Summary: Recent polls report that 1 in 5 American "born again" Christians believe in reincarnation. Most alarming is the fact that the number is climbing. This study examines the erroneous claims that reincarnation is biblical.
Our subject for study may seem arcane to most of us. However, as we shall see, it is a relevant issue for us to consider.
First, let’s define reincarnation. In its essentials, it a belief that a soul is eternal. The soul takes on a physical body. The physical body dies, but the soul lives on and returns in a physical body. Furthermore, this rebirth of the soul in another body can occur numerous times (some believe reincarnation can involve hundreds, if not thousands, of different lives).
Although there is disagreement and debate among believers in reincarnation in other aspects, this idea remains consistent.
As ridiculous as that may sound, this has been believed by a segment of people for thousands of years. There are over 1.5 billion people in the world today that believe in reincarnation. They primarily live in India and the Far East as reincarnation is a core belief of Hinduism and is believed by large portions of Buddhists and Sikhs.
More relevant is the results of a January 2003 Harris Poll® which found that 27% of Americans believe in reincarnation. They believe that they were once another person in a previous life. This includes 40% of Americans aged 25 to 29.
What is more disturbing is that the same poll found that 21% of Americans who profess to be “born again” Christians believe in reincarnation. A recent Gallup poll revealed the same figure and also learned that 24% of Catholics and 19% of Protestants believe in reincarnation. What is horrifying is that the trend of belief in the concept of reincarnation by American non-Christian and professing Christians is increasing.
How is this possible? How is it that even 1 in 5 professing “born again” Christians would adopt this doctrine?
I think there may be a few reasons. One of them is that leaders of Eastern Religions and the New Age Movement in this Nation are actively trying to convert professing Christians.
Over the last twenty to thirty years, numerous individuals have been trying to convince Americans - by means of books, videos and radio and television programs - that reincarnation is Biblical. They are preaching that reincarnation was believed and taught by Jesus and His disciples!
Let us examine the primary so-called “PROOF TEXTS” of those who assert that reincarnation is taught in the New Testament:
John 9:1-2, “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’"
To understand why this passage is believed to teach reincarnation, we must understand that the Eastern belief in reincarnation is inseparably linked with the “law of Karma.”
Basically, the law of Karma is, in modern parlance, "what goes around, comes around."
The ultimate goal of the Hindu is to reach a spiritual level where they escape from the endless round of birth, death, and rebirth. That usually means either achieving godhead or the dissolving of all personality into the unimaginable abyss of Brahman.
If you lived a devout and charitable life, your next life may be characterized by fame or fortune, good health, or inner and outer peace.