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Reincarnation & Christianity

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Initial post: Dec 12, 2011 1:38:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2011 2:39:41 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
FlipSide: A Tourist's Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife We assume that Christianity and reincarnation are mutually exclusive topics, or that atheism prevents reincarnation, or even that the Buddhist or Hindu versions of reincarnation are the only versions of the topic. I beg to differ.

I've been researching the work of Dr Michael Newton, a hypnotherapist who studied the afterlife with his clients under deep hypnosis - 5 and 6 hour sessions over 30 years. He gathered testimony from over 7000 people who essentially say the same things about the afterlife. I've interviewed him, some of his trainees, and then began filming people independently of Dr. Newton - dozens of people from all walks of life saying essentially the same things about the Afterlife. The definitions of God, of Christianity, of all religions need to be examined in light of this prolific research - which to my mind deepens, clarifies and essentially reinvigorates a person's own beliefs. But that's just me.

I recommend all of Newton's books before you get to mine - so it's clear why I took on the subject matter - but the conclusions are the same: we choose our parents, we choose our lives, stones in our path are usually put there by ourselves so we can learn from them, and we are all part of the creator or creators. good and evil exist relatively here on earth, but not in the spirit world where we return to our clarified, happier, wholesome selves and learn from our lessons here on earth, or in other realms or planets we might reincarnate in. Again, this is based on over 7000 people who had never met, some from other countries with other therapists, many as a result of a near death experience, or some other out of body vision.

I offer it here in the spirit of Christmas - the ability to see clearly that we are all of the same source, that we need not judge others by who we think they are, we come from a place of compassion, and non judgment nor bias, that if we choose to return to this planet, it makes sense to keep it clean, the atmosphere and water safe - because after all, it's not just for our children, but for us when we return as our children's children.

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 2:06:58 PM PST
Amicus says:
Hi R. martini,

I looked up the biography of Dr. Michael Newton, and it said,

"Michael Newton, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, is a certified Master Hypnotherapist, and is a member of the American Counseling Association."

Dr. Newton has written books and appeared on TV and radio shows. Although he retired from practice in 2003, he still "trains other advanced hypnotherapists in his techniques."

So Dr. Michael Newton is a qualified, well-educated psychologist.

Still, how can we know if his research is valid?

Isn't it possible that the "memories" people recall under hypnosis are just tricks of the mind?

Also, isn't it possible that Dr. Newton has stretched the truth a bit, for his own financial gain? (Sorry, but we see this all the time nowdays, on TV shows like Ghost Hunters, Apocalypse 2012, Mysteries Uncoded, etc.etc.etc.)

Could you offer us one or two short stories which are difficult or impossible to explain, except by reincarnation?

The theory of reincarnation is interesting and I am very sympathetic to the hope of rebirth. But can you persuade us that this research is valid, and not a deception?
Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 2:28:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2011 2:39:22 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
Great questions. I too wondered if "cryptomnesia" was the answer, which is what science tells us past life memories are - either something someone read or heard and is remembering. The knock on hypnosis has always been that therapists "ask leading questions." This is also why Dr. Ian Stevenson, of the University of VA, the scientist most renowned for his work in reincarnation studies, discounted hypnosis as a tool as he felt the questions were leading.

That's why I interviewed Dr. Newton, and then his wife to see if she could corroborate some of the details he claimed. Then I began filming hypnotherapy sessions with people who were trained by Michael Newton and they had the same results his books had. Then I began filming sessions with people who'd never heard of Newton, or his books, or were complete skeptics themselves. Amazingly, they had the same results. I also arranged for a friend in London (an Oxford professor) to have a session with a Newton trained therapist where he remembered a past life in Boston married to a woman he knows from this life.

Independently I arranged for this woman to have a session in New York City with a different therapist trained by Newton - she had the identical memory of a past life with this Oxford professor (without knowing any of his session details). I agree about people stretching the truth for profit, but as you can see from the interview with Newton (it's in my book, and soon in my documentary from the book) he was dragged "kicking and screaming" into the past life movement. He was a skeptic himself, didn't believe in past life regression, and later, was startled by the research that he was finding by patients spontaneously speaking of the "life between lives."

He stopped his public practice and spent the next 30 years studying this phenomenon in private - no publishing, without the benefit of peer review and published his results in 1996. So let's start with the results - if what Newton is saying is true, then it should be subject to replication without his participation. The book "Memories of the Afterlife" is about independent cases with people who trained with Newton but are working around the world. They have the same results.

