Preview Installment #6

Chapter Six of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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As we look at the Twenty-five Core Messages emerging from Conversations with God, last to first, I’m going to devote one chapter to each, and divide every chapter into two sections: Meaning and Application. Thus, we’ll expand in two ways on the messages themselves, taking many people who have not had a chance to go there before into new territories.

Here, then, is our look at the most daring message of all . . .

CWG Core Message #25

Let there be a New Gospel for all the people of Earth: “We are all one. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.”

This was for me one of the most wonderful messages in the dialogue with Divinity that I had the wonderful fortune to experience. In that sweet exchange, God softly told me that we could bring an end to much of the anger, hatred, division, and violence in our world by simply adopting and spreading a new teaching, a simple fifteen-word new doctrine: We are all One. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.

God called this the New Gospel, and I have to admit that I was at first very reluctant to use those words because, after all, the word “gospel” holds such a special significance for so many people. But I have never edited a single thing that I have been given in these dialogue experiences, and I couldn’t justify suddenly starting . . . so I left the phrase exactly as I received it.

I do believe that what we could all use right now is a new gospel. Not one to replace the old, but to add to it, to enlarge upon it, giving it deeper, richer meaning. So, in my talks and workshops around the world I have invited our economic leaders, our political leaders, and our spiritual leaders to speak this New Gospel to their audiences.

So far, no one has done so. I do understand: I know why not one major world leader, not one global spiritual figure, not one titan of business and industry has dared to utter those words from their podiums and pulpits and boardroom tables. They simply don’t believe it would work, that it would ever be accepted by those who listen to them, who look up to them.

In fact, because of the very positions these leaders hold, they may feel that they have to declare exactly the opposite. Why would anyone follow them if they did not announce that their way was the better way?

Yet nothing blocks the creation and sustaining of peace in our world more than thoughts of superiority—especially if they are accompanied by righteousness.

And this, sadly, is what we are seeing more and more of in our increasingly polarized society. “Not only,” our leaders say, “do we have a good idea . . . it is the only good idea there is. Our way is the right way. Everyone else is not only wrong, but bad for even suggesting something else.”

This is what our exchange of views is sounding like more and more each day—and it is so sad that we don’t even notice that we are creating the polarity ourselves, with our righteousness.

As pointed out here earlier, when humans believe they are “right” about something, some of them—perhaps most—hold on to their views tenaciously, even when facts reveal their viewpoint to be inaccurate or render it obsolete.

It is true that people can change their mind about things. Harvey Milk, Gloria Steinem, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, God bless them, proved that. But it is not an easy task to help them to do so. For it is as we have been told in Communion with God: The idea of superiority is seductive.

It is, that book tells us, one of the Ten Illusions of Humans. It cannot be real . . . and I will explain why in just a moment . . . but it can sure seem real. And it feels so good.

Nowhere is the idea of superiority more pervasive than in religion, another point made earlier. That is what makes the New Gospel so dramatic and so striking—and so challenging for many people to embrace.

Yet precisely because it is challenging, it invites our closer examination. So let’s take a more-than-surface look at it.

Is God Not “Everything”?

The New Gospel begins with the words “we are all One.” Thus, this final revelation in the Twenty-five Core Messages of what God said brings us right back to its first revelation, closing a circle.

That first message is: “We are all One. All things are One Thing. There is only One Thing, and all things are part of the One Thing There Is.”

If that opening statement is true, it carries with it an important implication—a remarkably important implication—that would amount to a major expansion of humanity’s previous understanding of the relationship between God and Man.

The implication, of course, is that if everything is One Thing, and if we are part of everything (which we obviously are), then we are part of God, unless God is not part of “everything,” but stands outside of “everything”—in which case “everything” is not everything at all.

This is, in fact, what many, many people believe. They believe that there are, essentially, two things that exist in ultimate reality: (1) Everything That Is, and (2) that which created Everything That Is.

In this cosmology, God stands outside of Everything That Is. In order to conceive of this, many people define “everything” as only that which is physical, and define God as that which is spiritual. Yet this is an unfair delineation, because it gives an altered meaning to the word “everything.”

It also forces us to assume that we are not spiritual . . . or that if we are spiritual and physical, the part of us that is spiritual is not part of “everything.” Because, by simple logic, if the part of us that is spiritual is included in what we call “everything,” then a God who is spiritual must be part of “everything” as well.

This leads some of us to take all sorts of twisted pathways and to use every kind of tortured logic to explain how a God who is spiritual is not part of “everything,” even though the part of us that is spiritual is.

