On God and Punishment

I believe that there is Something Out There.  I have had too many experiences that convince me of that to declare myself an atheist.  I also believe that physical death doesn’t necessarily terminate the existence of one’s mind/soul, mainly because I have personally known two people who were clinically dead and later revived.  Their stories are virtually identical, and neither knew the other.  And one had not previously believed in God or an afterlife. 

My personal position is that I am not sure of What It All Really Means, but I am reasonably sure that anyone who subscribes to the Golden Rule and does their best to do right by those around them (critters, too!) is not scheduled for any form of eternal punishment.  I suspect that the same Person is responsible for just about all of the teachings that lead people to love one another and be generally reverent.  I think the Buddha and Baha’u’llah and Moses and Jesus and Mohammed and whoever are inspired from the same Source, because they all have substantially the same message:  Be good to each other and try not to get too involved in the material; revere the spiritual. 

The person I knew who had a near-death experience and didn’t believe in any afterlife described his experience, and it was pretty much standard.  Being outside the body, looking at himself and the medicos working over him.  The tunnel with light at the end.  He described it as the brightest light he had ever seen, but it didn’t hurt to look at it.  He saw other people he knew who had passed on, and they were somehow related to the light.  The light chuckled and said, “Bet you didn’t expect to find me here, did you?”  And then the question: “Have you fulfilled?”  My acquaintance knew that he could have answered “yes” and been allowed without question to stay; but he couldn’t honestly, so he said “no” and was returned to his body.  Needless to say, he now believes in God.  I may point out that this man was gay and suffering from AIDS.  All he felt from the light was love.  The light never said anything about punishment at all

So what I am trying to do with my life is to “fulfill.”  My potential; my perceived obligation to encourage people to accept each other no matter who they are or what they believe.  And in doing so, to love my neighbor, not get too involved in the material, and definitely revere the spiritual. 

Copyright © 1991, 2001 by Charles E. Galvin Jr.  All rights reserved.

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