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Psychic Development And Spiritual Development
On The Purpose of Life
Free Will, Personal Responsibility, and Blame
Everyone is a Medium

Who Is God?

Psychic or Medium?

A medium is someone who can communicate with spirits or who in some way makes it possible for spirits to interact with the physical world. A psychic is someone who has ESP, for example, who is precognitive, can do psychometry, or has other "psychic" powers possibly including mediumship. (Occasionally, below, I use the term "psychic" with the intention that the term exclude mediumship. It should be clear from the context when that is.)

Some mediums say that when they give a reading, some of the psychic information is from spirits and some (such as career advice and the like) is from their own power and they know which is which. In my experience, when I have a psychic perception, I never feel able to say "this is not coming from a spirit". Maybe I am not sensitive enough to have purely psychic perceptions or I am not sensitive enough to tell the difference, or maybe I am biased. I've been brainwashed by society to disbelieve in psychic abilities (really!) so I assume any psychic perceptions are caused by spirits acting on me and not through my own power.

Once I was lying in bed half awake and saw a person in my mind's eye and I somehow knew things about him and got a philosophical message at the same time. Later that day in a mediumship class, I started to give a reading to one of my classmates, and I saw the same person in my mind's eye. My classmate recognized the spirit, from my description, as a relative and said the message was characteristic of him. Another time I was lying in bed half awake and I saw a cat that was mostly white with a few small splotches of color. This is not a very common color scheme for a cat. Later that day an acquaintance started showing me photographs of her pet cats. I took a chance and asked her which one is mostly white with a few splotches of color. She showed me the picture (but it took her a while to figure out that she had never told me about this cat). In the first instance it seems likely that the spirit I saw was communicating with me but in the second case I just assume it was spirits influencing me also.

I have a lot of the strange coincidences happen to me and I never notice anything unusual until after it happens. This makes me think I am being influenced by spirits rather than being psychic. If I was psychic I think I should understand what was going as it was happening rather than seeing it as unusual after the fact.

For example...

I was in the grocery store and was going to get a can of frozen juice. For some reason I walked down the wrong side of the isle with the two rows of low freezers in the middle. I never made this mistake before and it is a very unlikely mistake for me. I'm somewhat compulsive about efficiency in the grocery store. I have Pocket PC with a spread sheet I use to take inventory at home and then sort it by where everything is located in the store so I only have to make one pass through aisles. When I realized my mistake I continued walking all the way around the end and over to the other side to get to the frozen juice. When I got there, the juice wasn't where I expected it. I had a sneaking suspicion that they must be on the "wrong" side, the side I first went down and sure enough they were. Was it psychic or mediumship? I don't know. I assume it was mediumship.

Another time I went shopping for a certain item. My policy is to always go to Wal-Mart first since if they have it, it is most likely cheapest and I don't have to look elsewhere. However, I missed the turn. I continued driving and figured out how to get there by another route. I missed the turn for that route too. I finally ended up near some other stores. Having missed two turns, I was suspicious that something unusual was going on but I told my guides: "I'm sorry, I can't really rely on this because it might be an accidental coincidence." To make a long story short, I went back to Wal-Mart but ended up getting what I was looking for at one of the other stores. So was this psychic? Maybe. I hardly ever miss a turn like that let alone two. But, if I was psychic wouldn't I know I wouldn't find what I was looking for at Wal-Mart instead of accidentally missing a turn? So I assume it was mediumship.

This is one of the reasons I started studying mediumship. I felt like I was being influenced by spirits and I wanted them to talk to me about it so I would know what was going on.

There some are cases when I have psychic perceptions and I feel very strongly that they are coming from a spirit. In general this is when I am doing or practicing mediumship and especially when the perceptions are so strong they are unlike ordinary mental impressions. I often think visually but when a very clear and strong visual image appears in my minds eye in response to a mental question I pose to a spirit, it seems obvious that it is coming from the spirit. Also, my sense that the perceptions are caused by spirits are especially strong when I smell something psychically or when a words seem to be put in my mouth and also in cases when it appears I am being influenced for a purpose. I have recounted some of these experiences in the chapter The Dark Side

Also, there are instance where I feel the presence of a spirit while I am communicating with one. It's analogous to the way you have a mental map of your environment and you know someone is behind you even if you don't look at them if they are moving around doing things making noise. I sometimes sense the presence of a spirit in a similar way. Other times I have felt as if they put their arm around my shoulder or place their hands on my head.

I don't claim that my perceptions prove these perceptions come from spirits I only say that is how it seems to me.


Glimpses of the Higher Realms

A Glimpse of the Higher Realms

The most beautiful thing I've ever seen was light shining through a doorway to the spirit world. In a vision, I saw a dark wall with a man standing in a doorway. He was there to give me a glimpse of the other side. Behind him was the most beautiful light and it was was streaming through the doorway. It had a greenish hue which I understood was coming from a garden behind the wall. It was as if the plants were not just reflecting light but were luminescent. It's hard to describe, I only saw the tiniest glimpse, but it is where we will be when we are done with our earth life and it is more beautiful than we can imagine.

Feeling Free of the Body

Once I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt like like I was not connected with my body. I knew this must be what it is like to be dead and separated from the body. It felt a lot better than ordinary existence. It's hard to say how - lighter, not physically so much as mentally. It was like all the weight of earthly worries and cares kept in the biological brain were no longer weighing me down.

This was not an out-of-body-experience (OBE). There is a sense of freedom of movement even in partial OBE's which I did not have with this. I've never heard of this feeling occurring with OBE's only with near-death-experiences. I didn't see my surroundings like in an OBE but I didn't sense my body either like in normal consciousness. I didn't have any sense of freedom of movement but I didn't feel paralyzed. I would guess that I was still in place just not connected in the usual way. It felt so pleasant that I tried to avoid any movement or thinking which might disturb it.

I had the sense that it was done just to show me, as a kind of "educational" experience.

Connecting With the Higher Realms

I went in to donate blood again recently. I hope donating is good for my karma. I like to think that as my blood is draining into the collection bag, that some of my bad karma is draining away too.

As I was lying on the table with the needle in my arm, I thought it might be a good idea to try adding some healing energy to the blood. Some people believe that you can store healing energy in objects so that whoever receives the object will receive healing. Other people believe that the energy is not really stored in the object but that spirits or angels make a note of your request and deliver the healing at a later date. There is actually scientific evidence that something like this works.

Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood has been published in the Elsevier journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, Issue 5, Pages 433-546 (September 2007).

The Intentional Chocolate Company “Cracks The Code” With Its Revolutionary New Line Of Chocolate, Scientifically Proven To Heighten Well-Being

However it happens, I thought it would be a good idea to add some healing energy to my blood so that whoever got it would receive an extra dose of healing at a time they would probably be in need of it. At the same time I also directed healing to whoever needed it in the donation center.

What is interesting about this is that when I started doing the healing and I opened myself to the higher planes where the healing energy comes from, I could suddenly feel something very special. I felt is a strong feeling of joy and love for the other people in the donation center. What I think caused this is that there are probably a lot of highly evolved spirits hanging around a blood donation center who come along with the staff, volunteers and donors. If you open yourself up, you start to pick up on the presence of those spirits. Another part of it is something called "spiritual contact". When you open yourself to spirit contact you connect with higher planes and you begin to resonate with the atmosphere of love and happiness that pervades those spheres. I've had similar experiences when going to a spiritualist church and, I think, for the same reasons.

One of our jobs on earth is to help spread God's love. I think of this as acting as a reflector of God's love. The source is God and it comes to us from Him and we should try to let it shine through us onto other people.

Spiritual healing is similar to meditation. In fact, I was meditating to relax before I had the idea to do healing, but when I started healing and opened to the spiritual contact, I felt a very different experience. This is one of the things that leads healers to recognize that spiritual healing is a real phenomena. When you do it you feel different from anything else, including things like meditation which are similar.

This also shows that learning and doing spiritual healing can be a path to spiritual and psychic development.

One last point. Many readers may know that meditation is good for spiritual development. But, meditation is also good for your blood pressure. Everyone in my family has high blood pressure except me. I'm the only one who meditates regularly. When you donate blood they take your blood pressure, so every eight weeks I get confirmation of this fact.

The method of healing I use is described in the chapter on Spiritual Healing.


I Met an Angel

While I was out for a walk one day, I saw a small gray dog wandering down a busy street. I was afraid it would get hit by a car so I prayed for an angel to help the dog get home. Immediately, a white car pulled over to the curb near me. The driver was wearing a white sweater and she asked me if it was my dog. I explained it wasn't so she pulled up a short distance ahead, near to the dog, and tried to get the dog to come to her. It didn't work so I squatted down and clapped my hands a few times and the dog ran right up to me and I grabbed it by the collar. We looked at the dog tags and found a phone number and the woman called and left a message that she was going to keep the dog until the owner could contact her and come and get the dog.

Right after I prayed for an angel to help the dog, a white car pulled over, the driver was wearing a white sweater, and she takes care of the dog. I think she was an angel sent to answer my prayer.


More Personal Experiences


Spiritual Science

When we understand more about paranormal phenomena our definition of matter will change. "Paranormal" and "supernatural" really refer to things that we can't explain. They are not unnatural it is only that our knowledge is limited so we need words to describe things we can't explain.

In the absence of medical science there are witch-doctors - folk remedies that are fundamentally sound are considered magic. When the explanations are provided by medical science, they become mainstream.

