Possible accounts of reincarnation.

Hello as im sure you know im new here and ive yet to see anything on the possible claims of reincarnation. such as young children claiming oddly accurate details of a past life. the one that i found interesting was of the WWII pilot who was shot down over Iwa Jima *sorry for spelling.* also im agnostic theist if not pagan in ways. i find that the Christianity version of a god is quite scary really, but anywho i was just woundering what you think of this. i have also read alot of your info on NDE too.
Atheist Answer: 

Welcome WolfFable. Yeah, I ended up writing a mountain of stuff on NDEs when Maroun took it upon himself to defend them as evidence for God.

The boy you're referring to is James Leininger, who according to the story remembered details of the life of WW2 pilot James Huston, killed over Iwo Jima.

It seems to have become a flagship case for reincarnation, and in the case of the above link the religious are using it to support the existence of God. This is interesting, because reincarnation is not an accepted part of many mainstream religions. The impetus, I sadly suspect, is the New Age industry based around helping people "remember" their past lives.

Here is an excellent skeptical analysis of the case. Highlights:
- The first and only counsellor who saw the poor kid was a believer in reincarnation, who went about recovering the old memories on the immediate assumption that they were there.
- Most versions of the story fail to mention that the boy had been to the Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas a few months before it all started.
- Little James talked about a Corsair, among the more distinctive planes featured at the museum. After investigation, it turned out James Huston was killed in a FM2 Wildcat.

There are other elements of the story which cannot be attacked so readily, but see how much less credible it is when just a few omitted facts are re-integrated into the story? Unfortunately parts of this story will probably get harder to pin down as time goes on, but there's enough so far to suggest that little James Leininger had plenty of earthly inspiration for his initial fixation.

Generally, reincarnation depends on the existence of souls, so you've got to establish those before you can talk about them moving between bodies. There are atheists out there who believe in ghosts, so a few atheists might well buy this concept too. I don't.

- SmartLX


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yes those Atheist are called Spiritual Atheist. ones who believe in unsupernatural spirituality.
yes one of the trade marks the boy mentioned was that the plane had bad tires and would take a beating on landing. i was actually surprised you knew the story.
its somewhat sad that the story has been torn to peices by those facts. i take it the story is old and has been relooked over. i also take it those parts that cant be pinned are the "dreams" as well.

im not sure if its a spirit or an energy jumping into another person but more of a rebirth thing. Reincarnation is only main streem in more Pagan religions such as buddhism, hinduism, and some wiccans.

is it me or is african tribes a good example of what would happen if there was no religion. more would just be made up generation after generation?


A better-defined term for these atheists would be "atheist spritualists". "Spiritual" can mean anything, but spiritualism is a whole pseudo-religion built around ghosts and sometimes past lives.

I don't know if it's sad that the story has been mostly debunked, because now we're closer to the facts. The really sad thing is that little James himself has had his sense of self seriously warped at an extremely young age, by being convinced that he's a second version of someone else.

The story isn't that old; it broke when James was three, and he's now six. What will become increasingly difficult to "pin down" is exactly what James did and said in the first place, before he was saddled with the concept of past-life memories. He was too young to remember all of it himself, his parents' memories will be heavily biased by now and the counselor has a vested interest.

You want to be careful using the word "Pagan". It's basically a Christian word for any non-Abrahamic religion, and as such it's not terribly meaningful. Even most "pagan" religions are not very firm on reincarnation.

African tribes are a good example of what happened when there WERE no religions, thousands of years ago. They all had to start somewhere. If religious belief were to disappear from the modern world, however, I don't know whether it would re-emerge the same way alongside current science and philosophy.

Which is why i use it. its a

Which is why i use it. its a general term for most of polytheistic, naturalistic, folk, and animalistic religions as well. most of them are a growing vast of Neo Paganism since the original forms of paganism where destroyed when christianity and Islam religions went exstream.

To me the Story is pretty old then. Three years since the story was written. its being abserved and torn apart by reader and explained with alot of stuff. indeed the idea is that children are getting more smarter now for some reason, it seems its still possible he could of remembered for a short time what he seen in some of the airplane info in that meuseum. it is a sad thing that the boys selfness will be soo confusing for him to understand. i take it being like what happened to me not to long ago. which is why im here really. anywho!

indeed. its somewhat interesting. just think 60 years from now and we wouldnt of hardly have any science to create the foundations of what many hold their beliefs, ideas, and even their lives depend on it. makes you wounder in the burst of around 30 years. what can we achieve in the next 20 years. the modern parts of the world will probably never go back into religion that far like the african tribes. it seems to me that even christianity is slowly slipping away from the new generations grasps. i feel sorry for the new gen. probably really confused.
btw thanks for the quick reply.

Good point SmartLX; I wonder

Good point SmartLX; I wonder what people would come up with in this age if there were no previous religious teachings.

With the further scientific knowledge (and general knowledge), I often wonder if there are some religious leaders out there thinking ... "Hmmm, maybe I've been on the wrong path here."

Sagan on science and religion

You're not the first person to wonder that about the religious authorities.

"In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed"? Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way." - Carl Sagan