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Hi Michael, a very interesting post. It reminds me of the school shooting last year in Finland, where the gunman posted videos on You Tube proclaiming his support of atheism and the the idea of survival of the fittest.

If the shooting had been carried out for religious reasons, certain groups would have been all over it. When it's an atheist...

My first time posting here. It is so shocking when one reads this and attempts to put aside the fact they are simply reading text and looks at it as if one were actually 'listening' to people speaking these words..it becomes even more shocking. It's ironic for me that something like this has been posted because I have been struggling lately with an 'afterlife explorer' and author who has corresponded with me and informs me that Adolf Hitler and other people such as those who have made these statements, are all part of 'the plan' and that things like this are 'intended to be'...part of the evolving spiritual plan, if you will. Although I certainly feel that there is much more than simply this physical existence, this boggles my mind...perhaps there is someone who can enlighten me, and explain to me how people such as this can be anything other than, shall we say...deranged? How could there possibly be a spiritual explanation for this method of thinking that justifies the actions of people like this? That they were 'born to carry things like this out'? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm truly interested in what anyone has to say on this subject if they feel inclined to comment. Thank you.

Rob again here. One more thing regarding my last post...steering this over to the spiritual side of things again..not sure if Michael intended that. One other thing related to this subject that boggles my mind. I recently listened to an archived radio show on contact talk radio where a medium claims to have had an appointment with person who wished to 'hear from' her pet, a german shepher. The medium claims the dog 'told' him that he was once a Jew in the Nazi camps...and told him that when his owner would walk him, there were several other dogs who would come out and bully him (the german shepherd). The medium claimed the dog also 'said' that these other dogs were some of the Nazis that inflicted suffering on him in the camps and that they are now back in the physical life once again...as dogs....(silence here). As I said, I am one who certainly believes in the existence of more than this physical life...but this just blows me away. Honestly it creates DOUBT within me, not assurace. How on earth can it be possible that PEOPLE are returning to this life as ANIMALS and such?? I wonder how bereaved people would take this news...maybe the next dog, cat or goldfish they get is their dad? Or the next tree they plant is their aunt? Does this actually make sense to anyone? Confused...Thanks again.

Rob, there are some things that are just silly sounding. That is one of them. You have to watch out for mediumship in that sometimes the information comes from the subconscious.

At the same time, reincarnation in to another species doesn't seem implausible either. Stan Grof believes this can happen. However, I don't think you have to worry about being a plant. From what we can tell, plants aren't conscious. :)

Regarding reincarnation evidence from the research of Dr. Ian Stevenson and others, it should noted that there is a lot of evidence of reincarnation of humans into humans, but no empirical evidence of reincarnation of humans into another species.

Ulysses:

How exactly, do you propose, we acquire this information? After all, it's kind of hard to ask a dog about past lives.

Well, this is a bright, happy way to start the week, isn't it?

What too many don't realize is that the concept of eugenics was accepted in the United States as well, on the books in 30 states and supported by a 1927 Supreme Court decision. It's one of the http://www.commondreams.org/views/072100-106.htm>darkest chapters in US history.

There was a deep philosophical basis for the rise of the Nazis, which included the corruption of Blavatsky's Theosphical writings, an obsession with Nietzche's rants (overlooked was the fact he ended up in an asylum), as well as the bizarre and arrogant assumption that Darwin's theory could somehow be interpreted to mean that a self-proclaimed "superior race" was within their rights to accelerate an also self-proclaimed "God's plan" for humanity. The economic wreckage that was Germany following Versailles was all-too-fertile ground for such ideas to fester. The people were desperate, looking for a way out and Hitler provided that.

I too had thought of the Danish teen's obsession with Darwinism while reading this, and I agree with MP that the materialists' rarely consider that their insistence of interpreting life itself as a 'happy accident' is too willing to overlook these things.

Yet, the materialists are well within their rights to point out that powerful religious convictions can lead to an Ahmadinejad denying the holocaust while planning his own version, which he anticipates will be fully supported upon the imminent return of the Mahdi who will assist him in establishing a global Islamic theocracy.

It's pretty clear to me that both sides are in very dangerous metaphysical waters. I'm apparently one of few who interpret it this way though, most choosing to accept one premise or the other, in varying versions and degrees of course. Most see it as an either/or proposition, few consider that both may be flawed.

