Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations With God” Book 1

ndwalsch.jpgAs promised in my last post, I did indeed read Book 1 of Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations With God.”  I had started it some months ago, decided it was boring and quit reading.  However, I became intrigued by the boiling anger the book generates in some Christians, so decided to give it another go. 

The book actually became interesting as I got more into the text.  I read some things that were almost profound; other things that were interesting; and some things that I thought were just plain dumb.  Nothing that I read was really earth-shaking.   In general, Walsch’s God (hereinafter referred to as “WG”) simply rehashed a lot of existing philosophy and religious beliefs.  Some of these beliefs come from Christianity or Judaism (the so-called “Abrahamic” faiths) and some came from Buddism, Hinduism or Taoism (the so-called “Brahmic” faiths).  The rest came from Walsch himself.

I will give Walsch a lot of credit for starting a new conversation, if not with God, about God and our concepts of the divine and the infinite.  The danger in this is that it will draw a lot of anger from devout religionists, who already have “the truth” and don’t want it messed with.  They see any new examination into the nature of God as blasphemy and the work of the devil.  I, however, have an open mind.  I think it is a healthy exercise to brush several millennia of dust from ancient religious texts and to reexamine their premises.  Man’s ideas about science, government, business, art and other aspects of culture have continued to evolve over the centuries.  It is only our concepts of the infinite that are fixed and static and not allowed to grow. 

I will largely paraphrase what WG says in the book, in order to save space.  Here are some of the things I found intriguing:

1.  WG is pantheistic.  That means that everything is God.  God is not separate from his creation; he is the universe and everything in it.  It means that human beings are part of God and not separate from him.  We are a finite expression of the infinite.  WG doesn’t always do a good job of explaining this, at one point stating that we humans are “Gods.”  That won’t sit well with many readers.  Personally, I don’t have the lightning bolt thing down pat yet.  

2.  You existed before this life.  When you took physical form in this world, you caused yourself to forget who you really are.  While in this world of form, your major spiritual quest is to remember and recreate who you really are. 

3.  Death is no big deal.  It is failure to doctors, tragedy to those left behind, but relief and release to the soul.  The soul is clear that there is no great tragedy about leaving the body.   We are all immortal right now; immortality is not something you have to earn by following a religious script; we never do die, we only change form.

4.  God is not the vengeful, punitive God that many Jews, Christians and Muslims believe.  There is no Hell.

5.  Souls can reincarnate many times, be born into this world many times.  The decision to do this is made by the soul itself, so it can continue to grow.  Karma is not an obligation of the soul, but an opportunity of the soul to continue to grow, looking at past events and experiences as a measure of that growth.  [This contradicts eastern beliefs that karma is a debt of the soul to be repaid by successive lives on earth.  I like the original concept better.]

6.  Don’t envy someone who is very fortunate nor overly pity someone less fortunate.  “Judge not, then, the karmic path walked by another.  Envy not success, nor pity failure, for you know not what is success or failure in the soul’s reckoning.”  [I found this an interesting concept – that one’s lot in life was chosen by his own soul for its own spiritual growth.]

7.  Killing is evil, killing for God is the highest blasphemy.  However, you are not to be either a victim or a martyr; war is sometimes necessary and you have a moral obligation to prevent aggression against others and yourself.

8.  The purpose of life is joy.  WG says “Life should be a joy, a celebration…Four fifths of the world’s people consider life a trial, a tribulation, a time of testing, a karmic debt that must be repaid, a school with harsh lessons that must be learned, and, in general, an experience to be endured while awaiting the real joy, which is after death.”  [I agree with this.  Anything that destroys joy, including various religious beliefs, should be excised and thrown out as rubbish.]

9.  Money is good, not evil, not “the root of all evil.”  Being rich is good – there is nothing spiritually advantageous about poverty and want.

10.  Sex is one of man’s highest joys.  It is not shameful or evil.  Being attracted to the opposite sex is not “committing adultery in your heart,” it is following the dictates of nature that were programmed into us to procreate the human race. 

