Author: Roberta Grimes

Seeking Truth

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies.
Too bright for our infirm Delight,
The Truth’s superb surprise.

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind,
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind –
– Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), from “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant” (1865)

We have spoken at length about the fact that neither mainstream Christianity nor mainstream science has any wish to discover the truth about how reality actually works Both have cherished dogmas to support, and constituencies with interests that they must protect, so the body of evidence that afterlife researchers have developed over the past hundred and fifty years has been disparaged and dismissed or outright ignored by our two most trusted institutions. Sometimes you and I have actually chuckled about this situation. It’s like having a couple of elderly aunts living in the attic who create a nuisance by feeding stray cats on our back porch. They irritate us, but in a benign sort of way. Auntie Chris and her equally addled scientific sister are making a mess, but they are very old and living in a past that is irrelevant to us now. How much longer can this possibly go on? The intransigence of both science and Christianity has seemed for a long time to be nearly harmless, and ultimately self-limiting. Christianity is just a belief-system anyway, and science advances by deaths (as Max Planck so memorably said). Any minute now, this century-long scientific stonewalling of the truth will end when the last old materialist bull dies away. Or so I have thought. Right up to the moment when I couldn’t think that way anymore.

Christianity and science both claim to own the truth in their respective spheres, but both of their versions of the truth are based in self-serving falsehoods. From their positions of longstanding trust and respect, these two institutions continue to tell us fables that most people continue to believe. If science and Christianity were a pair of criminal enterprises fighting for control of our treasure, they would do nothing differently!

Christianity claims to be based in Jesus, but in fact it uses Him as a figurehead while paying little mind to what He actually said. It claims to be our worthy guide in spiritual matters, when in fact what it teaches is human-made ideas that are downright spiritually harmful. It won’t look at the afterlife evidence because it is so heavily invested in its own ideas that are based in little more than Medieval guesses. So, tell me. Why should we trust this institution?

Science claims to be our reliable source of information about the world around us, when in fact it chooses arbitrarily to investigate only what it considers to be material. Honest scientists have known for a century that matter is just energy and nothing is solid, but the scientific community won’t tell us that. Instead, they keep demanding more and more funding so they can pursue their baseless theories, undaunted by the fact that success still eludes them. Beyond bringing us myriad ways to make our lives more comfortable, what new truths have scientists really discovered in the past hundred years?

And these are the only widely trusted non-governmental institutions in Western culture! Both of them are demonstrably wrong and bent on flogging lame ideas, and neither of them will take responsibility for its own longstanding errors. People trust them primarily because we want to know the essential truths that no other source seems able to provide. But they have never accepted responsibility for actually investigating anything! And their guesses and fabrications are in no way harmless.

In fact, the ongoing refusal of both mainstream science and mainstream Christianity to investigate the afterlife evidence is the source of every evil that is currently loose in the world. Once most people realize their lives are eternal, everything will change for the better! But instead, to this day Western culture assumes that the competing scientific and religious views of the afterlife are our only options. And whichever horse you might choose to ride, whether it’s religious or scientific, the view that both institutions give you of yourself is awful! You are meat, or you carry original sin. Either way, you are venal, selfish and evil, and together all heading for the same pointless end. At your death, either you will blink out like a light, or you will face a choice between roasting in hell or tediously singing hymns forevermore. There is nothing about our lives that means anything.

Even when the guidance we are being fed is preposterous, most of us are stuck with using it to try to build our own views of ourselves and the world. And when the guidance we are getting from our two most trusted sources insists that only matter is real, and God is a cranky guy on a throne or else no God exists at all, then each of us is forced to build a worldview that is both erroneous and unpleasant. As our trust in those failing institutions has waned, our personal search for the truth has become more individual and more desperate. The result has been the alarming rise in recent years of the twin banes of atheistic nihilism and societal strife.

Atheistic Nihilism.  If atheism means that one does not believe literally in the Christian God, then I am an atheist. What open-minded researchers have discovered is a Godhead that is infinitely greater and far more loving than the petty and cranky Christian God. The scientific evidence is such that we should be excitedly investigating this wondrous new development! But overriding our happy news is the stark kind of atheism that is rapidly spreading in the West, and holds that not only is there no God, but also there is no point and no meaning.

Societal Strife. Since we are unable to build our worldviews around an open-minded search for the truth by our most trusted institutions, we each are forced to think through and construct our own individually-developed ideas. And then, of course, we defend our ideas against attacks by others who prefer their own ideas, until the only possible truth about anything is whatever you individually believe. We see this happening in our civic life, to the point where we needn’t even discuss it here; and it happens in our personal life as well. At this point,  even Christians are at war with one another over trivial details of their beliefs-based dogmas.

But even worse than the rise of atheism and daily strife, stonewalling by our most trusted institutions is forcing us all to live steeped in fear! Until the truth about death and the afterlife is much more widely known, humankind’s general default setting is one of stark terror of the yawning void. And, tragically, our societal terror of death seems to be hardest on teenagers and young adults. Even I was afraid, despite my two experiences of light! But those experiences at least emboldened me enough that I risked investigating what is true, taking literally the invitation of the Lord to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (MT 7:7-8). And when I asked for the truth with an open mind, I found a whole new gigantic reality far greater than anything we have heretofore imagined! With the help of open-minded folks who have some scientific training, we could learn enough to begin a glorious dawning of the truth all over the world!

But sadly, more than ten years after I joined the public afterlife community, progress in the field of afterlife education still has gone nowhere. A lot more evidence has been developed, and we know in greater detail what is going on, but neither science nor Christianity still shows the slightest interest in investigating all this evidence. There have been no hopeful breakthroughs. At this point, those who were expecting to see breakthroughs have lost a lot of their enthusiasm. And what is worst of all is the fact that both Christianity and science are still giving us awful views of who and what we are! Not a syllable of what either institution tells us about ourselves is true. But due to the frankly evil nonsense they teach, too many of us still continue to live as if there is no point to anything.

It is going to be up to us to work together to begin a new age of actually seeking and finding the truth. We are currently developing a website whose purpose will be to educate people about the afterlife from every perspective, as the evidence actually reveals it to us. We expect to be ready to roll next month! But first, to help you better see how important these efforts are going to be, next week we’ll look at how the world around us is likely to change for the better once most people know for certain that every human life is eternal. I think you will be happily surprised to see just how much of a universal fix this single change might  be….

“If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then
you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
– Jesus (JN 8:31-32)

Semi-Conscious

Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam,
And admit that the waters around you have grown,
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone,
If your time to you is worth savin’.
And you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone,
For the times they are a-changin.’
– Bob Dylan, from The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1964)

It is an extraordinary fact that even though we are already twenty-one percent of the way through the twenty-first century, the mainstream scientific community remains convinced that consciousness is produced by our brains. There is no scientific evidence that this even might be true beyond the fact that parts of the brain can be stimulated by conscious processes! And there is a lot of evidence that it isn’t true.

The fact that consciousness is the base of reality isn’t even a new idea. I have just interviewed Leonard Perlmutter for Seek Reality. He’s an expert on Eastern spiritual teachings, and he shared with us the amazing fact that those who invented the practice of yoga knew five thousand years ago that consciousness is primary and it pre-exists matter. It’s not an especially radical idea, either. Some of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century knew or suspected the primary role of consciousness, in part because this conclusion logically flows from some of the oddities of quantum mechanics.

It has been easy for afterlife researchers to come to appreciate the primacy of consciousness. We who spend a lot of our time in non-material pursuits are used to reasoning outward from the afterlife realities, which clearly are based in consciousness. But mainstream scientists are enmired in studying matter, so understandably their logical model is based in matter. But surely by now they must be getting a clue? I have of late been watching for developments in the field of consciousness research, and this week I attended an online IONS presentation with considerable interest.

If you don’t yet know IONS, you should. The Institute of Noetic Sciences was founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1973, after he had a spiritual experience while he was returning from the moon. IONS has always been a serious science-based investigator of what used to be seen as woo-woo ideas, and the very word “noetic” refers to the human intellect. So last week with a lot of hope I attended an online IONS presentation by Joachim Kepler, Ph.D., who is a research director at the Department of Consciousness Research (DIWISS) in Roth, Germany. Both IONS and DIWISS are at the leading edge of consciousness studies, and Dr. Kepler’s talk was called Linking Consciousness to the Foundations of Physics: Toward a Self-Consistent Theory of Consciousness. Linking consciousness to the foundations of physics? Toward a selfconsistent theory of consciousness? To someone who has for decades been waiting for mainstream science to catch up with reality, that title sounded like music! But what Dr. Kepler said turned out to be another painful reminder of just how completely lost mainstream science is as a belief-system. I have watched his presentation three times now, trying to find some way that my first reactions were wrong.

