The Reincarnation of Shirley Maclaine
by Albert James Dager
Recent surveys indicate that at least one out of two Americans
believe that reincarnation--transmigration of the soul--is a distinct
possibility. On the other hand, there are surveys which indicate that
70% of Americans claim to be "born again" Christians. This conflict
seems to stem from the fact that many who profess Christianity also
believe in reincarnation to another earthly life rather than
resurrection to immortality.
The theory of reincarnation has gained large support among
churchgoers due to the influx of eastern religious philosophy made all
the more popular by media stars. One of the more vocal proponents of
reincarnation of late is actress and four-time Academy Award nominee
Shirley MacLaine. In her latest book, OUT ON A LIMB (New York: Bantam,
1983), MacLaine details her "experiences" with, and strong belief in
Following the book's release, Miss MacLaine appeared on ABC TV's
"One On One." During her interview she expressed a bit of confusion,
telling host Greg Jackson, "I don't know what I believe." She then
proclaimed, "I'm convinced that I've lived before." She also expressed
her belief in other occultic teachings including reincarnation's
sister doctrine, the "law of karma," using faulty exegesis to equate
karma with the biblical teaching that one reaps what one sows (Gal.
Using the Bible to draw support for their theories is not
uncommon for western reincarnationists. Like so many others - even
errant Christians - they pick and choose just the sciptures that make
them feel comfortable in their errors, while ignoring the rest -
especially those that condemn their beliefs or lifestyles.
In regard to reincarnation the question arises, "How can many
professing Christians embrace such an abominable doctrine which
challenges the Bible's clear teaching that man dies only once, and
then must face judgment (Heb. 9:27)?" The answer is man's natural
tendency to want to feel comfortable in his sins. They have put their
minds in neutral regarding spiritual things, choosing to coast through
life without thinking. Many so-called "ministers" - some believing in
reincarnation themselves - have encouraged such ignorance by their
words and by their actions, spending little, if any, time studying
God's Word honestly.
One Christian minister who has taken the whole counsel of God
regarding reincarnation is Dr. Robert A. Morey. In his 60-page
booklet, REINCARNATION AND CHRISTIANITY (Minneapolis: Bethany
Fellowship, 1980), Dr. Morey examines "Four Popular Arguments for
Reincarnation," refuting each one with sound biblical exegesis and
just plain, common-sense logic based upon what we know about the world
around us, including scientific and historical evidences against the
theory. (In our next installment we will examine Dr. Morey's
refutation of these arguments.)
In Chapter One, entitled, "A Brief History of Reincarnation," Dr.
Morey describes and defines the law of karma - "the immutable law that
a person pays for evil he does in this life by suffering for it in the
next." He also tells us how reincarnation became "Christianized" by
eliminating some of the purist reincarnation concepts that would be
unpalatable to the western mentality, such as the possibility of being
reincarnated as a bug or an animal. He outlines reincarnation's growth
in popularity in the United States through the influence of Alice
Bailey's Theosophical Society, various Hindu gurus, "the sleeping
prophet" Edgar Cayce, and THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER'S false yet popular
prophet, Jeane Dixon.
Perhaps someone should give a copy of Dr. Robert A. Morey's
REINCARNATION AND CHRISTIANITY to actress Shirley MacLaine. In her
latest book, OUT ON A LIMB, MacLaine details her "experiences" with,
and strong belief in reincarnation. She is among the 24% of Americans
who definitely believe in reincarnation.
In Chapter 2 of Morey's book, he effectively refutes "Four
Popular Arguments for Reincarnation." Argument Number One alleges that
"Karmic reincarnation is the best explanation for (evil)...and
suffering." Such a claim, Dr. Morey points out, is illogical since
reincarnationists believe the soul to be immortal, having supposedly
emanated from a so-called perfect and sinless "world soul." The
illogical nature of the argument is obvious since the very first
incarnation of a soul would have no karmic debt to pay! After one
earthly life, each soul would, by the "law" of reincarnation, return
to the "cosmic energy" whence it sprang. Argument Number One also
excuses pure reincarnationists from helping to alleviate human
suffering. Being involved, they say, hinders each suffering soul's
purification process. Thus, reincarnation, rather than eliminating
evil, is a source of evil.
Argument Number Two suggests that reincarnation is supported by
numerous cases of recall - through various means - of past lives, as
well as the almost universal experience of deja vu. Dr. Morey presents
some excellent rebuttals, one being that too many people claim to have
been the same historical personage, such as Jesus or Napoleon. Recall,
says Morey, can also be the result of influence upon one's mind by
demons who have access to information from throughout history, and can
impersonate or "invent" someone from the past.
Argument Number Three insists that reincarnation was the original
belief of the Jews, and the early Church. Dr. Morey offers as a
rebuttal, Professor J. Hicks' excellent commentary about the ancients
and the Church fathers who are consistently misquoted by the
Argument Number Four consists of the biblical passages that
reincarnationists quote to support their accursed doctrine. Dr. Morey
uses proper exegesis, as well as some of the scriptures they have
conveniently ignored, to logically answer their claims.
For example, in John 9:2-3, the man was born blind not as
punishment for evil committed in a previous life (if so, Jesus would
have been cruel to heal him and thus increase his suffering in his
next life), but so that God would receive glory.
In Chapter 3, Dr. Morey attempts to discover "The Intellectual
Integrity of Reincarnation," but finds instead its intellectual
dishonesty in denying facts while grasping at straws.
He also points out some severe social consequences from the
belief in reincarnation. The rich and the poor DESERVE their lot in
life, and thus the rich are excused for oppressing the poor, while the
poor are prevented from escaping their poverty in a future life.
Insects and animals which may be Uncle George or Aunt Martha are
allowed to devour food supplies that could feed the starving masses.
And, since sin can be paid for in a future life, hedonistic lifestyles
REINCARNATION AND CHRISTIANITY would make an excellent gift for
someone drifting towards or even locked into a belief in
reincarnation--someone like Shirley Maclaine.
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