Stephen Hawking and the afterlife: What does he know?

SPIRITUALITY 17 Comments »

22In an interview the famed physicist Stephen Hawking expressed his opinion that God and spirituality was a “fairy story”.  I respect Mr. Hawking.  He is a genius.  But on this topic his genius does not necessarily matter.  Here is the article where he states his viewpoint;

Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’

In it he stated:  “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” he added.

A little controversy is good to bring attention to his book the “The Grand Design”, which I have not read.  But from what I understand, Hawking uses his belief in a Multiverse to explain the existence of life.  In a nutshell, if there are an infinite number of universes with different laws of nature, one of them may produce sentient life, the universe where we currently live.  Perhaps, perhaps not.  It is speculation.

Brilliance as a mathematician does not mean one is brilliant in every aspect of thought.  One can be the greatest physicist in the world but that only scratches the surface of the mystery of existence.  When anyone imagines they understand everything, then they are fooling themselves.  The opinions of even the wisest are still only opinions.

I’d suggest Mr. Hawking branch out away from math and explore other viewpoints.  If I were to give Mr. Hawking advice, I’d suggest he turn his attention to the near-death out-of-body experience.  For those who hold a materialistic worldview this is currently the best evidence that something exists outside of physics.  The problem is math can’t solve this riddle.

The best website I know that explores these topics is Skeptiko 

Unlike much of the paranormal there has been a great deal of research done on the near-death experience.  If one approaches this topic with an open mind, one’s skepticism will be challenged.  There may be a rational answer to the riddle of the near-death experience, but none has been discovered so far. Currently all explanations have been shot down.  If great minds considered it worthy to explore such matters, perhaps they would find a scientific answer to these phenomena.  Or perhaps not.

I knew someone who had the near-death out-of-body experience.  And that is the answer to this riddle.  Talk to those rational individuals who went through it, and judge for your self.  Instead of waving your hands dismissively and pooh pooh the very idea, check it out with an open mind.  We’d discover science is the surface of a deeper reality.

Hope For Life After Death



After my mother died recently, my father had an extraordinary experience. 

My mother had a strong attachment to family and home.  She was a stay-at-home mom for most of her life.  Family and home were the center of her life.  A few weeks ago she passed away.  After feeling a pain in her abdomen, she went for a scan.  They found a tumor on her pancreas, the worst type of cancer.  With a speed I thought not possible, she became ill and within weeks died in a terrible way, entering into a place of pain and suffering.  I can only be thankful she did not suffer for long, which is very little to be thankful for.

This was very hard on my father, who cared for my mom the best he could, but was helpless as he watched the symptoms of the cancer rapidly progress.  After over 50 years of marriage, my father was suddenly alone.  My father is a no-nonsense guy, and not a religious man.  He said he did not know if there is life after death, but he doubted it.  However, he said he knew  mom was not suffering anymore, even if she was only in oblivion.

Then a few days ago my dad told me his story.  It was early evening, eleven days after my mom died.  He was sitting in a basement room that was made into a little office.  He was on his computer doing some stuff, when he noticed a bright light in the corner of his right eye, where the open doorway was.  He turned a bit to look, when the light slowly moved behind him and to his left.  He looked to his left and saw a bright pillar of light.  The light was not on the wall, but in midair, and as tall as a person.  As the light had passed behind him, a fragrance filled the room, of flowers and lavender, as if someone were wearing a strong perfume.

My dad said the scent reminded him of perfume my mom liked to wear as a young lady.  The light was bright, lasted for a number of seconds, then faded away.  But the fragrance lingered longer.  Dad said he was overcome with a feeling of true peace.  And he felt…not words, but some knowledge, as if mom impressed on him that she was ok now, and for him to “Go do your thing.”  Go on with life.

When dad told me his story, I was amazed.  He said he thinks mom visited him one last time before going on to wherever she is going.  And that he’ll not see her again, until his turn comes.

I believe Mom had visited him one last time.  Perhaps dad needed to know mom still exists, and there is hope for life after death.   Dad seemed to have a change of heart about some things now. He seems more open to possibilities, and at peace after mom’s passing.

Skepticism or Spirituality, Automaton or Magician?

Magician Automation

Magician Automation

I like stage and street magic, from Harry Houdini to David Blaine.  Part of it is intellectual.  Can we solve the puzzle how somebody created the illusion?  We know it’s a trick.   Sometimes we can’t solve the trick with logic.  Then it creates an interesting response.  If only for a brief second, it feels as if the supernatural actually happened.  Like wow!

