Blog powered by Typepad

« Pep talk | Main | Shreds from the whole piece »


My own perspective is very different. From what I've experienced, the belief that you have a guardian angel or a "spirit team" on your side engenders a certain humility and gratitude. It's not that you're special, because, after all, you assume that everyone else has a spirit team too. You may feel pleased that you're a little more in touch with your team than you used to be, or than some other people are, but that's about as much of an ego boost as you get.

Any faith that becomes heavily politicized becomes a threat to a free society. We see that through the ages with Christianity, Islam and various other old religions, and now we see it with Scientism. (I'm assuming regular readers of this blog are familiar with the term).

Sure, there are many real "natural philosophers" in this day and age who approach science for what it is - an effort to open-mindledly understand the workings of our world, and they don't have to subscribe to a religion to do it. Roger Penrose comes to mind as an example of an Atheist, and Francis Collins is an example of a pedigreed scientist with faith.

But in our brave new world, free thought is being discouraged, if not outright crushed by the likes from Matthew Hutson to Richard Dawkins.

Someone wrote an excellent article about this:

This is a modified form of Pascal's Wager.

If spirituality is true, then by all means we should accept it.

If spirituality is factually false, and the materialists are right, but a spiritual approach leads to a happier, longer, and healthier life (which the evidence seems to indicate), then we are still better off tricking ourselves into believing it.

Now, the downside comes when people use spirituality or religion to hurt, dominate, and control other people. Of course any belief system can be used for those purposes, including atheist/materialist perspectives.

When our consciousness evolved to an actual understanding of bodiy death, we eventually figured out that we die, and well... we don't come back.

That we are now conscious of our own demise, the materialist reasoning goes, we make up these "imaginery" people for our biological advantage, in order to avoid the kind of depression, anxiety, etc, that comes from knowing (or can come from knowing) you will cease to exist entirely within the near future.
The fear of death can cause these emotions, and it can be done away with by overcoming that fear. You can pretend all you want, its simply a "biological defense mechanism", there's really nothing unnatural about it. Or just get over the fear (as the materialist says they do), just like someone who is afraid of heights, snakes, or spiders.

Personally, I don't think I believe it. I can't really, based on the evidence I've read, but my mind will drift at times to thinking that maybe that "evidence" that I think exists is a product of others fears(others who have had NDEs, seen apparitions, death bed visions, etc) and they've convinced themselves of a reality that just isn't there, simply because of our body's reactions to fear?

Truthfully, I'm still not fully satisfied if my beliefs are simply a function of my biological reactions to a realization of my eventual death. I need to know more, but maybe that guessing, that reaching, is what I need to keep me expanding in this world, for a reason I, we, have yet to learn... but it can be frustrating.

"Now, the downside comes when people use spirituality or religion to hurt, dominate, and control other people. Of course any belief system can be used for those purposes, including atheist/materialist perspectives."

This is why I'm not a big fan of the whole "religion causes problems" in the world argument. I don't think it is so much of an issue with religion, but rather people influencing it. Basically, with the right amount of zeal, any belief system or position can be twisted into something horrible. Racial supremacy IMO is one example of something that doesn't involve religion, and is also what I believe would become the next big thing to argue about in the hypothetical situation all religion was abolished. I think religion is a bit of an easy scapegoat because of some of the supernatural elements that may come off as incredible, though.

Something that I've seen that I think is a bit of a straw man statement from atheists goes something along the lines "Religion causes people to fly planes into buildings (or war, etc.). Science causes man to fly into space". I could easily find instances of compassion that involves religion (Mother Teresa, religious based charities helping third-world countries)and argue science was the reason for Hiroshima or why we have been at a constant risk of nuking ourselves off the planet for the past half-century (Although I could see some atheists pulling the "religion is the cause of all wars" line, something I believe is false).

The problem may be is that it's free - where would Pfizer be if people starting meditating and relying on spiritual help, real or imagined, and stopped taking their anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs?

Sorry I don't know where to put this link bu Roy Steinman writes an excellent critical article on David Thompsons mediumship

Hi there,

I like your site, I thought you might want to add it to my spiritual directory to increase your viewership:

Give it a shot!
Best wishes,

What a great post. A clear, spot-on analysis of what it's like to be someone who believes this world is all there is versus someone who believes otherwise. Or, a compassionate description of the suffering experienced before beginning a spiritual journey, and of some of the great gifts of spiritual awakening.

Brilliant post! I am late to the party because my RSS in Mac Mail failed me. :(

The discussion dealt with the motives of skeptics in the previous post. I'd like to comment on that; I think it's still relevant here.

Skeptics, of course, were not born with their worldview but had to acquire it. I think there are three main possibilities for the origin of an "angry atheist," in order of percentage (my estimate):

1. People who were born into a family of some sort of religious belief and had to "throw it off." 90%

2. People who were raised by "angry atheists" and acquired their belief system and attitudes. <5%

3. People who were raised by people who were fairly neutral as far as spirituality is concerned but who nevertheless gravitated to hard-core skepticism and became "angry atheists."

I'd say that most atheists/agnostics are fairly soft-core and are not strident skeptics. Perhaps only 10% of the people who self-identify as atheist/agnostic would also self-identify as "skeptics" and be into the whole Randi/Shermer/etc. worldview.

So, again this is my speculation, but I think that most self-identifying skeptics are smart people that have "thrown off" the religion of their family. And in throwing off such a religion, they went for the most conceptually opposite choice: hard-core atheism. And the read books about atheism and meet up with like-minded people, and then you have significant thought-policing and peer pressure.

So now you have a group of people that were smart enough to throw off stupid, superstitious religions (I know, since I did the same with Catholicism), and they feel justifiably proud of that accomplishment. That sets them up for feeling like the rest of the population, which still believes in religion, is stupid, and they and their friends are smart and superior.

Now they are just like the members of any other rigid orthodoxy, be it Mormonism or Maoism. You can't disagree with anything the group believes left you be ostracized and denounced. You can be a card-carrying skeptic and believe in God, ghosts, psi, the Afterlife, or anything else deemed heterodox.

Contrary to what Micheal suggested, I don't think most self-identifying skeptics are scientists, nor are many self-identifying atheist scientists also of the vicious skeptic variety. The angry atheists that we find so troublesome really are, in a self-aware manner, part of a distinct subculture.

Thanks for the link, Ray. Very good article. The vaudeville aspects of Thompson's sessions are one of several things that have left me unconvinced, although I admit I can't figure out how he does some of the things he does.

Matt, another factor in hard-core atheism is that the atheists have often thrown off religion when they were still young - around the time they started to reason things out for themselves. The trouble is that they naturally had a rather childish conception of religion at the time. Since most of them lose interest in religion after abandoning it, they never develop an adult's understanding of the topic. So you have militant atheists saying they don't believe in "a bearded old man on a throne in the sky," which is a child's idea of God, quite a bit different from sophisticated concepts advanced by serious religious thinkers.

Yet do we have any evidence for 'guardian spirits' at the end of the day?

I mean perhaps, but perhaps it's a kind of self-deception, wishful thinking. Don't want to be the party pooper, just saying..

I making progress with Rubenstein's book - reading about the spirit guide right now. Is a spirit guide = guardian spirits?


Another great point! I was that way. I became an atheist at age 13. I learned all the arguments. I thought I was really smart. And, in some ways, I was: I was no longer fooled by or beholden to Catholicism, a religion I still consider false. But psi intervened a year later, and I've not been an atheist since.

By the way, I said I disagreed with your point on the other page, but only in part, since this is a brilliant point too:

It just strikes them as deeply wrong, in much the same way that introducing rap music into "Madame Butterfly" would offend an opera lover or introducing randomness into the rules of chess would offend a grandmaster. It's an assault on their sensibilities and values.

I think the vast majority of the soft-core atheists/agnostics who are scientists, doctors, etc., are indeed thinking in this mode. They have a worldview that makes sense and their peers aren't into the paranormal, so why "go there"?

