20 catholic arguments against reincarnation
Reincarnation is a doctrine that states one may have many lives. Here are 20 arguments from logic, philosophy, theology and simple morality against reincarnation
Note from the translator: Title and headings were added in this essay by the translator
The doctrine of reincarnation is common to several religious systems, all of them with a Gnostic background. It starts with a mistake about the problem of evil and divine justice. In modern times, the doctrine of reincarnation has become very widespread in spiritism.
Reincarnationists defend the thesis that each person would have several lives, and would reincarnate to pay for the sins of a previous life. In this way, each life would be given to us to atone for mistakes, which we do not know, of a life we would have had. Each reincarnation would be a punishment for the evils we practiced in previous lives. There would be no hell. Man's punishment would be to live in this material world and not become pure spirit. For reincarnationists, "hell is here".
They refuse to admit that this life is unique, and that after death we are judged by God and rewarded with heaven, or temporarily punished in purgatory, or eternally condemned to hell. They demand a "new chance" while refusing to change their lives now. To them, it could be applied what an author said about time and the postponement of duties: “Why do you promise to do (to labor) in the future that you don't have, what you refuse to do (to labor) ‘today’, that you have?”. In the same way, those who defend the theory of reincarnation intend to improve themselves (only) in future lives – that they imagine they will have – and refuse to improve now, in the life they have.
For Hindus, reincarnation could take place through the transmigration of the spirit even in the body of an animal or plant. For spiritists, reincarnation would only take place in human bodies.
1 - For reincarnationists life is punishment
If the human soul is reincarnated to pay for sins committed in a previous life, life must be considered a punishment, not a good in itself. Now, if life were a punishment, we would long to leave it, since every man wants his punishment to end soon. Nobody wants to be grounded for a long time. However, no one wants, in good conscience, to stop living. Therefore, life is not a punishment. On the contrary, human life is the greatest natural asset we possess.
2 - What did the first man atone for?
If the soul is reincarnated to pay for the sins of a previous life, one should ask when this series of reincarnations began. Where was (the first) man when he first sinned? Did he then have a body? Or was it pure spirit? If he had a body, then he was already being punished. Where did he sin before? He could only have sinned when he was still pure spirit. How was that sin? Was man then part of the divinity? How could there have been sin in God? If it was not part of the divinity, what then was man before he had a body? Was it an angel? But the angel is not a disembodied human soul. The angel is a being of a different nature from the human. What was the human spirit when it had sinned that first time?
3 - Where do new souls come from?
If reincarnation was true, over the centuries there would necessarily be a decrease in human beings, since, as they perfected themselves, they would cease to be reincarnated. At the end, humanity would be heading towards extinction. Well, that doesn't happen. On the contrary, humanity is growing in numbers. Therefore, there is no reincarnation.
4 - If God creates new spirits, are these spirits atoning for what sin?
The spiritists answer that God is continually creating new spirits. But then, God would always create new spirits in sin, who would always need to reincarnate. Does he never create perfect spirits?
5 - Having a physical body is good, not evil
If the reincarnation of spirits is a punishment, having a body would be an evil for the human spirit. Now, having a body is necessary for man, whose soul can only know through the use of the senses. There would then be a contradiction in human nature, which is absurd, because God made everything with goodness and order.
6 - Having babies is good, not evil act of reincarnation
If reincarnation was true, birth would be an evil, for it would mean falling into a state of punishment, and every birth should cause us sadness. Dying, on the contrary, would mean liberation, and it should bring us joy. Now every birth of a child is a cause of joy, while death causes us sadness. Therefore, reincarnation is not true.
7 - Marriage is good, not an evil production of reincarnations
We have seen that if reincarnation was true, every birth would be a cause of sadness. But if that were true, marriage — the cause for new births and (therefore) reincarnations — would be bad. Now, this is absurd. Therefore, reincarnation is false.
8 - Parental relationship ought to be honorable, not casual
If reincarnation was a reality, people would be born to a certain couple only because of their sins in a previous life. Had their sins been others, others would have been their parents. Therefore, the relationship of a child with its parents would be just a fluke, and would not be of greater importance. Basically, children would have nothing to do with their parents, which is absurd.
9 - For reincarnationists, charity can be evil, because it deprives the recipient to succeed in his own efforts
Reincarnation causes a destruction of charity. If a person is born in a certain situation of need, sick, or in an inferior or harmful social situation — as a slave, for example, or an outcast — nothing should be done to help him, because providing him any help would, in fact, be circumvent the divine justice that determined that he was born in such a situation as a just punishment for his sins in a previous life. That is why in India, a country where reincarnation is commonly believed, practically no one bothers to help the unfortunate outcasts. Reincarnation destroys charity. So it's false.
