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Does God Exist?

Updated on May 25, 2015
Hanavee profile image

Brian Gray obtained his degree in Language from Lee University and has been a published author and professional writer since 1985.

There Is No Point Where God Sits - There Is No Point That He Does Not Inhabit

The Plane of Heaven Is Beyond Our Physical Vision
The Plane of Heaven Is Beyond Our Physical Vision

Just How Significant Are We Humans?

If you want to ponder something that will make you feel extremely small and insignificant, look at any of the points of light in this photo, and consider that these sources of light are larger than our sun, and going from one of any of them to any of the others would be physically impossible for any human, since they are so far apart, it would take more years than we could humanly live, all while traveling at the speed of light. Further, this photo is only one " tiny speck" in the sky.

Out-of-body journeys to another plane of existence

The subject of God's existence is really two-fold. Does God exist? If so, where is He? And that leads moralists to another question arising from the one question of His habitation, does Heaven exist? Is this Heaven a place that we accept by faith with seemingly no proof for its existence, or is it merely a figment of our imaginations? Or, could the word Heaven simply be man's attempt to name and describe the abode of the soul in the afterlife? Discussions of the afterlife fill every known religion. Why? Because one thing all humans have is the knowledge of one certainty - we die. Thus the all important question - What then?

The existence of God always becomes intertwined with the subject of existence and the afterlife, because we humans don't like to think that only God is eternal. We like to think that we count, too. We don't like thinking that we are here for just a moment in time. The Christian logic equates the Divine Creator with a love of His creation, enough that the Creator made humanity with a purpose above that of all else, a purpose that means the Creator and the Created will live together for eternity. And, of course, with no empirical evidence to prove this concept, the Christian world teaches that we simply go on faith that this is so. This teaching, this "faith," warms and comforts the hearts of the faithful, yet does nothing for the atheist who is tired of the "just-believe-it-or-you're-going-to-Hell" scare tactic. No, the human brain is a funny thing, and it needs its proofs. What person who is married simply went on faith that their spouse loved them? Especially if they never heard their spouse say the magic words, "I love you,"?

Thus, is there a God? And does He care about us? Does He want us to live with Him? And is God even a "He"? Could God be a "She"? Or an "It"? These are important questions, and in some ways, there are answers. I will tell you here at this point that I base my answers on logic and observations, not on faith. My faith is my belief in what I have observed thus far. Many questions, many schools of thought, from the atheists who claim that we are just a product of material evolution and have a finite time of existence in this plane before we completely disappear into nothing, to the devout Christians who teach that we live with God after life in a place called Heaven. Who is right? Can we know? My answer is, yes and no.

When we think back over all the teachings of what Heaven is, as well as where Heaven is, the descriptions have been many. It is somewhere out in space, streets are made of pure gold, and God sits on a throne somewhere in the middle of this fascinating city. All of these ideas are man-made, and they have been embellished with every religion that has tried to teach the validity of such a place. Many Christians would be surprised to find that the concept we think currently of Heaven was not shared by followers of God in the Old Testament. Even at the time of Jesus Christ, the concept of Heaven was still evolving. I won't go into the numerous passages here that describe the variations of beliefs regarding the abode of the souls and the afterlife, because I actually discuss that in great detail in my book, "Homosexuality, The Bible, The Truth." For a greater picture of what people have thought about the afterlife, read more than just Christian teachings. Study the beliefs in reincarnation taught by many religions, a view that was commonly accepted even in the time of Jesus. For those Christians who don't think that reincarnation is ever mentioned in the Bible, I mention briefly two instances that show this to be a commonly held belief then. Jesus asked His disciples who the people were saying that He was, and His disciples said that some thought He was Moses, while some thought that He was Elijah. How could Jesus be anyone but Jesus, unless He could have been someone else before He came to this life? Another example was when the Pharisees tried to trip Him up posing a rhetorical question about a blind man. They asked Jesus, "Who sinned that this man was born blind? His parents or he, himself?" How could the man "sin" before he was born that he would be paying for that sin by being condemned to blindness in this life? The concept of he immortal soul, therefore, is as old as humanity. Consider the burial of the pharaohs and the elaborate processes by which they were buried, all in preparation for the afterlife. The famous terracotta soldiers in Xian, China, were made taller than real life, so that the emperor would have a superior army in the afterlife. Every culture in every section of the world and in every period of history has demonstrated a preparation for the afterlife at burial. Can this much activity, thousands of years of it, be just mere wishful thinking? What made all of these people in all of these cultures produce such a plethora of beliefs?