It's certainly difficult to reconcile these events along with countless other documented atrocities throughout history with the idea that the underlying reality is spiritual in nature.

I made the comment in a recent thread that I intended to stop pontificating so much here, but I'm obviously not doing so well with that objective. I really don't know how many ways there are to say that the solution to all of this lies within thought itself, and that until a significant number of people become aware of the role their own personal thought processes play in creating our consensual reality, we will continue to face the potential for very dire consequences globally.

John's suggestion of plants not being conscious is interesting, because we've had several discussions on this blog about the apparently sentient behavior of electrons. People are willing to intellectually play with that idea, looking at it like a shiny pebble they've discovered, yet will rarely ask themselves what the implications of sentient electrons are in terms of their own consciousness.

It may sound harsh to suggest that it ultimately doesn't matter. The consciousness at the core of existence will continue to manifest, with us or without us. I for one, think we are getting dangerously close to the tipping point.

Sorry for the much-too-lengthy post. I'm afraid my blood pressure shot up a tad, and I needed to vent.

I don’t have to because I don’t believe it's possible. Let my clarify a little bit what I mean. If there is no way to obtain empirical evidence about something, why would someone believe that such something is possible? That’s the difference between science and philosophy. If we don’t have a way to empirically test a hypothesis, then the only thing we can do is speculate like philosophers do, providing some “logical” arguments in favor or against it --but we know too well that all logical arguments depend on certain assumptions or paradigms which can be proven false at any time. So if we are going to speculate or if we are going to talk about what we believe (not what we can prove), I would say that reincarnation is soul evolution, which means that “regressing” to a less evolved species is not possible.

Michael H: Interesting. Perhaps plants are conscious. However, when we think of consciousness, we think of tying it to our five conventional senses - sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell. Everything we can envision ties to these senses - we know nothing else. Plants do not have all these senses (that we know of) so we can not imagine a plant being conscious*. Tie that in to the fact that plants don't seem to have brains, it makes the materialist have a lot of trouble imagining them to be conscious.

*Then again, bats don't see in the same way we see, so the argument could apply just the same to bats. Qualia, anyone?

Oh, and Ulysses, that's sort of the problem that exists. Interspecies reincarnation can't be demonstrated at all with current knowledge. I agree with you about philosophy working on assumptions, and I could just as easily counter that "soul evolution" does not necessarily mean being in a more biological body, but rather, experiencing life as a lesser being, to better advance a soul's knowledge of humility. Alternatively, we could argue that it's not even about soul evolution at all, and it's just a choice we make, deciding to be an animal. Hell, I'd like to be a house cat. It seems like it would be a great life. Perhaps a Jew who was persecuted in the holocaust was so emotionally shaken that he/she needed a little breather and went to be a dog, a significantly easier life, to sort of recharge the batteries.

Or perhaps, none of these? Until we can empirically show whether or not interspecies reincarnation can occur, it's all just philosophy.

I'm not sure that occasionally being reincarnated as an animal would necessarily be a bad thing. Yeah, they have to worry about starvation and usually meet with a violent end. However, they also live in blissful ignorance and don't have to suffer through the drudgery of high school and a sixty hour work week.

What no one talks about is how our current system is just like this - it is just not made explicit like it was in those quotations. If you can't make yourself useful to some idiot capitalist who is only interested in your usefulness, you die of starvation.

There is a video of Richard Dawkins on youtube where he brings up a conjuror the conjuror says he can do the same thing a medium can do also does esp, clairoyance, scoop bending check it out here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r053ImV03Ss

Leo, that guy is doing simple tricks, like bending the spoon is a simple effect you can do to any crappy spoon since that is the weakest point. Sometimes with my older spoons I accidentally bend them simply trying to scoop out ice cream. Whoops! Psychic powers! Psh.

He's just cold reading, doing ideomotor effects, subtle suggestion, and other silly little tricks that you can learn in a year or two. None of it holds a candle to psi research or the best cases found in parapsychological research.

