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Toward a Rehabilitation of Purgatory and Hell

Posted on 23 November 2021, 18:58

Elderly Catholics will remember the deep uneasiness they felt at the prospect of going to Purgatory. For them Purgatory sounded like Hell with a happy ending in a very distant future. In their parochial schools they were taught that if they were fortunate enough to avoid Hell, their souls would still…

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A Philosopher’s Salvation

Posted on 21 June 2020, 13:47

The word salvation is seldom met in a work of philosophy, but Luc Ferry, a celebrated French philosopher with a wide following and best-selling books to his credit, thinks he has found it—but not in the usual places. Can we learn from him something new, something we’ve missed that might be helpful…

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Why COVID-19 doesn’t scare me to death

Posted on 11 April 2020, 10:02

Unlike so many of the world’s population, I am not terrified of dying. I respect death and want to avoid it, of course, and I take reasonable precautions to postpone it as long as possible. What leads up to death, as long as it’s not sudden, is usually painful and thoroughly unpleasant, but the moment…

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Murder and Arson in a Secular World

Posted on 22 November 2018, 10:03

As I write, thirteen people, the latest victims of a mass shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, are dead. Elsewhere in the state we see a different kind of threat. Brush fires are raging in Ventura County, and Malibu has been evacuated. Chico, a city of 90,000, is threatened with the same kind of…

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Our Unreasonable Fear of Death

Posted on 27 January 2018, 15:50

When Samantha was just shy of her fifth birthday—an age when her delight in every manner of living creature was well underway—she noticed a slug on the sidewalk.

This was the same slug she noticed just a few hours earlier, slowly crawling down the front steps of her home. Only…

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Is your child’s “imaginary friend” imaginary or real? A case study

Posted on 22 January 2018, 13:30

On a trip home last week to visit family, I met Brenda, aged 67, at a neighborhood gathering. The strange story she told us lit up the dinner table. I had just mentioned I wrote a middle-grade novel about a clairvoyant child, and Brenda’s husband said that Brenda, who was back in the kitchen, had…

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Why Don’t Progressive Jews Believe in an Afterlife?  Are They Missing Something?

Posted on 05 November 2014, 15:11

Shirley was in her mid-nineties when she died.  Long ago she lost faith in Jewish religious teachings, but she loved her people and frequently wrote of Jewish life, even religious life, in our local newspaper.  She was a “cultural Jew” and a member of the local Reformed Jewish synagogue.…

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John Adams’ Dying Report of Thomas Jefferson Misunderstood

Posted on 04 December 2013, 9:47

One of the most astonishing coincidences in world history was the deaths of John Adams, (below) America’s second president, and Thomas Jefferson, its third.  They both died, 500 miles apart, on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

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The Chess Match between Heaven and Earth

Posted on 25 September 2013, 9:13

I’ve enjoyed chess since I was a boy and studied a few books on the game.  Nothing I ever read, however, compares with the match played out of two different worlds: our own earth and—apparently—the world to come.  The match is meticulously described in 14 pages by Oxford-trained Chris Carter,…

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“Scientific Fundamentalism”: Reply to a Materialist

Posted on 29 May 2013, 12:51

A few weeks ago a broadside in the local newspaper blasted me and what I represent.  The writer was a psychiatrist.

For him the self is “lodged squarely in the field of clinical and research psychology, where it is rigorously defined as a creation of the brain’s frontal lobes.” …

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After Death: Private Dowding in the Wilderness by Wellesley Tudor Pole – In the introduction to "Private Dowding:The personal story of a soldier killed in battle, Wellesley Tudor Pole wrote: On Monday, 12th March 1917, I was walking by the sea when I felt the presence of someone. I looked round, no one was in sight. All that day I felt as if someone were following me, trying to reach my thoughts. Suddenly I said to myself, 'It is a soldier. He has been killed in battle and wants to communicate.' Read here
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