James F. Tims I hope no one will mind my posting of the following letter to _Free Inquiry_

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James F. Tims I hope no one will mind my posting of the following letter to _Free Inquiry_ from Bob Silberg of West Hills, CA. No study of reincarnation can possibly be complete without having read: [The letter begins with a reference to a series of 4 articles on reincarnation, written by Paul Edwards and published in _Free Inquiry_ (approx.) Winter '86 - Summer '87]... As Paul Edwards has related, the purpose of karmic reincarnation is to process a soul (or self or spirit or ego or whatever) until it is fit for Nirvana. With each succeeding life, the soul is supposed to gain purity and moral strength, growing ever closer to the ideal. The traditional route leads from the lowest life-form (or lifestle) to the highest, with a life of luxury as the last stop before eternal bliss. If one leads an exemplary life as a street urchin, for example, one is likely to reappear as a United States Senator. I believe this concept is backward! Consider: If one wants to strengthen one's body by lifting weights, one doesn't begin with the heaviest weights and gradually reduce the load as strength increases. On the contrary, one starts light and easy, and steps up the challenge as the muscles grow more powerful. Similarly, if life is the soul's gym, the newer or weaker souls surely would not be given the monumental challenge of living with poverty, disease, and despair. No, they would be given lives of ease to begin with; and, if they did good jobs at those, then the load could be increased with the next go-round. The preference of reincarnating souls for lives of squalor, which Edwards noted in his fourth essay, is thus revealed as the equivalent of top athletes flocking to an advanced workout class. Logically, it follows that Shirley MacLaine, the rich, famous, talented, beautiful movie star, must have realy screwed up in her multitude of previous lives. Otherwise, she would surely be suffering a life of misery in the back alleys of Bombay or Beirut by now, pumping karma until she was fit for Paradise. Billy Joel, the rich, famous, successful rock star married to Christie Brinkley, must have a soul that is brand new. No one could have made such a mess of previous lives that he would be so coddled in his re-incarnation. Ironically, many people may be pursuing lives of kindness, tolerance, and generosity out of the mistaken notion that they will be rewarded by coming back as potentates or Club Med managers. We can now see that such behavior is likely instead to earn them tours as crack addicts, the better to build up their psychic pectorals. In view of Mr. Edwards's scholarly treatment of the issue, I can only assume that he omitted mention of this concept because of concern that some of our more short-sighted citizens might forgo the path to Glory in favor of temporary material comfort in the next life. Such misguided souls would lie, cheat, steal, or worse in an attempt to be sent to "remedial gym" next time, where they could sip pinia coladas with Morgan Brittany. In view of the numbers of people we have performing such activities already (lying, cheating, etc., I mean, not the imbibing with Ms. Brittany), it may indeed be best not to offer an incentive for more miscreants. However, I believe that we can trust this journal's readers to be discreet. In any case, I doubt that a bunch of self-confessed secular humanists would gain much of an audience among those who would put such knowledge to perverse ends. Bob Silberg West Hills, Calif. [end of letter] This, now most certainly the definitive work on reincarnation, should have our every ear, and both Mr. Silberg and _Free Inquiry_ our gratitude for clearing all this business up, once and for all. I pray that I have faithfully transcribed the text, and that I may unmend my ways (as slowly as possible) to, say...Monaco. Munich?! No more mister nice guy! 8^) -- jft "And if you're a miner, when you're too tired and old and sick and stupid to do your job properly, you have to go, whereas just the opposite applies with the judges." Beyond the Fringe


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