Regarding being reborn as an animal. For me, I apply what I call common sense thinking to other things, including religion, etc. As it does not make sense to me that most of the world will be tortured for what they did or did not believe, I apply the same to being reborn as animals. This does not make a shred of sense to me...neither is their, to my knowledge, a single NDE or otherwise that indicates anyone coming back as a cat or perhaps, a jackass, let alone a plant. How can this make sense? How can it make sense to my heart or my conscience? Should I tell someone who is bereaved, 'don't worry, your son is not being 'tortured'..he is ok, in fact he may be your next pet or house plant' and think that would be good for them? It is partly this 'common sense' that tells me this is just preposterous and really 'out there'. I'm even a bit 'iffy' on the past lives thing...it is Hinduism, another religion. If there is such a possibility, I wonder if it would be far more complex, than a matter of days turnaround such as Hinduism suggests, and I seriously even question why someone would be 'reborn' with physical scars from a different life...why would those scars show up? Why would that be necessary? Would it be a fluke that they did? Why? To me these are common sense questions. I certainly question 'a few days' turnaround and certainly question 'plants'...

Where do souls come from? Maybe nature is one huge soul making process. My observation has been that a dog does learn shame and many pet dogs seem to think they are human. Many dog owners certainty treat their dogs as humans. Could a pet dog die and then enter this world as a new human soul a beginner soul if you will?

As far as plants having consciousness, I believe they do but not to the degree or level that we do. There appears to be an evolution of consciousness occurring until that conscious reaches self-consciousness then this self-consciousness begins to look for purpose and meaning in life.

When I studied Hinduism I pretty much discounted their beliefs on animals becoming humans but not so sure now. On a creature level I suppose it makes sense to want to build a superior race but on a spiritual level that variation in species development actually can advance the soul in love and compassion.

As far as Hitler everyone wants to blame Hitler and call him evil and be done with it. Not so fast he had a willing populace that he took advantage of. Leaders can bring out the worst or the best in their followers.

Take spiritually out of the human journey and this is the danger. The same for religion: take spiritually out of religion and rely on dogma and problems arise. Social Darwinism and religious fundamentalism are both dangerous paths to follow.

Well, John's earlier post does make sense to me...I think it is dangerously close to the tipping point to, as the 'afterlife explorer' who is also an author, corresponds with me, that atrocities happen for a reason and it is spiritually justified. Maybe it's me, this seems flawed. So, if Hitler and the people who followed him were spiritually justified, should they have been stopped? Did we interfere with their spiritual plan? Or did we fulfill our own as well? This is the kind of thing that often causes me to reconsider my viewpoint on the possibility of all this...and think there is nothing beyond this. It even makes me go back to what some say about 'influence' upon us from 'evil' souls...those in the lowest levels of existence. This makes more sense to me than a predetermined reason for killing, raping, genocide and so forth. In the name of 'progress' have we forgotten this possibility?

Further...I wonder if MP has ever read any of the writings by Emmanuel Swedenborg...one who claims to have seen 'the other side' for over 20 years and wrote extensively on it...Why does Swedenborg say there is no such things as past lives...and the memories of such are nothing more than information contained in our genes because we are a piece of our ancestors...and also that at times we pick up on the ancestors and relatives who are still connected with us from 'the other side' and are close by us much of the time? Why have all his books been pretty much forgotten? Regarding 'personal beliefs', here is one for you....in 'Embraced By The Light' Betty Eadie writes that it what shown to her that there are no past lives and it was explained why some think they are remembering past lives when they really are not...yet now in an interview, she says she 'believes' reincarnation because that's all that makes sense! So where did the info in her book that she writes about come from then? Is she ignoring what she claims was revealed to her? Why? Do people do this because of thier own 'belief'?

For those interested...the 'afterlife explorer' that I speak of who corresponds with me...the name of the book is Eyes Of An Angel.

Not everything's "pre-determined". Just things have lessons. If a government commits massive genocide, then it's less likely it will happen in the future. I think that's the concept, not that things like that are "spiritually justified"... that's nonsense. We have free will and because of that we are responsible for our own actions.

I don't know who "afterlife explorer" is but there's a lot of information that's both ambiguous and not the entire truth. I also think that, regarding afterlife intelligences, once you've high tailed it out of Earth and you're enjoying a beautiful tropical vacation in Summerland or wherever, you might view the worst of evil with a bit less fervor. Life will seem a lot better, and even the biggest atrocities down here won't have the same gravitase that you once percieved it with, because you've completely seperated yourself from the concepts of death, ruin, and cruelty.

