The Erroneous Belief in Reincarnation, Part III
We have examined in the past two posts (here and here) the most common ways to understand reincarnation and their fundamental incompatibility with the existence and work of Christ. Let us now conclude by examining the utter failure of such new age “Christianity-cum-reincarnation” perspectives from a more practical point of view.
In order to do so, one must decide whether Indians are a people intrinsically or even genetically prone to violence and cruelty, or not. If one decides that they are, one subscribes to a racist vision of the world which is the contrary of what modern followers of reincarnation tend to (at least consciously) believe. If one doesn’t, he has a problem.
It is in fact clear from the most superficial exam of the Indian society that a high level of cruelty and ruthlessness, unknown to Christian societies, has dominated its social structures for a long time. The suttee, the habit of burning the widow at or around the death of her husband, is in my eyes a clear evidence of the consequences of reincarnation. I am not interested here in the details of the practice (how consistent it was with Hindu spirituality; whether it was more often voluntary or forced; whether it was common or rare, etc.); rather with the fact that such practices never existed in the Christian culture. And really, whilst one does not necessarily need to believe in reincarnation to commit suicide or being killed (a lot of atheists commit suicide or kill even by us), it is difficult to imagine that such practices would have been even imagined without a belief in reincarnation spread through the veins of the Indian society. The problem here is not whether Suttee is compatible with Hindu spirituality, but whether it is compatible with the belief in reincarnation…..
Similar considerations can be made for other aspects of the Indian society, less evident now but still not eradicated: the existence and toleration of castes by otherwise decent people can only be explained with the belief in reincarnation.
Never in Christian countries have people died of starvation in the middle of the road among the general indifference; not even in times of pestilence. Never in Christian countries have people been considered unworthy of being touched, or even their shadow being considered defiling. Never in Christian countries has the gap between starving poor and shamelessly rich reached the scale of the Indian subcontinent found by the British colonisation. I could give further examples of cruelty and utter disregard for the dignity of the human being.
Still, no sensible person could deny that in that same country one could find a multitude of excellent people; compassionate in their own way, lovers of family and friends, sometimes extremely spiritual as clearly showed by an impressive spiritual tradition. It is therefore fair to say that it is the belief in reincarnation which made the cruelty, the suttee, the starving of people under one’s eyes & Co. acceptable in the eyes of decent people. I do not want to say that an individual who believes in reincarnation must perforce accepts these things; rather that a nation that believes in reincarnation will end up accepting them.
The problem of today’s society is that too many people are ready to see as “cool” and “spiritually advanced” everything that comes from the East, but do not think to the end about the consequences of the beliefs they are trying to import. They consider a “cruelty” that a priest (a man who has made an adult and free choice) is not allowed to marry, but never consider that a child brought to a Buddhist monastery to be raised as a monk never had a chance to choose, or to protest. They never ask themselves how would they feel if Catholic priests or friars were selected in the same way. They are so vocal in the defence of animals and will love to tell you how nice Indian people are to cows, but will readily forget how less nice they are to the starving and to the widows. (Yes, many widows die in India today of strange domestic accidents. Doesn’t happen by us, strangely enough).
This doesn’t want to be a generalised condemnation of Indian society. I am sure many excellent people (Hindu, Muslim etc.) live and have always lived there. But you can’t take Sodom out of Lot, and you can’t avoid the belief in reincarnation causing an amount of indifference and acceptance of starvation and violence just inconceivable by us.
And so it happens that whilst Western countries nowadays provide up to one fifth of the GDP of countries thousands of miles away, out of sheer compassion for people they’ll never see, Sri Lanka drowns in a sea of corruption even after a disastrous tsunami, with entire categories of citizens enriching themselves out of the money meant to save their own people from tragic death and utter destitution.
Christian societies work. They are far more compassionate than any other. They have never allowed mass starvation, not even in the darkest hours of hunger and misery and plague. They have never burned widows like the Indians, or exposed sickly children like the Greek. Not even in the hardest circumstances.
Reincarnation is not only wrong but when applied to entire populations for generations, sooner or later it will create the conditions for the toleration of every aberration.
Posted on September 24, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged Catholicism, Christ, Christian, conservative catholicism, India, Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality, Sri Lanka. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.