Should a Christian get involved with Past Life Regression therapy?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... the place where I discuss the thinking that went into this article.)

Question: What is Past Life Regression? What is Christianity point of view about it? Could we try it? 

Answer: Greetings friend. To answer the first part of your question (What is past life regression?), let me quote the opening paragraph of its Wikipedia entry.

Past life regression is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover what practitioners believe are memories of past lives or incarnations. The practice is widely considered discredited and unscientific by medical practitioners, and experts generally regard claims of recovered memories of past lives as fantasies or delusions or a type of confabulation. Past-life regression is typically undertaken either in pursuit of a spiritual experience, or in a psychotherapeutic setting. Most advocates loosely adhere to beliefs about reincarnation, though religious traditions that incorporate reincarnation generally do not include the idea of repressed memories of past lives. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_life_regression)

Please note that Past Life Regression makes no sense unless a person believes in past lives. The problem with that — of course — is that it is antithetical to the teaching of the Bible.

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many….” (Hebrews 9:27–28, NIV)

Note especially the last sentence in the Wikipedia citation above. Even religions that subscribe to reincarnation do not include the idea of repressed memories of past lives. This is a Western idea… and it’s a discredited one at that.

Before you go any further, I would encourage you to see the Got Questions Ministries article about reincarnation. Find it at the following link: https://www.gotquestions.org/reincarnation.html

To answer the second part of your question (What is [Christianity’s] point of view about it?), I will include the entire text of the Got Questions Ministries article that answers that very question.

Question: "If reincarnation is not true, why do some people remember their past lives?"

Answer: While the Bible never addresses reincarnation specifically, it is clear that the biblical model of life, death, and afterlife is incompatible with any form of reincarnation as posited in religions such as HinduismBuddhism, and certain New Age or Neo-Pagan belief systems. In Hebrews 9:27-28, we are told that “just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” This passage alone appears to eliminate the possibility of remembering past lives/reincarnation.

Along the same lines, in Luke 23:43 Jesus tells the thief on the cross that he will be with Christ in paradise that very day, which assumes that the man will not be reincarnated back into earthly life. Similarly, passages such as James 4:14, which discuss the temporal nature of human life, are inconsistent with a reincarnationist idea of living earthly lives over and over for centuries, millennia, or all eternity. On top of all this, if human souls were reincarnated over and over, then how could some people in the Bible see the spirits of long-dead people, like Moses being seen by the apostles in Matthew 17:3 during the transfiguration of Christ?

But what are we to do with those who claim they have memories of their past lives/reincarnation experience? The first and perhaps most important question we should ask is whether or not these “memories” are genuine. Human memory is notoriously unreliable (just ask any lawyer or detective), and people frequently misremember things, believing they remember things that never actually happened or not remembering things that did happen. In the case of those claiming to remember their past lives, one can easily imagine them misremembering images from TV shows or movies, mental fantasies from books they read years earlier, or mistaking dreams for genuine memories.

How can we know with any certainty that their past-life memories are not one of these things? Is it really more logical to assume that their memories are genuinely from past lives rather than one of these other things? While some modern “past-life experts” claim to find evidence for reincarnation by connecting things like phobias and physical ailments in currently living people with traumatic events in past lives, the past-life “experts” are assuming the existence of a past-life (or past-lives) in explaining current health problems, not showing that those past lives actually happened.

The fact of the matter is that there is simply no solid, scientifically acceptable evidence that the memories of past lives claimed by some people are genuine, rather than misremembered events or simply make-believe. Ultimately, the question comes down to whether we will find truth in the unreliable minds and memories of fallen and fallible human beings or from the timeless, holy Word of God. Christians can confidently assert that reincarnation is not a possibility for the human soul; when this life ends, our eternity in the afterlife begins. (https://www.gotquestions.org/past-lives-reincarnation.html)

The answer to the third part of your question (Could we try it?) is, why would you bother! It is a discredited process that requires you to first take-on the belief of a false religion. It’s sort of like using a Ouija board… but without the board! Nothing really occurs… so biblical truth remains unchallenged. But why would a Christian give that enterprise enough credibility to participate in it?

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20190923 Should a Christian try Past Life Regression therapy? How about Yoga?).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)