Apologetics Index


Reincarnation, derived from a Latin word meaning, ‘taking on flesh again’ is the concept that the soul of a living being (in most traditions a human being) lives on — or is reborn — in a new body after the death of the former body.

Beliefs vary as to whether the soul assumes the new body immediately or only after an interval of disembodiment. Although some religions teach that it may inhabit a higher or lower form of life, most believe that the soul is consistently reincarnated in the same species.
– Source: Reincarnation, Columbia Encyclopedia

Belief in reincarnation is characteristic of Asian religions, especially Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. All hold to the doctrine of karma, the belief that actions in this life will have their effect in the next. In Hinduism, a person may be freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth only by reaching a state of enlightenment. Likewise in Buddhism, discipline and meditation may enable a seeker to reach nirvana and escape the wheel of birth and rebirth. Manichaeism and Gnosticism accepted the concept of reincarnation, as do such modern spiritual movements as Theosophy.
– Source: Reincarnation, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Nowadays the concept of reincarnation is also popular among adherents of New Age-type religious movements, including the pick-and-choose variety.

Past-Life Therapy

Some people come to believe in the concept of reincarnation through so-called Past-Life Therapy (PLT). John Ankerberg and John Weldon, who operate from a Christian perspective, state:

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“Past-life” therapy employs hypnosis to place the individual in a trance state for a specific purpose. That purpose is to send the individual “back” into his supposed former lives in order to resolve hidden emotional or spiritual conflicts that are allegedly affecting his physical, emotional, or spiritual health today.
– Source: John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Past-Life Therapy, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs Page 336

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First published (or major update) on Friday, May 18, 2007.
Last updated on May 18, 2007.

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