Is Heaven a Fairy Story?abracad, · Categories: in the news, science and spirituality, survival
In an interview with the Guardian eminent physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, author of The Grand Design and the classic A Brief History of Time provocatively dismissed the possibility of an afterlife as a "fairy story" for people afraid of death. Although brilliant in his field, Hawking is reaching beyond the remit of his expertise with this remark.
In considering an afterlife, we must consider consciousness (for presumably it is that which survives physical death), and that is an area science knows precious little about. The idealized concepts of heaven and hell are man-made constructs for man-made ends, but the possibility of an enduring consciousness is highly realistic. Although modern physics does place such importance upon the role (consciousness) of the observer that it is deemed impossible to make an observation without influencing that which is being observed. Thus even physics says consciousness matters.
The work of Ian Stevenson (eg Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation) and Raymond Moody (eg Life After Life) among others presents compelling, scientific, evidence for survival from reincarnation and near death experiences.
Serious investigations into Spiritualism have also revealed something interesting to be going on, including the 1939 majority report by British state religion, the Church of England, which was subsequently suppressed. The evidence from Spiritualism is something that can be readily assessed by observing a public demonstration of mediumship at any Spiritualist church. Visitors will likely be surprised not only by the warmth of welcome, but also the strength of evidence provided.
Although not directly indicative of conscious survival of death, there is now compelling scientific evidence for the existence of such psychic powers as telepathy, remote viewing, precognition and psychokinesis; eg as meticulously outlined by Dean Radin in The Conscious Universe. These faculties at the very least cast doubt upon the completeness of current scientific theory, and are suggestive of a deeper reality than either we or our amassed knowledge are aware of.
The physical universe may, to some extent, be a giant machine slowly winding down. But there is a greater reality that breathed life into that machine, makes it tick, and even "designed" it. And that greater reality will remain long after its current creation has ceased to function.
Hawking does us a great service in stimulating debate on fundamental questions such as this. He also goes on to say in the interview that our purpose is to "seek the greatest value of our action", surely something the Spiritual and others alike can agree upon.
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