How might the belief in reincarnation provide a form of social control?

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People would know that if they are not held to account for something in this lifetime they will be in the next.

John the Buddhist

If it comes with a belief in karma. Then it is a way to say to those lesser in compassion that doing good at the very least is in your own self interest.


Most religions that believe in reincarnation also believe the deeds you have done in this life cause what you will become. If you’re a bad person, an insect or worm. If you’re good, maybe a higher class human or even become one with the universe.
How is it social control? If you believe the religion, you will want to be good and conform to society, and not be turned into a bug when you die.


In most instances I think the belief in reincarnation is tied to the belief in karma, where what you do in this life will determine what happens to you after death. If you are mean and controlling in this life, someone will be mean and controlling to you in the next. So if you believe in reincarnation in what you did wrong will be done to you and you will have to pay for what you did wrong, you will tend to try to behave better than you would if you thought you could get away with it without punishment.


I’d say that it is actually very INEFFECTIVE as a means to control people.
while there is a “well you’ll have to pay for it next life” is countered by “if you die, you’ll have another chance and a chance for a better life next time” where if this is the only chance you have, you’ll be less likely to be willing to die for a cause, and more willing to put up with things since you didn’t have another chance.
some are of the opinion that Reincarnation was excised from Christian belief (it is not actually taught in Judaism, but its allowed for, and there are records of the extremely early christian church, teaching reincarnation. and that it was excluded from christian belief at the council of nicea) because it was not as good at controlling society as fire and brimstone.
I mean, if you are unhappy with your leadership because they are cruel to you, are you more likely to rebel if:
1) you believe that you will be reincarnated if you die, and have a chance at a better life. (“whats the worst that can happen, next life couldn’t be as bad as this!”)
2) they teach, and you believe or used to believe, that you have only one life, and then either paradise, or possibly eternal torment. ( “what if they are right, going against them I’ll be tortured forever! I better put up with their mistreatment…” )


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