This is an article, (hopefully) part of a series in which I try to explain to various theists, why – even if their beliefs were real, they would still be bad. This one is about reincarnation.
Reincarnation is the idea and belief that once you die, your soul is (usually) wiped clean and transferred to a new living being. As far as I can tell, this actually disproves the existence of a meaningful heaven or hell, as your soul is simply fed back into reality. However, the process of reincarnation also kills you. So even though your consciousness lives on to experience another life, you- all the knowledge you’ve accumulated, everything you’ve ever experienced would be gone, and you would simply be in a state of nonexistence. I like to think of reincarnation as the perfect refurbishing of a computer hard disk – once the memory and information and everything that makes up you is gone, you become just another empty soul, meaningless in terms of its previous existence. And anyone who has truly used a computer knows that the software- the data on it, is way more important than the hardware/ the actual hard disk. You life, everything in your memories, everything you’ve experienced, is way more important than your “soul”, and it would just be wrong to wipe all of that away because the soul factory was low in production rates of new souls and had to refurbish old ones in a cheap compromise.
On the other hand, if say you could be reincarnated with all of your memory fully intact, I personally would like that. Even though I’m only 17, I can tell that no matter what time period I am reborn in, the knowledge I’ve accumulated in these 17 years would already greatly help me in making the right choices that I never got to make. Alas, it is a confirmed fact that nobody is ever born with the knowledge of a previous life intact, and the Buddhist explanation that “your memory is wiped” is just, as I’ve explained, wrong.
The only ever purpose I can think of in which reincarnation is good, is in a teleportation device that works by destroying matter on one end and then rearranging the matter in the other end in accordance to the information received. Normally of course it would just kill you while creating an exact copy of you – a new soul/consciousness included, however with reincarnations your soul could probably just be transferred right back into your new, teleported replica of your body. However if we had the technology to teleport, we would also have the technology to medically prolng everyone’s life to the point that travel time will never really become an issue, and even if it were we’d probably have faster and safer methods of travel.