History shows that early Christians generally accepted the belief in reincarnation until the teachings of Origon became unpopular and the belief in reincarnation was banned (Counsel of Nichaea 325 A.D. and of Constantinople 553 A.D.). Origon, theologian, teacher, and founder of the early Catholic church, made it quite clear in his books (De Prindipiis and Contra Celsum) that he believed in the prenatal existence of the Soul.
Belief for reincarnation can be drawn from numerous Religious Scriptures: the Koran, New Testament (NT), Old Testament (OT), Bhagavad Gita, etc.
Qur'an (Koran): "Allah hath caused you to grow from the earth, and afterwards He maketh you return therto, and He will bring you forth again."
NT: Matt 17:12&13 - "I tell you that Elijah has already come and people did not recognize him ... Then the disciples understood that he (Jesus) was talking to them about John the Baptist."
NT: Matt 11:14 - "...and if you are willing to believe their message, John is Elijah, whose coming was predicted. Listen, then, if you have ears!"
NT: John 3:6 - Jesus: "A person is born physically of human parents, but he is born spiritually of the Spirit."
NT: John 9:1 - the disciples asked Jesus: "Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?"
How could his fault even be considered (at birth), if the fault was not from a time before his birth?
Kabbala: Here we find the concept mentioned in form of the "Gilgul".
OT: Malachi 4:5 - "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
Bhagavad Gita: 2:22 - "Even as a person casts off worn-out clothes and puts on others that are new, so the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters into others that are new."
Bhagavad Gita: 4:5 - Krishna: "Many a birth have I passed through, and so have you. I know them all, but you know them not."
Plato: "The Soul is older than body. Souls are continuously born over again into this life." See also Plato's Phaedo, excerpt: "...the souls of the dead must be in some place out of which they come again."
Kahlil Gibran: "A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me."
Pythagoras said that he remembered his transmigrations.
Plotinus, in "The Descent of the Soul", claimed to have knowledge of the Soul and its origin.
Salvador Dali said that he vividly remembered his previous existence as St. John of the Cross.
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar."
- William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)
1. Reincarnation fits in with the natural cycles of cause and effect, of sin and punishment.
2. Among our great diversity of nations, cultures and religions, we can find a shared general agreement in support of reincarnation, and an even stronger belief that the Soul exists both before birth and after death.
3. A weak (that is, highly subjective) form of evidence comes from hypnotic regression.
4. Confirmed past-life memories of various people.
We have strong suggestive case collections by Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2007), a professor of psychiatry. For more than 30 years Stevenson has collected and analyzed thousands of cases, all strongly supporting the existence of reincarnation. In his book "Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation", small children with past-life memories were found in Ceylon, India, Brazil, Alaska, and Lebanon and interviewed. These children were fully able to describe their previous lives, including their property, people they knew, their killers, etc. At times, they even spoke in their previous languages. All of the children's stories were checked out carefully and found to be correct, leaving us with some very impressive cases for Reincarnation. It would be hard to find any other logical conclusion.
The following is an excellent website for the works of Dr. Ian Stevenson, with supporting case study evidence of reincarnation, near-death experiences, and out-of-body experiences:
· The Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia