“I’m in a deep and painful spiritual crisis. Two years ago I discovered the concept of near-death experiences, which opened me up to this wonderful body of knowledge that said we had nothing to fear about the afterlife, as long as we lived with love above all else, towards all others and ourselves. While it sounds more awesome than anything else I’ve ever heard, last year my friend committed suicide, and it’s made me question everything. The more I try to figure out what’s going on in this world, the less I understand, and the more fearful I become. I haven’t had one moment’s peace in my mind for weeks, neither when I’m awake nor asleep. As a chaplain and near-death experiencer, I thought you might understand my troubles better than most. There are Christians out there who say that experiences like yours, experiences which say that a person does not have to be a fundamentalist Christian, or a Christian at all, to get into heaven, that there’s no eternal hell, that concepts like reincarnation, spirit guides, and extraterrestrials are true, yet are elaborate tricks by Satan to deceive us so that when we die Jesus will throw us into hell forever.
“At first I dismissed these notions, but as the weeks passed, they grew in the back of my mind, and now my fears force me to wonder, what if it’s true? What if there really is a devil? What if NDES, talking with mediums, after-death communications, and other paranormal phenomena are tricks by Satan? How would I know? Worse, what if they’re not tricks but I think they are, and Jesus or an angel appears to me and I think it’s a demonic deception? I’d be calling something of God, evil! But how could I tell the difference, when it’s written that Satan disguises himself as a being of light and can perform miracles? Not even looking at the other world religions, there are over two dozen versions of the Bible and tens of thousands of Christian denominations, each church with their own interpretation of the Bible to show only they know the true way to heaven and following any other branch leads straight to eternal damnation.
“After 2,000 years, how could anyone possibly know? What kind of master is the creator of the universe? Does He really delight in hearing screams of eternally-tormented souls because justice demands it, as I have seen some Christians write? Does He really allow a dark and evil force to tempt us at every possible moment? How can we possibly be expected to know what is true and what is false about anything when the Old Testament forbids us from listening to our hearts and consulting spirits, and the New Testament warns us to be suspicious of people who subtract or add from the gospels? Why would Jesus come to a time and place with such bad record-keeping, knowing the potential existed that as the years went on, his teachings would be abused and confused, and his followers would spiral out of control?
“Is the Bible truly without error, eternal, and unchanging, as I have seen some Christians write? Am I supposed to read it literally, or as a metaphor, or am I supposed to believe some verses at face value and read between the lines of others? How could anyone possibly know what to do with which verse? I feel like I’ve swallowed a terrible poison which has rooted itself in my gut. I fear that when I die, God and Jesus will turn out to be a jealous, vengeful god who will throw me into the fires of hell for all eternity because I didn’t follow the Bible exactly as He wanted me to. But maybe when I die, Jesus and God will be infinitely understanding and loving even if I made mistakes, like the Jesus many NDErs encounter - but what if I die tomorrow and think that what I’m seeing is a trick of the devil? Wouldn’t God have anticipated this issues and know how to convince me that things were as I saw them?
“I often get so lost in my confusion I become paralyzed with fear and anger, many times to the point of weeping. Sometimes I feel the only solution available is to slip into madness. I desperately crave divine guidance and comfort, but it seems that God has either abandoned me or come to hate me, and that leaves me feeling so awfully alone in the world. What are your thoughts?” ….Nate
Obviously, Nate, you’ve never read any of my books. Whether mine or others, you need to do some really deep reading for your very personal questions. Yes, I understand your conundrum, but I also understand that there is no one way to answer your questions and certainly not in a brief e-mail. Still, allow me this…..
Let’s begin at the beginning. Near-death studies cover the gamut of the phenomenon, the good and bad, the joy and the confusion, the heavenly and the hellish. If you’re only read experiencer books, then you will have a very slanted view. There is now emerging what is called “the religion of the resuscitated.” It is true there is complete forgiveness, love, and understanding, for all of us. Yet others contradict that, those who had a more hellish or frightening experience - and some do, both adults and children. We are challenged by that - two versions - two extremes.
What I noticed is that in dying you go to wherever you resonate. We each have a deep energy vibration, a resonance. The frequency of that vibration determines where you go. On the Other Side, it is almost like a “layer cake,” that is to say there are many levels. Some are heavy and dense, darker, and some are light and bright, almost weightless. We call the dense levels “hell” and the lighter levels “heaven.” Yet this arrangement of levels (I counted 11 heavens and 11 hells - but - who really knows), has no top and it has no bottom. You will never rot in some kind of hell, any more than you will play a harp forever in any kind of heaven. There is movement in this construct, and that movement is choice. Apparently we stay wherever we wind-up only as long as it takes us to wake up to who we really are, Sons and Daughters of the Most High, and act accordingly. What better way to “even the scales” than this? When I take a good look at what seems to be the way things really are, I am almost overcome with how fair this is, how incredibly, wonderfully fair.
Among the things we can learn from the near-death phenomenon is how important meditation is and prayer, and that we can help one another to make this world a better place. Our thoughts, what we believe, change as we change, expand as we grow in consciousness. Yes, horrors abound, but realize we are living in the time of the Great Shifting. This event only happens once in every 25,920 years. Are things changing? Yes, and radically. The world we once knew is literally dissolving right before our eyes, and a new world, a new way of doing things is emerging. How things will turn out, we won’t know for about another thirty years or so. I look at what’s happening in the Arab countries (and for Muslims everywhere) and what I see is that Father Abraham’s sons are finally having to face each other, forcefully, to realize that only forgiveness and reconciliation will make a difference, will heal old wounds. Sometimes things have to completely break down before light comes in and transforms what was there. That’s what happened to me when I died three times in three months in 1977. It took that type of blow, the utter ending of the way I was living and thinking, to turn me around and help me to grow and expand and rediscover my life, my world. It was a time for me of utter destruction that led to the miracle of resurrection.
I could go on and on, but there’s not enough time in one day for me to accomplish all that I should. Sorry. What I recommend for you right now are several things. Read two books as soon as you can: Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story
and Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience
. I wrote both of them. Then contact the Centers for Spiritual Living. These are the churches that came into being and grew because of the work of Ernest Holmes. He long passed away, but he was an incredible thinker and doer, and he gave us the book Science of Mind
. Their first year class on “spiritual mind treatments” (affirmative prayer) is well worth taking. No, you don’t have to join the church to take the class. I took it after I died. A wise move. Made a huge difference in my understanding of the world and of me. You can attend classes online by accessing www.csl.org/onlineclasses
. The central contact website is www.csl.org
. Their phone number is (720) 496-1370. Just get some information, look it over and see how you feel about it. If that doesn’t work for you, take up mindfulness training. Wonderful stuff.
Know that you are loved, Nate. You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Many blessings, PMH