Carter The Magician

Carter The Magician

There is a small connection between the stage magician and the mystical ceremonial magician of  “Key of Solomon” fame.  Old magic posters of great magicians offer some interesting symbolism.  They often include motifs of the genuine supernatural, such as infernal spirits conferring with or aiding the magician.  The symbolism is obvious…to hint that maybe the magician is something more then only stage magic.  That suggestion is only show business.  However behind the symbolism is the recognition that stage magic plays off the real thing…ceremonial magic.  

Considering the traditions of real magic, in the past people would use magic tricks to pretend they had supernatural powers.  Fake spiritualists used  seances and “spirit cabinets” to commit fraud and fleece the public.  Houdini was famous for his work debunking the frauds.  Today we have famous skeptics like the Amazing James Randi doing the same thing.  Randi is involved with a magazine devoted to skepticism aptly named…The Skeptic.

I blog about the occult and I endorse a magazine dedicated to skepticism?  Yes!  It really is a great magazine.  I understand the importance of hearing all sides of a viewpoint.  The Skeptic magazine takes a strictly materialistic, atheist worldview that I personally reject.  Are we all only Automatons? 

The skeptical viewpoint is important because they are correct more often then not.  They debunk a lot of nonsense.  Beware they have an agenda, a philosophical opposition to ANYTHING spiritual.  To their credit have debates with spiritual types such as Deepak Chopra.  The Chopra articles are especially good…they alone worth reading the magazine.  Thumbs up!

Another magazine I like with a spiritual viewpoint was recently renamed, EnlightenNext founded by Andrew Cohen.

This magazine offers an eclectic mix of spiritual viewpoints.  I really appreciate that their views are not at odds with science but accept scientific reality as a part of spiritually. Again, not everything they write about I would personally agree with.   But reading only what we believe in is not the approach to enlightenment.   An open mind should not believe in everything, or in nothing.

Below is a video I took at the ‘House On The Rock’ in Wisconsin.  It is an Automaton of a Magician.   A wonderful mechanism!  People who visited House on the Rock said it was awesome.  I followed their advice.  Did it measure up?  It far exceeded my expectations.  It is not a tourist trap.  It is a real experience, if you like interesting objects.  The place is filled with fabulous collections of the real and the imagined.   The pictures of the magician posters  above were taken in their cafeteria.

Our connection with the spiritual dimension



In my previous post I discussed the esoteric idea about different levels to existence.  At the very top of these levels is the Spirit Plane.  This is something we are all familiar with.  Most religions divide existence into the physical world and the world of Spirit.  Spirit exists outside of the laws of time/space wherein God, the angels, heaven and the dead exist. 

Can we possibility have any knowledge of this spirit world?  We seemingly don’t have any direct connection to this realm, so all appears to be conjecture.  Religious scriptures have something to say about this spirit dimension.  Christian scripture tends to be a bit vague when it comes to the world of spirit.  At the opposite side, the ancient Egyptians had an elaborate map/guesswork of what they thought happened after death.

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

Ceremonial magicians have long thought of the spirit dimension as the source of power for their craft.  They would invoke the name of God for just about anything including the most nonsensical objectives.  What is up with medieval mages trying to summon angelic powers to find hidden treasure or curse a neighbor?  I don’t get that at all.

It is suggested that a part of our being also exists in this Spirit Plane but is inaccessible to our daily consciousness.  This part of our being has been called our Higher Genius, or Higher Self.  In the grimorie “Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage” there is a technique given called the Abramelin operation which is supposed to bring the mage into direct contact their “Holy Guardian Angel” (another name for our Higher Self) who will reveal great magical secrets to the mage. The occultist Aleister Crowley famously used this method.  I never heard of anyone actually achieving the stated results.

tunnel-of-lightsOutside of religious and occult doctrines, we have the personal experiences of people who had near-death out-of-body experiences.  Very often they encounter a tunnel of light, and after passing through it they encounter the spirit world.  They report encounters with their departed loved ones, a feeling a transcendent joy, of understanding the meaning for everything, and have a life-review where in an instant they relive all the good or bad they ever did in their lives.

Is it possible for the living to have contact with this spiritual dimension?  What is the essence of spirit?  How does spirit reflect itself in our lives?  We don’t need any hocus pocus for the answers.

