Monday, October 31, 2005

Who is afraid of being alive

Who is afraid of being alive?

This is a question that hit me today in religion class. The actual teacher of the class was talking about the perception of reincarnation in the west and in the east. She spoke of starvation as part of the reason they feel a desire to escape the cycle of life.

She used that as her reason to attack the consumer/modernist culture for the day. But herein we see two problems.

The First Problem: Consequence of living in a wealthy culture vs. consequences of living in a culture of poverty.

If I am reincarnated in to another American body, which is a big if, I will concede fully what my teacher said regarding material threats to my survival but I have as grave threats of a spiritual and mental nature in this world.

I could be reincarnated; into a household that I would suffer with abuse, I could be born mentally of physically incapacitated, I could be reincarnated into a world of poverty and violence in this nation of wealth and prosperity, or I could even be reincarnated into a traditionalist life here in this nation that alienates me from the national culture.

And this is again assuming I am only reincarnated into a lifecycle here in this country which is a huge assumption.

The Second problem:
You do not know even in the world of India with its guru’s the nature of your prior lives. The doctrine of escape while appealing perhaps to the lowest castes is impossible for those same castes (and not all Hindu worshipers are on that page) to make that escape they believe in.  Instead a life born of privilege is asked to escape from the cycle of death and rebirth.

This is both a critique on her view of Hinduism and a little bit to the valid theologies she pointed to.

If the cycle of death and rebirth is to escape this world, then this world has to be something one must escape. With all the flaws in this world I am sorry to say I don’t want to get off. Maybe if the sun is a red giant and our cities are turning to lakes of molten metal, plastic, and stone… then I might want to jump off the world. But I live in a world where we may have problems but the fruits of man’s labors can make them better if we try.

To me that is what reincarnation is about. Learning how to make the world that we as humans should have, instead of receiving the world we deserve

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