Reincarnation is an unusual concept. There's a lot information relayed that there is either no reincarnation, or that it's very rare. If somebody kills his/herself, they may be forced to get reborn to finish what they started.

However, I doubt most new souls are going to feel inclined to jump back on Earth. This place is seriously dangerous to your mental health. When you are born with near total amnesia about other realities, then you can get sucked into a mental darkness / ignorance that leads to terrible illness and ignorance / darkness that can push you toward really terrible conditions. Who would intentionally risk that?

Well said Cyrus...I feel people become obsessed with 'past lives'. I don't meant to try invalidate anyone else's thinking...I just can't help but wonder why for example, Swedenborg's writings on this subject seem to be discounted entirely, even written off as old fashioned. Betty Eadie says it was revealed to her there is no such things as past lives and it was explained to her..yet now she seems to use her own 'logic' to say it is all that makes sense...but that it doesn't happen the way we think it does...that it is rare..that there are better ways than reincarnation that exist in the afterlife. Why this discrepancy and why is Swedenborg ignored? Why do mediums seem to disagree on this reincarnation thing? Why do people here claim to actually see relatives many years after they have passed? It seems that people justify these things I point out with the 'higher self' explanation...that we exist in both worlds...is this a 'belief' or a fact? Now so called 'afterlife explorer' Robert Monroe claims to tell us that we can 'live' MANY lives at once in different worlds. If he can find this kind of information out, why doesn't he find out something useful and get the information that we can use to PROVE to materialists the existence of life beyond this? Wouldn't this be of more value than informing us we can live perhaps 100 lives in different worlds at the same time?? It just sounds preposterous to me. Honestly I think it adds fuel to the fire for people like Dawkins because it sounds so crazy.

Hello Cyrus, only to let you know...the 'afterlife explorers' I speak about are both Bruce Moen and Paul Elder. The latter is the one who corresponds with me. Futhermore, one of them even implies that being a 'squirrel' is possible. I often feel that things have to 'make sense' in this life as well as the other...and I cannot reconcile my heart or my conscience with telling a grieving person that their loved one is being tortured for what they did or did not believe...and I certainly can't reconcile the same heart of conscience to telling them their loved one may return as their horse or even their grandchild. I believe there are some people who would actually then wonder and even claim it really IS their father or mother. I think past lives and spiritual justification for heinous behaviour has been blown way out of proportion to the point of absurdity...and can indeed cause seriously mental darkness. If it doesn't make sense in this life, why should it in the other life? I agree, it either does not happen, as stated by Swedenborg...or it is very rare. This seems to make the most sense to me. And I certainly don't 'believe' part of my family has come back as my cat, my dog or my cow.

I prefer to rest of empiricism and not mystics. While I think mystics and "afterlife explorers" might be able to find some things out, I don't think we should trust a few people to be able to come through with information like this. It's impossible to figure out what is coming from the subconscious and what is genuine, which is where reincarnation research comes in handy - thousands upon thousands of consistent cases.

John, but then how do we know the 'memories' aren't coming from someone's subconscious then? What about the numerous books written by Emmanuel Swedenborg giving detailed and astounding revelations..and stating that 'past lives' do not happen? And even stating why they are falsely 'remembered'?

And impossible to figure out what is perhaps only confusion and deception coming from people in lowest level existences as well then? :)

Rob, have you studied reincarnation? How do these memories line up 30-40 times with proven fact? What about birthmark evidence?

There's no way this is subconscious. I'm sorry, but I'll rest with the 3,000 studied cases and countless more anecdotal cases than what one person wrote.

Hello John, I have. This is why I post these questions...because there is so MUCH written contradicting this belief (not of life beyond this though) that seems to be ignored. And the concept, which we agree on, given by mystics and even mediums, suggesting heinous acts justified by spiritual reasons. No one seems to have a sound answer why those like Emmanuel Swedenborg are...wrong.

Or at least not a reason for them being 'wrong' other than '...we just can't trust them.' :)

I have even read accounts given by those in the afterlife (through mediums) that say even THEY cannot clarify this belief with finality.

