Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Introducing: A Deity Who Makes Sense

Near-Death Experiences, A New Take on Life—Part 3.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

March 2, 2014 - 7:00 am
Page 1 of 3  Next ->   View as Single Page

PJ-Deity-1

“HEAVENLY Father,” take to thee

The supreme iniquity,

Fashioned by thy candid hand

In a moment contraband.

Though to trust us seem to us

More respectful—“we are dust.”

We apologize to Thee

For Thine own Duplicity.

That’s by Emily Dickinson, the wonderful 19th-century American poet who churned out almost two thousand poems in almost total obscurity, too shy to publish more than a handful of them during her lifetime.

“Heavenly Father” is a retort, couched in acid irony, and also a plaint. We are not supposed to be anything much—dust, iniquity. Creating us was a momentary lapse, a glitch. The father is not presumed to be proud of what he has wrought.

And yet, if the creations are that flawed, why blame them for their failings? It seems like a double insult—to be fashioned as something iniquitous, then also held accountable for it. Dickinson raised here a profound question about moral responsibility and the relationship of the creator to his imperfect handiwork.

The poetess died at 55 in 1886, and “Heavenly Father” is considered one of her later poems. That means she wrote it about a hundred years before the publication in 1975 of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life, the first major, groundbreaking book on near-death experiences. At that time, thanks to advances in resuscitation medicine in the 1960s, there was a sudden surge in the numbers of people—ordinary people, not mystics or spiritualists—saying they had had a direct experience of the deity. They gave descriptions of a being more logical, or reasonable, than the one Dickinson had accosted.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I suspect the purpose (there must be a purpose, a loving God is not capricious) of our life's mistakes passing in review is to show us what we still have to work on, of what the barriers that separate us from re-connection to the divine, consist. That of course presupposes that we do NOT live but a single life.

FWIW, my understanding is that originally, multiple lifetimes was part of Christian dogma but the early church (Council of Nicaea, 325 AD) decided allowing the faithful to presume that they had multiple chances to 'get it right' was counter-productive, given the widespread belief that the 'second coming' was right around the corner.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a firm believer that we will all join God -- that we are not "saved" because we were never damned to begin with, or we are saved by grace from the moment we are born.
I have also thought that, for a decent soul at least, a past life review that shows you the balance of the benefit and the harm you have done would be a very good approximation of Purgatory (Purgatory I can believe in, sorta).
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"my understanding is that originally, multiple lifetimes was part of Christian dogma but the early church (Council of Nicaea, 325 AD) decided allowing the faithful to presume that they had multiple chances to 'get it right' was counter-productive, given the widespread belief that the 'second coming' was right around the corner."

There are many "Just So" stories about what the early church believed, which have zero basis in fact.

This is one of them.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything written in these posts absolutely proves the existence of God but it’s difficult to explain why. To thread a needle you need a needle, a “you” and a thread. And all of us here are definitely trying to thread a needle.
The main thing I learned from my NDE is the stark and now obvious, (to me), division of body, spirit and God. The mind is an interface between the ghost and the machine. The spirit is capable of the direct experience of a separate and stunning “light” or “source”. To try to eliminate the things that obscure this light from the spirit is the definition of a spiritual journey. What the nature of this interface is I don’t know. I don’t know why the spirit and body have a symbiotic relationship but they do. I think it may be that the spirit does not experience space and time. I don’t know why in a life review the spirit must “watch” the monkey suit acting like a monkey suit among other monkey suits. In an NDE it is only spirit, the body is gone. The spirit has no clue why the body spins an awful and ugly web of existence by being attracted to some things and repulsed by others. Or why this leads to trying to manipulate the behavior of other monkey suits and how this leads to such misery. But I know that this is the definition of sin, trying to manipulate others for your misguided ends. And I know the definition of arrogance and hubris is the monkey suit pretending to have the attributes of the spirit or God. To not engage in these types of behaviors is the definition of being humble.
Mostly there are just more questions.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"In an NDE it is only spirit, the body is gone."

