Channelled messages: Truth or Flummery?
Posted on 21 August 2013, 7:46
A friend was impressed with what a supposed communicator had said through a medium, namely that space men had long ago taken residence on the planet Pluto, and that their now discarnate spirits were the source of evil in this world. He says, Fancy that….how very interesting!
A book is published, 47 billion years of evolution. It contains channelled messages describing “the origin of our galaxy 47 billion years ago, and the creation of life 47 million years ago. I haven’t read the book, but I understand that the medium involved was a materialisation medium, and that much of the channelled materials over a period of thirty years was impressive. So impressive it seems, that the highly educated author seems to have failed to consider what science is saying at present, estimating the age of the Milky Way galaxy as being up to 13.6 billion years, and the creation of life not 47 million years, but 3.6 billion years. The latter estimate is based on two centuries of geological and evolutionary research, with study of the life forms in the various geological periods, stretching back hundreds of millions of years.
Realistically, I suggest that we do not have evidence that even the best of communicators provide incontestable truth. Over the years, I have encountered a number of channelled books purporting to describe the ultimate nature of reality, descriptions at odds with each other, and with what is currently known in science. The Only Planet of Choice comes to mind, and The Urantia Book.
If psychic research is to maintain any respect it is absolutely essential that we maintain the scientific position of open-minded scepticism, and find ways of confirming or denying the validity of mediumistic communications. And this will mean keeping a public distance from uncritical writings, which unfortunately exist in such quantity as to obliterate reliable writing in the public mind.
Another highly educated scholar writes, “Since the early part of the 20th century, science is known of a (quantum) energy field that penetrates and interacts with the constituents of matter. Since mind or consciousness arises from the flow of fundamental particles (electrons in photons) within the brain, it is a quite tenable hypothesis that the same quantum field could transmit messages of the sixth sense.” The writer appears to see the brain as the source of consciousness and also to accept psychic phenomena.
In view of the fact that people having Near Death Experiences find themselves fully conscious, memory intact, and apart from the body whose heart has stopped, and given the phenomena of distance viewing, and precognition, what is this talk of consciousness arising “from the flow of fundamental particles… within the brain.”?
The popular A Course in Miracles has millions of people agreeing that God did not create the physical universe, but rather that it is an illusion created by human beings. Many exercises are prescribed to help the disciple disregard this illusion and achieve union with the Absolute.
The Theosophist Alice Bailey wrote many books describing physical/spiritual reality in words supposedly dictated telepathically from a Tibetan monk called Djwhal Khul.
We could add many similar works to the list.
All this makes me want to weep.
How can we in our right minds not question the story of space travellers and Pluto, and ask how this could be substantiated? How can a Ph.D. not check the current scientific view of the age of the universe, and not discuss the discrepancy between his figures and those of current science? How can a Ph.D. accept the reality of paranormal phenomena together with NDE s, and also say that consciousness and mind is dependent on fundamental particles in the brain? What evidence can be adduced to substantiate the claim that the physical universe has no part in the scheme of things, but is a human delusion? Did Alice Bailey ever confirm that there was actually a physical Tibetan monk giving her all this telepathic teaching?
It all makes me want to weep, for important as it is that humanity comes to a more realistic understanding of spiritual reality, this kind of flummery leads us very much astray, and brings the whole of scientific research in this field into disrepute. Psi Pioneers, Victor Zammit, Michael Tymn, and a host of reputable psychic researchers have helped to build up quite a reliable picture of nonphysical reality, limited though that picture may well be.
With regard to Christian cosmology, it is my view much of the picture of reality presented by New Testament can be substantiated by reputable psychic research, and much of its value can be confirmed in the lives of people inspired by its teachings, and that its value is considerably greater than that contained in the writings that I have named. There may be parts of the New Testament that we may want to discard, while other parts may inspire us to a better life. The value of anything in the New Testament should also be tested in practice, as should all other such writings.
It may be asked, who am I to talk, when I have published a book ostensibly describing conversations with St Stephen the Martyr? (Unlikely as it may seem.) In this case Stephen helped to confirm that it was he that was communicating, through speaking a little in his own ancient dialect of Greek in which he gave a number of clues as to his identity. I submitted several years of research into the Greek and its implications to two professors of ancient Greek, who found no basic fault in my work. Stephen himself said that mistakes could be made in transmitting his thoughts through a medium, and that we should find ways of determining the truth or otherwise of what we heard from the medium’s mouth. He had the humility to say that he was speaking from his personal experience, and that what he had to say could be influenced by his likes and dislikes. He was actively discouraging credulity. And a group of us took him at his word, and used various ways to evaluate what he said. In practice we found most of what he had to say to be very helpful, and with his encouraging us in being critical we found him worthy of trust indeed.
Is there some reason why we should not use our critical faculties when reading similar communications through other mediums? We should ask whether we truly understand a communication, whether it has been made by other communicators, whether it has any support from current scientific research, whether it helps us in some way in our spiritual development, whether it is platitudinous or profound, and so on. Sound study involves focusing on something that is said, making a theory or evaluation of that something, and putting that theory or evaluation to the test. This is just what we normally do. Somebody says something, we react, and then we consider whether our reaction is justified. We should employ exactly the same procedure in studying the works of those who would be our spiritual guides and teachers.
Similar considerations should apply with our prayer life, especially when we are praying for guidance. In prayer, people often ask for guidance about what to do in some situation that is facing them. They pray, and they listen for mentally heard words of guidance. When we pray like that, we are behaving like mediums, open to whatever Spirit may impart. In doing so we are faced with the same dilemma as the people we do call mediums: we always have to ask the question, is what we are mentally hearing true guidance, or is it flummery? We are faced with that dilemma because we are both spiritual beings as well as being physical. When we mentally hear words from Spirit we have creativity, depth, and real help. When we hear from our physical mind with its often squirrel cage thoughts, then the still small voice that we hear in prayer will lead us astray. Once again we are faced with the separation of the gold from the rubbish. Here too we must retain our critical faculties.
I wrote disparagingly of A Course in Miracles. But although I consider some of its basic teaching to be questionable, there is also much that is helpful, hence its popularity. Here is a quote:
“Your Friend (Holy Spirit) goes with you. You are not alone. No one who calls on Him can call in vain. Whatever troubles you, be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him. He will not withhold all answers that you need for anything that seems to trouble you. He knows the way to solve all problems, and resolve all doubts. His certainty is yours. You need but ask it of Him, and it will be given you.” (ACIM, W-ep.1:2-9.
When we are truly hearing from Spirit, in our prayers, the above passage can be accepted as valid and true. But we need to find ways of ascertaining whether we are hearing from Spirit, rather than from the machinations of the physical mind.
Michael Cocks edits the journal, Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.