My only point of disagreement was that I don't think very many of the hard-core self-identifying skeptics have much in the way of scientific, medical, or other substantial training of that sort. Indeed, their knowledge of science, despite their grandstanding, usually seems fairly poor, and they have an adolescent view not only of religion but also of their own cherished "scientific method." If they actually had scientific training, they'd probably be less likely to be so dogmatically atheist. That said, of course there are trained scientists among the ranks of the warrior skeptics, such as Dawkins et al.


I think we have evidence for guardian spirits. What they are may be quite complex, however, and not necessarily an angel sent by God to watch over us constantly.

I think there are many entities that can help us at various points in our lives. We also have our Higher Self that can assist its various incarnations. The spirits of the deceased can also warn us or help us (this seems quite common).

I also think "God" (which I view as the emergent and intelligent spirit of Love in the Universe in which we all play a role) can help us too.

Not a simple answer, but that's my $0.02.

By the way, the author warns us of "magical thinking."

Well, guess what? Magic is real. The word magic may have negative connotations, so how about "intention externalized via procedure or ritual"?

I think the placebo effect is nothing more than magic at work. In fact, I read about a study recently that demonstrated that placebos are effective *even if* the patient knows that it's a placebo! This finding would back up the idea that it's actually the ritualized intention, or magic, that is having the effect (although magic that the practicer believes will work is almost certainly more effective).

There was a typos in one of Matt Rouge's comments--the "can" should be "can't" in:
"You can't disagree with anything the group believes left [lest--2nd typo] you be ostracized and denounced. You can't be a card-carrying skeptic and believe in God, ghosts, psi, the Afterlife, or anything else deemed heterodox."

There was a cartoon about 20-30 years ago by a guy named Larry Brilliant whose picture was of Diogenes and whose caption (maybe not original with him) was, "I've given up on the search for truth and am now looking for a good fantasy."

"There was a typos"--Oops, I've fallen afoul of the Internet law about posting a correction! (I forget the law's name.)

"If you can banish or minimize stress, fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions by convincing yourself that higher powers are on your side, then why not believe it?"

One of his close friends said of militant atheist A.J. ayers, "He was much nicer after he 'died.'" (He had an NDE.)


Bruce, no one, and I were recently having a debate and it turns out we have experienced a strange proclivity to making typos on this blog (well, Bruce is perhaps immune, but no one and I are not).

I make the craziest, dumbest typos here. I don't know why. It's a paranormal phenomenon.



" well, Bruce is perhaps immune [to typos] but no one and I are not."

Hardly immune, Matt (as I've mentioned). Just crazy and obsessive enough to fix 'em. :o)

It's like a typographical Bermuda triangle!

The only one not affected is Michael himself. Coincidence?!


You have an edit button on your interface? :) I know I'd use it a lot if I had one. :)

Matt, I write my posts first in a simple word processing program (which underlines misspelled words, by the way) and then paste them online. And because I save them in that program, I never run the risk of losing them.

Michael, once again you've written a post that helps me to think about stuff that's really important to me. Thanks!

So this is by way of tossing around a few ideas that occur to me.

"From what I've experienced, the belief that you have a guardian angel or a "spirit team" on your side engenders a certain humility and gratitude."

I myself haven't had experiences that give me clear, first-hand knowledge of guardian angels or spiritual helpers. This doesn't mean I don't think such entities exist--I'm pretty certain they do for many reasons, and I'm probably missing an important piece of the puzzle by lacking such experience.

But for me, things work differently. While many people say the main lesson they learn from their mystical encounters is that spiritual beings, quite separate from themselves, are 100% real, my own experiences have taught me just the opposite.

Time and again, my experiences in altered consciousness led me to a state where I knew--absolutely knew--that there IS no other outside myself. But I also knew that "myself" is really, really, big! In those experiences, in other words, I felt myself to be God.

