Reincarnation is a Belief
I will first point out that, although the tenth Pope named Leo was the one who excommunicated Martin Luther in the year 1520 for his revolt against indulgences, those “get out of jail free” certificates were being sold ever since the 12th century, and are purchasable to this day.
Reincarnation was matter-of-factly accepted as the follow-up to death of the body by Jews and Christians of the first century. St. Augustine (354-430) taught against it, but it was not until 1274 that it was officially condemned. In that condemnation it was dogmatically declared that souls go immediately to heaven, purgatory, or hell upon the death of the body.
Do you detect a slight bit of “coordination” between the time when indulgences began being sold and the time when reincarnation was renounced as anathema? I do! I think that for about one hundred years the church put up with how the belief in reincarnation discouraged the purchase of indulgences, but by the time the Council of Lyons met in the year 1274, enough was enough, and reincarnation was declared to be in opposition with the Christian dogma of the resurrection of the body.
You did not ask, but I will take this opportunity to offer Unity’s contrary position on reincarnation, and my position on it. To understand Unity’s position, I remind you that our co-founder, Charles Fillmore, was very much focused on regeneration instead of reincarnation. Mr. Fillmore wanted to regenerate his own 1854 to 1948 body, rather than trade it in on a new model. He came close to achieving that goal but, as they say, no cigar. In his book The Revealing Word, Charles wrote: Regeneration in this body here and now--not reincarnation--is the aim of overcomers. Reincarnation is the result of man’s use of the great forces of Mind, enabling an ego or soul that has been separated from the vehicle of expression (the body) again to attract to it the necessary substance to reconstruct the body-consciousness and to have another opportunity for the demonstration of the Truth of Being, but reincarnation is not a part of the divine plan and does not lift man out of mortal limitations. It is not an aid to spiritual growth, but merely a make-shift until full Truth is discerned (p.166).” For a somewhat opposing Unity view, see James Dillet Freeman’s book, The Case For Reincarnation.
As far as I am concerned, reincarnation is a belief. I choose to base my life on knowledge, not on belief. I enjoy examining reincarnation as a logical and likely possibility , but despite the many testimonials to its occurrence, there is as yet no scientific proof as to its validity. Perhaps by its very nature, incontrovertible proof of reincarnation is unavailable. Although I cannot yet add reincarnation to my knowledge base, I am, nevertheless intrigued by it, and probably have been, lifetime after lifetime.
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