Sunday, December 23, 2007
No souls with body parts have ever been discovered. If they existed, one such soul for each human who had ever lived and died since the beginning of civilization, the number of such souls would be tremendous. Were this the way souls were constructed the crowding of souls would be a phenomenon worse than the crowding in New York's Times Square on New Years Eve. The space required to hold them all would be greater than all the space on planet earth. No such large cosmic entity has been seen in the astronautical search of space. Thus it becomes obvious that the concept of a soul is simply a figment of the imagination.
Oblivion is a hard sell so shamans console persons approaching death with pictures of a happy afterlife in a wonderful garden of Eden. They describe this with stories from the fables and fairy tales from their own particular bibles. The concept of soul was invented by our ancient ancestors to calm the fears of death and to maintain the concept and value of an individual's identity and existence.
And thus the shaman's promise to young suicide bombers is only a lie, and a very vicious form of child abuse that leads to the youngster's suicidal death.
To learn more, read Sleight of Mind, which can be purchased directly from the publisher at (800) 537-0655, or on-line at Sleight of Mind
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The world does not need more atom bombs and more troops! We only need more commonsense, critical thinking with understanding and acceptance of those who live in different societies. Only the shamans (priests, rabbis, imams, ministers etc.), not the politicians, can provide the needed knowhow. They are the ones who pass our beliefs on from generation to generation. World peace and harmony will be found not by bullets and trade barriers, but through a true ecumenical effort to eliminate those “we/they” barriers that lead to controversial misunderstandings, hatred, terrorism and wars. Individual bibles were developed to meet the different needs of different peoples at ancient times in different parts of the world. They well served their purpose in those places at those times in world history. But now, centuries later, knowledge of the world has greatly expanded. There is factual information about cosmology, biology and human behavior that is the same for everybody in all parts of the world. It is education that has lagged and the shamans are playing a key role in passing outdated, erroneous and mythical thinking from generation to generation. These shamans are highly intelligent persons. living in a world far different from the time their holy books evolved. They are surely aware of the disconnect that they preach, support and teach. Their bibles are a mixture of racial history, parables magic and myth. Their true goal is to teach morals and ethics but this can better be done devoid of superstition and the dogmatism of the supernatural. It is time to put these bibles on the shelf with other history books. The Rev. John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey has stated that the Judeo-Christian Bible is out of date. He says it is time for a new one. This is true for the bibles of all world religions. Under sponsorship of the UN, key, influential shamans of different faiths could come together to create a new up to date bible, a commonly applicable, teaching document for use in schools worldwide giving a sense of brotherhood, and universal understanding to the coming generation of world decision makers. It is upon the shoulders of the shamans that must fall this mission of teaching compassion for all and enforcing the golden rule as applicable to the peoples of all countries and religions of the world.
In bible times it was believed that the world was flat with hell just below our feet and heaven just above the clouds. Now it is known that the world is round with no hell below. Astronomers have searched the skies for thousands of miles and have found no evidence of heaven. So where do God and our guardian angels live? Only in the caverns of the mind. In the Middle East youths have been promised great rewards in an imaginary heaven if they will kill themselves by acting as suicide bombers for the promotion of sectarian terrorism. The shamans of their religions are thus committing horrible child abuse by using their powerful positions to promote these lethal lies. In their religious schools they keep young minds blind to the true facts of today's world. The great power of such mind games is discussed in my new book Sleight of Mind. (Warren H. Green, Inc. Publisher, 2006).
Most persons believe that they have an inner spirit or soul that controls their behavior, makes decisions and runs their life. Actually there is no soul. It is the brain's reflex actions stimulated by sensations from the external environment that does this. There are billions of nerve cells, each connecting to dozens of others forming nerve nets that contain our memories. The memories are passed down to us as we learn from our parents, our teachers and the world around us. Some are based upon modern knowledge and facts while others are cultural beliefs and superstitions stored in memory for generations. Thus it is our brain that creates the concept of soul. When the body dies, the brain dies and that is the end of the soul.
Three decades ago our hospital opened a medical sleep disorders clinic. Here I saw otherwise normal persons who complained of sleep interrupted by vivid dreams and daytime napping. I was reminded of historical religious persons such as Jacob with his daytime nap and dream of a ladder to heaven utilized by angels, of Muhammad who awakened one morning and told of flying to heaven on a winged donkey and Hong Houxin, founder of Taiping religion in China who told of going to heaven to see his brother Jesus, his father God, and God's wife.
