I will be talking about reincarnation this week on Midnight in the Desert, a three-hour late-night broadcast dedicated to the unexplained. It is the successor program to the old Art Bell show, which is now hosted by Dave Schrader and available here. If you happen to live near Pahrump, Nevada, you can listen at 95.1 FM. It will be a live show, from 9 pm to 11 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Thursday, August 1. The call-in number is (480) 571-3540.
If you miss it, you can sign up to hear back shows: http://darkmatterdigitalnetwork.com/shows/midnight-in-the-desert/
My interview will focus on reincarnation in contemporary life and historical forms. I will be discussing the book Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity, which I coauthored with my mother in 1997. Working on that book was the beginning, but certainly not the end, of my research on reincarnation. The book presents a history of reincarnation in Christianity and argues that it was the linchpin of a more personal and just form of salvation as promoted by ancient gnostics. My own views have changed quite a bit since 1997 as I have gained a much deeper understanding of both gnosticism and the context of early Christianity. I have a more nuanced view of how reincarnation operated in the ancient world and its widely varied modern formulations.
I no longer believe that it's possible to prove that Jesus taught reincarnation, or that it's necessarily the "missing link" in Christianity. I'll have two hours this Thursday to explain why, and why I continue to be fascinated by the role that reincarnation beliefs play in Western thought and how people think of themselves in relationship to the divine. In the past two centuries, reincarnation has played an important role in the transformation of religion and especially the attitudes of people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious. It can affect how people think about almost every area of life--food, child rearing, psychology, marriage, love, death, and the afterlife. I'll also be talking about some of the many ways that people today think about reincarnation.
In addition, I'll be going into some of the differences between common Western approaches to reincarnation and those of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. How does reincarnation function in New Age and Wiccan belief systems? What is the meaning and implication of research into past-life memories, for example Ian Stevenson's cases of children who remember previous lives.