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Is Reincarnation Real? Take a Quick Poll

Central to a number of religions is the belief that humans are reborn in the flesh — or reincarnated. Reincarnation is taught primarily in the Eastern religions, such as in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Western culture, the growing number of New Age and Neo-Pagan believers embrace the idea of reincarnation. Esoteric types of philosophies, such as Kabbalah, Gnosticism and Esoteric Christianity may also teach reincarnation. Some argue that the concept of reincarnation is alluded to in New Testament, citing when John the Baptist is regarded as a reincarnation of Elijah (Matthew 11:14 and 17:11, Mark 9:11-13).

We've closed this poll due to migration issues when updating to a new server. The majority believed in reincarnation. Feel free to comment below!

graveyard sceneCFree.org reports that early references to reincarnation mentioned in the New Testament were removed in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as their official religion. By the sixth century, the Second Council of Constantinople officially declared reincarnation to be heresy. During these same early Christian times, many Church fathers and even the Gnostics accepted reincarnation, though they were politically forced to keep their beliefs a secret due to fear of persecution. These persecutions continued as late as the twelfth century.  PastLives.org asserts that:

The first 300 years after Jesus' death, there were many variations of Christian doctrine as the new religion spread throughout the Roman Empire. A number of factions developed, some believing in reincarnation, some not, and the factions were frequently in conflict. In an attempt to consolidate his crumbling Roman Empire, the Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. offered his official support to Christians if they would settle their differences and establish a unified set of beliefs. The resulting Council of Nicaea put together the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church and established a new doctrine, from which reincarnation was omitted. Christians were instructed to drop any belief that was not covered in the doctrine. However, the belief in reincarnation did not disappear easily, and in fact persisted for centuries afterwards. It the early 13th century, the Pope launched a crusade against the Cathars, a reincarnationist Christian sect in Italy and Southern France, and wiped them out completely. This, and the ensuing Spanish Inquisition with its fatal intolerance for any deviance from strict church doctrine, was finally effective in forcing Christians to give up their belief in reincarnation — at least publicly!

Children and Reincarnation

Children are thought to remember their past lives more readily than adults. Charles Gibson featured a young boy and his down-to-earth parents on an issue of Primetime, which explored the subject of reincarnation. This story is interesting because the little boy who allegedly remembered his past life had died in World War II and some of his buddies and a sister from that life are still alive.

Western Culture's Belief in Past Lives

A 2005 Harris Poll found that 21% of American adults believe in reincarnation, and 25% are unsure. Although it did not give the citation to the Gallup Poll, an article appearing on Catholic Planet noted that according to the poll, 25% of Catholics in the United States believed in reincarnation. The article, which was apparently intended for a Chinese audience, attempted to tie China's growing suicide rate with a belief in reincarnation and warned Catholics that the church did not believe in reincarnation and that, "As parents and elders, it is our duty to correct any misconception regarding reincarnation."

Past Life Regression and Reincarnation

In this 1983 documentary with Australian hypnotherapist Peter Ramster, four women are regressed to their past lives. They then visit the places they remembered while under hypnosis. The results reported on this documentary are fascinating. Could they be faked? Sure. Nonetheless, it is an interesting documentary. If these experiments were not staged, the stone in part 10 is truly remarkable.

About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
  • meredith

    Hbr 9:27 " Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"

    I think any "chrisian" group who teaches reincarnation is Christian by their definition not the Bibles. With everything we have to research this theory in light of scripture, not experience or emotion b/c that can be entirely misleading.

    Jesus taught us what happens when we die…..we go to Hell or Heaven. There is no purgatory, no second chance to get it right fater we die. The choice is entirely our own. He taught us that to be with Him in Heaven we only need belive He is God and reckognize or sin nature and turn to Him instead. PRetty simple really but sadly the world rejects this simple Gracious invitation.

