By Anthony W. Antolic
conversation at a Christmas Party
The question was “do Catholics
believe in reincarnation.” I could answer this question with one
word, but I am nor going to. For in this case a one word answer would
not be adequate. Therefore, I am going to explore:
Why the question even comes up
Why we may have the
misconceptions that we do
Finally, I will back up my answer
with biblical references.
someone think that a Christian believes in “Reincarnation.”
Well we can refer to several scripture that may be referring to some
aspect of reincarnation. We all know about Lazarus being raised from
the dead by Jesus in (John 11:37-39):
however, Jesus also names Lazarus in a parable about a Rich-man and
was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in
luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus,
covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man''s
table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to
Abraham''s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell,
where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with
Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, ''Father Abraham, have
pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and
cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.''
Abraham replied, ''Son, remember that in your lifetime you received
your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is
comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between
us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go
from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.''
answered, ''Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father''s house,
28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not
also come to this place of torment.''
replied, ''They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.''
''No, father Abraham,'' he said, ''but if someone from the dead goes to
them, they will repent.''
said to him, ''If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they
will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'' "
To the best my knowledge this is
the only parable which Jesus gives a name to one of the characters in
the story. So many are led to believe that the implication is that
Lazarus in the sorry s the same Lazarus who Jesus raised from the
I think that for the most part,
people have learned to believe in reincarnation from these passages.
I am not ready to say the Christians believe in reincarnation for
this reason, however, I am ready to say that Christians tend to
reject something with out understanding its true meaning.
As a culture we define
reincarnation as some abstract notation that only Hindus believe in.
I have heard the comments like, “if you die, you might come back as
a cock roach.” But, why is something like that equated with
reincarnation? For one thing, people for the most part, don''t think
about what a word means when they use it. So, I think it is time for
some one broke down the word “REINCARNATION.”
“RE” = to
“INCARNATION” = an
“REINCARNATION” = RE-EMBODIMENT
So what does this mean for a
Christian? Will the foundation of the Christian faith is that Jesus
died and rose again for our salvation. So, a Christian must believe
in the literal definition of reincarnation, or reject there faith.
The fact is the word it self originated as a Christian word used to
describe the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is our cultural perception
which distorted the word tent.