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Ep76 What Near-Death Experiences Tell Us about Life



Father Len wrestles with his lifelong fascination with near-death experiences and how what they reveal should challenge all of us to examine how we’re living our lives.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares Plato’s analogy of life as a cave where we experience only a dim reflection of true reality and the scientific and philosophical revolution it sparked.
  • “The Republic” by Plato
  • “Life after Life” by Raymond Moody Jr, MD
  • “Near-death experiences are a type of evidence of heaven and gifts from God to color in the picture revealed by prophets and mystics.” – Father Len
  • There have been thousands and thousands of near-death testimonies from adults and children in every country and culture in the world since the beginning of time.
  • Father Len shares the stories of religious and nonreligious doctors who believed near-death experiences to be nonsense until they began to study the experiences of their own patients.
  • “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander, MD
  • “Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation” by Michael Sabom, MD
  • Modern medicine has increased the number of near-death experiences revealed because of its ability to bring back more people from apparent death.
  • Strikingly similar near-death experiences have been reported by people of all ages who speak different languages, in all countries and cultures.
  • Here are the similar patterns of near-death experiences reported everywhere:
    • Phase 1: All pain, anxiety, and fear are gone. There is just peace.
    • Phase 2: People report popping out of their bodies and floating above themselves able to describe what was happening, where they went, what they did while apparently dead.
    • Phase 3: People, both religious and nonreligious, describe complete darkness going through a tunnel.
    • Phase 4: A light begins to shine accompanied by beautiful music or a feeling of unconditional love with beautiful colors all around. Suddenly a person’s entire life, from beginning to end, unfolds before them. They can not only see, but feel everything they caused other people. Joy, pain, anger, they feel it all. Half of the people in this last phase report being sent back to life because their mission in life was incomplete.
  • The most common denominator of near-death experiences is that life and life after death are all about love.
  • Surprisingly, near-death experiences for the blind and sighted people are very similar. For the blind, the light speaks to them in just the right language and just the right tone. The light speaks at the speed of light. The blind feel the same love as the sighted and also see beautiful colors all around, many for the first time.
  • The light experienced in near-death experiences frequently causes profound changes in people’s lives and religious beliefs. Religion becomes extremely important. The love, community, and joy they encounter in life after death inspires them to practice this life when they return to life.
  • Knowledge of near-death experiences should challenge us all to wrestle with the truth about God and life.
  • Emanuel Swedenborg visions of heaven.

Ep24 Hell is a choice



Father Len explains why God doesn’t send anybody to hell.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len answers the question why a loving God creates human beings he knows will go to hell.
  • Free will is one of God’s greatest gifts to each of us.
  • Free will defines human beings.
  • We are free to choose heaven or hell.
  • Heaven’s gate is always open for us to walk in.
  • “The Great Divorce” by CS Lewis tells the story of people in hell who have the opportunity to look into heaven and choose not to walk in.
  • Father Len shares the Bible story of the rich man and Lazarus to illustrate how and why some people surprisingly choose hell over the love, unity, and community that is heaven.
  • Heaven is a place where everybody loves everybody else. Even Minnesota Vikings fans love Green Bay Packers fans.
  • God’s not going to force anybody into heaven. He’ll beg, he’ll plead, but if you want hell, you can choose it. God will respect your choice.
  • Father Len explains the big difference between God knowing someone will go to hell and causing someone to go to hell.

Ep22 Are the Bible and religion outdated?



Father Len explains why the wisdom contained in the Bible about what makes for a good life is timeless.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • “There is nothing new under the sun” – Qoheleth, Ecclesiastes 1:9
  • People have forever struggled with the same problems, made the same mistakes, and needed the same solutions to solve their problems and the same remedies for their mistakes.
  • The Bible stories are always challenging our tribalism, addictions, use of money, our sense of justice, our compassion, and even our sense of religion.
  • “Faith and evidence are inseparable. Indeed, faith is a response to evidence, not a rejoicing in the absence of evidence.” – John C Lennox
  • Technology does not make us evolve. It adds conveniences to our lives. What really makes us evolve is religion.
  • We are hardwired for religion.
  • “Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief” by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D’Aquili, and Vince Rause
  • Every experiment in atheism has led to massive slaughter.
  • If we get rid of religion, we just replace it with something else. We always end up worshiping something.
  • “In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff. It’s the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.” – David Foster Wallace
  • Religion is only outdated for those who are unconscious that they’re worshiping something.
  • Whatever controls your life is what you’re worshiping.
  • What people resist when they say the Bible is outdated, is not the Bible. It’s their interpretation of the Bible.
  • “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
  • “Great Expectations” a movie about “gods” that control us.

Ep4 Why does God allow school shootings and other evils?



Father Len uses an interesting analogy comparing a toaster to being human as part of his explanation for why a loving God permits school shootings and other evils.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • God gives us free will to choose our actions. It’s up to us to choose good or evil.
  • If God took away our choices, we’d no longer be human beings. We’d be preprogrammed like toasters and robots.
  • “It makes no sense to pray for somebody to do something. I pray that someone’s heart will be open to see the right choice.” – Father Len
  • God loves us so much that he allows us to choose our own actions.
  • “The Plague” by Albert Camus
  • “The evil that is in the world comes out of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding.” – Albert Camus
  • “A loveless world is a dead world.” – Albert Camus
  • “All a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories.” – Albert Camus
  • Our choices are not predetermined. God exists outside of time and space. God’s view of our lives appears much like a painting does to us. God can see it all from beginning to end. All the choices we make in our lives are in full view to God. They are not predetermined by God.
  • Throughout our lives, God will constantly urge, beg, and intervene to try to change our hearts to make the right choices.
  • God allows us to choose light or darkness.