Some patients told me that if their minds were filled with important matters these would fill their dreams and they might awaken believing that characters from their dream had actually been alive speaking to them. Such beliefs we found were due to a defect in the sleep/awakening process. Here a person only partially awakened such that the dream appeared to be taking place in their sleeping quarters. Then after sleeping awhile they fully awakened and remembered people from the dream being alive and speaking to them. Such events are now known as “hypnagogic hallucinations” resulting from faulty brain physiology. It became clear that this could explain the self produced, so called “religious revelations” such as were described by many bible figures including St. John, and also Muhammad and Joseph Smith who reported that angels spoke to them carrying messages from God that led to the foundation of new religions and their bible contents..
As an amateur magician for 75 years, I have been impressed by how many persons accept magic and myth as explanations for things they do not otherwise understand. Belief in a religion is one example and religious fundamentalism is growing worldwide despite the advances in science and true factual knowledge of the world's origin and of biological evolution. This presents a growing danger to civilization on planet earth. Firm belief in one particular brand of faith results in sectarianism with strong “we/they” confrontational thinking that leads to hatred, killing and wars. Thus fiction triumphs over facts. It is useful to examine some of these religious myths and see if they can be explained in factual ways.
The cross is the trademark of Christianity. This symbol of this crucifixion torture can be seen proudly pointing to an imaginary heaven on church steeples across the country. Christian women display this odious token suspended from a chain around their necks. The bible presents the familiar picture of Jesus, with arms outstretched held by nails through his palms. But this is not the correct picture of how the Romans tortured their victims as it is counter to the laws of physics and anatomy. The downward pull of a heavy body would soon rip through the slight soft tissue of the hands causing the body to plunge to the earth. The Romans planned for their torture to hopefully proceed death for many hours. Therefore they drove nails between the heavier bones and muscles of the forearms held straight above the head against a single upright pole. Thus the true picture is of Jesus on the stake not Jesus on the cross.
The story of the death of Jesus on a cross is the basis for the Christian belief in resurrection, celebrated every Easter. But to accept this version you must believe that a dead body can float up through the clouds to an imaginary heaven and be brought back to life. But there could be a different more factual explanation of that event. According to some evidence from the DaVinci Code, Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife. If so she would have followed him to Golgotha and when darkness fell, she and friends would have taken him down from the stake to a secret place for healing. Thus the tomb would have been empty and she would have put the Roman soldiers off guard by telling them Jesus was a supernatural being who had flown to heaven. After three days of healing Jesus would have spoken with his apostles who would have warned him of being in great danger. He therefore left Jerusalem on a fishing boat and crossed the Mediterranean to Southern France. A parchment found under the stones of the alter in a church in a small French town states that Jesus, Mary and their daughter Sara once lived there.
The church in Rome denies the authenticity of such documents. In the year 551, Pope Gregory the Great in a sermon at the Basilica in Rome declared that it was church doctrine that Mary Magdalene was a harlot, thus bringing Jesus into line with the priests who had all been ordered celibate. This had been done in the 4th century so that their estates, formerly going to their families, would now go to the Vatican. Thus today the tale of resurrection can be told without the need to believe in heaven or a soul.
The other strong pillar of Christianity is the story of the virgin birth celebrated at Christmas time every December 25th. Actually the bible describes Jesus's birth in warmer weather when the shepherds were out minding their flocks. But church dogma chose December 25th, actually the day for celebrating the Roman Saturnalia with a larger audience for St. Paul to sell his new brand of religion. Stories of virgin births were widely believed in bible times, however we know today that human virgin birth is a biological impossibility. As Mary and Joseph were betrothed, she would have been killed by stoning had they had pre-marital intercourse. A logical answer therefore would be, as history recounts, that some errant groups of soldiers, then as now, sacked small villages, killed men and raped women. This happened in Jeruslem, hence Jesus might well have been the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier.
The cold light of modern factual knowledge about the world could thus be turned on all of the world's religions exchanging fact for fiction.
This would be difficult to do but perhaps could be accomplished under auspices of the UN by bringing together influential shamans from around the world to write that necessary universal bible for use in all of the world's Sunday schools. Religion is important, it brings people together on a regular basis for meaningful discussions, supports them in times of trouble and illness and gives comfort as death approaches. The Ethical/Humanist church has demonstrated that all of this can be done without the need for magic, myth and superstitious belief in a supernatural creator. To change such supernatural myths for factual knowledge will take much time and effort as the brains of the adults of the world have memories that appear unassailable. So it must be the brains of all of the children of the world that are to be filled with new memory patterns built from true stories in new world bibles composed from fact and not fiction.
The book Sleight of Mind can be obtained from the publisher: Warren H. Green Inc. 8356 Olive Blvd., St. Louis MO. 63132