My personal answer is that the nature of the spiritual dimension is Love.   Love is a part of our everyday, mundane lives.  The love for one’s spouse, the love for your children, loving your friends and neighbors…the love of all humanity is our connection with the deepest level of existence.  When a parent is toiling at working two jobs to support their family, they may not realize it but they in harmony with the purpose for our existence. 

For me, the clearest statement on the nature of spirit and love is the famous bible quote about love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, which ends:
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

To achieve harmony with the cosmos is as simple as embracing love for all humanity. Easier said then done!  Religion is often in disharmony with the spirit of love.  Look at Islamic radicals killing people in the name of God.  That is not only disharmony but complete blindness.

loveAnother example, only a few short decades ago in the U.S., it was illegal for people of different races to marry.  People actually got arrested for it!  Why?  Because it was considered immoral and ungodly for the races to mix.  How could supposedly godly people believe in such things?  Maybe they were not in harmony with the spirit of love?  If people view other races as human beings like themselves, with love, they would not have had such views.

Today we have the controversy about gay marriage.  Again, religious people look at gays as abominations and gay marriage as an abomination multiplied.  I can appreciate people have cultural reasons for being against gay marriage, but decades from now people will look back and say, “What were those people THINKING back then??” when gay marriage is commonplace.  Just like we do today looking back at interracial marriage. 

Being in harmony with love and the spiritual dimension is not a religious matter but a personal one.  In my next post I will consider the next level of existence…the abstract level, or what might also be the anthropic principle.

The Secret of True Magic

secret of true magic

secret of true magic

The law of attraction, manifesting reality, and magic are concepts that are basically interchangeable.   The methods and techniques used to alter reality are similar when brought down to their essentials.  Essentially, it is using our thoughts to create patterns in some form of cosmic energy or vibration which then reverberates down to affect our physical existence.

The law of attraction uses control over our thought process to accomplish this.  Magic uses ritual and altered states of consciousness to achieve the same thing.  An interesting question is…how does this work?  There are vague ideas about vibrations and energies and unity with the universe.  It seems the techniques are highly developed, but the theories behind the mechanics are not.  Which is reasonable since nobody really knows how it works.  But lack of understanding won’t stop me putting in my two cents worth!

What is this cosmic vibration that manifests reality?  I will offer the ideas developed by mystics, occultists, spiritualists and cabalists.  These ideas are speculative, but make for interesting food for thought.  Above is a graphic I made to illustrate the point I will make. 

According to some mystical viewpoints, there are different levels of reality.  At the highest level is the realm of Spirit which exists outside out time and space.  We have no direct contact with this reality.  Spirit created the Big Bang as an act of creation, the ultimate manifestation of reality.   From the Big Bang and the creation of the Universe, all the levels beneath were created. 

The level below Spirit is the Abstract level.  These are the laws of reality which are revealed in mathematics.  It is not matter and not energy, but the rules that govern physicality.  It seems to be closely related to the science of quantum mechanics.  These laws created evolution…and sentient life.

The level below Abstract is the Astral level.  The astral level is the level of consciousness, sentience, the subconscious, and the mind.  The mind (Astral body) is not matter, it is not energy, and it is not only biology or even information, but something all together different then anything else in the universe.  Consciousness is unique.  It is the pinnacle of Universal creation, the big bang’s last act. 

Below the astral level is the etheric level.  This seems to be a finer form of matter invisible to us.  It is closely related to life, auras, chakra and our invisible body.  It might also be related to cosmology’s dark matter.  Not long ago the idea of an invisible world all around us would be scoffed at.  Now science recognizes that invisible dark matters makes up most of the universe’s matter, but have zero idea what it is.  It is the realm of ghosts and possibility other entities. 

Finally we have the physical world we all know, the realm understood by science, of matter and energy. 

What then is the mechanics behind magic?  The secret is that all these levels co-exist simultaneously in everything.  All individuals are made of the spirit, abstract, astral, etheric and physical levels.  According to the theory, the astral level (the mind) can send patterns up to the spirit level, and then it returns descending back down vibrating through all the levels until it reaches the physical world…manifesting reality.  The tricky part seems to be contacting the realm of Spirit which exists outside of time/space.  The techniques for magic seem to have that as the ultimate goal in one fashion or another. 

In future posts I will examine each of these levels of existence in more detail.

Are women more spiritual then men?

High Priestess

High Priestess

Are women more spiritual then men? On the surface, it would seem to be. Think of all the people you know. It seems women, regardless of their faith, are more into daily spirituality then men. But it is really so? Women pray more, are usually the ones who have to gather the family for church or handle the religious chores.  Guys would rather play golf on Sunday.