Presumably, God’s spirit is a different kind of spirit, a different type. Not simply grander or bigger or more powerful, but a different type altogether—a type that does not fall within the category of “everything that is.”

It is the first big challenge of the New Spirituality to coax us away from this fractured reasoning and gently guide us into considering that there may be a pattern to life’s Essential Energy (that some people, including myself, call “God”) that allows it to express as both physical and spiritual at the same time, even as we clearly observe that we, as humans, are doing.

In other words, we may wish to consider the possibility that what we can do, God can do, and that even as we are both spiritual and physical, so, too, is That Which Is Divine.

This would make Humanity and Divinity one and the same, except as to proportion. God is All Of It, whereas we are part of what comprises All Of It.

Does this not make much more sense?

And have not major religions declared that we are “made in the image and likeness of God”?

Our Stories Tell Us Otherwise

Previously, we have been told by most of humanity’s cultures, through myths and tales, that God separated us from the Godhead. Not that God divided us (in which case we would all be simply divisions of the Same Thing), but that He separated us. Consider the difference.

A company that has divisions in several cities is still one and the same company. Yet a company that has split off and sold one or two of those divisions has created separate entities that are no longer a part of the original firm.

Is this what God has done? Yes, say most religions. Thus, they tell us that God is one thing and we are another. This separation occurred, so the teaching goes, because God was displeased with us. His displeasure, we have been further informed, is the result of our having disobeyed Him. (Or, at least, of our earliest ancestors having done so.)

And so, the Story of Separation was seeded in the human psyche. This story is foundational and crucial to the world’s religions, for if we believe in God at all, and if we hunger in any way for God’s safety, for God’s love, for God’s magnificence, then getting back to God becomes our number one priority—and that is where religions come in. They promise us the way to do that.

To make sure that we understand the urgency of this undertaking, religions have added a caveat: If we don’t get back to God, we’ll wind up going to that other place . . .

The Unhappy Alternative

If we have not found the way to return to God, who will forgive us for every unkindness and misbehavior during our life on Earth, we will not be absolved of our sins, and, as punishment for our misdeeds, we will be sent to a place of interminable and indescribable suffering, called, variously, Hell, Hades, Ǧahannam, Nār, Perdition, Infernum, the Netherworld, Sheol, Acheron, Gehenna, Tophet, the Abyss, or the Pit (among other things).

Complicating this process is the fact that, according to at least one religion, there is only one way to get back to God and be forgiven, and that is through Jesus Christ. No one else has the power to forgive us, including, presumably, God Himself, and so we need to take this one path to salvation.

Indeed, according to this doctrine, one can live a virtually perfect life, demonstrating kindness, caring, compassion, generosity, and every other divine virtue in every moment of one’s life, and still not “get to heaven” (as the return journey is called). In other words, one cannot “earn” one’s way to heaven, but can only get there if one “accepts Christ” as one’s Lord and Savior. And the reason that it is only Christ who can offer salvation, and not God Himself, is that it was Christ who “paid for our sins” through his willingly accepted torture and death, thus appeasing a “just” God (who others may see as a wrathful, vengeful God) who otherwise would have made us pay for them ourselves.

Even if one were to die moments after birth, an utterly innocent baby having been unable to commit a single offense against God, there is Original Sin to deal with, this particular religion asserts. That is the sin committed by the first souls—the ones who got thrown out of heaven to begin with—the burden of which has been passed down to us to carry, by virtue of our heritage.

This is the Doctrine of Inherited Imperfection. Unless a soul is spotless, this doctrine declares, it may not return to God. And no soul—not even that of a baby—is spotless.

We are born imperfect. We can find forgiveness, however, and return to spotlessness, by claiming Christ as our Savior. In the case of an infant, this is done through the sacrament of Baptism, in which Christ is accepted on behalf of the baby, by an adult.

(The child can accept Christ again later, through the sacrament of Confirmation, in which she or he, having reached the age of reason, confirms and renews the baptismal promise, and is thus said to be able to receive the Holy Spirit. This occurs usually between the age of seven and fourteen, depending upon local custom.)

None of this is a small matter, we are told, because if we don’t accept Christ’s gift of redemption, our own payment for our sins will go on forever. That is, for Eternity. So great has been our offense against God . . . including the greatest offense, which would be to not accept God’s gift of the tortured and sacrificed Christ.

By this measure Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and members of every other faith (as well as those of no faith at all) are going to hell.

Expanding Our Concept of Deity and Reality

Is this how it really is?