I too have worked with other therapists who never heard of Newton and have the same results. The point is - examine the research. Newton has four books on the topic. This is why I was flattered when Gary Schwartz ("The Sacred Promise") a Harvard PhD, former Yale head of a medical school, offered to write the foreword for my book "Flipside." Science is not relegated to only the disbelievers or skeptics - it behooves us all to examine the research and draw our own conclusions.

If you're curious as to more detailed examples, I highly recommend looking at Newton's books, and if you have further questions about my research or documentary, I've posted some radio and video interviews I've done at my website for my book: - thanks for asking!

I don't know if it's ok to post a link to a youtube clip, but here's something from the documentary....

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 2:35:03 PM PST
mrs exp says:
R martini,
A few paragraphs will make your posts easier to read.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 2:37:12 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
sorry.. so used to typing with the blackberry i forget paragraphs!

There. will repost if needed. thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 2:44:47 PM PST
mrs exp says:
R martini,
I've never used a blackberry or other like so I don't understand how they work. I hope your thumbs are in good health.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 4:14:41 PM PST
FashionSense says:
R. martini

Reincarnation can't happen because the math doesn't add up. If you start with say 1,000 souls how would they now fill billions of people? Also, the Bible says that man is appointed once to die. Therefore we only live one life.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 4:18:57 PM PST
FashionSense says:
R. martini

I don't think people are evolving. If after 10,000 years of people living other lives that most people are just smucks where is the evolvment?

No one has evolved. They are just average ordinary people.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 4:36:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2011 4:38:35 PM PST
IFeelFree says:
FS: Reincarnation can't happen because the math doesn't add up. If you start with say 1,000 souls how would they now fill billions of people?

IFF: There are many souls on "the other side", many of whom are available to incarnate on earth when a compatible fetus is available. Your "math" assumes that all souls must incarnate at all times. Not true. More souls are incarnating on earth at present because more babies are being born. Fewer opportunities to incarnate existed thousands of years ago.

FS: Also, the Bible says that man is appointed once to die. Therefore we only live one life.

IFF: You die once... and then return *as someone else* in a future incarnation, until you attain liberation from birth and death -- the deathless state that Jesus (and many others) attained.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 4:56:47 PM PST
I have read all of Michael Newton's books. I was trained as a hypnotherapist in grad school so of course I have worked with past lives, but Newton has opened a whole new world in hypnotherapy. Thank you for bringing this issue up. It is so important.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 5:06:57 PM PST
Read Michael Newton's book--it is easily explained. Actually, the Catholic church wrote reincarnation out of the Bible for political purposes. It is one of many lies that orthodox Christianity has pushed off on us.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 5:28:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2011 5:51:49 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
Hi Fashion Sense - well, according to the research, and I try to limit myself to the research involved, these people claim that we don't only reincarnate here on Earth. That there are other realms and other planets where we can reincarnate. They also claim that souls weren't all "created" during the Big Bang, but can be created at any time. So in answer to the second post, we've been around much longer than 10,000 years - actually cave paintings go back to 170,000 years now - and your evolution here on Earth is in Earth time. Your spirit, or soul's evolution might take much much longer - but since we're outside of time when we're not on the planet, it's not as long as it seems.

Again, this is from the research, not my opinion or belief. We all evolve at our own pace and choose our next lifetime. The research shows that contrary to the religious belief in reincarnation - the traditional view that "karma" dictates what your next lifetime will be, that people who are "more advanced" spiritually choose more difficult lives because they can handle them, and because they allow others around them to learn more about compassion and unconditional love.

Oh, and as I pointed out earlier - the translation of the Bible is subject to interpretation and misinterpretation - as in the word "spiros" which doesn't mean ghost or spirit - but to breathe. That's been mistranslated since the Bible was first translated. There are many references to reincarnation in the Good Book. One merely has to search for the concept reincarnation and bible to find the references. It's all there in the research.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2011 5:50:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 12, 2011 5:54:50 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
Newton has four books - Journey of Souls, Destiny of Souls, Life Between Lives and Memories of the Afterlife. As mentioned, the last one is a compilation of different hypnotherapists recounting unusual sessions with clients - and then the people who came in for the session is interviewed so they can speak for themselves about how they felt after the session, what they learned, etc. And like I say, I began a documentary about reincarnation, was originally going to cover all versions of it, but when I got to Newton's work realized this was much different and deeper. So I focused my book "flipside" on his research, and took it into a variety of directions. I'd say the chapter that would be appreciated by readers of this forum on Christianity was one where I filmed a woman having a past life regression. I know this woman personally, and arranged for her to see a hypnotherapist here in Los Angeles. She was suffering from the recent loss of her mother and was extremely depressed.

