I feel that the mystery surrounding topics such as rebirth is appealing for some people - to use Buddhist terms, perhaps it could be called an attachment. The fact that there is something out there that is plausably exsistant, yet currently unproven means that we can adopt our own little logical inferences and circumstancial evidence as something that is ours, our belief, something that seperates ourself from non-believers. The fact that not all people can see these little logical inferences and might reject circumstancial evidence means there is a divide between those that do believe and those that don't. Would you ever admit that there might be a little bit of pride surrounding your belief in rebirth? You know that kind of feeling that there is something out there that is reasonibly apparent or perhaps even obvious to you, that not all of us can see.
There was a time when I accepted rebirth and kamma - I felt that it can be seen in nature that things die and are reborn in various forms, and I also lapped up the cases in which people have recounted past lives etc. I recently realised that I was believing in something utterly unproven, there was no rational arguement that I could come up with to explain rebirth. For instance, the logic that 'I can see rebirth happening everywhere in nature' is flawed because a creationist would argue 'I can see design everywhere in nature' its a pattern which I had overlayed upon nature, not a reflection of nature itself. I started to wonder why I believed it, especially when rationality told me otherwise, and I realized that there was a delight in being one of those who could supposedly see the way things really are, amoung those who are blind to it. I was taking pride in rebirth, in a 'I know the secret and you don't' kind of way.
Now I'm not trying to tar everyone with the same brush here, I'm offering my perspective and you can freely take it apart if you wish. I just feel that in some cases, an attachment and a delight in being one of the minority who believes in rebirth and kamma is the main driving force behind the belief rather than any real kind of rationality. That feeling of being part of a special group takes precidence over rational thinking.
If rebirth and kamma were as accepted as the laws of Gravitation, i.e: the were was some hard evidence that these things were fact, and were no longer a matter of belief, would this affect your practice? Without that devide between those of us who believe it and those of us who don't, would the loss of the mystery surrounding it affect you? The absense of being in that special group? Do you admit there is any pride in your beliefs or not? I don't feel especially excited by gravitation for example, because it is a given and is not a belief, I suspect, however I would feel differently about it if I was one of a minority who believed it amoung a majority of non-believers, I would probably feel distinctly more passionate about it and proud to be one of the believers (obviously that is a poor example, because gravitation is real and testable, and rebirth is not testable and thus not proven to be real, but I'm not talking overly about the science, I'm talking about personal passions and feelings). What I'm trying to see is whether or not there is any pride surrounding your belief, if not then good, you shouldn't have any difficulty answering these questions. If, however you feel distinctly challenged by these questions, or you are upset that I am even asking them, then perhaps you do take a lot of pride in your belief.
Another thing I would like to ask is this (this is a question aimed more at a short term reaction); if, hypothetically speaking, you wake up tomorrow and the news the headline read 'Extraorindary! Scientists prove rebirth' how would you feel? What would your initial reaction be? Would you feel excited and filled with glee because you were right all along? If so does that not show you that you do take pride in your belief? What if the article went on to explain some fact that shattered your intial beliefs about the mechanics of rebirth and rendered your ideas falsified? Would you feel crushed that your belief system cannot function in light of the discovery? Would you simply ignore that and continue to believe what you did before regardless? All of which show some kind of pride and attachment to your beliefs.
I don't want dispassionate imitation-Buddha answers, I want the truth, from deluded beings who are subject to ignorance (no insult intended, that is, I believe the terminology applied to most of us in Buddhism) - how would you really feel? Not how Buddha would want you to feel. Maybe your feelings would be perfectly inline with what the Buddha would do, but I suspect in most cases our deluded minds would take charge in light of such revelations and we would react in a distinctly human manner.
I apologise for the challenging nature of this topic, but I feel its healthy to get challenged sometimes. If your belief in rebirth is in someway motivated by passion, is that not in contradiction to the Buddha's teaching?
These are all questions I have asked myself, and my response? My belief was motivated by passion and not by reason, and as a consiquence I no longer accept rebirth and kamma and I will not accept them until I see for myself that they are true.
Perhaps you do have some personal evidence that affirms your belief, if so feel free to share it, this topic goes by the generally accepted notion that there is no scientific evidence for rebirth and therefore it is a belief rather than a testable scientific process. I personally doubt any personal experience such as seeing into ones past life, for the same reasons I doubt that people's visions of the Virgin Mary are proof of Jesus' devinity, no matter how convincing the experience seems to the beholder.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."