    Elijah NEVER DIED! Elijah was raptured by God….where he went is a mystery….is He in Heaven this begs many qws….Elijah is to return as one of the 2 Witnesses that will testify to the World that Jesus Christ is the TRUE MEssiah. John the Baptist was a type of Elijah but clearly NOT Elijah. He will be killed in the Tribulation.

    They other witness may be Enoch ( also raptured) or someone else…

    • http://www.notguru.com Urbain

      The Elijah story is an interesting one, that has created a lot of speculation. Your explanation makes biblical sense.

      In the context of heaven and hell, it seems to me that the predestination language in the bible paints a pretty grim picture. If the bible is indeed inerrant, then predestination must be addressed.

      Basically, God makes some people who are destined to go to heaven and others who will go to hell. There is nothing they can do, regardless of whether they believe in and follow Jesus, to change the will of God.

      In Romans 9, Paul makes this point pretty clear.

      Other verses concerning predestination include:

      For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate … Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.– Romans 8:29-30

      He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us … according to the good pleasure of his will. — Ephesians 1:4-5

      In some ways, reincarnation seems to be a more merciful answer than predestination and arbitrary mercy bestowed by God.

  • Attrus

    ~~

    Here's my thing…

    …I do not think Christ would have accepted his fate had he known he might return to face it all over again. I wonder if the belief in reincarnation is more psychological than spiritual? Perhaps it stems from the desire to right past wrongs and to address personal regret.

    Also, I believe that heaven and hell are metaphors to describe the anguish or bliss we would experience in moving away from, or drawing closer to, our Creator.

    Remember, please, the bible was not written by Christ or God…it was penned by men. Men who lived in a savage and barbaric time when the ideas I have mentioned above would have been viewed as lunacy, heresy and, most likely, punishable by death. Hence the use of metaphor and parable. Unfortunately, metaphor and parable became literal truth…

    I think that, collectively, we have reached the point where we can shrug off the past and start to look at the bible with new eyes. We have the capacity to understand many of the abstractions in that holy book. We simply need to accept that we are more than we think…that we are indeed spiritual reflections of God. He did, after all, create us in His own image.

    Attrus

    ~~

  • http://antiquingwithdecodiva.com Deco Diva

    This is an extremely informative article covering all sides of the argument. I have long known that life continues after the death of the body, but have been unsure whether that means only a spiritual life, or the spirit comes back into another earthly body to continue the learning experiences of this earth. The article did not help me reach a conclusion, but gave me a great deal to think about in my continuing reflections on this issue.

    • http://www.notguru.com Urbain

      I doubt any of us will truly know, Diva.

  • http://ic-ebooks.blogspot.com/ icgold

    I don't think reincarnation is real. If people keep reincarnation, no need for God to prepare hell or heaven. I believe that there is some life that we will run into it.
    1. The life when you as unborn child.
    2. life started when you was born.
    3. The time you in the grave yard.
    4. The life after you dead, that mean all people will rise from death to meet their GOD and wait the judgment.
    5. The life in hell or heaven

    So no body will be back and born as new men after they die.

  • http://www.turtlesays.com Utube

    I don't believe in reincarnation because I don't see any reason to. I don't remember any past lives. I also don't believe in reincarnation simply because the world population has increased a lot.

  • Random

    I do believe in reincarnation. More so in the sense that the consciousness does not have birth or death. Consciousness existed from the beginning of time and is definitely not a biological or chemical phenomenon solely. Whether it is the same identity that is reborn is an open question. But most of our identity is really superficial considering how much we change in a single life itself.

    I often get the strange sensation of dejavu more like I have been here before and this is not my first trip to this experience :) .. but certainly no proof for this comment it is just my thought…

  • http://www.blurbosphere.com Urbain

    It's looking like the majority of people who took the poll believe in reincarnation.

    I like your philosophy, Random!

  • Gabrielle

    If you want to consider reincarnation, you have to look more widely at what belief systems exist and what evidence they offer in support.