She is neither religious, nor a believer in psychic phenomena, she's worked with a number of very famous people, and is a very private person. But she allowed me to film her for my documentary, and I transcribed her session for the book FlipSide: A Tourist's Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife, the chapter is called "The Eyes of Jesus." She was able to see and speak to her mother (and from a skeptic's pov, it doesn't matter whether she did or not, she felt that she did, she experienced doing so, and therefore has the same affect on her psyche), but the interesting part of her session was when she remembered a previous life in Jerusalem.

I had been speaking to the hypnotherapist the day before about how I had learned in one of my interviews with a NY based therapist reported a number of sessions where people remembered living a life at the time of Jesus. I asked if anyone had ever described him in detail as in "What did Jesus look like?" He said he'd never thought to ask the question - and for those who know Brian Weiss work ("Many lives, many masters") he reveals in a later book that he too believes he lived at a time when Jesus was alive, and claims to have witnessed his carrying the cross to the Crucifixion. But as a skeptic, I thought that having one person describe what he looked like - the color of his eyes and hair and shape of his face - that would be a backwards way of proving or disproving these memories as being influenced by the media. After all - if everyone said for example "he had green eyes" then that would be something worthy of noting or exploring further.

Oddly enough, while filming my friend during her session (and I'd never mentioned the Jesus info to her) she spontaneously remembered this lifetime in Jerusalem. I passed a note to the hypnotherapist to ask "if she ever saw Jesus in person and if so, what did he look like?" My jaw dropped as she went into great detail about everything - where and when and what she was seeing, what he looked like, the color of his eyes, his hair - everything. She claimed to consider him a friend, was profoundly moved by him, and wept through most of her description of the way he spoke, and the deeply moving content of his message of love. She also described his death, but from her point of view and how she couldn't bring herself to witness it.

So of course I can't prove she saw Jesus - but when she was finished with her session, she was convinced that she did. And these hypnotherapy sessions aren't like "stage hypnosis" - rather people are fully conscious and aware during the entire session. What they see and hear they retain - and thankfully they're usually tape recorded (or filmed in my case) so they can review the footage later.

So - I agree that the Church appears to have sanitized reincarnation from the good book - (see the Gospel of Mary or the Gospel of Judas for references to the Essene concepts of universal souls and reincarnation) - but I don't think that should prevent people from examining the work. What I'm trying to point out is that the concept of reincarnation isn't contrary to any religious tenet - as the research shows that it isn't what the Buddhists or Hindus say about reincarnation and how it works - and equally points to all religions, including Christianity, including Islam, including Mormonism (J Smith's reports of celestial families is very similar to what people report about "soul groups" but without the marriage or sealing component) - but perhaps that's a subject for another forum. Suffice to say it's important to keep an open mind as the world appears to be entering into this new age of enlightenment. Oh, and I forgot to mention - after the session with my friend, I started noticing all the crosses and Crucifixes she'd collected - even though she wasn't religious at all. And she said "I don't know why, but my whole life I've collected crosses."

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 10:45:51 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 14, 2011 10:40:02 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 11:31:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2011 11:33:28 AM PST
Rich Martini says:
wow. that's unusual. I did say in the post that I wondered if it was okay to post a link to a clip from the documentary about the film. so that was probably the reason. I'm not advertising anything here, just continuing the discussion. Its okay, we can continue to post here if you like - it's an open discussion - and most likely my mistake by including a link to the post. there are links to it on the review page for the book here at amazon - so i'll bet it was because I posted a link to a clip fromt he doc. however, it's a shame to lose all that other stuff. And it was a long post!!!

If I can piece together what it was i was trying to say in a nutshell - I think it was about how Michael Newton became a hypnotherapist - how he was a skeptic and didn't believe in past life regression, but that it was a client in the 1960's who came to him for a psychosomatic illness - a pain in his shoulder - and spontaneously went into a past life regression where he died as a soldier in WWI. Newton didn't believe him, and grilled him for details, and later, contacted the British War office and learned that indeed, the name this guy used was actually a soldier who died in the trenches. So after that he began to do past life regressions if people wanted it, because they'd come out of them cured of their illnesses. (Similar to Brian Weiss' experience from "Many Lives Many Masters").