In the Tibetan book of the Dead, we are exposed to the Tibetan belief that the soul does not stop thinking or living, even at death. The Tibetan Buddhist priests are sent for at the time when a person is expected to die, and they begin a forty-day ritual or speaking to and educating the soul of the person who is passing into death. They will stay by that person's last point of exit for those forty days trying to make sure that the soul listens to their instructions. They strive for basically three outcomes: to help the person avoid coming back as a beast, to help the person come back in a higher incarnation, and most desired, to help the person stay on the other side and move to a higher plane of existence with "God." For those who doubt the possibility of reincarnation, read "The Case For Reincarnation" by Joe Fisher, then go wrestle with the data. There are plenty of clinical books out there, good ones and bad ones, but this one book will get your mind wondering. Rent the movie about the true story of a woman who was regressed through hypnosis therapy and accidentally went back to a prior life, "The Search For Bridey Murphy." The movie and the book shook the world. Read the book "Life After Life" by Raymond Moody, M.D., in which book, Dr. Moody describes his clinical research into patients who were pronounced dead, but came back to life. His notes led to the book, and they are eye-opening. After all, what better glimpse of the other side than by those who have been there?

One thing becomes apparent in virtually all these studies, one thing that stands out most, a common thread, is that we find that the soul does not stop thinking for a second. The soul, the personality, the identity of who we are, that entity continues to feel as if nothing stopped, even though they all experience leaving their bodies. I know what this is like - I have been there, too.

At the age of fifteen, I had an experience that taught me more about this place of the afterlife than anyone or anything could ever demonstrate, and I can tell you this - I became convinced that the afterlife is very real, though much of what I saw was not like my teachings in Christianity had led me to expect.

At the time I had the experience, I was only fifteen years old. It was during an evening church service, and I was at the altar praying. As was our custom in the Pentecostal faith, we tended to enjoy lengthy times in prayer, so it was not unusual that I had been praying for more than an hour when the experience began.

I was seeking a sacred phenomenon in the Pentecostal churches of that time known as the Baptism in the Holy Ghost, an event that would render the person under the control of the literal presence of this spiritual entity sent from God, and once the "baptism" took place, that moment would be evident when the person who was genuinely seeking would suddenly begin to shake and to speak in an unknown language as the Holy Spirit gave utterance. Like electricity, the sensation courses through the seeker's body, and the feeling is joy unspeakable as the phenomenon continues. The seeker is in a parallel world, less conscious of the present and more conscious of another realm. It was while I was seeking this experience that I was transported out of my body.

As this out-of-body journey began, I found myself at Calvary, at the foot of the cross at the actual crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I felt as if I were literally physically there, and I was so intensely struck with sorrow at the sight of Jesus on the cross, that I stood there in tears wondering what I could do, all while feeling so helpless. I remember that Jesus looked down at me from His position on the cross, and through all of His agony, He smiled. Then, He comforted me, though He was the one who should have been being comforted, and as He spoke to me, He then told me to go to His right and continue walking forward. I was instructed not to look back, and very reluctantly, I left to do as I had just been told.

