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SHATTERED FAITH NET

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THE FORWARD BY YVONNE PERRY

The thought processes of some people don‘t always allow for the possibility that the round peg may fit the square hole if the square hole is big enough.

Round peg, square hole? That’s me! My eyes perked up when I read that comment by Nick Oliva, and I knew I was going to enjoy reading the rest of this book.
Nick. Me. Neither of us fit the expected mold and both of us have little use for the practices and dogmatic beliefs imposed upon society by organized religions. All my life, I have butted heads with people who find it difficult to relate with me because I have an alternate viewpoint due to the mystical experiences I’ve had.

Nick chose to remove himself from the abuse of controlling religious leaders. I was “removed” from religion in one fell swoop when the universe (spirit, my soul, God, higher self, or whatever you want to call it) booted me out of the church, its teachings, my marriage, my sense of security, and the belief system that I had tenaciously clung to for forty years. I took what was left of my paranormal ass and went to the corner of my pigeon hole to reevaluate what was working in my life and what wasn’t. There was a lot of garbage to sort through as I examined each piece of black-robed ideology and researched modern Christianity back to its roots.

Nick nailed it when he wrote, “I‘m trying to get people to understand that they are responsible for their actions, not―the Lord.” That’s what I’ve been trying to help people understand for the past ten years. When my life fell apart, I soon discovered that it was up to me—not God, the church, or anyone else—to put it back together. What a difference that discovery has made for me. But, try explaining that to folks who have a rigid indoctrinated view of how life and death should operate.

As one who has had two near-death experiences (NDE) and lived to write a book about them, I was very interested to read what Nick had to say about his own near death experience, which occurred when his heart stopped beating for fourteen seconds as he was literally trying to take a shit. You laughed, I heard you! And, you’ll laugh at the wit, logic, and satire Nick Oliva uses to battle the philosophies of the Atheists and Christians who harshly responded to his posts in an online forum. You may also feel angry when you read the chapter titled “The Real Story of the Christian Bible, or that Black Book You’re Holding Isn’t What You Think It Is.” Seventeen hundred years has made a big difference in the “sacred” text!

I can understand Nick’s hesitancy to write about his near-death experience. Maybe that is why he left it for the last course—like a sweet dessert for this meat-heavy meal.

Death is not something most people want to talk about and yet it is something every one of us will ultimately have to face. I’ve never met any Near Death Experiencer who doesn’t tell me that their experience changed his or her life.

The author’s account of his other-world experience gives us encouragement that our fears about what lies beyond the grave are merely preconceived notions passed from one generation to the next. Those, who like Nick and myself, that have experienced an NDE, may find a metaphysical view of life and death more in line with the laws that are written in their hearts rather than on tablets of stone or in the New Times Roman, black leather, gold-leafed, silky-pages of the King James Version.

I’m glad to have found a friend who is brave enough to write his story and approach the fallacies of religion. I hope this book will open some eyes that have been nailed shut like the coffin they avoid peering into. I know of nothing that is deader than someone who will not allow room to question his or her beliefs. As Nick writes, “To not acknowledge the fact that one could be wrong is to show the greatest ignorance to life itself.” Yet, when it comes to discussing anything spiritual that does involve Jesus Christ, Christianity, or religion, Nick’s reason and logic will probably hit a brick wall—especially when presented to fundamentalists who want to legislate their staunch morals through political leaders.

You may think that I hate those who fill the church pews on Sunday or preach the “not-so-good-news.” I mean, what’s so good about being told that you’re a sinner bound for hell and that you must believe a certain way to avoid damnation? I don’t hate anyone, but I do hate the behavior of some. Like Nick, I can accept anyone who treats others with love and respect. As long as he or she doesn’t try to convert me to his or her way of thinking, it really doesn‘t matter to me what he or she believes or does—as long as he or she does no harm to anyone else in the process.

“If we all could keep our fear, greed, and pride at bay we could accomplish great things in the course of human history.”…Just imagine how the world would change if we took Nick’s words to heart and started practicing them.

Shattered Faith: To Believe or Not To Believe truly is a gift to humanity. If only we would heed the advice this book contains. I invite you to put down your weapon (fear), stop hating those you don‘t understand, and prepare to be tolerant as you delve into this gift.