Here's another way to say it: I knew that *I am the spirit team you are talking about*. Because that's what God is--the aggregate of all of us in and out of the physical realm. And when I pray, my sense is that I'm not calling upon spirits who reside outside me, but on other parts of myself.

For me, while I sometimes try to picture an external helper while praying, it never really works. I experience prayer as a gathering together of all the various parts of myself--some of which I'm conscious of, and many, or even most of which, I'm not.

So there's somewhat a feeling of talking to myself, and somewhat a feeling of talking to someone else.

Now you might say, "Well what's the difference? The net effect is the same, right?" And I can't argue with that. All I can do is report the way these things happen and feel to me.

By the way, in describing my excursions into altered states, I always hesitate to say "I felt myself to be God". It sounds like I'm guilty of one of the worst sins imaginable--unbridled grandiosity.

Well, this is where that humility you speak of comes in. Because I know that 99.999% of the time I'm not experiencing myself as the fully-realized God. I'm just Bruce, having had some great experiences. And, as I manifest here, I'm incredibly (and sadly) prone to feeling better than you, or, on the other hand, less worthy than you.

"If you can banish or minimize stress, fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions by convincing yourself that higher powers are on your side, then why not believe it?"

For me, it's never been a question of convincing myself--or of tricking myself into believing, as FDRLincoln said--but of allowing myself to stay open to what's real.

I'm not sure I would encourage anyone to believe anything. I've had so many beliefs in my life that have come and gone, that I tend not to trust anything I merely believe.

What matters to me these days is knowing, which, it seems to me, comes only through experiencing.

And that's why I get excited by signs that we're opening up to the value of spiritual experience--as in the NDE books we discuss, the New York Times article I linked to recently on psychedelic research, and all the commenters who share their own spiritual encounters or happenings.

skeptic/scientific method

here is an interesting opinion from an outstanding scientist:

"...For instance, the scientific article says, perhaps, something like this: "The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one-half in a period of two weeks." Now, what does that mean?

It means that phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat (and also in mine, and yours) is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago, but that all of the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced, and the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind, what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week's potatoes! That is what now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago -- a mind which has long ago been replaced.

This is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms, to note that the thing which I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, then go out; always new atoms but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.
...If we take everything into account, not only what the ancients knew, but all of what we know today that they didn't know, then I think that we must frankly admit that we do not know."
"The Value of Science "
Richard Feynman

Bruce said:

I'm not sure I would encourage anyone to believe anything. I've had so many beliefs in my life that have come and gone, that I tend not to trust anything I merely believe.

What matters to me these days is knowing, which, it seems to me, comes only through experiencing.

This is how I feel as well. I very much appreciate your posts, Bruce. I tend to look for them because we often seem to be on the same page.

I have never had the experience of "being" God, but I have experienced "knowing" there is no inner or outer. The way it came to me was: during meditation, a gong sounded outside and suddenly the thought occurred to me (I unequivocally knew) that "These are equally things that I experience." The "these" included the bird chirping outside, my aching knee, the gong, my own thoughts and feelings. The stunning thing was to know that my thoughts and feelings are no more "me" than the bird.

The idea that we are God is one way of expressing, or experiencing, non-duality. But realizing that could NOT lead to grandiosity since if I'm God, so are you. One might say that's Buddhism in a nutshell. Buddhism in another nutshell: not knowing this truth leads to suffering and knowing it liberates you--with knowing understood as realization, or experience.

If God is an aggregate, there are a lot of us in here, and it's no more contradictory to talk of communicating with internal beings than those that appear to be external.

Although I have experienced communication with spirits, in communicating from my side I share your "somewhat a feeling of talking to myself, and somewhat a feeling of talking to someone else." Sometimes the responses, or what I interpret as responses, come in the form of events in daily life or my own thoughts. For me, direct experience with spirits is telepathic. No words at all, but I understand exactly what the words would be if there were words. Much more rarely, in connection with these direct communications, I've sometimes had the sudden experience of other faculties. For example, expanded vision or "knowledge downloads" from which I can retain only an idea or two. One of the reasons I find NDE accounts helpful is that they often include similar experiences, which I find confirming.

abcdefg, thanks for the kind words and for sharing your experiences. Great to hear from a fellow mystic. :o) (By which I mean anyone who values experience above other ways of knowing.)