And not necessarily tied to "near death", instances or episodes of transcendental consciousness.

Thanks for writing.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never told anyone about all this before now. I have found that through meditation if you make the body very still and stop thoughts from coming into your mind, (and practice this for several years), you can feel the spirit directly as in transcendental consciousness. This method has been around for thousands of years of course but to experience it yourself is quite unique.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, and one more thing. Sin is defined as spiritual criminality (not, as you say, manipulating others for misguided ends).
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think there is such a thing as spiritual criminality.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monkey suits, huh? That's all we are to you? Then why do you love your spouse? And what's wrong with murder? Or infanticide?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don’t mean it disrespectfully. I’m trying, (as a monkey suit typing at a computer), to express the jarring impact of a life review as a sudden, unexpected experience. And the spirit is revealed in such contrast as to be a single knowable thing where before it was an ambiguous concept to me. So at the same time the physical being, the body, also stands out in stark relief and I was subjected to a collage of so many ridiculous and often damaging actions that I made. The feeling of gross unfairness as a spirit “observing” the body acting and feeling as bodies do. The disgust and guilt was overwhelming as a memory. I don’t know if any purpose is served by this experience because the spirit and body operate under completely different inner laws. To be clear, I love my spouse and respect human life.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I don’t know why the spirit and body have a symbiotic relationship but they do."

The philosopher Kierkegaard observed that, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” So too with the spirit and body. The spirit seeks to experience physical reality. Physical reality is real, its not a movie. There are physical consequences to actions taken, to decisions made.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the fascinating columns, and for telling us about your own mystical experience.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks, even though I only told about part of it.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
" A G-d you could explain I could not worship. "

Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly.

That which can be comprehended by the finite, is necessarily finite.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy friends
As I likely said elsewhere, I need some level of comprehension to love, obey, or even believe. I may also comprehend -- I believe I do comprehend -- that I grasp but a small part of the Infinite that is God.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
This sort of "empirical evidence" (i.e., all kinds mystical experiences) has existed for as long as the human race. Just what do you think is the origin of religion, or religions? Today, religious apologists tend to take ANY experience that seems to be inconsistent with raw scientific materialism, as evidence for THEIR specific creed. How desperate it all looks.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Deterministic "scientific materialism" has already been proven wrong by quantum mechanics. It humors me to no end that people without a modicum of scientific background will disparage the personal findings of an eminent academic neurosurgeon like Dr Alexander as a "hallucination"

It seems that the nexus between the quantum mechanical nonlocal nature of consciousness and the brain has been found. Roger Penrose is also an eminent physicist and certainly his work will be disparaged by idiots as well.

Willful blindness of the truth applies not just to spirituality, but will land you in jail in criminal court:


http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/orchor.html


http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/scientists-claim-that-quantum-theory-proves-consciousness-moves-to-another-universe-at-death/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2503370/Quantum-physics-proves-IS-afterlife-claims-scientist.html
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes the battles must stop and we must acknowledge, like Socrates in The Apology...

"This I know, that I know nothing."

In such a frame of mind, one might actually learn something :)

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's a good starting place only if it is a STARTING place.


Too many make it a point of pride to remain there, preening in their supposed superiority to those who have actually learned something.

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The most remarkable NDE yet on record occurred in 2008 to neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, who described it in his huge bestseller Proof of Heaven. "
I would beg to differ with you about the most remarkable NDE yet on record.
It is my view that record belongs to Bettie Eadie as described in her NYT #1 best selling book in the 1990's called "Embraced By The Light."
Here is an interview I did with Betty on PJ Lifestyle.
http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/02/03/the-real-purpose-of-near-death-experiences-an-interview-with-betty-j-eadie/
I find it interesting that you NEVER mention Betty's experience or this world-wide bestselling book that spent 120 weeks on or near the top of the NYT's best seller list. Is it because she meets Jesus and you are Jewish? Embraced was a ground breaking book in the NDE field and was the first NDE best seller. No discussion of NDE books should omit Embraced just because it was written in 1992.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eadie is a proven liar. Among other things, she has carefully concealed her Mormon affiliation in order to sucker gullible and Biblically illiterate Christians.