One more thing...it's not just written by one person...there are many. Leslie Flint (supposedly the most tested medium of all time)...even his 'guest speakers' cannot testify to the certainty of this belief...yet this seems to be forgotten today. Certainly I have never heard anything from Flint's 'guest speakers' that suggests spiritual justification of cruelty and genocide. At best, his guest speakers will only commit to the possibility of reincarnation being based on the deceased person's OWN beliefs even now in the hereafter...alluding to the concept that the person does not 'change' much (another concept written of by Swedenborg). Further, Flint's guest speakers had often been deceased for 100 years and over.

I'm not sure where you're getting Leslie Flint from. Most tested? I've never even heard of him. Leonora Piper is the most tested medium of all time.

As for reasons for Swedenborg to be wrong, it's because he's a philosopher. Philosophers simply extrapolate and interpret the data. Sometimes the truth is not what the philosopher thinks. It's just that simple.

google Swedenborg and see all the books written...ok I could give you some slack regarding 'truth' and 'mystic'...John, if you have never heard of Leslie Flint, I'm not sure if you have studied close enough. Most spiritualists seem to hold Flint as their highest trophy...perhaps you should google Leslie Flint and read the articles, news print about him. You will find what I'm saying to be true. You will find his site where you LISTEN to the actual recordings from guest speakers in the afterlife and listen for yourself to what is said about the questions I have raised here. Even Raymond Moody is touchy on this sugject...stating in an interview that if there is such a thing as past lives, it is far more complex than a 'revolving door'. Seach Leslie Flint, you will see what I mean. Search Swedenborg as well...if you thoroughly search you will find MUCH that goes against this 'theory' but seems to be ignored. Also visit greaterreality.com to find out about Leslie Flint...he is a trophy!

Here John.... www.leslieflint.com Try this.

Well, I'm not a spiritualist at all. I'm simply a layperson with a scientific interest in anomalous phenomena, which includes forms of survival. To be frank, I don't really have much of a care about what mystics and spiritualists have to say - I just want to know the empiricism and science, and to me, reincarnation seems to be almost proven through the scientific method. For me, empiricism and repeatability will always trump philosophy.

Hello John, also, have you heard of The Scole Experiments? Brian Hurst was involved...Leslie Flint was his mentor I believe.

Your position is understood and respected, John. No worries. I do accept the reality of life beyond this life...although it would not be correct for me to argue, I simply say that this is not as cut and dried as some seem to think it is..and I must disagree with it being 'virtually proven'...most of the contradicting evidence is just ignored. Last, I fully reject the notion that heinous crimes are spiritually justified. Thanks for your comments, though.

To clarify my last post...I'm referring to reincarnation of course, not the life beyond this life in general.

I'm also not sure I'm clear on how we empirically 'repeat' to 'prove' continuous reincarnation? Scientifically speaking. :)

Well, we don't necessarily prove that.

The most that has been shown is that a child will remember details of what is allegedly a past life, and reincarnation is the best interpretation due to the subjective factor (amongst other things) of it - if they were just picking up info, they wouldn't have the subjective aspect, the qualia aspect, of what they were reporting as being "self" - something they actually experienced.

As for "continuous reincarnation," we can't, except in the case where people recall multiple past lives through regression. The problem here is that regression is not as reliable as spontaneous recall, and the subconscious plays a big role here.

As for the Scole Experiment, I have not read it but from what I understand, they produced some very evidential phenomena and some strong evidence, but the spirits just "packed up and left" one day which leaves the whole thing seeming rather flat.

I'm going to bed now, so I'm done for now. I'll read other comments tomorrow. To Michael, I'm sorry for contributing to such an extreme derailing of your post and I hope some others put it back on track. :)

Yes, I understand what you are saying, I don't dismiss it. I agree with the subconcsious playing a big role, I also wonder if it does in 'spontaneous' recall as well...search for The Scole Experiment, there is something newer out about it now as well, you can find it on the web.