It occurs to me that a key misunderstanding of the pseudoskeptic is to confuse knowing and believing. They don't trust what NDErs have to say because they think NDErs are only interpreting and building belief structures.

Unless one has had a compelling mystical experience, it may be difficult to understand that it IS possible to gain knowledge about the afterlife and related matters directly rather than analytically.

Of course, things can get tricky. Back in ordinary consciousness, it can sometimes be challenging to separate true spiritual knowing from interpretation. Matt and I were talking about that recently.

"The idea that we are God is one way of expressing, or experiencing, non-duality. But realizing that could NOT lead to grandiosity since if I'm God, so are you"

Exactly. (And by "realizing," I'm certain you mean learning it experientially.)

In knowing myself as God, I'm elevating us all simultaneously.

"Much more rarely, in connection with these direct communications, I've sometimes had the sudden experience of other faculties. For example, expanded vision or "knowledge downloads" from which I can retain only an idea or two."

I haven't had this experience but I've heard about it from so many sources I have no doubt it happens.

Guys who write about how meaningless life is are not really offering much in terms of self help, or whatever they're trying to sell. The proof is in the pudding, and if these types of people are uninspired and miserable versus those who view life as meaningful, then it's obvious which philosophy is the better one.

The afterlife is not just a speculative claim like there may be unicorns or there may be green cheese on the other side of the moon. There have been top scientists, genuine mediums, and thousands of others including empirical investigators,who experienced psi and afterlife communication. ''wishful thinking''Humbug.

''wishful thinking''Humbug.

Does this ending mean that what your just wrote were wishful thinking?

yeah but Bill genuine mediums are hard to come by in these modern times, My own guess out of all mediums who claim communication with spirits only about 30% are legit, maybe even thats pushing it.

The internet doesn't help since so much information about a person can be fished out online, I've even heard a Private Investigator claim he had people claiming to be mediums coming to him to get information on clients, If this is true it boggles the mind, Private Investigators don't come cheap.

I do electronic voice phenomena experiments, and capture voices,whispering voices that's not supposed to be there, and they show on the waveform software..At times i will capture voices that seem to refer to me.I ofen hear ''I hate you'' and I also have captured ''the devil wants you''ghostly stuff i can tell you..EVP is down to interpretation,but the point is,spooky voices can be captured that are not supposed to be there.EVP captures can present strong objective evidence for the afterlife,but it is very underestimated and largely ignored, which i find perplexing.

Bill I find the interaction EVP's far more convincing not the ones with just random comments those ones might just be from left over residue energy or even radio waves, the interaction ones seem to be quite rare but do happen, I would love to see how the skeptics explain those ones, EVP's in fact are probably the most compelling evidence for there being an afterlife more so than Mediumship/NDE's etc.

I also wonder why EVPs are overlooked. Direct Radio Voice, carried out by people like Marcello Bacci and Anabella Cardosa is very hard to explain, especially in controlled conditions. Both experimenters subjected themselves to independent tests, Bacci's experiment went as far as removing all the valves in the radio and switching it off and voices still came though and responded intelligently to the questions posed. An engineer at the experiment ruled that it was impossible for voices to come through under such conditions by normal means and examined the radio for any trickery. EVPs that you hear on ghost shows are suspect at best, but when you get DVRs in controlled sittings it is hard to explain them away.

Good introduction to Bacci:

There are two reasons why I don't focus on EVPs.

1) Many of the EVPs I've heard sound like random noise to me. If you play the noise backward and forward at different speeds, you can convince yourself you're hearing a phrase, but this is likely to be an artifact produced by the mind's tendency to impose order on randomness (like seeing pictures in ink blots or a face in the moon).

