Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by Kristopher, Feb 8, 2012.
to all the skeptics that say having a belief in reincarnation is nothing more than wishful thinking?
I have spent a short and very frustrating period of time on a parapsychology Forum which encouraged debate. Although the site seemed dominated by extremely cynical and ignorant pseudo-skeptics, there were a number of reasonable individuals who asked scholarly questions, which generated a great deal of further research and thoughtful discussion. However, my experience with the loaded arguments of the less informed closed minded types convinced me of the wisdom that, "One should never argue with crazy people, for they will pull you down to their level and beat you on their turf.".
Shrug and say, "To each his own." It's not my place to try and change anyone's mind. Live and let live. They'll figure it out eventually.
As a more specific answer to the above skeptical comment that reincarnation is nothing more than wishful thinking, I would reply (at least mentally) that such a comment by anyone is hardly logical or scientific; and that better health and longer life is also wishful thinking. Yet, there is plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence that such a wish is attainable—just as it is with reincarnation.
I don't think I'd really have a reply. If someone doesn't believe, they don't believe, that's their prerogative. I'd share my views and why I believe as I do, if they asked, but it would be merely informative, not means to a debate.
I would tell them that I believe, that I have had personal experience with someone close to me who gave me information that, when cross referenced with actual city directories, maps and other historical documents matched exactly.
I would elaborate a little bit but if they want to argue I would say that we would just have to agree to disagree. That has happened to me on more than one occasion, and I realize that not everyone believes as I do.
To do so means they would have to face their own mortality, and most are scared to do that.
"Yes, it may be wishful thinking (as I probably wouldn't be drawn into a catalog of the events which prove it to me), but I intend to live and enjoy my life here to the best of my ability with the expectation of a better world and life on the other side...if I'm wrong I had a great time here, but if I'm right I'll be thrilled."
Beyond that, if someone is truly interested, I can discuss it ad nauseum, but I won't spend time with those simply probing for arguments.
Looking at many of the "skeptics" I am starting to believe they won't even consider anything that's not approved by the establishment first. I suppose I could be considered part of the skeptical community but I hope it's clear that I am open minded and gathering more evidence each day. It has been my experience that Preschool children are usually tell the truth and when one told me he was a grown up before I tend to believe that's not far from the truth as well, especially what I experienced at that age.
It's no different from struggles I have a work. I'm simply dumbfounded at how people I work with are completely blind to new ideas and concepts and refuse to even consider them. That's another reason why I much prefer conversing with children.
I'm with Knickknack, I probably would leave them to their own thoughts. Unless it were an earnest question minus the "wishful thinking" dig. I have never hesitated in speaking with people about reincarnation. I think most see me as a rationale thinking person and the concept plausible. I do not try to convince or prove anything to any one. In fact I rarely go into my own past lives unless I can see there is sincere interest. Instead I turn the discussion towards their own expertise and facts. I ask them what research they've done on the subject... and what exactly are their theories. A sincere question and a legitimate conversation will normally have space for understanding. On the other hand if a skeptic is only there for chiding and derision I'd rather clean out the chicken coop.
To quote Roger Woolger from his book 'Healing Your Past Lives';
"But I must emphasize that for me - as for many others - it is not "proof" that convinces, but personal experience"
Couldn't say it better myself. :thumbsup:
Actually, I'll just say "Your choice.." and shrug it off. Depends on the skeptic though, if they ask puzzledly, yes, I would say based on personal experience and tell them why. But still, their choice.. Can't force them to believe.
I enjoy asking the person who says reincarnation (or life after death OR the existence of the soul) is "wishful thinking" whether they have read any of Ian Stevenson's books? A blank look may be the reply. Or have they read Raymond Moody's "Life After Life"? Another stumped look? Brian Weiss?????? Usually by now, the cynic's argument against the fact of reincarnation is looking at least, uninformed. Trot out a few more authors: it becomes clear to the poor, hopeless sod that he/she needs to open the door to their own dark intellect and let a little LIGHT in:laugh: And at this point I have not even begun to regale the unfortunate with my own (and others of my acquaintance) stories of their past-life memories and other spiritual experiences. LOL!!!