There are forces, dimensions, particles, waves, snarks and slithy toves that behave according to natural laws but our scientists haven't "discovered" them yet. As soon as they do, materialism will expand to include these phenomena that are not yet explained by it.

Spiritual laws will become physical laws when we can explain them in terms other known laws.

Some people like to complain about reductionism but we cannot really say reductionism is unsatisfactory until we actually understand the alternative explanation.

The Betty Book

The Beta is the form attribute of the consciousness which is you. ... "Not in the same sense as the physical. There is a difference in kind. You have the same body as I have, and an outer covering which I have discarded as a disintegrating shell. The difficulty is in words. For instance, I have a hand. You could not separate my hand from me and have me go on living. You have a physical hand that you could separate from you and still go on living. ... "The physical body is made up of atoms. Each of these atoms is an individual consciousness, and each of them has a form. The Beta is not made up of any such; not in the way the physical is made up. The Beta is elemental; atomic, but not infinitesimal."

The Unobstructed Universe

There is but one reality. It is all-inclusive, but in degrees. Its highest expression on earth is consciousness, the self-aware I-Am of man. Consciousness, in degrees, is the one and only reality. This is not a statement of subjective idealism. It is as far from that as from materialism. For as Stephen phrased it: "Your men of books and laboratories...all seek to find a fundamental in their favorite attribute of reality. The idealist has made mind supreme...the materialist has made matter supreme. The truth is that both mind and matter are...attributes of one that is greater than either." To that "greater than either" he gave the name of its highest expression--Consciousness. ... What you call natural law is just a reflection, so to speak, of the orthic law governing my unobstructed universe. There is only one universe, one reality. The only-one-universe is pluralistic, as consciousness, the fundamental reality, is pluralistic. My aspect of the universe is unobstructed. Your aspect of the universe is obstructed. But there is no condition or fact that we have here that is not at least foreshadowed in your world. "Now your laboratories are constantly discovering new manifestations, new laws. Every one of those laws has a parallel here, and every one is useful to you and to us. All the laws and manifestations discovered on your side are operating on our side. And on our side are many laws and manifestations you have not discovered and do not sense. Years hence all this will be told again in the terminology of our laws yet to be discovered by you.


Paranormal Research

If you want proof of certain paranormal phenomena, all you have to do is read the existing literature. The Home page of this site has links and references to get you started. The chapter Evidence for the Afterlife has a summary of the evidence for the afterlife.

However, more proof will not convince many materialists who will not consider evidence that conflicts with their religion of materialism.

When we can produce technology or techniques that use paranormal forces or laws to do things easily, often, and well, which cannot be done today, that will get the attention of materialists and government research funding agencies.

This is why paranormal researchers and parapsychologists should stop repeating experiments asking "does it work" that have been successful for years and years and start focusing on trying to understand "how it works" so that we can start applying engineering techniques and make these laws of nature easier to use by the average person. The chapter on Natural Mediumship is a very preliminary attempt to do something of that nature.

Another good example of someone using paranormal phenomena in a practical way is Induced After Death Communication.

Induced after death communication (IADC) is a therapy developed by a Veteran's Administration psychologist that helps veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome. The therapy allows the patient to communicate with the spirits of those who's death was involved in the traumatic experience of the patient.

What is important about this therapy is that any therapist can be easily trained to do it with the same high level of efficiency as any other. For more information on IADC see:

Some skeptics complain about evidence not obtained in a laboratory. It must be understood that some science cannot be done in a laboratory. Many aspects of field biology, ecology, geology, anthropology, astronomy are studied by observing phenomena that occurs outside a laboratory. It also must be understood what a laboratory is. A laboratory doesn't have to have benches, stools, sinks, and glassware cabinets. A living room in an ordinary home with curtains that block all light from the windows and used to hold seances can also be a laboratory if phenomena are examined there in an unbiased, empirical, and open minded way. Scientists do not hold a monopoly on science. Where did the first scientists come from? Science is when you try to understand a phenomena by making observations and testing hypotheses.

Other skeptics complain that some of the evidence for the afterlife was obtained too long ago in the last century. The absurdity of this complaint is apparent when considered against the fact that the geometry taught in our schools was codified by Euclid some time around 300 BC. Rational thought and intellectual competence is not a modern invention. A fact does not become false simply because it has been known for a certain period of time. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, the evidence of reincarnation research, ITC, IADC, and the Scole Experiments are more recent sources of evidence.

There is an important parallel with the history of science. At some point in the development of western civilization, a few people decided that ancient manuscripts, and superstitions might not be 100% accurate and that, if possible, facts should be tested. When those first few scientists started testing things, they found that they could learn even more about nature by inventing hypotheses and testing them. This was one of the most important events in the intellectual development of humankind. None of those first few scientists could possibly understand all of modern science. No single person today can understand all of modern science. Nonetheless modern science exists.

Paranormal science is in a similar stage of development today as mainstream science was in those long ago times. However we have been stuck in the earliest stage for too long. We need to start testing hypotheses to learn more about how it works. No single person is going to explain everything, but with many people working on the small piece that interests them and sharing their discoveries we will accumulate a body of knowledge that can be used to develop methods and technology that will make paranormal phenomena an everyday occurrence experienced by everyone.


Evidence for the Afterlife

A summary of the evidence for the existence of the afterlife can be found in the chapter Evidence for the Afterlife



(A more up-to-date article on super-psi is available on my blog:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2009/06/survival-and-super-psi.html. )

The "super-psi" hypothesis proposes that evidence said to demonstrate the existence of the afterlife is not evidence of spirits but is actually the result of unconscious paranormal powers of living people.

The small effect sizes and the lack of super-psychics reported by parapsychologists studying psi indicates that there is little evidence for super-psi outside of afterlife phenomena. This is one of the reasons for skepticism of the super-psi hypothesis. Furthermore, it is not a hypothesis of super-psi, it is hypothesis of pseudo-afterlife-psi. Somehow the unconscious mind of some living person is supposed to mimic, through various paranormal phenomena, the appearance, personality, knowledge, and behavior of a deceased individual through psychic means.

Another problem with the super-psi hypothesis is that it was not proposed to explain an observed phenomena and then found to also explain the afterlife evidence. It was defined exactly by the afterlife evidence and the definition is expanded every time a new type of evidence for the afterlife is discovered. Therefore the super-psi hypothesis is not an evidence based explanation for afterlife phenomena, it is merely an expression of disbelief in the afterlife.

Super-psi is used in two main ways: as an explanation of mediumship and as an explanation for any type of evidence for the afterlife.

The super-psi hypothesis for mediumship

There is evidence that can be used to support the notion that in some cases, mediums, even trance mediums, even very reliable evidential trance mediums, sometimes seem to be filling the role of a spirit by means of some subconscious process. One explanation for this is not that the subconscious mind of the medium simulates a spirit but that the subconscious mind of the medium influences the communications from spirits that come through it. Mediumship, even physical mediumship, is fraught with difficulties for both spirits and mediums which can result in unsatisfactory results. However in many, many cases mediumship does appear to be genuine.

The following example from "Survival Versus Super-psi" by Hornell Hart
( http://www.survivalafterdeath.org.uk/articles/hart/superpsi.htm )
shows how mediumship can be at times genuine and at other times influenced by the mind of the medium.

Up to the sitting of June 7th all the information came through Nellie, Mrs. Thompson's so-called spirit control. But on that date the deceased tried, as he had promised, to take control himself, as the technical term goes. The evidence then became very striking. During a few minutes - though a few minutes only - I felt absolutely as if I were speaking to my friend myself. I spoke Dutch and got immediate and correct answers. The expression of satisfaction and gratification in face and gestures when we seemed to understand each other was too true and vivid to be acted. Quite unexpected Dutch words were pronounced. Details were given which were far from my mind, some of which, as that about my friend's uncle in a former sitting, I had never known, and found to be true only on inquiry afterwards.

But being now well on my guard, I could, exactly at this most interesting few minutes, detect, as it were, where the failures crept in. I could follow the process and perceive where the genuine phenomena stopped and the unconscious play-acting began. In hardly perceptible gradations the medium takes upon herself the role of the spirit, completes the information, gives the required finish, and fills in the gaps by emendation and arrangement...

I have had very similar experiences in mental mediumship classes. I would get a reading from a classmate and they would start off being very accurate but after a point the accuracy would become reduced and the student didn't seem to notice anything different. I also found that when I would give a reading I would start off with very accurate evidence and then when I didn't seem to be getting anymore, I would stop. At this point the teacher would usually try to encourage me to try to get more information (which often resulted in some heated dialog). Other students would also try to suggest I should give longer readings, these were the same students who continued long after they stopped being accurate. While mediumship is not 100% accurate, the instances where it is true spirit communication and where it is simply the action of the subconscious mind of the medium are easily distinguishable.

In some cases, when facts about the life of a trance medium's control spirit have not been able to be verified, the control spirit is thought by some to be a creation of the mediums subconscious mind. Mrs. Piper's Phinuit is an example of this. However when the medium uses such a control to pass on evidential information from another spirit, that does not mean that the other spirit is also invented. If the unverifiablilty of the control is considered evidence of super-psi then the evidential nature of information from other spirits must be considered evidence of survival. Otherwise, those who assert control spirits whose identity cannot be verified are a result of super-psi must be able to explain why a medium who can use super-psi to simulate real spirits, does not use this facility when generating their control spirits.