The New Spirituality invites us to look closely at this teaching and decide for ourselves if it matches our concept of an all-loving God who is the source of everything and therefore needs nothing.

The first and last of the twenty-five most important messages in Conversations with God expands our entire concept of Deity—and of Ultimate Reality itself. It describes a reality in which nothing is separated from anything else, and a God who is expressed in, as, and through all things that exist.

I will explore the inferences of this in greater detail when Core Message #1 is addressed separately, toward the end of this book. For now, let’s stay with Core Message #25, and take a look at the second half of this fifteen-word statement. It says: Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.

As with the first half of the New Gospel, this sentence carries larger theological implications than might at first be apparent. More than a simple magnanimous or humble declaration, it expands our current thought that one way to God, and only one way, is the “better” way, and that one and only one religious doctrine forms the basis of the One True Faith.

What God seeks to tell all of us is that every faith is the One True Faith to those who hold it as True. This is because “as you believe, so will it be done unto you.” That is, pure faith empowers itself, producing the results that it calls for. And this is because of the nature of who you are and how life works (which, again, we will explore in later portions of this book).

So if you believe that your following the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, bless His holy name, will lead the way to Paradise, it will. If you believe that accepting Christ as your Savior will guarantee you a place in heaven, it will. If you believe that modeling the behavior of Buddha will bring you peace, it will. Whatsoever you believe, so shall your experience be.

What this means is that there is more than one way to the mountaintop. It also means that no one way is “better” than another. All roads lead to the same destination. Indeed, says Conversations with God, there is no way not to get what we call the Kingdom of God, because there is nowhere else to go. (This idea will be explored in chapter 23.)

This place, too, has many names. Some call it paradise, Jannah, nirvana, Zion, the hereafter, the next world, the next life, the Kingdom of God, Elysium, the Elysian Fields, Valhalla, the empyrean, or, simply, heaven.

Spiritual Surgery Removing a Fatal Flaw

What the second sentence in the New Gospel does is extract righteousness from religion, thus removing something that is not very good from something that is otherwise very good in many ways.

The idea that there is only One Right Way to return to God has caused more death and destruction, and therefore caused more people to run from God, than any other single notion.

The New Gospel is like spiritual surgery, reaching in and cutting out the poison from the otherwise glorious and healthy thoughts that most humans hold about their religion and their Deity.

I believe that somewhere deep inside, most people know that if there is a God at all, it cannot be a Lord Of The Brand Name, who thinks that all facial tissue must be Kleenex, all transparent adhesive strips must be Scotch Tape, and all people going to heaven must be Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, or Mormon, or whatever logo your God has on His name tag).

What the New Gospel from Friendship with God offers is a chance to allow our theology to catch up with our twenty-first century awareness. It is an opportunity to discuss a central question: “Is it possible that our previous information about the Kingdom of God, and who is ‘eligible’ to be there, was incomplete?”

For the billions of people who hold that souls can return to God only along a particular pathway, the belief that all roads lead to heaven is an invitation to expand their concept of God, making the Divine Being large enough to reach by any route. Or, as I heard someone put it delightfully a few years ago: “If God is your target, you can’t miss!”

Had this idea of an “Only For Us” paradise been eliminated from the spiritual constructions of our species centuries ago, thousands upon thousands of lives would have been saved, as countless people have been martyred for not accepting and practicing the “right faith.”

Even today, people around the world are shamed and marginalized, rebuked and admonished, and in some cases still persecuted, for not embracing the “one true religion.”

Applying This Message to Everyday Life

This remarkable message offers all of us an opportunity to join in the healing of humanity.

Fear of damnation is no longer considered a loving way to gain converts to any religion, even if people say that they are doing it out of “concern” for someone they love. And being made “bad” or “wrong” is no longer a healing way to get anyone to agree with your point of view on any subject.

The New Gospel has applications far beyond the sphere of religion. Practiced in the political arena, it could return civility to civil discourse. Embraced in the economic arena, it could replace ruthless competition with collaboration and cooperation. Accepted in the educational arena, it could bring an end to the teaching of only those things with which we agree.

The idea that ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way, applied across the board in our lives, would alter the entire social landscape in ways that we can only begin to imagine, and that would only improve human life for all.

