unfolding and returning towards its Creator. But the concept of its returning to this physical world is erroneous, and an outgrowth of man-made doctrines which have grown up about the fundamental concept of the progress of the soul. It would be like putting the child over and over again back into the world of the womb. It is unnecessary; but from state to state spiritually, after death, the soul does go on and go higher, so to speak.
(26 December 1948)

17. We know from His Teachings that reincarnation does not exist. We come on to this planet once only. Our life here is like the baby in the womb of its mother, which develops in that state what is necessary for its entire life after it is born. The same is true of us. Spiritually we must develop here what we will require for the life after death. In that future life, God, through His mercy, can help us to evolve characteristics which we neglected to develop while we were on this earthly plane. It is not necessary for us to come back and be born into another body in order to advance spiritually and grow closer to God.

This is the Bahá’í Teaching, and this is what the followers of Bahá’u’lláh must accept, regardless of what experiences other people may feel they have. You yourself must surely know that modern psychology has taught that the capacity of the human mind for believing what it imagines is almost infinite. Because people think they have a certain type of experience, think they remember something of a previous life, does not mean they actually had the experience, or existed previously. The power of their mind would be quite sufficient to make them believe firmly such a thing had happened.

We must use the Writings of the Prophets as our measurement. If Bahá’u’lláh had attached the slightest importance to occult experiences, to the seeing of auras, to the hearing of mystic voices; if He had believed that reincarnation was a fact, He, Himself, would have mentioned all of these things in His Teachings. The fact that He passed over them in silence shows that to Him, they had either no importance or no reality, and were consequently not worthy to take up His time as the Divine Educator of the human race.

We must turn our faces away from these things, and toward the actual practice of His Teachings in our everyday life through our Bahá’í Administration, and in our contact with other people and the examples we give.
(22 April 1954)

Reincarnation and the Nature and Progress of the Soul
Effendi does not know what he is talking about. If he did, he would have addressed the questions I have raised in post # 19 which have been raised by people in every religion and place. If a religion teaches that God is fair, loving and kind but cannot explain why God is so unfair that one soul is born in a poor family to starve to death while another in a rich family to have more food than is necessary, then there is something missing in that religion and such a religion is the Bahai faith. Thanks to the ignorance of leaders like Effendi.
 

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