Sadly, Dr. Kepler’s ideas amount to a thoughtful rearrangement of the deck chairs on the scientific ship to nowhere.  And he ignores the implications of an enormous body of evidence that helps us to understand consciousness, including telepathy, remote viewing, near-death experiences, and two hundreds of years of abundant and consistent afterlife evidence. All his work amounts to just an attempt to explain how human beings are aware and able to think. And he still is reasoning outward from matter, and not from consciousness itself! How can anyone hope to understand anything if he isn’t trying to get inside whatever he is studying? Dr. Kepler’s presentation still requires matter for the creation of consciousness. He makes the zero-point field the place where consciousness is generated; which isn’t necessary, but as an idea it isn’t flat-out awful. However, he then includes the human brain as a kind of organizer of whatever is given off by the zero-point field. He still requires the brain for the creation of consciousness! And he refers to panpsychism, which is a Medieval idea that posits that all matter is by its nature somewhat conscious. He refines it into cosmopsychism, in which matter by its nature is potentially conscious, but not everything material is conscious. And thus this poor scientist who is trying to be relevant while he keeps his materialist bona fides clings firmly to matter, and he shies away from any thought that consciousness is primary and pre-existing.

But scientists are becoming more desperate now. As recently as a decade ago you could read smug articles in popular science magazines about how we would at any moment be celebrating the discovery of the source of consciousness inside the human brain. But that optimism has largely petered out. You still see cautiously hopeful articles which offer some trivial nothing of an idea that you know is going to lead nowhere; and you see more and more fatalistic thoughts by dead-ended materialist scientists. Here is a response by an “intelligent design” scholar to one such jaded materialist scientist’s article about the impending death of humankind. And his response was published just this month! When you know that the scientist being slapped down is considered by his fellows to be an important thought-leader, you realize that materialist science has arrived at the point of being entirely broken.

The fundamental fact of human existence can be stated in one sentence. What you and I experience in a dim way as human consciousness is the only thing that exists! Everything else that we think is real is created by consciousness, composed of consciousness, and set in place by consciousness. There is nothing else. And our minds are all part of that same consciousness energy, which is one of several important proofs that our minds are eternal. By definition.

The problem with the failed scientific dogma of materialism is that, no matter what we believe, we cannot change reality. Materialism as a strain of rational thought goes back at least three thousand years, and for a while grounding scientific inquiry in “solid” matter made sense. We have talked here at length about the fact that all religions are human-made, and against that backdrop the notion of studying anything non-material probably seemed for a long time to be veering dangerously close to superstition. Mainstream science and mainstream religions have been a pair of worthy adversaries! If there is anything nuttier than designing your system of inquiry around your need for everything to be material, then that nuttier worldview has to be designing all your beliefs around a god that you have thought up yourself and then imbued with superhuman powers.

It is time now for humankind to shun all beliefs and at last try to figure out what actually is going on. What scientists believe has no more value to us than does whatever the Pope believes! And when we investigate all of reality with a truly open mind, we cannot escape the conclusion that a base non-material energy must underlie everything. There have been some wonderful working scientists who have open-mindedly sought the truth and arrived at a similar conclusion, among them Thomas Campbell, Evan Harris Walker, Dean Radin, and now Bernardo Kastrup. And of course, it was the immortal Max Planck who came right out and said ninety years ago that consciousness is primary. So this is a theory backed by illustrious scientific minds who have persisted, even despite the fact that they were defying all the matter-based rules of the scientific playground.

And once you are used to the primacy of consciousness, you find that it explains so many things that otherwise NEVER will be explained! Let’s list here just a few of the basic questions that materialist scientists will never be able to answer. Not in a thousand years:

  • How did the universe begin? No matter how far back you go, you always can ask, “so what came before that?” And no theory ever advanced has been adequate, including the much-vaunted Big Bang.
  • How did life begin? The notion that lightning struck a primordial soup of just the right combination of molecules has been considerably refined, but the fact remains that every such theory has been demonstrated to be wrong. We frankly still have no idea how life began.
  • How and why did life evolve? Once you’ve got some form of life, you’ve still got to figure out how it turned into an elephant and whatever that elephant had for lunch!
  • What are our minds, and how are they created? For scientists to be searching for a source of consciousness inside the human brain is like taking apart an old transistor radio to try to find the source of Elvis Presley’s voice. Eventually some materialist scientist will win a Nobel Prize for having found a way to convincingly demonstrate the illusion that at last we may have figured it out.
  • What is making that funny sound from the middle of the galaxy? Because matter is seen as both finite and always obedient to human-deciphered laws, whenever something happens that is outside the box of scientific thinking, it confounds everyone.

All of this is going to end, just as deluded thinking always ends. We used to suspect that scientists were going to get a clue only when communication with the not-really-dead had progressed to the place where we were chatting through the veil with a cellphone app. But now I think it will be sooner than that. As Max Planck is reported to have said, science advances by deaths. And right now, in some fourth-grade science class there is a courageous little girl who soon will risk her career to develop a viable consciousness-based theory of everything. The timing will at last be right, and her work will hit this despairing world like a thunderclap of liberation. And then, gloriously, everything really will change!

 

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen,
And keep your eyes wide open. The chance won’t come again.
And don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin.
there’s no tellin’ who that it’s naming’.
For the loser now will be later to win!
For the times they are a-changin’.
– Bob Dylan, from The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1964)

Seeking Jesus

“We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists,
select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus…
There will be found remaining the most sublime
and benevolent code of morals
which has ever been offered to man.
I have performed this operation for my own use,
by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book,
and arranging the matter which is evidently his,
and which is as easily distinguishable
as diamonds in a dunghill.”
– Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), from a letter to John Adams (October 12, 1813)

I have been hearing of late from people who wonder how we can distinguish what Jesus likely said from the corruptions of His words that followed His death. Then last week we performed a bit of analysis on something I had thought He likely hadn’t said, but now it seems that He probably did say it. And that prompted even more people to ask how I ever was able to figure that out! I want to empower you as much as I can, so I am happy to share with you how I continue to seek and to find an ever better understanding of the genuine Jesus.

First, of course, I should acknowledge that I have spent considerable time in self-education:

  • I majored in early Christian history in college. I graduated fifty years ago, and the wonderful professor who was also my adviser was already past retirement age, so I reckon that she likely was educated even before 1930. And what she knew was phenomenal! I learned so much from her that was so earth-shaking for me that it has shaped my worldview ever since. Among other things, she taught her flock that the Council of Nicaea tried to remove every reference in the Gospels to reincarnation “because if we thought we had just one life, we would try harder.” And the Councilors and their predecessors also added references to church-building, end-times, and sheep-and-goats toward the back of each of the three synoptic Gospels which were anachronistic and at odds with the primary things that Jesus actually taught. The Councilors at First Nicaea claimed to be inspired by God, based on nothing beyond their own extreme self-regard.
  • I was reading the Bible from cover to cover repeatedly from the age of twelve until I was in my early fifties. I would read the New Testament twice and go back and read the Gospels a third time, and then I would begin again with Genesis. So I became quite familiar with what is in the Bible, and especially with what Jesus is reported in the Gospels to have spent His greatest efforts in teaching.
  • I continue to read the work of a few Christian scholars. I follow only open-minded seekers who are trying to ever better understand the Lord, and foremost among these is the prolific Keith Giles, an ordained minister who walked away from the church to lead a home ministry. Unlike me, Keith Giles is a genuine scholar in both knowledge and temperament. For example, here he is talking about some of the same sorts of things that we talk about here, but Keith does it with scholastic discipline. He still is trying to reform an institution that I see as irretrievably broken.
  • I have spent the past fifty years in studying the afterlife and the greater reality. All of which could so easily have been an exercise in nonsense! But instead, the communications received through physical mediums and channels in the sixty-odd years before 1940 in southern England and the northeastern United States are all stunningly consistent. Together they paint an amazingly complete picture that we can build on and use with confidence. Best of all, the dead who have communicated with us confirm that much of what Jesus is reported in the Gospels to have said is stunningly accurate and surprisingly complete. In particular, the dead communicating from the highest levels are quick to affirm the Lord’s elevated status, and to corroborate what it was that He came to teach.
  • I make an effort to treat Jesus as a non-religious historical figure. Jesus didn’t start Christianity. Indeed, what He came to free us from was not sin – which is a human construct – but the fears and constraints of human-made religions. He spoke Aramaic. His words were then a folk-memory for years before they were written down in Greek, and much later they were translated from Greek into modern languages. And they could so easily have been garbled in so many spots along the way that we are indulging in magic-think if we don’t look at every word in the Gospels with a jaundiced eye! We want to know what Jesus actually said, and not what some church father wanted Him to have said. And finally, of course, we must never forget that the best evidence now strongly suggests that Jesus was in fact God on earth. His life may have been the only instance of this ever actually happening, which makes the teachings of Jesus even more significant. And our knowing that Jesus came as God on earth puts us into the odd but exciting position of figuring out how we can relate to the genuine Godhead without a religion in between.

