11/21/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
Reincarnation is also known as "the transmigration of souls." It is an intransigent belief going back for millennia. As a creed of Hinduism and Buddhism, reincarnation is the belief that the soul of a human or animal can pass, after death, into that of another human or animal body. (This can be disturbing to those who really believe they might be reincarnated as slugs or cave ﬁsh if they have not behaved well in life.) If we are to take some claims seriously, this can take place while bodies are still alive. Thus we have tales of demonic possession, as in the movie, "The Exorcist," or the tale of demon spirits migrating into the bodies of swine.
Fairy tales are another example. We know the story of the prince turned into a frog and being restored to being a prince again, by a kiss. (Little children have been known to accept this as true.) Transferring to Transylvania, we ﬁnd Dracula, who transmigrates from man to bat to vapor and back again. All vampires can do so, at will. The undead, like God and the gods, can do this. Belief in spirits roaming about, creating order and havoc, leads those willing to believe in them to accept such a thing as gods entering, without sperm, the wombs of women, thus incarnating themselves. Speaking of disembodied spirits, Christian theology speaks of a "Trinity." Since a "Holy Spirit" (the Harpo Marx of the three), indicates one without body, it would be better if we speak of a "Duality"+ Spirit. According to the O.T. and N.T., both Father and Son have bodies.
The original meaning of "spirit" tells us something: it means "breath." When the breath left the body, it was noticed that the person was dead. Gods gave humans the "breath of life." The winds and hurricanes and tornados, are all "acts of God." Pentecost of Christianity uses the term "wind" to indicate the presence of a "Holy Spirit." It is not hard to see how a wind might be considered a blessed spirit to pagans in a desert. A newborn is slapped on the butt so that the spirit will enter it. So, if breath and spirit are one and the same, might we say then that two lovers kissing are exchanging part of their souls, and if they keep kissing, they'll become "soul mates?" Does mouth-to-mouth resuscitation "restoreth my soul?" Do you really want any part of another's soul‘? Will artiﬁcial resuscitation allow the soul of the machine to enter the body of the resuscitated?
Without a belief in the transmigration of souls, there would be no religions, no reasons to believe in an after-death life in another form for the individual. There would be no spirits, let alone those to migrate. The very idea of such souls presupposes an existence outside of a body which merely happens to inhabit a body in a lifetime. (People still say, "Bless you" after you've sneezed. According to lore, you have sneezed the "devil" out.)
The belief in an overtaking of one's own soul by eternal demons brings us to the opposite question: What about possession/incarnation/transmigration by "the Spirit of the Lord?" This is praised as unity with God. Traditional theology, scriptures, and the fundamentalism of three Abrahamic faiths hold this possession as the highest experience a human can have, above any pleasure known to humans. All of those who are and have ever been revered and obeyed as "holy" are so because they are believed to be the Chosen Ones, singularly possessed by God. The reincarnations of God are legion: Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs, Father Divine, all the popes and every charismatic cult leader, priests, shamans, rabbis, imams, etc., etc., down through thousands of years - "possessed by the Spirit."
And who is this God who possesses them? Isn't "he" the rigidly judgmental God who drowned mankind because it was "evil," the God who rained ﬁre and brimstone on cities, who commanded civilizations be slaughtered? Isn't he the one who will destroy everything we hold valuable as humans, in absolute catastrophic destruction? This is the God who will send millions to eternal torture if they do not obey and believe the words he speaks through those he possesses. Those possessed by this God are driven by his divine ﬁre-spirit. While totally possessing them, it is not only to work his "wonders” through them, but to control the minds and hearts of those who hear them. And while the belief in demonic possession puts believers on guard to see it where it does not exist, their minds are closed to see the evils wrought by the deistic possession they believe in.
God speaks through many bodies. From what we have experienced, God chooses to transmigrate into many bodies, usually becoming platitude-spouting charismatic leaders. God transmigrates himself 24 hours a day on religious television channels’ "spiritual infomercials." Obviously, there, God manifests himself as jerks who are arrogant spirit-blow-hards.
You'd think that after thousands of years he'd do better. But, maybe he's like the Hindus who have to keep re-incarnating until they get it right. If you pay attention, you'll notice that, unlike them, God's forever and ever not learning.