Where Was God During the Newtown Tragedy? A Philosopher Answers
Posted on 17 December 2012, 14:33
After the recent mass killing of 20 school children and seven adults by a deranged young man in Newtown, Connecticut, some people were asking where God was during the tragedy. Why wasn’t “He” protecting those innocent young children? How can “He” let such terrible things happen? At the same time, some parents whose children escaped the carnage thanked God for protecting their children. What kind of God is it that favors some children over others? It is this type of thinking, this conundrum, that causes believers to become non-believers and fuels the atheist’s arsenal.
“If we have free will, then responsibility for human evil rests with humankind, not God,” says Dr. Howard A. Jones, (below) a British philosopher of science. “We should not be searching continually for others to blame for our own failings.” As Jones sees it, there is no anthropomorphic “sky-god” looking down upon the world from some heavenly throne with the ability to pull strings, permitting harm to some while preventing it with others. There is, however, Jones contends, overwhelming evidence for the existence of an effective and interactive cosmic spiritual energy or consciousness that is governed by the thoughts of all humans.
“No matter whether you call this global consciousness God, goddess, Spirit or Source, it is certain that unkind thoughts weaken and kind thoughts strengthen our connection with it,” Jones offers in his recently-released book, Evolution of Consciousness, thus suggesting that when the negative thoughts and behavior outweigh the positive thoughts and behavior, bad things, like that of Newtown, happen. A number of other philosophers, sages, and mystics have said much the same thing; that is, when the balance of good and evil tilts in favor of the “forces of evil,” bad things start happening.
“While the cosmic spirit concept may not be compatible with orthodox religion, nor applicable to Newtonian science, it is time for acceptance and promotion of spirituality rather than scriptural religion to provide some unity to our increasingly fragmented and socially uneasy world,” Jones states, adding that it is possible to have faith and believe that the soul lives on in an afterlife without accepting the terrible, vengeful, authoritarian, and vindictive God of orthodoxy. He emphasizes that a “sky-god” is not a prerequisite to the survival of consciousness after death and an afterlife environment, something which neither mainstream science nor orthodox religion appears to grasp, as both seem to believe that they are concomitants and that God must be identified before the survival issue can be addressed or the evidence for it considered.
In an earlier book, The Thoughtful Guide to God, Jones, a retired scientist, educator, and medical researcher, argued that scripture and religion are man-made. “They represent the ‘Word of God’ only insofar as the prophets were inspired by the universal spirit just like every author, poet, composer or creative artist,” he asserts. “Scripture simply presents one man’s (or occasionally one woman’s) view of how we should best lead our lives. Many of the assertions of scripture are rationally absurd, mutually contradictory and in many cases morally offensive – like the idea of putting one man to death to assuage the sins of other people. Especially is this so as the so-called ‘sins’ arose in the first place from a fairy-tale couple who clearly no sane and rational person could regard as factually real. But if one accepts the experimental evidence and rational explanation of the infinite and eternal cosmic energy, the existence of a spiritual component of being called soul that continues to exist after mortal death is an inevitable conclusion, and a picture of a cosmic deity is simply one fanciful interpretation.”
Jones believes that quantum physics supports a spiritual world, pointing out that the interaction of matter at the subatomic level indicates an exchange of energies that is independent of restrictions of space and time. “This is holism at work at the most fundamental level,” he explains. “The quantum world view tells us that some properties of these fundamental particles are rather imprecise and ill-defined. We have to describe their behaviour using statistical calculations rather than the algebraic equations we all met in school. This is indeterminism. We find that the solid objects of our material world are really mostly space. But this is not empty space but space filled with fields of force that hold atoms and molecules in place. So we cannot any longer draw a sharp dividing line between matter and waves of energy, including the waves of energy that make up the processes of mind. This is a picture of idealism in the world.”
The Evolution of Consciousness, Jones explains, was inspired by the philosophy of Johann Fichte (1782-1814), who further developed the romantic philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), which maintained that thought itself is the ultimate reality, not a God that Man created in his own image. In effect, it holds “that human consciousness is the source of all our interaction with the world and even our concept of the material world – described by the eastern term maya.” The bottom line is that if we adopt a positive, constructive and loving attitude toward the world – other people and the Earth itself – this attitude will be reflected back to us.