I think men are not more or less spiritual, but are spiritual in a different way. It comes down to the basic difference in the way men and women think. Men are mostly left brain types, thinking more logically and that everything has to have a purpose. Women tend to be more right brain, thinking more emotionally and with intuition. It seems that spiritually of any stripe would be primarily a right-brain inspired function. Men mostly approach spirituality with their left-brain logic, which can lead to problems. The masculine left-brain approach to spirituality focuses on dogma, theology, and power.



If women are generally more spiritually oriented then men, why do men call all the shots and make all the rules with religion? It’s not even close to 50/50 where half of the religious leadership is male, half female. Religion is a male dominated arena. Pastors, priests, patriarchs, evangelists, popes, preachers, rabbis and mullahs are virtually all male. Men are in charge because our testosterone makes us more aggressive then women, and that is the bottom line. In life victory goes to the most aggressive, not the most gentle, and that includes matters of religion. With the male left-brain approach to spirit we focus on theology over love.

An example of masculine spirituality was in the news recently: Pakistan has approved Islamic law in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in a peace accord with the Taliban. I watched the news footage showing bearded Taliban dudes practicing their version of Islamic law by whipping a guy accused of homosexuality and a woman of adultery. I thought to myself, if women were in charge it would be a different world.

There are new frontiers of spirituality that place power with women in equal measure with men. These frontiers are our pagan and Wiccan communities. Paganism is unique with their idea of the Goddess. Their beliefs focus more on personal experience and interaction then adhering to some rigid dogmas. So far I have not heard of any fundamentalist pagans, but if guys ever take over paganism, for sure that would happen next!



Looking at the oldest versions of the Tarot cards, there is a strange card, number 2, the Papess, the female Pope. Later it was redesigned to be the High Priestess. There is the legend of Pope Joan who was supposed to rule as Pope for three years in the 800’s. Disguised as a man she became pope until she got pregnant. There is no proof of a female pope but what is important was that it was widely believed long ago. What makes the story and card remarkable is how out of place she was. What is this card saying? Maybe that spirituality should not be male dominated. Tarot cards are wonderful in putting equal emphasis on both the male and female duality.

The High Priestess card is a call to equality in Spirit.

Manifesting reality with the law of attraction


attractionI know someone who is a serious student of the Law of Attraction. She has studied the teachings of wise men and women like Esther Hicks, and understands the deeper aspects of the Law of Attraction. How she got interested in this philosophy makes for an interesting story.

A number of years ago she went into business with a partner, but in an informal arrangement. To make a long story short, this partner ended up cheating her out of her end of the business. She taught this partner everything she knew, and once this partner had all her contacts and expertise, the business was stolen away from her.

This betrayal left her deeply hurt and outraged. To such an extent that everyday she would visualize that her former business partner would slip and fall landing on her back outside their office.  She visualized this often over the months…that this partner would just DROP! Such was her anger. But as the months past her anger subsided and eventually she moved on with her life.

Six months later a mutual business acquaintance of her and her former partner contacted her for something. As they chatted, he asked her if she heard what happened to her ex-partner. Since she had no contact with her ex-partner since their falling out, she had no idea. The business acquaintance told her that three months ago her ex-partner slipped on some loose stones outside her office, and fell on her back, breaking it. She spent the last three months in a hospital in a full body cast! This accident happened at the exact place she had visualized.

She was truly astonished to hear this. She realized that something very strange had occurred, and she started her path towards discovering what this strangeness was. She had never heard of the Law of Attraction before. But eventually came to study this concept. There is nothing like having a first-hand personal experience to convince you.

This incident happened regardless of her lack of understanding in the law of attraction. She utilized the law of attraction without realizing it. Everyday we manifest results in our lives by how we think. What she had done was to unintentionally use intensely focused visualization to manifest reality.

Here is another example of the almost magical potential of the law of attraction.  We went to a shopping mall. I noticed that she was wearing only one earring. I asked her why she wore one earring? She said she lost her other earring someplace three days ago, and these earrings had sentimental value to her. She wore the one earring because she KNEW she would find the other one. It was only a matter of time before she would find it.

Returning, we parked in her parking spot in the public indoor garage where she lived. I stepped out and waited for her to gather her shopping bag from the back seat. As I stood halfway in the parking garage, without a reason I glanced down, and saw something by my foot. I bent down, and picked up…her missing earring.

