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Monday, April 7, 2014

Reincarnation Justifies Racism and Sexism

by Rick Hogaboam

The following excerpt is from The Reincarnation of the Soul by Vishal Mangalwadi, found in the Evangelical Review of Theology, Volume 15 • Number 2 • April 1991

It is true that a person like Shirley MacLaine finds it a comfort to know that a soul is born sometimes as a male and other times as a female. Reincarnation to her, therefore, implies the equality of sexes. Ironically, however, it is the doctrine of transmigration which has traditionally sustained racism and sexism in Indian society. As Romila Thapar says in A History of India (Penguin Books, 1975, p. 46), ‘The doctrine of karma also provided a philosophical justification for caste. One’s birth into a lower or higher caste was also dependent on one’s actions in a previous life.’ The logic of reincarnation has been, ‘You are born an untouchable or a woman to serve me because of your past karma’. The doctrine was formulated to justify inequalities and suffering, not the equality of all people. Giving religious justification to untouchability (racism) and oppression of women (sexism) is one of the most inhuman consequences of this belief.

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