I only say that, in my opinion, all the evidence CONTRARY to reincarnation seems to be ignored for some reason..as if some are so focused on it that they will not see anything contrary to it...as though it were, that without reincarnation there is no 'validity' to life beyond this life or something...I am not at all convinced of reincarnation, yet I am sure of life beyond this life. I certainly do not believe it is like a revolving door, if there even is such a concept. It seems any past explanation AGAINST it is ignored, as if people 'need' reincarnation in order to accept life beyond this life. At best, I could concede it is nothing like any religion says it is...including Hinduism. If someone is working off 'karmic debt'...when we see someone on the street starving, should we leave them there because this is their 'karmic debt' being paid? To me, reincarnation is turning almost turning into a religion of sorts...and a fundamental one at that...that it is just CORRECT no matter what evidence there is that exists against it. Thanks for your comments, I'll have to run now...incidentally I might mention...I am one who has seen some people who are 'deceased'...and spoken through thought transference...seen one who identified themselves as a 'guide' to me...LOL :) We don't know each other I know...but I'm really not crazy. Peace to you.

Well, I’m going to do my best to get this thread back on topic, or at least relating to the topic, by simply pointing out what I’m guessing doesn’t automatically leap to everyone’s mind.

MP fills the main post with numerous examples of prominent intellectuals that were heavily involved in laying the philosophical foundation of the holocaust. I haven’t read the book, but I would think that Michael did not share every example contained therein, and even if he had, a single book can only represent a small number of the highly intelligent people who were involved on several different levels. We read these words today, and most of us recoil in revulsion at the callous, casual way the elimination of entire races of humans is casually discussed. I say ‘most of us’, because you can be certain that there are still people out there who wholeheartedly agree with these ideas, and no amount of rational discourse would convince them otherwise.

What we too easily miss, is that most of these men were likely among the most respected members of their community, men who as well as holding prominent positions, were raising families, regularly attending services of their respective faiths and were generally regarded as upstanding, decent human beings by their contemporaries. I’m sure that many of them felt a genuine sympathy for the “inferiors” they were working to eliminate. And all the while, every word they spoke, that any decent human today being finds unimaginably repulsive, they themselves fully believed. I have no doubt that they genuinely saw themselves as on the cutting edge of the intelligentsia of their day, saw themselves as honestly working towards the establishment of a global utopia of which they were playing a crucially important part.

Today we reflect on that and shake our heads at the controlling paradigms of Nazi Germany, but not many will recognize the source of the paradigm itself. We look at the state of the Middle East, of current Islam, of the mess in Kenya, at the new Pope issuing warnings about the veracity of hell one week and reopening old wounds with Jews the next, and we pick and choose from these examples as to which ones represent the most disturbing paradigms, but we again never ask where the paradigms come from in the first place.

I’ll suggest an answer, but I have no doubt that it will only be digested intellectually by most that read it, and laughed at by others, because it seems too simple. Few, if any, will consider experientially the truth of the statement that all paradigms begin with a thought. The horrible examples given in Michael’s main post are representative of what can happen when thought is mistaken for reality by a large group of people. It’s still happening now, all over the world, but it can’t be fixed by working on others.

The only way we can progress is if each of us makes an effort to see the degree we make the same mistake ourselves. We’re constantly mistaking thought for reality, because we just flat-out don’t see it as thought. And we won’t until we make an experiential shift within, and begin to see ourselves as the ‘thinkers’. If someone catches just a glimmer of what I’m suggesting experientially, the glimmer they catch can potentially lead them to understand much more than they can currently begin to imagine.

We aren’t thinking our thoughts; our thoughts are thinking us. Michael’s main post demonstrates all too clearly what can happen when a society fails to recognize that.

“'Embraced By The Light' Betty Eadie writes:”

That book is not one of my favorites. The first time I picked it up when I was studying near death experiences and I read some pages and put it down. It seemed made up to me. Would not put all my stock in that one book. There has been some evidence that when she claimed she died there is no record at the hospital. Cant explain but do not trust her story.

“However, I doubt most new souls are going to feel inclined to jump back on Earth.”

“Who would intentionally risk that?”

I think there are a variety of reasons why a soul would come back to earth. Some out of desire (food, sex, drama), some out a need to learn, and some to have a physical experience. Some maybe even on a mission to help humankind. Earth may be one big schoolhouse.

I think reincarnation is a realty. Not happy about that but it appears to be so. Spending time with my granddaughter highly suggests to me she is doing more remembering than learning new material.

When Betty J. Eadie's story was originally published as a small volume aimed at a Mormon audience, her NDE contained many elements consistent with Mormon theology. Later, when the book was picked up by a major publisher, her account was rewritten to downplay these elements. Some details are found here.