No sooner had I taken two steps forward, than I found myself in what I immediately felt was Heaven. I say this, because, at this point in my life, it was my only way of explaining where I was. Suddenly, there appeared before me four people I had known in this life, all of them, of course, previously deceased. There was an elderly lady who had been a pillar of our church, her daughter who had been killed in an auto accident, my grandmother and my aunt. Excited to see them again, I went down the row and hugged each one of them, and inexplicably, I repeated that once more. Then, I turned to face my aunt, and something extremely remarkable happened. I had started to vocally say her name and begin conversing with her, when suddenly, mid-sentence, her voice was in my head inter-mingled with my speaking, and she was telling me, almost in a happy, laughing way, that here, one did not have to speak vocally, as all thoughts were known instantly. At that very moment, I had both incredulity and belief in what she was saying, as if to ask "How is this possible?", while at the same time, I amazingly knew that she was correct. Virtually mid-sentence, I switched from using my mouth to speak, to merely thinking the rest of what I was originally going to say, and I was absolutely awestruck at the discovery that she was right. We were communicating completely, without interruption, and it was faster than language is possible. It was all by thought. But, even more amazing was when my aunt turned to face me and fixed her eyes on me.

You see, in her life on Earth, she had been severely mentally retarded. All her life, I had known my aunt as a great big child with the body of an adult and the mind of a six-year-old. As a severely mentally retarded person, my aunt was always childlike and playful, but here, in Heaven, when she opened her eyes and stared into mine, I could not have been more electrified if I had stood in front of the Great Sphinx in Egypt and had seen it literally open its stone eyes and speak. This moment was life-changing for me, an event that was seared into my memory from the sheer intensity of it. And in my aunt's eyes, I literally saw the total wisdom of the ages. She knew all that had ever been, and she understood all that is. This is difficult to translate to someone in this plane of existence, Earth, but you could see that all of the Earth's history, all of its knowledge, all of its reasons were reflected in her eyes. I was standing there marveling at the great difference between the human state on Earth and this heavenly plane of existence, to see such total liberation from the limitations of Earth and Nature. It was beyond human comprehension, and I was in complete and speechless awe.

At some point, I turned and looked in another direction, and there I saw the most intense white light, a light that is impossible to imagine or describe adequately, such is the whiteness and brightness of it. Immediately, I knew that this was God. To those who ask how I knew, I can only say that it was due to the fact that the mind is opened immediately in this plane of existence where I found myself, and it happens with such speed of knowledge accumulation that earthly limitations cease to exist, and you just know... completely. I knew this was God. The appearance was like the sun, but totally white, and I could see that there was a core, so to speak, from which all of this light emanated, a core that was so dense I could not see through it. God was a Spirit, a moving, lively, powerful Force, of great and indescribable white light, and it was obvious to me that while He was all of this light, the core seemed to be His center. The light emanated beyond me to realms indescribable, and it permeated all. Strange to say, but the center was God, and so was all of the emanation, thus giving greater meaning to the saying that "God is everywhere." Further, just standing in that Presence, I could literally feel the most intense, limitless knowledge. I also could feel that there was nothing this Presence feared. From this core of intense light, there came an essence, a physical manifestation, of that same light and energy. It was light that extended from God, and I knew that it was the physical "presence" of God, Himself. This emanation looked like a powerful, forceful mist made up of moving, energized, white light, as if God were exploring something He wanted to touch, and suddenly, I realized that I was going to be engulfed by this physical Presence.

I stood there in absolute, indescribable awe, transfixed by a phenomenon that I know I shall never experience again until after this life. As I realized that I was soon to be covered by the Presence of God, I was overcome with a feeling of shame and unworthiness, thinking to myself, "I am not worthy to be in His presence, because I have sins that have not been cleansed from my life." I had been taught the Fundamentalist concept of sins, subscribed to all of the connected teachings, and felt apparently that there were sins in my life, actions that were "sins" according to the Theology of humans, actions committed that made me impure. I say this here, for what was to come certainly taught me that Mankind can get Theology wrong. So, there I stood, in the rapidly nearing presence of this swirling light emanating from God, all while fearing the outcome. I just knew that the minute His presence touched my being, He was going to recoil from me and say something condemning like, "Leave my presence! You have to purify yourself before I will have anything to do with you!" So there I stood, frozen in awe and anticipatory apprehension. Yet, as that mist of total light began to completely, and I mean completely, engulf me, permeating me throughout the totality of my external and internal being more fully than an x-ray, I never once felt even a nanosecond of condemnation or judgment. Stunningly, I was enveloped in the most indescribable, euphoric, rapturous and breathtaking sensation of being loved, so great and so total that I cannot find words to describe it. I was shocked, because I was loved instead of condemned, and the love enveloped me totally. All that I was...was loved! And this moment defied so much of my Fundamentalist Theology, but I was not writing the book...God was, and you do not argue with God!