So I have known from the age of twenty that we can’t take the Gospels at face value. And furthermore, Miss Corwin (I think that was her name) seems to have transformed me into a radical. She was adamant that her students must internalize her own sense of outrage at the grievous sins against the teachings of Jesus that were committed by the early church councils, and especially by First Nicaea. She was the first person I ever knew who was separating Jesus from Christianity at all, and never mind her defending Him against what I used to think was His very own religion!

With all of that said, let’s look at some Gospel passages and see where this level of analysis takes us. I have included here just four examples from Appendix I of Liberating Jesus:

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (MT 16:18-19).

This is an easy one! “Petros,” meaning “rock,” would have been a pun in Greek, but Jesus spoke Aramaic. Jesus intended to abolish religions and teach us to relate to God on our own, and He never spoke about or even hinted at wanting to found a church. There is no Hades. And of course He never would have given “the keys of heaven” to human beings of limited understanding, with the added authority to bind even God! From beginning to end, this is nonsense.

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds” (MT 16:24-27).

This is one of many examples of the handiwork of Councilors who may have built their nonsense into things that Jesus actually said. But for Jesus to mention a cross here is a frank anachronism, and that reference to Him coming in glory and judging us is end-times nonsense of much later origin.

‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (MT 28:18-20).

The Great Commission is likely something Jesus actually said, but the words in italics are anachronistic. It was well after the Lord’s death that the notion of a Trinity came along and the Last Supper became a sacrament. But for First Nicaea and the other religion-builders, adding it here made this a charge for His disciples to go out there and spread a religion that during the Lord’s lifetime did not exist! Simply remove those words. Fixing this one is easy.

And finally, the whole of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21:8-36 is devoted to end-times and other anachronistic nonsense. All of this was added soon after the Lord’s death, and much of it was probably added even before First Nicaea in 325. All we can conclude is that the earliest religion-builders wanted to tie the end-times prophesies that were in wide circulation during that period of Christian persecution directly back to Jesus, so they cribbed some of their own ideas into His Gospels. When Jesus came to teach us how to use our many earth-lifetimes to ever better grow toward spiritual perfection – when His mission was so far-seeing – it is beyond nonsensical that He ever would have said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (MT 24:14). Or Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (MT 24:34).

The fact that those who try to strengthen our belief in Christianity are called “apologists” should tell us something! It is their unenviable task to directly address all the criticisms of Christianity, and to show practicing Christians how they can answer those objections for themselves and for others who might question the religion. One of the articles by Keith Giles linked above gives you the six primary attacks against the religion that Christian apologists must try to address; and here, by way of example, is a very good apologist explaining why the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross doesn’t say anything negative about God. I get it, but I am not convinced. I doubt that you are, either. But still, Christian apologists play a useful role. They encourage us to engage with the religion in a non-superstitious way, and the fact that their explanations really don’t answer the core questions helps us to further see the religion as bankrupt. But there is one institution that, even beyond Christianity, is not only bankrupt but also allowing its stubborn adherence to useless ideas to do immense harm now to all of humanity. We’ll talk about that next week.

 

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I
have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.

– Jesus (John 14:12)

 

Changing

“Please God, make me good, but not just yet.”
– St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), from The Confessions of St. Augustine (400)

 The problem with every attempt ever made to inspire us to be better people is the fact that none of it changes us. We might try to be good and loving and forgiving, and if we try hard and keep at it we might even begin to see ourselves that way. But it always will be an effort from without. It never becomes automatic, from within. No law ever changes who we are inside! Back in sixteenth-century London, while they were hanging pickpockets in the public squares there generally were people in the watching crowds who were busily picking pockets. And in twenty-first-century Christian churches, where people profess to be followers of Jesus and they often hear the Lord’s words shared, there still are many who are quick to judge and smugly feel themselves to be superior to those they consider to be sinners.

And think of all the people who have thought themselves to be good and virtuous as they carried out the most horrendous acts! Blaise Pascal, the great seventeenth century French physicist, said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” Only consider the fact that the thousands of bureaucrats who murdered six million Jews during the Second World War went home at night and hugged their families. And the people who legally owned human beings two centuries ago in the American South were for the most part sincere Christians. We modern folks feel morally superior to the perpetrators of American slavery and the European Holocaust, but we have no right to feel superior! There are more slaves living now in the world than there were at the time of the American Civil War. And in China, good people are carrying out a new Holocaust of religious minorities that includes the live-harvesting and sale of their organs.

I often hear from former Christians. Many of them say they were once devout. They still love Jesus, and they want to keep Jesus while freeing themselves from Christianity, so when they come across some article or video of mine which invites then to begin to follow the Lord’s Way, they reach out and thank me. Most of these folks find traditional Christian teachings to be no longer believable; and many of them add that they can no longer bear the frank hypocrisy of so many church members who follow none of the Lord’s Gospel teachings on loving, forgiving, and never judging. But, why is that?  why can’t even practicing Christians let the Lord’s words change who they are?

Until we can solve this problem, all of civilization will be just a veneer over the frankly barbarian me-first mindset that always has ruled humankind.

Although, as you know, we have lately learned that one set of rules does have the power to change us internally if we will take them seriously. Christians don’t take the teachings of Jesus as more than maybe nice suggestions; but when those rules are zealously applied, their power to actually raise our consciousness vibrations is amazing. But the problem is that so few people know what the teachings of Jesus can do! And with Christianity’s off-putting dogmas in the way, even practicing Christians don’t take the Lord’s teachings as seriously as He means them to be taken.

As I have been thinking about this problem, Thomas has led me to reconsider my least-favorite words of all the surviving words that Jesus ever spoke. For most of my life I could ignore that whole passage! Jesus tells us we have to hate everyone we love if we want to follow Him? I use to put that passage right up there beside “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” as an obvious later fraud that should be chucked at once. But unlike all the end-times, church-building, sheep-and-goats, and other bits of anachronistic nonsense that First Nicaea added as they assembled the earliest Christian Bible, that troubling passage from the fourteenth Chapter of Luke has no obvious fraudulence tells. It appears appropriately in context, and the English word “hate” could easily have been a mistranslation for something milder. “Disdain,” perhaps? Jesus knew that hatred is the lowest consciousness vibration, and He taught forgiveness as a primary virtue, so it would have been against everything He taught if we were to replace our love for anyone with hatred! And an included reference to carrying a cross is a frank anachronism that can be ignored. So with those changes, I have been freshly reading the end of Luke’s Fourteenth Chapter, and I am stunned to realize that it is in fact a very powerful teaching. And actually, it is precisely the answer to the problem of humankind’s inability to change.

Here is what Jesus said: Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,  ‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not disdain his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.    …    For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”  Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear’” (LK 14:25-34).

Where else have we seen that bit about tasteless salt? It follows the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Matthew: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (MT 5:13-16). Jesus is here calling for us to put forth the effort to actually grow spiritually, and thereby to become the salt of the earth and the literal light of the world. He seems to be telling us that unless we grow spiritually, we become the equivalent of tasteless salt.

And where else have we seen Jesus urging us to give up what most matters to us so we can follow Him? When a rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to follow Him, Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’  But at these words the young man was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples,How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’” (MK 10:21-25).

We understand now that Jesus was referring to a narrow gate into Jerusalem called “the Needle’s Eye,” which no pack camel could use without first being unloaded. And the kingdom of God refers to the level of the afterlife just below the Source, where only people of the highest consciousness vibration can go. So Jesus clearly tells us here that being distracted by too many possessions is a burden that can hinder us from growing spiritually!