Yvonne Perry

Author of RIGHT TO RECOVER: Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife

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 Waves of Eternity (Photo by Author)

Dedicated to the late  William N. Hilderscheid (Billy)

There comes a point in one’s life when looking at obituaries and seeing your parent’s friends and acquaintances through the years changes gradually, and those names you are reading become your friends and acquaintances and the mild emotional twists in your gut become major ones.  You begin to hear the internal clocking ticking and your steps are more cautious, less risky as the body is not as lithe and the time for healing longer-and more painful in all aspects of life-financial, physical and mental.   

Jackson Browne’s lament “Running on Empty” from the early seventies seems a tad over-reactive worrying about such things at such a young age, but he was very aware of what the future held.  Unfortunately, no one expects the “salad days” of youth to disappear, even when one writes and sings about it.

“In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on….

In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on…”

And then there’s the great lyricist Robert Hunter:

“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will”

Great artists see things that the general population does not.  They destroy their art to create new art.  They may be tortured souls with the information that they discover, that most have no time or inklings to ponder……..but sooner or later will have to deal with, as the ravages of time move forward and Mother Nature clears the forest for the younger saplings to survive.  The question is-Do you have any drive or wants to “pay it forward?”  Do you want to give something back to humanity to counter the greed, fear, avarice, and selfishness of the world and begin to sow seeds of kindness, confidence, selflessness, and the surrender to the forces of the fate and spirituality?  Do you want to even try and give something back before you dissipate and your temporal being vanishes from the planet?  If you do, then do it now.  Don’t wait to tell someone you care, don’t wait to lend a hand or give someone an unexpected positive boost.  What is it that you are you waiting for?  Is it because no one did for you?  Is it the bitterness and the rejection of youthful dreams because it “just didn’t work out?”  Time is short, don’t wait until you are alone in the world sitting or laying in a nursing home with a stranger wiping drool from your cheek.  DO IT NOW!   You might make a huge difference in someone’s life, even if you can’t make a damn difference in your children’s or your own.  The circle goes round, you can’t go back and you can’t stand still……………..best to give of yourself and whatever you can, while you can.  It will feel good to watch the change occur as the same investment you make takes hold, just don’t expect anything back and keep on, keepin’ on.  Give back in any way you can, be it holding a door open for someone to handing a sandwich to a starving homeless person.  No one’s asking you to open your bank account and clear it out, although those who have made more money than Croceus do for the most part set up foundations and trusts to help their fellow humans.  Do what you can, when you can.  It’s not hard and it’s contagious.

     The Hindu Deity Krishna

An article in the Online Times from Matthew Parris brought this issue to my attention.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article4023121.ece

“….on Monday a new law came into force requiring fortune-tellers, clairvoyants, astrologers and mediums to stipulate explicitly that their services are for “entertainment only.”

Well, trades descriptions legislation is anciently established; but in the realms of the spirit, prophecy, invisible worlds, ghosts and human souls, it has generally been felt that the whole thing is too cloudy for law. By bringing access to other spiritual dimensions into line with access to (say) a British Airways club class lounge, and by deeming in law – for that is what this measure does – that claims about worlds undreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio, are false, Parliament has taken a serious step in principle, even if the measure itself is trivial and most clairvoyants are only jokers anyway.

What, for instance, about the “faith” community? Perhaps it’s there in the legislative small print already. There will have to be an exception in law for “religions”. Whereupon clairvoyants will presumably rename themselves spiritualists. And spiritualists will presumably claim the status of a religion. Whereupon lawmakers will stipulate that a “religion” has to centre around a deity. Whereupon Buddhism will cease to be a “religion..”

To the casual observer, “what’s the harm?”  To the overall philosphy of “enlightened thought” there trouble in River City and it’s not the kind of pool one is used to shooting in the backroom.  To kneel in a confessional and be absolved from “sins” is no less akin to being in a Native American sweat lodge in the presence of a Shaman, or meditating quietly with a group leader, or being in the presence of a someone who claims to be clairvoyant and speaks in tongues, or polygamists banding together in closed communities in the name of their one and only God.  Why should a person who claims to have a connection with God have to put a sign up that says “for entertainment purposes only?”  Because no one has locked-up publishing and motion picture rights and can prove their God’s signature entitles them to claim that they, and they only, have an exclusive right to act as if they have the best intentions or whether they are collecting tax free money to further their own beliefs at the expense of the good intentioned parishioners across the street, that they believe are lost souls.  Where can the line be drawn?  At what point does this become nonsense?