There are several forms of the "super-psi" hypothesis that are applied to mediumship:

  1. Mediums might get their information telepathically from the minds of the sitters.
  2. Mediums might get their information about dead people from their own powers of ESP, but not from the minds of the sitters, and perform physical phenomena through their own unconscious PK.
  3. Trance, materialization, and direct voice mediums might create artificial entities from their own subconscious using ESP and PK.

The first point is easy to answer. There are many cases where a medium has brought through information that none of the sitters knew and that was verified after the sitting, so we know mediumship is not simply based on reading the minds of the sitters.

The other two issues are more complicated, but can be dealt with by considering an analogy. Suppose a paleontologist has a collection of fossils from some extinct species that show a progressive evolution of some characteristic. The paleontologist will reasonably consider this data to be scientific proof that such a species once lived and evolved. Someone might conjecture that alien beings created those fossils five minutes before they were dug out of the ground. This conjecture cannot be disproved. Because of this conjecture, should the paleontologist give up his beliefs about the existence and evolution of that species?

Now consider these data about the afterlife:

  • Sometimes drop-in communicators who are unrelated to the sitters or the medium communicate through mediums. They do this for reasons meaningful only to themselves. This shows they are independent of any living person.

    There are links to on-line sources of information on Drop-in Communicators the chapter no "Evidence for the Afterlife" in the section on Drop-in Communicators.

  • In the cross-correspondences, parts of a message from a spirit would be received spontaneously by several mediums working independently. The parts of the message often used obscure literary allusions unknown to the mediums and made no sense to any living person until put together after all the pieces had been received. This demonstrates that the communicator retained the specialized knowledge of literature he had when living, that he was still creative, intelligent, had initiative, had organizing and coordinating abilities and was independent of any living person.

    Sources of further information on the cross-correspondences can be found in the chapter on Evidence for the Afterlife in the section on Cross-correspondences.

  • Spirits have to learn to communicate through mediums. In certain forms of mediumship, such as direct voice, trance, or materializations, spirits demonstrate a learning process. They may have difficulty communicating on the first attempt and they usually communicate more clearly and more naturally after several attempts. This indicates the spirit exists and is learning to communicate through the techniques of mediumship.

    Richard Hodgson, who studied the medium Mrs. Piper, observed that characteristics of the communication varied with the communicators and did not depend on the sitters. The communicators seemed to be independent of any living person. Some spirits were never good at communicating. Some spirits were better than others at communicating names. All spirits had trouble communicating at first but improved with practice. This difficulty in communicating could be overcome with the assistance of other spirits. Spirits seemed to be confused for a few days just after death. Stray thoughts from the spirits (not the medium or sitter) seemed to leak through into the communications as if the spirit was having difficulty controlling the means of communication and private thoughts were being transmitted unintentionally. These thoughts reflected subjects that would be of particular concern to the spirit such as situations involving living relatives but which were unknown to the sitters. The spirits of young children recently deceased had clearer memories of early childhood than spirits who had died many years before. Spirits of young children recently deceased tended to communicate more clearly than adults recently deceased. Spirits responded to questions intended to prove their identity correctly but not always in ways the sitters expected. Sometimes the communicating spirit was unable to give information that was in the conscious mind of the sitter. On occasion, a spirit would not know the name of a sitter they were thought to know. Difficulty in communicating names was a common characteristic of the communication. If the investigator ran the sitting like a telepathy experiment, less evidential information was given through the medium. If he treated the spirit in a sensitive and soothing manner like an actual person communicating under adverse conditions, the communication was improved.

    This is explained in more detail in my blog entry:
    Mrs. Piper: Evidence for Survival After Death

  • The data from the reports of veridical near death experiences demonstrates that that the experiencer is able to perceive things psychically - they have knowledge of things they could not have obtained with their physical senses had they been conscious. The super-psi hypothesis does not contradict this evidence that consciousness is not dependent on the physical body because it is the same person who is known to have the psychic experience who also experiences loss of life sustaining bodily functions.

  • Communicating with spirits has eliminated haunting phenomena that had occurred with several successive residents who were unrelated and unknown to each other. The super-psi hypothesis can't explain this because it assumes there is a living person who is responsible for the phenomena. If the people in the house change, then according to the super-psi hypothesis, the phenomena should stop.

  • Children who spontaneously remember past lives remember them as their own experiences, they use phrases like "my other mother". This is not a characteristic of psychic perception. For example, remote viewers do not describe remote locations as "my other home". This distinguishes memories of past lives from psychic perceptions and is evidence that the memories are really memories and not simply psychic perceptions of another person's life.

    There are links to on-line sources of information on children with memories of past lives in the chapter no "Evidence for the Afterlife" in the section on Reincarnation.

  • Super-psi is not a good explanation for children's memories of past lives because those memories are extremely detailed and accurate. They don't occur in the usual ways that such impressive psychic information is obtained such as an altered state of consciousness, a life threatening situation, or by an individual who has psychic abilities they can use in other situations.
  • Children who spontaneously remember past lives do not have other types of paranormal knowledge, the phenomena seems to be restricted to knowledge of one and only one past life. If super-psi were the reason some children had knowledge of lives of deceased people, there should be children who remember other information too, such as the lives of still living persons, yet there is no evidence of this. The fact that this phenomena is restricted to memories of one past life suggests that it is not due to super-psi but to genuine memories.
  • Children who remember past lives sometimes have birthmarks on parts of their bodies where they sustained an injury in the remembered past life. Invoking super-psi to explain this doesn't make sense. Is the fetus psychic? Is some unrelated psychic exerting psychokinesis on the fetus to cause a birth mark?

  • Many hypnotherapists have accidentally discovered past life regression therapy. This therapy can have highly beneficial effects when traditional regression therapy or other types of psychotherapy fail. Super-psi doesn't explain the therapeutic value of this therapy. However, if past lives are real, then the benefits of past life regression therapy would be explained because remembering the past life allows the patient to release previously unconscious fears and regrets. For more information on past life regression therapy see the section on Reincarnation in this chapter.

  • Under hypnotic regression, people remember a continuity of past lives and inter-life experiences.

  • During death-bed visions (and other situations) multiple people who are not mediums see the same spirits.

    For more information on confirmed death bed visions, see the section Death-bed Visions in the chapter on "Evidence for the Afterlife".

  • Communicating with undeveloped spirits has relieved symptoms of patients who were believed to be mentally ill because they heard voices
    ( http://www.spiritwritings.com/ThirtyYearsAmongTheDead.html )
    or were seeing a therapist for other problems ("The Unquiet Dead" by Dr. Edith Fiore).

  • Spirits can communicate through mediums who never knew them and describe verifiable information about their life on earth, the circumstances of their death and are able to demonstrate personal characteristics, mannerisms, patterns of speech and skills and that identify them to those who knew them in life. The super-psi hypothesis explains this by supposing the unconscious mind of the medium creates an alternate personality. There is evidence from studies of hypnosis and multiple personality disorders that the unconscious mind can create an alternate personality but there is no evidence it can use information to convincingly impersonate a real person.

    We routinely accept far less proof of existence when we identify living people using the telephone. How would any living person prove they are not the creation of some super psychic? If a person living in our own dimension couldn't prove it, how could a spirit prove it from another dimension?

    If one considers mediumship in light of these other types of evidence for survival, the likelihood of survival demonstrated by this evidence makes super-psi a poorer explanation for mediumship. If you didn't have any other reliable evidence for survival, super-psi might be a reasonable theory for mediumship, but in the presence of this other reliable evidence for survival, super-psi seems a poor theory for mediumship.

    Super-psi hypothesis for all evidence for the afterlife

    The second use of super-psi is a unfalsifiable attack on all afterlife evidence whereby anything that seems to suggest survival is simply supposed to be due to the powers of some living psychic. You can only dispute such an attack by disputing the evidence used to support it. Therefore, in the absence of any evidence to support it, super-psi used in this way is not a logical theory but merely an opinion or a wish.

    Another serious problem with this use of super-psi is that it doesn't specify who the super-psychic is. Is it the medium? Is it the sitter? What about multiple witness death bed visions, multiple witness crisis apparitions, and in particular the cross correspondences where a message is given spontaneously and in parts through multiple psychics. The super-psi hypothesis also fails to explain the role of birthmarks in reincarnation studies.

    Proponents of the super-psi hypothesis have to explain why super-psi should be favored over survival. Many of the phenomena described here could be explained by a contrived hypothesis that some living super psychic person somewhere is unconsciously responsible for them. Yet, just as with the paleontologist in the analogy above, the fact that someone can contrive an alternate hypothesis is not sufficient reason to reject the straight forward interpretation of the data.


    Where Do Mediums Get Information From?

    Could mediums be getting information from their own psychic powers rather than from spirits?

    Once I was in a mediumship class when I felt the presence of a spirit who I knew from previous readings and who now wanted me to give a message to someone in the room. I said to the spirit mentally, "I don't want to give the message now" and I explained my reasons, I was a new student and didn't want to speak out of turn. I didn't say anything about this aloud. A few seconds later a more advanced student said that he sensed the same spirit and gave the message. Mediums routinely experience spirits as people with initiative and purpose capable of solving problems.

