I apologize to Dr. Bob Rich (Bob) for the delay in posting this article. It was submitted to me weeks ago, and outside of a busy schedule, my spirit has been a bit fragile.
Like many I would suppose, I have been emotionally and spiritually impacted by the whirlwind of challenges and changes that planet Earth and civilization have been catapulted into enduring over the past year. I have been significantly enlightened by how your challenges have separated us along many fronts including racially, politically, spiritually, and “vaccine vs. no vaccine”.
Today’s divisions seem to pale in comparison with historical ones. I have separated from many spirits vibes, and energies that no longer serve me, some in my family, some close friends. In today’s times, I find it necessary.
Gaining a better understanding of God, Life, and Myself is an undeniable blessing. But it is also a challenging responsibility. It can be draining at times and requires an escape from it all, as well as regular metaphysical practices. Kevy
Furthermore, while in this fragile state, I read Bob’s essay on God’s Puppets. It really threw me off track for weeks. I read it about four times. I used AI to convert it to Australian speech so that I could listen to it and pause it occasionally to reflect and absorb. By the way, Dr. Bob Rich is Australian.
His message resonates with me strongly. I remember asking a Unity minister, Barry Vennard, over 30 years ago, why did God allow killings, wars, and famine if he was All Good? He explained his response with an analogy of a fingernail.
Minister Vennard explained that an injured fingernail represented the problems of the world, while the body represented the whole world. And that by focusing on the whole body I should conclude that God is good overall. He went further to say that the injured fingernail puts the rest of the body on alert to the fingernail’s need for healing, much as he described illuminated people compensating for evil ones.
Others have told me the world atrocities were the Yin of Yin & Yang. The good is ignited by the existence of evil.
Those explanations worked for a while, for a while until I read Dr. Bob Rich’s post, which I now share with you.
I will not spoil things by telling you what he believes. Let him tell you below. Also, check out his books, and blog site ~ Bobbing Around – Dr Bob Rich’s blog and monthly newsletter
I will hint at the things that are so fascinating to me about reincarnation and being God’s Puppets that moved me in the form of questions, but with no answers:
- How do Christians reconcile evil in this world with God being in control? Does God allow evil to exists? Is it his creation and are me merely his puppets?
- If Christians go to heaven and enjoy a joyous afterlife after accepting Jesus as their savior, how is this afterlife different from reincarnation?
- Those who accept that our spirit never dies, where do they believe it goes?
- How does one explain those who believe that loved ones who have transitioned and that their presence remains with them, as I feel that my mother’s spirit does?
- Why do many people associate reincarnation with occultism? Isn’t it a good thing to try to reach spiritual perfection in this life, to reconcile past deeds and mistakes, as Bob explains below? What is the big deal in believing in reincarnation if it guides our steps towards spiritual perfection? Why all the fuss?
- Does God simply chart out the basic structure of our journey while giving us free will to deviate from his path? Why?
In the way of a preface, this essay assumes the validity of reincarnation. We are born, die, born again, over, and over.
The aim of the game is growth toward spiritual perfection. Life after life, we go forward and back, but inevitably, over sufficient lifetimes, we grow.
That’s why one of my novels is titled Ascending Spiral. Being a scientist by training, I don’t believe anything but go with the evidence. I have summarised some of the evidence for reincarnation in a the post below.
Audio – AI Text To Voice – This Is Not Dr. Bob Rich’s Voice – A Transcription Of His Wisdom
Reincarnation – Posted on July 29, 2018 – Dr. Bob Rich – Bobbing Around Blog and Monthly Newsletter
I have described two lines of evidence that give excellent scientific support for the existence of reincarnation. I haven’t read the studies about verified out-of-body experiences, but that’s probably the third line of support. If I were a defendant in a court of law, and my case depended on having the validity of reincarnation accepted, this evidence would be considered to prove it.
Suppose with the main world religions, that there is a Father in the Sky. He is all-seeing, all-knowing, and has organised the whole of existence to His design. The flutter of a butterfly’s wing, the swish of a fish’s tail in the deep, my apparently spontaneous need to scratch my left ear — all are parts of a zillion-dimensional ballet in which every move has been set down by the Great Choreographer. Everything that has been, is, or will be is part of His plan, and necessary, and good.
Eons before I was born, He knew that I was to face a choice in, say, 2023. He knew how I shall decide, and what the outcome will be. We may think we have free will, but this is an illusion. We are God’s puppets. Read Full Post
When we little humans look around, we see evil and suffering, but in this view, they are illusions, there simply because we are unable to see the full picture. If all is part of God’s plan, then things are the way they are supposed to be, and since God is good, all that has happened is happening and will happen is good.
