Saturday, November 28, 2009

On reincarnation

Philosopher, Dr. Paul Copan speaking to journalist Lee Strobel:
"Some people in the West see reincarnation as another crack at life in order to get things right, sort of like the movie Groundhog Day. There is an attraction to saying we have many opportunities an not just one lifetime. Actually, the reality is quite different." He gestured toward me. "You've been to India, right?"

"I've spent some time there, yes," I said.

"I have too. And I'm sure you've noticed that reincarnation is a very oppressive burden in that Hindu culture, as it is in the Buddhist world," He said. "For example, if you're a low caste or no caste Hindu, then you're stuck at that low level because that's what you deserve from your previous life. And people shouldn't reach out to help you, because they might jeopardize their own karma by interfering with you living out the miserable existence that you deserve."

I knew he was right. What sounds on the surface like a magnanimous belief that gives people multiple opportunities to live a better life turns out to create a devastating situation for millions upon millions of people who are mired in hopeless poverty day to day (Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 2007, 241-242).
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