Independent Spiritualist Association
of the United States of America

Use our Guestbook to ask your questions.  The replies below are provided by one or more of our ISA ministers.  
We are Independent Spiritualists.  Each reply reflects the personal beliefs of that minister
and does not necessarily represent the beliefs of our member organization.

Who is ‘God’? 
Concepts of a Supreme Being, a Source of all that exists, some power greater than humans, is a universal human experience.  All peoples have some concept for this.  No one group of people has had exclusive access, experiences and interactions with God, or whatever word in their language used to mean "God."  Therefore information and inspiration can be valid from all recorded human history.

God is the ALL. Nothing exists outside of God. God is the Source of all that is. Therefore Creation is God manifest into time and space. The Hindu's, for instance state that “God is unknowable” due to human limitations. This is why they have many gods to represent the various aspects of God. Christianity with its Trinity does something similar.

Religion tends to focus on the trees and miss the forest. Standing back to see the forest one finds that all that exists reveals something about God. Science merely explores the fabric of creation and is not in any way in opposition to religious teachings, except when religion tries to define science.

Rev. Thomas Janssen

Where do we go when we die?
Who controls death?
Our material body returns to the elements from which it was built. Our consciousness, that part which makes us self aware, continues. We lose the amnesia required to focus on one Earthly experience and slowly return to full consciousness to begin our review of this last life experience. Our true Self, our Spirit, remains in the higher dimension where it has always resided. It is difficult from this three dimensional perspective to imagine other dimensions. Our Spirit exists in a non-physical place that is referred to as Heaven by many religions but also as Hell.

We do not come here (Earth Plane) but once. What would be the purpose of eternity after just one life? What would be the purpose of worshiping God for eternity? What insecure god would require that? The one life scenario to me has always seemed far from fair as it does not provide equal opportunity to everyone to meet narrow requirements for salvation and would reflect a cruel uncaring god if true.

We come here with Free Will to choose to create or destroy. There are no eternal damnation punishments but there are natural consequences. There are Spiritual Laws, also called Natural Laws, in place just as our science has discovered the Physical Laws. We learn about Physical Laws by experiencing them.  We do not think about laws of gravity but we each live with the consequences of it daily.  We learned to walk by falling down.  Heavier than air flight would seem a miracle and seem to defy the law of gravity. However it is the understanding of other laws which make it possible.

In Spirit we plan our next incarnation into physical body according to what we need to learn next (i.e. master). Similar to a college student planning their class load for the next semester.  The individual classes may not be their desire but are necessary for the ultimate goal of graduation.

If your choices in previous lives included abandoning others you might choose a life which will give you the experience of feeling abandoned. When we experience both sides of the coin, so to speak, we will come to naturally do the Loving thing rather than a hurtful, destructive thing. Once we have mastered one aspect we will concentrate on another aspect in the next lives until each is mastered.

Death is both our exit from physical life and our rebirth back to Spirit.  It is part of your Soul's Plan or Agenda but is not predetermined.  Often there are multiple exit opportunities which we make a conscious or unconscious choice to take or not.  However, like being prepared for a pop quiz in school we must do our best to make as much progress as possible in this life since each moment can be our last.

Additionally our life journey is not lived in isolation.  We play a role in each others plan.  What we do and fail to do all has effect on others around us.  This effect is often most dramatic when we depart this life.  It continues to play an important role with those who have feelings about us long after we are no longer present in the physical.

Rev. Thomas Janssen

Why do bad things happen?
Where does evil come from? 
Science has discovered that nothing in the Universe can be created or destroyed. Matter can be turned into energy and energy into matter but neither can be created new or destroyed. We too are no less. We are Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience. We are an aspect of God experiencing the Creation as the Created. Perhaps our physical existence is our life as matter and our spirit existence is our life as energy.

We are here to experience and learn from those experiences. We learn about Love by experiencing what Love is not. We learn about compassion by experiencing what is not compassionate. We are co-creators in the unfolding and not yet written story of Creation. We are each learning what is creative (Life Affirming) and what is destructive. When enough of us choose to be consciously creative there is a mass ascension to a higher level within the Creation. Spell evil backwards. Spell devil backwards.

We have a mortal part we call Ego which always acts out of fear. Our eternal part is Spirit which always acts out of Love; it is creative and life promoting. The Ego is the servant but makes a poor master. Evil happens when we act from Ego rather than the Ego serving directions of the Spirit. The Ego is a wonderful servant and necessary for this Earth journey. Our task is to become aware of our Spiritual essence, that connection to our Divine Self, and to recognize the difference.

The Ego is a great chameleon and will mimic what we think is Spirit to make the decisions it feels are best for us. The decisions of the Spirit often scare the hell out of Ego - pun intended.

Rev. Thomas Janssen

Do you follow the Bible?
Spiritualists use all sources of inspiration about God and His messengers.  The Christian Bible is one of those references, but is not the only source for God's messages to mankind.  

No religion follows the whole Bible. There are over 100 Christian denominations that use the Bible of which there are over 100 versions. Each has made decisions about which passages to accept and emphasize and which to ignore. This selective focus accounts for the varieties of Christianity.

The Old Testament is the chronicles of the Hebrew people written from their perspective. The first place this narrow view is exposed is with Adam and Eve. Who did their children marry? It is written as if no other people were on the planet.  Later other people only show up in the stories as enemies to be conquered or who have conquered them. Always these are portrayed as enemies of God.  Today archealogical evidence shows that epic events recorded in the Old Testament with Hebrew heroes are strikingly similar to mythologies from earlier civilizations, such as the Sumerians.  The Hebrews happened to be enslaved by the Sumerians long before the first written accounts in what Christians call the Old Testament.  EXAMPLE: Great Flood

There is great inspiration in the Bible. Passages written from the heart about personal relationships with God are moving and we can learn much from them. If it is all the will of God, the old testament describes a cruel god requiring his followers to do horrific acts in its name. I don't want to believe in that god. That god condones or promotes slavery, polygamy,concubines, genocide, killing of men, slavery of women and children, vengeance, and punishment for generations of innocents due to one man's sin.

 Yeshu (Jesus – yes, even his name is not translated correctly) as an evolved Soul/Spirit is like us in our potential to do as He did. He was the first to become Christed (Annointed) which is to become one with the Father. His message is to do likewise, to follow His example, not to worship Him. It has been the churches which needed him to be worshiped, to be God's last messenger and to be your only salvation.

This was established at the first council of Nicaea in 325AD when the original Roman Catholic Church was formed. Less than 300 Bishops attended of the 1400 invited to this council ultimately determined the core beliefs and selected the supporting texts that became the Christian Bible. The summary of these beliefs are still recited today as the Apostle's Creed (AKA Nicaean Creed) but were not of universal acceptance within the early Christian communities nor were they necessarily the dominant beliefs.  However they did fit nicely into the political needs of Emperor Constantine for a state religion.  All Bible based Christian belief systems use a Bible with roots to this original selection of texts with only minor exceptions.

Historically religion has been one of the pillars of government throughout history until the founding of this country (USA).  Contrary to popular trends today to put God back into our governance, it is our secular government which assures our freedom of religion. We were never founded as a Christian nation. The founding fathers were very aware of religious intolerance and persecution by Christian governments and wanted freedom from religion for this country.

Rev. Thomas Janssen

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