    As Christians, we can probably discount the Hindu version. Karma is not a sustainable belief. You cannot be rewarded for good things and then ignore the distress of people who suffer in your next life. If you were bad, then you have no right to expect other people to do bad things to you. It is morally unjustifiable to insist that someone illtreat you in the next life, just because you illtreated someone in this. You have no right to force someone to do anything, so you have no right to force them to be violent.

    This is no doubt why Buddha created his own humane version of Hindu beliefs.

    Going back in time, Druids and Egyptians belived in reincarnation as a way to improve your spirituality. The Egyptians were very specific: you had five chances, unless you were an idiot or died as a child. If you had not returned and lived a blameless life by then, you were written off and had to continue your eternal spiritual existence exempt from union with God.

    Spiritualists have a similar view, there are seven planes and as you reincarnate, you should move upwards through them, until you are united with God again.

    This to some extent echoes the Celtic view. You start in Chaos and proceed to Infinity, where God lives. We start within the middle of the circle where we struggle with life and 'evolve', eventually we triumph over evil and move to the next circle Purity, the outer circle is inhabited by God alone. As God exists in every atom of the Universe, when all have attained their perfection, we are reunited in Infinity.

  • Dave

    There are currently more people alive today than have ever died so how can reincarnation be real? Also, we are given a uniquely human spirit by God so I don't believe we have lived before as animals, insects, etc.

    Lose Body Fat

  • http://loaia.com LOAIA

    I have to disagree with Meredith. Using her own quoted verse:

    Hbr 9:27 " Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,"

    If this is the case then what happened to Lazarus?

    Christ raised him from the dead. Ok he died then what?

    If there is no reincarnation then there is no potential for resurrection.

    No resurrection, no christianity.

    • http://www.fumbling-towards-understanding.com Attrus

      You are correct if resurrection implies physicality. If it implies spiritual rebirth, then there is no need to believe in reincarnation. Did Christ actually raise Lazarus from physical death? It is conceivable that the Lazarus tale is symbolic of a "fall from grace" and the renewal or rebirth of one's faith in God.

      • Lexie

        My only question on that is if reincarnation is indeed not implying physical 'born-again' life, then how could "the renewal or rebirth of ones faith in God" be possible after death, if there is no such thing as reincarnation? So in other words I'm saying that Lazarus had to of come out of his tomb in live human form (risen from the dead or 'resurrected') because if Jesus just had Lazarus' spirituality "reborn" after he was already dead, then what is the point? I don't get your view on this.. but I am completely open to having it explained to me.

        • http://www.fumbling-towards-understanding.com Attrus

          Hello Lexie. From my perspective, reincarnation is a myth. The story is not about life and death, rather, it illustrates loss and renewal of faith. It is not about faith-rebirth after death, it is about losing your faith, for the multitude of reasons that we easily find for ourselves, and then reaching a moment where faith is regained…reborn.

          So, in the symbolic sense, death represents loss of faith and resurrection represents rebirth in that lost faith.

          I hope I have made sense to you. Remember though, this is my belief and I in no way imply that it is the "truth"…simply my perspective.

          Peace

  • http://www.notguru.com Urbain

    Interesting point, LOAIA. I hadn't thought about the Lazarus story … or the one in Matthew about all those zombies who walked the streets of Jerusalem during the crucifixion.

  • Lexie

    I am seventeen years old and have been raised Roman Catholic my entire life. I do not consider myself Catholic or even Christian for that matter though. My thoughts are almost entirely different from what my church teaches. I am about 95% positive that I believe in reincarnation. My best friend Alyson and I were talking about religion one time and together we came up with some interesting ideas.

    1) Reincarnation must be real because the bible talks about Christ raising people from their death. Reincarnation and Resurrections are not exactly the same thing but they are definitely similar. Reincarnation is a soul being born into a different body, but resurrection is a soul being reunited with its body. These similarities suggest realism in each other. The bible says Christ resurrected from his death on the cross. If that can be so logical, reincarnation must be as well.

