Monday, April 21, 2014

Are OBEs Against Christianity?

Are OBEs Against Christianity?

by Bob Peterson

I try to respect everyone's feelings and beliefs regarding religion. It is a volatile subject and most people feel threatened when you try to pull them out of their comfort zone. People get upset, discussions get heated, and feelings get hurt. I will never tell another person that their religion is wrong or misguided: we all follow different paths to God, and I respect that.

Still, every once in a while, some religious fanatic (always a Christian) posts on one of the facebook groups having to do with out-of-body experiences, trying to convince everyone that OBEs are evil, demonic, or a trick of Satan. Then they urge you to repent and accept Jesus as your savior, as if OBEs are something wrong. As an OBE author and teacher, I feel obliged to address this concern and share my feelings about the matter.

There is nothing satanic, evil, sinful or shameful about out-of-body experiences, in Christianity or any other religion, for that matter. To assert that it's somehow wicked is a sign of a closed and ignorant mind: you do not even know your own holy book.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote:
"I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know--God knows) was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them." (2 Corinthians 12:2).
This--in St. Paul's own words--affirms that it's okay for Christians to use out-of-body experiences to gain direct knowledge of the kingdom of God.
Many people believe that Paul was writing about his own personal experiences, but attributed them to someone else due to his modesty. Some say that fourteen years prior would have been close to the time when Paul himself was stricken with his epiphany on the road to Damascus.

There are other passages in the Bible to suggest OBEs were perfectly acceptable as well. For example, the Bible's Old Testament talks about the Jewish prophet Elisha. In the second book of Kings, it describes a time when the Israelites were at war with Aram. The prophet Elisha kept the Jews out of danger by using what many believe were out-of-body experiences to see the battle plans of their enemy:
“Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedchamber.” (2 Kings 6:8-14)
Here's another example: In Jude 1:14, it references another book of the Bible, The Book of Enoch, a text that was removed from the Bible by early Church authorities because it was considered too controversial for common people. Some people refuse to accept that the Bible has been edited by men of authority, but in fact it's true. What happened was this:

In the years after Jesus's death, various Christian groups started popping up, spreading their own stories of Jesus and his teachings, even though Christianity was illegal at the time. Eventually Roman Emperor Constantine was converted and legalized Christianity. In the year 325 AD, Constantine decided to put an end to all the unofficial rumors and stories about Jesus. He held the first Council of Nicaea to decide, once and for all, the official doctrine of the Christian Church. And that's when they decided to cut books out of the Bible. The Book of Enoch was one of them.

Before that took place, several copies of the Bible were made (by hand) and brought to then-distant places like Ethiopia, in order to spread the message of Christianity to the pagans who lived there. A few of these early Bibles still remain, and they still contain the original texts like The Book of Enoch. (There were also fragments of The Book of Enoch found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.) The Book of Enoch is mostly about Enoch, the great-great-great grandfather of Noah, and what he saw when he “walked with God” (as described in Genesis 5:21). The entire text can be found online, or in books such as The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha edited by James Charlesworth (Doubleday, 1983). The text describes classical OBE symptoms:
“...and in the vision, the winds were causing me to fly and rushing me high up into heaven. And I kept coming into heaven until I approached a wall which was built of white marble and surrounded by tongues of fire; and it frightened me...fear covered me and trembling seized me...” (1 Enoch 14:8-14)
So there you go: three cases of the Bible condoning OBEs: (1) Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:2, (2) Elisha's OBE spying on Aram in 2 Kings 6:8-14, and (3) Enoch, the man who walked with God (Genesis 5:21, even if you throw out the whole Book of Enoch.

So now the question becomes: What evidence is there to suggest that OBEs are against Christian doctrine? None. Zilch. Zero. Nada. That's right. I challenge any Christian or scholar to find a passage in the Bible that says OBEs are in any way against Christian doctrine. I've studied the Bible (as well as many other religious texts) extensively, and I've never found anything that says OBEs are evil, sinful or against the teachings of Jesus, his disciples, or St. Paul.

So where do these crazy ideas come from? They made it up. Why did they make it up? To control you. After all, if common people were able to induce their own religious and out-of-body experiences, they just might start getting their own answers and stop going to church. They might usurp the authority of the Church. The church might lose their monopoly on God. They might lose their place as the intermediary between you and God. In short, they'd be out of business. So the Church needed a way to control the people, to keep them from having their own religious experiences, and the instrument of that control is fear. Fear of damnation. Fear of evil. Fear of excommunication. However, I believe God is love-based, not fear based.

The bottom line is: If you're a Christian, with OBEs, you don't need to merely pray to, or worship Jesus Christ, you can actually meet the man face to face. Is there precedence for that? Absolutely. Some people, myself included, have gone out-of-body and stood in the presence of Jesus Christ.

So now you're probably asking yourself: What am I trying to sell? Nothing. What religion am I? None. I do not subscribe to any religion, I do not go to any church, temple or synagogue, and I do not belong to any religious organization. Do I still love and worship God? Absolutely.

Like Christ Himself taught, I believe God is all around us, and I believe "religion" should be someone's personal relationship with God. When you start bringing in organizations like the various Church organizations, you bring in all the baggage and political nonsense: stuff that only gets between you and God.

So please: Follow your religion as you see fit. Believe what you want to believe. Walk your own path to God and to Eternity. But do your homework. Stop believing the lies others tell you, and pursue your own relationship with God, rather than spreading the nonsense. And don't tell me OBE is evil or against the Bible unless you have specific biblical passages to back it up.

