Why not Reincarnation?

It can be proven that God exists, Jesus is God and that Jesus founded the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church gave us the Bible. The Bible is true because it is God's word and He cannot lie. The Bible states clearly in Hebrews 9:27 that 'it is appointed for men to die once'. Therefore, since the concept of reincarnation necessitates more than one death, it necessarily contradicts the divinely revealed Word of God which is infallible, so, there can be no reincarnation after death.

Is there anything in logic to say reincarnation is not true?

Reincarnation is either true or it is not true. It cannot be that for one person it is true and for another it is false. Reincarnation cannot be and not be at the same time. Since the true Church of Jesus Christ on Earth (the Catholic Church) teaches that reincarnation does not happen, this truth cannot only be effective for Catholics. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read - 'When the single course of our earthly life is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives' (CCC 1013). This teaching applies to everyone, even to those people who mistakenly believe in reincarnation.

Could you expand more on the Biblical teaching against reincarnation?

The IMMORTALITY of the INDIVIDUAL soul is a truth of Christian Faith, it is clearly taught in Scripture. The Bible clearly teaches that righteous people will NEVER suffer torment because they have a confident hope of IMMORTALITY, and that the wicked will suffer in a fire that NEVER goes out (Wis 3:1-4; Lk 3:17). Since Hebrews 9: 27 confirms the fact that we only die once, our individual immortal souls cannot reincarnate.

What would you say to a believer in reincarnation who does not believe in God or the Bible?

The idea that we are reincarnated in order to learn lessons we failed to learn in a past earthly life is problematic since I cannot learn something if there is no continuity of memory. I can learn from my mistakes only if I remember them, but people do not usually remember their so-called past "reincarnations". And those who do, we simply have to take their word for it, without proof.

What is so dangerous about belief in reincarnation?

The supposed evidence for reincarnation, rememberings from past lives that come out under "past life regression" can be explained " if they truly occur at all " as mental telepathy from other living beings, or from demons. The real possibility of the latter should make us seriously reconsider the alleged harmlessness of opening our souls to "past life regressions". In nearly all cases of "past life regressions" the memories are from history books, stories, novels and films.

What of a morally upright believer in reincarnation who denies Hell and demons?

If one takes for granted the fact that one must take morality very seriously, then one can argue that the theory of reincarnation is not as morally serious as the theory that the human soul inhabits only one body. In the latter case, man has only one life to live. Therefore, he must do it right the first time. If people have many different lives to lead, then they can play around a lot more and be a lot more experimental about how they will conduct themselves morally.

Does the Church have anything else to say about reincarnation?

Belief in resurrection and official Church rejection of the preexistence of souls (see DS 403, 854, 1440) rule out reincarnation. By maintaining an indefinite series of chances, reincarnation reduces the seriousness of God's grace and human liberty exercised in one life that is terminated by a once-and-for-all death (1 Cor 15:20-28; 2 Cor 5:10).

Reincarnation is accepted by millions of people.

Just because lots of people believe something to be true does not make it true. Reincarnation cannot account for itself; if it is the just punishment for evils we committed in past reincarnations then why were those past reincarnations necessary? The beginning of the process that justly imprisoned our souls in bodies in the first place must have occurred before the series of our reincarnations began. But how could this be, since belief in reincarnation, unlike Christianity, offers no doctrine of original sin? The 2 essential points of Christianity (sin & salvation) are both missing in the religions of the East. But "original sin is the only rational solution of the undeniable fact of the deep, universal and early manifested sinfulness of men in all ages, of every class, and in every part of the world". (Charles Hodge, www.christiansquoting.org)

What about reincarnation to and from animals?

The same Church that condemns the transmigration of the soul from person to person also teaches the impossibility of a human soul inhabiting an animal body. In our own experience, no animal has been found that exhibits the qualities proper to a rational and free human soul.

There are people who can take you through your past lives through hypnosis.

While this may be convincing to some, it certainly isn't to anyone familiar with the mechanics of hypnosis. Researchers have noted that patients in deep hypnosis frequently weave elaborate stories and memories, which later turn out to be untrue. Reputable therapists are well aware of this phenomenon. One famous example illustrates the case: in 1952 Virginia Tighe was put under hypnosis; she claimed to be the reincarnation of one Bridey Murphy, a woman who had lived in Cork, Ireland. Her story was turned into a best-selling book, but Virginia Tighe was exposed as a fraud decades ago. To this day, not a single verifiable example exists of a person being regressed to a former life. Evidence for reincarnation continues to be elusive. (www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics)

What's so immoral about reincarnation?

Reincarnation entails a very low view of the body, as a prison and a punishment. Reincarnation is inextricably linked to the caste system with its discriminatory, demeaning and degrading view of human dignity, therefore, reincarnation cannot be true and cannot be moral.

How exactly does reincarnation contradict the Christian view of the soul?

Because of the adaptation of the soul to its matter, reincarnation in a series of bodies is impossible, for this would mean that souls are equally apt for many different bodies. But each soul is suited to the material it informs and animates, and from the union results a unique person.

Can you describe this abstract concept in simple language?!

The body is not a mere extra, like clothes. The body is the very thing that the soul is the soul of. The body is the very thing that the soul is the life of. The body is the very thing that the soul is the form of. Souls are not like a row of motor car engines, each of which can be placed in any chassis.

Why can't the soul and the body of a person be regarded as 2 separate entities?

Plato held that man is a combination of 2 entities called the body and the soul. His view regarded the soul as an entity that is not determined to inhabit just one body but is an independent enough entity to inhabit many different bodies over time. However, Aristotle contradicted Plato's view, and he based his thinking upon ordinary observation. Aristotle held that man is a single entity composed of body and soul. In this view, the soul cannot function in the normal way unless it is connected with a particular body.

Are there any other conceptual problems with reincarnation?

Reincarnation blurs the meaning of what a human person actually is. Reincarnation distorts the true nature of the human person. Believers in reincarnation cannot answer the question of human personhood. Consider a person alleged to have reincarnated; would the person have been himself or someone else, or partly himself and partly someone else? Of course, either alternative is illogical. A human person is a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL BEING with a spiritual soul and a material body. Heaven is our true destiny, but the choice is ours.

References: Kreeft, Handbook of Christian Apologetics; Young, Reasoning Things Out; Sheehan, Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine; Geraghty, ewtn.com Q+A forum; O'Collins, A Concise Dictionary of Theology; Msgr Peter J. Elliott (1998), Seances, Spirits and the New Age " A Catholic View.

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.