Hinduism is known to be one of the largest religions in the world. It offers a system of beliefs that not only Indians have embraced but are also perceived to be true by some people from all walks of life and races…
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Hinduism is known to be one of the largest religions in the world. It offers a system of beliefs that not only Indians have embraced but are also perceived to be true by some people from all walks of life and racesOne of the famous beliefs of Hinduism that this writer knows about through lessons in school and readings of books is reincarnation. Hindus believe that when a person dies, s/he will be reincarnated to some animal or another human being depending on how a person lived. If a person lives a good life, he will be rewarded in the form of a second life as a person of a higher status in the Caste System. However, when one is not good, he can be demoted to a lower level of person or an animal. For instance, a member of the royal family has been doing bad things in his life as a prince, princess, king or queen; s/he can become a slave in the next life. If a common man or a slave does not behave well, he will be punished and become an animal in his next life. But if that common man or slave does good things in his present life, his next life can be that of a rich person. Reincarnation is a common belief in Hinduism but it is known to have been found among many primitive people in Ancient Greece and Egypt as well (Jones, Whitney and Nault, 8118). According to Enroth, the belief had its origin in Northern India, around 1,000-800 B.C. (2012). Tracing the history of Hinduism, it is said to have emerged from several people of different generations that no one is acknowledged as the sole originator of the religion. There are three periods of the Hinduism wherein beliefs have been acquired and put together to become the modern Hindu religion. The pre-Vedic period, around 3,000-1500 B.C., reflects the animism while the Vedic period introduced polytheism and the caste system, a social scale that was to be incorporated in the belief in reincarnation. The third period in Hinduism is called the Upanishadic period where reincarnation was birthed (Mather and Nichols, 116-117). In the process, it is believed that reincarnation takes a lot of times until a person is purified. Only then could a person be able to return to the dwelling place of its god known by Buddhists as Nirvana and for the Brahmanic Hindus, the purified person will be reunited with Brahma or the Universal Power (Jones et al., 8118). According to the World Book Encyclopedia, superstition literally means “that which stands above, or survives” and further goes on to consider that the opposite of superstition is science, based on observations and reason (Jones et al., 7810). As a belief that cannot be scientifically proven, reincarnation is considered a superstitious belief. It is argued that no one can really prove that a person is a reincarnation of someone who lived in the past however Kevin Williams claims that he was able to prove the validity of reincarnation. In his research, he was able to have twenty children describe spontaneously their past lives by the time they were able to talk. He even challenges skeptics to do the same experiments themselves. However, on the scientific point of view, this is not enough evidence to claim the fact of reincarnation. John Von Ward claims that, “A theoretical model or reincarnation based on behavioral evidence will be much more credible than one based on dreams, hypnotic information or extra-dimensional material. People will find the theory much more persuasive if it is based on tangible evidence like physical skills, creative talents, habits, postures, etc than on easily fabricated products of mind.” The belief on reincarnation can be detrimental. The idea of having another life after the present life can make an individual go to the extreme of acting badly with the thought that there will be another life where one could redeem him/herself anyway. People are given the tendency to rely on dreams, hypnotic regressions and other manners of acquiring information about a person’s life. This encourages them to concentrate on the quest to
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