Please do not read any further if you are happy with answers that your religion provides about life, physical death, and afterlife. This article may confuse, frustrate or anger you if you are an ardent believer in a very conservative or fundamentalist denomination. However, if you are searching for evidence-based answers to your biggest spiritual questions and challenges, read on.
Many people have been turned off by traditional religions—especially those of the fundamental variety—that teach simplistic, fear-based, or ridiculous concepts. During my studies at a Methodist theology school, I learned that the Bible has been mightily changed over the millennia by additions, deletions, interpretations, and translations.
For more information about these well-documented changes, I recommend books by Bart Ehrman, PhD, Karen Armstrong, Bishop John Spong, and Neil Douglas-Klotz, PhD.
The following teachings are, for me and many other people, most difficult to accept:
- There’s only one way to salvation, heaven, and God
- Because Adam sinned, all people are born into sin
- God loves you but will send you to, or allow you to choose, hell if you think, speak, or act in a certain way
- Certain actions such as suicide and blaspheming God are unforgiveable sinsthat automatically lead to fiery eternal torment
- Heaven is way up in sky somewhere while Hell is deep in the Earth’s core
- God is a huge, mercurial, bearded man in the sky who sits on a throne while smiting, judging, condemning or assisting as He deems best
- Humans need an intermediary—a pastor, priest, child of God, or other supernatural being—to forgive their sins, connect them to God, and allow entry into heaven
Much contemporary evidence now provide different perspectives about the soul, God, and afterlife. These include:
1. You are part of Source Energy right now. This realization eliminates any question of there being only one-way to the Light since each person already has a unique relationship with It. You are, by your very nature, part and parcel with All That Is. Infinite Intelligence is like an ocean and you are an integral part of the whole – much like a drop of water in the ocean – but a very important drop. The saying “Truth is one, paths are many” recognizes that there many ways to awaken to the greater reality.
I and eleven great minds about consciousness topics – Raymond Moody, Caroline Myss, Anita Moorjani, Gary Schwartz, and others – discuss contemporary understandings about this and other big questions about life in The Eleven Questions.
God is not a big guy in the sky. The Creator of the cosmos is a renewing and sustaining source of love, intelligence, light, energy, spirit, beauty, and peace. Believing in a God created in our image has wreaked disastrous results, especially in condoning mistreatment of those who were different in any way.I currently prefer the term E.L.G.O.D. when referring to the Ground of All Being to help break those archaic limiting images. Those letters stand for the energizing, loving, guiding, organizing, and directing process that is behind all life and is All.
Heaven and hell are primarily states of consciousness. There are many different levels of existence here and in the hereafter. You can experience heaven or hell while on earth or in any other time / space perspective. No matter where you are, what is most important is your degree of closeness to or separation from All That Is, your level of love or fear. The only hell that exists is temporary and self-induced. With help from the Light and your Higher Energy Assistants – which is always a given – you can choose a higher, finer level of existence anytime you are ready.
Past religious teachers were doing the best they could with the information they had. Several thousand years ago, people thought the world was flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth. You can imagine their perplexity in trying to fathom the mysteries of life, physical death, and afterlife. You can honor their efforts and value their nuggets of wisdom that still make sense given contemporary findings and understandings. Then discard the nonsense and release the accompanying fear.Over the years, I’ve spoken with many wise older persons. Most of them said that schizoid messages taught in church – God is love but will put you in hell forever – never made sense to them as a child. Trust what your inner heart knows about how an all loving, caring, and wise Source would be.
It’s time to forgive powerful political and religious rulers who led us astray. It’s the oldest game on the planet: some rich and powerful men – almost always men – want even more power and money, no matter how many people they hurt or oppress. It goes on now and certainly did during the formative years of most religions. You can increase and upgrade your personal energy by forgiving their misdeeds and moving on.
There are no unforgivable sins. What good earthly parent would send her child to eternal torment, no matter what the transgression? Same way with Life Source. So release any worries that you have done or ever can do anything that will send you to hell or separate you from Great Spirit. You are inextricably interconnected with Universal Intelligence whether you know it or not.Salvation or enlightenment doesn’t require earning your way into heaven, joining a supposedly one true religion, or believing certain doctrines. It’s a matter of:
a. realizing you are a unique, beloved, and eternal being who is an integral part of
the One right now
b. becoming aware that (a.) is true for everyone else
c. living accordingly
You can release old fear-based religious teachings but honor their roots. Every religion has remarkably similar core or esoteric teachings that include:
- Love one another
- Treat others the way theywould like to be treated
- Serve others and share your special gifts
- Know that you are one with the Source now and always
- Realize that death is an entry to the next phase of periodically-changing, but never-ending life
What churches do I recommend? Over the years, I’ve found what I consider to be more enlightened, love-centered, and service-oriented denominations.These include Unity, Unitarian-Universalist, Science of Mind, Religious Science, Centers for Positive Living, Christian Science, and United Church of Christ. I’ve also found much wisdom and peace in the other major religions and native-based spirituality sources.Other Christian denominations can be good IF they:
- focus more on being like Jesus: loving, serving, forgiving, healing, and teaching the immortal nature of humans
- avoid judging and pretending they possess an exclusive path to God
- have respect and appreciation for other spiritual and religious beliefs that try their best to follow (a.) and (b.)
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Thank you for sharing this article with others who can use it. I hope that this article – and taking the action steps discussed – help you feel more happy, healthy, peaceful, clear, and energetic. You deserve to feel that way and the world needs your greatest gifts.
Life and love are forever. Shall we live accordingly?
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, master’s clinical psychologist, holistic chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and workshop facilitator. He is director of The Soul Phone Foundation, co-founder of Greater Reality Living Groups, and board member of Helping Parents Heal. Dr. Pitstick can help you know and show– no matter what is going on around you – that your earthly experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit About Dr. Mark Pitstickfor his full bio.
Note: Because of his many outreaches, Dr. Pitstick can no longer answer complex and multiple questions from individuals. However, he has created many resources to answer your biggest questions and provide holistic solutions to your toughest challenges.
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Disclaimer:This information is not designed to replace medical or psychological care. My remarks are based on over forty-five years of study, training, personal experience, and professional service. Extensive clinical, scientific, and empirical evidence supports much, but not all, of what I say. My current best understandings may change over time. I do not claim to have all the answers or the only answers. My hope is that this information assists you to consider what makes the most sense to you.