Can someone who believes in reincarnation be an atheist?

50 posts / 0 new
Last post
algebe's picture
I think stories about

I think stories about reincarnation also signal a sense of inferiority or dissatisfaction about a person's real life. They dream up more exciting previous lives to compensate.

Channeling past lives is also a very lucrative business. It's a good way to pick up some cash after your acting career starts to slide, Just ask Shirley MacLaine.

Dragonfly's picture
Yes! And it just so happens

Yes! And it just so happens that the past lives are important or exceptional. It wouldn't make you feel very special to have one of your past lives simply be an ordinary person.

Ramo Mpq's picture


What’s the difference between incarnation and life after death? How does that differ from some religions? If you believe in reincarnation then you believe in a higher power/metaphysical, so to answer the title. No, you cannot be an atheist and believe and reincarnation for the same exact arguments atheists use against religion. If you don’t want to call it god then don’t, but there’s something that needs to cause the reincarnation. If you say no, then does that mean we are immortal? I am not sure what’s worse, the question or the replies so far. Believing in reincarnation is the same as having “blind faith”. Believing in reincarnation does NOT go in line with the beliefs of the atheist.

xenoview's picture

What objective evidence do you have that a god is needed for reincarnation? I think all of your evidence is subjective, coming from your mind.

CyberLN's picture
SfT, you wrote, “Believing in

SfT, you wrote, “Believing in reincarnation does NOT go in line with the beliefs of the atheist.”

That got quite a chuckle out of me. So, just what are ‘the beliefs of the atheist’?

You see, the funny thing about beliefs is that they require no evidence. One can believe in fairies, a 6k year old earth, alien abduction, reincarnation, god, that there were six shooters on the grassy knoll, any number of things. For you, a believer in stuff, to decide you can call the shots on what beliefs or combination of beliefs is permissible is, well, amusing.

Cognostic's picture
Someone else reply to this

Someone else reply to this blathering rant. I have no time to talk about the circle of life and death, Nirvana and the end of suffering. I wonder if AR would consider giving a general knowledge quiz prior to allowing people to simply log in and spew bullshit? Oh... and while we are at it, does anyone want to call up all the Buddhists and begin convincing them that they actually do believe in Gods?

Start here:
Luke Wayne "Buddhism is not compatible with belief in a personal God "

Part of a series on
Dharma Wheel.svg
Buddhist texts[show]
Buddhism by country[show]
Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhism portal
Buddhist thought consistently rejects the notion of a creator deity. Buddhist ontology follows the doctrine of Dependent Origination, whereby all phenomena arise in dependence on other phenomena, hence no primal unmoved mover could be acknowledged or discerned.

There are sects of Buddhism that have what are identified as Gods. These are not creator gods and their is no requirement to believe in any of them for salvation. Buddhism is more of a philosophy of life that has blended with religion. In Korea it is blended with Confucianism and Korean Shamanism. In Japan it is mixed with Shinto, and the philosophy of Bushido, .... regardless of where you go, you will find different flavors of Buddhist thought mixed with the culture doing the thinking. No gods are NECESSARY in Buddhism,

Dragonfly's picture
Atheism is only the lack of

Atheism is only the lack of belief in god, though, so wouldn't it be irrelevant whether that god is a creator god or not or a saving god or not? The definition of the word would seem to be applicable to all gods, no? Or does atheism only mean "lack of belief in [a creator] god?"

I went to the Luke Wayne site, and it says that "Buddhists do not believe in 'God' as Christians would define and use that word." But atheism isn't limited to a Christian interpretation of the word God.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Dragonfly

@ Dragonfly

Dictionary definition: Atheism: the lack of belief in a god or gods.

To a buddhist gods are irrelevant to the pursuit of enlightenment. One can be a Catholic Buddhist, a Muslim Buddhist, a Shinto buddhist...however many of the 'mainstream' religions will punish you or kill you if you profess your desire to follow the way of the Buddha, whereas buddhists don't care much if you decide to follow the eightfold path and also worship whatever fantasy god you choose.

Cognostic's picture
The issue here is that

The issue here is that Buddhist beliefs are not incompatible with Gods. Buddhist teachings are about an individual's journey to Nirvana. If you pass a few gods or God on the way, that is just the way you went. A belief in magical deities will probably just delay your journey.

Sapporo's picture
I consider gods part of the

I consider gods part of the supernatural, non-phenomenal world.

I only consider reincarnation to be impossible if it is part of that same world.

Dragonfly's picture
And since we don't know if

And since we don't know if reincarnation is supernatural, it doesn't necessarily fall under the category of supernatural. Am I understanding your statement?

Sapporo's picture
Dragonfly: And since we don't

Dragonfly: And since we don't know if reincarnation is supernatural, it doesn't necessarily fall under the category of supernatural. Am I understanding your statement?

If it is possible for people to reincarnate, then this would be a phenomenal, natural process (i.e. we could observe such people - but proving it would be another matter entirely).

We live in an universe where things are not not truly created or destroyed - they are only transformed. So, in that sense, reincarnation is true. I'm skeptical that it is possible for the memories, personality etc. of an individual to transcend the death of the individual and somehow be passed to another individual in the future, even if it might be inconsistent with what I know to be true about the universe. That would require a "soul" - something in the ether that somehow defies destruction (something supernatural), or it would mean that memories eventually recreate themselves...which is not a concept that I am able to handle.

Cognostic's picture
I really wish you would take

I really wish you would take a look into reincarnation. It is one of the most horrific theologies on the planet today. It is responsible for ignorance and abuse throughout Asia.

Dragonfly's picture
Ahh, I didn't know that. In

Ahh, I didn't know that. In the West they tend to view it as such a wonderful thing.

Cognostic's picture
Again: The word

Again: The word supernatural simply means (I don't know.) Every time you hear it the person is referring to something than they can neither explain or prove.

Sheldon's picture
Lacking one nonsensical

Lacking one nonsensical belief doesn't stop someone holding other nonsensical beliefs.

Though I have no idea how one arbitrarily picks one fiction to believe over all the others.

Sapporo's picture
I think those who believe in

I think those who believe in concepts such as reincarnation often resort to being vague about what exactly it is they mean without having to explain how it might be possible.

In a strict sense, death should be unsurvivable. But arguing over the meaning of words does not tell you anything profound about existence.

Rohan M.'s picture
That's true. Non-backed up

That's true. Non-backed up files don't go anywhere if the hard drive they're on is damaged or corrupted. Flames don't go anywhere if doused with water. Matter and antimatter don't go anywhere after they annihilate each other and produce energy. So why should death be any different? There is nothing magical about one's consciousness.

Rohan M.'s picture
No, they are not incompatible

No, they are not incompatible. Atheism is just the lack of belief in a God or gods. Belief in reincarnation does not necessarily require belief in a deity, as spiritualism does not necessarily require religion.

But personally, I don't understand why someone would have logical reasons for not believing in God AND still believe in things like reincarnation without any evidence.


Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.