Christianity & Reincarnation
Who Invented The "One-Life" Belief Anyway?
The Catholic Encyclopedia itself states, in regard to the Fifth Ecumenical Council, that "anyone asserting the belief in the preexistence of souls (reincarnation) would be anathema."
anathema = cursed, damned, excommunicated
Today, two thirds of all the people living on planet Earth believe in reincarnation. Those who feel they have one life to live now find themselves in a steadily declining minority.
The Eastern-based philosophy of past lives continues to make more and more of its presence felt throughout the Western world. If one interprets the principals of reincarnation with an open mind and heart, it will not take long to appreciate the reasons for its growing popularity.
Reincarnation does not require an angry God to judge and punish us after we pass on. Rather, this belief system tells us that God loves us unconditionally, but it asks us to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. All of it is governed by a Universal Truth that applies anywhere in the universe: What we put out comes back to us, this lifetime or next.
Spiritual wisdom tells us that after the death of our physical body we are the ones who will evaluate every one of our thoughts and actions in a process called a "life review." Then, if we so chose, we will set new goals and challenges for our next life, especially those which attempt to heal lesser choices (negative karma) with love. In other words, karma is not a punishment - it is an opportunity to bring our past actions with others into loving alignment, life after life, until all of it is healed.
Many people on this planet also believe in the Christian, one-life concept. In this belief system, an angry God punishes us if we have been bad by sending our souls to hell for eternity, or he sends us to heaven if we've been good. We've got one lifetime to get it all right, which has been the source of much guilt and anxiety for those who believe in this man-made dogma.
Who's right? Almost 6 billion people are betting an awful lot on these two vastly different beliefs. I believe this is enough information available today to say that the process of reincarnation and karma makes far more sense.
Before we go further there are some very important facts that should be mentioned about the origin of the Bible and what we know about the Old and New Testament. A visit to any well-stocked library can provide this same information.
This is crucial because there are many people today who take things for granted about this book without examining its history...
The Holy Bible, as we know it today, can be traced back to the fourth century A.D.
During that time, the emperor Constantine formed a council of historians and scholars (the Council of Nice).
The purpose of that council was to take all the loosely organized religious and historic traditions of the time and simplify them.
As a result of that council, many sacred documents concerning ancient mysteries and Jesus' teachings were modified, edited or secreted away for a privileged few where they remain to this day in the Vatican.
The council produced a single document in A.D. 325 known today as the Holy Bible.
Many documents and historical writings have been edited out of our modern Bible, in addition to those deemed inappropriate by the Catholic Church in the fourth century.
In essence, much of today's Bible is someone else's version of what they want you to believe and many fear-driven dogmas have resulted because of it.
Who invented the "we only have one life" dogma anyway? When did it happen? Why did it happen? God didn't invent it. It certainly wasn't Christ's idea.
Over the past 9 plus years of my life I have read well over 400 metaphysical/New Age books. From time to time, I would come across a statement explaining that many centuries ago reincarnation was a widely accepted belief even when Jeshua (Jesus) walked the Earth. There is solid evidence that some of the early philosophers, Christian fathers and saints believed in and supported that concept.
Who were some of these people?
- Plato (582-507 B.C.)
- Origen (185-254 A.D.)
- St. Clement of Alexandria (150-220 A.D.)
- St. Gregory (257-332 A.D.)
- St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.)
Note: please visit their connections to reincarnation
at the end of this article (1)
I had been raised a catholic and was taught from an early age that we only have one life to get it all right or there was hell to pay (literally). The church asked me to trust them on this one. They programmed me to believe that they had all the answers and asked that I place blind faith in their teachings.
After my spiritual awakening I wondered where that dogma really came from. That led to tougher questions such as, "At what time in religious history did the one-life law originate? Who came up with this teaching? Why did more than half the people on this planet believe in something totally foreign to me called reincarnation? Most importantly, who was right?"
As I began to dig into this puzzle more and more, I suspected that the answer could be found somewhere between the time Jeshua died (33 A.D.) and 600 A.D. During that time, the Christian religion was born, organized, defined, politicized and "dogmatized." All of this information is available in the libraries and has been well researched over the years. Why don't we hear more about it? The leaders of Western religions don't want you to know this.
Modern Christianity began with James (the brother of Jeshua), Paul, the early church fathers and others. As a teacher of righteousness, Jesus' seeds of spiritual wisdom and universal truths were given to many people. After his death, some of those people brought those seeds to local and foreign lands. Many religious groups or sects were formed based upon his teachings. There was a lot of opinion and disagreement on what to do with them and how they were to be interpreted.
One major offshoot was the formation of the Christian (Roman Catholic) religion. Throughout those first 500 years, other man-made laws were added to those that Jesus first taught. After His death, each new generation reinterpreted those original teachings. Then they were edited and embellished for many different reasons.
Part of Jesus' wisdom was put into the New Testament. But, the earliest existing (hard) copy we have of that document is dated to the 4th century, almost 400 years after Christ's appearance. We have nothing earlier in writing except bits of pieces here and there found on various ancient parchments.
Sometime during the first 600 years of early Christianity, several major events happened...
Early references to reincarnation in the New Testament had been deleted in the fourth century by Emperor Constantine, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
In the sixth century, the Second Council of Constantinople ruled that reincarnation was a false belief punishable by persecution and death.
At the same time, the Church and the Roman Emperors knew that the concept of prior lives would weaken and undermine their power over their followers, since it would give these people too much time to achieve salvation. The threat of a Judgment Day and punishment by an angry God at the end of one's life worked a lot better to control the masses.
Furthermore, reincarnation is a system of belief in which each individual must take responsibility for his or her choices and actions through the universal law of, "What you put out comes back to you." We don't need an organized religion for this system of belief to work. That was a threat to the existence of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church realized it would have more power and influence by becoming not only a religious organization, but also a political one. As a result, the church formed powerful alliances with the Roman emperors.
Why did the church form these alliances with the Roman emperors? Because the emperors wanted to make sure that the people didn't riot and an organized religion that controlled the masses through fear could help to accomplish that.
Why did the emperors want to make sure there were no rebellions by the masses? Because they wanted an uninterrupted flow of tax collections.
Listed below is an excellent historical explanation of what happened during those early times regarding reincarnation and the one life dogma. It can be found in a book written by Nick Bunick called, In God's Truth. Again, it is offered not to offend, but to make one wonder and think. Ultimately, please form your own conclusions.
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