Historical & Cross-Cultural Near-Death Experiences (Updated)

Historical & Cross-Cultural Near-Death Experiences (Updated)

Apr 20

A cross-cultural exploration of near-death experiences from ancient times until today…

China On Course To Become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’

China On Course To Become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’

Apr 19

The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America…

Jesus (Updated)

Jesus (Updated)

Apr 19

This page includes Jesus-related links to news articles, special reports, books, movies, videos, modern Jesus scholarship, The Sayings Gospel Q, and more…

How Civilizations Fail & Can Be Saved (Updated)

How Civilizations Fail & Can Be Saved (Updated)

Mar 25

How, exactly, do powerful empires collapse, and why? Researchers now believe they’ve found an answer, one that has troubling implications for today — because we’re clearly on the road to ruin…

Vatican Library To Digitise Its Most Valuable Manuscripts

Vatican Library To Digitise Its Most Valuable Manuscripts

Mar 20

The Vatican Apostolic Library, founded in 1451 and considered one of the world’s most important research libraries, is hoping in the next four years to archive its entire collection of 82,000 manuscripts, comprising more than 41 million pages…

All About Emanuel Swedenborg

All About Emanuel Swedenborg

Mar 08

All about Emanuel Swedenborg. “People who have had near-death experiences peek through the door of the after-life, but Swedenborg explored the whole house.” — Kenneth Ring, founder of International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS)

According To 4,000 Year-Old Tablet, Noah’s Ark Was Round

According To 4,000 Year-Old Tablet, Noah’s Ark Was Round

Jan 24

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia — modern-day Iraq — reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah. It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle — as well as the key instruction that animals should enter “two by two”…

TEDx: Barrie Schwortz on The Shroud of Turin

TEDx: Barrie Schwortz on The Shroud of Turin

Jan 06

Barrie Schwortz, an Orthodox Jew, spends much of his time educating Christians that the Turin Shroud may well be an artifact of Jesus. An expert on imaging, he was the official documenting photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), the 1978 team that conducted the first in-depth scientific examination of the Shroud. In 2009, he founded the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc. (STERA, Inc.). Schwortz began as a skeptic of the shroud, but by scientific evidence became absolutely convinced of its authenticity. To be open-minded and brave enough to immerse oneself in the evidence of beliefs that go against your own, and allow yourself to be convinced of their validity, requires a courage and honesty that not many can claim. This is what Barrie Schwortz has been doing for the past 30 years…

Hollywood’s New Best Friend: ‘The Bible’

Hollywood’s New Best Friend: ‘The Bible’

Dec 27

The saint-like image of a hooded woman looms out from the movie poster, her arms outstretched as a divine light bursts from the sky. A message written above is simple and unambiguous: “You Will Believe.” So goes the promotional campaign for the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster Mary Mother of Christ. Mary Mother of Christ is one of a series of unashamedly Christian biblical epics due to appear next year, marking an unprecedented overture by Hollywood to America’s evangelical heartland…

Movie: ‘Son of God’

Movie: ‘Son of God’

Nov 30

The first trailer for “Son of God” has debuted online. The film is a big-screen adaptation of the History Channel’s hit 10-hour miniseries The Bible, produced by Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey. The movie will follow Jesus from his birth through his death and resurrection and is set to feature selections from the miniseries and additional scenes left on the cutting-room floor. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado is reprising his role as the son of God…

Was Mother Teresa’s Humanitarian Image ‘A Myth’? (Updated)

Was Mother Teresa’s Humanitarian Image ‘A Myth’? (Updated)

Nov 14

A collection of reports that accuse Mother Teresa of failing to be the humanitarian saint she was widely perceived to be. The allegations include accepting money from corrupt sources, keeping secret bank accounts, misusing millions of dollars in donations (money that could have been used to alleviate poverty or improve the conditions of her hospices was used, instead, to open new convents, increase missionary work, and fund other Vatican projects), refusing to help the needy when they approached the sisters at the wrong time according to the prescribed schedule, discouraging sisters from seeking medical training to deal with the illnesses they encountered (with the justification that God empowers the weak and ignorant), the imposition of “unjust” punishments on sisters (such as being transferred away from their friends), and keeping sisters in check by prohibiting the reading of secular books and newspapers, and emphasizing obedience over independent thinking and problem-solving… This post also includes Time Magazine’s August 2007 article on “Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith.”

