25% of Central Europeans Believe in Reincarnation

Theologian Addresses Symposium on Eschatology

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PAMPLONA, Spain, APR. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- One in every four Central Europeans believes in reincarnation, says a theologian who thinks that many people are hoping «there is always a chance to try again.»

This revelation was made by theologian Jutta Burggraf, of the University of Navarre, at the 22nd International Theological Symposium being held at the school here, through Friday. The theme of the symposium is «Eschatology and Christian Life.»

Burggraf explained, «In the past few decades, the doctrine of reincarnation has spread throughout the Western world, because it is quite attractive to a mentality that refuses to address the ultimate.»

«If we change with increasing ease the place where we live, the profession we have, marriage, and other promises, why not consider life itself as provisional?» Burggraf asked. «This way, we do not have to take things seriously, and the decision for or against God can be postponed. A door is always open; there is always a chance to try again.»

In face of this reality, the German theologian posed a number of questions, such as: Can a person find his identity if he is unaware of his previous forms of existence, or if he is obliged to bear the consequences of an unknown past life?

The Christian faith has answers to these questions, which are «more liberating with regard to man´s existential questions on ´the beyond,´» Burggraf said. «Restless wandering of ´separated souls´ is not necessary, because God can make us happy in an instant and promises us resurrection of body and soul. If it is true that we expect a total and complete salvation, we will only attain it for the soul and body at the same time.»

The symposium will be closed by Archbishop Antonio Cañizares of Granada, president of the Spanish bishops´ Commission on Teaching and Catechesis.

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