The belief of reincarnation revolves around the idea that there is only a certain amount of energy in the world that is continuously recycled. The first law of thermodynamics includes that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it takes on other forms. The energy or “soul” that makes up a life does not burn out at death but rather altered to create new life. Cameron shows this in his novel A Dog’s Purpose in which a dog returns to his original owner after living through several lifetimes in different forms of a canine.
Philosophers have questioned why we are here for centuries, and with that came the creation of religion: a thing people could turn to when they could no longer find reason for life. One of the oldest religions follows the idea of reincarnation, the idea that the soul takes on other forms once one has passed. It follows the natural order of things and the laws of thermodynamics. Some beliefs pertaining religion have beings cycling though a number of lives only to go to an afterlife at the end of things. While others believe there is a certain amount of energy in the world that will continuously be recycled until the end. The idea arguably makes the most sense as it does not require the influence of a deity or greater being.
Experiments have been conducted showing that people have souls. The question being where does that soul go once a person dies. The idea of reincarnation originated in India approximately 1,000 to 600 BC. It is one of the oldest beliefs in history. This idea is backed by the law on conservation of energy by Albert Einstein who stated, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” Once a soul has left the body the energy has to be converted into new life, so it takes on another host.
There is very little research on reincarnation (especially in animals) as the only evidence of any religion is faith based. Jenny Smedley, however has written several books on the matter. Smedley believes that there is no scripture on animals because they are closer to God than people are. She thinks they do not need the same scripture and help that humans do in order to build a connection with God, and that they are here to guide us to live better lives. This is shown in W. Bruce Cameron’s book A Dog’s Purpose in which a boy grows up with a dog who passes, and years later in another one of the dog’s lives he returns to find his boy. The story follows the idea that when a creature passes it returns as the same species rather than another creature.
Many argue whether animals have a soul or not as most religious scripture provides little to no information on the matter. Religious books typically describe animals as a source of food or companionship for people. They are described as merely a tool for human enjoyment. Those who have shared a connection to a pet, however, often swear by the fact that they have souls, and many people find comfort in imagining their beloved pet is the reincarnate of someone they once knew. People want to hold onto the fact that their past loved ones are still with them, so they turn to the comfort of their pets.
Will Durant wrote, “The hope of another life gives us the courage to meet our own death, and to bear with the death of our loved ones; we are twice armed if we fight with faith.” People often hold onto religion as a coping mechanism to deal with death. Many argue that it is just that, and that the idea was made up to give people hope of something after. Death is one of the hardest things for people to deal with, whether it is the thought of their own or a loved one’s, and can even lead to a psychotic break if not dealt with correctly. The idea of an individual’s psyche no longer existing is too much for the human brain to fathom, so they began pondering where a person’s “soul” goes once they have passed.
People cannot process that there is a start and finish to every life as their lifetime is the only time they can remember. People know obviously that there was time before their consciousness, but they cannot possess a true understanding of the “before.” It does not feel like there was time before, and had no one been there to tell one another, an individual could feel as if they had always been. Religion was created as a way of understanding where a being is when they are not in the physical world.
Religion also allows people to feel as if their passed loved ones are still there. Reincarnation takes this a step further and allows the idea that the spirit of whomever is still in the physical world with them only in another form. There are several stories of after a friend or family member’s passing, people often build a connection with an animal and describe them as having similar characteristics as their loved one. Whether this is to make up for the loss in their life, or the person has really come back to them people may never know. Mankind have been trying to prove and disprove religion for centuries. They likely will never get the answers for which they are searching, but religion can be a comforting thing to consider in order to live a more fulfilling life.