    Once I attended a trance workshop given by a visiting medium at my Spiritualist church. We didn't have any trance mediums at our church so none of us did this regularly. During the workshop many people I knew from my church and from mediumship class participated. I was a new student at the time so I was only allowed to observe. These people, who I knew well, each took a turn, and after about twenty or thirty seconds of meditation, (we didn't have to dim the lights) would go into a light trance. They were conscious but a spirit would speak through them at the same time. The spirits told us about who they were in life and what they were doing in the spirit world. Some of the spirits were just as amazed that they could speak through a living person as I was to hear them. It seemed to me that there was a personality there and not just information being accessed. Since I knew the people in the workshop I could tell they not making it up consciously or unconsciously and they were not hypnotized.

    One could contrive any number of conjectures about about how these two experiences might result from the psychic powers of a living person without the involvement of spirits. However, as explained in the previous section on super-psi, the mere fact that one can make up a story is not by itself sufficient reason to give up the straight forward belief that these phenomena are the result of spirits communicating through mediums.

    But, the question about where mediums get their information is also somewhat complicated and has several parts:

    1. Do mental mediums get their information about spirits from communicating spirits or by some other psychic means?

      Next, if you attribute trance/physical mediumship to psychic powers of the medium without the involvement of spirits, you also have to assume the unconscious mind of the medium is creating pseudo personalities because the spirits say that they are spirits and behave interactively like conscious beings. Therefore the following questions must be addressed:

    2. Are the spirit guides that come through trance/physical mediums real spirits or constructions of the medium's unconscious?
    3. Are spirits that come through trance/physical mediums to communicate with sitters real spirits or are they also constructions of the medium's unconscious?

    Some relevant and interesting articles can be found here:

    Some of the confusion in these articles is due to the fact that we tend to underestimate the difficulty spirits have in communicating with the physical world. As a result we have unrealistic expectations about the level of accuracy that is possible. Also, spirits themselves say they can be influenced by the minds of the sitters and by the spirit's own ESP. Even in trance mediumship, the mind of the medium can have an effect on the communication. Spirits may not be able to overcome the associative and deductive powers of the medium or get the medium to say exactly what they want for a variety of other reasons.

    You can read more about this here:

    To answer the questions posed above:

    1. Some mental medium's say they can tell the difference between when they get information from the spirit and when they get it from their own psychic powers, so you have to accept the word of the medium. In my own experience, in mediumship classes, my subjective experience is that I am interacting with a spirit. I see a person in my mind's eye and I get verified answers when I ask questions, and I often sense a unique personality.
    2. At least some of the time the spirit guide can be an aspect of the medium. I'm not sure we understand how this works, whether it is the unconscious, or the higher self or if there is a difference between the two.

      Silver Birch said that he, his medium, and his medium's wife were aspects of one individuality.

    3. Based on my observations in the trance workshop, when a spirit comes through with detailed information about their identity and demonstrates personality characteristics and skills of an identifiable person, the most reasonable interpretation is a spirit is communicating.


    Why Super-Psi?

    Survival of consciousness after death is a more convincing explanation than super-psi when you consider all the evidence but it is interesting to study the history of psychical research because the super-psi hypothesis was reasonable up to a certain point.

    The early psychical researchers had reason to believe that the unconscious mind could create "personalities" and that the unconscious had psychic powers. They knew of multiple personality disorders and they knew that under hypnosis people could be induced to invent personalities. They knew telepathy was real and they knew that crisis apparitions occurred for living people in danger and not just for people near death.

    Therefore, the early psychical researchers had ample reason to wonder if trance mediumship might be explained by the medium creating alternate personalities and using psychic powers like telepathy to obtain information about deceased people.

    Poltergeist phenomena, in some cases, seems to be associated with a living person. This, along with what is known about crisis apparitions, seems to suggest that that a living person could be responsible for physical mediumship including materialization mediumship.

    When the early psychical researchers studied a medium like Mrs. Piper who in trance, could tell of things she would not be able to know in a normal state of consciousness, they knew there was some psychic phenomena occurring. When they found on certain occasions the "spirit" would only tell things correctly that were known to the sitters, this seemed to suggest the medium was using telepathy and generating personalities herself. But sometimes the medium would be able to tell of things unknown to the sitters, so they wondered if in those cases the medium was getting things telepathically from people outside the room somewhere else in the world.

    Eventually Richard Hodgson, who was the main investigator of Mrs. Piper, came to believe in survival. The best instances of Mrs. Piper's mediumship seemed to him to be genuine surviving personalities because of so many little touches that to accept they were due to the unconscious mind of the medium seemed to stretch credulity too far. These touches extended beyond simply characteristics, mannerisms and patterns of speech of the individual spirits. They included misunderstandings, and confusions, of the type you get when you are interacting with real people. In addition, the control spirits for Mrs. Piper changed over time and the later ones were better at explaining the difficulties spirits experienced communicating through a medium. They explained some of the seeming failures of mediumship, and were better able to control the sittings to produce more accuracy in the sittings.

    More information about the mediumship of Mrs. Piper can be found in:

    Michael Sage: "Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research"

    A FURTHER RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE by Richard Hodgson L.L.D. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research Vol. XIII. 1898, p 284 - 582

    Later evidence from the cross correspondences, reincarnations studies, NDE's and other phenomena make the survival hypothesis much more reasonable than super-psi.

    However, the history of psychical research is still fascinating. In its early days, it was the first time that scientists started to examine whether or not psychic abilities were real. They had no previous work to start from. They began by looking at basic phenomena, proving telepathy and paranormal aspects of mesmerism. They collected anecdotes of apparitions and made a survey to prove apparitions appearing at a time of crisis happen much too frequently to be due to chance coincidence. In time, they worked their way up to the question of survival of consciousness. The personalities involved in early psychical research included Nobel prize winning scientists such as the Marie Curie, Pierre Curie, Charles Richet, John William Strutt, and other brilliant scientist like Sir William Crookes, and Sir Oliver Lodge, and leading psychologists like William James and Frederic Myers. To me it seems like it was a unique time in history, in a way similar to the time when the US was formed by the founding fathers. A group of highly intelligent people were, by good fortune, in the right place at the right time to do something unique in history.



    The term "energy" is used when discussing spiritual healing but it would be preferable if there was a better term. Scientists have a very precise meaning for the word "energy" and it doesn't really overlap with the way it is often used in spiritual discussions.

    To a scientist there are various forms of energy: kinetic energy (energy stored in a moving object), gravitational potential energy (the energy stored in an object raised to a height that can be realized by letting it fall), electrical potential energy (the energy of a charged object in an electric field that can be realized by allowing it to be accelerated by that field), the energy equivalent of matter that can is realized in nuclear reactions where it is converted to heat and light, heat energy which is the kinetic energy of atoms and molecules, light energy which is related to the frequency of a photon, etc etc.

    Energy can only be converted from one form to another. There is no such thing as pure energy. When you drop something, gravitational potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, when you bask in the sun, light energy is converted into heat energy. In a scientist's view, saying that everything is the same because everything is made up of energy makes about as much sense as to saying everything is the same because it is made up of matter.

    Another problem term is "vibrations". We hear phrases like "everything is vibrations" and that is used to explain all sorts of phenomena like telepathy, materializations, and the existence of higher planes of existence. However to a scientist, the word vibrations is a lot like energy in that it doesn't make any sense unless you know what form the vibrations are taking. What is vibrating? Scientists are aware of physical vibrations in matter which we call sound. There are vibrations in electromagnetic fields which we call light. Atomic and subatomic particles which we consider matter behave as if they were the result of vibrations that give them properties of waves rather than particles.

    There is also another aspect to vibrations - this is whether they are random or periodic. Heat is caused by vibrations which are "random". Light "vibrations" are periodic, they have a frequency which determines for example, the color of visible light.

    Saying a phenomena is a result of vibrations is not an explanation. Doing so may be descriptive - planes of existence may interpenetrate like radio waves that allow different stations to be broadcast through the same space. However a description is not an explanation. In order to explain the phenomena you also have to explain what is vibrating.

    One reason for the difficulty many scientists and engineers have in accepting psychic phenomena is the way it is discussed. The casual use of what they consider scientific terms causes them to think believers in the paranormal don't understand scientific principles and they tend to assume believers are therefore not thinking clearly and this gives scientists a rationale for doubting real evidence for the paranormal that cannot be explained by known scientific principles.


    Spoon Bending

    I've read accounts of spoon bending parties and I have no reason to contradict those who have done it. However I did attend a class on spoon bending and saw spoons bend but I don't think the explanation was paranormal.

    Firstly, the teacher's spoon broke. I didn't understand how that could happen. I looked all over the internet for information on spoon bending and read many accounts and I never heard of that happening. Then a friend of mine explained the obvious: if you bend a piece of metal back and forth it eventually breaks.

    Secondly one student in the class said that her spoon bent but that she just forced it. The teacher aggressively insisted, "But you used less force than you normally would." The student replied, "well, uh, yeah".

    Thirdly, many accounts I've read said that you can't bend the spoon back once it's bent. However this didn't stop one student from straightening his spoon.

    So my belief is that in this class people who's spoon bent were either deceiving themselves or deceiving others and in either case they were encouraged to do so by the teacher.

    Unfortunately, this was at a spiritualist church and I and many others stopped going to that church when the teacher of the class became pastor.



    It may be possible that spirits can manifest themselves in photographs as orbs, but not all orbs in photographs are spirits.

    Websites about orbs explain that the way to take pictures of orbs is to use a digital camera with a flash in a dark room. One can try this with the camera focused on the far wall and will easily get a few orbs in the photograph. However if one blows some talcum powder into the air a foot or two in front of the camera and takes another picture, one will get a lot more orbs. The photograph below is an example of a particle of talcum powder suspended in the air near the camera:

    One can conclude from this that most orbs in photographs are caused by light reflected by particles suspended in the air.