Here are some suggestions for application of this insight into your daily experience:

  • If you are a religious person, determine as of this day (if you have not already done so) to never again suggest to another person that your religion is the only way to get to heaven, or that every single person on the face of the Earth who does not practice your religion is going to hell. Use love of God, not fear of God, as your motivator to encourage others to take a closer look at your faith as their possible spiritual home.
  • If you are deeply involved in politics, resolve to honor the political point of view and the ideas of others. Welcome them into your discussions. Do not confuse emotion for passion. It is one thing to be passionate about your point of view, it is another to become all emotional (as in “angry”) about it. If you feel anger rising within you, if you find yourself starting to use abusive or disparaging language in advancing your point of view, take a step back from the discourse and turn down the temperature of the exchange. Own responsibility for allowing the conversation to get out of hand, apologize for ratcheting up the negative energy, and simply start to speak slower and a bit more quietly. It can do wonders.
  • When you start to feel that your way is not only a “better” way but the “only” way to see things or to do things, think of a time in your life when you have felt that you had the only good answer to something and life proved that you were not entirely accurate in that assessment. Ask yourself if this could be the case now.
  • Look at the other person’s point of view and intentionally search for something—anything—of worth or value in what they believe. See if you can find common ground, even a postage-stamp size of common ground, with that other, and restart the discussion there.
  • Think of the desired outcomes you and others have in common. Focus on these outcomes that you both seek, rather than pathways or methods to achieve certain results. Often when we see the commonality of outcomes, we find a mutual respect that allows us to begin sharing and creating collaborative approaches to resolving disagreements and solving problems.
  • Here is a miracle statement that I have found to be marvelously helpful in moving what could have been a discordant conversation forward: “I can understand how you could feel that way.” This does not say that I agree with how you feel, but it does say that I do not think you are totally absurd or crazy for thinking the way you do. It honors your background, or life experience, and the path that brought you here today. Sometimes all that people need to break the ice is to feel that they have been heard. Not even agreed with, just fairly heard.
  • Regarding the first part of the New Gospel, begin practicing the movement into unity with another by remembering a time when you felt the same way as the person before you right now. See things not just from their point of view, but from a time when you may have had the same or nearly the same feelings. Remember, feelings are not a point of view. They are what sponsor a point of view. Feelings of betrayal, for instance, or of anger. Feelings of loneliness, or of being misunderstood. These are all feelings that we have all had at one time or another. Seek to relate to another person’s feelings, not their viewpoint or their specific words, and you will begin the practice of “oneness” as a lifetime experience.
  • Allow yourself to feel your own natural feelings of oneness with others—and, for that matter, with other forms of life—and practice doing this every day. Choose two other people with whom you interact daily or frequently, and see if you can identify any feelings you have observed them to have, that you have also experienced in your own life at one time or another.

These simple steps can work magic in your relationships—and in the way that you relate to the entire world around you. The New Gospel, these 15 words, are all that you will ever need to change your life for the better. And, excitingly, that are 985 more words for us to explore.

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— from the book What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch. (Berkley Books-Oct 2013- orders may be placed at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and other online bookstores. The book is also being placed here, in previews, chapter by chapter.)

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Preview Installment #5

Chapter Five of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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What is needed now on Earth is a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its belief in a violent, angry, and vindictive God, and releasing our species from a spiritual doctrine that has created nothing but separation, fear, and dysfunction around the world.

We need to replace this dogma, finally, with an ethos of unity and cooperation, understanding and compassion, generosity and love.

The first step in this movement is to initiate a global conversation that begins with a rarely asked blunt question: “Honestly, and without bias, would you say that our world’s belief systems, including its religions, have produced the outcomes for which humanity has yearned?”

If the answer to this question is no, the next question must be: “Why do you think our belief systems have failed to do this?” And finally, any beneficial discussion would lead to this inquiry: “What beliefs or understandings do you feel would produce the outcomes humanity says it desires?”

These questions could form the basis of what I call the Conversation of the Century—and this is something in which all of us can take part. You could engage in the Conversation of the Century right now in the worldwide virtual community that gathers daily at http://www.TheGlobalConversation.com. This is an Internet newspaper I created that relates the expanded spiritual concepts of the New Spirituality to the news of the day, making spirituality itself vital again, meaningful again in our daily lives.

You could also launch a Global Conversation Group in your community right now, meeting in your home once or twice a month.

Talking about important topics generates energy around them. Every major change that has ever occurred in our social, political, economic, and spiritual systems began when one person talked to another person about it. This may seem almost absurdly obvious, yet I observe many people who want to see changes in their world and in their lives nevertheless saying: “What can I do? What impact can I possibly make?”

So make no mistake, people talking together about the same thing at the same moment become very powerful. So powerful that, as Victor Hugo said, “All the armies of the world cannot stop an idea whose time has come.”