It had been lost in the garage. The parking area was full of melted snow and grit, and the odds of spotting it was remote.  I showed her the earring, and she said, “Oh bravo! I knew I would find my earring!”

What to make of this? How does this work? The common idea has something to do with a universal vibration, and becoming in tune with this cosmic vibration. Is this the answer? Or are we calling on spiritual agencies to our assistance? Or maybe it is some sort of clairvoyance?

Another question, do some people have a special innate talent with manifesting reality? Some people might be something like “hereditary witches” who are born with a talent for manifestation. She disagrees with that and says that anyone can learn to manifest. It is universal.

This story is also a cautionary tale, to beware whom we harm. We don’t know if someone we harm might have a talent for manifestation. The power of manifestation can be a doubled edged blade…it can manifest both the positive and the negative. In the past this was called a curse. Curses are a good reason to treat everyone with respect, because we never know!

Mona Lisa and the Universe

Mona Lisa and the Eagle Nebula

Mona Lisa and the Eagle Nebula

The pictures above are the Mona Lisa and the Eagle Nebula.  Here is a riddle, what do they have in common?  Actually, everything!   How so? 

When we look at Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa, what do we see?  We see a painting of course.  But what else?   The painting is much more then just the image of a woman.    First, the painting is made of pigments used to paint with.  It is made of canvas.  Look deeper, and we see that the canvas and oil paint are made of molecules, then atoms, and then quarks.  Look even deeper, and we see the painting is made of time and space along with energy and matter.   Look even deeper still and we see the painting consists of the laws of physics and quantum mechanics.

Look again, and what else do we see?  We see the artistry.  We see patterns in the brush strokes.  We see design.  Somehow complex thoughts and emotions are conveyed with the strokes of a paintbrush.  When observing the Mona Lisa we actually are looking inside the subtle mind of Leonardo Da Vinci.  We are looking into the expression of his genius.  Immaterial human thoughts are transformed into material expression. 

Can we see more?  The painting is an expression of the totality of human culture and civilization.  Not only does the painting express the culture of Da Vinci’s time, it is an expression of our culture today.  It is Art.  Without humanity’s history, culture and art, this painting could not exist.  It symbolizes all that is human, our consciousness and our very existence.

What does this have to do with the Eagle Nebula?   I suggest the Universe is like a painting.  Obviously the universe is composed of atoms and energy, time and space, just like the Mona Lisa.  In addition to that, the universe also has a design, sort of like a cosmic paintbrush stroke.  This design is the laws of nature, the order behind everything.  But is that all? 

Look at the universe deeper, and we see the universe also paints pictures!  Not just expressed by the beautiful nebula, but through our human created paintings.  How? The universe is creative…it creates.  The universe created life, humanity, sentience, civilization and art.  It all came from the Universe. The Universe literally painted the Mona Lisa.  The Universe is an artist.

If a painting is an expression, a reflection of the mind of its artist, does the same apply to the universe?   Looking at the universe and its finely tuned design, we can see into the Mind behind the universe.  If a painting and the universe are indeed one in the same, then it was not only Leonardo Da Vinci who painted Mona Lisa.  The Universe “painted” Leonardo himself, and every one of us as well.  We are the Universe’s reflection, made in its image.

Theory of evolution and spirituality



What are the ramifications of the theory of evolution on spirituality?   In the news lately have been stories of “hobbits”, a miniature primitive version of mankind.  It has created quite a stir in the scientific community.  What are the religious and spiritually minded to think about this?  According to polls about 50% of Americans believe in Biblical creationism (a 10,000 year old earth beginning with Adam and Eve), about 40% believe in a version of theistic evolution (evolution guided by God), and 10% believe in naturalistic (Godless) evolution.   Is there a divine influence guiding human evolution?  If so, what about these hobbits…were they human?  Half human?  Would God create a halfway humanoid?

