The answer to this question is that almost every culture in the world throughout recorded history has believed in reincarnation – with one big exception. In the Western world, belief in past lives turned into a forbidden treasure. For the last 1,500 years the people of Christendom have sought it, hidden it and even died for it.
During this time Westerners largely forgot that the benefits of past-life awareness were part of their natural birthright. For centuries, people in Europe suffered far more than they needed to because this knowledge was kept from them. Those who did believe in reincarnation were viciously persecuted. As part of this control, the Church hid some key facts from the public. But in our modern age of literacy and freedom of information, we can now dig up that buried knowledge.
Some of the clues have always been there in plain sight. It’s now obvious that the Bible is full of signs of belief in reincarnation. Writer Joe Fisher said ‘Reincarnation teaching in the Bible is largely taken for granted, cropping up here and there as a fundamental rock.’
The Essenes, the Pharisees, the Nazarenes and the Egyptian Therapeutae all actively taught about reincarnation. In later centuries the early Christian Gnostics saw themselves as the direct continuation of the real teachings of Jesus – and reincarnation was central to Gnosticism.
It was also important to early Christianity. St Augustine and other renowned Church fathers both preached and wrote about reincarnation as a significant part of Christian faith.
How the Dark Ages really began So what happened? One man alone was responsible for changing the nature of Christianity – and he wasn’t even a member of the Church. It was the Emperor Justinian.
The stage for this was set when, in the early fourth century, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. From that time on it slowly and steadily turned into an instrument of state control. Heresy – which comes from the Greek word for ‘choice’ – was upgraded from being a belief that did not comply with established doctrines and was a mere sin to a serious crime that was punishable with death.
The widespread belief in reincarnation made it difficult for this new state-controlled Church to establish real authority. Knowing how rebirth works, people could take responsibility for their own salvation. They didn’t need a priest to intervene for them. In their freedom, they were a direct threat to the Emperor’s power base of orthodox Christianity.