Of course, many cultures share a belief in evil Gods or Angels who battle the good ones. In this view, all the nastiness we humans experience is due to the actions of Satan or his equivalents. God created things so that everything is good, but nasty Lucifer rebelled and spoiled it for everyone. When you have an evil thought, that’s the Devil’s influence. You then need to use your free will to decide which path to follow.
The Devil is very real to many people. They see it as the explanation for all the suffering and evil we see around us. If God is in charge, and God is good, then the bad can be ascribed to the Devil, and all seems logical.
It should be clear that I disagree.
I can see no evidence for a God Who is a Person external to me, only the God within my being.
The external God is a projection, a creation of people that personalizes what is good within us. In the same way, the Devil is a projection of the bad. Put it out there, treat it as a separate person, and in that way, we can deal with the guilt and shame.
It is possible to explain everything that goes on without recourse to Beings that are separate from the universe. What has been taken to be evidence for an external God can be explained as the intervention of persons who have evolved to a stage where they exist without the need for being reborn into bodies.
All right, then, could there be such beings that are evil? The myths of many cultures say so. However, what is their evidence?
For much of western history, what we now call psychiatric disorders were considered to be the effect of possession by evil spirits. Most primitive societies attribute physical diseases to be the work of evil spirits, whether acting spontaneously or at the behest of black magic. We now understand the causation of these problems and know that evil spirits have nothing to do with them (unless they are distilled spirits from a bottle).
With the development of science, including statistics and logic, we can account for the occurrence of both good and bad fortune without needing to invoke supernatural causes. When two cultures are in conflict, the actions of one’s own group are the work of God, while the enemy is personalized as the servants of the Devil. We see this today. Muslim fundamentalists have referred to America as “the Great Shaitan” for many years, while George Bush said he was on a Crusade against evil. Both sides cannot be right, therefore they are most likely both wrong.
“Evil happens. Bad luck happens. They must happen even in a worldview without devils. ~ Dr. Bob Rich
In my understanding, superior beings come into existence through the many times repeated rebirth of people (not necessarily humans) until they have attained a state of moral perfection. This allows for the possibility of spiritual guides, and of higher consciousnesses that may communicate with certain people such as prophets.
But if there are evil equivalents, where could they have come from? Could some persons cease to be reborn on the material plane and continue existence as bodyless spirits, without having attained moral perfection — worse, while being cruel and vicious? Is there a need for a Ying-Yang kind of balance? If there is, I would still like someone to suggest the origin of the evil spirits.
So, let us return to the view that everything is foreordained, part of God’s plan, and that it is only our blinkered view that makes us see some things as evil.
At one time, a superstition arose in Africa. Men believed that if they had sex with a virgin, they would be cured of AIDS. The younger the virgin, the surer the cure. So, poor little innocent girls, two or three years old, were being abducted and raped. Was this horrendous activity part of God’s benevolent plan? How could anything good be advanced by a belief like this?
If God has organised everything, then these men had no choice but were acting the way they were designed to. The evil of their actions is not their evil, but God’s.
If I had AIDS, and honestly believed that my life would be saved if I raped an infant, I am 100% sure that I would choose to die rather than to do that. I am certain that there are millions of African men who have the disease, believe in the superstition, and yet refuse to do such a terrible deed even if it should save their lives. But they are not any better than the men who go out to find a little girl. They are just lucky that God has assigned a kinder role for them.
If God oversees every falling leaf, then He is in charge of all the suffering, cruelty, and crime on our planet. The Christian churches have rejected the Inquisition, but how could they? Wasn’t God in charge then?
The Muslim world is angry at Israel. But if God has arranged everything, then Israel exists through God’s will. And if a fourteen-year-old Palestinian boy kills twenty people by blowing himself up, then that’s God’s will too.
OK, I cannot see the full picture, and some things that seem bad to me may actually be necessary and good. But no matter how wide the view, I refuse to accept that there can be anything good about men inflicting torture on infant little girls by raping them. If God organizes everything, why did he organize the advent of such a bizarre and harmful superstition or the murder of supposed witches?
So, if we are all God’s puppets, then God cannot be good.
“I would rather burn forever in hell than to pay homage to a Deity who deliberately organises our world, where multinationals knowingly inflict suffering on millions in the name of profit, where drug companies push the use of products, they know are harmful and of little or no benefit, where major decisionmakers deliberately lead humanity closer to extinction through environmental idiocy.’ – Dr. Bob Rich
Or are you willing to admit the possibility that the seven huge oil companies, drug and chemical giants like Bayer-Monsanto, and the tobacco companies are servants of the Devil? They do more harm than all the psychopaths in the world combined. All the same, I am sure they are run by perfectly ordinary, decent people whose only fault is their way of looking at what is important. They think profit is all — and this value system is shared by most people.
