For grades 2 thru 8, I attended our local church school.
Regular training of their
peculiar particular religious beliefs, were wedged between classes of math, history, geography and grammar.
The church leaders (and the school teachers) had good hearts and probably thought they were doing divine work.
That their world view was skewed by their core agenda, spreading church doctrine, may not have occurred to them. (Certainly not to me)
Their view about what happens to us after we die, for example, was cut and dried:
IF you had somehow managed to die while being ‘right’ with their version of God, you were rewarded with an eternity of hanging around in heaven listening to angels sing praises to that ‘One And Only God’.
For an eternity?
Uh, no thanks…
On the other hand, if you died while unfaithful to that same ‘One And Only God’ who forbade (among a long list of other activities that make life worth living) dancing, cussing, card playing or coveting your neighbor’s spouse, you were going straight to H-E-L-L!
Whereas pastors, church leaders and teachers, painted pictures of heaven as a boring infinity, their visions of hell seemed to bring out their poetic sides.
For them, hell was the other eternity featuring unbearable heat, fire and brimstone (despite being cloaked in an impenetrable darkness), flesh ripping demons and unrelenting thirst.
Wailing and gnashing of teeth, while being thrust into raging furnaces, were merely starting points when they got hot under their collar and started jumping and shouting about going to hell.
Looking back, escaping hell, was the major draw for the church. Not surprising then, that so much effort was concentrated upon the details of that terrifying fate.
Anyway, for the longest time, I was obsessed with the act of dying…
As in What Comes After Death?
I didn’t want heaven, yet hell could go to, well, to hell. (If you’re so inclined: 10 Different Kinds Of Hell)
Then in 1968, Celia Green published a paper that analysed 400 first-hand accounts of out-of-body experiences. These tales where categorized as hallucinations until psychiatrist Raymond Moody deemed them ‘near-death-experiences’, in 1975.
Dr. Moody’s work spawned an avalanche of stories featuring peaceful acceptance of death, warm lights at the end of tunnels, welcoming committees of deceased loved ones and finally the realization that it wasn’t yet their time.
Initially, near death experiences (NDE) both excited me and mellowed down fears for our afterlife.
However, as the scientific community dug down into the hows and whys of the NDE phenomenon, I’ve become disillusioned about their significance.
Yet, I’m still kinda fascinated with them.
If you are too, then you’ll like these 10 NDE’s that are a little different: Click on the following blue link: How It Feels To Die
For a scholarly approach: The Science Of Near Death Experiences
In the spirit of today’s reflections:
Talk to you next time…