I hate the way Coronation actor William Roache has been misinterpreted by broad sections of the media over his beliefs, which are really quite benign if properly understood.
It's just stupid to claim he believes sex abuse victims have brought their suffering on themselves due to 'their' actions in past lives. He simply did NOT say that in the Sky programme which got him into all this bother.
Under the time constraints and limits of the programme, however, he didn't get a chance to explain what he meant in terms of reincarnation.
Like many eastern religions and new-age philosophies, Roache believes that after death we can choose to be reincarnated back on earth if we have not learned enough for our spiritual enlightenment – the goal of existence – the first or second or third time round.
It follows that if we have lived as a raping and pillaging Viking in one existence, for example, we may return in the next as a Christian martyr to be burned at the stake. To get a taste of our own medicine, in other words, and learn from it.
But crucially, that does not mean that it's the same actual person coming back. According to orthodox reincarnation teachings, the soul is a distinct entity from our human character, and each existence we lead is independent of all the others. That's why we can't remember our past lives.
I'm glad I can't remember mine. According to a well-known psychic, I was the long suffering and beheaded Mary Queen Of Scots in a past life. (It took the executioner three ragged chops to cleave off 'my' head.) Mind you, I used to quiver with terror watching executions in old films as a child, and I have a very sensitive throat ...
Anyway, I hope nobody took the daft advice from critics of Roache to boycott good old Ken Barlow and Coronation Street. He's one of the most likable characters in the soap and the actor only means well with his Pure Love movement stuff.
He might sound nutty when he says he knows for sure that his baby daughter, who passed away in a cot-death, is now working in a children's hospital in Heaven. But each to their own. Aren't the beliefs of some of our mainstream churches or other world religions just as difficult for some people to accept or take as Gospel?