Evidence, Logic and Common Sense
By Stephen Blake
Grosvenor House Publishing Limited
The author has done a superb job refuting the idea of reincarnation. He has done so using a variety of means including science, mathematics, philosophy and theology. The author believes in life after death. He believes that there is a real difference between mind and brain. For the purposes of this review, I will examine what the author has to say about three cases of alleged reincarnation.
Jasbir Lal was born in Northern India in 1950. At the age of three and a half, he appeared to succumb to the disease smallpox. However, he was found to be alive, but after regaining consciousness, assumed a different personality. He claimed to be a son of a Brahmin from Vehdi, a village he had never visited. He started living like a Brahmin. He claimed later that he had died after being given poisoned sweets by a man who had owed him money. When he was eventually heard of by the people of Vehdi, they concluded that the details he gave matched an event that had really taken place. A young man named Sobha Ram died at the age of twenty two in the manner described by Jasbir. When Jasbir visited Vehdi, he was able to find his way around the village without difficulty. For the psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, this was evidence of reincarnation. But, as the author points out, in order to do so he changed an apparent death into a real one. Jasbir's own explanation was to claim that after Sobha Ram died, he encountered a holy man who advised him to take cover in the body of Jasbir. Blakes's own explanation is that we have here the "disincarnate spirit influence" of Sobha Ram. From a Catholic perspective, we may speculate that we are dealing with a soul in purgatory perhaps.
The second case is that of Wijeratne, who was born in Sri Lanka in 1947. He was born with a physical deformity in his right arm. At the age of two and a half, he started claiming that he had developed his arm deformity after murdering his wife in a previous life. His father did have a younger brother who was hanged for such a crime in 1928. Prior to his death, he told his brother that he would return. In 1969, Wijeratne was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Once again, there is no evidence for reincarnation. An impressionable young boy might have overheard family members claiming that the arm deformity was confirmation of what the brother had said.
The third case is that of Marta Lorez from Brazil. This story begins with the unhappy life of a young woman named Sinha. She effectively died a suicide in 1917. She was a firm believer in reincarnation and told her friend Ida Lorenz that she would be returning as her daughter. Ida gave birth to a daughter named Marta who, at the age of two and a half, began talking about Sinha, describing in great detail the town where Sinha had lived.
None of these case studies prove reincarnation. As Christians, we should look for naturalistic explanations first, including unconscious influences of one person by another. This would be especially likely if the person concerned is a very young child. There may also be disincarnate spirit influences, from purgatory or hell.
In passing, there is a good and detailed discussion of the Galileo case.
Belief in reincarnation is on the rise in our post-Christian age. This book is an excellent refutation of it.