Jones subscribes to the beliefs of Canadian psychiatrist Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902), who, in his classic book, Cosmic Consciousness, distinguished three realms of consciousness – simple (that of the animal kingdom), self-consciousness (of humans), and cosmic consciousness (an awareness of the order of the universe). The goal is to move or evolve to the latter stage. “It is the path of the human soul, both on Earth and in Spirit, to learn and continually evolve,” Jones writes. “As soul is complementary to mind, this process of spiritual growth on both the Earth plane and in the afterlife is the individual evolutionary path of consciousness.”
Lamenting the current state of the world, Jones concludes that “too many people are sleep-walking though life like drones” and indulging themselves hedonistically. He is especially critical of the educational system of which he was once part, pointing out that high marks are now given for mediocre performances, while the decline in literacy and mathematics shows no sign of reversal. “The reduction in standards of learning and behaviour over my lifetime has been quite appalling,” he opines.
He faults both mainstream science and orthodox religion for the sad state of affairs in today’s world. “Science is a very conservative philosophy and practice,” he declares. “The world-view of most scientists is still based on the ideas of Francis Bacon (reductionism), Isaac Newton (determinism) and René Descartes (materialism). There is a great need for scientists to emerge from their safe haven of denial and face the overwhelming experimental evidence of psychic events, especially since there is now a rational, theoretical underpinning available to explain these phenomena.” Until science opens itself up to the world of spirit, he believes, evolution will be greatly impeded.
Religion, he contends, has gone too far in creating various kinds of God images as ‘cause’ and ‘controller’ of all phenomena, thereby dismissing any concept of universal spiritual energy. “Religion has reduced humankind to puppets acting out God’s scenario. Any thoughts of Spirit or Universal Mind within Nature, as pagans believed, had to be eradicated if the rationally unbelievable precepts of Christianity were to be implemented.” He finds the attitude of the Church relative to psychic phenomena, including evidence for the spirit world, puzzling. “One would have thought that this would tend to make people more religious; but perhaps the reality is that it makes people realize how irrelevant so much of the Church’s teaching really is. The Church appears to want discarnate existence as a privilege accorded only to Jesus, Mary and a few saints and communication with such discarnate souls as the right only of its priests.”
“The human individual is basically an eternal spiritual being, housed for just a few decades in a physical body,” Jones concludes the book. “It is this spirituality that is the essence of existence. Where like-minded groups gather together to promote this universal and holistic spiritual imagery, the impact can be made more potent than by all the individuals working alone.”
And when the positive acts and thoughts begin to outweigh the negative, we should see fewer and fewer heartbreaks, such as the one in Newtown.
Personally, I have no difficulty accepting God – whatever He, She, or It is – as something I am unable to comprehend or visualize. Nor do I have any difficulty seeing Jesus as something akin to “Chairman of the Board” on the Other Side without him donning the God robe. I like the way Silver Birch, the advanced spirit who spoke through the trance mediumship of Maurice Barbanell, put it: “The Nazarene is one of the hierarchy behind all the directives we receive when we leave your world occasionally to fortify ourselves to cope with our missions and to glean more of what it is we have to achieve. I have great reverence for Jesus, the Nazarene, a wondrous example of what the power of the spirit could achieve when divinity assumes human form and gives to those available simple but profound teachings that love is a power that solves all problems when people allow themselves to be animated by it.” Such words provide me with more than enough to celebrate Christmas this year.
But back to the slain Children of Newtown, whatever form God takes, how are we to make sense of it? Silver Birch also answered that question: “As long as people judge eternal principles by material standards they will never understand those things,” he replied, when asked why babies and children are allowed to perish. “The wisest of your wise ones do not see beyond earthly knowledge. When the light of spiritual knowledge reaches them through their evolution, then they will see the plan which is, as yet, not revealed to them. They see through a glass darkly, and so they do not understand. Would you attempt to judge the life of a schoolboy by only the years that he goes to school, and ignore the greater life which starts beyond school? There is a greater life than the one in which you live – a world of beauty, a world of colour, a world of love, a world of labour, a world where every sincere desire finds expression, where every creative impulse can express itself, where everything that cannot be fulfilled in your world is able to realise itself. Until you have seen this world, you cannot criticise the Great Spirit.”
