Research

Lives-long learning: the effects of reincarnation belief on everyday life in England1


Reference:

Walter, T. and Waterhouse, H., 2001. Lives-long learning: the effects of reincarnation belief on everyday life in England1. Nova Religio, 5 (1), pp. 85-101.

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    Official URL:

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/nr.2001.5.1.85

    Abstract

    A sizeable minority of Westerners who have no particular connection with Eastern or New Age religions nevertheless claim to believe in reincarnation. Does this belief affect their practical morality and how they think about suffering and injustice? An interview study conducted in England mapped the range of meanings such people give to reincarnation, and found: 1) Karma was widely referred to, but in the context of Western notions of self-improvement; there was little recognition of the possibility of bad karma leading to ‘downward mobility’ in the next life, and little linking of karma to everyday action; 2) Reincarnation enabled respondents to make sense of suffering and injustice, but in a rather general way; 3) Despite the sample's elderly bias, reincarnation was not widely reported as a comfort in illness and bereavement. The authors conclude that, outside of a culture or formal religion that embraces it, relatively high levels of personal interest in reincarnation can coincide with rather insubstantial effects on everyday morality, though individuals can and do use it to think about problems of suffering and injustice.

    Details

    Item Type Articles
    CreatorsWalter, T.and Waterhouse, H.
    DOI10.1525/nr.2001.5.1.85
    DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Social & Policy Sciences
    Publisher StatementWalter_NovaRel_2001_3_1_85.pdf: Published as: [provide complete bibliographic citation, as appears in the print version of your journal]. © 2001 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the Sponsoring Society for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [Caliber (http://caliber.ucpress.net/)] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center, http://www.copyright.com.; Walter_NovaRel_2001_3_1_85.doc: Published as: [provide complete bibliographic citation, as appears in the print version of your journal]. © 2001 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the Sponsoring Society for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [Caliber (http://caliber.ucpress.net/)] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center, http://www.copyright.com.
    RefereedYes
    StatusPublished
    ID Code19466

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