Archive for June, 2008

proving the existence of the sacred

Here’s a really good one from The Herald Tribune.

Neural Buddhists

by David Brooks

In 1996, Tom Wolfe wrote a brilliant essay called “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died,” in which he captured the militant materialism of some modern scientists.

To these self-confident researchers, the idea that the spirit might exist apart from the body is just ridiculous. Instead, everything arises from atoms. Genes shape temperament. Brain chemicals shape behavior. Assemblies of neurons create consciousness. Free will is an illusion. Human beings are “hard-wired” to do this or that. Religion is an accident.

In this materialist view, people perceive God’s existence because their brains have evolved to confabulate belief systems. You put a magnetic helmet around their heads and they will begin to think they are having a spiritual epiphany. If they suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy, they will show signs of hyperreligiosity, an overexcitement of the brain tissue that leads sufferers to believe they are conversing with God.

Wolfe understood the central assertion contained in this kind of thinking: Everything is material and “the soul is dead.” He anticipated the way the genetic and neuroscience revolutions would affect public debate. They would kick off another fundamental argument over whether God exists.

Lo and behold, over the past decade, a new group of assertive atheists has done battle with defenders of faith. The two sides have argued about whether it is reasonable to conceive of a soul that survives the death of the body and about whether understanding the brain explains away or merely adds to our appreciation of the entity that created it…

For the rest of the article, click here.


Houdini Speaks!

…ok, not really. You see, Houdini was not only the superhero of his time, but a skeptic and and an anti-spiritualist who made a point of exposing spirit mediums with intensive investigations and tests.

My own little Houdini theory is this: What caused this man’s obsession with disproving the afterlife? Imagine this: here was a man who was haunted by his own mortality. Perhaps his deep probings into the authenticity of the spiritual realms came from a place of intense hope?

Here is another Houdini theory: He was murdered by resentful spiritualists…

“An extraordinary claim that illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini may have been murdered by Spiritualists is being taken seriously by his great nephew and others…”

Click here, for the complete article from Paranormal Review.


Even more interesting is Houdini’s actual LIFE, which was expertly documented in a PBS special for The American Experience: “Houdini” –

In 1912 Harry Houdini was lowered into New York’s East River in a crate wrapped in chains. The crowd of spectators gasped; reporters pulled out their stop watches. Houdini was out in less than a minute. The resulting media blitz established him forever as the world’s greatest escape artist. On stage, Houdini subjected himself to the Water Torture Cell, being buried alive, and other perils of his own design. Throughout his rise from Hungarian immigrant to international star, Houdini confronted our greatest fears entrapment, pain, death — and emerged victorious. Produced by Nancy Porter. Mandy Patinkin narrates.”

For a complete and “enhanced” transcript of the program, click here. This is highly recommended reading and you’ll enjoy it as if you were watching the program. You may also order a video of the program, here.


Film: Edgar Cayce Reading 3744-5

Greetings Reincarnationists,

Ok, so this video is extremely dated and reminds me a bit of those Dharma Initiative videos on the TV show Lost (Lost fans, you’ll know exactly what I mean), but… the subject matter is incredibly interesting and since i am on a roll with the spirit mediums lately, I could not resist posting it. So, enjoy this film about The Sleeping Prophet and later in the week I will tone your healthy skepticism with concepts from the great Harry Houdini.


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