2) Some EVP investigators don't take proper precautions against fraud. A few years ago there was a Belgian couple who claimed to be obtaining all kinds of EVP/ITC phenomena, but they wouldn't let anyone monitor their work because they didn't want negative, skeptical attitudes to affect the results. Of course this means non-participants just had to take their word for it, which I'm not willing to do. I have seen other examples of carelessness and unprofessionalism on EVP sites, such as obviously Photoshopped images that were passed off as ITC communications (over a TV set).

I'm not saying there's no value to the field, but finding the worthwhile results is akin to looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

From a personal point of view if i capture a random house sound I instantly regonise it as being so,taps.bangs,knocks,shuffling,do not sound like voices with emotion to my ears..At times i have asked my ma if she can hear anything, and she has no idea about EVP.Her response has been ''A man's voice''I also operate a ghost box radio sweep,and a spirit box research ITC device which does something anomalous, details will follow,pressed for time right now.

I agree with you Michael, those are the EVPS I am refering too that are dubious at best. However, the experiments on Direct Radio Voice in controlled settings seem hardly explainable by normal means. Again like a good medium, it is rare to get genuine DRV

ps- I have seen the photos of alleged spirit world contacts from the Belgian couple, the woman who they claim is an etheral being (Swejen Salfer)looks EXACTLY like Maggy Harsch-Fiscbach I would like the couple to explain how an "etheral being" who has allegedly never existed can look identical to the experimenterm, really the similarities are uncanny. Now the more I think about it EVP and ITC work is probably not given as serious a look as other paranormal categories because it simply is too easy to manipulate. The ITC field seems wripe with the credulous. It appears once an ITC or EVP researcher gets past the skeptical "hump" into the matter that they then turn a blind eye to anything suspect because their minds are already made up. At least that is what appears to go on. That is why out of all the ITC work, Bacci seems to be the real deal. He is skeptical himself and is never satisfied with his results which is what I like to hear, especially in a subcategory of the paranormal field that can easily turn into fantasy land rather than focusing on genuine contact.

guys the real deal is that my ghosbox pulls in sentences at a rate of 100ms,which means it stays on a radion station for no longer than a tenth of a second,im not joking

In reference to magical thinking I find personally that my experiences make me much more grounded. So much so, I wish I had the luxury of magical thinking again. When you experience you simply know, and I find it makes me feel more serious and much humbled. I remember the day when my husband returned home at night and let our dog out the door. We have a driver (common in Asia), and the door was obscured by a wall behind me. The words came in my head "the dog's outside". The driver was backing the car in and I go through the dialogue in my head - well she usually gets out of the way, then thought.. well last week she did sit on the drive! All the while chatting to myself in my head. Next thing a picture appeared like a movie screen in front of me with backing lights and the dog almost under the car. I could feel a force pull me from the seat and my breathing go into flight. Not that I was previously worried at all, and I think they all but said to me - "move, don't just sit there contemplating". I turned to see the dog as in the picture given to me, almost under the car. And ran out with my hand up to stop him backing.

I wouldn't have a dog today without them - and I am sure they get exasperated with me sometimes while I deliberate over what is coming in my head. Yesterday I was house cleaning, and the word 'ice cream' came in to my head. And I remembered I had made some weeks before. I went to the freezer and saw I had left the door ajar that morning so it was almost completely defrosted. "Thank- you" I say to them, and I mean it. I am so grateful for them in my life. If anything I feel inadequate and I know they don't want me to feel that - in that I need to give more to others. It a sharing thing - my father showed himself in spirit form a few weeks ago to my cousin, the night before her father ( his brother) died. She told my mother, and I know this knowledge only brings peace to others. Cheers Lyn.

Lynn, I agree that such messages - usually nonverbal - can be enormously helpful in keeping us grounded. At the very least they offer access to a part of the mind that we normally ignore.

Bill, your experiments are interesting. I didn't mean too suggest that all EVP is delusional, only that some of it is. It can be difficult to desperate the wheat from the chaff.