Bio Channel Examines Child Memories of Past Lives

Bio Channel Examines Child Memories of Past Lives

Jul 20

What if your child remembered dying in a past life? This special explores many parents most closely guarded secret: their child is a reincarnation of someone who died violently and came back to life. A young boy who remembers falling to his death on 9/11. A daughter haunted by recollections of dying in the Oklahoma City Bombing. A toddler terrified by nightmares of a gruesome end in World War II. These are just a few stories of parents struggling with the Ghost Inside My Child…

Movie: ‘Oranges and Sunshine’

Movie: ‘Oranges and Sunshine’

Jun 14

How could more than 130,000 children be shipped from Britain to Australia and other Commonwealth countries, often without their parents’ knowledge, and the world not know about it? This was the question British social worker Margaret Humphreys began to ask in 1986, when an Australian woman arrived unannounced at her workplace and asked for help in finding her lost family…

Dr. Eben Alexander: The Easter Question

Dr. Eben Alexander: The Easter Question

Mar 31

Dr. Eben Alexander writes:

“More than ever since my near death experience, I consider myself a Christian — though one who knows that God loves all of His children, including those whose faith is expressed in traditions different from my own… Any pastor will tell you that the single concept that separates the wheat (that is, the real believers) from the chaff (those who are Christians only in name), is whether a person accepts that what Christian tradition says happened on Easter Morning really happened. The entire force of the Christian message can be pushed into that moment when the rock of the cave rolled aside and Jesus — the same and yet not the same Jesus whom his mother had watched die on the cross just two days before — stepped out once more into common daylight. That he had, in fact, overcome death.

“Now, I can tell you that if someone had asked me, in the days before my NDE, what I thought of this story, I would have said that it was lovely. But it remained just that — a story. To say that the physical body of a man who had been brutally tortured and killed could simply get up and return to the world a few days later is to contradict every fact we know about the universe. It wasn’t simply an unscientific idea. It was a downright anti-scientific one.

“But it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul…”

Nazi Ghettos, Slave Labor Sites, Brothels, Concentration Camps & Killing Factories

Nazi Ghettos, Slave Labor Sites, Brothels, Concentration Camps & Killing Factories

Mar 02

As early as 1933, at the start of Hitler’s reign, the Third Reich established about 110 camps specifically designed to imprison some 10,000 political opponents and others. As Germany invaded and began occupying European neighbors, the use of camps and ghettos was expanded to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe. The camps and ghettos varied enormously in their mission, organization and size, depending on the Nazis’ needs. When the research began in 2000, Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500. The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers…

Quote & 2005 Movie: Sophie Scholl

Quote & 2005 Movie: Sophie Scholl

Feb 26

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves — or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control.

“If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”

– Sophie Scholl (1921 – 1943), German student, a member of The White Rose Society, a non-violent anti-Nazi resistance group. Died at age twenty-two.

2012: The Greatest Year In The History Of The World (Updated)

2012: The Greatest Year In The History Of The World (Updated)

Jan 10

It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low. We are living in a golden age. (This post includes Hans Rosling and Steven Pinker providing supporting evidence that humankind is getting dramatically better, very fast.)

David Sunfellow: ‘How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World’ (Updated)

David Sunfellow: ‘How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World’ (Updated)

Jan 04

On January 27th and March 16th of 2012, David Sunfellow gave two talks in Sedona entitled “How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World”. The following two-hour, two-part video is a summary of the information that David shared during these presentations…

Movie Worth Seeing: ‘Jodhaa Akbar’

Movie Worth Seeing: ‘Jodhaa Akbar’

Dec 19

If you are looking for an interesting movie, with a beautiful message, take this one for a spin. It’s long, but worth it. One Amazon viewer writes: “It is a beautiful story about a wise leader who bucks tradition and chooses compassion over bloodshed, openness and acceptance over intolerance. It is also a wonderful love story.”

Mayan Apocalypse: Panic Spreads As December 21 Nears

Mayan Apocalypse: Panic Spreads As December 21 Nears

Dec 14

Thanks to the Mayan calendar (or a misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar), fears that the end of the world is nigh have spread across the world. Read all about it (and previous doomsday predictions that failed) here. Updated to include NASA video and website on 2012 predictions…

Mary Breastfeeding Jesus: Christmas’ Missing Icon

Mary Breastfeeding Jesus: Christmas’ Missing Icon

Dec 12

With all the familiar scenes associated with the holy family today — creches and church pageants, postage stamps and holiday cards — we are missing an obvious element of the mother-child connection that modern Christians are apparently happy to do without: a breast-feeding infant. Jesus certainly wasn’t a bottle baby. So what happened to Mary’s breasts? It’s a centuries-old story, but one that has a relatively brief answer: namely, the rise of the printing press in 15th-century Europe…

Michael Murphy: 50 Years of Esalen

Michael Murphy: 50 Years of Esalen

Dec 05

Before the Esalen Institute, there was Michael Murphy’s family’s property, a choice chunk of gorgeous Big Sur, where, in 1962, Murphy (writer, seeker) and his friend and fellow human potentialist Dick Price dedicated the Murphy land to the now 50-year-old center for the pursuit of personal and social consciousness-raising. Notables like Aldous Huxley, Abraham Maslow, Joan Baez and Henry Miller contemplated themselves and the world there. Murphy, now director of Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, answers questions about Esalen and its first 50 years…

Ancient Papyrus Fragment Suggests Jesus Was Married

Ancient Papyrus Fragment Suggests Jesus Was Married

Sep 20

A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ” The faded papyrus fragment is smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass. Just below the line about Jesus having a wife, the papyrus includes a second provocative clause that purportedly says, “she will be able to be my disciple.”

