Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael, we’re glad you could join us. In today’s program, we continue a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt and TBC executive director, Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: Do We Get Another Chance at Life? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We are continuing our series featuring Dave Hunt’s book Seeking and Finding God in this first segment of our program, and if the contents of the book sound interesting to you, later in the program Gary will tell you how you can obtain a copy. The thesis in the first part of Seeking and Finding God is “Life continues after death.” And the opposing views of that thesis are: 1) there is nothing beyond death; 2) what lies beyond death is an environment of unconditional acceptance and higher evolution of the species; and 3) death is simply one of the conditions in a continual series of births, deaths, and re-births.
Now, we have addressed the first two opposing views in previous programs, so that brings us to reincarnation, the belief that after a person dies he or she goes through a series of physical births. And, Dave, that belief has a number of variations depending on who is promoting the idea. And, you know, I can remember that prior to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, I thought the idea had some merit, but that was without really studying the teachings. I just thought, Hey, if I kind of mess up in this life, you know, maybe I’ll get another shot at it. Maybe I can do better the next time around. That seems somewhat hopeful. But what would you tell our audience - what could be wrong with that?
Dave: Well, Tom, of course we believe the Bible is God’s Word, and this program is Search the Scriptures, and the Scriptures say very clearly, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.” What is that - Hebrews:9:27, or somewhere around there; I’m usually pretty close, in the neighborhood.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of this. Are we on to reincarnation now, Tom? Yeah. Well, I think probably in the book, but when I’m talking to someone I usually say, “I can tell you three quick things about reincarnation. Number 1) It’s amoral. Number 2) It’s senseless. Number 3) It’s hopeless.” Why do I say it’s amoral? Because, well, if I’m a husband who beats his wife in this life, I must come back in my next life as a wife beaten by her husband. But that means my husband in the next life, he must come back in his next life, you know, as a wife beaten by her husband, and so forth.
Tom: Mm-hmm. So this is the law of karma that you’re referring to.
Dave: Right, well, the karma, which is cause and effect. So whatever you sow, you reap. The Bible says, well, that’s true. Whatever you sow, you reap. But there is forgiveness with God. And you, whatever you sow, you reap, because God, who is watching this, He is going to judge you. You may reap it in hell. You may not reap it here in this life, and the Bible makes that very clear: “Why do the wicked prosper?” Some people – wow! Hitler prospered for a long time, didn’t he? But he’s not prospering now. And so it’s amoral, because rather than solving the problem of evil, it perpetuates evil, because the perpetrator of every crime must become the victim of the same crime, which means there must be another perpetrator, ad infinitum, ad nauseum – goes on forever.
Secondly, it’s senseless, because, have you noticed, everything’s getting better? What’s the point of coming back again and again? You can talk to…I don’t know how many people…I’ve asked a few audiences, “Anybody here remember your last life, or the one before? Well, if you can’t remember the mistakes you made in your prior lives, how do you know you’re not going to make the same ones again, or worse? How is this helping you to progress?” So it’s senseless when you look at the world around you, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I wouldn’t think so.
Okay, so then, finally, it’s hopeless. Why is it hopeless? Well, it’s called the Wheel of Reincarnation. Now, how are you going to get off of a wheel? I mean, you’re on a Ferris Wheel – whatever kind of wheel you want to call it—it just goes round and round and round and round, and there is no way off except for yoga, and I think we've talked a bit about yoga.
Tom: We’ve done some programs on it.
Dave: Right. So you’ve got to practice yoga, and that will somehow help you to escape from time, sense, and the elements, and reach moksha, and then you’re clear. But there’s a lot of problems there too, because the whole idea of moksha is – or nirvana, or whatever – you now are not going to remember anything, because God-realization, Self-realization, to realize that I am God, and to merge into Brahman – to be distinct from Brahma, who is one of the Trimurti, the lower gods – I mean the gods just under, with Vishnu and Shiva… Self-realization – I’m going to be in the position where it will really be true of me, what the Hindu says, “that thou art Atman individual.” The individual soul is identical with Brahman, the universal soul. So now, this is my whole goal is to become God, to become one with God, to merge into him, as the Buddhist would say, “Like a drop of water into the ocean.” But wait a minute! “This is what I’ve been working for all these years, self-realization – to realize I am God. When I get to be God, I don’t even know that I am God. I mean, I didn’t know that I came to the point of becoming God, because I’m gone, and there’s nothing left of me, because I’m just a drop of water that merged into the ocean.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, what’s amazing is that how these ideas, and there are different forms of Hinduism, different sects, different forms of Buddhism – Zen Buddhism, Tantric Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and so on – but what’s amazing to me is how these ideas, which as you look at them, and as you’ve described, there may be variations on what you’ve said within different groups – Buddhist groups and Hindu groups – but basically they agree with what you’ve said. That’s a problem and a concern.