I think we can dismiss the idea of Biblical creationism.  I know a lot of people believe in the literal version of Genesis, but do we really want to believe in something that can be easily disproved?  Here is a joke…how did the kangaroo get on Noah’s Ark?  The answer…the backstroke!  That pretty much sums up the argument against biblical literalism in one jest…the kangaroo.  Exactly how did the kangaroo (or the kola bear) travel all the way from Australia to Noah’s Ark?  It’s a long swim across the ocean, not to mention avoiding being eaten by all the dinosaurs that supposedly existed at the same time before Noah’s flood.  An even bigger riddle is…after the flood, why didn’t the kangaroo settle down in the Middle East around Mount Ararat?  Why swim all the way back across the vast ocean, suffering starvation and dehydration, just to return to Australia?  Add to them every unique species inhabiting every isolated island in the world…it’s a LONG swim from the Galapagos Islands to Mount Ararat.  Maybe they paddled on logs?  Rejection of absolute literalism does not mean anyone has to abandon his or her religious beliefs.  It just means we have to understand that things are not so simpleminded. 

The other side of the coin is the atheist’s view of reality, which dovetails nicely with the theory of evolution.  It is harder to dismiss their viewpoint, based as it is on science and logic.  However, I think the atheist worldview is also flawed.  Evolution is a process, and that begs the question…where did the process come from?  And it is not a simple process, but one that led to the development of human consciousness.  Science can’t explain where this process came from, or how any of the laws of physics emerged.

The biggest challenge for skeptical materialists is the anthropic principle.  In the past December 2008 issue of Discover Magazine was a fascinating article:  Science’s Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory

The article concerns itself with how science can’t explain away the fine-tuning of the laws of nature, which allowed life to evolve.  The chances of every law of nature being “just right” to permit evolution is pretty remote if not virtually impossible.  The article suggests there is a multiverse, an unlimited number of alternate universes separate from ours, each having their own different laws of nature.  And out of this infinite number of universes, we reside in one where all the laws have (by accident) come together “just right”.   Virtually every other universe would be a dead zone incapable of evolution.  The multiverse concept is a remarkable idea.  So remarkable that it is hard to believe.  And so far, there is zero proof in a multiverse…I call it science’s Noah’s Ark.  The idea of an infinite number of universes is an act of faith.  Not too different then believing in God is a matter of faith. 

Other then a Multiverse, what else could explain why we exist?  Another explanation could be pure coincidence.  It could be just chance at work.  What are the odds that a few different types of quarks emerging from the Big Bang could eventually configure itself into sentience?   The odds would seem almost infinitely remote.  It seems the only way life came into existence is by some form of infinity…an infinite number of universes, an infinitely small chance of pure luck, or an infinite God.  All of these ideas require faith in the unknown.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  Hamlet

How I avoided accidentally ending up in HELL

SPIRITUALITY 11 Comments »


I’d like to thank for their kind comments about us on their blog.  I think anyone reading my blog will enjoy Merrymeet very much.

I thought I’d write a little about the point of my blog.  What is this all about?  Why am I writing what I am writing?  As a young man, in my late teens I flirted with evangelical Christianity.   At the time I was intrigued by the televangelists such Pat Robertson of the 700 Club.  Watching them, I accepted Christ as my personal savior.  However, as I continued to watch them, pretty soon I grew disillusioned.  Firstly, by the outright wackiness of much of what they said.  I noticed that they espoused right-wing politics, which really has nothing to do with Christianity.  And the insistence on Biblical literalism, what is up with that?  It was as if I had to abandon reason to be a Christian.  If forced to make a choice between evolution and Biblical creationism, I’d side with reason. 

But what finally drove me away from conservative Christianity was their view on salvation.  Everybody who was not “born again” went to hell.  Everyone.  Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Pagan or atheist would burn for all eternity.  Say what…huh??  It was salvation by dogma.  If someone “drank the coolaid” and swallowed their theology whole, they had salvation.  But if not…the fires of hell awaited.  The problem with this logic is that salvation thru dogma means we better subscribe to the right dogma or we’re toast.  Since all religions are really just speculation, we’d better speculate correctly or hell is round the corner.  But what if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the One True Faith, and then all Southern Baptists go to hell?  The Baptist would be in for a rude surprise on judgment day.  So salvation all depended on luck…hoping our parents lucked out on picking the right religion and raising us in the same.

I came to the conclusion that any theology that believes only those who subscribe to their theology have salvation is not only wrong, but is a power play to keep it’s members brainwashed.  So I moved on in my spiritual journey.  I never abandoned the idea of God and the reality of the Unseen World.  But I have taken an eclectic view towards spirituality.  I have sought to personally experience the spiritual, to touch and see the Unseen.  What I have learned is that this passage from the Bible is quite true, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you.”  If we want to personally experience the reality of a spiritual existence, all we need to do is look.  The committed skeptic cannot encounter this Unseen World.  We need to knock to open that spiritual door.