Rewriting humanity’s cultural story to include expanded beliefs and deeper understandings about God and Life, enlarging upon the primitive and simplistic beliefs of our past, is just such an idea.

It takes time, but large clusters of people—whole societies—can have a change of mind about things. Martin Luther King Jr. helped create a change of mind about blacks. Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem helped create a change of mind about women. Harvey Milk helped create a change of mind about gays. We can all now help create a change of mind about God.

A New Gospel

To “change the world’s mind about God!” Ah! What a goal!

And that is the goal of the New Spirituality. That is the goal of Conversations with God. That is the goal of every soul who knows and loves God, and who can no longer sit by idly and watch people grapple with teachings of a fearful, vengeful, violent God, and ignore all the damaging outcomes that such beliefs have inflicted upon the human race.

Those of us in that group know that the first thing we must help people change their mind about is God’s relationship to us. Then, our relationship to God. And finally, the relationship of all people to each other, and to Life itself.

These three topics form the through line of the most important messages of Conversations with God, summarized in chapter 2. I believe with all my heart that these messages provide a pathway to the kind of life experience for which Earth’s people have yearned, both individually and collectively, for thousands of years.

Please note that I said “a” pathway, not “the” pathway. My choice of words was specific and deliberate. Conversations with God offered humanity a New Gospel in the book Friendship with God. That New Gospel concludes the summary in chapter 2.

So let’s start there. Let’s begin our exploration of this thousand-word summary where it ends. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up.

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— from the book What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch. (Berkley Books-Oct 2013- orders may be placed at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and other online bookstores. The book is also being placed here, in previews, chapter by chapter.)

Preview Installment #4

Chapter Four of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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There is good news here. Today, as the world faces economic crises, political upheaval, civil unrest, societal breakdown, environmental degradation, spiritual confusion, ongoing conflict and war, people everywhere are finding the courage to not leave their religious beliefs alone. They are searching for new guideposts, new insights, new answers, new ways of being human.

Most important of all, a small but growing number of people are now yearning for new ways of understanding and relating to God, because they have come to a new awareness that humanity’s ideas about God greatly impact, and in some cases even create, its ideas about humanity itself, about who we are in relationship to each other, and about how Life works.

And it is clear now—today more than ever, because of our ability to see ourselves, to communicate with our entire world, in an instant—that some of our old ideas are no longer functional.

It is doubtful that they were ever functional, but it didn’t matter in the past. Not on a global scale. Because things kept going. Life went on. But now, things can’t keep going anymore. Not as they have been. Too much is known by too many too fast. Our old ways of doing things, our old ways of being, are no longer even considered partially functional by part of the world. And this is what people everywhere are beginning at last to acknowledge. In the past, one place on the Earth could hide its dysfunction from another place. Now, we all know everything about what’s going on everywhere. This makes dysfunction harder to hide—and harder for the world at large to tolerate.

Too many of us are seeing our self-inflicted wounds. And we’re also seeing that we’re running out of Band-Aids. We can’t just keep patching everything together.

We’re running out of fertile soil in which to plant our crops. We’re running out of cooler, damper climate to stop our Earth from parching. We’re running out of pure water. We’re running out of clean air. And we’re running out of ways to ignore all of this.

We’re running out of money to make things better. We’re running out of time in which to do it. Worst of all, some people are running out of the will to do it, as they sink deeper and deeper into fear and frustration, thinking that the only solution is to turn on each other rather than to each other.

This Group Does Not Include You

You’re not among those who believe this, or you would never have picked up this book. You’re among those who are clear that it’s not too late to change this—even if you don’t exactly know what part you can play in doing it. (More on that later.) What you do know is that what must be accomplished now is the complete overhaul of our way of being.

Not a small task, but not impossible. Our species has experienced such a complete re-creation of itself before—a renaissance, a rebirth, if you will. And this renaissance need not take three hundred years. It can be accomplished in one-tenth the time, precisely because of the instantaneous and transparent nature of our modern-day communication—a condition that I call instaparency.

I want to suggest that our turnaround might best begin with a new writing, an expansion, of our cultural story, of the words that we tell ourselves about ourselves, of the lessons we teach our children about the reason and purpose for Life itself, and—most important of all—of the narratives we share with everyone about what we call “God.”

This is where the power lies. This is where the leverage is. This is where we find the fuel that drives the engine of the human experience.

