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like to start off by asking, what do you mean by the new spirituality?
And how do you think that it applies to the times in which we live?
Neale Donald Walsch: I think the new spirituality
will be a spirituality that's not based on a particular dogma. And that
steps away from the old spiritual paradigm that we have created on this
planet, which comes from a thought that there is such a thing as being
better. The sad part about our past is that religions, ironically
enough, are responsible for creating the most destructive idea that has
ever been visited upon the human race: the idea that there is such a
thing as "better." I question that the word better has any real value
as it's used by many religions&endash;and then subsequently by
other institutions in our society.
Let me explain. The basis of most organized religions is that they
have&endash;their founder or founders have&endash;received a
direct revelation from God. The most recent of which is Joseph Smith of
the Book of Mormon, as recently as 1867. But many religions
traditionally claim that their founders' experience of the word of God
is the one true experience. And everyone else's experience of the word
of God is at best a mistake, and at worst a blasphemy. And from this
construct has arisen a concept that "We are better than them." The
Roman Catholics teach that unless you're a Roman Catholic you do not go
to heaven. There's an old joke about the man who went to heaven and
found three doors and Peter said he could go to any one of three doors
to spend eternity: room A, room B or room C. In room A were all the
world's Jews. In room B were all the world's Protestants and Peter
wouldn't show him room C. And the man said "Why can't I take a look at
room C before I make my final choice?" And Peter said "Because in Room
C are all the world's Catholics. And they think they're the only ones
up here." Beyond the Catholic exclusionary paradigm is a larger one
which is the Christian one. Christians claim that if you don't believe
in Christ, you can't get to heaven. Well that eliminates two thirds of
the world's population!
Share Guide: Yes, that's a sad thing right
Neale Donald Walsch: And so one either has to
believe in a God who's terribly prejudiced, or disbelieve the teachings
of such exclusionary theologies. Religions have taught us that "we are
better than they." And because we are, somehow, better than they, we
get to go to heaven and they don't. Christians will tell you outright
that they believe that. They may not use the word better. But they
certainly believe that they'll go to heaven and Jews will not.
Share Guide:Sort of a team thing.
Neale Donald Walsch: Yes. And this thought of
betterness has crept into every area of society, where in fact, it
becomes insidious. It begins with our children when they are very
young. And indeed as you just mentioned they find themselves on teams.
Share Guide: It's divisive for the unity
Neale Donald Walsch: Yes. It becomes "our
neighborhood is better than your neighborhood." It becomes "our family
is better than your family." It graduates to "our state is better than
your state," and "our nation is better than your nation." And it
circles all the way around to where it started: "Our God is better than
your God." And because we believe that our ethnic group, our society,
our political party, our God, is better than your God, we kill each
other. The new spirituality will bring about what I'm calling the "end
of better." And that is in fact what is called for in the next of the
series of books that I've been writing. I'm calling my book series the
"with God series." And this next "with God" book is Friendship with
God, which comes out in November. This books challenges us to bring
about the end of "better" on this planet.
I was told to challenge every minister, every priest, every spiritual
teacher, every world leader, every politician, everyone that has a
constituency of any kind, to stand before their constituencies and
utter the one sentence that no religion, no political party, and no
nation on the face of the earth will dare utter: "Ours is not a better
way, ours is merely another way." That single sentence would change the
experience of the world. That is the new spirituality, to answer your
question directly. That will be the guiding principle. The new
spirituality will step away from dogma, will step away from "We're
right and you're wrong." And it will step into an inclusionary kind of
understanding, that allows us to honor and to celebrate each other's
points of view without finding them mutually exclusive.
Share Guide: This reminds me of the "unity
in diversity" phrase. We don't want to be homogenous as a race. We each
like our own tribal culture, but it doesn't have to be competitive
teams. It can just be our individual offerings.
Neale Donald Walsch:Yes. And so that'll be the
first characteristic of the new spirituality. The second characteristic
of the new spirituality is that it will produce an experience in human
encounters in which we become a living demonstration of the basic
spiritual teaching "We are all one." And everything that violates or
mitigates against that teaching will not be part of the new
spirituality. The new spirituality will also base itself on a third
very large spiritual understanding, which is that life is eternal. Most
religious people claim to believe that, but very few people actually
live as if that were true. In fact we make most of our decisions and
most of our choices as if we're not all one, and life is not eternal.
As told in Friendship with God, if we simply decided to believe and act
as if first, we're all one, and second, life is eternal, it would
render virtually everything we've done all our lives pointless. Because
our choices are largely based on survival. But if life is eternal, life
is not a question. And if we're all one, we need to stop our
competition with each other. Most of the decisions we make are about
survival and winning. If we win, someone else loses. But if someone
else loses, we lose. Which is a point we're not getting. The new
spirituality will make this just painfully obvious. It'll become
obvious that we've really been working against ourselves. As the new
spirituality begins to become the pervasive spirituality of the planet,
we'll find that we have abandoned our philosophy of contradictions in
which we say we're all one but continue to try to win. And in which we
say that life is eternal but continue to struggle to survive.
Share Guide: What stage do you think we're
at in the dawning of this new spirituality?
Neale Donald Walsch: Well, I think that things
happen individually first, and then collectively. It's not the other
way around. And I think that individually we're moving very rapidly
toward these understandings. You'll find individuals agreeing on this,
but when they get into collective societies and larger groups they find
it difficult to achieve group agreement.
Share Guide: Right. In Barbara Marx
Hubbard's book Conscious Evolution, she mentions the phrase "cultural
creatives." The number she quoted was 44 million, which means there's a
very large group of Americans waking up.
Neale Donald Walsch: Yes.
Share Guide: But there's not that many who
are actively working with changing the system yet.
Neale Donald Walsch: That's right. That's why
Marianne Williamson and I have formed an organization called the Global
Renaissance Alliance. Barbara Marx Hubbard is on the Board of
Directors, along with Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer and James Redfield,
and a host of others. All of these folks have joyfully joined with us
to provide an arena within which our "cultural creatives" can identify
themselves. And unify their energies, focusing them in particular
directions to produce particular results.
Share Guide: There's an awful lot of talk
about the new millennium. Do you think that the new spirituality will
be affected much by the millennium itself? And what do you think about
this whole millennium business?
Neale Donald Walsch: As we move into the 21st
century, there's what the Bible calls a "quickening of the spirit." And
I think in metaphysical terms, I would call that increasing the speed
of the vibration of life. And we're seeing a higher level of
consciousness and many more opportunities for people to challenge their
present ways of thinking and move into a grander and larger experience
of who they really are. And I think that's a result of just a general
increase in speed of the vibration of life itself.
Share Guide: Do you think that the new
spirituality is something that is developing, as we increase vibration
and head into the 21st century?
Neale Donald Walsch: Yes. We've seen in the last
half century an incredible shift. This is just an extraordinary time to
be alive. A great many people experience the movement from one century
to the next, but a minuscule number of people experience the movement
from one millennium to the next. It's a very small and select slice of
all the people who have ever been born. I believe we've come back
during this time, those of us who are here now, specifically to
experience it. And to cause a "quickening of the spirit."
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