The more I study Jesus, the more confident I become that He is in fact of the highest aspect of the Godhead. The evidence is abundant and stunning, and I consider it to be irrefutable. Jesus walked the earth knowing many things that we couldn’t have learned on our own until now; and perhaps He even taught some things that we cannot understand, even today?

Please read again that passage from Matthews’s Fourteenth Chapter. It is clear that Jesus is telling us that in order to succeed at growing spiritually, we first must prepare a solid foundation and steel ourselves with the will to carry it through. Spiritual growth is a process, and it isn’t enough for us just to give it a try and hope for the best! It is clear, too, that He wants us to give up every conceivable distraction and devote our whole attention to following Him. And He has named for us two distractions as particular dangers:

  • Special Loves is the term used by A Course in Miracles for our family members and close friends. The Course tells us that Special Loves are as counterproductive to our spiritual growth as are special hates.
  • Wealth and Power are immensely distracting! If we possess either, we simply won’t be able to sufficiently concentrate on internalizing the sort of perfect love and forgiveness that makes our spiritual growth even possible.

That passage I have always assumed was bogus is in fact the Lord’s direct prescription for how we can use His teachings to effect a permanent change for the better in ourselves. As I have come to understand this over the past week, I even can see why my personal experiment in using the Lord’s teachings to grow spiritually worked so surprisingly well for me.

It could very easily not have worked! But to be frank, I really don’t care about money or anything that money can buy. And while I love my family members, I allowed the process of mastering universal forgiveness and love to spread my love for my dearest ones over the seven billion other people around them. So I didn’t actually give away everything I had or hate or disdain anyone, but apparently I gave myself distance enough to let me put Jesus first in my life. Without my being aware of it, I was following  the Lord’s prescription as it is laid out in the Fourteenth Chapter of Luke. And not only did it work for me ten years ago, but I have since then seen it work for many others.

You can do it, too! You can follow the Lord’s directions and use His teachings to effect a glorious change in yourself that will let you begin to really change the world.  What I learned most of all when I tried it is that once you put the Lord first in your life, before your special loves and all your earthly distractions, He is going to be there waiting for you. He will smile at you and take your hand.

 

“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
– Denis Diderot, French Enlightenment philosopher (1713–1784)

No Middleman

The Light of God surrounds us.
The Love of God enfolds us.
The Power of God protects us.
The Presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God Is, and all is well!
 – James Dillet Freeman (1912-2003), from “Prayer for Protection” (1941)

Jesus wanted to abolish religions altogether and teach us to relate to God on our own. The Gospel evidence is plain to see, but very few Biblical scholars will consider its amazing implications. We tend to see religions as such a core human institution that they feel essential to us now. Without religions, how can there be a God? And if there still is a God even without religions, how can we find and know that God? I was a teenager when I first put together the evidence that Jesus came to abolish religions, and my own reluctance to believe it kept me silent until I hit old age. It was like the bits of evidence that Jesus may have been homosexual: they are there in the Gospels, and personally I tend to believe it was true and it doesn’t matter; but it disrupts the narrative for some people. And the last thing Christianity needs right now, at a time of so much stress and falling-away, is any controversial new ideas!

But the evidence that Jesus came to end religions is abundant in the Gospels and plain to see. Second only to His teachings about love, forgiveness, and bringing the kingdom of God on earth, it is what He mostly talked about. In fact, it was probably precisely because He was teaching us how we could bring the kingdom of God on earth that he was so frankly hostile to religions. Our fear-based relationships with human-made gods make it a great deal harder for us to ever come to know and love the genuine Godhead. So, He said it. He kept on saying it. And it is past time for us to consider the possibility that He actually may have meant what He said!

We have today so few of the precious words that Jesus spoke over more than three years of public teaching. But even at that, we can see that the Lord’s manner when something was important to Him was to preach about it repeatedly and from more than one perspective. He treated love that way. And forgiveness. And He mentioned the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven more than eighty times over all four Gospels! His effort to teach against religions was a harder task, since for Him to speak directly against the prevailing religion would have been a capital crime. So He had to speak around the edges, and He did that very cleverly. Let’s consider what He actually said.

He Spoke Against Religious Traditions

Every religion is built on traditions, and Christianity is no exception. The religion is centered on the notion that Jesus died to save us from God’s judgment for our sins, and in observance of that fact every Christian denomination participates in the ritual of communion at least occasionally. For Catholics, it happens every week. But what might Jesus say about that?

“Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men… You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (MK 7:8-9).

“Why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?… You hypocrites! Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’” (MT 15:3-9).

Ouch. And Jesus was quoting the great prophet Isaiah, who had spoken similar words to the Jews a full eight hundred years before. Isaiah, too, had told us that God is disgusted and not charmed by all our human-made religious practices!

He Despised Religious Authorities and Clergymen

He was so firm about this, and so consistent, that it is hard to resist concluding that it was the very idea of clergymen that he really found to be so offensive! But, judge for yourself.

Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation” (MK 12:38-40).

“Woe to you religious lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering” (LK 11:52).

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (MT 23:13).

And who can forget the moment when Jesus altogether lost it? “Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbersden.”  And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said” (LK 19:45-48).

At last, near the end of His life on earth, the Lord’s distress at the man-made religious details that He had been fighting all His public life had come to a head for Him. And the clergy for whom He had been an increasing bane were fed up enough that they were thinking about how to be rid of Him. We should note, too, that the Lord’s rant against the money-changers is another echo of words from God first spoken by an Old Testament prophet (see Jer 7:11-12). Which thought makes me more deeply realize that Jesus is frankly telling us now that God has been fighting to free us from fear-based human-made religions for what is now going on three thousand years! Oh, dear God. The genuine Godhead’s patience with us reflects a love that truly is beyond all human understanding!

He Told us Not to Package His Teachings with Judaism 

And He likely meant to include all religions. It is clear from the words He spoke that He was trying to keep the genuine Word of God entirely free from the old human-made ideas that are the basis of all religions.

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.  Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved” (MT 9:16-17).

Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old (MT 13:52).

Christians have mostly assumed these words were a call to create for Him a new religion, but when they are put in context with all His vigorously anti-religious teachings it is clear that was the last thing He wanted!

He Gave Us the Basics of a Post-Religious Relationship with God

He taught us how to recognize the difference between human-made false teachings and the genuine Word of God.  He encouraged us to avoid praying in religious assemblies, and instead to seek privacy and pray to God on our own. He also suggested that the purpose of these changes was to establish a relationship with the genuine God that was based not in fear, but in love and trust.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit…  So then, you will know them by their fruits” (MT 7:15-20).

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (MT 6:5-6).

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? … And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (LK 12:27-32).

God has chosen gladly to give us the kingdom! But Jesus makes it plain to us that unless we will give up the crutch of our old human-made religions, we never will be free enough from fear and ancient superstitions to have the ultimate joy of coming at last to know and love and trust the genuine God.

The Mind of God guides us.
The Life of God flows th
rough us.
The Power of God abides in us.
The Joy of God uplifts us.
The Strength of God renews us.
The Beauty of God inspires us.
Wherever we are, God Is, and all is well!
– James Dillet Freeman (1912-2003), from “Prayer for Protection” (1941)

 

Hellish

Love is but a song we sing. Fear’s the way we die.
You can make the mountains ring, Or make the angels cry.
Though the bird is on the wing, And you may not know why.
C’mon people now, Smile on your brother!
Ev’rybody get together, Try to love one another right now.
– Chet Powers (1937-1994), “Get Together” by The Youngbloods (1967)

The cruelest, stupidest, and most damaging idea that any human being ever has had is the notion that if you don’t obey God’s rules, you will spend eternity burning in hell. And it will be God who puts you there! God and His angels and all the good people who never once skipped church on Sunday will enjoy looking in from time to time and hearing you screaming as you roast, because you deserve what is happening to you. There are many sadistic variations on the hell myth, the worst of which I read decades ago and it haunts me to this day. A priest late in the nineteenth century was so frosted by the fact that some parents were not immediately having their babies baptized that he wrote a pamphlet for parents that announced what happens to babies who die unbaptized. I don’t recall most of what he said, but for sure those luckless infants go right to hell. And that isn’t all. Before their condemnation is permanent, after they have been in hell for a while, they are allowed to peek into heaven and see the children who had been baptized before they died all playing and laughing in a sunlit meadow. So those poor infant souls are going to know what their parents’ negligence has deprived them of as they roast in hell forevermore.