    Proponents of the spiritual origin of orbs must provide a way to tell the spirits from the reflections.


    Aura Photography

    There is an interesting news article about the Salem Massachusetts town council considering licensing fortunetellers. Salem has a lot of psychics working in that town because of the tourism associated with the history of the Salem witch trials. It seems like the genuine psychics are trying to prevent their industry from being demeaned by frauds.

    This issue brings out one of the problems with the public's understanding of the paranormal. Certain phenomena have been proven by empirical observations to be genuine. These include mediumship and spiritual healing.

    A summary of empirical support for the genuineness of mediumship can be found here:

    A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife by Victor J. Zammit http://www.victorzammit.com/book/4thedition/index.html

    Support for the efficacy of spiritual healing includes these references:

    "The Effect of the Laying On of Hands on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice", William F. Bengston, David Krinsley Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 353-364, 2000

    Nurse Healers Professional Associates International: "In 1992, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the Office of Alternative Medicine. The experts in this office found that Therapeutic Touch has one of the strongest research bases of any of the alternative/complementary modalities.


    However, many people who believe these phenomena either don't realize or don't care that other types of phenomena do not have any known foundation in fact. This failure to distinguish between genuine phenomena and unproven beliefs is a serious problem. It confuses the public and hides the real phenomena in a haystack of nonsense.

    The article above shows one of the ways this causes problems.

    One woman paid more than $2,000 for readings at a Salem shop, where she was told she had a black aura around her, according to ____.

    "Then one day she came into my shop crying," ____ told city councilors. "I said, 'You don't have a black aura. Sit down and I'll show you your aura on my machine.' And it was blue and wonderful."

    Aura machines take a picture of a person and constructs an image of an aura based on sensors attached to the hand of the customer. ( http://www.auraphoto.com/fundementals/how.shtml http://www.aura.net/flash_e/allpacks.html)

    There is no empirical evidence that these sensors can predict what the aura looks like.

    A good debunking of this can be found here:

    So what really happened in is that a woman was victimized when she paid $2000 and was told she had a black aura. Then, while severely upset, she was taken advantage of again by another practitioner and sold a meaningless aura photograph. The second practitioner who is a very good medium makes it sound like she did the double victim a service, and she says it to the town councilors.


    Skeptical Fraud

    One must be just as skeptical with accusations of fraud as with claims of paranormal phenomena. There are documented cases of skeptics committing fraud - lying, deliberately planting evidence, bribing people to make false statements etc. Also, because we understand spiritual phenomena so poorly, things that may seem like fraud may be genuine phenomena when properly understood.

    Examples of these can be found in "People From the Other World" by Henry S. Olcott http://www.theosophical.org/resources/library/olcott-centenary/ts/otherworld.htm#p2

    In the chapter "The Katie King Affair" the author demolishes the accusations against the Holmeses. The piece de resistance (p445-6) is a private letter from the skeptics' star witness saying that she believed those mediums were real and that she was offered money to accuse them of fraud.

    An example of misunderstood phenomena can be found in the last chapter on "The Compton Transfiguration" p479. In the middle of a materialization seance the medium is observed to be absent from the cabinet, however the materialized spirits are weighed and found to be of different weights all substantially less than the medium.



    Do we reincarnate?

    Reincarnation is a very complex subject. People who say it's true and people who say it's not true can have identical beliefs. Our time on earth may not provide us with the experiences that are needed to adequately understand it. Silver Birch had this to say:

    "There are also what I call facets of the one diamond. This is the over-soul, the greater individuality, and the facets are aspects of it which incarnate into your world for experiences that will add lustre to the diamond when they return to it.


    Also there are people who, although separate persons, are aspects of the one individuality. For instance, my medium, his wife and myself are parts of one individual. So you can have facets of the one guide. You can call these extensions if you like, but it comes to the same thing. Only an infinitesimal part of the whole individuality can be manifested in physical form on earth."

    This notion of spirits retaining individuality but forming higher level entity occurs in other writings as well. However, this notion gives reason to say that reincarnation is true and also reason to say that it is not true if the individuals don't reincarnate but the "over-soul" does send some part of itself to incarnate again. After death, is there a time when the individual merges back into the over-soul and is that like regaining lost memories? Can consciousnesses merge to form a new entity while the individuals that make it up retain their individuality? One explanation of God is that at the highest level of the spirit world advanced beings form a collective consciousness while retaining their individualities.

    When you ask if reincarnation is true you also need to understand that there are different doctrines of reincarnation. Theosophists believe that the spirit goes into a sort of nether region until they reincarnate rather than returning to a spirit world and studying their and preparing for subsequent life. Having that wrong belief about reincarnation in life leads spirits to remain earthbound and obsess children in their attempts to reincarnate. (See Thirty Years Among The Dead by Carl Wickland http://www.spiritwritings.com/ThirtyYearsAmongTheDead.html) When people who come from this philosophical background ask spirits if reincarnation is true, the spirits may very well tell them that reincarnation is not true because of the above ideas expressed by silver Birch and because the wrong view of reincarnation has dangerous consequences.

    Beyond Human Personality was written by the spirit of F. W. H. Myers through the medium Geraldine Cummins. The book explains that normally a person reincarnates several times. However, a soul also learns from the experiences of other members of it's group-soul while retaining its own individuality. Sometimes a newly incarnating soul will take on the karma of an older soul in the group-soul.

    IV Reincarnation
    I Am quite clear that those human beings who live almost wholly in the physical sense while on earth, must be reborn in order that they may experience an intellectual and higher form of emotional life. In other words, those human beings I have described as "Animal-man" almost invariably reincarnate.

    Some of the individuals I have designated by the term, "Soul-man," also choose to live again on earth. But metempsychosis does not involve a machine-like regularity of return. I have not noted any evidence of a continual progression of births and deaths for any one particular soul. I do not for a moment believe that the individual returns a hundred times or more to the earth. This is indeed, a wrong assumption. There may, of course, be certain exceptions which you are more likely to meet with among those primitive beings who seem incapable of aspiration - of desire to rise above their physical nature. But the majority of people only reincarnate two, three or four times. Though if they have some human purpose or plan to achieve they may return as many as eight or nine times. No arbitrary figure can be named. We are only fairly safe in concluding that, in the human form, they are not doomed to wander over the space of fifty, a hundred and more lives.


    However, it is well to be agreed that, even if we run, the race of life on earth six times, we touch but on the fringe of human experience. We have obtained only a certain discipline. We have not plumbed the depths or scaled the heights of being; we have not covered all the space of human consciousness, of human feeling. Yet I can assure you that until we have harvested many times the fruits of lives spent on earth we shall not, save in exceptional cases, live on the higher planes beyond death.

    It is not necessary for us to return to earth to gather into our granary this manifold variety of life and knowledge. We can reap, bind and bring much of it home by participating in the life of our group-soul. Many belong to it and these may spread themselves in their journeys over past, present and future. Indeed in the Group, we speak of the life of a man as a "journey." Very well. I have not, at any time, been a member of the yellow races, but there are souls in my Group who have known and lived that eastern life, and I may, and do, enter into every act and emotion in their past chronicles.


    You will recognize how greatly power of will, mind and perception can be increased through your entry into the larger self. You continue to preserve your identity and your fundamental individuality. But you develop immensely in character and in spiritual force. You gather the wisdom of the ages, not through the continual "Sturm und Drang" of hundreds of years passed in the confinement of the crude physical body, you gather it through love which has a gravitational pull and draws you within the memories of those who are akin to your soul, however alien their bodies may have been when they were on earth.


    A soul that, for the first time, enters a material body is, usually, related spiritually to some member of its Group and, so close is its relationship, it may take on the karma of the older soul. The latter has, perhaps, experienced four or five incarnations on earth. It is not yet wholly purified, has not gained all the terrestrial experience necessary to its spiritual evolution. It acquires it, however, in two ways: (1) through its entry into the group-memory, the conditions of which I have described: (2) through its psychic connection with a young soul which takes up the karma, takes on the pattern created by its previous earthly life or lives.

    Many people who have had Near Death Experiences believe in reincarnation:

    Sandra Rogers:

    I was given the choice of remaining with the light, provided I return later to the physical world and experience all that brought me to the point of shooting myself, or I could return now and pick up my life where it was

    Karen Brannon:

    All of my being wanted to stay there in bliss, but ever since I was six, I knew that reincarnation is the natural fact of life, and now, I had the knowingness that if I chose to stay, I would have to reincarnate to Earth again later.

    Thomas Sawyer:

    Reincarnation is not a linear thing. One of the problems in defining it is that there is no analogy to it. It is outside of time, yet we can't help but think of it in terms of the past and the future, and this incarnation. The whole story is so big and so involved.

    Christian Andréason:

    Heaven, I undeniably saw that I had lived an innumerable amount of lives. Yet, what I saw went way beyond our comprehension of what we think reincarnation is. So, I am not exactly speaking of being born again and again on this planet alone.

    Arthur Yensen:

    Between lives, with the great knowledge of our oversouls, we choose the next life we are going to live and how much karma we are going to meet and settle. For example, if you abused animals, or people, in one life your oversoul would probably cause you to reincarnate into a situation where you'd get abused to make you realize the misery you've caused others.

    Amber Wells' research:


    Her paper was published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies in the fall of 1993. In her study, 70 percent of the group of near-death experiencers demonstrated belief in reincarnation. In contrast, a Gallup Poll found that only 23 percent of the general population endorse this belief.


