Q: I have a friend who claims she knows what she did in a previous life hundreds of years ago, and she does this with the help of a spiritual guide who lived then but comes to her in dreams now. This kind of talk makes me uncomfortable, but could she be right? — D.W.
A: The chances that her beliefs are correct are roughly the same as the chances that beliefs in the Christian god, Allah, Vishnu, or Xenu are correct, i.e., exceedingly remote. People often turn to supernatural beliefs in order to fulfill an emotional need in their lives. Because the motivation is emotional, rational thought is rarely employed to analyze these beliefs. People can often spot irrational thinking in others when their belief systems are different. However, at the same time, they do not recognize that their own supernatural beliefs (and the beliefs of those who practice the same religion) are irrational. After believing in the Christian god and Jesus for over 30 years, I came to realize the irrationality of the bible and Christian teachings. Now I don’t believe in any gods.
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