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 will be available on January 14, 2013.
Howard Jones can be found here.http://www.spiritofoneness.co.uk/howardbooks.htm”> http://www.spiritofoneness.co.uk/howardbooks.htm
The Time Traveller, Sun 20 Jan, 10:18
I have been researching the matter of the survival of human consciousness for about five years, during which time I was very put off by the teeming anomalies that I encountered.
It was not until recently that I began to realize that not all contacts from the ‘afterlife’ emanate from beings of high spiritual development. This became very evident when comparing results obtained via EVP. Some was most informative, some was trivia and some was utter nonsense.
Eventually, the penny dropped. Many of these communicating entities were doing so because they could. They were not super powers with super intellects; many of them were of very ordinary intellect indeed.
I encountered several instances where the communicating entities appeared to be having immense fun with the recipients, most of whom were so overawed at being ‘chosen’ to receive messages from the almighty realms that they simply could not see that their legs were being extensively pulled!!!
Relevant to the discussion here, the ‘afterlife’ probably does not have the only physical dimensions that we recognize in out here and now. In our terms, the only terms known to us, it could well be infinite.
In this infinity, there could well be groupings of likeminded entities, of which none but a truly microscopic percentage communicate with our here and now.
The end result is that we receive a lot of information in our here and now, via mediums, EVP, etc, that varies in content and at times can be contradictory, even anomalous.
Thank you for the Silver Birch message. Recently I was able to hand over a book by Maurice Barbanell to a friend who had lost her son, what a wonderful comfort.
Denise McDermott-King, Mon 7 Jan, 03:54
I have to believe that in this physical body, traveling time through space can have it’s challenges. However that very word, challenge,in my vocabulary places before me choice. My perception causes my sufferings.
I also trust that when I go over,into spirit that is, I will be with those of similar consciousness. Let’s face it, in this three dimensional world, we radiate towards those who are similar to ourselves, why would this be so different in the afterlife?
Further back in the blog, there was reference made to suffering at the time of death. I have read and spoke to a few who have had bad vehicle accidents, and many do not remember the moment of impact. I also think of those who have been abused awfully, as children, and some stories are similar, they seem to zone out of the body in order to survive.
Now the question would be, is this a safety mechanism within the human brain, or God. Well for me the answer would be, who cares. It is.
All is God, our human body is an aspect of God, including that brain, which may well be equipped with a marvelous set of switches that turn off in order to lessen our suffering.
Can anyone really know the complete truth of what it is like in other realms? Let’s face it, it would take a massive ego to truly believe he/she has the answer. If in a human mind there are so many thoughts and permutations,in Gods mind there must be myriads we have not yet considered.
Here I am rambling, but that is what blogs are for yes?
Interesting in this Conn story where Adam Lanza killed those innocent children and staff members, not one article has mentioned the possibility that the mother might be alcoholic. Many of the articles tho do mention her “bar friends”, the Tues nights at one establishment where she went to try “Kraft beers” ...There are patterns of behavior in a parent who is drinking alcoholically - one is that they isolate which she did (and so did her son), she had no employment therefore no daily schedule to maintain - she could drink late into the evenings this way. There were no job responsibilities that could interfere with her drinking. She had a restaurant where she would go and have two glasses of wine while her salad was being made. She’d take the salad home it was reported. Many who drink, do not eat because alcohol has empty calories so they feel full. Women become alcoholic easier than men because we’re smaller, have more fat on our bodies usually and alcohol stores in fat cells, and there’s more shame with a female having an alcoholic problem than there is for men in our society. One person described her as a woman who “was trying to hold it together.” And she was also described as “distant”...all part of the pattern/s. Anyway, I think it’s interesting that we’ve had TV specials on autism, on gun control, on video games, but none on perhaps there was an alcoholic parent here - inconsistent at best - that was Adam’s only link to the outside world. And this link taught him to use guns and helped to keep him isolated. Maybe “God” would like us to have a special on parental alcoholism??? Blessings Karen Herrick
Karen Herrick PhD, Fri 4 Jan, 21:51
Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Jan, 11:14
“Spirits differing very widely from one another as regards their knowledge and morality, it is evident that the same question may receive from them very different answers, according to the rank at which they have arrived; exactly as would be the case if it were propounded alternately to a man of science, an ignoramus, and a mischievous wag. The important point is to know to whom we are addressing our question.