To close, I can say it no better than Mr. Parris so I will quote his last paragraph:

…Well you see the philosophical marsh into which this new principle leads. Is Parliament aware of any harder evidence for the efficacy of faith-healing than for the reliability of clairvoyance? I’d like to hear it. Otherwise, let the collecting boxes in church display a sign “for entertainment purposes only” and let Catholics buy candles to light “for entertainment purposes only”; and let trips to Lourdes be sold “for entertainment purposes only”. And let the raiment of the priest administering the Sacrament be embroidered likewise.

 Ray Kurzweil, a digital genius in his own right, ingests close to 200 different vitamins and extracts a day, employing a person who does nothing but handle the dissemination of the proper pills at the proper times.  It is his attempt at longevity; longevity to keep him alive for fifty more years.  Kurzweil, has been a pioneer in the invention and application of speech recognition technology, optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis,  and the most popular electronic keyboard instruments in music. He is the author of several books his latest, “The Singularity is Near.”  A production company has purchased the motion picture rights to The Singularity is NearFantastic Voyage, andThe Age of Spiritual Machines including the rights to Kurzweil’s life and ideas for the film Transcendent Man. To quote his public relations release on his latest book “The Singularity Is Near” portrays what life will be like after this event a human-machine civilization where our experiences shift from real reality to virtual reality and where our intelligence becomes non-biological and trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence. In practical terms, this means that human aging and pollution will be reversed, world hunger will be solved, and our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death.”  Now there’s a pretty impressive release, but for Kurzweil it is “a matter of fact.”

Indeed, if there are long term solutions to the problematic issues of continued human existence fighting nature and ourselves on two different fronts, taking artificial intelligence and transferring our “engrams” or electrical impulses of who we are in essence, could have the potential for immortality and perhaps finally-long term wisdom.  Now, the question is “who gets to have the dubious privilege of living forever?”  Is this the final fight to decide who rules and who is decimated or are will we ever be able to co-exist with each other?

That is the ultimate question.  Without the dependency on biological degradation, who wouldn’t want to live forever?  That question beckons a whole new set of dangers as well as philosophical ponderings.  It may happen in the near future – it is no doubt happening in some government lab right now.

That is the ultimate question.  Without the dependency on biological degradation, who wouldn’t want to live forever?  That question beckons a whole new set of dangers as well as philosophical ponderings.  It could happen in the near future or who knows-it is not doubt being tested in some government lab right now. Extending the human race’s capability to race to the stars is important as we only have so much time left in our sun’s capability to produce fusionable energy before it burns out, or some other calamity occurs.  We need to establish other possible alternatives to allow our species to live on; we owe it to ourselves.  We may have a billion years before that happens, and some would say it doesn’t matter we will become extinct by our own hands, and that may be true, however, I vote for life to continue living at all costs.  It will happen sooner than you think and I wish I was born now – in the era that will change the longevity of humanity forever.

    Any way of life that involves spiritual thinking or should I say metaphysical thought can be termed some sort of a religion if there is a Deity or Deities that are venerated or worshiped.  The root of the word “religion” can be found as the Latin word religare (re: back, and ligare: to bind), so that one is tied to or bound to that ritual that makes up that school of thought. The word relic comes from a similar root as well as it means “from the past.”  Living with different points of view results in different “dogma” whether it is “religious” or a life experience.  Zen is nothingness….to be in a Zen state is to be a state of nothingness.  Buddhism is more of a way of life as no “god” is venerated so I think the word “organized” is the source of confusion of terms that most get tripped up on.  All religions have source points from older religions and all life experiences that constitute a “metaphysical belief” system or disciplined regimen have common threads so to say that sticking with “one” religion or philosophy is a moot point as they are all merged versions of each other in some sense.

     Christianity itself is a composite of older religions and the schism of Martin Luther in the year 1517 along with the not so coincidental widespread use of the Guttenberg printing press, began the different directions of “protesting religion” hence Protestantism.  Catholicism itself is rooted and it’s holidays based on the god with the “halo” or Helios also known as Ra the Egyptian Sun God that was the basis of worship in King Constantine’s Empire in 312 AD when the Holy Roman Catholic Church merged with the Paganism of Constantine to reform the entire European Empire.  Although howls of protest continue on to this day from theologians entrenched in Catholicism, ancient Mithraism was an influence as well and much of the old legends coincide with many of the precepts of Christianity.  Acceptance of new religions required morphing of past rituals in order for any new religion to prosper and this is precisely how Catholicism did spread with little resistance other than the Jewish order that knew Judaism was the basis from whence the schism developed in the first place.  Until persecutions began after overzealous fanatics convinced the faithful to resort to bloody violence, Jews paid little mind to the lifting of their holy words of the Old Testament because of this morphed transition.

