Bhikkhu Bodhi and Thanisarro Bhikku are both Americans. Ajahn Brahm is from the U.K.. All three men are exceptionally intelligent and are very, very, very well educated. Interestingly, despite the western upbringing, the intelligence and the education all 3 have a strong belief in rebirth.
I am legitimately curious as to why that is the case.
I've had the experience in my life of becoming more friendly to a belief I don't share when surrounded by people who have that belief. All of these men are monks who are surrounded by people heavily invested in a belief in rebirth. To list another reason, a crude one, people tend to "talk from their pay check". The nuclear power plant worker tends to know what the good arguments are for nuclear power. I *think* all 3 men for significant periods of their "careers" were supported by an Asian community. A community that would not be friendly to a monk being out in the open about a disbelief in rebirth. I imagine there are such monks, but they are quiet about their beliefs.
All 3 men also seem to be in their mid 50s - mid 60s, a time in a person's life when they can see the time left in their life passing quickly and the idea of dying being more than an abstraction of "someday" the way it is for the young.
The last possibility is that all 3 men have had religious experiences, for lack of a better term, that they have not told people about. It has been my experience that connected with any large community of people who meditate in an Eastern style, there is always a person who at least claims to know someone, who knows someone who had a deep personal experience they will not share in detail, but who will emphatically reassure their friend not to worry about death. Maybe this is the case with these 3 men ( and what I would like to believe ).
I'm posting this in the "great rebirth debate" thread, but I am changing the title. If it ends up in its own thread please feel free to move it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.