Has the celebrated thinker, the Very Rev. Dr. W. R. Inge, become an adherent of the Hindu doctrine of the reincarnation? This is the question asked following his confession in a London newspaper article in March, 1944, that he believes there is an "element of truth" in this theory of personality common to the Indian masses and mystics of all countries.
Declaring that the error of Western civilization in crisis lies in a wrong idea of the human personality, he says that the truth is expressed in the "most famous Indian poem" which says, "Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall never cease to be; birthless and changeless and deathless, the spirit abideth for ever; death cannot touch it at all, death though the house of it seems."
This means, he says, that immortality is not a string with only one end, which is difficult to believe. Within the time series, that which has no end can have had no beginning. "The Indians and Greeks, both convinced of survival and pre-existence, stand or fall together."
Dr. Inge considers the absence of memory no fatal objection for there may be unconscious memory. "Who taught the chicken to get out of its egg? I cannot tell, but there is no mystery about all this.
Defending himself against the criticism that a dignitary of the Anglican Church has no business to dabble in such "heathen beliefs," Dr. Inge declares that rebirth is not alien to Christian thought and asserts that it is implied in many texts."
Coming from one of the intellectual leaders of the English Church and a former Dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral, the foregoing admission is of outstanding historical importance. The doctrine must now be considered worth serious discussion by all Western educated persons and no longer left to a few queer dreamers as something bizarre and exotic. Its increasing acceptance will also be a triumph over materialism. Rebirth identifies a man more with his mind than with his body. It thus accords perfectly with mentalism.
-- Notebooks Category 9: From Birth to Rebirth > Chapter 2: Rebirth and Reincarnation > # 206