All roads lead to Rome...
I would say "It doesn't matter which path you take...you'll get there anyway!!!"
Personally - I would reply that I think to use the phrase "wishful thinking" about this is something I find a little odd, as its not one I would use myself. It tends to imply that coming back to Earth again and again is a desirable thing to do, and different people will feel differently about this.
I say that I myself personally don't regard it as "desirable", I regard it as the "logical conclusion to come to" personally about Life.
People tend to agree that others are more or less "advanced" - that there are nasty dictators and mean little "people in the street" on the one hand and extremely nice/altruistic people on the other hand and that there would probably be some explanation for that (other than what their parents/upbringing were like).
People tend to readily agree that "life isnt fair" and that bad things happen to nice people and vice-versa and I think most people wonder how that can be.
I just tend to say "Well...people ARE more or less "advanced" and life isnt fair - as we all know". I then throw in "Some people do seem to be born with a talent for something - which could be over and above those particular people often have supportive parents who are also talented at that thing".
I finish with "Its up to you what you believe. I know this isnt how most people in my own culture think and thats okay by me. I think this way - but that doesnt mean I expect others to do so as well. Your choice...."
I think when people refer to reincarnation as just wishful thinking they mean belief in any existence after death, not only reincarnation. The vast majority of lives on earth have been harsh, not everyone wants to 'do it all over again', which is a fear I've heard from old people, and in some cultures reincarnating is considered a bad thing. But mostly everyone hopes there is something more after death, even while dismissing the hope as 'wishful thinking'.
I wouldn't try to convert anyone to my particular beliefs, given that they're nebulous and mallable in any case, and many people have beliefs I consider odd, so I don't hold it against them if they consider mine odd. If it was a sincere question then I'd point to whatever books, evidence, and anecdotal evidence I have. If they were just trying to get my goat, I'd give up the goat without a struggle, I guess. :laugh:
But even people who share similar beliefs in religions, ideologies, politics, or philosophies don't always agree on the details anyway.
I have repeatedly read statements by scholars of Buddhism that Western believers of Reincarnation view it as appealing, while Buddhists regard Reincarnation as undesirable. While I totally agree with this viewpoint, I can understand why Westerners find Reincarnation attractive in striking contrast to the dogmatic adherence to only one limited lifetime with only the prospect of eternal damnation or oblivion.
We should remember that those skeptics who equate Reincarnation with wishful thinking are the same people who equate any concept of life after death with religious dogmatism. And while I disagree with their point of view, I also understand where they are coming from. The danger of entering into such arguments is tied to understanding what the real issues are, and that nothing can be gained by such discussion unless we approach it with good information and intelligence—subjective qualities which are also the topics of copious debate.
"Shrug and say, "To each his own.""
I second this. Its not my job to educate. When the topic comes up in conversations, I usually do not voice an opinion. Its a question everyone will, at some point, perhaps not in this life, will have to ponder. It is rare for me to voice an opinion, unless the crowd I am in is in favor of reincarnation, but even then, I usually do not voice an opinion. I just nod and listen. Listening is a lost art, so I am trying to practice it more. I am tired of voicing an opinion. I can learn more by listening.
I'll talk to someone who's is open or willing to have a real conversation. If not then I don't care . It's not my job to convince non-believers. They're going to reincarnate whether they believe in it or not. Besides, I'm of the opinion that we're probably not supposed to remember so maybe I'm not doing the right thing but trying to tell them that it's real.
I can understand where you are coming from in thinking "probably not supposed to remember" - but I would hazard a guess that most people elect not to remember before they are born. Lots of people couldnt handle either horrific bad memories on the one hand or would feel homesick for the "Good Lives" they've had on the other hand. Thinks...maybe thats why I cant remember personally - other than very vague intimations and the feeling that I've not had any recent lifetimes of having to be as careful with money as I've had to be in this lifetime. I think it would hurt many of us too much to remember - hence we don't. (You've got me remembering a recent dream of being in a home in the Edwardian era and knowing that the furniture was very expensive in that era - and might be worth a lot more in the Present Day era - and I was there in that dream trying to figure out a way to get my furniture out of the "dream" and back into my Present Day Life with me, so that I could sell itq6gif^L^).
