We are now privileged to reproduce articles from the Conferences and Journal of the US Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies Inc. (ASPSI) and we believe they will be of great interest to the clergy and thinking laypeople to whom this journal is largely addressed. Associated with the Academy are people like Raymond Moody, Charles Tart, Michael Grosso, Sylvia Hart Wright, Lawrence LeShan, P M H Atwater, Larry Dossey, and many others, including Mike Tymn whose work is already being quoted regularly in The Ground of Faith. We are very happy to introduce the work of these authors to another readership. Their ASPSI logo will accompany any of their articles that we present.
The Ground of Faith does have the support of numbers of clergy, but does not wish to be sponsored by any church. There is a saying, “To prescribe the conclusions is to preclude the research”: it would preclude free and open research, if we feel that we have to consider whether what is being studied would support or not support the thinking of a particular theology of a particular church. In actual fact however, heuristic scientific studies presented here are plainly anti-materialist and pro a spiritual interpretation of reality, consistent with belief in Love/Mind/Spirit being at the basis of all things.
http://www.aspsi.org/ “The mission of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies, Inc. is to discern, develop and disseminate knowledge of how paranormal phenomena may relate to and enhance the development of the human spirit.” Those organising the Academy.
Abstract of lecture given at the 2008 Conference: There are two common features of religious life: mysticism and a belief in life after death. Both of these seem based on contact with some kind of external reality. In my talk, I will show that these two aspects of religious life proceed from different but opposing tendencies. Belief in a life after death is based on the desire of the empirical self to persist in a personal form. The mystical impulse seeks to shed the empirical self, forsake the individual personality, and enter an undifferentiated state of pure consciousness. Life after death is about the persistence of the self in time, mysticism is about transcending the self and experiencing the eternal. The search for life after death paves the way to a more radical pursuit of mystical consciousness, although both projects have a place in the economy of the spiritual life. Read the lecture
For theological thought: Does 'dying to self, rising with Christ' imply the abolition of the individual?
Abstract: Without question, studies of the near-death phenomenon show striking, even startling evidence that life continues after death, that the dead can come back and interact with the living, that secrets no one could possibly know are often revealed and later proven accurate, that even animals appear to live after death, and that what we term “heaven” and “hell” may indeed be part of a far more dynamic arrangement than most of realize. These points will be illustrated by actual cases I will present from my research base of nearly 4,000 adult and child experiencers of near-death states. Yet, a closer examination of such reports, whether from me or from other researchers, reveals a much deeper and thought-provoking challenge: that what we refer to as an “afterlife” may not exist at all. Read the lecture
For theological thought: Is “Afterlife” an appropriate term, if we can be seen as “Citizens of Heaven” (Philippians 3;20-1) When we are “in Christ” are we not already in the Kingdom?
ASPSI Elene Gusch: The music of Rosemary Brown from a pianist's perspective Read
Read also [Not-ASPSI] (1)Michael Prescott's Music in the Night (2) Listen to an example of music transcribed from Spirit by Rosemary Brown (3) See and hear her in the process of composition (4) A similar presentation in French (5 Read this remarkable story A bolt of Lightning from The International Association for Near-Death Experience. See also this newspaper article referring also to Oliver Sacks.
For theological thought: In reading all this, we may reflect on a possible theology of inspiration, spiritual guidance, the nature of genius, the nature of Spirit.
Abstract: For nearly 160 years, maverick scientists and scholars have been providing very credible evidence that consciousness survives physical death and continues on in other realms of existence. However orthodox science, mainstream science, orthodox religion and the educated world have rejected and ridiculed the evidence. This paper examines the reasons for the rejection and ridicule. The focus is on the mediumship of yesteryear, which was much more dynamic than the phenomena of today. Read the article
Other linksVictor Zammit: http://www.victorzammit.com/
Electronic Voice and Instrumental Communication:
Articles and Reviews
It occurs to me that we are now actually in a new wave of spiritual revival, actually and not just wishful-thinkingly. I think I’ll pick the sudden appearance of the TV show ‘Sensing Murder’ here in NZ this last two years as a marker. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever seen credible non-fictional psychics doing readings on mainstream TV, repeatedly, pragmatically and with a minimum of fuss. There’s still a ‘woo woo’ showbiz aura to the whole proceedings, but it doesn’t come from the psychics themselves; they’re the practical ones. Read the rest of this article.
Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
The Internet makes me smile. First
Then this: (though you probably have to have read most of the xkcd archive; sorry, it’s geek humour) http://xkcd.com/442/
Finally, listen to the song Because the world is round
Alex Tsakiris, host of Skeptiko, is a successful entrepreneur turned science philanthropist and podcaster. In May of 2007 he founded OpenSourceScience.net, a non-profit project for funding controversial science experiments. The effort has earned praise from a wide spectrum of scientists including skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer, and noted parapsychology researcher Dr. Dean Radin. He’s appeared on syndicated radio talk shows both in the US and the UK. Visit this website <http://www.skeptiko.com/ > to listen to many interesting podcasts, such as this. “51. Dr. Julie Beischel Responds to Critics of Psychic Medium Research; Guest: Dr. Julie Beischel of the Windbridge Institute explains her research into the psychic medium phenomena and addresses skeptical claims about the validity of her findings. Download MP3 (56:24min, 26MB)”
The very emotional reactions of
those whom Lisa interviews seems to testify to the reality of her
psychic powers. As with another TV psychic programme Sensing
Murder, a considerable number
of people would need to conspire together, if we were maintain
that these programs were fraudulent.
Parapsychology and the Skeptics is a critical examination of the arguments of the skeptics. Starting with the history of the controversy, dating back to the scientific revolution of the 17th century, this book reappraises the controversy in light of 20th and 21st century scientific and philosophic developments.
Highly readable and immensely
entertaining, the book also provides the reader with some striking
anecdotal case studies. Upon finishing this book, the reader will
understand the startling nature of the ‘holy war’ that
has been fought for three centuries by opponents and proponents of
Read Further <http://www.parapsychologyandtheskeptics.com/>
Read this highly interesting excerpt
This is a trip at high speed, jumping distances by a factor of 10. We’ll start with 100 (equivalent to 1 meter), and will increase the size by a factor of 10, or 101 (10 meters), 102 (10x10 = 100 meters, 103 (10x10x10 = 1,000 meters), 104 (10x10x10x10 = 10,000 meters), so on, until we reach the limit of our imagination in the direction of the macro cosmos. Later we’ll return, a little faster, back to the point where we started & continue our trip in the opposite direction reducing distances of travel by factors of 10 into the micro cosmos. We will observe the constancy of the laws of the universe and think about how much the human race still needs to learn... View and explore <http://www.victorzammit.com/FantasticTrip.pps>
TANSAA (Theology and the Natural Sciences in Aotearoa Auckland) is a group which meets for discussion, and shared papers in the science/theology area, and is a part of Tyndale Carey Graduate School. The group has been recognized by Metanexus (Metanexus.org) in a program funded by the Templeton Foundation. This gives seed money to local groups of scientists and theologians in many parts of the world. There are now well over a hundred LSIs (Local Society Initiatives) in different parts of the world, including two in Australia. This is the only New Zealand based group.
