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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here I am again, and I suspect this post will generate a lot of controversy. That's OK.
We learn the most from trading thoughts, I hope in an open-minded, civil way.


by Allen C. Dexter

What really happens when this physical life ends?

Some people are very adamant in stating that nothing happens except complete cessation of existence and consciousness – the screen just goes black. Any evidence to the contrary is dismissed as wishful thinking, hallucinations, trickery by psychics, etc.

Others are just as adamant that death ushers us into a spirit realm where we had better make sure our passport and visas are in order – specifically by following whatever prescription they advocate for safe passage. Those prescriptions have changed a great deal over the millenniums and vary greatly from group to group.

I will admit that it is hard for me to contemplate not existing. I almost instinctively feel that I will go on in some other state when this life ends.

At the same time, I know that the mythology most people say they believe is total nonsense. There isn't going to be a “last trumpet call” summoning the faithful dead to resurrect and the living faithful to instantly transform to spirit and meet Jesus in the clouds. No one is going to meet St. Peter at the “pearly gates” and be ushered into a boring heaven where they laze around on clouds and play a stupid harp. I'm not going to take a boat across the Styx. Nor am I going to be condemned to some chamber of horrors called “hell” because I think for myself and tell some pompous religious despot to take a hike.

After I started doing wedding ceremonies, some of Phyllis' relatives learned I was an ordained minister. When they came to me to conduct a couple of funeral ceremonies for departed loved ones, I revised my carefully crafted memorial address and helped them out. Then, I officiated the marriage of one of their sons.

That same son was a diabetic and recently went into a heart attack and coma that led to massive brain damage before he was discovered. In a few days, he died in the prime of his life, a great shock to all, especially his bereaved wife and parents.

I was again called upon to conduct his memorial. March 8, we drove to Scottsdale and I delivered another carefully crafted address that avoided all the mythology but still was encouraging and sympathetic and certainly didn't include HWA's pompous practice of ruthlessly condemning all the “pagan” nonsense.

I got through the occasion and was duly complimented for my inspiring address, but I'm sure it was a disappointment to some of those attending and puzzling to still others who expected the usual reading of scripture after scripture and assurances that the dear departed was now in Jesus' presence. I merely placed him at the scene, aware and appreciative of all that was going on.

How could I do that? Do I really believe he was there and aware? Surprising as it may be to some of you, yes, I do.

No, I'm not ready for the “looney bin.” This is not a casual or totally emotional conclusion on my part. It's based on a lot of study, observation and thought.

There are just too many firsthand accounts backing up after death survival for me to dismiss them casually and dogmatically. I related one of those accounts in my address. It was from a television program I happened upon just a few days previously.

In this program, Rue McClanahan, the actress who played Blanche on The Golden Girls sitcom, related her experience with afterlife survival and communication.

She had a very dear lifelong friend who was dying. She stayed by his bedside, holding his hand until his death.

Because she had doubts about an afterlife, she asked her friend to please somehow communicate with her if he survived after death and to make his communication something electronic so she would know it was really from him.

He died a short time later and Rue stayed the rest of the night. In the morning, she went downstairs with the homeowner. They turned on the recessed lights in the kitchen and started to make breakfast. Suddenly, the kitchen went dark as every bulb on that circuit burned out simultaneously.

A short while later, a relative called, mystified over the exact same thing occurring at their home at about the same time.

I will admit that one occurrence like this in one place could be dismissed as pure happenstance, but not two such identical occurrences on the same day, in the same family and right after the death of a family member asked to communicate in such a manner.

Shortly after this occurrence, Ms. McClanahan was sitting alone and got the feeling someone was watching her. She turned around and sitting in a chair in an adjoining room was her departed friend with a broad smile on his face. I'm not sure whether it was telepathic or audible, but her friend said, “Hey, it's no big deal.”

My studies on the subject have encountered far too many such accounts for me to dismiss them. Some have been related to me in person by people who experienced them.

The work of the psychic, John Edward, has also greatly influenced my thinking. I have watched episodes of his television programs and searched for evidence of cold reading or electronic eavesdropping on audience members prior to the program, and I've come up empty. Too often, people will deny or not know what he is talking about only to later realize or find out from someone else that he was right on the mark about some improbable and unknowable to John detail regarding a departed loved one.

Does this mean I'm in danger of reverting back to the nonsense of heaven and hell and all the mythology that pervades the world?

No. Of course not.

I don't know how something survives beyond death or what it is exactly. I just believe the evidence for it doing so is overwhelming, at least to my mind.

Is it part of something divine?

I don't know.

I do know that these manifestations never have any connection with the common conceptions of heaven or hell.

The departed are never off in some mythical place behind pearly gates or skipping down golden streets. They're right here. All around us. If our eyes and other senses were capable, we could see them and reach out and touch them. No first, second, third, etc. resurrection has anything to do with it. No stern judge is sitting on a magnificent throne passing judgment while fawning lackeys cast crowns at his feet like he was some self-important Middle Eastern despot.

So, I'm again an agnostic in another can't know for sure situation. I'm certain I'm not alone in my conclusions and I welcome anyone sharing their feelings and experiences with me. Feel free to email me directly.