Reincarnation: do you believe in it?
The thought of having to come back and do it all again is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow, some days. All very well to think I’ll come back as the family dog, plonk myself in front of the fire on winter nights and bask in all-round adoration, but what if all I merit the second (or third or fourth) time around is a flea-ridden existence as the dog everyone kicks when their other options run out?
But even that pales into insignificance when I consider the popular theory that reincarnation involves another spin on the merry-go-round with the same people as before, in different guises. I might find myself peacefully content as a tree in the forest only to discover that the tree on my left was my mother-in-law – the only person I ever met who had emotional blackmail down to such a fine art it was almost admirable. And there I’d be, firmly rooted to the spot while she moaned and thrashed about with every passing breeze, demanding rain in the dry season, complaining of wet feet in the rain and making sweetly vicious comparisons between me and other trees when I failed to entice those pesky koalas from her branches to mine.
As to whether I believe in it or not – there’s nothing much I rule in or out regarding what happens next. Only the fires of hell, in fact. The way I see it, for hell to exist, god has to exist, and god is love, we’re told. And nowhere at all in any understanding I have of love is there the possibility that its essence would act so out of character as to condemn its children to eternal damnation in a fiery furnace.
But really, who knows? Even those absolutely convinced of their own righteousness don’t know, they only think they do. What I know for sure is that with so many contradictory beliefs floating around, each one embraced with absolute conviction by its adherents, either every one of them is a fantasy, or alternatively, come the last day, all but one of those groups of adherents are going to discover they were wrong.