Since I think NDEs are determined in part by one's preexisting beliefs, I have no problem believing she could have had an NDE with Mormon content. What troubles me is that she allegedly modified her story to make it acceptable to a wider audience.

Regarding reincarnation as an animal, I don't know of any children who have spontaneously remembered a past life as anything other than a human being. I also don't know of any hypnotically regressed patients who remembered nonhuman lives. In short, there doesn't seem to be any positive evidence for this kind of reincarnation - or if there is, I'm not aware of it.

>most of these men were likely among the most respected members of their community ... regularly attending services of their respective faiths

Actually, I think most of them were atheists, and as a rule they were deeply hostile to Christianity, which they saw as promoting weakness and servility.

>We’re constantly mistaking thought for reality,

I take your point and agree with it to an extent, but it seems to me that we need some conceptual framework if we are going to function as human beings. The trick, I suppose, is not to be so wedded to our conceptual map that we mistake it for the real-world territory. As someone once said, "The menu is not the meal" ...

Damn. Last comment by me.

William's post, no disrespect intended at all, to me, reinforces part of what I have been saying all along...

1- More and more simply choose to believe this notion of an unending cycle of incarnations...somewhat like fundamentalist religion...it is just correct...there is no other possibility. I recently read on a medium's website of contact with deceased who communicated that there is no reincarnation...but according to the medium, guides were immediately summoned to take those particular communicators to be 'enlightened'. How does anyone know those communicators were incorrect?

2- Few seem willing to comment on what I initially posted that I thought was at least, in a small way, indirectly pertaining to the subject...how could mass genocide and heinous acts/thinking be justified as 'being for a reason'? In other words, that it is justified in some strange way...that it is all just part of the process in the big school house...I'm not sure if those involved in the horrors of fighting that war, or the people and their families involved with the holocaust would feel the same about it, that they were 'learning' something...or contributing to a 'greater good' or perhaps working off their own karmic debt. Incidentally, my father is one who fought that war...for four years. Involved in the liberation of four countries and had been through the death camps as well as wounded, and later served at the Nuremburg trials, and has the star medals to back it up...he did not feel very 'fortunate' spiritually. He also brought back pictures of some of the death camps when the allied forces took them...anyone who thinks there is some spiritual goodness there, has obviously not seen them.

3- William states 'I think it's a reality, not happy about that but it appears to be so' based on his grand daughter and perhaps some NDEs...again seeminly a 'belief' that is chosen regardless of anything else. What about NDEs that don't support this belief? Not happy about it, so is it also FORCED upon us then?

4- Anything spiritual that does not totally support reincarnation is dismissed as not valid or flawed...much like fundamental religion except regarding contradictions to this particular belief, those contradictions are even dismissed as unscientific.

5- Willingness to even 'believe' that a Jewish person who has gone through the holocaust has been reincarnated as a dog...with his tormentors as other dogs in the neighborhood still 'bullying' him. Possibly for a rest/break...why wouldn't he rest in the spiritual worlds instead of reincarnating as a dog?

6- Not a lot of comments as to concern in the spiritual world for our earthly existence and the importance of functioning in a healthy way in our physical world...in other words, informing the bereaved that their parents or children may now be 'someone else', someone's cat, or....?? How would those who are bereaved take this news? Would this be beneficial to them? Wouldn't it be possible that the first thing they think of might be 'but then I will never see them again'...what would that do to some?

7- Mystics who claim there are no past lives and explain why they say this...seem to be labelled as unreliable or fraudulent, yet as I understand it..the concept of reincarnation comes from mystics to begin with...are these particular mystics more reliable?

8- What about some of the recordings from direct voice medium Leslie Flint where some of the 'guest speakers' can't say one way or another if reincarnation is a fact or not? If it is univeral or imposed upon us, shouldn't they know this?

If this all sounds crazy, I wonder if perhaps it would be because it really might be? Could those involved with the holocaust have planned that event in a matter of days? If so, how many days?

It just seems to me that this a belief that is being adopted and anything contrary to it, from mystics or simply common sense, is simply 'not valid' for one reason or another. And as for the holocaust/heinous acts being justified spiritually in some way, that it was 'intended' to be that way...I struggle enormously with that and I suspect that I am not alone in that.