If they are the Devil’s servants, then so is everyone who values possessions over other considerations.
Therefore, my conclusion is that we are NOT God’s puppets, and neither do some of us serve the Devil. We do have free will. God — if there is a God of the kind the main religions would have us believe — does not organize everything. He gives us choices, and how we react shapes the future.
The evil we see is not God’s responsibility, but ours. The African men who choose to die of AIDS rather than to victimize babies are good people. The ones who carry out the deed are vicious criminals, and they have acted from their own free choice.
Can this view be reconciled with a God Who has an overall plan? Of course, it can.
Suppose you are planning a long trip along a familiar route. You will specify the actual roads you will take, allow about the right amount of time, and pack all necessary supplies. However, you will not plan every instant. You know you will want to stop for a rest after a couple of hours or so, but there is no need to specify the exact location. Also, there are unknowns you need to allow for: getting caught behind a slow vehicle for a while, an impulsive stop to admire the view, changes in the weather.
God’s unknowns will be the myriad individual decisions of people
As we know from statistics, such things average out and become predictable if we cumulate many cases. At the same time, individual instances are variable and unpredictable. That is, social trends can be set down and guided, but their effects on individual lives are still unpredictable, variable, and subject to free choice.
This is beautifully illustrated by Isaac Asimov’s wonderful series of books about the Galactic Foundation. The whole process of history was designed by a genius and steered via little manipulations in key places so that the entire galactic society was shaped according to his plans. And then, a single mutant arose, whose actions changed everything.
Or as another example, think of planting 100 acorns in various places. Some will germinate, others not. Some of the seedlings will die young. You can expect maybe ten mature trees. All will be recognizably oak trees and everyone will be uniquely different from all other oak trees.
Therefore, denying evolution on religious grounds is so ridiculous.
“Is God so inept that He needs to make each species separately? Isn’t it far more elegant to set a process in place and allow it to follow its own path?” – Dr. Bob Rich
Is God interested in the flutter of the butterfly’s wing, the swish of the fish’s tail, the itch I am scratching?
In my view of the Universe, the answer is both yes and no. The butterfly, the fish and I are all parts of God, are God. Each of us is interested in that particular part of the universe where we are central.
But my itch is not of any interest or relevance to any other part of God. It is not part of the Grand Design.
I have embarked on my current life to learn certain lessons. With the help of other aspects of God, I organized my birth, the circumstances of my coming life, to maximize my opportunities for learning these lessons.
However, my existence is embedded in random noise, due to the many free choices of other people around me. Chances are that I will be exposed to my intended learning situations. If so, I will either learn my lessons or not. If I do, I can graduate from this class and move on. If I fail to learn some lessons, that is only a loss of time, and what is time on the scale of the Universe?
And if some of the randomnesses prevents me from being exposed to my intended lessons, then also I will meet them the next time around. Death is only a temporary interruption, the end of a chapter, not the end of the book.
What’s more, the unpredictability of my life situation may well expose me to learning experiences that were unanticipated before my birth. I may advance faster than expected.
I have read a claim that on his deathbed Lenin said, “Whatever happens, don’t let Stalin take over.” This proved his wisdom because Stalin was a paranoid megalomaniac who caused immense suffering. He took the noble doctrine Marx developed, and turned it upside down. Instead of replacing the feudal system headed by the Tsar, he replaced the Tsar and became the new overlord of an empire far more repressive than what had preceded it.
Suppose that Stalin’s rule was not in any plan. Suppose it was the result of the free choices of several men in key situations, an unexpected disaster for millions that lasted for seventy years.
Once Stalin’s empire was established fact, new children being born into the world could take it as background. But in the early years, people already alive found themselves in a situation different from what had faced them at birth. This may have offered some unexpected opportunities to learn lessons and move toward perfection, while others may have had their path interrupted, so they have been forced to repeat a class.
Actually, the question of free will versus predestination is not an important issue.
Cheryl is an email friend whom I have never met, but over the years we have formed a bond of mutual admiration and brother-sister love.
Thirty-three years ago, she was struck by a car. Her baby daughter suffered brain damage and has been severely handicapped since. Her little son died. Even today, she grieves for him.
Needless to say, this tragedy has transformed her life. As the survivor of such multiple trauma, she is a different person from what she would have become otherwise. Many of the effects have been terrible, but also, she has become wise, compassionate, and incredibly resilient. She has grown.