They publish this important address by John E. Morton: Science and Philosophy in an Evolving Biosphere Read
For theological thought
HELL. A word used in the King James Version (as well as in the
Catholic Douay Version and most older translations) to translate the
Hebrew she'ol and the Greek hades. In the King James Version the word
"hell" is rendered from sheol' 31 times and from hades 10
times. [she'ol and hades both purely and simply mean “the place of
the departed spirits” not referring to a place of torment.] This
version is not consistent, however, since sheol' is also translated
31 times "grave and 3 times "pit." In the Douay
Version sheol' is rendered "hell" 64 times, "pit"
once, and "death" once. Read this article which shows that
our present pictures of Hell arose in the Middle Ages, and are not
The devil has a whole system of theology and philosophy,
which will explain, to anyone who will listen, that created things are evil, that men are evil, that God created evil and that He directly wills that men should suffer evil. According to the devil, God rejoices in the suffering of men and, in fact, the whole universe is full of misery because God willed and planned it this way. Read this whole insightful article
The editor, Michael Cocks, writes as a member of the NZ Anglican church after a life-time in the priesthood. Part of the purpose of this journal is to present the findings and implications of psychic research to clergy and leading laity, in the belief that Christianity can provide a valid window on to reality, as also can the use of scientific method. His own Anglican church bases its beliefs and teachings on what is called the “Lambeth Quadrilateral” two headings of which read, '(a) The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as "containing all things necessary to salvation," and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith. (b) The Apostles' Creed, as the Baptismal Symbol; and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.'
There is no statement that all words of Scripture express infallible truth, and varying theologies justify themselves by appealing to their own selected Biblical passages. There is disagreement as to the historicity of certain parts of the Bible, and disagreement as to whether or not doctrines are meant to be literal or poetic representations of spiritual reality. There has never been any assertion that scientific method and academic study should not be used to establish likely matters of fact. I interpret this as implying that if any Anglican clergy are in an intellectual straitjacket, it is of their own making.
the opinion of this editor, (and he speaks for no other member
advisory panel) what has been published in The Ground of Faith to date,
implies that Christians need to revise how they see central aspects of their
faith in certain ways:
when we speak of “the resurrection of the body” we
refer to the
resurrection of the spiritual body as referred to by St Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.
#that when we speak of the resurrection on the “Last day” we acknowledge the belief, pre-dating the time of Jesus, concerning a winding up of the physical order, that there are both many New Testament passages suggesting immediate resurrection (“Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise”) and many suggesting a long delay until a final day of judgment. Perhaps we can conconcile the two beliefs by asking whether it would it be inappropriate to suggest that on the death of the physical body, we are beyond physical time? In Eternity the beginning and the end are said to co-exist. We also need to see whether we are understanding “God” anthropomorphically, or as “Spirit”, and whether we are thinking of a legalistic God or a God of Love.
#With regard to belief in “The Communion of Saints”, psychic research would lead us to considerably expand our understanding of its meaning. Firstly a Wikipedia article describes it in these words:
“The Communion of Saints (in Latin, communio sanctorum) is the spiritual union of all Christians living and the dead, those on earth, in heaven and, in Catholic belief, in purgatory. They share a single "mystical body", with Christ as the head, in which each member contributes to the good of all and shares in the welfare of all.
The earliest known use of this term to refer to the belief in a mystical bond uniting both the living and the dead in a confirmed hope and love is by Saint Nicetas of Remesiana (ca. 335–414); the term has since then played a central role in formulations of the Christian creed.
The term is included in the Apostles' Creed, a major profession of the Christian faith whose current form was settled in the eighth century, but which originated from not long after the year 100, the basic statement of the Church's faith (William Barclay, The Plain Man Looks at the Apostles Creed, pages 10-12).
The doctrine of the Communion of Saints is based on 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul compares Christians to a single body.”
With regard to this doctrine, psychic research would lead us to expand our concept far wider than baptised Christians, to all children of God within the Cosmic Christ. The views of clergy in this regard will of course vary widely.
This editor, in short, considers that psychic research presents a picture reasonably consistent with Anglicanism as widely understood, but that it much enlarges our understanding.
From our readers
Jesus was not buried
“Not long after the documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” and its companion book The Jesus Family Tomb became known to the public after some ecstatic propaganda, an influential part of the academic community involved in Biblical studies and archaeology raised its voice in protest...”