Perhaps those spirits who are able to transport themselves anywhere by simply thinking of the place are not “earth bound” spirits, which so many spirits seem to be, especially these days when people are so materialistic. Off the top of my head, without digging into the literature, it seems to me that those who are able to so transport themselves are not “earthbound.” So many earthbound spirits, it seems, are not even aware they are “dead.” Thus, how can they wish themselves to be somewhere else when they don’t realize they are spirits and have such power?
Michael Tymn, Tue 1 Jan, 11:04
Of course, I’m just speculating. As I said earlier, manycommunicators have said that we should not make the mistake of trying to apply terrestrial ideas and standards to celestial matters, and I can accept that. If you keep attempting to equate the celestial with the terrestrial, you’ll continue to find contradictions and never be satisfied.
Michael. Your Alien spaceship analogy brings up yet another contradiction about the afterlife, where some report that the spirit entity is able to transport themselves anywhere in an instant by merely thinking of the destination. So these afterlife aliens would not be restricted to New York, the Brazilian jungle etc, and if anything of human nature survives the transition then they would explore other areas before ‘reporting in’.
william, Tue 1 Jan, 03:42
As a number of people have pointed out, if different alien spaceships landed in the Australian bush country, in New York City, in the Brazilian jungle, in Bismark, North Dakota, wherever, and had to report on what they found upon returning to their native planet, it is likely that their reports would contradict each other considerably. Thus, I don’t see why we should expect consistent reports back from those who have transitioned. One very consistent report is that we cross over as we are and find ourselves with like-minded souls. There are so many various degrees of behavior and personality among humans, so it seems logical that there would be just as many conditions in the afterlife.
I think the only person who might look at his/her afterlife with dread is the person who has not led a postive life here. Be careful in trying to apply terrestrial images and verbiage to celestial ones.
Michael Tymn, Mon 31 Dec, 06:12
Michael, Thankyou for taking the time to give your comprehensive reply, which does cover most of my concerns re contradictions.
william, Mon 31 Dec, 02:11
An Agnostic,I began researching the paranormal and possibility of ‘Survival’ almost 8 months ago following the suicide of my much loved but mentally fragile wife.Obviously I had a need to try to find out if she ‘lived on’ and was in a better place.
I have much more research to do, but to be frank I am a little less than convinced, and on the evidence I have gathered so far, I would have given up had I not had such a large emotional stake in the subject.
On the subject of evidence. The various spirit communications about what the afterlife is actually like, also seems to have a few contradictions, leaving me with the impression that ‘Survival’ may not actually be all that desirable compared to extinction and eternal rest. I know you cannot speak for others among your readership, and maybe some of them would care to respond as to whether they are looking forward to being part of the afterlife with optimism or with dread?
Thank you for your interest, comments, and questions. I did deal with the barriers to spirit communication in my post of April 30, 2012 and I don’t know how much I can add to that other than to point out that the information coming through Leonora Piper was sometimes as precise as that coming through Eileen Garrett in the R-101 case, and at other times it was what William James called “bosh.” Much seems to depend on the ability of the communicating spirit to put him- or herself into an altered state of consciousness on that side of the veil, what was referred to as the “dream state” by George Pellew and Sir William Barrett when communicating from the other side. Those who can successfully do it, get more precise information through, while those who can’t often give “bosh.” I discuss this to some extent in my latest book, “Resurrecting Leonora Piper.” I think it is a lot like the ability for humans to meditate. Some are very good meditators, while the majority cannot meditate at all. And so it is with spirits. Some can achieve that dream state, but most can’t and must use the “control” to relay messages.
But there are other factors, including the degree of trance by the medium, the medium’s intellect, and even the weather conditions. Concerning the intellect part of it, Einstein would likely struggle to get some advanced mathematical equation through most mediums as their brains are not developed enough to handle it. If the medium has an IQ of 100, it is unlikely that someone with an IQ of 160 would be able to effectively communicate through her/him. To put it another way, if the word being communicated by the spirit is not in the medium’s vocabulary, it probably won’t come through. Then we get into how symbols become words.
