Saturday, February 23, 2019

To the ends of the earth...and back again?

The Druze are a religious minority in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. They are organized almost like a secret society, and it´s not clear how much of their *real* teachings have leaked out to the world at large. One of their distinctive public beliefs is the reality of reincarnation.

In this documentary, “To the ends of the Earth: Back from the dead”, a British research team interviews Druze children in Lebanon who claim to be reincarnated adults who died in the civil war. They also talk to members of the bereaved families who in all featured cases accept the kids as reincarnated dead relatives. These families also belong to the Druze minority.

Although I would like to believe in “metempsychosis”, I don´t think there is any evidence for it in this production. Quite the contrary, in fact. The Druze are a relatively small community, so it´s not impossible for the children (who all attend school) to get information about other Druze families and then model their “past life memories” accordingly.  When the team investigates supposed reincarnation cases, they find that one of the dead adults never existed, while *two* boys claim to be reincarnations of another dead man! It´s also painfully obvious that the child who is supposedly a reborn famous soccer player, didn´t really recognize the player´s sister – it was the sister who not-so-subtly identified herself to him, since she strongly wants the kid to be her reincarnated brother. 

I think the skeptics are right in this case. The Druze belief in reincarnation (whatever else it might be) functions as a psychological coping mechanism and a social glue tying the community even tighter together. That doesn´t mean the Druze are consciously lying, but it *does* mean that they have a very strong will to believe…

But as usual, the best way to proceed is to study the question yourselves and make up your minds accordingly!

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