The people most terrorized by hell tend to be the sweetest and most earnest Christians. I get heartbreaking emails from Seek Reality listeners. And I met Ineke Koedam, a Dutch expert on transitional experiences, soon after the 2015 publication of her book  In the Light of Death – Experiences on the Threshold Between Life and Death. She told me that hospice workers often say that the people most terrified as death approaches are elderly Christians who have never so much as stolen a penny from a collection plate. But they had hell drummed into them in childhood, so they are desperately worried on the threshold of death that they haven’t been quite good enough so now the fires of hell await them. I haven’t been able to forget her stories, either. And we are told that fifteen percent or so of near-death experiences are hellish. Of course, near-death experiences are in the nature of dreams, they have nothing to do with actual death, but still it is appalling to know that so many people’s minds are willing to put them in hell. If this is what practicing Christianity can do to spiritual experiencers, to good-hearted parents, and to dear well-meaning church-ladies, then we would be better off without it!

In point of fact, there is no hell. There is no devil, either.  Those that we used to think were dead consistently tell us that neither exists; and a more accurate reading of the Gospels assures us that Jesus agrees with what the dead are saying. He encounters evil beings in the Gospels, true, but those beings by their descriptions are just demonish nasties, low-vibration gremlins that have no power at all.

The notion of a fiery hell where God will put us as punishment for our sins isn’t even remotely Christian! If you don’t believe me, then perhaps you will listen to our dear, wise friend, Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who heads the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. What I love most about dear Fr. Richard is that he tries to make traditional Catholic teachings more responsive to the actual message of Jesus. I know from experience how impossible that is. But I dearly love him for trying! Here is what Father Richard published last Sunday. I cannot improve on it:

Unfortunately, it’s much easier to organize people around fear and hatred than around love. Powerful people prefer this worldview because it validates their use of intimidation—which is quite effective in the short run! Both Catholicism and Protestantism have used the threat of eternal hellfire to form Christians. I am often struck by the irrational anger of many people when they hear that someone does not believe in hell. You cannot “believe” in hell. Biblical “belief” is simply to trust and have confidence in the goodness of God or reality and cannot imply some notion of anger, wrath, or hopelessness at the center of all that is. Otherwise, we live in a toxic and unsafe universe, which many do.

In his book Inventing Hell, Jon Sweeney points out that our Christian view of hell largely comes from several unfortunate metaphors in Matthew’s Gospel. Hell is not found in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. It’s not found in the Gospel of John or in Paul’s letters. The words Sheol and Gehenna are used in Matthew, but they have nothing to do with the later medieval notion of eternal punishment. Sheol is simply the place of the dead, a sort of limbo where humans await the final judgment when God will finally win. Gehenna was both the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem—the Valley of Hinnom—and an early Jewish metaphor for evil (Isaiah 66:24). The idea of hell as we most commonly view it came much more from Dante’s Inferno than the Bible. Believe me on that. It is the very backdrop of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It makes for good art, I suppose, but it’s horrible, dualistic theology. This is not Jesus, “meek and humble of heart,” which is his self-description in life (Matthew 11:29). We end up with two different and opposing Jesuses: one before Resurrection (healing) and one after Resurrection (dangerous and damning).

Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but the punitive god sure doesn’t. Jesus tells us to forgive “seventy times seven” times (Matthew 18:22), but this other god doesn’t. Instead, this other god burns people for all eternity. Many of us were raised to believe this, but we usually had to repress this bad theology into our unconscious because it’s literally unthinkable. Most humans are more loving and forgiving than such a god, but we can’t be more loving than God. It’s not possible. This “god” is not God!

We have talked here at some length about the simple physics of the base consciousness energy. That energy exists in a range of vibrations from the lowest, which is fear and rage, to the highest, which is perfect love; and we are learning that the physics of consciousness is as implacable and universal as gravity. Not only does the whole notion of hell and divine punishment altogether violate the teachings of Jesus, as Fr. Richard so well suggests, but it injects such fear into Christianity that it makes the use of the Lord’s teachings to elevate our personal consciousness vibrations effectively impossible. Jesus was born as God on earth in fulfillment of ancient prophesy, and His teachings are arguably the quickest and surest route to spiritual growth ever found. There is good evidence that He came to transform our relationship with God to the point where He abolished the very notion of sin! But still, the religion named for Him persists in making its core message the notion that God will not forgive us even for Adam’s sin unless He gets to see Jesus tortured and murdered?

The belief that sooner or later everybody gets to the Christian heaven is called universalism, or more precisely Arminianism, after the movement that arose in the sixteenth century in reaction to the born-predestined-for-hell nuttiness of Calvinism. Amazingly, the fight between Calvinism and Arminianism still goes on in a large segment of Christianity, even in the twenty-first century! We know now with certainty that there is one universal afterlife where every person ever born is eagerly welcomed and loved; but still, these fear-steeped, dogma-obsessed Christians must fight their hopelessly deluded battles.

There is no powerful devil, no hell, and no judgment by any religious figure. All that awaits you when you breathe your last is a stunning level of love and joy. And you can take that to the bank! So please, if you find yourself still troubled by the notion of the man-made hell that wiser Christian leaders should long since have banished, then give yourself a little break from church attendance. Let yourself at last come to know and love and perfectly trust the genuine Godhead.    

 When my husband of nearly fifty years heads out to attend Mass on Saturday evenings, he often says something about doing his part to keep us both out of hell. I smile and thank him. He has come far from the moment decades ago when he first learned that his good Christian wife was actually the world’s worst heretic! And he has opened up gradually to the possibility that what I have been learning since the day we were married, and what I now have the joy of teaching, might just possibly be right. I think I have helped him get past the terror that Christianity inspires in its followers. I urge him just to be open-minded whenever he makes his transition, and follow his mother when she appears, and he will be fine. But still, he hedges his bets. And I love him all the more for including me in his just-in-case Catholic Mass celebrations!

If you hear the song I sing, You will understand (Listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear, All in your trembling hand.
Just one key unlocks them both. It’s there at your command.
C’mon people now, Smile on your brother!
Ev’rybody get together
, Try to love one another right now.
– Chet Powers (1937-1994), “GetTogether” by The Youngbloods (1967)

Why Not Now?

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
– Michael Crawford, from “On Eagle’s Wings” (1998)

I answer many emails from Seek Reality listeners, and someone recently asked what may well be a universal question. He wrote, “There is a question that bugs me. Perhaps you can answer? Why did Jesus come once and to such an ancient age? Why hasn’t he come to our age or earlier to proclaim his message to us? It’s weird he would come once and done, and not try again. I hope I’m not being silly in asking this.”

This isn’t a silly question at all! But it’s one with a fairly complex answer. In fact, there may be two good answers: there is what I have long thought must be the best answer, and there also is what we are just now coming to see may be an amazing added refinement of that best answer. None of us can speak for Jesus, but He has given us enough of His thinking that we can have a good inkling of His possible reasons for not appearing on earth today.

First, let’s lay out an answer based on what we have come to know about Jesus and his earthly mission. Jesus appeared in a simpler, more credulous age, and He spoke to people who could not possibly have understood the full import of His coming and His message. Understandably, they packaged His words in completely unrelated religious ideas. And there He has remained for two thousand years, while the religion spread and Jesus grew in stature, to the point where today – when He is most needed! – He is consistently named as one of the two or three most influential and beloved figures worldwide. He has been quietly waiting, biding His time, until now, when He can shed the wrapper of a dying religion and reveal Himself as what He always has been: He is God on earth, and our ultimate Teacher. And unlike every other religious figure, He has taken care to give us abundant evidence so we can prove to ourselves that He is indeed real:

  • We have been receiving good afterlife communications for the past 150 years. And the not-really-dead consistently confirm that the words that Jesus actually spoke are in fact spiritually sound and eternally true. What is more, the words that He spoke in Aramaic are confirmed by those who really know what is true to be most accurate not in Aramaic-to-English translations, but in English Translations from Aramaic by way of ancient Greek. As if Jesus had supervised the whole translation process. When I first realized this, it gave me gooseflesh.
  • Some of the best evidence for the life of Jesus has become available only recently. The Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Ovieto are the most dramatic examples of this very good recent evidence; but we also have discovered some random contemporary accounts of His death, and more accurate scholarship that lets us date His Gospels to very soon after His death. There is more objective evidence that Jesus lived and taught and that He is divine than there is evidence for any other historical figure of His or any earlier period.
  • And right now, too, the religion that bears His name is conveniently withering. In fact, all religions are withering! But Christianity, especially, is moving past what seems to have been its planned expiration date, as sophisticated moderns more and more come to see its many built-in contradictions. The whole notion that a God on a throne could not forgive us for Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden unless God’s own Son was sacrificed made perfect sense two thousand years ago. But it is nonsensical and frankly repellent now. And what may be worse, it is anathema to the message of the genuine historical Jesus as He reveals Himself to us in the Gospels.