Yet what new Divinely inspired addition to our hallowed human story could capture our attention and cause us to even consider changing our age-old behaviors? That is the question. What new ideas from God could be as powerful and as inspiring, as exciting and as motivating as those of Lao Tzu or of Buddha; of Moses or of Jesus; of Muhammad or of Krishna? What expansion of our story could be as moving, as life-impacting, and as experience-changing as the messages of the belief systems and religions to which the followers of those teachers gave birth?

That has been the key question for a very long time. What new ideas could expand our ancient story sufficiently to offer brand new possibilities for an entire species?

It’s Not About Rejection or Abandonment

I come here to respectfully suggest that the contemporary ideas of what I have come to call the New Spirituality might offer one outline for those additions. They could at least offer a basis for opening discussions, for beginning explorations.

This will not happen, however, if people see such explorations as a rejection or abandonment of humanity’s Ancient Story, for we hold that story dear to our hearts—as well we should. It has, after all, gotten us this far.

So it should be made clear at the outset that Conversations with God never suggests such a thing. Indeed, it makes the opposite point: Much of what has been given to us by our world’s religions is valuable and good. That is why religion itself has lasted so long. If religions have produced conflict between people, it is not because their teachings are “wrong” but because they may be incomplete.

It is my observation that many human beings are as children who have learned to add and subtract but have not yet heard about multiplication and long division (to say nothing of geometry, trigonometry, and calculus), yet they think they know all there is to know about mathematics.

There may be much more to be revealed about God and about Life than we now assume, and I believe it is a mistake to imagine that we have in hand everything there is to know on these subjects.

The intention of Conversations with God is not, therefore, to reject wholesale or completely abandon humanity’s old ideas about the Divine and about Life, but to add to, build on, extend, widen, broaden, deepen, clarify, and enrich our Ancient Story.

Ending the Blockade

There is no need for this expansion of our original understanding to generate rage, much less block us forever as we seek to move forward on our spiritual voyage, any more than expanded scientific, medical, or technical understandings have blocked us forever from advancing in our evolutionary journey.

Yes, there have been some stumbling blocks, there have been some delays, on the evolutionary journey of science, medicine, and technology, but nothing that we allowed to stop us completely. It took us a while to admit that the sun did not revolve around the Earth; it took us a while to acknowledge that washing our hands before delivering babies would decrease infant mortality; it took us a while to “get” that computers need not pose a threat to human beings; but ultimately we embraced these and other advancements and stepped forward.

We didn’t throw out the whole of our scientific knowledge to accept a new discovery, we didn’t throw out the whole of our medical knowledge to adopt a new procedure, we didn’t throw out the whole of our technical knowledge to apply a new development. We simply enfolded the new within the old, allowing ourselves to modify and expand our understandings, and then we marched on, all the better for it.

It is time now for us to do the same with religion.

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— from the book What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch. (Berkley Books-Oct 2013- orders may be placed at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and other online bookstores. The book is also being placed here, in previews, chapter by chapter.)

Preview Installment #3

Chapter Three of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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Some of those messages are crystal clear and some beg for clarification. Most of us can probably agree, for instance, that “it is not necessary to compete for, much less fight over,” our resources. On the other had, we might have a difficult time with the idea that “there are no victims or villains in the world,” even if the statement is qualified by “in a spiritual sense.”

Especially in a spiritual sense, we have believed that “right and wrong” are intrinsic parts of the universal scheme of things—of “the Law of God,” if you will—and most people cannot conceive of a world with no moral absolutes. If fact, what many people think is wrong with the world today is that there seem to be fewer and fewer moral absolutes.

This creates a major problem. Many human beings don’t appear to know how to exist with no one outside of them telling them what to do and what not to do. It’s hard enough to find happiness in a world where someone does. What would we do without any rules at all? And what would restrain us if there were no judgment, condemnation, and punishment, especially in the “spiritual sense”?

So we see that the first difficulty with, and the biggest challenge of, the Conversations with God material is that it pulls the underpinning from humanity’s moral constructions and ideas about God. Never mind that those constructions and religious dogmas have done little to produce a world free of hatred, violence, and fear. Never mind that those moral values and teachings about God have failed to eliminate suffering, reduce abject poverty, or even do something as simple as end hunger on our planet.

Did you know that six million children die every year on Earth from starvation? That’s fact, not polemic.

We get terribly upset—and we should—when a man with a gun kills 20 children in a school, but we sit by and watch 684 children die every hour of hunger and allow it to go on. There’s nothing, we say, that we can do about it.

It is sadly true that when it comes to our global values and the religions from which they emerge, the majority of the world’s people have refused to do what they have allowed themselves to do in every other area of human endeavor.

