THE MEDIUM EXPERIENCE– Real or Not ? —You Decide

A recent conversation with a nurse I have known for nearly thirty years offers some more insight into the medium experience.

Ultimately we would all like to know if mediums connect with the consciousness/soul of our departed loved-ones.

As will become evident I am forced to use the nurse's true name (she's OK with that).  During her reading her sister came through to her satisfaction. (Ultimately, it is the person being read by the medium who must evaluate the experience.)

Soon her father came through. He was identified by the illness which took his life–heavy smoking, emphysema, lung cancer. 

The medium then asks whether the nurse has had a recent Pap smear.  The answer was "no" because she had had a total hysterectomy.  "Do you still have a cervix?" the medium asked.  "No" the nurse replied. Obviously this was a rather strange message from her father, but health issues can and do come through.

"I'm a bit baffled" the medium stated. "Your father insists on giving me the word Pap.  I really not sure what's going on."

It suddenly hit the nurse.  "Oh my God." she said.  "That's my Dad's last name, Papp

"Ah" the medium said. "Sorry. But at least I get it now!"

So.  Back to the first question.  Is the medium experience real? Do mediums connect with the dead?  Seems so to me. But they often must interpret what information they get from departed souls.  The messages are rarely clear cut– an image in their mind's eye, a whispered name, a song that they are familiar with.  A medium will tell you that the spirit world uses their memory bank of images to make connections.

Could it be that the medium is actually reading your mind?  That theory known as super psi has never been validated.  The argument against that is that they can provide you with information that you don't know—at all. Here's an example.

A close friend had a reading recently.  Among all the validations provided (more than 95%) details about his family and life from a total stranger, came the name of two women who helped his mother-in-law "cross over".

The names, Shirley and Bess (for argument's sake) were completely unknown to my friend.  When he got home he discussed his reading with his wife.  She was completely blown away.  Shirley and Bess were two of her mother's closest aunts who had died years ago.  Of course my friend would not know who they were.  They were not a part of his memory bank.

Other such examples are well known as well as predictive messages which describe some future events that occur.  A nurse I know (Mary) went to a reading after having been divorced from her husband (Joe).  One medium told her that she would eventually get back together with him.  She laughed.  It was not even the realm of possibility for her.  The following year she had a reading with a totally different medium.  Again it was mentioned that she would re-marry her ex.  Now the odds of re-marrying an ex after a divorce is not very high. (can't give statistics).  Both mediums went out on a limb in such cases.

Three years later Mary and Joe did get back together.  Mary swears she was not influenced by her readings.  They had matured.  They were now ready to make the marriage work.

Do mediums really connect with the spirit world.  Only you can decide.

DON’T TELL ME GOD HATES GAY PEOPLE — Bible Boffoonery

Those readers who know something of my background may recall that I acquired a BA in religious studies before an MD in medical school. 

I have always been fascinated by religion, organized and otherwise.   When I began this journey I was the skeptical atheist who just enjoyed learning about religion.  I have changed.  I do believe that there is a spiritual dimension to reality.  But I also realize that religion is man's interpretation of this dimension, not the "word of God" itself.  Just the fact that so many different religions exist (each claiming to proclaim the 'truth') proves to me that there is no one correct path.

 It is just historical fact that any of the world's great religions have changed over the millenia as well as their sacred texts.  Professor Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus touches on this topic perfectly.  He was a fundamentalist Christian as a youth and believed every word of the Bible came directly from God.  As a student of religious history he discovered that different versions of the books of the New Testament had beenn found throughout the Middle East.  Some of these changes were do to scribe errors.  Others were clearly altered because of changing interpretations of older versions.

So-called apocraphyl books of all religions have been edited out of the official Canon of belief.  Who did the editing anyway? Obviously it was other people.  Can any of us be sure these texts are less "holy" than any others?

The Hebrew Bible / Old Testament was written down over two thousand years ago.  It was a time in which violence was justified over other tribes or groups, declared "unclean"  by virtue of the belief that God demanded it.    The Bible calmly prescribes the slaughter of women, children and farm of animals of such tribes–God's will to be sure.

We read of the Koran offering multiple interpretations of religious war and its attitudes towards nonbelievers.

Officially we no longer tolerate genocide or atrocities even during times of war. (Though clearly such events still occur.)   War crime tribunals, personal responsibility for atrocities, the recognition of genocide, women's rights, anti-slavery movements–all these emerged centuries after the Bible was written.

