2. A (biological) breath
of fresh air
heard about the very honest liberal clergyman?
"In our church we are very aware that only half of what we believe
Our problem is that we don't know which half" !
We who are not sceptical about Spirit,
can be in the same box.
For it is only half the truth when say we base our faith on the Bible.
For the truth is that all Christians without exception
appeal to just those parts of the Bible
that fit in with their feelings and their beliefs.
Liberals are only too happy to point the finger
at the lack of honesty of countless Fundamentalist sects
claiming to derive infallible beliefs from their personal choice of
they notice that no-one for instance stones disobedient sons to death,
and that none will countenance prostitution, incest, slavery and
all matters countenanced in the Bible.
likewise select their favourite parts of the Bible,
what is the real ground of their faith?
For conservative and liberal alike
the factual ground must be complex,
based partly on Bible passages to which we feel we can relate,
partly on a traditional consensus
amongst the people of faith with whom we associate,
partly from our personal experience of Spirit,
from our feelings about love, life and reality.
We are all human, and sense our belongingness to the Unseen,
we all reach out for meaning, purpose in our lives,
seek spiritual guidance, see the importance of loving and serving
If we are to bear witness to the activity of
we must not rely only on the testimony of our spiritual ancestors,
but base our testimony on what we can know and experience in the here
corporately and individually.
Now, it is
the perception in this e-Journal that,
in examining the ground of their faith,
Christians do not readily turn to the testimony of spiritually-minded
hear the testimony of the mystics,
and they avoid psychic research,
and stories of communication with the "dead".
So far as most theologians are concerned,
most commentators on the Bible,
science, mystics, and psychical research,
are matters completely to be ignored.
And even though our faith can be based on much of everything,
even though we have shining examples of good, loving and holy lives,
science, mysticism and psychical research
are key areas to be investigating
if we seek to establish the grounds for our faith.
investigating science, mysticism and psychic research
has led many influential theologians into scepticism.
The Jesus Seminar is sceptical
that we can know much about the teaching of Jesus,
and the truth about reported miracles.
There are theologians sceptical about the resurrection and the
and in fact there are surveys that indicate
that more than twelve percent of practising Catholics and
Anglicans do not believe in a world of Spirit.
Open-minded scepticism of course is a very good
It saves us from believing in rubbish, and from superstition.
But closed-mind scepticism
simply excludes us from the truth as well as from the rubbish.
Sceptics of all kinds,
(when confronted by other people's testimonies to paranormal events,
such as telepathy,
or seeing a vision of a dead person as if alive,
at the moment of death in a distant place)
are happy to quote David Hume, an eighteenth century philosopher
where he wrote,
"A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature.
The only sufficient testimony for it
would be testimony whose falsehood
would be even more miraculous than the miracle itself."
Thomas Paris summed up Hume's point of view:
"Is it more likely that nature should go out of her course
or that a man should lie?"
Such an argument is fallacious.
There are in fact no real laws of nature, there are only good theories.
For instance Newton's "Law of gravity"
has been transcended by other more complete descriptions of a
that in fact is not fully understood.
A little more
about our theories about how the world works
could transform myself and other reporters of the paranormal
into possible truth-tellers.
- There is little humility behind the 19th century
underlying much modern science.
Materialism knows the universe is machine-like,
that "Spirit" is an illusion.
And Materialism totally ignores that branch of physics
which asks questions about Reality.
- Modern QM physics is much more willing to be humble.
With the notable achievement of the development of Quantum Mechanics,
theories are put forward depicting the universe as a phenomenon of
as a psychophysical continuum,
and well-founded theories likewise about wider orders of consciousness,
and about meaningful coincidences.
These are theories, put forward on a sound basis,
always open to challenge and development,
as is always the case with good science.
If you are
sceptical about Spirit, you are perhaps a closed-minded sceptic..
- Good books for the layman
on the cosmological implications of QM physics
have been available for seventy years or more.
How many of them have you read?
- Good books
are available on reputable psychic research
providing strong evidence for the reality of the Afterlife.
Books by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Colin Wilson (especially),
Raymond A. Moody Life after Life, F.W.H.
Myers, William James, G.N.M. Tyrrell, and Victor Zammit's The Book
How many reputable books have you read?
It is a reasonable question,
bearing in mind that the Afterlife is a key part of Christian belief.
With regard to the Resurrection, there are
well-known theologians who deny it. They do so on the basis of their
materialist philosophies, on their doubts of the historicity of Gospel
texts. They ignore psychic research, and the view of reality suggested
by QM physicists. Because of their prestige, the inadequacies of their
philosophic and scientific background are not examined. They certainly
help to sow confusion in the churches.
Commenting on my own book, an English bishop
"It has to be said most people do not really believe in God at a
though probably most do at an emotional level.
This is why almost everyone fumbles over the resurrection of Jesus.
For most it's an impossible miracle they cannot believe in
and for others it's an impossible miracle which proves their Christian
So why are many
Christians not willing to appeal to the evidence of modern science,
and of experience to help confirm their faith?
Reasons will vary, of course, depending on the
For some people Spirit is very close, very real.
They experience Divine guidance, they see answers to prayer.
They are so open to Spirit, that they ignore Materialism,
do not need reassurance from science, they do not doubt.
There are others who have true faith mixed with
They cling to an infallible Bible, or to the teachings of their church.
They are aware of the threat of Materialism, think science proves
and have absorbed their church's suspicion of psychic research.
(A suspicion sometimes well-founded, for there is a lot of rubbish out
These people have found what relation to Spirit that they have,
as members of communities of faith, worshipping congregations,
and receive no encouragement to look to science and the spiritual
experience of others,
as an even firmer basis for their faith.
is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
Consciously, or unconsciously,
Materialism gives us an excuse not to fall into the hands of the living
not to surrender to a Power Greater than Ourselves,
not to abandon rigid belief structures, false views of self,
not to love, not to grow spiritually.
And this is a great pity, because to be in Spirit demands such a
It may seem a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.
In actual fact, of course, we fall into the hands of universal Love,
the very opposite of fearfulness.
The only fearful thing is that the non-love,
all that is anti-Spirit, has to be purged away.
of fresh air:
Dr Bruce Nicholls
in Auckland for the past year
we have sponsored a Science and Faith
of 7-8 university professors and scientists
and the same number of theologians.
Our distinctive is that we claim the be evangelical,
upholding the historic orthodox faith.
We have founded a publishing company,
So far we have published 4 monographs...
This year our Forum is focussing on Creation Theology and
the care of Creation.
We are sponsoring a conference in Auckland University February 16-19,
on this theme.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances, however wide,
All distances of time - all inanimate forms,
All Souls - all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes - the fishes, the
All men and women - me also,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe or any
All lives and deaths - all of past, present and future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spanned, and shall
forever span them, and compactly hold them.
[Leaves of Grass