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:
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:
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:
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