    2) We believe that human souls and animal souls are on separate wavelengths. We have no proof of this but we believe that if you were born a human, you will always be a human.

    3) The Bible talks about a judgment day for all mankind. Well, why not be reincarnated over and over until judgment day is reached? This way you can have several opportunities to live a "God-inspired" life and you can have more of a chance to make it to heaven rather than having one life, one chance, and no mistakes or you'll go straight to hell after your death.

    4) It doesn't matter that there are never the same amount of people on earth all at once. Have you ever heard the terms "New Soul" and "Old Soul"?
    -A new soul is fresh and has either never been reincarnated before or hasn't been reincarnated very many times yet. New souls are typically naive in the ways of the world and make mistakes that can be learned from and corrected in future lives.
    -An old soul has been reincarnated many times. Old souls are wise and tend to keep from doing anything harmful or damaging. They have a conscience of right and wrong and most likely abide by it.
    With me explaining that, I can try to prove my point that there will never be the same amount of people on earth all the time because there are constantly new souls being born into the world at the same time the old souls are being reincarnated. This helps explain the population increasing.

    5) I also believe a person dies after their purpose is full-filled. I believe this explains why some people live long lives and others die at extremely young ages. Each time a soul is reincarnated into a new body they must full-fill their purpose. After that is done, they move on.

    6) This is my 5% where I do not believe in reincarnation. What are ghosts? Yes, I believe they are real. But if a soul is reincarnated into a new life, how do some stay stuck behind to wander around earth? I have had people explain this to me two ways.
    1. The souls that wander earth are actually guardian angels of some sort.
    2. The souls that wander earth are being punished for their wrong doing in their lives and are stuck on earth forever and can not do anything about it.
    I don't know what to believe though. Maybe a mixture of both. But maybe neither.

    Lexie~

  • http://www.notguru.com Urbain

    Wonderful, thoughtful response, Lexie! Thank you for spending the time to write your comments.

    Personally, I think ghosts might be residual energy of some type. Remember the movie, Contact, where the sound waves kept carrying and carrying forever through the universe? Perhaps intense emotional energy is similar and just keeps repeating itself. That's just a thought. I have more to write about ghosts in my column here on GodDiscussion — I have a block about finishing the story because it seems so outlandish.

    Also, what about souls reincarnating on other planets? The universe is so huge that it's certainly a possibility …

    I applaud you and your friend for thinking beyond what you were taught as children.

    • Lexie

      Hmmm.. that sure is a lot to think about! I've never considered other planets before. It does seem bizarre, but not entirely impossible. And the whole ghost thing is still confusing to me but thanks for explaining your view on it! I have lots more to think about now! =]

  • http://www.musclematters.com.au massage gold coast

    It seems stupid that human being are reborn after their death.According to Hindu philosophy the body destroy along with death.But the spirit does not destroy.It is very difficult to believe this because there is no solid evidence.

  • http://www.badcreditnic.com Lars

    this question has been lodged in my head for ages… where do the new souls come from? population in the olden days would probably be only a pinhead to todays beachball…

  • http://www.truyencuoi.vn Truyen cuoi

    \"where do the new souls come from?\". I don\'t know but is the souls exist to begin with? If so, where\'s the evidences?

  • http://www.businessminder.net Aaron @ Internet Business

    Interesting points.

    I do not believe in reincarnation because I have not seen it in real life right in front of me; I don't remember any from past lives… Does Dejavu count? I dont think so.

  • Jose

    I believe in reincarnation. I believe in it because I know it exists. The only thing I wish for when I die is that I be brought back into this world as a human but at least try to hopefully make an effort to get a better life.

  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Yes,Reincarnation is real.

    My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, "Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho" (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith
    Since I don't have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of 'Infinite' but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.