    "It is a matter of personal knowledge from what the being with whom I spoke during my near-death experience told me about my older son, that he had had 14 incarnations in female physical bodies previous to the life he has just had."


    "My whole life went before me of things I have done and haven't done, but not just of this one lifetime, but of all the lifetimes. I know for a fact there is reincarnation. This is an absolute. I was shown all those lives and how I had overcome some of the things I had done in other lives. There was still some things to be corrected."


    "I had a lot of questions, and I wanted to know what they [the light beings she encountered in her near-death experience] were doing – why are you just kind of milling around here? And someone stepped forward ... it wasn't just one ... I got information from a number of them ... that they were all waiting for reincarnation."


    Some experiencers interviewed during Ms. Wells' study described the general process of reincarnation as one consciousness separating into individual souls to be embodied in matter. One experiencer took this idea even further, stating that reincarnation takes place more on a collective level rather than an individual level. In other words, this experiencer felt that a collective energy recycles itself through matter and that our sense of individuality is a product of our present incarnation only.


    Some experiencers indicated that the cycle of reincarnation would probably come to an end for earthly embodiments, but that one would continue to incarnate into other realms or dimensions.

    Betty Bethards:

    As you are ready, and as you choose, you will be shown your past lives. If you do not believe in reincarnation it may take a long time before you are able to deal with this. Eventually, you must learn to understand yourself in a continuity of growth over many lifetimes. You must recognize all the strengths you have built and all the karmic ties you have created which must be dissolved.

    David Oakford:

    The being told me that each planet has a theme for learning and that any of them can be chosen by a soul when we are between physical lives.

    Remarks about the evidence for reincarnation.

    Some people question whether the evidence for reincarnation is simply a result of mediumship or other psychic perceptions about people who lived in the past that is incorrectly assumed to be a past life. However there is substantial evidence for reincarnation that cannot be explained by inadvertent mediumship or other forms of psychic perception.

    • Birthmarks are often located on the body at the same place injuries occurred in a previous life. Such birthmarks are objective evidence that are verified on the person, often a child who remembers a past life. A child may claim to remember a past life in another city. He may say that in his previous life he was killed in a certain way and a birth mark is observed on that part of his body. When investigators go to the other city and are able to verify all the information the child gives about the previous life including the cause of death, this is very strong evidence for reincarnation. (More details about these types of cases can be found in the writings published by Ian Stevenson.)

    • When people communicate with spirits mentally, they don't get the feeling that it is a memory. It is more like a vision. However, people who remember past lives feel that it is a memory.

    • As mentioned above many people who have near-death experiences learn that reincarnation is true.

    • During hypnotic regression, subjects recognize people they knew in past lives as incarnating again as people they recognize in their current life.

    • Past life regression has been shown to have immense therapeutic value. This therapeutic effect is not a placebo effect. Many people helped by past life regression have already tried other ineffective types therapy. If their problem could be helped by the placebo effect, the placebo effect would have occurred during the other types of therapy which therefore would not have been ineffective.

      Past life regression therapy probably works like other types of regression therapy. When people are helped to remember repressed memories it can help resolve psychological problems. This can be due to the fact that when a memory is lurking in the unconscious, it may affect our conscious thinking in subtle ways. For example, if someone was frightened by a clown as a very young child he might hate the circus as an adult. If he had regression therapy and remembered the episode which he had repressed he would no longer hate the circus. If someone had an unpleasant experience in a past life it can cause psychological problems in their current life and remembering that past life experience can help resolve those psychological problems.

      Past life regression therapy, when done without leading questions or suggestions by the hypnotist does not generate false memories of the current life but often recovers memories of past lives. This is a strong piece of evidence that the memories are from genuine past lives. Many psychologists have independently and accidentally discovered past life regression therapy simply by asking the hypnotic subject to "go back to the source of their problems". False memories of the current life are never generated by this process but memories of past lives are frequently recovered.

    For more information about the evidence for reincarnation see the Reincarnation section in the chapter Evidence for the Afterlife.



    Develop The Habit Of Being Relaxed


    A puddle of water
    In the gutter by the curb
    Filthy yet
    Reflecting the beauty of the sunshine
    When the sky is clear

    Make your mind clear like the sky

    Life may be drab
    Make it worthwhile
    Reflect the light of God


    Oh God,

    Please help us to take time each day look for joy in our lives.

    Help us to remember that joy is found in the small, simple things in life, like nature, a flower, the song of a bird, the people around us, or the ordinary things we do each day.

    Keep us mindful that like the healing force, Joy is around us all the time and available to us whenever we choose to open ourselves to receive it.

    Please help us to receive that joy so that it may lighten our lives and our burdens, and so that it may help us to bring your love into the world.


    Memorial Day Message

    This is the Memorial Day message referred to in Adventures of a Student Medium

    I was lying in bed trying to sleep at 2 am on the Sunday morning of Memorial day weekend, when a spirit appeared in my minds eye. He appeared to me as an older man, not tall, somewhat husky, casual dresser, bald, and was a veteran. At the same time I received an inspiration for a Memorial Day message. I knew I was going to Spiritualist church later that day but I had no idea what if anything I would do with this message. After the service at church we had "platform practice" a chance for students to get up in front of a group and practice mediumship. I did a couple of readings, but on my third reading my friend from 2 am appeared again in my minds eye. The person I was giving the reading to recognized the spirit as a close relative who was deceased, so I gave the message. Afterwards the person mentioned as further corroboration that other mediums have said that relative is working in the higher levels of the spirit world.

    The Memorial Day message was:

    * * * * *

    This is the weekend of Memorial Day. Memorial day is the day you honor those who have died in war. At this time, many of you are concerned with the international situations in many parts of the world. However as individuals it is very hard for you to know what the right thing to do is.

    Some people believe that all war is wrong, and all violence is wrong. Others believe that you must use force to stop aggression, and that delaying this will only allow the aggressors to gain strength. It's very hard to know what the right thing to do is. Sincere, well meaning, peace loving people may disagree.

    So the message for today, Memorial Day weekend, is that when you pray or send healing to the world, ask not for a particular outcome but ask only that the highest good may occur.

    Just as when in laying-on-of-hands the healer's intention is that healing should occur for the highest good, when you send healing to the world you should also ask only for the highest good. You should try to follow this guideline whenever you pray or send healing or use any type of spiritual force. Thoughts are things and they have consequences. On a planet with billions of people all of whom are exercising the power of thought but who are not using it in a coordinated enlightened manner you will find a lot of the problems you have in the world today.

    So this is why it is important for all of you who truly desire the highest good to align yourselves with the forces of enlightenment and not divide your efforts because of philosophical differences. The hawks and doves may both be sincere and praying together for the highest good will advance their ultimate objective far more than separate antagonistic efforts directed at individual outcomes.


    Election Day

    Later that day I thought to the spirits, "This is a fine message for Memorial May, but what do we do on Election Day when as members of a democracy we have to help decide what the country will do to try to solve it's national problems?" A couple of weeks later and only a few days before the next platform practice I received the answer....

    * * * * *

    When there are conflicts between nations, you often fail to realize that the problem has a spiritual side, and you try to solve the problem as if it were only a problem on the physical plane. But if a problem has a spiritual side to it, in order to solve it, the solution must take into account the spiritual part.

    For example, you tend to see international conflicts as one nation against another but on the spirit planes the conflict is between the forces of good on both sides working together against the forces of evil. You have to consider the true nature of these conflicts before you will find a permanent end to them.

    Another example is that the unevolved spirits that encourage these conflicts try to influence all sides to view them as ethnic conflicts. That is because ethnic conflicts are the most intractable and long lasting. They continue from generation to generation. The effect is to dehumanize the other side.

    However if you understand the truth, that in the spirit world, which is the ultimate reality, that you are all God's children, you are all one family, and the earthly ideas of clan, nation, and race are illusions of the physical world, then you can shatter the illusion of ethnic distinctions and protect yourselves from being deluded and egged on by those undeveloped forces.

    Another example is the continuity of the personality after death. A person may be more influential as a spirit than as an incarnated person. When an enemy is killed, his actions as an incarnated being may end but his actions as a spirit do not end. If his death is violent and sudden he may, as a spirit, influence those still alive to follow his cause. He might even influence his living enemies to their detriment with out their realizing it. This is why genocide and weapons of mass destruction are not just immoral, in the long run, they are ineffective tactics.

    However, if an enemy were to experience the gradual approach of a natural death he might come to realize some of the spiritual truths and have more preparation for crossing over and because of that he may make a proper transition into the spirit realm and decide as a spirit to work for goodness rather than evil.

    Another example is that like attracts like. If a nation has thoughts of hate in its hearts it will attract the influence of the forces of evil which will be detrimental no matter how righteous that nation's cause. Because of this it is possible that in a conflict between nations there may be no "right" side. However a nation with love, forgiveness, and tolerance in its hearts will attract the influence of highly evolved forces which will help it to find a true solution to it's problems.

    Another spiritual principle that has to be considered is the power of thought. Thoughts of love fuel and empower those benevolent forces striving to guide the earth towards peace and unity. Thoughts of hate fuel the forces of conflict and violence. The power of love is hard for you to understand because when a bomb goes off and kills people you hear about it on the news, but what you don't hear about are all the bombs that don't go off because of the activity of those spiritual forces that are working towards unity and peace.