Rapidly, the knowledge of how wonderful this place was became part of me (I literally felt that it was Heaven), and I did not want to leave here. At some point, I turned to my grandmother, and I asked her, actually begged her, to ask permission for me to stay here. I pleadingly told my grandmother that no one would miss me on Earth, even though as I told her this, I could suddenly physically see my mother off in the distance on Earth, see her looking for me and being sad at not being able to find me, as if this would be the outcome if my wish were granted. I was strangely connected to my mother at this moment, sensing her motherly love even as I was denying that I would be missed if I did not return there. What a strange "non-emotion" to be able to see my mother in another realm, to feel or know her sorrow, and not to be compelled by that to want to return to Earth. All I can say is that the desire to remain in "Heaven" was stronger than any desire to return here. So, here I was, pleading with my grandmother to intercede, to get permission for me to stay in "Heaven." I felt that, since my grandmother was a "citizen," and I was a "visitor," she would know how to get permission for me to stay. I just knew one thing completely, with every atom of my existence, and that was that I did not want to leave. Such indescribable peace and joy as I was experiencing, my experience lends credence, for me at least, to the Christian concept of Heaven being a place of great peace and joy.

My grandmother told me that I had to go back to Earth, that it was not my time, and that I had things to do on Earth. She comforted me a little by telling me that I would be back, but, with certainty and complete resolve, she insisted that I had to return to Earth. "You still have things to do," she said. This statement has stayed with me to this day. What things to do? I often tell people that there are four questions of Life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going after this life? Apparently, we have purpose for being here, or my grandmother would not have told me that my reason for being on Earth was not finished. Something to ponder! She had no sooner finished telling me this, than a white-robed angel (this is what he appeared to be to me, since he was robed and very angelic in his manner - no wings, however) came from the direction of God, and standing on my right side, he told me to follow him. He never looked down at me, but seemed almost without self-will as he led me straight ahead. I ached to ask him if there were some way that I could stay, but my religious upbringing had taught me to unquestioningly accept the will of God, and this angel represented to me a messenger of God's will. How dare I talk back or question! Thus, reluctantly, and with a very heavy heart, I began to follow him forward. In short order, there appeared before us a stone wall, similar to the kind you would expect to find in a garden park, and it had an archway through which he was obviously going to lead me. As we neared the arch, looking through its opening, I could see outer space beyond the walls, as if I were looking into the night sky with all of the stars, and this celestial scene filled everything...I mean everything! There was nowhere that I could look and not see stars and black sky. When I got to the arch and stood in it, I saw Earth hanging like a distant moon in the spacial distance. This was such a strange sight for me, to be looking at Earth hanging like a light in the distance, appearing to be about the size of the moon on a clear night. But I did not have time to stand there pondering the incredible sight. The angel interrupted any pondering with an immediate command.

The angel stood to my right side, still facing forward as if a dedicated soldier on a mission, and with hand outstretched to point the direction, he said, "Walk forward." The words seemed so terminal to me, no chance of turning back, no argument could rightfully be offered...these words actually saddened and pained me to hear them. The pleading to stay in Heaven was over. All I could do was obey the command of God. Sadly, and extremely perplexing, this was the end of my stay here. Before me stretched outer space, and as I looked down to get an idea of where I was to "Walk forward" to, there seemed to be stones forming a little walkway beneath my feet. However, as I gazed further forward, the stones grew fewer and fewer, great spaces appearing between them, until finally, within only a few feet, there were no stones at all. A moment of fear gripped my heart, and I thought to myself (funny as it sounds) "Does this angel know that I can't fly?! How am I supposed to walk on stones that within a few feet will leave me falling into the darkness of outer space?" But I had been trained to accept whatever God's will is, and if this was His will, that I fall to my death, then, who was I to question? I felt that I had to show that my faith in God was greater than my fear, and without a second thought, I took a step forward.