So now the stage is finally set for one of the most beloved figures in the modern world to quietly reveal Himself to us, now shorn of any religious wrapper! Think about this for a moment. Jesus came to teach us how to raise our consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward more perfect love. His teachings are what the world needs now! And if He were to come back now in the flesh – perhaps riding on a horse, as in the Book of Revelation – His second coming in a body would be (a) highly controversial, disruptive, and confusing; and (b) REALLY SCARY. One reason we can be certain that the events of the Book of Revelation never will happen is that they would promptly undo whatever good the teachings of Jesus ever have done by scaring everyone on earth half to death. So instead, Jesus has been quietly setting the stage for us, and apparently now the true Revelation is actually just about to happen! It will be a quiet Revelation, gradually spreading, of Who Jesus really is and what He actually came to do. And it will come to a worldwide audience that is already primed to love and trust Him.

So Jesus actually has come back!
In fact, now we know that He never has left.

As a refinement, let’s now consider how what we have been learning about time and creation might tweak this answer and make it feel even more wonderful.

But first, we ought to remind ourselves that nothing is as it seems to be. Matter is nothing but empty space thinly filled with bits of whirling energy that create for our eyes and fingertips the illusion that things are solid and real. And time and space are apparently illusory. They are mere artifacts of the matter and energy that surrounds us. Time, especially, can trip us up as we try to understand what is going on! Time is highly germane to the question that we are trying to answer here; but in fact, it doesn’t exist except in this material universe. And this entire universe is just a part of what we now realize is a much greater reality which is composed entirely of and by consciousness. This fact has profound implications that we are only now beginning to see.

The inescapable primacy of consciousness means that the scientific community is at a dead-end. Its ongoing insistence that reality must be material is looking increasingly absurd. True, materialism-based science has given us some wonderful materialism-based advances that have vastly improved our standard of living on earth over recent centuries; but at the same time, scientists have taken immaterial matter so seriously that they have come up with some highly creative – but ultimately meaningless – theories as they tried to use matter alone to somehow figure out what actually is going on.

Materialist scientists will never be able to answer any of the biggest questions. In particular, what we are learning now about how creation actually works is frankly beyond their reach. Although there have been a few scientific thinkers who have realized there was something going on that was much more enormous than anything any materialist scientist can touch, and they have had sufficient status to be unafraid to say that frankly. For example:

In 1931 Max Planck said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” 

The great polymath Nikola Tesla, who later lent his name to Elon Musk’s luxury line of electric cars, also very insightfully said, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

And Albert Einstein, the all-time-greatest materialist scientist of them all, actually said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

But even today, the scientific community continues to double-down on its materialist dogma. By now, anyone who has spent much time with popular-science magazines can see that scientists are on such a wrong track in their search for a source of consciousness in the brain and for the origin of life in some primordial soup that the long run of materialist scientific successes seems to be meeting an ignominious end.

But open-minded seekers who are not burdened by materialism can shed further light on why it isn’t necessary for Jesus to come back in the flesh. The lack of time in most of reality means that all that exists is NOW. And without time, creation cannot be just one-and-done a long time ago, but instead everything – including all the past – is being eternally re-created in each micro-instant. So it is entirely possible that Jesus has carefully designed His entire history on earth quite recently. We would be none the wiser! All of the two thousand years of preparation for Jesus to come to us today and be instantly both known and believed is all part of a perfectly constructed version of a past which is a part of Now. And the more we consider it, the more we see that the best way for Him to come to us today with such gigantic truths that can uplift all of humankind while avoiding the worldwide fear and trauma that his sudden reappearance might well cause is precisely the quiet and gentle reveal that is now in progress. If it had been planned right down to the tiniest detail, it is hard to see how what is happening now could be in any way more perfect!

We probably cannot with these limited earth-minds ever really figure it all out. But one thing we know, with every breath we take! Each of us is the infinitely precious treasure of the genuine Godhead. It is impossible for us ever to grasp how deeply and completely we are loved.

You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Under his wings your refuge.
His faithfulness your shield.
Michael Crawford, from “On Eagle’s Wings” (1998)

Judging

Let every tongue and every tribe
responsive to his call,
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

The Christian religion is all about judgment and condemnation. Its central dogma is built on the notion that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden by eating a forbidden apple, and all of us are therefore “fallen” and sinful by our very nature. God therefore rightfully judges us, and God condemns every one of us to be alive and aware as we burn in hell forever while never being consumed. Our loving and merciful God refuses to simply forgive us for Adam’s sin and for our own sinful natures, but fortunately God has an alternative solution. He sends his pure Son – not descended from Adam, and therefore entirely immune from sin – to take upon himself all of our own sins, and to die horribly in our place. By being God’s perfect sacrifice, Jesus saves us from burning in hell forevermore.

If you are familiar with the Gospels, you know that this whole awful piece of theology altogether rejects the message of Jesus. Even as a child, I thought it made no sense! Jesus tells me to forgive seventy times seven times, but God can’t forgive me even once? We are all fallen because of what Adam did, and all Adam did was to eat an apple when God told him not to eat that apple? Nobody got hurt or anything! So, why couldn’t God forgive Adam for that? And, worst of all, God will only forgive us if he gets to watch his own child being murdered? But I’m a child! I have a father, too! And my father isn’t perfect, but I know he would fight and would give his own life to keep me from being murdered!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who secretly realized in childhood that the Christian God is a ruthless monster. God is not even as loving and forgiving as our own very fallible parents!

The Christian God is a direct descendant of Moloch, the Canaanite god with a head like a bull who devoured first-born infants in his belly of fire. The Christian God is not even as loving as the rather stern Old Testament Jehovah, whose prophets railed against Moloch and all the other bloody human-made gods. Jehovah contented himself with little non-human sacrifices of calves and pigeons. Given the dramatically loving and world-changing teachings that Jesus brought to us, how can the Christian God be such a judgmental and compassionless being?

You may be thinking that no Christian preacher still teaches substitutionary atonement as plainly as I have set it out above, but you would be wrong. Many preachers still talk about a Christian God who is not only pitiless and judgmental, but is also sadistic. This was written in August of 2021 by an earnest Christian preacher with a large following:

Even though a person may choose to reject Christ during his life, there will come a moment when they die and stand before God when they will bow their knee to Jesus and confess him to be lord before they are sentenced to eternity in hell. When Pilate died, he bowed his knee to Jesus and confessed Him to be Lord! When Nero died, he bowed his knee to Jesus and confessed Him to be Lord! When Buddha died, he bowed his knee to Jesus and confessed Him to be Lord! When Gandhi died, he bowed his knee to Jesus and confessed Him to be Lord! … When any person dies that has rejected Christ, before they are cast into everlasting darkness they will bow their knee to Jesus and confess Him to be Lord!

According to this version of Christianity, God does give us complete free will, but not so we can learn and grow spiritually. We have free will so we can choose whether or not to worship a God so judgmental and barbaric that he enjoys watching his own Son being murdered. And if we choose wrong, then when we die we are going to suffer the ultimate gotcha.

Here is where having the testimony of people that we used to think were dead is important! The plain fact is that nothing that Christians believe about the genuine Godhead is true. We know now that everyone, of every religion and of no religion, goes to the self-same afterlife. There is no powerful devil and no fiery hell. There is no post-death judgment by anyone but ourselves. We have been receiving good and abundant communications from the afterlife for a century and a half, and everything the dead are telling us is wonderfully consistent with what Jesus tells us in the Gospels. It is not, however, consistent with the religion that unfortunately bears the Lord’s name.

And there is no way that we can fix Christianity!  I know that, because I have spent decades trying to find some way to lessen the sting of the Christian God’s refusal to forgive us for being fallibly human, and his frankly sick and evil insistence on watching his own Son’s crucifixion. And we haven’t even mentioned here what these Christian teachings do to people, but if you have spent much time with especially devout Christians you know that they tend to be the most judgmental and least forgiving people on earth.