Dave, I know it’s referred to as Samsara, the “Wheel of Sorrows,” primarily because it’s hopeless, right?
Dave: It’s hopeless because what the Hindu – see, what we get in this reincarnation in America – that’s not what they teach over there, any more than the yoga over here is real yoga. So you’re getting kind of a phony version of it.
Tom: Although it does lead people into the real stuff because they get excited about it.
Dave: Oh yeah, it certainly does. But the Hindu would say, “In the beginning, the three gunas…” (that’s what they call the godhead, and they use that term) “were all alone in the void, perfect balance.” And something happened – no one knows – to cause an imbalance in the godhead, and that began the manifestation, the Prakriti that we’re all part of, this illusion, this Maya. Now, if it all began with an imbalance in the godhead, it’s built into this whole thing: Life and death and rebirth and karma and all of that. That is built into the universe! You will never escape! So it’s hopeless.
Tom: Although it is hopeless, and you’ve quoted Gandhi before: “It’s a burden too great to bear,” he said. Yet we have individuals coming from the East – the Dalai Lama would probably be the most celebrated; and when he comes to town, literally hundreds of thousands of people come to see him, or hear him.
Now, Dave, he’d be the best example, the most obvious example of reincarnation. He’s called the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and he’s from a succession of Lamas. By the way, he refers to himself as just a simple Buddhist monk, but he’s called “Your Holiness,” “His Holiness,” okay?
Dave: Right, right.
Tom: He also is the god-man, so I don’t know how that works. But nevertheless he claims to be reincarnated from the thirteenth Dalai Lama, all right?
Tom: Now, here’s an interesting side note: just last year, the Chinese government – they out-lawed reincarnation. Now, how does that work?
Dave: And they have control of Tibet.
Dave: Well, it’s like over here, Tom: the United States government outlawed polygamy, but we still have some Mormon sects who practice it, and one of them has been in the news recently. In fact, why wouldn’t they, because Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both said the only way to reach godhood – and that’s what this is about too…
Dave: …same thing – only way to reach godhood is through polygamy. Now, the United States government outlawed it, but it can't change the scriptures of the Mormon church, so they have a real problem.
But anyway, the Dalai Lama gets the Nobel Peace Prize? What does he get the Nobel Peace Prize for? Because he’s spreading peace by initiating them into this Kalachakra Tibetan Tantric yoga.
Dave: He’s going to make them all little Bodhisattvas.
Tom: Enlightened ones.
Dave: He says, “You are gods. You are all little gods, little Buddhas,” and so forth.
Tom: Dave, let me spell that out, because as I said, it’s surprising that a religious figure from the East would have such a great influence here. And I think the come-on is, “Well, he’s a man of peace. He’s a holy monk,” okay, and he’s a man of peace, and people like what he has to say. But I think you have to go a little bit beyond that and see what he’s all about, see what this… For example, you mentioned the Kalachakra Tantric initiation ceremony. It’s called, “The initiation ceremony for peace.” Well, everybody is in favor of peace, but let me just give you some insights into this initiation…
Oh, by the way, in 1999, he was at Bloomington, Indiana, the University of Indiana – that’s where it’s located – he initiated 10,000 people into this through this ceremony.
Dave: Well, this peace should have been – given a big boost.
Tom: Well, of course. Exactly. But let me just give you some quotes of…this is a description of the ceremony: “The Dalai Lama asks the local spirits for permission to use their home. Usually the spirits at first do not want to cooperate, so to appease them, the assisting monks perform the Dance of the Earth, making symbolic gestures with their hands and feet. The prayers, music, and dance subdue the interfering spirits.”
