Stafford Betty: No Pretender, No Player, No Wimp
Posted on 30 June 2014, 17:54
A roving reporter for a TV talk show program recently stopped people on the street and asked them to name the person they admired most. The first person named Johnny Depp, a movie actor best known for portraying a pirate. I was puzzled that a person whose main contribution to humanity is pretending to be a pirate could be so admired. Bad enough that a person would admire a pirate, but a pirate pretender, a fake pirate? Another person named Tiger Woods, an athlete who doesn’t seem to do much more than hit little white balls into holes in the ground, as the person he most admired.
Other people also named actors and athletes. Since acting and sports are all about pretending and playing, what does that say about our modern world, about reality? In effect, we have replaced the real world with a fantasy world. And we reward the pretenders and players with ridiculous contracts so that we can escape into their fantasy world.
I got to wondering whom I would name if stopped on the street by that roving reporter. It definitely would not be a pretender or a player, which meant that the person’s name would mean little to the reporter or the audience. I decided I would name Stafford Betty (Below).
The reporter would no doubt ask me to identify Stafford Betty and I would respond by telling him that he is a professor of religious studies and philosophy at California State University in Bakersfield, California. But I would have to go on to explain that Dr. Betty is not your garden variety academician, certainly not your run-of-the-mill professor of religion or of philosophy. He is very much a maverick when it comes to philosophy and the teaching of religion. Unlike so many other educators, he doesn’t beat around the bush on topics that others find too risky, too unconventional, or too “unscientific” to discuss or even consider. He has done extensive research in such subjects as mediumship, past-life studies, near-death experiences, and death-bed visions, separating the wheat from the chaff in his efforts to reconcile these phenomena with religious dogma and doctrine and with accepted scientific truths. He has arrived at a reality that makes so much more sense than that offered to us by either orthodox religion or mainstream science, and, in spite of peer pressure to back away from his unorthodox and “unscientific” beliefs and teachings he has refused to “wimp out,” as others have.
According to one survey, roughly 70 percent of academic philosophers are atheists or lean in that direction, while only 16 percent believe in God, the remainder falling in an “other” category, apparently agnostic. Such numbers certainly suggest that the younger and future generations are having their minds plowed with a materialistic philosophy, one called “humanism,” which essentially says, “eat, drink, and be merry” now, because tomorrow you’ll be extinct. While this humanistic “living in the moment” philosophy works for some in their younger years, when they are busy raising a family and pursuing careers, it fails most people in the second half of life, as they approach the abyss into what they see as “nothingness,” because it offers no hope. No hope results in despair. The best way to counter despair is to jump into that fantasy world, admiring pretend pirates and people who hit little white balls into holes.
“Most of us are addicted to earth’s immediate pleasures and unaware of our hidden depths and destiny,” Betty begins his latest book, Heaven and Hell Unveiled. “We get a little help from our religious leaders, but we need much more.”
Betty’s focus is on the real life, not the pretend life. He is concerned with the two most important questions that face humans: What is this life all about? What happens after death? He has devoted much of his life to finding answers to these questions and has come up with some reasonable and credible answers. He shared some of these answers in an earlier book, The Afterlife Unveiled, a 2011 publication, but has added to that in his latest release, published by White Crow Books. “The first book mainly deals with the nature of the afterlife in general – a subject recently treated by quite a few other writers,” he explains the difference. “[My latest] book emphasizes what we are expected to do there if we are to advance and not return to earth for another try. As I did the research and then the writing, I had the feeling I had stumbled on something new.”
As Betty further explains, he lost his faith during his mid-twenties and despaired at the thought of a world without meaning followed by extinction. However, he overcame his despair when he discovered the riches of spirit literature. He found “a joyous, compassionate, loving, powerful, boundless, light-filled Reality at the hub of the universe with an outreach that extended to the epicenter of my soul, a Being that would resonate with a Buddhist as well as a Christian. A God roomy enough even for an atheist.” But he is quick to admit that he is not a mystic, medium, or saint, and that he doesn’t have everything figured out. “I’m an aspiring seeker and a pretty good researcher,” he states. “And I can tell you this with some assurance: We are all about to enter a fascinating world. And the more we know about it, the less scary death will be – at least if we are basically decent people.”
Although most of orthodox religion believes that the book of revelation is long closed, Betty’s research suggests that revelation is still coming to us in many ways, including communication from the spirit world. A number of distinguished scholars and scientists, including Alfred Russel Wallace, co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, Sir Oliver Lodge, a pioneer in electricity and radio, Sir William Crookes, a pioneering chemist, and Sir William Barrett, a respected physicist, all discovered the same thing that Betty is now writing about long before he was even born. But materialistic science so feared a return to religious superstition and folly that it refused to seriously consider the research of those distinguished men. Much of their research remained in dust-covered cabinets until recently when Betty and others began dusting off those old cabinets and unlocking the drawers.