But then it was in the late 60's when a woman came to his office and complained of depression - and she was the first person to take him into the "life between lives." This is all detailed in his book "Journey of Souls." so what I admire about Michael Newton is that he treated the field with skepticism and went about reporting his cases like a scientist - and didn't publish them until after he'd gathered 7000 cases. So none of his clients would have known about the others. I've also independently showed how Newton's work is replicated in other people who've never heard of him or his research. That's what caught my attention,and made me want to film a documentary about the subject - but was so fascinated by it, it turned into a book,which is avail here at Amazon.

I think the second part of my post was about "the eyes of Jesus." It's a chapter in my book "flipside" (avail here at Amazon for the censors!) - but in one of my interviews with a hypnotherapist, he reported that he'd had many clients who remembered living during the time of Jesus. (As Brian Weiss mentioned in a later book that he too, had remembered a life where he saw and met Jesus) I asked the therapist if he'd ever asked anyone what Jesus looked like - as I thought it an interesting way to verify the research - if more than one person described him in the exact same way,then it would make sense their shared memory might be accurate and worth examining. And I was curious.

So I was discussing this with a hypnotherapist trained by Michael Newton's org here in LA, and the next day I filmed a session with a woman who had just lost her mother, and was extremely depressed about it. In the session she got a chance to see her mom (and as a skeptic might point out, whether she did or did not see her mom is moot, as she had the "experience" of seeing her mom and felt like she'd reconnected with her to the same effect), but it was her past life memory that was so interesting. And that was as a gypsy girl living in Jerusalem in the year 18. I passed a note to the hypnotherapist asking if he could "ask her if she ever saw a person named Jesus and what he looked like."

Well, it was fairly amazing to witness. She gasped, said she was mesmerized as she remembered standing in his presence hearing a lecture about love. She gave a clear, detailed description of his features, and wept through most of her session, as she said that he spoke and represented pure love to her, a loving grace that came through as he spoke. She said she was standing only a few feet from him - of course, there's no way to verify this detail - but it would be interesting to compare other people's visions or dreams of him and see what features, color of eyes and hair match. Again, this is during a hypnotherapy session - it's not replicated by others, as much of the research is, i'm not trying to offend anyone's beliefs or religion, I'm just reporting what I filmed in a session (one of many I filmed) about hypnotherapy. This woman claimed she knew Jesus and was devastated by his loss.

As I'm fond of saying - either this research is true or it is not. If it is not, then it's not worth examining. But if it is true - that we reincarnate, that our loved ones never die, that we choose our parents, that we don't carry sin with us into the spirit world, that we don't carry karma from life to life, that we choose the stones in our path so we can learn from them, that we are always connected to each other through love,that reincarnation and religion are not at odds with each other, but can deepen and help us understand the human condition in a more profound way - then it bears examination. And by the way, makes sense for us to keep the planet clean, because if we're returning here, doesn't it make sense to keep it a place we'd like to return to? And I offer this info as a Christmas gift - for everyone who wants to see if for themselves, they can read Michael Newton's many books on the topic (or mine). And I'll copy and cc this email to you Kathleen, just in case its censored again.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2011 12:34:49 PM PST
Amicus says:
R. martini wrote: "... it was her past life memory that was so interesting. And that was as a gypsy girl living in Jerusalem in the year 18. ... She gave a clear, detailed description of [Jesus'] features, and wept through most of her session, as she said that he spoke and represented pure love to her, a loving grace that came through as he spoke. She said she was standing only a few feet from him ..."

Hi R. martini,

A gypsy in Jerusalem in 18 A.D.? I don't see how. The various groups of gypsies migrated from India, northern Pakistan, and other Asian locations beginning in 500 A.D.

Please see "2001 International Romani Union Report:
Roma in Israel: The Gypsy People of Israel, Gaza & the West Bank"

I found one website that pushed the date of the earliest migration back to the 200's A.D. However, gypsies apparently didn't enter the area of Israel until roughly the same time that they migrated to Europe -- sometime after 1000 A.D. -- or, about the time of the Crusades.

Did she really say "gypsy"? -- If so, she was mistaken. -- I wonder if she could have meant some other nomadic or semi-nomadic people, like the desert-dwellers or merchants who travelled through the area.