    The last example is that a solution to national problems, must be based on love. In Europe in the last century, the peace after WWI was based on vengeance. Reparations were extracted by the victors from the defeated as punishment and that peace based on vengeance did not last but resulted in WWII the worst war known to humankind. However the peace after WWII was based on forgiveness, the victors helped the defeated to rebuild and that peace has lasted.

    These examples explain why it is necessary to recognize that the problems of nations have a spiritual side and that spiritual principles must be considered in order for those problems to be successfully resolved. Until humankind recognizes the spiritual side of its difficulties and acts in accordance with natural law, you will continue to have these kinds of problems.

    So the answer to the question about what to do on Election Day, is that you have to search your conscience and consider whether you believe in these spiritual principles and whether your decisions will help the nation to act according to these spiritual laws.


    Psychic Development And Spiritual Development

    The first time I ever went to a medium I didn't want to hear from my deceased relatives. I wanted to ask a question from my spirit guides. The medium seemed to pick up on this, the first thing that happened was that she said she wasn't getting anything and that I should ask a question. I asked if my spirit guides thought exploring psychic development would be consistent with my life plan, if I had potential to do it, if it would be worth while. My guides, through the medium, replied that: Psychic development should be part of spiritual development.

    At first, I thought I understood this - psychic abilities show that materialism cannot explain all known phenomena and this demonstrates the existence of the spirit. But, over time as I continued my explorations I realized my initial interpretation was too shallow and that while it was true, it was also much more profound that I initially thought. Spiritual development is not just recognizing the immortality of the spirit. It is understanding the role of the spirit in evolving to a higher being while helping others along the same path. Psychic development should be undertaken for the purpose of spiritual development.


    The Forbidden Talk

    (This is "The Forbidden Talk" mentioned in the chapter on The Dark Side)

  • Good afternoon.
  • I am going to talk about spiritualism and materialism.
  • According to the tenets of Spiritualism, what happens when a person who is materialistic dies? Well, according to the tenets of Spiritualism they will become a materialistic spirit. In spiritualism we believe that the personality continues after death and that natural laws apply continuously in the physical world and in the spirit world.
  • There is a book by Ruth Montgomery, which shows how this is true. The title is: A Search For Truth. In this book Ruth includes automatic writing she does when a Spirit Guide moves her hand in writing. The guide describes himself as a writer who was materialistic in life and who did not pay attention to spiritual things when he was alive. Now that he is in the spirit world he finds himself at a somewhat lower level than he would like to be.
  • It's interesting to observe that just because a spirit is called a guide, does not mean the spirit is necessarily spiritually advanced. We should always think for ourselves even when we are working with spirits and guides.
  • This spirit’s goal in writing through Ruth is to keep other people from making the same mistake he did. By helping others to be more spiritual and less materialistic he hopes to rise to a higher level in the spirit world.
  • In life he wanted to achieve success by accumulating material things. In spirit he wants to achieve success by accumulating good deeds. You have to read the book to really understand just how anxious he is to “make progress” by helping others. If you haven’t read it already, I recommend it. What the spirit says through Ruth is still very interesting.
  • You may have heard that the object of incarnation is to develop our souls so that we can attain higher and higher planes in the afterlife so that eventually we can attain the highest plane which is where God is.
  • I have a problem with that type of statement.
  • That type of statement distracts us from the fact that God is omnipresent. You don’t have to go anywhere or achieve anything to be with God.
  • During the healing service here in our church, the God force moves from a higher source through the healer into the person sitting for healing. What is the God Force? It's God! When God can move through us and into us, why do we need to get to the highest level in the spirit world to be with God? We don't. God is everywhere and right here.
  • You don’t even have to be a healer or sit in the healing chair. If you haven’t already done it, you can ask God to come into yourself and into your life anytime you’re ready.
  • I've also read a number of books by people who have had near death experiences. When these people come back and tell us what they learned while they were in the spirit world they explain that the important things in life are not material achievements. The things we do in life that we will be the most proud of when we get to the spirit world are the little things we do when we love, forgive, and sincerely care about other people. These are things for which there is no material reward and no public recognition. These are things which are not related to our own personal goals and ambitions.
  • True religion is about learning to love God, to love each other and to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, when we accept ourselves faults and all, we can start to accept and love other people who might also have faults. This is why self acceptance is much more important than striving for perfection. If we think we have the ability to be perfect we are less tolerant of faults in others. If we accept ourselves as imperfect we are more tolerant of faults in others. This is the heart of spiritual development.
  • In the universe there is a need for beings who can do many different types of jobs. The characteristics needed to do one type of job may be ill suited for another type of job. For this reason the whole idea of perfection is illogical and for the same reason it is just as illogical for one person to judge another.
  • When some one stands up here to speak, I think they ought to give their listeners some concrete advice to tell them how put into practice they are talking about. So, now I am going to describe a way to meditate that can help a person develop self acceptance. It goes like this: sit quietly and notice the natural rhythm of your breathing. If you need help concentrating, count each breath as you exhale until you count ten breaths. Then begin counting over again starting with one and continue in that way. If you find yourself distracted by thoughts, notice what you are thinking about, if there are any emotions associated with the thoughts, notice the physical sensations in your body associated with the emotions. Then go back to observing your breathing.
  • Don't feel bad when you get distracted by thoughts during meditation. The whole point of trying to concentrate is not to eliminate thoughts but to calm and focus the mind, to give you a background against which you can clearly see your thoughts and emotions. When we observe our thoughts and emotions clearly we are engaging in the process of self understanding which leads to self acceptance which leads to toleration and love of others which is the heart of spiritual development.
  • That's all, thank you.

    More on meditation


    On The Purpose of Life

    Many people wonder what the purpose of life is. By looking at what people who have had near death experiences (NDE'ers) say about their experiences and what people in past life regressions tell us, we can find an answer to that question.

    Since our life on earth is temporary it is clear that the purpose of life has something to do with the afterlife. The importance of what we do in this life must be related to how the events of our life affect us in the afterlife.

    We can come to a more detailed answer to the question if we consider how our actions in this life affect us in the afterlife. Many people who have NDEs report that after death, we have a review of our life. The review is from the perspective of the effects our actions have on other people. We re-experience our life from the perspective the the people we affect. NDE'ers, who have a review, whether or not they were good or bad people in life, all say that they are pleased by reviewing the good actions they have done and displeased by reviewing the bad actions they have done. Good actions are actions that help others in some way or express love towards them. Bad actions are actions that hurt others in some way. Furthermore, before the start of the review some NDE'ers are asked the question, "What have you done with your life?".

    From these facts one can construct an answer to the question: what is the purpose of life? Firstly, from the question, "What have you done with your life?" we can surmise that we have a responsibility for our actions. Secondly, from the fact that our life review is from the perspective of the people we affect, we can conclude that we are responsible for how our actions affect others. Thirdly, since both good and bad people all report that they are pleased by good actions and displeased by bad actions we can conclude that we are responsible for doing good towards other people and avoiding harm to other people. It is interesting that one of the sayings of Buddha is: "Do only good and do no harm".

    Past life regression subjects often explain that they are incarnating to fulfill a karmic responsibility that they incurred in a previous life. This might be helping another person to accomplish something that they may have hindered the other person from doing in a previous life. Or, it can be experiencing for themselves some unpleasant situation they caused someone in a previous life. This helps them to learn to avoid doing that again in the future since experiencing it for themselves will help them to understand why it is a bad thing to do to someone else. In general these unfulfilled karmic debts spring from bad actions. So this source also seems to suggest that we incarnate to learn to do good and avoid harm.

    Also NDE'ers sometimes come back and say simply that the purpose of life is to learn to love. It is interesting that this is in agreement with the two commandments Jesus taught: love God and love thy neighbor as thyself. NDEs seem to be organized and managed by the spirits in the afterlife so that the experiencer can come back to earth and tell the rest of us what they experienced. NDE'ers are often told they have an important mission to accomplish and must return to their earth life. It is reasonable to surmise that this mission is to tell others about their experience. Because of this, we should take what NDE'ers tell us about their experiences very seriously.

    The notion that we incarnate in order to learn to love is actually in agreement with the notion that the purpose of life is, as Buddha taught, to do good and do no harm. If you follow that advice you will learn to love. It is the same principle used when minor criminals are sentenced to community service, and it is something people who are involved with volunteer work know. When you help people, you begin to understand them better and understand their problems and difficulties. This leads you to identify with them more and more. Their problems become your problems until you find that, as Jesus instructed, you love others as you love yourself.

    There are many reasons given by different authors about the purpose of life and this analysis does not exclude those it does not mention. However, from this analysis we can say that the purpose of life is to learn to love by doing good towards others and not harming them.


    Free Will, Personal Responsibility, and Blame

    Free Will

    "Free will" is one of those phrases that causes a lot of arguments because it has different meanings in different contexts. Some of the time at least, people debating it have different contexts in mind and seem to disagree but might agree if they considered the same context at the same time.

    God does not control us like puppets, so in that context we do have free will.

    Spirits and incarnated people are subject to natural law. For example, incarnated people are subject to the law of gravity (some claim to have detected the mass of the spirit also). We are all subject to the laws of psychology too and therefore the decisions and actions of spirits and incarnated people can be predicted. In that context one could say that we don't have free will.

    Other constraints on free will are our life plan. There seems to be some evidence that certain events in our life are planned before we are born. How we react to them is left to our "free will" but we cannot avoid them in the first place.