In science, they have encouraged it. In medicine, they have encouraged it. In technology, they have encouraged it. But when it comes to religion—presumably the most important area of all—they have actively discouraged it.

And what is it that people in science, medicine, and technology routinely do that, when it comes to religion, they stubbornly refuse to do?

Question the prior assumption.

Leave the Apples Where They Are

Apple-cart-upsetting is not something that people on this planet like to do. They don’t want anyone tampering with their most sacred beliefs. Even if those beliefs are clearly and demonstrably wrong, or obviously and totally ineffective in producing the outcomes they espouse or predict, human beings will cling to their beliefs with a stubborn rigidity that is both shocking and appalling.

For instance, did you know that—paleontological and archeological discoveries of the past quarter century notwithstanding—surveys show that over 40 percent of this planet’s population continue to believe that the world is no more than ten thousand years old.

People believe what they want or need to believe in order to support their previously held point of view. In a startling number of instances, it truly is a case of “don’t bother me with the facts.”

Nowhere is this in greater evidence than in the area of religion.

We know what we know about God and we don’t want to hear anything else. And there’s a powerful reason for this. Our thoughts about God form the bedrock of our entire understanding of Life. This is true even for those who have no belief in God at all.

So whether people are “believers” or “nonbelievers,” their thoughts about God create a foundation upon which many build their entire moral code. Understandably, then, new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts about God are not easily welcomed or enthusiastically embraced by most folks.

A New Truth about God would be—for agnostics, atheists, and adherents alike—the Great Apple Cart Upsetter of all time.

Flying into the Window Pane

Since most people want to leave their religious beliefs alone, we find ourselves insisting on building a life in the first quarter of the twenty-first century with first-century spiritual tools.

In medicine, this would be like trying to perform surgery with a very sharp stick. In technology, it would be like trying to send a rocket to the moon with the spark of a flint stone. In science, it would be like trying to conduct an experiment in a cave by the light of a small fire.

Still, leaving our religious beliefs untouched could make sense if those tools were working. Yet we are not allowed to even question if they are working. The problem is not with the tools, we tell ourselves, the problem is that we are not using them.

Yet the keen observer would realize that the problem is exactly the opposite. The problem is that we are using them. And we are using them against each other.

Thus, the tools of our ancient religions have proven ineffective (to put it mildly) in creating a world of peace, harmony, sufficiency, and dignity for all.

What is wrong here?

That is a question we are not supposed to ask. We are supposed to keep on doing the same thing we have always done, expecting to get a different result. (And that, of course, is the definition of insanity.)

Like flies against a windowpane, we keep banging our heads against that which we do not see—or, in our case, which we refuse to see: that there must be something fundamentally flawed in our beliefs about God and about Life, or we would be way past where we are now in terms of our social and spiritual development.

We would not live on a planet where people still kill each other in order to resolve their differences.

We would not live on a planet where people still die of starvation by the millions while enough food is thrown into the garbage every day to feed half the population.

We would not live on a planet where 5 percent of the population holds or controls 95 percent of the wealth and resources—and considers this perfectly okay.

We would not live on a planet where “every man for himself” is actually considered preferable to “all for one and one for all.”

What Are We Willing to Do?

Yet we do live on such a planet. And so the question is, are we willing to continue all of this?

Are we willing to just go on as we have been, bequeathing to our children and to theirs a world that can unlock the mysteries of the human genome but cannot unlock the love within the human heart?

We say we are not. We say we want a better life, and to produce a better life for our offspring, but what we are willing to do about it?

Are we willing to do the bravest thing of all? Are we willing to challenge our most sacred beliefs? Are we willing to consider the possibility that there may be something we do not fully understand about God and about Life—the understanding of which would change everything?

Are we willing to consider—to at least explore—new ideas, new thoughts, new constructions within the human story? Even if, on the surface, they seem to contradict what we think we already know about God and Life, can we at least explore their possibilities? Must we dismiss every new concept, every new hypothesis, out of hand simply because it does not agree with the story we have been telling ourselves for centuries and millennia?

No. We do not have to. And a civilization that hopes to advance cannot afford to. Thus, the messages here become extraordinarily important, for only when we are open to all ideas are all possibilities open to us.

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— from the book What God Said by Neale Donald Walsch. (Berkley Books-Oct 2013- orders may be placed at Amazon.comBarnes&Noble.com and other online bookstores. The book is also being placed here, in previews, chapter by chapter.)