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 12:49:44 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
sorry - yes, you are correct. I was using the shorthand version of an "itinerant seller of jewelry" who lived in Jerusalem. she described herself as a seller of jewelry, who grew up in a family of sellers, she made her own jewelry, and lived in a tent along with her family. When asked to describe herself and how her family made a living she said "like a gypsy." I didn't mean to infer that she was of the Roma people,and did the same research as well. When I reviewed the transcription I saw that she had clarified who she was.

She began by describing being a small child of 5 or 6, dancing with a group of older people, barefoot - and then began to describe the world around her. The year "18" is what came to mind. Now that alone would give someone pause - "who's definition of the year 18?" But in these sessions people respond to a date that makes it easier for them to communicate what they're experiencing. In her case, she started by saying the language was difficult to understand - but that her name translated as "June." Every time I film a session, and gather details, I search the net for possible links. I filmed a woman who had died in Auschwitz in a gas chamber, I was able to track down a number of women with the same name who died there during WW II. In one session, a man claimed to have been a spy for the French in the late 1800's and had died in the streets of London - I was able to track a number of people with his name, but not specifically any reference to his death as a spy. So I try to remain accurate to what people are saying, and as much information as I can find about what it is they've said.

But in the case of June, she described a woman who sold jewelry, lived with a tribe of jewelry sellers - and most interestingly lived to be an old woman. The question came up "why are you remembering this lifetime now?" This is a question that is fundamental to this research - as most past life regressions end with a person remembering (or thinking they remember) a previous lifetime. In Michael Newton's work the question is "why did you choose that lifetime, and why did you choose this lifetime, and what do the two have in common?"

In June's case, she said that in her current lifetime she was full of fear, and depressed from the loss of her mom - but by remembering this life of June, she was able to get in touch with the resilience she felt as this woman - who from knowing Jesus, had lived a full, rich life without any fear. It was her experience knowing Jesus that had given her that fearlessness, and the hypnotherapist then asked the client if they could ask for some of that "June energy" to help her in this life. And that's what's happened - she's much happier and more centered. (and again, whether true or not, the effect is the same. She feels like she now remembers a life lived knowing Jesus, she's much more confident and happier today as a result of this "memory.")

That being said, one other thing that disappeared in my previous post was that this woman has collected crosses her whole life without knowing why. She's not particularly religious - grew up Christian, but spent the past 50 years being part of the fast lane in Hollywood, married to a celebrity rock star, many other diversions I won't go into. But after the session, we all sat in awe of the fact that she's got crosses all over her house - antique, miniature, old, new - just a theme of her life, albeit an unconscious one.

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 11:30:11 PM PST
Rich Martini says:
For those of you who've asked me about my research into reincarnation, I can recommend some people to read that are based in science, and not in new age philosophy. Carol Bowman has written eloquently about Children's Past Lives, and she was a student of Prof. Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia who spent his life researching the topic. Brian Weiss is a Yale educated psychiatrist who stumbled into past life regression while working in Florida and has written about it, and Michael Newton comes from the same tradition. Recently, Gary Schwartz PhD from Harvard and Yale has been writing wonderful books about the spirit world from a purely scientific point of view. So yes, there is some science here in this field, however, the majority of it considers any kind of memory under hypnosis as cryptomnesia - or false memories.

That being said, Christianity as we know has taken some different tenets during its history. At one point women and men were both sacrament holders, and it wasn't until Paul showed up that women were relegated to wearing hats in church. Paul is an unusual case as well, a tax collector who 30 years after Christ's death claims that he appeared to him in a bolt of light and told him to take up his cause. He's the one who introduces the concept that gentiles can become Christians, as prior to that, the only people who were part of their group were born Jews. So that's a mighty leap in that era, and is certainly logical in the theology of Jesus, trying to include everyone into his world. But it wasn't so for 30 years, and it was Paul himself who decided to change what had always been the tradition.

