In the fall of 2015, I accepted an early retirement package from my company, after working there for over twenty years. What did I do with my newfound time? I wrote a book – actually three if you count each of its three editions. People reacted positively when I told them about it, but when they heard I was writing about religion and spirituality, they began to question my motives and desires. My most memorable comment was, “Why would you want to do that?” So, why did I do it? I wrote it because I’m a spiritual experiencer, and those experiences had convinced me that Jesus, spirits and the spirit world were real. I hid this part of me from my friends for years, yet all the while yearning to be my authentic self with them. Writing this book was my answer to this dilemma. By publishing it, I was metaphorically crossing the river and burning the boat. I was essentially forcing myself to reveal this part of me to others – my “coming out” party.
Why did I write three editions? I wanted to get the argument right and make it easy to read. To summarize the book’s argument, religious belief is one of a number of strategies employed to teach eternal spiritual beings moral virtues. I’ll use a simple analogy to illustrate the complexity of this task. Imagine that each morning you set out a small bowl of seeds for the animals in your yard to eat. You would like the birds to get part of it, but the squirrels always find the food first and eat it all. How do you teach the squirrels to share? The animals run away if you try to approach them. Setting traps could injure them, and if you try to keep the squirrels from getting to the food, you haven’t taught them anything. The same type of problem exists with teaching spiritual beings how to control their emotions. The spirit world’s instruction process takes a long period of time (i.e., thousands of years), and its lessons are experiential. Religious belief is a catalyst, used to accelerate the learning process by providing the objective toward which people should strive. The book covers this in greater detail and provides a number of illustrations to help visually communicate the ideas.
I hope your reading of this book leaves you with a number of questions, comments and disagreements. My goal is to stimulate conversation and not provide definitive answers, although what I wrote does reflect my current understanding of things. The Endnotes contain a wealth of information that I couldn’t fit into the main body of the book and the hypertext links are active in the eBook, if you are having trouble deciding which version to purchase. Enjoy!