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Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I, a Protestant, Now Believe in Purgatory

It may not be fire, but it has been graphically described by several authors who have stumbled onto different versions of it.

Dr. Frank Ritchie and Angie Fenimore began as nonbelievers but ended as devout Christians because of what they saw in Otherworld. Robert A. Monroe and Rosalind McKnight practiced decades of out of body experiments with no particular religious orientation. They did not encounter God or Jesus Christ, but they did describe many a miserable, lost, and benighted spirit. Monroe was occasionally accosted by spooky, sexual entities who tried to seduce him into an erotic encounter. Monroe describes the fate of two of his close intellectual friends and that of his father, none of whom were in a peaceful heavenly situation. One of them came up to greet him through a hole in the floor of some Otherworld room. He appeared as a gaseous cloud. As he began to address Monroe, guiding hands interrupted the interview and led Monroe away. Monroe's description of angry, desperate, addicted earthbound spirits precisely matches that of Dr. Ritchie. Whitley Strieber describes the death of a good friend who, despite spiritualistic songs and ceremonies, seemed to have slipped into hell before Whitley's eyes. Authors who write about near death experiences have related tales of trapped souls. The show Paranormal State dealt with earthbound spirits who were certainly not in heaven or 'in the light' and were often still malicious troublemakers. Numerous Christian authors have described missing hell by a hair before their conversion. Others have visited heaven for a brief time but, while they were over there, they saw many others going elsewhere. Even the books promoting reincarnation for everyone admit that some human souls get stuck. For years, I hoped that the declaration of Jesus about the way to heaven being narrow was wrong, but after months of my recent research, I accept it to be a heart wrenching fact.

I have read two of Monroe's three books. I began with Journey's Out of the Body and moved on to Far Journeys. I'm not convinced that everything he describes is real. Some of it doesn't ring true. He might be exaggerating or he may be the victim of entity simulations, which can be so real that telling the difference between the simulation and reality is difficult. However, some intriguing points come through consistently. One of them is that the end game is love. Monroe is not talking about sexual love. In Far Journeys he describes a wet, sweaty, writhing mass of humans who had permanently left their physical state, but were trying to regain the sensation of total unrestrained sex in Otherworld. He pulled one man out by the leg and made three attempts to communicate with him. The man seemed not to notice. He could not wait to get back into the writhing ball. But says Monroe, there is no satisfaction in the non-material world because there is no real human body. That pretty much is the Christian message. In the Kingdom of heaven there is no marriage or giving in marriage, and the end game is love. The New Testament Greek word is agape, which indicates God's unconditional love for all mankind. Jesus also described hell as a place where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die. Take that in a metaphorical sense and the OOBers and NDEers are describing a kind of hell.

The consistent message in all of the books I've read (although not explicitly stated) is that two things seem to open the way to a pleasant eternity. One is to learn to live a life of sacrificial love, putting others first and denying our bonds to evanescent desires. Genuinely repent of damaging things that we've done to our self and others and change our life, letting go of our attachment to addictions, ego, and to the things of this earth. Another is to call on Jesus Christ to forgive our sins, renew our souls, and open the way to the Father. That is the sure way. The books I have been reading often proclaim the Christian message, just in other words. The problem is that they lack the Christ who said the some of the same things first. The Christ Force can't change your life or forgive your sins. Jesus the guru can't lead you to the Father. Jesus stripped of the cross can not be the door to heaven. Jesus of the Bible is the only one that counts. Any entity, alien, or spirit that would deny who He is and what He did will lead you to hell.