My point is that all traditions need to be examined in the light of day. Whether its an organized religion, atheism, or any other ism, it never hurts to examine the truth. For if something is true, it will stand up to further clarification and examination. If it is false, then it deserves the light of day (like the earth revolving around the sun). But I think the experiences we have in life, where we feel like we've met someone before, when we examine where and when and how we met our significant other in this life, there's usually an uncommon story - with ethereal details involved. I'll give an example; I was talking to some inlaws about how they met. He said "Oh, she'll say she doesn't remember, but I do." And I asked him to describe it. He said "We met in a classroom, and I took one look at her and knew she was going to have a significant impact in my life." I asked him to delve further. What was that feeling? He said "The odd thing is that she was turned away from me when I first saw her, but I remember it as if it was yesterday." So I asked her and she said to his surprise "I knew the moment he spoke to me, something about his voice and his eyes... it was a feeling I can't describe." I asked her to examine it further. She said, "this is going to sound crazy, but when he first spoke to me - something about his voice and eyes made me feel like I was home."

I've asked that question time and time again - when people actually describe in great detail how they met - especially those who have kids or who've had a long relationship with someone - there's an ethereal, other worldly quality to their story. Timeless, as if they're talking about the event already having been planned, or as if its in the past tense. A friend saw her future husband being interview on TV and said out loud "that's the man I'm going to marry." He of course thought it was because he was so funny and charming - but she agreed that the sentence wasn't about hope - that it was in the past tense, as in "that is the many that in this lifetime I'm going to marry."

I'm just pointing out that by being in touch with our spiritual selves we aren't stepping outside religion, we're actually deepening it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 9:57:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 10:03:39 AM PST
RM: "So yes, there is some science here in this field, however, the majority of it considers any kind of memory under hypnosis as cryptomnesia - or false memories."

I am always interested in the whole issue of "false memories". I know there has been a problem with children accusing people as molesters because [I think] they could not tell the difference between the person in the present life and in a past life. So, that problem can easily occur since our culture is in denial about past lives which is driven by the writing reincarnation out of the Christian teachings by the Catholic church hundreds of years ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:07:34 AM PST

LOLOLOL "You die once Then Return as Someone Else"
Long time, How is beautiful Santa Barbarra?
Your statement is True but it is the funniest thing I have heard this year..


Posted on Dec 14, 2011 10:08:34 AM PST
Martin Zook says:
Ian Stevenson's extensive research and the database of possible reincarnations is informative to any discussion about whether reincarnation is likely, possible, or an integral part of cyclical existence. Wikipedia has a decent writeup about him. Googling his name will bring up many links.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 10:53:30 AM PST
Anne Rice says:
I don't believe Paul was a tax collector.
Matthew was a tax collector.

Scholars hold only some Pauline writings to be legitimate.
It could be that the downgrading of women in Christianity
didn't originate with Paul at all.
The letters and sentences held to be legitimately Pauline hold women to be the equals of men.
"We are all one in Christ..." etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:18:53 AM PST
Rich Martini says:
It's interesting that Ian Stevenson discounted hypnosis completely - according to an article I found where he discussed the topic. He was convinced that a hypnotherapist would lead a client to remember false memories. However, like any endeavor, if one applies a little science to it, then the results can be examined.

In my case I interviewed an Oxford professor who had a past life memory with a woman he knows from this life - he saw that they had been married and living together in Boston in the 1800's. So with his help, but without her knowledge of his session, I arranged for her to see a hypnotherapist in Boston trained in Michael Newton's method. She had the identical past life memory the professor in London had - when they were married and living together in Boston in the 1800's. Two different people, two different hypnotherapists, on two different continents.

In my own case, I've run across many parents who've told me about their children's memories of a previous life. I met a NYPD Detective who after hearing me speak on the topic, pulled me aside and asked if I could help him. His 8 year old daughter had been seeing a ghost in their kitchen. When he asked her to describe him, she said "He dresses like you." So he found an old photograph of his partner, who had died ten years earlier. She said "Yes, that's him - only he's younger now." In other words, his partner, now making an appearance as a younger version of himself, was keeping an eye on him.

The second problem he said, was that now she was remembering a past life she claimed to have had in Australia. What he wanted to know was if these two instances were similar - if he was doing something wrong, or worse, somehow evil spirits were floating around his house. I pointed out a couple of things - first, I'm just a filmmaker, not an expert - but the fact that his partner's energy was hanging around to keep an eye on him wasn't a negative thing. And secondly, if a child is telling a made up story, usually the details change each telling - but if they're remembering something the details stay the same. I suggested he get out a map of Australia and ask her to point out where she used to live.