There were days when Mrs. Piper didn’t feel well and little or nothing came through, or it was mostly bosh. The information seems to have been much better on her “on” days. Remember that there are usually four parties involved. The communicating spirit usually gives symbolic messages to the spirit control, who must interpret the messages, and then get them through the medium’s brain to the sitter. Sometimes, the spirit control doesn’t interpret the messages correctly and at other times the medium’s brain doesn’t fileter things accurately.
As for pain at the moment of death, I deal with this somewhat in my book, “The Afterlife Revealed,” and quote several communicating spirits who say they left their bodies before their physical bodies were impacted and they felt no pain. Whether the body can still feel pain while the soul does not, is not really all that clear. I think I wrote a blog on this subject, but I’m not sure at this time what month or year it was in. I will attempt to identify it and let you know.
As for contradcitions, I think this is answered in part by the first question, i.e., distortion in communications. But it must also be kept in mind that spirits don’t have all the answers. For example, lower level spirits still hold on to their beliefs as they were when they died and may not believe in reincarnation. More advanced spirits will say that reincarnation exists, but even more advanced spirits will explain that reincarnation exists but not in the manner that people who believe in it think it does. The same goes for most other subjects. Those in the lower realms may still believe that their religion is the only true religion and live in a community with others of that religion, while more advanced spirits will say that religion makes no difference, etc., etc. Of course, members of those religions still incarnate would say that those “advanced” spirits are really demonic spirits trying to lead us astray, i.e., wolves in sheep’s clothing.
So much of it seems to be beyond human comprehension, but that is my understanding of it. Does that make sense?
Michael Tymn, Sun 30 Dec, 08:20
Before I give other example of what I believe are apparent contradictions, and possibly to save you going over old ground. Has the subject of contradictions been previously covered on this blog? and if so would you kindly point me in that direction?
william, Sun 30 Dec, 03:49
Hello Michael.This is off topic, but I am a first time visitor here.Late last night i spent several hours reading past posts from April to December, and went to bed quite confused as to some contradictory spirit communications.
william, Sun 30 Dec, 03:13
Just 2 examples for now.
1. The barriers to communication. Fred Myers,Richard Hodgson, William Barret etc complaining about the difficulties in expressing their thoughts in in material words through even reliable, experienced mediums such as Leonora Piper.How do these difficulties experienced by dedicated researchers compare with the apparent clearly understood communication including quite precise technical details given by the deceased commander and some crew members for the reasons of the British Airship R101 disaster?
2.Does pain accompany violent death?
Spirit communicators tell us that the the etheric umbilical cord is severed just prior to the body experiencing violent death, thus relieving the spirit experiencing the pain.
Doesn’t this contradict other apparent spirit concerns that premature cremation, post mortens etc will cause the spirit extreme physical discomfort?
i’ll keep this first post brief for fear that i will get the dreaded ‘your session has expired’ notice and post will disappear.
I accidently clicked on the stop “follow-up comments” - can you please restore ...
Richard Brannon, Thu 27 Dec, 23:23
an alternative perspective.
In 2008 about 1600 children age 16 or lower were traffic fatalities
That is about 4 per day on average
jack, Thu 20 Dec, 08:02
It is now 5 days since the shooting so in that 5 days about 20 kids have become “highway fatalities”
Surely their relatives and friends are suffering as much grief.
Yet we see no weekly media frenzy wallowing in their grief.
An excellent article.
Yvonne Limoges, Thu 20 Dec, 05:47
Yes, the afterlife exists and it can be beautiful…
For me, the “why” question is still not answered unless reincarnation is factored in.
We have free will, and there is cause and effect,
and yes, positive and negative energies.
But, even Silver Birch said reincarnation exists.
Keep up the great work, always!