I had taken no more than two steps forward, and was in the midst of taking my third, when I suddenly found myself back in my body in the church where this all began. Interestingly, I was lying on my back on the floor at the altar where I had begun praying on my knees earlier...and I was speaking in tongues, baptized in the Holy Ghost and experiencing the sacred phenomenon that first was recorded on the Day of Pentecost in the New Testament Book of Acts. I had been seeking the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and I was now in the experience at its peak. Euphoric, electric and indescribable. I won't dwell on this simply because it is not completely relevant to the main discussion here. However, I leave it in this article, because there are some who will doubt my spirituality for things I write, and for them, I not only leave this in, but I add, my respect and awe for all things of God are very real, more so today than ever before. It is the teachings of man for which I have problems, and to all I say, the truth can always stand to be questioned. Only a lie cannot stand the scrutiny of study and exploration. It is only through genuine study and examination that we strip away the man made and arrive at the God-made. If we are ever going to know the truth, then we have to be willing to explore beyond our taught beliefs.

As I write this, it has been forty-five years since that incredible night, and still to this day, when I begin to speak to someone about this experience, I am emotionally moved, sometimes to the point of being unable to speak. The memory is as vivid as if it had just happened. My life has been forever changed by this. I have learned to try to love better, and I do not fear death. I know now where I go when this life is finished, and this knowledge gives my life greater understanding and purpose. And for those who try to explain this away, to rationalize it, by saying that this was a figment of my imagination, or some kind of chemical reaction in the brain brought on by some sort of oxygen deprivation, I have this to say: My aunt was severely mentally retarded in this life. My memory of her physical condition would have dictated the way I saw my aunt. It would have formed the way I would have experienced her in my vision, had this all been just a figment of my imagination. When I was in Heaven, and my aunt opened her eyes and looked into mine, I felt literally as if she had just scanned deep into my soul, such was the power of that moment. She was changed, she was no longer the person I knew on Earth. I know for a fact that I was out of my body.

While I was at the university, there came a time when I had a genuine spiritual crisis - I doubted the existence of God. I got up in the middle of a church service and walked out the door. All the way down the street, I was getting angrier and angrier. How could God let me down?! I had asked God during the church service to give me a sign that I was in the right denomination, and the answer to remain in the church of my birth was not given. I felt betrayed by God. How could He not answer with, "Yes, you were born into this denomination, and yes, this is the right one,"? All the way back to my dormitory room, I became more and more agitated. I closed my door behind me, crawled onto my bed and turned out the lights. I did not want anyone to come knocking on my door for some theological discussion tonight. Not tonight! At that moment, I had NO answers, and I was not going to be a hypocrite by pretending I still believed in the old ones. As I lay there in anger, one question came to mind, "Well, what DO you believe?" Like a ship that had lost its rudder, I knew that I had to repair my ship before long. I would not go quietly into the next day. I had to know what I really believed. So, I began a philosophical discussion with myself. My ultimate reasoning led along the lines of observing the facts as they exist, and one of those staring me in the face was the fact that I am not a figment of my imagination, I did not create anything in this universe, and since I did not create anything in this universe, something greater than myself did. It is most probable that this Force even created me. Made sense, and forward I went with those rudiments.

Does God exist? Through all of my studies, I am convinced that God exists, and I am further convinced the God is not male nor female, but a Great Force. Thus, describing God as a Spirit would be accurate, and referring to God as Him or Her is merely the idiosyncrasy of language. Our inability to give a pronoun for God that adequately conveys Him is not denigrating to the concept of God. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going when we leave here? Well, I can say that we are definitely products of a superior intellect. I think God made us, simply because we did not make ourselves. His purpose for creating us, however, cannot be understood or deciphered in this current plane of existence. Maybe this explains the biblical verse that tells us that we see here as through a dark glass, but "there," we will "know" even as we are "known." Just another mystery of the Creator. Where do we go when we leave here? I believe that we can study that one, since there is literature dating back thousands of years that correlates with my own experience, accounts of people who died and came back to life, and they all have that same experience in common - they saw deceased friends and relatives. No matter what else they experienced, they saw souls that were still existing.