The next day he came to the set (I was working on "Salt") and pulled me excitedly into a back room. He'd taken the map out and showed it to her and she pointed to Perth - a place he'd never heard of - and said that she had been a farmer, a man, and that she and her family had died in a terrible drought. She burst into tears, telling the story, but was happy to have shared it with her father. And like most stories like this, once a person is able to recount the memory they've been carrying with them, they feel better about it, and don't have the need to express it further. He was grateful. I was happy to pull an answer out of thin air.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:48:14 AM PST
Rich Martini says:
I think Paul is a conundrum. Saul of Tarsus, someone out persecuting Christians, in his own words. 30 years after Jesus is crucified, he runs into him on the road to Damascus. A number of things could be true - that Jesus shows up in spirit form to speak to him. That Saul has a vision of some sort, perhaps while eating ergot, perhaps he sees some guardian angel (as is reported throughout history, and even today in NDE's) and sees that guardian angel as Jesus, who tells him to change his life. (like the book about the child who had an NDE and saw Jesus). Or Jesus was still alive.

Each one doesn't change the arc of Paul's life - or the kind of rules and regulations that are laid down in his name. He's given credit for putting hats on women in church, whether he said it or not. The same way Constantine was given credit for turning over all Roman temples to the Church, when it was discovered in the Renaissance that his letters were forged. The effect is the same.

But the bigger conundrum - and fun to discuss - is whether Jesus died on the cross. The Qu'ran has more references to Jesus than Mohammed - and claims he wound up in India as a preacher after the crucifixion. So perhaps the miracle of the crucifixion is that Jesus survived it. After all, Joseph of Arimethea asks for his "living body" from Pilate, who refers to him as a "corpse" (in the original Aramaic). Joseph brings aloe and myrrh to "anoint his body in the tradition" - but that wasn't a tradition I'm aware of. Aloe and Myrrh were used as they still are as restoratives. They packed him in restoring aloe vera and wrapped his wounds. (and for those of you who consider the shroud sacred, it shows a man who is alive, as blood only runs from the living) Magdalene sees a gardener and mistakes him for Jesus - and he says "don't you recognize me?" He then travels 60 miles to be with the apostles and eats dinner and sleeps as he's tired. It doesn't say the he "went through walls" to appear before them - just that the door was locked, and then he appeared before them. Eating and sleeping - not exactly something one might expect from a risen spirit. He actually directs Thomas' finger into one of the holes in his body - another odd thing if he's in spirit form. He's obviously walking and talking.

The reason I'm going down this path is because when I was in northern India, at Hemis, I met a monk who told me that Jesus had studied at his Tibetan monastery. I did the research and read the two versions of the story of Jesus as written by Tibetan monks centuries ago. There's a copy in Hemis and one in Lhasa. According to this "gospel" Jesus shows up in India studying all the various religions and has some unusual adventures along the way. But when he goes back to Jerusalem, the story is the same as in the Gospels, except for one important section. According to this document, the Sanhedrin go to Pilate to plead for Jesus' life. "He's of the book" they protest and as such, Pilate can't, under Roman law, kill him. Pilate asks Jesus the question about whether he or Ceasar is more important. Jesus replies "you have power of life or death over me, why are you wasting our time?" That answer incenses Pilate, who orders him flogged and crucified. And its the Sanhedrin - not Pilate - who do the traditional "washing of the hands" to show the people they tried to save Jesus' life - and not the other way around.

This little detail - found in a book written by Tibetan Monks who heard it from travelers along the silk route - points to what may have happened to the Bible when it was rewritten in Rome. I think it's why each Gospel ends with the same sentence abruptly - "and then he went up to heaven." It may very well be that he left Jerusalem - the miracle of his surviving a Crucifixion - and shows up in India again, as Yuz Asaf ("the anointed one") where he travels with his "mother Mary of virgin birth" converts a Persian king who constructs a statue to him ("I am the way and the light") The Gospel of Thomas, from the gnostic gospels, has Jesus in India some time after his crucifixion, where Thomas attends a wedding with him. The holy man known as Yuz Asaf travels through Pakistan where his mother is buried (Muree) and he marries in Srinigar, India, where he is buried. Next to his tomb is a plaster cast of his feet - and wouldn't you know it - whoever Yuz Asaf was, he had two prominent holes in his feet where nails may have been. What I'm saying is - we have the capacity to examine these things, but even if someone changed the details of Jesus' life - it doesn't change the arc of it, and how his message resonates to this day, in this very sentence.

But on that note "Merry Christmas!!"

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2011 11:53:11 AM PST
That is more like the way I understand the story.
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