    Also, our spirit guides or helpers in some cases can influence us in ways we are not aware of and that also restricts our free will.

    Karma and Personal Responsibility

    The law of karma (which says that good actions have good consequences etc. see The Law of Karma in the chapter on Natural Law) is also important in this discussion. Under this law, we reap what we sow and thus we see that we are held personally responsible for our actions. This is the way God gets the result He wants while still giving us free will. The law of karma is our great teacher and its lessons are the basis for soul growth and development.


    Souls are like rose bushes. Every sin is a thorn and every good action is a sweet smelling flower. Gardeners grow roses for the flowers but understand there will always be thorns.

    If a rose bush is all thorns and no flowers, is it the bush's fault? If the soil is not right, if there is not enough light, if the plant is immature, or if the plant is pruned too severely it may not produce flowers.

    So even though in some sense we do have free will, and we have personal responsibility under the law of karma, blame and hatred are not appropriate because we are still an inevitable product of the interaction of our initial characteristics, our environment and natural law. When you see people acting badly do not make things worse with blame and hatred. An appropriate response may be called for, but leave the law of karma to do it's job and refrain from anger, hate, and blame as much as you find it possible to.


    Everyone is a Medium

    Professional mediums are no more spiritually evolved than ordinary people. Mediumship and psychic abilities are found in all types of people including selfish people as well as selfless people. Also, every person has the ability to be a medium to one extent or another. We all have spirit guides. What do these guides do? They influence us. How? By influencing our thoughts. That is a form of mediumship. Obviously not everyone is sensitive enough to give readings to other people but everyone must be capable of perceiving the influence of spirits.

    Every living person has one or more spirit guides who helps them throughout life. Everyone also has helper spirits who help them with specialized tasks. However, most of the time people don't know they are being helped, and they attribute this guidance to their own mind or their conscience. Most of the time guides do not control us like puppets. While they put thoughts into our heads to make us aware of different alternatives, for the most part they let us make our own decisions. There are exceptions where guides will take a more forceful role but only for a good reason and not very often.

    Silver Birch, an advanced spirit teacher, has this to say about spirit guides:

    Ambassadors from the hierarchy and other enlightened beings, who are kindred souls as far as you are concerned, attach themselves to you sometimes before you are born into your world.

    Sometimes they make themselves known to you before you incarnate into your world; sometimes you agree with them that you will volunteer to perform certain tasks. It does not matter what names you call them. They are there. They do not leave you. Their task is as it says in your Bible, “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.”

    These are the angels of light who surround their charges, whose self-imposed task is to guard, to guide, to sustain them and always to point the way to the spiritual path that ultimately leads to mastery.

    Everyone has spirit guides who are with us from the beginning of our lives and who "guard, guide, and sustain" us. Since most people are not aware of the activities of these guides, we know that they can do their job without our knowing it and that they have sometimes subtle (guiding, and sustaining) and sometime not so subtle (guarding) influences on us.

    It's important for people to realize we all have this ability to perceive spirit communications and that mental mediums who give readings have something that is highly developed but it is still something that is natural to everyone. This is an important point because if more people held this view then people would look for and be more open to spirit influence in their own lives and that in itself would make them more aware and more sensitive. If society was more accepting of this as a natural ability innate in all of us, then children would less often turn off their abilities due to social pressure and society as a whole would develop more spiritually faster.

    Many people would be better off recognizing that they don't always need a medium. With a bit of warning about the self deceptions of wishful thinking, of fear, and of other delusions many people can learn to consciously sense what their guides want them to know and even to sense the presence of departed loved ones if they would be open to it and believe they can really do it. The biggest obstacle is doubt.

    Most people can have the experience of perceiving communications from spirits and recognizing them as such. The chapter A Natural Method of Communicating With Spirits explains how to do this working alone. Many people are also able to do this in a class on mediumship. You don't have to be a professional quality medium to have this type of amazing experience. There is a wide range in ability from simply seeing a spirit in your mind's eye and describing what you see and getting confirmation from a classmate, to being able to give a full reading with a message. You don't have to be able to give a reading worthy of a professional medium to have a meaningful experience.

    There are certain conditions provided by a mediumship class that make this possible.

    • In a class, the teacher's guides can be a big help because they will have had a lot of experience with beginners.

    • The spirits also say having a group of people assembled rather than working with a lone individual makes it easier for them to come through. Mediums also report it is easier to work with a larger group.

    • When you have a class and the spirits and guides are assembled then there is also a very specific time frame in which to expect communications to occur and one can watch the mind very carefully during that time and be on the look out for spirit communications.

    The most important factor has nothing to do with a class and that is the belief that it is possible for you to do it.

    One of the difficulties is that while we perceive communications from our guides, we think they are our own thoughts. Therefore, even though everyone is capable of perceiving spirit communications, and everyone has done so, most people have no idea that it is possible or they are already doing it. So if you don't know or believe you can do it you won't look for it to happen or notice it if it does. Spirit communications are usually too similar to our own normal mental processes to stand out. The problem is not that they are too rare but that they are too ordinary. However if you believe it can be done and you believe you can do it, then you may start watching the activity of your mind and with the additional factors provided by a class, most people can have some type of experience of perceiving spirit communication and recognizing it as such.


    Who Is God?

    Trying to understand God or explain who God is, is very difficult. Part of the problem is that the human idea of God is probably an invention of the human mind. That doesn't mean that God doesn't exist, it simply means that He just might not be exactly what we had in mind. Some of the ideas we have about God are: He created the universe, the earth, and life on earth, and that He answers prayers. These ideas also lead to questions like "how did God come into existence"?

    Another big problem is that we can't seem to find a person who fits this job description. So we start trying to think up explanations like God is the totality of all consciousness etc. Supposing that consciousnesses can add up like that, is it necessarily correct to map that being to the human idea of God and to each of those items in the job description?

    Maybe it is better to try to answer individual questions like how did the universe come into being? Did the earth and life on earth arise by intelligent action or did they arise by chance? If by intelligent action, who did it? Who answers prayers?

    What if different entities are responsible for these different activities? Does that mean there is no God? Do we need a single entity at the top of a hierarchy to escape the "sin" of atheism? Does it matter?

    If you read the literature written by spirits through mediums, they seem to support the notion that God exists. If you are interested in looking into this, a couple of free on-line e-books by William Stainton Moses will be helpful.

    Spirit Teachings


    More Spirit Teachings

    Silver Birch, a respected spirit teacher, had this to say...

    ... I have lived much longer than any of you who are listening to what I say. As a result of my experiences in realms far beyond your earth I have gained some knowledge of the Great Spirit you call God, and of the natural laws which have been devised to ensure that the will of the Great Spirit will and must ultimately prevail.


    Love is a mighty force in the universe. It is love that is expressed by all advanced beings in our world whose only desire is to serve you. We seek nothing for ourselves. We require no worship, no adoration, no gratitude. If we succeed in helping, all we ask is that you express your thanks to the Great Spirit and, because of what you have received, try to serve others.


    As you learn to fulfill yourselves you will obtain as a result a richness, radiance, steadfastness, resolution, awareness and inner peace. You will be in harmony with the laws that the Great Spirit devised, and even with the Great Spirit, a portion of whose divinity is within each one of you.

    It is perfectly reasonable to acknowledge that you don't understand God. One may feel funny saying he believes in God. How can you believe in something you don't understand, can't find, and can't explain or describe? For a person to try to understand an entity capable of creating the space, time, and everything in it, is like a mouse trying to understand a computer. A mouse can only think that it might be something to eat or a place to build a nest. That is about as close as one might ever come to understanding the creator of the universe.

    However you should use prayer simply because it works. The prayer, "Oh God, please show me how to ...." is extremely effective. It is based on the law of proportional assistance.

    Spiritual healing has been used effectively and it is based on prayer.

    One may hold the point of view that God is who ever it is that is responsible for giving this help in answer to prayers directed to Him. Maybe it's an omniscient, omnipotent person somewhere, maybe it's the celestial bureaucracy, maybe it's the omnipresent superposition of all consciousness in the multiverse. The important point is that He gets results.

    More on this topic can be found in my blog posts Evidence That God Exists: People Who Have Near Death Experiences Meet God and Realizing the Ultimate.



    In many quarters it seems is fashionable today to denigrate religion because of the misdeeds done in its name. However, that is not completely fair. While it is true that the inquisition killed people and took their property, the atheist communist did the same thing on a scale that dwarfs what the inquisition did. Skeptics have organizations and meetings and books that fill the the same role in some skeptic's lives as religion. (see:
    Some prominent skeptics even present misleading information through the mass media to influence the public to agree with their views, (see the chapter on Skeptical Misdirection) while at the same time complaining religion is deceiving the public. There are also many materialists who refuse to consider evidence that contradicts their beliefs just like fundamentalists of any religion.

    The problem has nothing to do with religion or atheism. It is a problem with human nature. A few people will have malevolent intentions and manipulate other people in order to accomplish their goals. They use some form of ideology to manipulate believers and to justify their actions.

    If you care to look for it, you can find many good things about religion. It made early attempts to codify correct behavior to maintain a civilized society. During the middle ages it kept education, literacy, and knowledge alive in Europe. Religious charities take care of orphans, run hospitals, and provide help to those in need. Many religious people believe in unselfishness, cooperation, and living a peaceful life, they are sincerely trying to get through life doing the best they can and find their religion helps them to keep to these positive values. Gratuitous attacks on religion don't really help clarify anything.


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