10 - Reincarnation promotes immorality, by postponing someone to amend their current life
Reincarnation would cause a tendency to immorality and not an incentive to virtue. Indeed, if we know that we have only one life and that, at the end of it, we will be judged by God, we try to convert before death. On the contrary, if we imagine that we will have thousands of lives and reincarnations, then we would not be impelled to immediate conversion. As a student who had the possibility of doing thousands of recovery tests, in order to be promoted, would not mind wasting one test — because he could easily recover that loss in future tests — so, with thousands of reincarnations, man would be taken to neglect his moral improvement, because he would trust to recover in the future. Someone would say: "This present life, now, I want to enjoy, I want to enjoy myself at my own will. In another incarnation, I will make it up". Therefore, reincarnation encourages immorality rather than virtue.
11 - Reincarnation postpone self improvements
Furthermore, why make the effort, fighting vices and defects, if recovery is practically fatal, at the end of a process of endless reincarnations?
12 - In reincarnation, there is no hell
If that were so, then no one would be condemned to an eternal hell, because everyone would be saved after an endless number of reincarnations. There would be no hell. If this were so, how could it be explained that Christ Our Lord said that, at the last judgment, He will say to the wicked:
"Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels"? (Mt. XXV, 41)
13 - For reincarnationists, man saves himself, not Christ
If reincarnation was true, man would be his own savior, because he himself would sufficiently pay his faults through successive reincarnations. If that were so, Christ would not be man's Redeemer. The sacrifice of Calvary would be null and void. Each would save himself. Man would be his own redeemer. This is a fundamental thesis of Gnosis.
14 - For reincarnationists, sacraments have no value
Consequently, the Mass and all the Sacraments would be of no value and would be useless or expendable. Which is another heretical nonsense.
15 - In reincarnation, men merits salvation in themselves
The doctrine of reincarnation necessarily leads to the Gnostic idea that man is his own redeemer. But if that were the case, we would fall into a dilemma:
Or the offenses done to God by man would not be of infinite gravity;
Or the merit of the man would be of itself, infinite.
That man's offense against God has infinite gravity follows from God's own infinity. Therefore, it should be concluded that if man is redeemer of himself, paying with his own merits the offenses made by him to the infinite God, it is because his personal merits are infinite. Now only God can have infinite merits. Therefore, man would be divine. Which is a gnostic or pantheistic conclusion. Anyway, absurd. Therefore, reincarnation is a falsehood.
16 - Reincarnation leads to believe evil has a divine nature
If man were divine by nature, how could he explain his being capable of sin? The doctrine of reincarnation leads, then, to the conclusion that moral evil comes from the divine nature itself. It leads one to accept Manichean and Gnostic dualism. Reincarnation necessarily leads to the acceptance of metaphysical dualism, which is a Gnostic thesis that is repugnant to reason and against Faith.
17 - Reincarnation doctrine is dualistic
It is this dualistic and gnostic tendency that leads spiritists, defenders of reincarnation, to consider that evil is something substantial and metaphysical, and not just moral. Which, again, is the thesis of Gnosis.
18 - Reincarnation doctrine tends to divinization of man
If, infinitely reincarnating, man tends to perfection, it is not understandable how, at the end of this process, he does not become absolutely perfect, that is, he becomes God, since he has in his own nature this capacity of endless improvement.
19 - Reincarnation contradicts the Holy Scripture
The doctrine of reincarnation, admitting several successive deaths for man, directly contradicts what God taught in Holy Scripture.
For example, São Paulo wrote:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment (Heb. IX, 27)
Also in the Book of Job it is written:
So man when he is fallen asleep shall not rise again; till the heavens be broken, he shall not awake, nor rise up out of his sleep. (Job, XIV, 12).
20 - Reincarnation contradict Christ parable
Finally, the doctrine of reincarnation goes directly against the teaching of Christ in the Gospel. In fact, when teaching the parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus, Christ Our Lord said that when they both died, they were immediately judged by God, the wicked rich man being sent to eternal punishment, and Lazarus sent to Abraham's bosom, that is, to heaven. (Cf. Luke XVI, 19-31). And in that same parable Christ denies that any soul can ever return to teach the living anything.
In addition to all this, although there is no argument against reincarnation (in itself), it is worth remembering that in Sacred Scripture, God forbids the invocation of the souls of the dead.
In Deuteronomy it reads:
 Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire: or that consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens, neither let there be any wizard,
 Nor charmer, nor any one that consulteth pythonic spirits, or fortune tellers, or that seeketh the truth from the dead.
 For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations he will destroy them at thy coming.
in Corde Jesu, semper,
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