Date: 11-30-88 21:21 To: Martha Brummett Subj: Re: Small Religious Question EID:fec7 117e

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Date: 11-30-88 21:21 From: George Stanislav To: Martha Brummett Subj: Re: Small Religious Question EID:fec7 117eaaa5 > MB: Reincarnation is quite compatible with Christianity, and *was > MB: until one-or-the-other of those councils (I don't know wich The idea of the council is thrown into almost every book on reincarnation, while almost none of them has their facts straight. The council in question was that known as the Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D. The council was ordered by the EMPEROR Justinian, NOT by the reps of the Christian church. In fact Pope Vigilius REFUSED to attend the council. It was under the full control of the emperor. It did not condemn reincarnation. It did condemn "Origenism", the teaching CLAIMED to be those of Origen (long dead by the time). Again, that was done under the imperial authority, NOT under the papal authority. Various ideas of reincarnational nature did indeed exist in Christianity before the Second Council of Constantinople. However, it would not be historically fair to say that reincarnation was the main understanding of life after death among early Christians. And certainly the concept was not as clear as it is today. Reincarnation was never formally condemned by the Church, or any of its councils. Not even the one mentioned above did condemn reincarnation per se. The ideas existing among some early Christian theologian were more of the Platonian nature - the preexistence of the soul before incarnation. That was a vague concept which COULD be interpreted in the modern understanding of reincarnation, but could also be interpreted in many other ways. It is important to realize that from the viewpoint of modern Christian theology it does not matter whether early Christians believed in reincarantion or not. The concept is different from 2000 years ago. What all those modern Christian theologians who study the matter seriously seem to agree upon is that they do not view reincarnation as inevitable, and as an infinite cycle. For an excellent analysis of the question read Reincarnation in Christianity, by Geddes MacGregor (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Southern California). It is far the best book on the relationship between reincarnation and Christian thought I have read. It is presented in a very scholarly manner, no bombastic claims. His historical claims are well researched. That in itself makes the book invaluable in the world of confusion about the original Christian understanding. He too agrees with you that reincarnation makes sense. Let me quote a few words from his book: "Yet for all the vast progress I see, I know I have farther to go than I can hope to go in this life. It is not merely a matter of time. If gerontology could prolong my active and useful life by a thousand years, my predicament would remain. For the youthful idealism needed for the most active development of the love of God wanes. A great saint might become even saintlier than ever in his nineties; but even he would not do it as fast as he had done in his prime. I need, therefore, another embodiment, and it seems to me that the more progress I make through such re-embodiments the more need for them shall I see, as the more progress I make in courage or learning the more easily I perceive how cowardly or ignorant I am." An interesting idea here is the speed of growth. To expound on it a little: Why would someone adult want to die and become a baby and go through the trouble of growing up again? Seems like a waste of time. But in the view of his words (and as an emeritus he must know about being in years), it may be a worthwile "waste" as in the long run it may speed up the total development because young people have more energy and courage to grow than those settled in their ways. -George- --- * Origin: Astral Board * Sky is NO limit! * (Opus 1:129/39)


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