There was an experiment done many years ago, an attempt to weigh the soul, to see if by weighing the soul, we could, therefore, prove its existence. No matter what anyone thinks of the experiment, at the moment of death, the body lost a certain practically imperceptible amount of weight...consistently. I will say this, when a scuba diver goes into the ocean, the fish would see him as another fish, but the scuba diver is not from the ocean. He is from another plane of existence. When he sheds the scuba suit, he returns whence he came. What animates that scuba suit? The diver who dons the suit at the beginning of his sojourn into the ocean. That suit cannot animate itself. I use this analogy here, because I feel it best illustrates the idea that we do not bring these bodies we wear from the other side, and we do not take them back to the other side. Our bodies are composed of materials indigenous to Earth, not the spiritual realm of the afterlife, but the one tangible item that animates the body, the soul, does come from another realm. I truly believe that I have been to that realm, and no matter what the thousands of years of songs and writings do to describe it, eventually wrapping it in layers of myth and embellishments, I think the realities are that there is a Great Force Who created all that is, He created us, He has a purpose that goes beyond our Earthly understanding, we have purpose for being here, why we are here will be a mystery for whatever reason until we return to that plane of existence where we lived with the Creator before coming here.

I know that I am going to hear from Fundamentalists and others who will claim that I am writing things that are contrary to their beliefs. Prove me wrong, and I will listen. Simply preach your predigested mantras, and I will close my ears. I am not interested in dogma, but I am interested in the will of God. Ask anyone who has been out of their body, and universally, they believe in the Creator. Many questions will remain, questions that cannot be answered in this life. They will make for some interesting discussions when we meet on the other plane of existence...there in the presence of our Creator.

The Vast "Afterlife" Army of an Ancient Chinese Emperor

Each Face of this "Afterlife" Army Was Copied From A Real Person

Even Chariots and Horses Were Sent to Protect The Emperor in His Afterlife

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    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Brian

      I will certainly send you an email on condition of privacy.

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Oztinato,

      I often liken it to trying to describe the taste of a beverage to someone who has never even seen that beverage. Either they have to taste it for themselves, or we have to be tremendously skilled in the art of description. But, you are very right, there is a time and place for everything. In God's own time, when He determines we should speak, then we speak.

      Brian

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Hanavee

      I have shared info about miracles with a few others in private. One day before physical death God willing I will post online about it.

      There are people out there who can talk of such things without getting a spiritual ego. I believe you are one of those people.

      It is a matter between God and the individual. It also matters little as believing such things is neither here nor there as it is still a matter of belief in what a person is relating to us (hence the scientific atheist view "blocks"another from experience). That is we can't give the experience to another person.

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Oztinato,

      Jesus had the gift, and He shared it with us. Somehow, we have to be able to share His truths. But, you are right on both accounts that the Bible tells us to pray in our secret prayer closets and not to cast our pearls before swine. With regard to secret prayer closets, the point was made that there were people who made great show in public places of their religiosity, and the show was for ego, not for actual conversation with God. There will always be that fine line between righteous and self-righteous, and ego is what causes one to become the other. We need to always be mindful that our actions are designed to glorify God and not ourselves. With regard to casting pearls before swine, there is an old Chinese saying that one cannot win an argument with a fool. I feel that this is what the Bible means when it tells us that there are some people with whom we are simply wasting our time. Probably the best paraphrase of that Bible verse would be: "God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

      I think that the more we empty ourselves, the more God can fill.

      Brian

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Hanavee

      I choose not to publicly discuss my deepest spiritual experiences for two reasons:

      1. Secrecy can be an essential ingredient to protecting oneself from one's own ego. (Paraphrase: Pray in secret and be rewarded in secret.)

      2. Secrecy can be essential to protect oneself from the ego of others. (Paraphrase: Cast ye not pearls before swine lest they be trampled underfoot). There are many "swine" here on HP!

      Some rare people like yourself are gifted with the ability to discuss such things without becoming blinded by ego.