I am so grateful, Michael Tymn, for this post on your blog! Your references to Howard Jones is enlightening and supports all that I believe and hope for. May we all continue to tip the balance toward light and love…
Maria Laing, Thu 20 Dec, 04:35
Be blessed, Michael and Howard
Myke, I think that those little children are part of a bigger plan to push the USA against the free circulation of weapons. If you look back to all the other carnages, you can notice that the average of the victims’ age went down from adults to children. Because no one changed the law, these ” Heroes” (Spirits of victims and killers) are trying to sensibilize the people with more and more terrific carnages. I’m sure that there was an agreement among all of them and with their killers, in this case the ones who escaped the carnage weren’t “protected ” by God,simply because they had taken other choices about their own death
CLAUDIO, Wed 19 Dec, 14:51
It frustrates me to no end to read questions like this: “Where was God was during the tragedy? Why wasn’t “He” protecting those innocent young children? How can “He” let such terrible things happen?”
We place so much importance on our life in this plane because it is all that our present senses know and understand. We place it first in our hierarchy of thought and belief, and yet we squander it so quickly. We create wars for financial gain. We pollute the air, land and sea, for the sake of personal conveniences and more monetary gain. We divide our land, our communities, the countries within which we live, all the while clinging to our own lives with desperation yet we do not respect those around us for those same wants, needs and rights. Always, the battles are fought for our misplaced feelings of security, protection from some unknown boogey monster that projects the flavor of the day. Socialism, Communism, Terrorism…all an excuse to grab, to take, to secure our place in the world because again, this is all that our present sense know and understand.
But this life we lead is really just a play. It is a Greek tragedy, a Broadway play, a movie that unfolds on an ethereal screen. Where was God during the tragedy? God is omnipresent. God is within and without all of us. God is present in all of our trials and successes because that is who God is and that is who we are as well. We are vessels of God. We are interwoven, connected at the soul level with God. Denominations mean nothing. They are a title for a cause but they do not define God. God is not held within a building or a structure. God is not framed within our laws and beliefs. Our scenarios are played out with God’s involvement, regardless of the heroics and tragedies. Why was God allowing life’s events to unfold? Why does the Broadway director allow the actor to die within a scene? Because it is imagery. Because it is imaginary. Because, when the movie is complete, the actor will move on to another role and so it is with life. When our roles here are complete, the play will move on and we will continue to another role. This is why evil is allowed to live upon the earth; because it is a brief role that we play while we learn to love one another unconditionally.
RJ, Tue 18 Dec, 21:19
Stephen, thanks for your comment. But just because your physical body is flesh or a “sack of meat” doesn’t mean that “you” are.
Michael Tymn, Tue 18 Dec, 05:42
A little more Silver Birch. This is a message that he gave for bereaved parents:
“Do not weep because you think you have forever lost the fairest flower in your garden. The truth is that the flower has been transplanted into a far more beauteous garden where it sheds a greater perfume and is lovelier and more beautiful than ever it could be on earth. It has been spared many of earth’s sadnesses and sorrows. It has been spared cruelties and many blights. Your child will never know much that has darkened your own life. Rejoice that freedom has come to a young soul who will never be distressed by the many miseries that afflict your world. Do not grieve for the child; grieve if you will for your own loss, for you will miss the little radiant face, the childish prattle, the diminutive figure. But though your physical eyes cannot see, and your physical ears cannot hear, your child is ever present. If you stop shedding tears that create mist in front of your eyes, you will see the truth that in God’s great kingdom there is no death and all continue to live in far better conditions in a world which is richer and sweeeter than anything you have ever dreamed. Do not sorrow for the child. Know that an all-loving God has given angels to protect her or him and the child will, in fulness of time, be reunited with you.”
Michael Tymn, Tue 18 Dec, 02:34
I find much to agree with and some that I don’t in this article. Kind of like life I guess I have thought in recent years that the most awesome act of love isn’t the “hero” that runs into the burning building and grabs the victim and rescues him/her. That’s great and I’m not saying that person isn’t heroic. But, the greatest sign of “love” is when one can’t “rescue” the victim” But, yet sets down beside the victim in the fire. This to me is the story of God become flesh. I wrestle so much with my “faith” these days. I was raised in “the church” but the dogma doesn’t work for me anymore. However, the idea of us simply being “sacks of meat” or meatbots is a pitiful way of looking at the universe. Anyway, thanks for the article. Agree or disagree it’s food for thought.
Stephen Snead, Mon 17 Dec, 19:54
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