Now, central to the ceremony is the creation of a mandala, a sand mandala. It’s very colorful; it’s about seven feet in diameter, in which this becomes, through the ceremony, the home to 722 deities, okay? Gods and goddesses, basically.
Now, “After the dance,” I’m quoting, “the Dalai Lama receives permission to proceed with the ceremony from Tenma, the earth spirit, on behalf of all the local spirits. The mandala will house many of the thousands of deities found in Tibetan Buddhism during the ceremony.”
Now, just as we’re taping the show, just last weekend in Seattle, the Dalai Lama was there for a conference, and they went through this initiation. Now, the city of Seattle turned loose, basically, school children, 10 thousand school children, to attend this. It was labeled as “Seeds of Compassion,” to teach our children compassion through this initiation ceremony.
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s almost beyond comprehension. But it’s not just by chance, because in the book on yoga, I lay it out. And I don’t know if anybody remembers it, but I happen to have a mimeographed copy of a study by Stanford Research Institute – I think it was still called that (SRI today) – it’s titled, “Changing Images of Man.” And it’s just the bottom line. These are scientists, and it’s all about “How can we turn Western rational thinking, rationally thinking man, into an Eastern mystic psychic for peace? Because that’s the only hope.” Well, LSD played a big role in that, and the CIA was involved, and pharmaceutical companies, and so forth. So there was a deliberate…on 80 university campuses LSD was introduced.
Dave: And that played a big role in this, because, you see, the key is an altered state of consciousness. When you’re on drugs you get into an altered state. You’ve loosened the neural connection between you and your brain that allows another spirit to interpose itself, tick off the neurons – that’s where the psychedelic colors and adventures and so forth come from. And what does that do? Well, the gurus, they realize, “Hey, these druggies over there, they are going to accept what we offer. Why, America has been opened up to this whole thing,” because the drug users were going to Goa Beach, and they were following the gurus over there. So it’s an amazing and deliberate process, Tom.
Tom: Well, it works – just as you said, Dave, it works through altered states of consciousness. You remember Alan Watts – for a decade he was an Episcopalian priest, all right? And he was the one who led the “beat generation,” got them into Buddhism, all right, Zen Buddhism. And then he, along with Timothy Leary and others, they were experimenting, because they were getting the same thing through drugs that he was getting philosophically, and so on.
But let me go back to the Dalai Lama and this initiation ceremony. See, Dave, on the one hand you have, “This is a sort of a philosophical, ideological thing. Let’s not talk about spirits; let’s not talk about these entities.”
Tom: But at the same time these guys always go back to that.
Dave: Of course.
Tom: These Tibetan Buddhists…let me give you – there’s a website you can Google: The Shadow of the Dalai Lama, anybody who wants to check this out. And these are people who are concerned with what the Dalai Lama is presenting, not from a Christian standpoint, just from the standpoint of the contradictions that the Dalai Lama is presenting versus what this initiation ceremony is all about.
Let me give you some of the things that they want him to answer. Number 1) This initiation, has you move – it’s like the Masonic Lodge; you move up through various stages. It glorifies holy war on the part of the Buddhist. Hostility toward monotheistic religions, and they name, in particular, Islam, okay? The establishment of a Buddhist world emperor and a theocracy. In other words, they want to take over, not unlike Islam. They have rights involving the sexual abuse of women as energy sources – of course this is tantric yoga – and cannibalism. And, Dave, you’ve mentioned on this program some friends that have visited the monks in Tibet and they’ve witnessed these things.
And here’s the bottom line: for anybody who is initiated who moves up into the secret initiation rites, the Dalai says that they are going to be condemned to hell if they reveal any of the secrets. So this, in the initial stages, is what was presented in Bloomington, Indiana, in Seattle, Washington, but around the world he has initiated hundreds of thousands into this ceremony.
Dave: And does he always get a good reception?
Tom: Dave, it couldn’t be better. You know, you’ve given the example, once you’ve turned… your concern – remember, was it in Dallas, or a Texas station which you were talking about…Oh, no, this was in Australia, where you were talking – you wanted to talk about the Dalai Lama and some of these things, and they shut you off.
