Do I believe in resurrection?
Do I believe in reincarnation?
Yes. But neither of the above answers are as simple as they may seem.
I live and I die, and when all is said and done my cosmic makings will return to the cosmos from whence they came. I am part soil, part plant. I am part earthworm and sea jelly. I am a part of all things. I am even a part of you, as you are of me. My atoms will never die they can only cycle. My atoms are or will be in all things and a part of all things. My atoms came from the supernovae of stars and if given time enough will recompose planets, other suns, galaxies, and even the Universe itself. This is reincarnation, not even the most strident atheist can deny. As spectacular and profound as this is? Is this all? Amid all of these pieces is there nothing that is me? Am I merely the sum of my hundred trillion parts, or is there something more? There is evidence of a chemical memory, but is all that I have seen and done nothing more than the bond energies between electrons? How very depressing to think that all that I am is nothing more than atoms arranged and glued together purely by chance by the designs of the Universe.
Even if it is only hubris and self preserving pride. I would like to think that I am something. I would like to think that what I do matters. Previously, preforming the pre-frontal logic of Pascal I posited the presence of a God. Given then that there is a God even though I am but an unimaginable speck in the great scheme of things and surely a speck as small as I am can't matter right? Though taking out pieces of any size from any well working machine never did seem like a good idea. And plus if what my religion tells me is true, then all of us just happen to be specks personally favored by the creator of the universe him self hand crafted to resemble the Divine somehow.
So admitting the bias that it is in my own interest to be a firm believer (FYI probably a note about the mathematics of believing and believing coming soon.) in an immortal soul, I do believe I have a soul. I do not believe that anyone can take my soul. I believe myself and my soul can learn else why are we here on Earth? In some respects it can change in others it is soully my own. Albeit I like the idea of my soul being tangent to a great many other souls touching and shaping who they are and who they will become. Ideas like that give me purpose in life. Ah but was my soul ever a slug. I do not think so. The soul is my own. The slug had its chance. I don't think my soul will diverge backward either. I believe that I am me and as I have said my soul is my own. I also believe that it always will be. If not who then really is me. I claim there is a me. But who I am doesn't matter what I look like or what happens to me. I suspect that a person's soul plays a large part of who they are. Case in point, ask a mother of identical newborn twins if they have different personalities. Chances are the new mother will say that even at birth they are two different people. How can this be? Twins from the same mother have had the same environment, if the twins are identical they have the same genetics and yet there are differences. This must mean that there is something other than nature or nurture determining who and what they are and will be. To me this is the soul.
So is my soul reborn? I doubt it. If souls are recycled how does this work if the population is growing. Sure the total number of people through out history is a thousand times greater than it is now, but at any given time we have a larger population than before. It seems to me that souls are brought into this planet anew and not reused. So does this mean I believe in the Hindu/Buddhist idea of Samsara? It does. But wait, I thought you said you didn't believe one's soul could be recycled. If you don't believe in recycling, how can you believe in Samsara?
I think Samsara is the day to day battle of us against our addictions. Our goal is not so much to get out of mortal life, but to get ourselves out of the addictions and holds of mortality but also to get not out of but as much out of mortality as we can. This is I think the purpose of Samsara--to perfect ourselves--a purpose coincident with religions the world over. Samsara is Jihad. These are the struggles and wars we wage, not with others but with ourselves. As the Buddhist says this is the path to enlightenment, the path to perfection. Hold on! How can Samsara be Jihad? Samsara involves continual life, death and rebirth? The close of each day marks the death of all days that have gone before. Once gone a day cannot return it cannot come back again. It is dead. But on the morrow the day begins afresh (stay tuned posts about the arbitrarity of days also coming soon). Each morning a day is reborn and we are given another chance to apply what we have learned to fight hard, to struggle, and to make progress on our path or to lose the way and backtrack as we and our conscience see fit. Each day the old days die, the new days are reborn, and the battle us against our self begins again. Reincarnation.
But what of resurrection? I am only a very weak scholar of the Quaran but as I understand it there is an exceedingly beautiful passage about Allah reviving the dry Earth after a rain storm and if He (salutations be upon him) can do this than raising of the flesh of the dead is mere trifle. I do believe there will be a raising of the dead a true 9th level cleric casting the great resurrection. The Way of nature is a way of cycles, a Way of recycling. I believe in the resurrection, because I have a hard time believing the operating principles inherent in Nature could allow so much of what is gained in life to go to waste. And now for the thrilling conclusion. Imagine how profound it would be if it wasn't just our bodies that were reanimated and given life again, but what if every atom that ever was, ever has, or ever will make up You could be restored unto You!? What if it wasn't just restored, but what if you could understand the journeys of every atom that made you?
If you really could comprehend the paths of the atoms and voyages of the finery that made you then inherent in you is the understanding of a God. The Resurrection.