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      always exploring,

      You can rest assured of that, and you will see her again. I can also tell you this, she has never been happier, and she can see you from where she is.

      Brian

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I believe we are on the same page. I know my mother is in heaven. Thank you for your kindness toward her.

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Oztinato,

      Thank you for that comment. I am planning on writing more about my spiritual experiences. I am finding more and more that there are many people "hiding" their spiritual experiences for, basically, the fear of seeming to be "unbalanced." I am not afraid to put it all out there, and I have seen so much of the inside of religion and religious experiences, both within and outside of Christianity. It's going to be a lengthy article, but I feel that it is due. I've just seen so much false religion that I think it is time to tell people more of what I have seen that is real.

      Brian

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 21 months ago from Australia

      Hanavee

      thanks for faithfully relating your heavenly experience. It was very moving.

    • Hanavee profile image
      Author

      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      always exploring,

      I have prayed often and thought deeply and profoundly, over the many years since I left the church of my birth, about the things I experienced, both from observation of others, as well as my own. One thing that I have concluded is that there is the real thing, and there is the imitation. Not everyone who speaks in tongues is genuine, and I have seen my share of those who use babbling to make it seem as if their ministry is real and of God. When the Bible says that the Spirit will bear witness, yes, those who are close to God and have the true experience can tell, but those who are not will simply be fooled, which is why so many televangelists who are out for money, fame and power have abused this "sign" of Pentecost, because they are fooling enough people to make money. One thing I have never fully understood is why some people seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the Pentecostal belief of what that is, and they seek and never get the experience of speaking in tongues, while others pray one time and instantly receive the experience. I have no answer for that. I know what some people offer up as a glib answer, but that does not work for me, especially when they say that the person has not dedicated themselves enough. I have seen people go to the altar, pray, get saved, and within minutes, they are speaking in tongues. I have seen dedicated believers go to that same altar and pray for hours and get nowhere near the phenomenon. I have theories, but I do not have answers. Only God has the answers.

      I have been thinking about writing an article on the Pentecostal phenomenon of speaking in tongues, and it may be soon. I feel like the last of the Mohicans, because I remember when people went to church to worship God, and the results were inspiring. Most of what I see today, people are going to church to worship ego, from the singing groups that resemble rock and roll in every way, to preachers who are obviously in love with themselves, even the members who are filled with a self-righteous smugness as they go out and segregate from those who are not like them. The Bible calls this a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. I honestly think many churches have lost their way, and I am saddened by it. They have become private clubs for hypocrites instead of the lighthouses that Jesus wanted them to be, and they have substituted secular entertainment for genuine and sincere worship of a living God. What they believe then becomes truly obvious. I wonder if any of them has a real clue about who God is, or even how real He is, because they are all spending so much time trying to keep the congregation so entertained that the numbers stay up.

      Regarding your mother, whether she ever speaks in tongues or not does not negate her faith in God, nor take away from her salvation. God gave us all free will, and if we choose to serve Him, that is all that matters. He will take care of the rest, including showing us what we need in order to make it through this pilgrim land.

      Brian

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Your story is amazing. I was raised Pentecostal. My grandmother spoke in tongues. I have a hard time with it today. I listened to Jimmy Swaggart spew hate toward other churches until I refused to listen anymore. I know it is listed as one of the gifts given from God. After reading your experience, I believe God does give that gift to those who seek it. I think the reason I have a problem with the concept is my mother. She always attended a Pentecostal church ( The church of God ) and never received the gift. Your description of heaven is beautiful. I am a firm believer in God and a church building is just a building. God is love and is everywhere. Thank you for writing this.

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      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      savvydating,

      Yes, when it comes to checking my ego, God helps me with that daily by providing me what I need instead of what I wish I had.

      Brian

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      Yves 21 months ago

      I look forward to reading more about your experiences. As for the low tolerance thing, I can relate. My issue is with self-imposed gurus who profess to love, but who are actually highly egotistical personalities, some of whom are militant New Atheists.

      Do you check your ego? Sometimes I do. I realize it is important to do so.

      Well, I've chatted you up quite a bit this morning. Now I'm off to get ready for the day!