When you have substitutionary atonement in mind as you sit down to read the Lord’s Gospel words, the complete dissonance between the religion and the Man makes your head spin.

He tells us that God never judges us, and He tells us that we also must never judge anyone!

 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23).

“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (JN 12:47).

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (MT 7:1-2).

He insists that we must always forgive, and we even must forgive those who have most harmed us!

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41).

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36).

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (LK 6:37-38).

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (JN 6:63).

The whole problem with the dogma of substitutionary atonement for Christians trying hard to follow Jesus is that Jesus makes forgiveness a primary commandment. And yet the Christian religion insists that God can’t forgive us unless God receives the blood-sacrifice of God’s own Son? We know now that learning prevenient forgiveness makes universal forgiveness almost absurdly easy. I have spent this past week proofreading The Fun of Growing Forever – We Can’t Transform the World Until We Transform Ourselves  in preparation for releasing its Second Edition, and I am freshly astonished to realize how easily Thomas’s prevenient forgiveness trick works the miracle of teaching us complete and permanent forgiveness. Anyone can do it! But Christianity still insists to us that God can’t do it?

The early Christians who thought up substitutionary atonement had the words of Jesus right in front of them! How can they possibly have gotten the Lord’s teachings so completely wrong? I think it was because Jesus says things like, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world (JN 12:47). Which is precisely true! He makes it clear in the Gospels that He came to save us from the false dogmas of all human-made religions and teach us to relate to God directly. But the Emperor Constantine’s councilors at First Nicaea in 325 were unlikely to flout the Emperor’s will and say, “Oopsie! Jesus doesn’t want us to make a new religion after all!” Instead, they edited Gospel passages like the one that follows. Here they turned “believes Him” into “believes in Him”; the italicized sentence was surely added; and what follows it may have been tweaked:    

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (JN 3:16-21).

Jesus tells us right in the Gospels that He came to teach us. He didn’t come to sacrifice Himself to save us from a divine judgment that He tells us in the Gospels never happens. But the Christian God is judgmental, mean-spirited, and much too small! Four years ago, Thomas channeled to me The Fun of Loving Jesus – Embracing the Christianity That Jesus Taught; But then he wouldn’t let that book be published. He kept saying the time was not yet right. But now he is saying it will soon be time to begin to help Jesus to lead directly those who continue to love and trust Him, despite the errors and lies of a misguided and dying Christianity. It will soon be time to enter into the Lord’s much more glorious relationship with the genuine, eternal Godhead. A relationship that only and forever is based in the Godhead’s perfect truth!

Oh, that with all the sacred throng
we at his feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song,
and crown him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

Forgiving

All hail the power of Jesus’s name!
Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all!
– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

The single most important thing that any of us can do in this lifetime is to learn how to forgive. Automatically and completely. Learning radical forgiveness is more important than loving, than being rich and famous, or even than helping charities. Learning to forgive as Jesus calls us to forgive is our most essential task for this lifetime, because until we master true prevenient forgiveness, our ever learning to love as Jesus taught us to love is going to be impossible. This is the first part of a two-week message, both parts of which are essential. I don’t think either one of them is going to be complete without the other.

Forgiveness plays a clear second-fiddle. It is always that sweet and fancy, hot and spicy primary commandment from God that comes first! Love is a big and happy word, and we see it always as our primary goal. We are sure that love is the most important thing that Jesus ever taught. When He was asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus didn’t name any of the Ten Commandments. Instead He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (MT 22:37-39). His big announcement is still to this day absolutely gigantic news! The word “love” isn’t even alluded to in the original Ten Commandments, and now Jesus tells us it comes first? And not only love for God, but also love for our fellow man? And this isn’t even the Lord’s biggest redirection of our priorities. He follows that ground-breaking, earth-shaking revelation with what looks like the jettisoning of the entire Old Testament. He says, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:40). So He’s actually telling us that we can jettison “the whole Law and the Prophets,” now that we have God’s Law of Love? What else can that last sentence possibly mean?

And throughout the Gospels Jesus calls us to accomplish ever more radical feats of love! He says, But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful(LK 6:35-36). And He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48).

Altogether, the word “love” appears some 66 times in just the four Gospels. And it so inspired the earliest followers of Jesus – especially the Apostle Paul – that it comes up another 418 times in the rest of the New Testament. Jesus’s big and flashy call to love inspired Paul to write the greatest call for us to love that ever was written, which ends with these immortal words: “But now faith, hope, love, these three abide; but the greatest of these is love” (1Cor 13:13).

So when I tell you now that the most important thing for your own spiritual growth that Jesus ever taught was not love at all, but it was forgiveness, you are shocked. The word “forgive” appears just 114 times in the entire Christian Bible, including 37 times in the four Gospels and 19 times in the whole rest of the New Testament. Compared to love, forgiveness is a piker word! And I’m going to tell you something else that may shock you. I think we might just have noticed the first place where Jesus, who came to us directly from the highest aspect of the Godhead so He could study us and then teach us at our level, seems to have expected more of us than we have been able to deliver.

Rather than digging down to basics and telling us how to go from reflexive judgment to reflexive forgiveness, He seems to assume that we will readily be able to figure out how to do that. For example, He says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36). Well, okay, Jesus. We’ll try our best. We can imagine carrying out that bit of advice, but then Jesus also says, “do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41). Huh? Someone abuses you, so then you’re supposed to assist him in giving you even more abuse? What kind of a crazy person acts this way?

And He wants us even to police what we think! He says, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court” (MT 5:21-22).

None of this made sense to me until I learned a trick that I now teach. But although we cannot know for certain, Jesus seems never to have taught that trick. He simply commanded that we always forgive. But forgiving something big that has already happened turns out to be nearly impossible! You’ve got to first notice the wrong as your anger and resentment rapidly rise, and then struggle to wrestle down all those negative emotions. I can recall the days when an insult from someone or being shortchanged or cut off in traffic could ruin my entire afternoon! I submit to you that until you learn prevenient forgiveness, just trying to follow the Lord’s command that you always forgive so you can learn how to love will never work. And the effort will make you miserable.  

Jesus seems to have assumed that we could readily get past this almost universal forgiveness struggle. When Peter asked him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23). In other words, even if someone does the same awful thing to you a million times and he never shows any remorse at all, you still are meant to always forgive him!

Furthermore, Jesus makes our forgiveness of others an essential precursor of God’s forgiveness of us. In the Greatest Prayer He teaches us to say, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (MT 6:12). Seems fair enough! He makes the exchange of our forgiving of others for God’s forgiveness of us even more explicit when He says, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (MT 6:14-15). And, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions” (MK 11:25).

The only place in the Gospels where we have a hint that Jesus does indeed understand (and probably therefore He also taught) the fact that forgiving automatically is an essential precursor to our ever learning divine love seems more obscure than it deserves to be. Jesus taught for more than three years, so we have to assume that nearly everything He said has been lost! We are dependent on the memories of people who were so ignorant that what they remembered long enough for it to be written down is probably just the biggest highlights, and the most simplistic and obvious parts of what Jesus taught. And then there is this. When Jesus was reclining at table and a prostitute began to perfume His feet and wash them with her tears, and those around Him tried to warn Him about her, He said, “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven” (LK 7:45-46). This passage fascinates me. I recall His saying that our forgiveness of others comes first, and then God forgives us; and His also saying that until we are forgiving repeatedly, even automatically, we cannot love as He has taught us to love. So here He sees this woman’s ability to love Him as an outward sign of her ability to forgive. He says plainly here how forgiveness and love are linked, and forgiveness comes first! So when He tells her that her sins are forgiven, He is not forgiving her in that moment, but he is affirming an already-established fact.

The reason why forgiveness must come first is that practicing divine love is our natural setpoint. It is only our negative emotions that hold us back! So once we learn prevenient forgiveness, we jettison the petty angers and resentments that have long been holding us down, and we naturally begin to rise spiritually as a bubble rises in water toward the light.