If you do, send them to me, because I'd love to know:

Bob Peterson
13 April 2014 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Review: The Astral Projection Guidebook by Erin Pavlina

Review: The Astral Projection Guidebook by Erin Pavlina

Book review by Bob Peterson

This book review is about The Astral Projection Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Astral Travel by Erin Pavlina.

This book is similar to the previous book I reviewed, (Astral Projection, by Sylvia Jacobs.) Both authors approach this using the same basic "classical" occult assumptions: that you have an astral body that actually projects to another plane of existence. Both authors give practical advice on leaving the body. However, I enjoyed this book a lot more than Sylvia Jacobs' book. There are several reasons for that.

First, although both books are relatively short (142 pages for this one versus 114 for the other) Pavlina's book uses a smaller font, so you're getting more than twice the content.
Second, she gave a bunch of background story: she wrote about how back in high school, she and her friends (Ashley and Jared) discovered lucid dreaming and OBEs and learned to cultivate their abilities. She talks about their discoveries, adventures and the setbacks. The trio would rendezvous, sometimes pulling each other out-of-body, and go on adventures. She doesn't expound on any scientific experiments they could have done (that would have made the book better), but there's a real human side to the book.

The author's bubbly personality and encouragement just ignites the reader and fills them with infectious enthusiasm. And she's very witty. For example, on page 51 she writes:
"So if you ever wake up in your bed, are paralyzed, but can still see, you are golden! Get ready."

Many people are scared to death when they encounter sleep paralysis. Pavlina sees it as a golden opportunity for adventure (as do I)! She changes the fear to opportunity.

Third, she addresses the reader like her best friend: up-close, personal and with fun, whereas Sylvia Jacobs wrote like she was addressing a classroom: a little dry and clinical.

The thing I liked the most about this book is the author's attitude. Even when she's talking about negative entities and conquering the fear, she keeps an up-beat attitude and a sense of humor. For example, on page 56, while talking about expecting the fear, she writes:
"...But not you. You're reading this guide book so when sleep paralysis happens to you, you're going to be thinking, "Wait, what's this now? I can't move but I feel wide awake? Oh wow, this is it. This is awesome. Hey, who are you hovering over me? Be gone foul creature, I have work to do!"

She goes on to say:
"If you rail against the fear, it will take hold of you and you'll sink into the fear vibration which will make you an easy target and a tasty snack."
A tasty snack! (She often refers to energy sucking entities this way.)

Although there's a serious side to the discussion of negative entities, she always maintains an upbeat attitude. This has two very important purposes: First, anyone who isn't confident (or scared) will probably back off and think twice before dabbling, at least until they conquer their fears (as well they should). Second, someone who take this to heart learns the confidence they need to have positive experiences: As author Frank Herbert once wrote in the book Dune, fear is the mind killer. If you go into this with a fearless, almost playful attitude of exploration, you'll have positive experiences. And even if you do encounter negative entities, your own fearlessness will allow you to safely confront potential threats and get beyond them, rather than letting them conquer you (drain your energy or use your fear to control you). You can avoid almost all of the negative encounters by maintaining that upbeat attitude, which raises your vibrations.

I have to be honest with you: there were a few places in this book where I did not agree with the author. First, she insists that we do not leave our bodies every night during sleep. I disagree. In my experience, we do, but we're normally unconscious and unaware that it's happening. Most OBE authors agree with me on this point; Pavlina is one of the rare exceptions.

I also disagree with the author's assessment of the mechanisms by which we're pulled back to our bodies in an emergency. She writes that your body pulls you back in times of need (alarm clocks going off, phones ringing, etc). I disagree. I think it's your subconscious self, super-conscious self or "higher" self. In other words, it's some form of superior intelligence that controls the whole show. I think she's crediting the physical body with a bit too much intelligence during an OBE; I think of it as more of a tool, a kind of meat puppet that knows the basics of breathing and pumping blood while I'm out on an adventure. She treats it, humorously, like some kind of insecure child or puppy dog that needs to be appeased. On page 62, when talking about the actual exit, she writes:
Don't succumb to the pull. Keep going. It doesn't hurt to send reassuring thoughts of calmness to your body. "Shh, there there, it's all right, I'm not leaving you for good, just want to step out for a minute and get some air. There's a good body, just stay here, and I'll be right back." Stay calm and in control.
Despite these few points of contention, I did agree with most of what she said. She has hands down one of the most thorough discussions of negative entities and how to handle them. She describes several levels of protection, just in case one method doesn't work for some reason.

Having said that, there's a negative side to this. Many books treat negative entities with a bit more spiritual, love-oriented care. Ali Wylie's book comes to mind here. Pavlina often takes a different approach: once she figured out how to deal with negative or "dark" entities, she became a bit vindictive, purposely seeking out negative entities and cutting them down or stabbing them with a light-sword. She eventually grew out of this childish phase (and that's all discussed), but it casts a somewhat un-spiritual light on the whole thing. If you're looking for a book with deep spiritual meaning, you'd be better off reading Jurgen Ziewe's first book. Still, the information is good and, as I said, very entertaining.

Here's another example of her humor:
If you achieve separation by rolling out of your body, you'll want to be careful not to continue your descent into your floor and then possibly the ground. It's disconcerting to project and find yourself immediately encased in tons of earth.

Undoubtedly! This book has some excellent advice for preparation and execution, but it's is a bit short on the OBE techniques themselves. Sylvia Jacobs' book is better in that department.

This book is very well written, has excellent grammar and perfect spelling. I only found one or two typos. Although it's apparently self-published (the cover says, it looks and feels very professional. She obviously took a lot of time and care making it the best book it could be.

This book is not very innovative, but it is highly entertaining and very informative. Thumbs up.

Bob Peterson
April 12 2014