The Life, Death & Corrupting Influence of Sun Myung Moon

The Life, Death & Corrupting Influence of Sun Myung Moon

Sep 04

This special resource page examines the life, death, and corrupting influence of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed Messiah from South Korea who led the Unification Church, one of the most controversial religious movements to sweep America in the 1970s. Along with news stories that report his death at 92, this page features several documentaries that examine the dark side of Moon’s life, teachings, church, front organizations, political agendas, cozy relationships with U.S. presidents and government officials, generous support of ring wing political movements, personal debauchery and family life…

Rock Center with Brian Williams on Mormons

Rock Center with Brian Williams on Mormons

Aug 24

“Rock Center with Brian Williams” devoted an hour to Mormons and Mormonism on Thursday, August 3, 2012. Watch this one hour special, plus additional online content, here…

How A Fictional Tree Planter Inspired Real Ones

How A Fictional Tree Planter Inspired Real Ones

Aug 22

How a fictional story inspired real people to change the world by planting trees…

Doggerland: Ancient Land From Scotland To Denmark Swallowed By Waves 8500 Years Ago

Doggerland: Ancient Land From Scotland To Denmark Swallowed By Waves 8500 Years Ago

Jul 06

‘Britain’s Atlantis’ — a hidden underwater world swallowed by the North Sea — has been discovered by divers working with science teams from the University of St Andrews. Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Divers from oil companies have found remains of a ‘drowned world’ with a population of tens of thousands — which might once have been the ‘real heartland’ of Europe…

David Spangler: An Encounter With Beings From The Future

David Spangler: An Encounter With Beings From The Future

Jul 03

As someone who is aware of non-physical dimensions to the world and of the beings that dwell and work within them, I have experiences that fall outside the definitions of reality with which our modern society is comfortable. I suppose that’s par for the course for someone acting as a spiritual teacher. But occasionally things happen that are outside even my usual boundaries of normality, and it’s delightful when they find unexpected correlation and confirmation from other unrelated events. It is not unusual for me to have communication with non-physical, invisible beings; indeed, it happens almost every day and forms an important part of my work as I teach my online classes in collaboration with colleagues who dwell in spiritual worlds. But one day a couple of years ago I found myself in touch with beings of a totally different nature than any I had contacted before. Instead of being intelligences living in a different dimension of the earth, these were two individuals who seemed to be living in the future…

New Evidence Supports John The Baptist Bones Theory

New Evidence Supports John The Baptist Bones Theory

Jun 17

Scientists have uncovered new evidence that mysterious remains found in an ancient reliquary in a 5th century monastery in Bulgaria belong to St John the Baptist. While these findings do not offer conclusive evidence, they also don’t refute the theory first proffered by the Bulgarian archaeologists who found the remains while excavating under an ancient church on the island…

Ossuary of James: Shanks Believes ‘Brother of Jesus’ Inscription Is Authentic

Ossuary of James: Shanks Believes ‘Brother of Jesus’ Inscription Is Authentic

Jun 17

In all the hubbub and flurry of the verdict last March in the “forgery case of the century,” one question — the central question — seems to have gotten lost: Is the ossuary inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” genuine or not? There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary. Whether it refers to Jesus of Nazareth remains a question…

Terence McKenna’s Theory Of Everything

Terence McKenna’s Theory Of Everything

Jun 11

All about Terence McKenna, Timewave Zero Theory, and McKenna’s belief that all of human history and cultural and scientific evolution were moving inexorably towards a “strange attractor” at the end of time (which could occur when the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012)…

TED: Hans Rosling On Religions & Babies

TED: Hans Rosling On Religions & Babies

May 23

Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others — and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates…

Göbekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple

Göbekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple

May 11

Göbekli Tepe is an Early Neolithic site of enormous significance, featuring 5-meter-high monolithic pillars carved in relief and dating to 10,000 or more years ago. Erected within circular “temple” structures, the latest excavations have revealed that these structures likely covered the entire hillside and could number as many as 20 in total. Göbekli Tepe has been interpreted as the oldest human-made place of worship yet discovered. Until excavations began, a complex on this scale was not thought possible for a community so ancient…