Preview Installment #2

Chapter Two of WHAT GOD SAID
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NOTE: If you have not read previous installments, it will make sense to scroll down to the lower entries and read them from the “bottom up.” In this way, you will be encountering the material as it appears in the book.  — NDW
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Here, in one thousand words, is all that the human race needs to know in order to live the life for which it has yearned and which, despite trying for thousands of years, it has yet to produce. Carry these messages to your world:

  1. We are all One. All things are One Thing. There is only One Thing, and all things are part of the One Thing there is. This means that you are Divine. You are not your body, you are not your mind, and you are not your soul. You are the unique combination of all three, which comprises the Totality Of You. You are an individuation of Divinity; an expression of God on Earth.
  2. There’s enough. It is not necessary to compete for, much less fight over, your resources. All you have to do is share.
  3. There’s nothing you have to do. There is much you will do, but nothing you are required to do. God wants nothing, needs nothing, demands nothing, commands nothing.
  4. God talks to everyone, all the time. The question is not: To whom does God talk? The question is: Who listens?
  5. There are Three Basic Principles of Life: Functionality, Adaptability, and Sustainability.
  6. There is no such thing as Right and Wrong, there is only What Works and What Does Not Work, given what it is you are trying to do.
  7. In the spiritual sense, there are no victims and no villains in the world, although in the human sense it appears that there surely are. Yet because you are Divine, nothing can happen against your will.
  8. No one does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world.
  9. There is no such place as hell, and eternal damnation does not exist.
  10. Death does not exist. What you call “death” is merely a process of Re-Identification.
  11. There is no such thing as Space and Time, there is only Here and Now.
  1. Love is all there is.
  2. You are the creator of your own reality, using the Three Tools of Creation: Thought, Word, and Action.
  3. Your life has nothing to do with you. It is about everyone whose life you touch and how you touch it.
  4. The purpose of your life is to re-create yourself anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever you held about Who You Are.
  5. The moment you declare anything, everything unlike it will come into the space. This is the Law of Opposites, producing a contextual field within which that which you wish to express may be experienced.
  6. There is no such thing as Absolute Truth. All truth is subjective. Within this framework there are five levels of truth telling: Tell your truth to yourself about yourself; Tell your truth to yourself about another; Tell your truth about yourself to another; Tell your truth about another to another; Tell your truth to everyone about everything.
  7. The human race lives within a precise set of illusions. The Ten Illusions of Humans are: Need Exists, Failure Exists, Disunity Exists, Insufficiency Exists, Requirement Exists, Judgment Exists, Condemnation Exists, Conditionality Exists, Superiority Exists, Ignorance Exists. These illusions are meant to serve humanity, but it must learn how to use them.
  8. The Three Core Concepts of Holistic Living are Honesty, Awareness, and Responsibility. Live according to these precepts and self-anger will disappear from your life.
  9. Life functions within a Be-Do-Have paradigm. Most people have this backward, imagining that first one must “have” things in order to “do” things, thus to “be” what they wish to be. Reversing this process is the fastest way to experience mastery in living.
  10. There are Three Levels of Awareness: Hope, Faith, and Knowing. Spiritual mastery is about living from the third level.
  11. There are Five Fallacies about God that create crisis, violence, killing, and war. First, the idea that God needs something. Second, the idea that God can fail to get what He needs. Third, the idea that God has separated you from Him because you have not given Him what He needs. Fourth, the idea that God still needs what He needs so badly that God now requires you, from your separated position, to give it to Him. Fifth, the idea that God will destroy you if you do not meet His requirements.
  12. There are also Five Fallacies about Life that likewise create crisis, violence, killing, and war. First, the idea that human beings are separate from each other. Second, the idea that there is not enough of what human beings need to be happy. Third, the idea that in order to get the stuff of which there is not enough, human beings must compete with each other. Fourth, the idea that some human beings are better than other human beings. Fifth, the idea that it is appropriate for human beings to resolve severe differences created by all the other fallacies by killing each other.
  13. You think you are being terrorized by other people, but in truth you are being terrorized by your beliefs. Your experience of yourself and your world will shift dramatically if you adopt, collectively, the Five Steps to Peace:
  • Permit yourself to acknowledge that some of your old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.
  • Explore the possibility that there is something you do not fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything.
  • Announce that you are willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.
  • Courageously examine these new understandings and, if they align with your personal inner truth and knowing, enlarge your belief system to include them.
  • Express your life as a demonstration of your highest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.
  1. Let there be a New Gospel for all the people of Earth: “We are all one. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.”

The one thousand words here, embraced and acted on, could change your world in a single generation.