  • http://cars-verticaldoors.blogspot.com/ Vertical Doors

    There are issues about which there is debate for centuries .. I think no one probably will not give the correct answer …

  • http://www.weblocal.com.br Hospedagem

    Excellent series! Thanks for posting. I am a firm believer in reincarnation and am happy to see more people intrigued byà ¯ » ¿ it and investigating it for themselves. A mind opened can never go back to its old dimensions. Peace, love and light. Namaste.

    • http://www.bewellbuzz.com/superfoods/noni-juice-and-its-benefits/ Noni

      Very well said… I am also a believer and like yourself I am really glad too that people are having more interest in this unlike before. This videos really have a message in them and it is to believe.

    • http://www.hgswoodblinds.com/ Wood

      I have a sister who is a believer too, but I am a confused soul. I sometimes think what people believe depends on their personality. For example, I think people who believe in reincarnation are "hopeful" people. Those who hope to achieve things they didn't achieve in this lifetime, in their next lifetime. Well… it's just an opinion.

  • http://www.dei.ac.in a.k.satsangi

    My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, "Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho" (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith
    Since I don't have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of 'Infinite' but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.

  • Dennis

    How is your Karma? How will you come back in your next life? Here is a quick test;
    How many lies have you told?
    If you have ever told a lie, your a liar.
    Have you ever stolen anything? Candy bar? Work Supplies? If you have then your a theif.
    Jesus says; \"If anyone has ever even looked with lust you commit adultery with that person in your heart.\" Have you ever looked with lust? If you have done these things your a lying,theif and an adulterer at heart and that is only three of the 10commandments. When you stand before God on the day of Judgement he is going to find you guilty of breaking His Law and the penalty for breaking His law is death and Hell! And your without excuse because God gave you a conscience to know right from wrong. BUT!!!!! God loves you so much and wants to save you so bad that he came to this earth as Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect sinsless life and then he suffered and died on the cross for your sins so you can be set free on Judgement day. That\'s how much he loves you! And then he rose from the dead, defeating death. God now COMMANDS you to turn from your sins once and for all and trust in Jesus Christ the same way you would trust in a parachute to save you if you were to jump out of a plane. The moment you do this, God will forgive you of all your sins and give you eternal life. Please do this before its too late!

  • http://www.visit-queensland.com.au/ Jack R.

    However, no one can tell for sure if this is real or not. No one has proofs or refutation on this issue.

  • http://www.buyutec.net resimler

    It's looking like the majority of people who took the poll believe in reincarnation.

    I like your philosophy, Random!

  • Ronald Rhoomes

    It's appointted onto man onde to die and after that the judgement. The % of those who believe they'll come back is not the final authority on the issue, what God said in His word is the final authority you have one chance, one life, after that heaven or hell.Rev 20:10-15

  • http://www.baccifinejewelry.com/ J. Bernal

    Although there are videos that can tell about reincarnation, but we can't still say wether it's true or not.

  • http://gateopener.org Uaral

    I honour for the work that you have done. Thank you once again.

  • http://starapplet.com/ Claire Parks

    The videos seemed to be true. But there is still a lot that goes on inside the human mind that we cannot clearly explain.

  • http://www.globalfinanceschool.com/ S. Pascale

    Excellent videos. I´ve watched a coulpe of them in youtube and they seem to be real. I didn´t believe at all in rencarnation, but after watching lots of videos and reading a couple of books I´m sure that our souls live forever.

  • http://www.amaliadraghici.ro/ machiaj profesional

    The videos seemed to be true. But there is still a lot that goes on inside the human mind that we cannot clearly explain.

  • http://www.nextlifedepartment.com Lisa Follin

    The soul is not something that just dies and evaporates.
    Clearly it must be transferred from one being "dying" in flesh to another being being "born".
    I believe our intentions have a big say in where we will turn up in our next life just as we do in this life.
    Just my 2 cents :P

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