Suppose that when she was about to be born, she organized her life for the occurrence of such a tragedy. The souls who were to become her children willingly entered into their role, for her benefit and their own. The careless driver who struck them was also part of the plan, unknowing from within this life, but on the wider plan, needing to suffer the guilt of having hurt others.
However, it is also possible that the accident was just that: an accident.
Momentary carelessness led to a lifetime tragedy. Three, maybe four lives were derailed from their planned course. All the same, the effects on Cheryl have been the same. Planned or not, she has become wise, compassionate, and resilient, and has become a more evolved person than she would have been otherwise. Her daughter is learning lessons that, whether planned or not, are valuable lessons to learn. Her son, who died as an infant, may well have started a new life by now. If he has returned, we can be sure he will grow into a person who makes sure he does not hurt others through carelessness.
” So, to conclude, we are not God’s puppets, since I cannot see God, under any conception of the Deity, being responsible for the Holocaust, for the centuries’ long vendettas in Ireland, the Balkans, in equatorial Africa.” – Dr. Bob Rich
These are human creations. But once a situation is there, new souls being born into it do so knowingly. I was born into the crucible of the Second World War and chose a Jewish family in a country that was guaranteed to be under Nazi occupation, that was guaranteed to be conquered by the Soviet empire. I could have been killed in infancy by a random bomb, or through the actions of the SS or their Hungarian equivalents. I could have died during the battle for Budapest. My family could have been eliminated in the post-war purges. Had any of these events happened, my life cut short by accident, then I have no doubt that I would have come back into a similar situation, perhaps as an infant in a refugee camp somewhere, or as a Rohingya in Myanmar, or an Australian Aborigine in a country town.
We have free choices, otherwise, how could we choose to learn or fail our lessons? If we have free choice, then so does everyone else, and other people’s choices will act on us in ways that were unpredictable before the choices were made.
“All the evil in our world is our doing. This gives me cause for optimism: it means that, in principle, we have the power to eliminate it.” – Dr. Bob Rich
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Was #Reincarnation Deleted From The #Bible – Oct 10, 2019 – GAF News
Source: Uncovered https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6nEm… In 367 AD, one of the patriarchs of the early church Athanasius named sixty-six spiritual texts which were to form the church canon. Of the numerous gospels and ancient Jewish scriptures only these selected texts were to be recognized as officially conveying the word of the God. This event had a huge impact on the way Christian doctrine is understood today. However, theologians and Biblical historians have begun to examine the excluded texts and have come to wonder just how fundamentally Christianity would have changed had they been permitted into the official canon of the church. The ancient Christians who believed in reincarnation. Read More
Reincarnation & Christianity. Reincarnation In The Bible? – Apr 17, 2019
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Hinduism and Reincarnation | Why do Hindus believe in Reincarnation? – May 1, 2017 – Hindu Lifestyle
In this video, we continue our talks on 4 facts of Hinduism to describe some of the beliefs in Hinduism and answer the question — What do Hindus believe in? In our previous videos we discussed Karma and if you have already done so, please check out those videos in the link below. So lets get to it — Reincarnation! The concept of reincarnation, which is common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, is alien to people who practice the Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and it is mostly misunderstood and misinterpreted in the western world. The topic of reincarnation usually generates a lot of controversies because it directly challenges the western notions of one birth, one God, one heaven and the Day of Judgment. So what exactly is reincarnation and how does it fit into the Hindu framework? Watch the Video to find out more!
What Is The Difference Between Reincarnation and Rebirth? – Zen Buddhism – Nov 7, 2017 – Dharma Gate Zen
Venerable Hoden Explains The Different Between Reincarnation and Rebirth. Venerable Hoden, Abbot of Dharma Gate Zen, Troy Michigan, shares answers to questions about Buddhism, Buddhist life, history and practices from a Zen Buddhist perspective. We have turned off comments to keep the peace. Dharma Gate Zen Center provides a resource for people of all walks of life to experience and learn ways to gain mindfulness and balance in their lives. http://www.dharmagatezen.org/ Read More
If there is no self, what is reborn? | Buddhist FAQ – Aug 7, 2020
In this episode of Buddhist FAQ, we answer the question, “If there is no self, what is reborn?”
Rebirth is one of Buddhism’s most frequently discussed and misunderstood topics. If you want to really understand the Buddhist view of rebirth, you have to know what Buddhism teaches about self and not-self. The simple answer is that the same thing is reborn in death that was reborn every moment of your life: your mind. Featured Book: Rebirth in Early Buddhism & Current Research with Bhikkhu Analāyo https://www.amazon.com/Rebirth-Early-… The Great Discourse On Not-Self
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