Ways of Christ

Logo: drawed Christian cross and earth symbol

 Part 3 Additional topics, questions / answers concerning secrets of life 

The relation of Christianity to other teachings about "karma" and "reincarnation".

With excerpts from the main text.

Destiny / fate / "karma".

Theology speaks about forgiveness of sins. What can really be had however, is, that "redemption" as an "embryonic" possibility needs the emulation of Christ ("imitation of Christ"), in order to become really expressed in one's life. This is real work. One can really experience that life becomes more of an organic whole if one has the attitude of being guided through life by God as conveyed by Christ. If one instead has an attitude of mechanically effective laws of destiny or of the balance of "Karma", then life will indeed happen according to these principles. Christ also speaks of repayment "down to the last penny", but he does not say that this has still to be in terms of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". The new task of the person is in the foreground - whatever is fruitful for him and his environment will be chosen from his abilities and done. Coping with the past is no longer an end in itself and it is no longer a motive for development. Help "from above" in the interaction of people’s various possibilities can be observed today. (Excerpt from the chapter "The crucifixion" of the main text.)

The "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) does not only refer to sins in the narrow sense of negative deeds, or sinfulness as a tendency to such deeds. The ancient meaning of the word "sin" - "separation" - is a good translation: everything with a tendency to separate man from God; including negative deeds of others against oneself or sufferings too. 


The term "rebirth", more customary in Christian attempts, might be confused with "re-incarnation", as known from other religions. This does not mean that the question of re-incarnation would not appear in the Bible: Matthew 11,14 might become interpreted along these lines. See Matthew 16:13-14 and 17:12-13, and John 9:2 too.

That ideas about re-incarnation, that is re-personification of the soul in a new body, as found in all kinds of religions in one form or the other, would be a lower, more imperfect "octave" of the new resurrection event, and not identical with it. Teachings of a pre-existence**) of the soul prior to the fertilization (Origenes, a Father of the Church) and also the teachings of the repersonification**) ("transmigration", St. Hieronymus) were also widely held in early Christianity, according to Ruffinus, even generally held. However, it is interesting to note that later no special emphasis was laid on this concept. That is not only due to the circumstance that people were supposed to be concentrating on life on earth - as R. Steiner writes; and not only a possible aim of power-hungry Popes to make people more dependent by the limits of one life - as other spiritual authors presume. More meaningful phenomena can also be found to underline that. The most important thing is for people to anchor the concept of resurrection in themselves. Even if this seems to be pie in the sky, re-incarnation would start to look like a process that had been overtaken by Christ. The resurrected Christ did not have to be born again in order to reappear to the people. Many - although not all - Christian groups criticize ideas of reincarnation. It can be acknowledged that the idea of inflexible "psycho-mechanical" laws of fate, death and re-incarnation, at least if seen as an end in itself, do not correspond to the example of the life of Jesus. That does not mean, however, that re-incarnation could never have existed or that it could not exist today. Many former and contemporary so-called "reincarnation experiences" cannot be explained away - even though not all of these experiences are necessarily based on real reincarnation, but often on certain other factors. But indeed in the Christian field the reported experiences seem to be special cases, for instance the case of John the Baptist. Instead of taking over the function of Elia - as mostly interpreted - Jesus said simply "It is he". That would be, however, the role of a being sent again for a special task, in order to help the people and not a mandatory circuit of a prisoner in the wheel of rebirth (of the Hindus). Furthermore, in the field of Christian mysticism, even where re-incarnation is accepted as a fact (for instance Lorber), the greater importance of new ways of learning after death in other dimensions***) is often stressed. Today people can learn enormously in one life. Reincarnation for normal purification and development, possibly with new tasks to match the situation, does not necessarily need to have the old, automatic nature. Those old ideas may have been a cause for seeing the teachings about reincarnation suspiciously as non-Christian. Apart from that, the ideas of other religions about reincarnation did not consider the role of God and Christ. The nature of all people in body, mind and spirit is basically the same and therefore comparisons can help everyone to learn from each other - without egalitarianism. (Excerpt from the chapter "The resurrection" of the main text.) 
Also many people in western countries believe in reincarnation; among them must be many Christians too. Internal discussions within Churches show, that they may find an answer, more free than before. But this should not lead to a new dogma of reincarnation.

*) The word "karma" has a Hindu origin, and means laws balancing one´s destiny during the development. Escaping from that "wheel of destiny" is seen as a goal in Hinduism and Buddhism. With other names and considerations it appears in other cultures too, usually combined with rules of ethical behaviour.
**) The Church later judged this teachings as heretical. Since 538 decisions were made against teachings in this context, concerning the individual human spirit. But a so named "Council's decision" from 553 was a product of a meeting, handpicked by the Roman emperor Justinian; the Pope, at that time staying in the same town, boycotted that meeting instead of signing the decisions. (...)
***)See our page "The question of life after death and its consequences for life before death" too. The Christian term "eternal life" means more than a mere stop in the beyond.


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