“The best of spirit communicators are driven by love for our sorrowing world,” Betty writes. “Often they see the root of the problem in materialist philosophy that denies the reality of spirit.”
He goes on to quote one apparently advanced spirit communicator of the last century: “At the root of all your evils is…ignorance of spiritual law. Do you not realize that, once the gospel of materialism and all the self-interest it teaches is exploded forever, you have rid the world of its greatest curse?...Men have built their lives upon false foundations. Nations have tried to organize their policies on the principle of national self-interest. Dictators have risen and have become tyrannical, only because they have been subservient to the gospel that might is right. Do you not see how necessary this knowledge is, not only to the individual, not only to the nation, but to the whole world?”
A big part of the problem, as Betty sees it, is that Christianity is too hung up on “seeing God face to face” and believing that “heaven” is a 24/7 worship service. He points out that our spirit friends don’t claim to see God, and their lives are filled with all kinds of activity other than worship. In a chapter entitled “The Divine Source,” Betty offers a comment by the discarnate John Thomas to his son Drayton Thomas, a Methodist minister, through the mediumship of Gladys Osborne Leonard, one of the most credible mediums in the annals of psychical research. When the father told the son that he had never seen God, the son asked his father if we will ever be able to see God. “I do not think that, as you develop and progress, you will wish to see Him,” the father responded. “You will not wish to limit Him in that way…you would have brought Him down, made Him into a Being only one-millionth part of that which He is.”
Another very thought-provoking comment came from the discarnate Frederic Myers, when he communicated that “God does not love. For love is a human virtue that is like a flame that leaps up and down.” Myers went on to say that “if God possessed love, as man understands it, the history of the world would have been changed rather for evil than for good. God is greater than love. That is the phrase you should utter.”
While the world’s major religions all tell us that we will be judged after death, the testimony collected by Betty indicates they are wrong in the details. “Nowhere is there mention of a God sitting on a throne with scepter in hand,” he writes. “Nowhere does it seem that some external being of any kind does the judging.” Rather, Betty’s research indicates, we are judged by our own spirit selves. And rather than ending up in the blissful heaven or horrendous hell taught by orthodox religion, there are many stages, spheres, or planes, the soul gravitating to the place he or she has earned by his or her works in the material life and then progressing from there. Betty quotes another spirit source: “[The afterlife] is no sensuous ease in a heaven of eternal rest; no fabled psalm-singing around the great white throne, whereon sits the God; no listless, dreamy idleness, cheaply gained by cries for pity or by fancied faith; none of these…”
The unthinking non-believer might jump to the conclusion that Betty is promoting the afterlife to the detriment of this one. However, such is clearly not the case. He is concerned with making this life a more meaningful one by understanding what comes after death and being better prepared for it. He admits to hitting little white balls into holes now and then and maybe even occasionally taking in a pirate movie to escape the turmoil of modern living.
As Thomas Carlyle, the renowned nineteenth-century philosopher saw it, the real heroes of our world – those who should be most admired – are the men and women who concern themselves with figuring out the mysteries of life, including the unseen world.
Heaven and Hell Unveiled: Updates from the World of Spirit by Stafford Betty is published by White Crow Books and is available from Amazon and all good online bookstores.
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores.
His latest book Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I will be published by White Crow Books in July, 2014
Just for the record I have no idea what Michael Tymn’s values are.
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 7 Jul, 22:30
I understood Mike’s points perfectly well, and I think I know his values at least as well as Mr. Doyle does. I wanted to point out that the arts, and those who create them, can have effects far beyond mere “entertainment,” and that while the person who named Johnny Depp as “most admired” was probably rather superficial, actors can have positive effects on society.
It is unfortunate that those who are working in academic settings like Dr. Betty don’t have the same degree of public exposure that successful actors do—or the same pay rate. Perhaps there is a little bit of a bright spot, though—maybe even a pretty big bright spot—in the current star status of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
(And I bet there are people who have named the president as their most admired person—along with those for whom he is an object of virulent hatred.)
Elene, Mon 7 Jul, 19:00
It always amazes to me how two or more people can read the same thing and come away with completely different, and in my opinion erroneous understandings. The first two paragraphs of this post are NOT about Johnny Depp or pirates or actors or athletes; Tymn is making a comment about VALUES! He could have added Miley Cyrus or Serena Williams, Beyonce or Brad Pitt as examples. These opening paragraphs are about what we value in this country. Do we single out as our most admired people, from all the possible people who make contributions to society, unreal characters shown in flickering light on a movie screen or on television and the actors who play them—-and do we hold in highest esteem people who flash for a moment with 15 minutes of fame on a golf course, tennis court or baseball field or do we admire someone who makes the world a better place in a substantive way for all of us! The question was not about what we like—-about what entertains us—-who best helps us to while away our time. no, the question was about who is most admirable in western culture. It is a sad state of affairs when we can’t name ‘The President of the United States’ as our most admired person.- AOD
Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 7 Jul, 15:33
The quotes from Thomas and Myers here are new to me and are worth a great deal.
