What faith tradition do I follow?

At work today, a coworker and I got on to the subject of religion (taboo I know.) Here is how the conversation went (my responses in blue):

“We all follow some faith tradition. Are you a Christian?”

I used to be.

“So you are an atheist then?”


“So what are you? What do you believe?”

There is no label that I know of that fits me. What I would say is: based on what I’ve read about NDEs and related phenomena, there are certain things I’ve come to accept.

“That’s interesting. What are they?”

1. We are spirits that temporarily inhabit bodies
  2. We come back many times (reincarnation)
  3. We are here to experience, learn, and grow


He did not take the conversation any further. But if he had, I would have directed him to my online bookshelf. It has some of the top books I have read that have informed my world (and otherworld) views. Here is a link to that bookshelf:

I want to be clear about a few things. While I and the researchers/authors accept the answers given to be true:

  • The researchers started out as skeptics. It was only after many experiences (direct and 2nd hand) that they came to accept the supernatural explanations of their research.
  • The answers they found do not always agree with mainstream belief systems. They certainly go against the things I was taught from my former religious teachers.
  • The answers do not always sit well with me (but then, the same can be said of quantum physics. The universe is under no obligation to make any sense, especially to our limited brains. Even more so with the otherworld.)

For a clear summary of the findings of these researchers, please see my other post on this topic here.

Lastly, in the title of this post, I could have said, What faith tradition do I claim to follow? Notice the word claim. That’s because many people are a nominal or cultural XYZ (Catholic, Jew, etc.) Some even publicly profess to be a XYZ while privately not believing a word of it. They do this because they don’t want to be ostracized (or worse.) 

The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything!

So many people ask about the meaning or purpose of life. While it took me years of investigation and experience in this field to understand it, the answer is that the meaning (or purpose) of life is to have experiences. It’s really just that simple—life is about having experiences. And to take this one step further, life is about having experiences that our souls are unable to have in the spiritual realm.

As souls who exist eternally in the spirit world, which is always free from fear, suffering, and death, we choose a physical life as humans to know the experience of living in a domain where mortality is imminent.

When a being knows it can die, it changes everything. It creates fear and alters choices. When death is a potential occurrence, we think, say, and do things differently. We act out of survival. Even the possibility of injury, illness, or pain leads one to choose differently than if that person were immortal and invincible. And this is why living a human life is such an intriguing challenge for our souls. It’s not an easy challenge. It’s not even necessarily fun. It simply creates a new paradigm from which to have new experiences, experiences our souls are unable to duplicate in the spiritual realm.

I make this point early in this book for one important reason—so many folks believe that something has gone wrong in life when they meet challenges (disappointment, tragedy, suffering, loss, and pain), but life is about experiences, both positive and negative. Nobody promised us that we’d have only positive experiences. We learn just as much, if not more, from our challenging experiences as humans, and whether we want to accept it or not, this is what we signed up for as souls when we chose to have a physical life.

This doesn’t mean that negative experiences are necessary or even unavoidable. There are many ways to increase our awareness, live in the present moment, and choose our responses to our experiences such that life leans toward the positive. But no one lives a life completely free of negativity, otherwise known as challenges that we might prefer to avoid.

If you can accept that life is about experiences rather than about being happy and easygoing all the time, then the answers in this book will digest easier. Yet even if you have some resistance to this idea, don’t give up right away because you will better understand what this really means as you continue reading. And by the time you finish reading this book, you will not only comprehend this “life is about experiences” concept better, but you’ll recognize why it will provide you with a greater sense of inner peace than the belief (and expectation) that life should only include happy and positive experiences.

The above is the first answer in Bob Olson’s book Answers about the Afterlife. I would highly recommend you read it along with the other books in my online bookshelf which you can find here: books.whatwelove.org (The password is 42)