Dave: Well, actually, it was an interview from the chief newspaper in the capital of New Zealand. And yeah…oh, they wanted me to get all the dirt on Oral Roberts and Jim and Tammy Bakker, and so forth. And then I said, “Well, let me tell you about somebody who’s really making a bigger impact than that.” I said, “We could talk about the Dalai Lama, too.” Bingo! That shut everything down.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, on the other hand, Dave, to show you the popularity, this conference, which he is the featured speaker, they also have Archbishop Desmond Tutu, okay…
Dave: Oh yeah.
Tom: …incredible. I mean, you couldn’t find a more apostate within the realm of professing Christianity. His theology, his beliefs are just unbelievable.
Now, but they also had Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt, two of the leaders within the Emerging Church movement. And…
Dave: What was the part they played?
Tom: Well, they were talking about peace. As we’ve mentioned on the program through our series of the Emerging Church, many of these leaders, they are pluralists. They don’t believe Jesus is the only way. They think there are other ways to peace. They – many of these Emerging Churches would invite Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims to get their view of Jesus, to get their view, their spirituality, which they don’t believe is contrary to their beliefs – and it’s not, because they are pluralists. Basically, they believe that anything goes.
Dave: Tom, that’s what Jesus called the “broad road that leads to destruction.”
He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.”
He said, “Strait is the gate, narrow is the way that leads to life. Few there be that go in thereat, but broad is the road that leads to destruction.” And these people are on the broad road.
Tom: But see, Dave, that doesn’t sell, what you just said, because it’s viewed as being intolerant, narrow-minded. But these are the words of Jesus.
Dave: Right. And just logically, Tom, as we’ve mentioned a number of times: intolerant? You want police to be tolerant of crime? Would you accuse doctors of being intolerant of cancer when they diagnosis it, and say, “Hey, here’s a way to get rid of this thing!”
“That’s intolerant! How could you talk like that?” It doesn’t make sense in any area of life. You know, you’ve got a 350-pound linebacker, and not only does he tackle the guy, but then he pounds on him and jumps on him. And the ref comes running up and is going to throw him out of the game, and this linebacker says, “What! You’re intolerant!” There are some rules.
Tom: I know.
Dave: And these people don’t want any rules. And, Tom, they’ll use the—well, the silliest ideas or rationalizations.
Tom: Dave, in terms of the promotion of this, not just the Dalai Lama, but Oprah Winfrey, she’s been going through a series with a guru (although he’s German, he’s not Indian). His name is Eckhart Tolle, and this, again, all of what we’ve been talking about could refer to him, only in a more philosophical way. There aren’t really any rules; sin is just kind of missing what we really need to do. There’s really no salvation except within ourselves, and so on. So although Oprah claims to be a Christian, she now, and – well, actually, I mean for years and years and years, she has promoted a Christianity more akin to religious science. So…but it’s popular, because it’s not – you don’t…you’re not held accountable for it.
Dave: Right, anything that will get you away from Jesus – narrow-minded, dogmatic Jesus. And if I dare give one of my illustrations, I’ve probably given it many times, but here’s the pilot. He’s coming in for a landing, and the radio control tower says, “You’re half a mile south of the runway. Turn so many degrees to the north, quick!”
And he radios back, “You narrow-minded, dogmatic fundamentalist!”
No, there’s only one runway; if he doesn’t hit it, he’s had it! You can’t just make it up.
As I often say, you want to make up a religion? Go ahead. It’s going to get you on the broad road, because there are many of these religions; that’s what they are. You want to know the truth? The truth will set you free. You’d better take it from Jesus, who is the truth, and from His Word, which is truth.
So, Tom, it’s rebellion. It’s like a little boy, or a little girl: “No, mommy, I’m not going to do that, I don’t want to do that! Why can’t I do what I want?” This is what, really, the world is. Like that, “Well, give me the broad way.” It’s like the New Agers – you’ve heard them, Tom: “Well, I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.” Meaning, “I don’t want any rules, okay? Don’t tie me down with doctrine.”
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael; thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.