      See you around the next time I check out one of your articles. -Savvy-

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      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      Savvydating,

      I chuckle at that comment, "Not suffering fools gladly," because I do indeed have low tolerance for those who bring extreme emotional pain into the lives of others, and who do so entirely because they refuse to let go of their bigotry and hate. They can yell their hate at me all they want to, but I am not flinching.

      Thanks for reading, and enjoy that morning coffee.

      Brian

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      Yves 21 months ago

      Thank you for answering my questions, Brian. I appreciate your having taken the time to do so.

      You were very fortunate to have experienced Heaven.

      By the way, I saw another comment of yours where you said something about "not suffering fools gladly." That is why I asked that particular question.

      Well, I'm off to make my morning coffee. Enjoy your weekend!

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      Brian Gray 21 months ago from Pennsylvania

      savvydating,

      Thank you for reading my article, and to answer your questions, the experience was genuine and left me with many answers, but it also left me with many questions. What I was exposed to was the next realm, and I have often wondered why I was permitted to be there and not everyone else. I think the experience would do wonders for so many people here on Earth, thus, one of my questions is why not everyone? Do I still appreciate the religion of my youth? Complex question, because I have evolved past many of the regulations that were what I considered man-made, but, there was much to be said for the unified seeking of all things related to the will of God. My denomination was intentionally separate from the world at large, and this self-imposed separation led many to experience wonders that I will someday write about. Unfortunately, there is a fork in such religious roads, and that is self-imposed restrictions that lead to a closer experience with God, and self-imposed restrictions that lead to exiting the religion all together when one does not see the value, and I have seen the many changes that have happened with my old denomination. That particular denomination is nothing today that it was when I belonged. Nearly a half century has passed since then, and I sometimes feel like the last survivor of an ancient civilization. I am probably the last of a rare group of people. Was I shown anything about the future of the world on Earth? Had I stayed longer, undoubtedly I would have been able to see that, since every second spent in Heaven opened my mind to the knowledge of the universe. However, I was sent back before it was possible for me to know everything. I learned a lot, but not the answers to the future of Earth. Did I learn that demons exist? That is a tough one. Naturally, I did not see demons where I was, but I did see angels, and if angels exist, it would seem to confirm the existence of those who were fallen and removed from the grace of God. And am I less or more tolerant of foolish people? Good question. I have to be tolerant, but I have to remind myself often that they simply do not know what I know. I expect them to know much, and it dawns on me that their actions are not guided by the same knowledge that I have. I can assure you, if you ever have this experience, you are forever changed in more ways than I can discuss here. It will eventually be the subject of one of my articles. Thanks for asking the questions. Happy to answer.

      Brian

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      Yves 21 months ago

      Very interesting. Your story is not unlike many near-death stories I have read, although your out-of-body experience occurred through your prayers. I wonder---do you still appreciate the religion of your youth...or are your views now more Unitarian? Were you shown anything about the future on Earth? Did you learn that demons exist? Are you less or more tolerant of "foolish"people?

      So many questions come to mind. You don't have to answer any of them. These are things I wonder about---in what ways is one changed after a "heavenly" experience.

      Anyhow, I truly enjoyed this article.

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      Brian Gray 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Damian,

      Thanks a million.

      Brian

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      Damian Fedorko 2 years ago

      I enjoyed this article very much. It was very informative and interesting.

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      Brian Gray 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you, Amicus, for sharing your experience. It can be very difficult for those who have never experienced any of this to believe that we are anything more than deluded. I have never wavered in my belief that what I experienced was indeed fact. It was so real then that, more than forty years later, I can still remember it vividly and completely. What an experience! I wish everyone could have this.

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      Amicus 5 years ago

      ***Thank you*** for describing your experience of Heaven. I am deeply grateful. I had a brief out-of-body experience many years ago. It convinced me that our "mind" is not bound to our physical body.

      "And after my skin, this body, is destroyed, then without my flesh shall I see God; whom I, even I, shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold..." Job 19:26,27

      "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

      Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling ... so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

      Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.

      We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

      2 Cor. 5:1-7