I forgot...I'm also not convinced that food, sex or drama is a 'reason' to reincarnate. I'm also not sure that a 'rest' is a reason to incarnate as a dog or perhaps a grasshopper.

You know, Rob, you make some excellent points and have raised many I agree with. My problem too with the issue of spirituality is that some people will almost believe anything, or in their zeal to be unlike the skeptics, they refuse to rule anything out.

As you say, there is no evidence of reincarnation from or to animals. How could anyone justify a Holocaust victim being reincarnated as a dog? Or a Nazi? Maybe with the Nazis, someone was being ironic, and thinking "Well, if you say you were only following orders..."

And I think this is something that has been on my mind for some time. Say we did get the smoking gun evidence for survival after death. What would this produce? I don't think it would be a case of people simply accepting it and getting on with their lives.

For every genuine medium, there would be 50 frauds. How many people would try and pass off phony 'healing' methods on people? You get it to a degree now, let alone if survival was accepted.

Well, not to impose myself further, I want to mention a few of my own personal obsevations. I will save the LAST one for the being at least somewhat more relevant to the original post. I must reiterate that I am not a skeptic...in fact I just KNOW...I think it's that simple, you either do or you don't.

1- in some aspects spiritually oriented scientific folk have become similar to the materialist pseudo skeptics...'believing' what they believe to be simply correct and infallible...this includes reincarnations over and over and over...denying any other possibilities, disregarding anything now or in the past that might possibly indicate otherwise...basically sounding a lot like Hinduism, another man made religion.

2- we have mediums now making all kinds of claims...communicating with dogs, iguanas, butterflies, etc. Often mediums' 'controls' can't even verify their prior existence or give any substantial details of their physical life that can be verified...nobody knows who they are, or who any medium is communicating with. And yet, it is these same mediums who are, in many ways, giving us 'beliefs' that we just refuse to acknowledge may not be entirely correct.

3- there seem to be at least some, in their zeal to 'prove' something scientifically, that seem to forget that first and foremost we are PEOPLE. We seem to have gone from people with hearts and a conscience to...molecules, particles, great beings of light, energy, waves, a frequency, possibly animals, and, the depersonalization goes on and on.

4- the truth is no one knows for sure WHO mediums are communicating with, yet some of them even choose their own 'belief' as more relevant than what some souls are communicating to them.

5- it seems like many people are more concerned with their 'past life' or 'future life' than they are with thier PRESENT life.

6- it seems like there are at least some, who are willing to consider that they or ones that they love...have been or could be...dogs, cats, roaches...maybe even plants. This is what it seems to have come to...in the name of 'beliefs'.

7- it seems, in the depersonalization of ourselves, that many seem to have forgotten that if there is life beyond this life (which there is), it would only make common sense that there must be some creator source as well. It seems like it has been depersonalized to the point of being a 'sea of consciousness'...which in a way begins to sound similar to 'random chance' again. More depersonalization.

8- to me, it seems there is an increasing lack of accountability...that all is just 'good'...if you commit heinous acts, you are just part of the 'spiritual evolution' or plan. OK, maybe you'll do better in your 'next' life...and if you don't then, well, maybe you will in your next 10000 lives.

9- as detrimental as pseudo science is to people regarding a 'teaching of truth' that is basically depressing and creates in many people no purpose to live, a march toward anhilation if you will...somehow some feel that telling bereaved people that their loved ones are now someone else or an animal, is helping them.

10- we have people who, it could be argued, are only dreaming, and informing us of bizarre things that they call 'spiritual truth'...and in many cases they are being 'believed'.

11- LAST...considering all of this...we have at least some mediums and some of us regular people...who are willing to 'believe' that Jewish holocaust victims may possibly be dogs or even insects..that it may just not be 'discovered' yet...and their Nazi counterparts are simply other dogs or insects who still torment them in the interest of karmic law...that the Jewish victim has returned as an animal to 'stand up to' his former Nazi tormenters. And that the holocaust was merely a 'spiritual plan'.

AND MANY DON'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND HOW ANYONE ELSE COULD FIND ALL THIS RIDICULOUS AND EVEN HARMFUL. IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT SOME SPIRITUALISTS CAN EVEN FIND A REASON TO CONSIDER THOSE WHO CAN'T FATHOM SOME OF THIS AS BEING 'LESS DEVELOPED'.

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