‘Jesus Tomb’ Controversy Rages As Archaeologists Explore Another 2,000-Year-Old Tomb

‘Jesus Tomb’ Controversy Rages As Archaeologists Explore Another 2,000-Year-Old Tomb

Apr 13

Archaeologists working in Jerusalem claim that a discovery they made inside a burial tomb, dating back to the time of Jesus Christ, could shed new light on the origins of Christianity. Biblical historian James Tabor, professor and chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, is working with the team, led by controversial filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici. Using a camera mounted on a robotic arm, the team found a 2,000-year-old engraving, which they claim depicts Jesus’ resurrection, on an ossuary — a limestone burial box that contains human bones — in a first-century tomb. Their exploration of ancient life in the holy land is told in a new documentary for the Discovery Channel called “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery”…

New Book: ‘The I Ching: A Biography’

New Book: ‘The I Ching: A Biography’

Apr 09

What makes a classic? First, the work must focus on matters of great importance, identifying fundamental human problems and providing some sort of guidance for dealing with them. Second, it must address these fundamental issues in “beautiful, moving, and memorable ways,” with “stimulating and inviting images.” Third, it must be complex, nuanced, comprehensive, and profound, requiring careful and repeated study in order to yield its deepest secrets and greatest wisdom. One might add that precisely because of these characteristics, a classic has great staying power across both space and time. By these criteria and by most other measures as well, the Yijing [I Ching] certainly fits the bill. And yet it seems so different from other “classics” that instantly come to mind, whether literary works such as the Odyssey, the Republic, the Divine Comedy, and The Pilgrim’s Progress or sacred scriptures like the Jewish and Christian Bibles, the Qur’an, the Hindu Vedas and the Buddhist sutras. Structurally it lacks any sort of systematic or sustained narrative, and from the standpoint of spirituality, it offers no vision of religious salvation, much less the promise of an afterlife or even the idea of rebirth. There is no jealous and angry God in it; no evil presence like Satan; no prophet, sinner, or savior; no story of floods or plagues; no tale of people swallowed up by whales or turned into pillars of salt. The Changes posits neither a purposeful beginning nor an apocalyptic end; and whereas classics such as the Bible and Qur’an insist that humans are answerable not to their own culture but to a being that transcends all culture, the Yijing takes essentially the opposite position. One might add that in the Western tradition, God reveals only what God chooses to reveal, while in traditional China, the “mind of Heaven” was considered ultimately knowable and accessible through the Changes…

Jerusalem District Court Issues Verdict On ‘Ossuary Of James’

Jerusalem District Court Issues Verdict On ‘Ossuary Of James’

Mar 22

After a trial of more than five years with 138 witnesses, more than 400 exhibits and a trial transcript of 12,000 pages, Judge Aharon Farkash of the Jerusalem District Court has cleared the defendants of all forgery charges. His opinion in the case, handed down on March 14, is 474 pages long. The most famous of the objects charged to be forgeries is an inscription on an ossuary or bone box that reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” It received its first publication in BAR — on October 21, 2002. The next day it was on the front page of almost every newspaper in the world, including the New York Times and Washington Post…

Documentary: ‘In Another Life: Reincarnation In America’

Documentary: ‘In Another Life: Reincarnation In America’

Jan 30

“In Another Life” explores how Americans are encountering the real phenomenon of reincarnation, in a society which refuses to acknowledge its existence. It was produced with very little funding, and developed by networking primarily through the internet, beginning in 1997 at a time when the internet was just starting to be used this way. A less-polished version of what you see here was broadcast on KBDI in Denver, Colorado in 2003. In Another Life is totally unlike most commercial treatments of the subject, inasmuch as it does not conform to the “theme park ride” formula of presenting intriguing cases and thus making the viewer nervous; shooting the cases down with humanistic skeptics; and then safely concluding that it’s probably not real, but we can never know for sure. This program shows that it’s real, and then shows real people discovering it in various ways despite society’s denial…

Tracing The Origins Of A ‘Yeti’s Finger’

Tracing The Origins Of A ‘Yeti’s Finger’

Dec 29

An anatomical specimen labelled “Yeti’s finger” has been left overlooked in a museum for decades, its origins unexplained, until BBC reporter Matthew Hill set out to investigate…

Discovery Provides ‘Astonishing Insight’ Into Bronze Age Life

Discovery Provides ‘Astonishing Insight’ Into Bronze Age Life

Dec 04

The discovery of hundreds of intact artefacts in the Cambridgeshire Fens has shed further light on how Bronze Age man went about his day-to-day life. Archaeologists say the finding of the largest collection ever found in one place in Britain is giving an astonishing insight into life in the area 3,000 years ago — and reveals inhabitants could not resist a bowl of nettle stew…