However - personally I think it would be helpful if we could remember our past lives - as then we would be much more aware of How Life Is and might behave a bit better...
Hmmm...thought for the day...maybe those who don't believe are non-believers partly because they sense (at some level) that they have memories they wouldnt wish to remember and therefore "protect themselves" by not believing in reincarnation. One is hardly likely to "remember" something one doesnt even believe in....
I used to think that people who believed in reincarnation were part of the tin foil hat brigade. I didn't dismiss it as a possibility but I just doubted everyone ( except some childrens experiences ) who had memories. I figured adults with memories were more likely to be delusional but they never bothered me so I left them to it. That was until I gained my own past life memories. I'm a down to earth bloke so I figured I had some credibility with my family. I told them about it like I would tell them about having a cup of coffee. I didn't see it as a big deal, it was just something that was happening to me. I figured they may not believe me ( or my tin foil hat ) but I wasn't expecting just how opposed to the idea they were. In order to get through to them that reincarnation is real I would have to disprove the whole we only have one life thing. That's impossible. Like someone else pointed out, it really does come down to experience. I experienced it, they haven't. There's no point in drawing battle lines so I just leave them to their beliefs nowadays.
This is like the "black swan event".
The phrase "black swan" derives from a Latin expression; its oldest known occurrence is the poet Juvenal's characterization of something being "rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno" ("a rare bird in the lands and very much like a black swan").When the phrase was coined, the black swan was presumed not to exist. The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic.
Juvenal's phrase was a common expression in 16th century London as a statement of impossibility. The London expression derives from the Old World presumption that all swans must be white because all historical records of swans reported that they had white feathers. In that context, a black swan was impossible or at least nonexistent.
However, in 1697, Dutch explorers led by Willem de Vlamingh became the first Europeans to see black swans, in Western Australia. The term subsequently metamorphosed to connote the idea that a perceived impossibility might later be disproved. Taleb notes that in the 19th century, John Stuart Mill used the black swan logical fallacy as a new term to identify falsification.
I have not met yet (thankfully) a person who has not become silent upon hearing:
“How is it wishful thinking? if I’ve remembered things I never heard of that turned out to be real? How can that be passed off as my imagination? Remembering what a girl in the 1900’s wrote in a letter? Events in her life? Her possessions? Her every day life? The name of her pet? How is it that every so called imagination has been proven? Explain to me, why this does not at all make it possible reincarnation exists. And please, do not say reincarnation isn’t real because it “just isn’t”
In my experience, telling a bit of your story always works and and asking why reincarnation is not real and how I’ve remembered things I shouldn’t
One other thing however that has silenced many, is in response to “You just read things and imagine these things”
I say “If my imagination is so strong how come I can read books on anyone else and what I imagine it was like ends up being wrong? It doesn’t match up with photos or accounts? How come”
Logic seems to silence people because those I’ve met can’t think up a logical reason for those things.
An excellant post. I was an atheist long ago who considered science to be my God. I believed if you couldn't prove it it wasn't real. Now I find myself on the opposite side of the science versus spirituality debate. It's actually more frustrating to be on the spiritual side of the debate because there is no measurable proof to back my claims up. I could show my family a birthmark or a handwriting sample or anything and they still won't believe in reincarnation because it's not a part of their belief system. I certainly saw my own black swans but I couldn't show them to my family unfortunately.
I tried that kind of logic on my sister. She is an opened minded artist but by God if she didn't become the most closed off of people when I tried logic. It was actually pretty heartbreaking for me because we are so close. She just kept saying it was coincidence. Numerous coincidences in a row is more than coincidence imo but she has her own firmly held beliefs. I don't talk about it to my family now.
Wow that sounds so sad I’m so sorry she doesn’t believe..
I am left to deal with the trauma of my experiences alone but I figure its part of my karma or my life lessons. I've found myself in a situation where it's impossible to fight ones way out of it. It forces me to look inwards instead of outwards. This life seems to be about reflecting on my past misdeeds. I'm just hopeful there's growth in this for me because I really do need to grow up. I've been blind for so long.
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