Ray, the uncritical acceptance of the Belgian couple's claims by the ITC community is a large part of what soured me on the whole thing. Plus, there were experiments carried out by Mark Macy in which major characters and story elements from Philip Jose Farmer's "Riverworld" fantasy series showed up. Even when Macy and colleagues were apprised of these obvious parallels, they continued to insist the communications were genuine. I found this very odd.

Autocorrect is not my friend. In the comment above I meant to type "separate the wheat from the chaff."

Even great writers are not immune to the typgraphical Bermuda triangle!

I know this site is somewhat philosophical in orientation and I hope that by explaining some of my experiences, that people will see how this 'communication' comes to me and others and affects our lives'. This is not an isolated example, and much of what is communicated goes against my understanding at the time. You can see how this critical, directed and intelligent discourse bears no relation to mystical, magical explanations that skeptics throw carte blanche. I am a trained psychiatric nurse and two thirds through a psychology degree, and can wax lyrically through research and psychological aspects to thinking as good as the rest. But I bow to the intelligence that interrupts my thoughts, pulls me from chairs etc, to help me in life, as it would be unintelligent of me to not to. Cheers Lyn

off topic a bit, but Robert McLuhan has an excellent post up concerning distressing NDEs

Fascinating because he is emphasizing that distressing or hellish NDEs are under-reported, probably greatly so, because a) they don't feel good b) don't sell and c) run contrary to the beliefs formed around positive NDEs; beliefs that are becoming a kind of psuedo-religion. Also, who has an unpleasant NDE and who has a positive one reveals less apparent correlation to mind set of the individual experiencer than one would think. Finally, distressing NDEs appear to have as much impact on the experiencer as do positive NDEs; only the impact is quite negative in some cases and can lead to years of depression and nihilistic outlooks.

Ultimately, for me, the post points to what I always suspected. Tibetan Buddhism and its Book of the Dead has it about right concerning the bardos and the possibility of encountering wrathful entities and hellish realms being about equal to the possibility of encountering the more pleasant realms and beings that we more often discuss.

I think the post is a must read - it even links to this blog!

no one, that is the strangest NDA I've ever read, it's certainly worth a trip over to the link. For some reason I'm reminded of what Seth wrote in one of Jane Roberts' books, that whatever we experience when we pass over we create ourselves. Seth wrote about himself and another spirit creating a battle between two famous religious figures for the benefit of man who had a fixed idea about this occurring. According to Seth, whatever you think awaits you is what you'll find. It takes a while for the spirit to figure this out, but eventually most do. This might not either conflict with what the Tibetan Book of the Dead says either. As with so many things Seth wrote, the concept struck for some reason as being true. I just have a feeling if there is an afterlife, there's much more to NDAs than what they appear to be.

On the other hand, if you believe there's no one looking out for you and you're on your own, you tend to develop a much more ego-centered attitude, if only in self-defense. This is natural. You're a stranger and afraid in a world you never made, so you'd better have the biggest, baddest ego on the block. Otherwise how can you protect yourself in a dangerous and uncaring world? No one has your back, so you have to be tough, aggressive, vigilant, and above all, better than anyone else (however you define "better" in your particular social circle - smarter, more attractive, more talented, etc.).

Hi Michael, I am afraid you have committed some awful logical fallacies. As an Atheist I do not believe there is someone up there looking out for us. All we have is each other. This does not in anyway make Atheists egoistic. In fact research has shown that Atheists are much more likely to be motivated by compassion and kindness compared to religious and new age woo meisters.

Also there is a strong correlation between religion and violence. A person that commits a violent crime is more likely to be religious.

I enjoy your blog posts Michael, but you must not attack strawmen and live in denial.

Atheism is a beautiful and awe inspiring philosophy and way of life. The world would be a much better place if there were more Atheists in it.

Sorry but I am curious, why is everyone talking about the Tibetan book of the dead and other ancient texts? We must be extremely skeptical of ancient texts, as they are largely based on superstitious beliefs and logical fallacies.

The comments to this entry are closed.