20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know why your PJM colleague Mr. Hornik hasn't taken this up, but I read the piece you're advertising above. In in Eadie flatly states that ALL geniune NDEs involve "The Light" positively identifying itself as "Jesus" by name, and that everyone whose NDE story does not mention that is, put briefly, LYING, at least by omission. Especially Jews, whom Eadie insinuates KNOW that Jesus is the Almighty One Who made all things, but maintain bad faith because of social pressure. I leave it to others to draw their own conclusions, and will not be so discourteous as to express mine here.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
These experiences contradict one another and seem to confirm the religious presuppositions of the subject. If there is any truth in them, it can't be in such particulars.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
So where's the scientific enlightenment that includes confirmation of religious presuppositions? And isn't a being of unconditional love just another, more basic, confirmation of our own narcissism; the "Oh, I'm okay, nothing bad could happen to me" invincibility?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not narcissism, it's optimism. Some people need reassurance that in the end everything will be all right, that the world is One, etc. To others it looks like a copout. There's nothing wrong with either view.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The assumption that we human beings beings are "flawed and weak" is a purely human and, possibly, completely inaccurate projection.

Such kinds of thinking we have been taught as part of our dualistic (and limited and limiting) way of framing the universe, good/evil being only the tip of entire icebergs of pairs of opposites.

As you say, words can only approximate the reality of a NDE (or non NDE) mystical experience, but we may well have had seers, interpreters along this path called life. Those with whom I most resonate when it comes to corresponding with internal experience are J. Krishnamurti (Total Freedom but any of his works, really) Joel Goldsmith (A Parenthesis in Eternity) and Lao Tzu.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, dualism is a fallacy. Truth can exist without lies, but lies cannot exist without truth. The universe has come from a being of Truth, not a dualistic eternal conflict in which truth is forever at war with falsehood.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for reminding me about Ms. Emily and how stunningly beautiful much of her poetry was.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have not had a near death experience, but I have been through a similar kind of life review that terrified me beyond anything. That realization that God is really there, that He really knows everything including every thought...it shook me to the roots of the soul. Yet like these others it came with a feeling of complete and total love despite every stupid or wicked thought or deed. What began with terror ended with wonder and joy.

Which is not to say that God will therefore make every one of us 'ruler over many things.' We don't have to be judged by Him; we condemn ourselves. If we can't be trusted to be 'ruler over many things' then He won't place that trust in us.

As far as comprehending God, the word itself is self-defeating in this respect; to comprehend includes the idea of encircling, figuring it all out top to bottom and all around. God isn't ever going to be comprehensible to a finite mortal mind. However understanding is something that starts at a single point and expands, and God can be increasingly understood through life experience, study, learning, and those incredible moments of epiphany when the eye of the understanding is open and all that plodding takes a sudden leap up to a new plane. We learn line upon line, precept upon precept, and if we continue to strive understanding may grow to significant heights--may even become true wisdom, if still limited by mortality. God is incomprehensible, but we can still come to understand Him in many and important ways, if we will.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I always take heat for this whenever I say it, but I find Dickinson absolutely unreadable. I think her poetry is whiny and predictable - including the example used by the author. Like nearly all her work, it's always about how she suffers at the hands of her own insecurities. I know she is beloved - I just don't know why.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you! My feelings exactly and I'm an English major who had to endure far more of Dickinson's poetry than was at all necessary.

And...are you aware that every poem she wrote can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas"? True story.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just tried it with 'Because I could Not Stop For Death'. It worked!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why, so it does!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also to "Amazing Grace," which takes us closer to the present topic.

"Adon Olam" can be sung to almost any 4/4 melody that exists.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy werewife
Here we are enjoying a good go at Emily, and you point out the facts. It isn't "Yellow Rose" but a consistent meter.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ditto. I suspect it has somthing to do with librul feminism.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All