     One can believe in Buddhist principles and not be Buddhist.  The acceptance of Christ defines one as Christian.  To be honest I don’t split hairs as billions of beings on this earth all believe in something different than the person next to them and that includes those of the same faith.  One’s mind decides what image their god is, not an organized religion and that is the point.  The rest is just debate over semantics of, why, where, who, and when.  Here’s the secret-No One Knows.  The interpretation of that quote itself is in the Rig Veda one of the oldest religious texts in the world, predating the “Bible” by thousands of years.  What you think and feel is totally different than the guy next to you no matter if you both are indoctrinated in the same religion.  The abstract image that your brain produces is unique to you.  Gods are creations of man and to begin to separate and get totally technical over the four ‘w’s is mentally exhausting for me.  It doesn’t matter.  Even Christianity, (that would be the new members that were converted to Judaism without circumcision or dietary laws) had over 17 sects by 100 AD all of which were radically different from each other.
 

     In the end, you have the choice to believe in the self and your ability to draw on the energy inside and that is the essence of the metaphysical and hence religion’s essence as well, it just that we externalize those wants and feelings to solidify our security factor in numbers and the manipulative power mongers and opportunists take advantage of it as they have throughout history.  Is there a God?  I think so, therefore there is.  Atheists may cringe at that thought but again, there is no absolute proof either way and to reduce the debate to the usual Spaghetti Monster tactic doesn’t prove or probe what is deep seated in our human psyche. God? In what form? The answer is the form I choose as I can only think for me.  Only I can live my life and die when the time comes. No matter what your choice, your brain decides what imagery you choose, it is the only thing you have, you are the only person that can be in your reality of life on earth to think. I have no use for man-made ditherings of belief so I believe in the energy of life (God) and myself as the two are inseparable. 

     It takes conviction and the path is only for those who are strong as it is the road not taken and it is the one path that gets the most abuse from both devout believers and atheists (believe me).  I don’t really care, my life is full and my worries few.  I’ve died and gone over and as beautiful as the experience was, it is much better to be alive than absorbed by eternity. 

     Live life fully and don’t question it’s why, where, who, and when’s.”

PASS IT ON TO ALL YOU KNOW THAT NEED TO KNOW
Yvonne Perry is a fellow writer and after having read her book, “The Right to Recover,” I am forwarding this information to all that I know in the hopes that they read and understand that we here in the United States are being misled as to what researchers want to use for stem cells that are not human embryos as has been misstated over and over by groups that do not want to educate themselves.
I have a case of severe diabetes, without this research I will die prematurely no matter what steps I can take now. My mother died at age 67, my brothers have it and millions of others in this country need a cure, NOW! Yvonne explains that the clump of cells called blastocysts are not living human entities. If you have family, friends, or loved ones that have life threatening diseases you need to read how close we are to curing these problems if our government would stop being pressured by special interest groups that have it all wrong. There is a forward by Rev. Dan Bloodworth a strong supporter of Yvonne’s, with a Biblical Perspective on stem cell research.
Anything you can or are willing to do to help people understand the importance of federal funding for all types of stem cell research is much appreciated—especially by those who currently suffer with an illness or condition that might be helped by the derived technology and treatments.

Yvonne Perry has taken a courageous stand by tackling and dissecting these issues without predjudicial preconceived emotion. The biggest obstacle to this research is the inclusion of religious aspects in the determination that a blastocyst or a pile of benign cells constitutes human life, a grave error of thought. After all, is there a ceremony or last rites given to these cells? They are not inside a woman’s uterus, they have not been given DNA to substantiate they are human and can take the form of whatever host they are merged into. I am a diabetic. I will die along with millions of others prematurely. With one injection of stem cells, in the near future my pancreas could grow back and I would be able to stop shooting insulin and going into insulin shock wearing my organs down and live a normal life. All I need is the ability of these dedicated researchers to be allowed to use funding to further the research to make it all happen for millions of us. Read the book before you go off about the “point that life begins” and begin to understand how much damage is being done because of a lack of understanding of that very question.