pillow-wideLeaders of major religions worldwide will view this article with righteous indignation and disavowal — and it may fall on deaf ears of billions of their followers. Still, it might compound the emerging fissures within theology, philosophy, psychology, science, medicine and ethics. The Dead Sea Scrolls and manuscripts from other archeological discoveries revealed aspects of early Christianity that heretofore were thought to have been destroyed.

Now, almost 2,000 years later, remarkable advances in science and technology have given humankind enhanced perspectives with which to reconsider such existential concerns as life, death and humans’ place in this world. The past two millennia obviously have allowed the billions of us around the globe to become individually and institutionally fixated on certain beliefs, customs and practices. Increasingly, these divide rather than unite us in causes for the common good, even to a threatened extinction by nuclear self-destruction, driven by human frailties.

Amidst humankind’s mass inhumanity, a single hope dwells in the shadows of all the disciplines mentioned earlier. The term “shadows” seems quite appropriate. Many scientists, despite their miraculous achievements, seem content to remain within the glass walls of academia’s intransigent paradigm of “scientific materialism.” Notably, world-renowned scientist and futurist Ervin Laszlo claims that the increasing incidence of puzzles and anomalies accumulating in many disciplines is pushing science to develop a new paradigm — to acknowledge “the unexpected and often strange findings that stress the current theories of the physical world, the living world, and the world of human consciousness.”

The “shadows” also persist among elite researchers who still believe that “waking” consciousness originates within the brain, and therefore that the body physiologically creates paranormal phenomena such as near-death experiences.

Moreover, religions suppressed the inclusion in modern orthodoxy of beliefs and practices that persisted over the first 500 years of early Christianity, which now are early clues for bringing light into those “shadows.” Those clues, and reasons they apparently were suppressed, therefore become the steppingstones for your consideration.

The example used here is from Christianity, yet it applies to all religions of the world. This arose from contention that characterized discussions among Christian Church fathers during the 1st to the 6th centuries CE. It involved a single concept that was a common belief in Jesus’ day and was taught both then and earlier in Judaism. The concept was reincarnation.

Reincarnation naturally involves souls. Of course, they were humanly imperceptible and inexplicable then just as they are now. Yet, souls were considered God’s gifts to humans. Their nature and purpose were obviously unknown. Therefore, they were subjects of discussion and writings by early Greek philosophers like Plato and Socrates. Early Church fathers like Origen also espoused the reality of souls and reincarnation. His Christology theory was that Jesus was an advanced soul.

But Roman Emperor Justinian excommunicated Origen from the Roman Catholic Church in the 6th century CE for openly endorsing souls and reincarnation. This became the final blow for these ideas to be forever suppressed from Christian orthodoxy.

One reason was that if reincarnation is acknowledged and research demonstrates that souls can change religion from one incarnation to another, a religion’s claim to exclusive truth is negated. Another was that reincarnation was believed to contradict the doctrine of corporeal resurrection and undermine the need for Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.

But our recognition of these facts now has revealed innumerable potential implications for all of humankind. This seems increasingly significant, because the late 20th century brought us new discoveries in human development that foreshadow experiential evidence of our souls’ involvement in behavioral events in the earlier mentioned disciplines.

During the past quarter-century, the disciplines mentioned earlier have made significant progress in studies of human development. Often enigmas were encountered during experiential events that defied cause or explanation. These included the documentation of new kinds of apparent consciousness of which we individually are not aware. One of these suggests that soul consciousness incarnates early in the womb and survives our mortal death to return to Heaven.

Another source of information indicates that souls are willingly self-accountable for human frailties that the host’s soul allows or enables its host to perform. If true, this poses an entirely new responsibility for each of us and suggests immortal implications. Souls also could be responsible for any number of paranormal phenomena and “wireless” communications and sensing often attributed to psi.

Still, evidence of reincarnation can help fulfill one of Christianity’s greatest doctrines, that we are indeed brothers and sisters, and that we should love one another as such. Religious teachings can contain great wisdom, but at the same time, religions separate and divide us. Wars are based on the perception that the enemy is different from ourselves, which allows us to justify killing. Evidence of reincarnation allows us to see that we are universal souls, which are not bound to any one religion, nationality or ethnic group.

The Immortal Mind: Science and the Continuity of Consciousness Beyond the Brain, by Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake (Inner Traditions, 2014).
• Origen of Alexandria (185-254 C.E.) on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (www.iep.utm.edu/origen-of-alexandria/)
Reincarnation, Jesus, the Bible, New Testament, & Christian Doctrine, by the Institute for the Integration of Science, Intuition and Spirit (www.iisis.net/index.php?page=semkiw-reincarnation-past-lives-christianity)

William F. Pillow, Jr. was a Southern Baptist and a pharmacist who was skeptical about the paranormal by training. Later in life, his convictions changed when he began to explore his own unanswered questions about life, death and the survival of the soul. He is the author of seven books, the most recent of which is The Real You is Immortal: Whether You Like It or Not! Contact him at wfpillow@gmail.com.