I hadn’t known what a good-looking guy Dr. Betty is—perhaps he can be a bit of a movie star himself?
I appreciate what you’ve said about artificially lifting actors and athletes, “pretending and playing” above others in terms of the admiration of the public, and you’ve got some very clever writing here. However, I’m with Ms. Martin, too. Movies, as well as stories of all kinds, can be profound laboratories for working out our concepts and emotions about all aspects of life. And Johnny Depp, by the way, has done much deeper work than those silly Pirates of the Caribbean movies—for example, “Don Juan de Marco,” which is concerned with questions of what reality truly is and what choices we have about it. Sport, too, as you know as a runner, can be a classroom or theater in which we test and develop ourselves. For those who care to pay attention, all walks of life can contribute to our development and awareness.
Elene, Sun 6 Jul, 06:29
Thank you for your comment, but you obviously missed the point. It is not about what Johnny Depp thinks, or about his character in any way. It is about adopting movie actors and professional athletes as role models and heroes.
Michael Tymn, Sat 5 Jul, 22:59
I am a 74 year old woman who has studied Metaphysics since age 10. I have traveled the inner worlds consciously. There comes a time in your understanding when one must simply lighten up and being careful to not judge others or show conceit in one’s wisdom.
How do know what Johnny Depp thinks? If you only knew the entire story of why we are here, you would never for one moment judge the journey or path taken by any Soul! We are in fact multidimensional Beings. We come here to experience the contrasts of this life. Everytime you go to sleep at night and leave your body to recharge, you would be surprised at what you are really doing! What you think of as continuing consciousness there are little breaks in between in which you are existing at other places at the same time! I understand your need to study life after death in your searching, but developing your character and learning to see everything in 3 different ways will lead you to a life of enlightenment and you will see that all the others in the world are a reflection of yourself. For we are like water molecules in the ocean, it is so immense you must know that everything you see is part of you. If you only knew how wonderful it really is to experience this wonderful earth reality but in the role of the character you believe you are you simply cannot see it! As my Soul said to me: “You are the horse, but I am the rider, you are the camera, but I am the photographer, you are the pen but I am the writer. You are not less than me, but you are an extention of us, a probe that I sent out to explore and we are learning so much for the universe expands because of your/our experience. You are me,and soon you will take off the diver’s suit and come back home, where the greater part of who we really are has never left”
I have learnded to tend my own garden and I allow everyone else to tend theirs, for I cannot possibley begin to understand the whys another person or the design of the Soul in taking on the character they are playing on the stage of life. the fall down drunk in the gutter may be your greatest teacher and you will not see if you do not have the awareness to see it!
Janie Martin, Thu 3 Jul, 05:25
Janie Martin in Oregon
I appreciate your and Stafford Betty’s attempts to describe what the afterlife might be like. I would just give a word of caution. The advanced being Silver Birth stated that the experiences beings have as they go though the transition following bodily death (and I would also add the NDE) in which they have experiences of visual scenes and people similar to those experienced in earth life is provided for the comfort of those making the transition, implying that if they immediately experienced the spirit world as it is, this could potentially be quite disorienting. I suspect that the spirit world, as it is, would be incomprehensible to us in our current state of existence, even though it is our home. Thus we try to describe it in terms understandable to us as we are now.
Tom Davies, Tue 1 Jul, 15:17
Excellent choice, Michael, and beautifully expressed. While I would certainly have to put yourself and Stafford near the top of my selection too, I think first place would have to go to Amit Goswami, a quantum physicist who has done more than anyone else I know to present a rational scientific basis for psychic phenomena and continuing discarnate existence.
Dr Howard A. Jones, Tue 1 Jul, 14:11
I’m also a big fan of Stafford Betty’s work. And yours as well, Michael Tymn. Thank you for this inspiring article!
George Kao, Tue 1 Jul, 03:41
Michael Tymn wisely sees in Stafford Betty, PhD those qualities resident within his own being and life.
Boyce Batey, Mon 30 Jun, 23:31
Stafford Betty’s continues to publish the results of his research as to why we are here and what will we be doing. Until we get there, we won’t know for sure, but it will certainly be far more interesting than what we expect. Some of us achieve a level that no longer requires reincarnation, but still do so, as so many of us still need direct help. Maybe that’s what he is doing.
Paul Hauser, Mon 30 Jun, 22:28
A beautiful piece of writing Mike. Found myself saying “YES” all the way through. Love the detailed quotes you have chosen. Familiar things seen in a new light.
Wendy Zammit, Mon 30 Jun, 22:22
No doubts for me, my answer is:
Claudio, Mon 30 Jun, 20:50
Add your comment