I began a decade ago to put the teachings of Jesus to the test, and I found that they could substantially raise our spiritual vibrations within months. But they worked so well for me only because Thomas also taught me the trick of prevenient forgiveness. It was learning that wonderful technique for automatically forgiving everything before it happens that made me able to forgive easily from then on; so in 2016, at Thomas’s insistence, I finally wrote about it. I was nervous about publishing The Fun of Growing Forever based primarily on one test case, but in the past five years I have been encouraged by the experiences of many others. Prevenient forgiveness really does work! But what if you are presented with a monstrous wrong that is life-changingly gigantic? I mentioned several months ago that someone I deeply loved and trusted had used my love and trust to steal from me a great sum of money. I know now that Thomas allowed that to happen in order to give me the moral right to teach forgiveness on an epic scale. But have I actually forgiven her? Yes. I can tell you now, after four months of struggling to figure out how to both do the work I have been saving to do and also replacement-fund our retirement, that I have never for a moment felt anger. Not once. And although I expect never to hear from her again, I intend to put money on her prison books. It turns out that once you are loving as God loves, turning the other cheek is automatic.

Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (LK 6:37-38). What does this have to do with forgiving? We’ll talk about that next week….

O seed of Israel’s chosen race
Now ransomed from the fall,
Hail him who saves you by his grace,
And crown him Lord of all!

– Edward Perronet (1726-1792), from “All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name” (1779)

Truth

Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion, Bless the Lord, O my soul!

– David, Third King of Israel and Judah (1035-970 BC), from Psalm 103

Someone has lately directed my attention to a Christian forum. People were complaining there that I pick and choose what I claim that Jesus actually said. As if that were a bad thing.The notion that Christians might discuss me at all was surprising, but the fact that they thought we shouldn’t try to discern ever more deeply what Jesus was telling us does pretty well sum up the core problem with Christianity. The religion is not about Jesus at all! Instead, it’s about much later dogmas that have no relationship to the teachings of Jesus, and that largely center around the notion that if you will do the right magical things, the religion will give you a Get Out of Hell Free card and an automatic pass through the pearly gates.

I have spent my life trying to discover the Truth. My experience of light at the age of eight has remained forever fresh in my mind, and it was dawning on me by my early teens that there really was something behind the curtain to which the entire adult world was oblivious. I decided it was up to me to figure it out. So I majored in religion in college, then plunged into doing afterlife research, and I studied a great many other things, too. And after decades of almost daily pursuit of what has to be the world’s most peculiar hobby, I am thrilled to report that there is abundant evidence for a greater reality that is many times the size of this material universe. In particular, we now can prove as a certainty the following deeply wonderful things:

  • Our minds are eternal. You never began, and you never will end.
  • There is a genuine Godhead that continuously manifests this universe. The Godhead is a Collective of Perfected Beings, and creation is not one-and-done but instead it happens continuously.
  • Matter, energy, time and space do not exist in most of reality. This fact is something we contend with as we seek to better understand what actually is going on.
  • All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. Who knew that the Beatles were prophets? Consciousness is all that objectively exists, and it exists in a range of vibrations from fear and rage at the lowest and weakest vibration to perfect love at the highest vibration.
  • This universe exists to give us a place to grow spiritually. And growing spiritually at our stage consists simply in raising our consciousness vibrations more toward the love end of the range. It really is that simple. And that difficult.

Amazingly few people seem to have made a broad-based and intensive study of the afterlife and the greater reality, trying to understand it all. Oh, there are lots of mediums, near-death experiencers, reincarnation researchers, afterlife experts, students of consciousness, and others who concentrate their studies in limited areas and have little understanding of the whole picture! But there also are a very few people who have realized that there is a gigantic reality which encompasses everything that we think we see plus a very great deal more, and they are working hard to make sense of it all. You can count the world’s serious greater reality researchers on the fingers of one hand! Here are two examples:

  • Craig Hogan is first among them. By the time he and I first met in 2008, we both were already mostly there, and we had a wonderful time intensively discussing what each of us had learned independently and finding that our conclusions were essentially identical. Coming at this immense body of data from entirely different perspectives – me from the afterlife materials, and Craig from the science of consciousness – we had reached all the same conclusions!
  • Victor and Wendy Zammit of Sydney, Australia, also are doing great work in this field. Their approach is less about creating the syntheses themselves, and more about sharing with the world a truly staggering amount of evidence via their Friday Afterlife Report and their Zoom presentations.

 All serious researchers in this field are skeptics. We have learned that unless you make every new idea thoroughly prove itself before you will accept it, you end up with a mush of nonsense. You’ll never figure anything out! And with religions and science all so stubbornly clueless and so bound by artificial dogmas, we’ve had to range pretty far afield. In fact, my first big Eureka moments were facilitated by – of all things – the Christian Bible.

I began to study the afterlife right out of college. I soon discovered that there had been a stunning number of carefully documented communications through physical mediums and channels received in the half-century or so that encompassed the period before and after the turn of the twentieth century. Many books documenting these communications still were widely available in the early seventies in libraries and in used-book stores, so for years I simply devoured the scripts of hundreds of decades-old communications between newly-dead folks and their living relatives. As I say in The Fun of Dying, it felt like discovering hundreds of postcards that had been sent home by travelers from some far-distant place over half a century of time! Those visitors were all having different experiences, but they were obviously in the very same place. The same processes, the same physics, the same pastimes, the same scenery and clothing, the same vegetation and methods of communication. It was all the same everything! There was no detectable copying, and I never found a single outlier (like perhaps someone who said, “It’s a bunch of green people living on clouds”; or “God sits on a throne in the village square”; or “They all ride around on tame dinosaurs”). The odds against chance for such complete consistency of communications in both Great Britain and the United States over half a century of time would be incalculable!

When I realized there really is an afterlife, I set about trying to better understand where it is, how it works, and how it fits with the reality that we think we see around us. And meanwhile I was a practicing Catholic, still faithfully reading the Bible daily and rearing my children in parochial schools. How I managed that level of cognitive dissonance for an additional twenty years I cannot now imagine! As I recall, I kept thinking that sooner or later I was going to find evidence that Christianity was right; but all I ever found was more and more evidence that the teachings of Christianity were dead wrong. And by then I was trusting the afterlife evidence even more than I felt that I could trust the religion. So one day when I was barely fifty, I gave up. I closed my Bible, and for a couple of years I still went to church while I sadly tried to pretend that none of that had ever happened.

I cannot recall what inspired me to dust off my Bible one rainy afternoon and read just the Gospels in light of the afterlife evidence. I was becoming ever more certain that the afterlife is true and real and it exists in a genuine reality, complete with its own quantum-like physics and in precisely the same place where we are now. I had been recalling that some of what Jesus had said was kind of consistent with what I had been learning, but for many months I had been reluctant to test the Lord, for fear that He might have been wrong about anything.

But Jesus was not wrong. He proved to me that day as I again read the Gospels that He knew things about God, reality, death, and the afterlife that we could not have confirmed by any means until early in the twentieth century. Little things. Big things! To give you just two examples:

  • He said to the woman who was drawing a drink for Him from the well, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water”(JN 4:10). And He was right: the water in the afterlife is alive! Many new arrivals there remark about that.
  • He said to His disciples,In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” JN 14:2-3). And this is precisely the usual post-death process! Our loved ones who have gone ahead will create our post-death home near their own, and then they will come to our deathbed and safely escort us into the afterlife.

The Council of Nicaea in 325 took it upon itself to edit the Gospels. Fortunately, though, its primary damage was to remove whatever it recognized to be references to reincarnation, and also to add bits about church-building, sheep-and-goats, hellfire and damnation, and End Times, all of which would  have been anachronistic during the Lord’s lifetime. Liberating Jesus includes an Appendix that shows you how to pluck from the Gospels all the things we can be sure that Jesus didn’t say. For Jesus to speak against the prevailing religion was a crime punishable by death. But He managed to teach anti-religious truths right under the noses of the Temple guards for more than three years by using some clever and subtle tricks. He would tell what sounded like innocent stories, then say, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear” (wink-wink), to urge His followers to look for His deeper messages. He would give people innocuous-sounding bits of information at various spots along the way, knowing that the guards watching Him would often change, and hoping that his faithful followers would be able to put those bits together. For example, this is how He told us over days of time the wonderful truth that neither God nor any religious figure ever judges us. First He said, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23). Then on a different day with different Temple guards He said, “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him” (JN 12:47).

Jesus invites us to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7). And His invitation remains solid and true today! There are indeed gigantic, eternal truths of which neither science nor any religion still has any clue at all, and they are ours for the learning if we only will trust the Lord enough to take Him at His word. And the genuine eternal truth will land on your heart as light and strong as a hummingbird’s wing, and will banish every fear forevermore. As Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (JN 8:31-32).

 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who revere Him.
For He Himself knows what we are made of; He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who revere Him.
– David, Third King of Israel and Judah (1035-970 BC), from Psalm 103