In my estimation the notion that homosexuality is an abomination to God is one of those preposterous, primitive and regressive interpretations of religious belief.  We know that homosexuality is not a choice.  Science has clearly demonstrated that homosexuals are biologically attracted to their same sex.  Brain scans, MRIs, etc. offer incontrovertible scientific evidence for this. 

The religious notion of sin implies choice.  It also implies evil.  Homosexuals cannot possibly be held morally responsibe for their sexual proclivities. It is not merely their subjective descriptions of personal sexual fantasies that need to be respected.  For those who insist on dictating moral behavior to others, just examine the scientific evidence here.  This is about biology, not moral choice. 

One can argue that they can feel these impulses but not act on them.  That is tantamount to denying a segment of the human population an intrinsic aspect of who they are.  Sexuality is biologically imprinted on us all.  To deny that fact is to criticize "God's creation".

Sexuality is no more sinful than any other biological imperative.  It can be abused and used in hurtful ways.  Gluttony, obesity and eating disorders are abuses of the biological imperative to consume nutrition.  So human urges are morally neutral.  How they are applied and used can have moral consequences.

So I recoil when I hear people stating that "God hates gays".  They have merely chosen to quote primitive Biblical paragraphs which support their beliefs.

Any by the way,  "hatred" is not one of those qualities that I would choose for God anyway.

“GO EAT YOURSELF” — Exercise & Healing

Who knew? 

Eating yourself on a cellular level, known as autophagy, is good for you.

In a recent NYTimes science article by Gretchen Reynolds http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/exercise-as-housecleaning-for-the-body/?ref=science  evidence is presented demonstrating the mechanism by which exercise leads to health and longevity.

Essentially the physiologic stress of exercise (please work up a sweat) causes our cells to increase their mechanism for removing cellular debris.  This, in turn, increases the functional capacity of all our cells leading to optimal activity, and a reduced risk for cancer and degenerative diseases.

So now we can add another reason to exercise to an already well-documented list which includes: weight control,  cardiovascular and pulmonary strength, immune function, neurogenesis, emotional calm–longevity with better quality of life.

Of course there can be too much of anything.  Please be reminded that nothing pleases an orthopedist more than to watch marathon runners–future business.

Moderation, common sense, balance but robust effort leads to physical and emotional healing.  And what about spiritual healing?  Of course.  Caring for the "temple" of our soul is part of our mission as well.

RELIGION & POLITICS 2012 — THE UNELECTABLE …….George Washington?–

Religion and politics—nearly always a toxic mix.  History, and the present day clearly demonstrate that when governments/kings/dictators embrace one particular religious belief, those who do not subscribe to it suffer.

It is exactly for that reason that our Founding Fathers were clear about not having an established religion for our fledgling nation.  They were all Englishmen who rejected their homeland's concept of the Church of England as a political entity.

This may upset the belief of some of the Religious Right who rail about the USA being a "Christian" nation and who embrace the Founding Fathers as if they were Born Again/Evangenical/ Biblical Fundamentalists.  But the founding documents of this nation including the Constitution are clear about one thing–freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion were essential concepts.

Even more fascinating is to examine the religious beliefs of these great men.  Writer Rob Boston outlines and summarizes their writings and beliefs in an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Sunday, January 22.

In brief–John Adams rejected the belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.  Thomas Jefferson was even more skeptical of traditional Christian teachings including the Trinity, virgin birth, divinity of Jesus, resurrection.  He considered them as mythological as Greek and Roman tales.  His personal editing of the New Testament, the "Jefferson Bible" caused an outrage in his time.  He essentially deleted all mention of miracles and focused on the moral teachings of Jesus.

James Madison was a Deist which speaks of a Divine creator who does not interact with his creation.  He was against government paid chaplains in the military, federal land to churches or anything that smacked of government involvement in  religion.

And finally, what about George Washington himself?   He, too, was a strict Deist.  He is reported to have been personally against the practice of communion.  He was especially dedicated to the tolerance of other religious beliefs.  His letter to the TouroSynagogue in 1790 is a powerful pledge to this small Jewish community of complete religious freedom.

Although extreme Islam grabs headlines for their atrocities in our time, the danger of any religious fundamentalism which denigrates nonbelievers must be rejected whenever and wherever it arises.

So if we are going to invoke the teachings of our Founding Fathers, let us at least be accurate about their beliefs. They were incredibly wise in their understanding of the dangers of fundamentalist religious doctrines.

George Wasington understood this truth.

Unfortunately, because of them he could not get elected in 2012.