These are some of the ideas I found interesting and worthy of futher study and discussion.  There are others but this will suffice for now.

Some of the ideas of WG that I didn’t like or accept are these:

1.  Man is the greatest source of harm to nature and the environment.  Nonsense; man is part of nature and man’s imprint on nature, for good or bad, is negligible.

2.  Man could immediately end world hunger and cure disease in an instant if he really wanted to.  Balderdash.  This is moon-battery of the worst order. 

3.  Man could end war if he really wanted to – all we have to do, all we have ever had to do, is to agree.  Ri-i-i-ght.  All we have to do is reconcile many different cultures, religions, political systems, philosophies and world-views and we can begin beating our swords into plowshares.  When did any two humans ever agree on anything?  This comment is just plain dumb. 

4.  There is no such thing as evil – even Hitler went to Heaven.  I have a lot of trouble with this one.  WG implies that there are no consequences for mass murder, tyranny, cruelty and oppression.  Although I do not believe in the vengeful and punitive God nor do I believe in Hell, I find it unjust that Hitler, or others like  him, can merely skate on into paradise at the end of their lives.  Here’s where the older version of karma makes sense – where Hitler may redeem himself through many more lives on earth, experiencing the same horrors he visited upon others, or mitigating such punishment through better deeds.

Conclusions:  Walsch’s book is worth a read.   It does reexamine some religious concepts that need reconsideration.  It should not be considered a religious text or a new religion, nor should it be viewed as a literal expression of God’s mind.  If it helps you along the path to enlightenment and spiritual growth, that’s a good thing, but don’t take it literally.  Reexamining one’s religious beliefs is not a bad thing – it is necessary for your own spiritual growth. 

Here’s a quote I found on the web.  I think it says a lot that is related to this post:

God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

Here’s another relevant quote:

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own
mistakes. – Gene Roddenberry

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7 responses to “Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations With God” Book 1

  1. I was raised Roman Catholic and lived most of my life in fear of God and believing I was unworthy to be on the planet . After reading Mr. Walsch’s books and those of other authors I came to realize that God is whatever “you” BELIEVE he/she is. It is our beliefs that CAN and must be changed. And those changes will make all the difference in the world.

  2. AJ, I agree with your decision to reexamine your religious beliefs. I applaud your realization that you are not the “craven sinner, unworthy of salvation” that so many religions teach. However, I think there are universal themes about the divine and the infinite that imply that God is knowable. So many of us have come to the same conclusions on our own and through our own quests. We should continue to explore and discuss these themes, e.g. that we are one with all things, that we do not die.

  3. Christine Chamonix

    To the author- Mr. walsh. My life journey parrels yours with a big semi wreck and denied medical in america. Denied cage fusion- lemenectomy-diskectomy- braintrauma- severe baseball bat blows to the neck- I crawled for 3 yrs. 1 million dollar claim denied by the courts for 8 yrs. my personal top insurance spending 80k per yr. to deny my claim. Not including defending my abused children with an O.J. x that used whore attorneys under present law to kill our own in our coountry that allows this in present Califonia law. this accidnet happened in the middle of lawsuit abuse in family law to keep my kids from O.J x that killed us all- I spent 100k to keep my kids from dianosed child abuser. I fled U.S to Austrlia where they fight for the underdog and defend the weak. We need to talk. I need your help- I’ve worked with Senator Fienstien and I know clint Eastwood well. I have very intense visions and I need yoou to discuss publishing my book. I’ve had visons all of life- I met my bipolar untreated child abuser in an occult church called Gods house that I brpoke upin 1978. My story is huge with documented visions from God to heal others- I am you in another b ody. My son is dieng on heroin after much abuse and use of baby Chrissy in the fuedian state of minor brain trauma that never goes away…My mobile here in Sydney is-0413281233..My intense vision three months ago has consumed me. they think your a crazy girl you – those that do not know our Lord. I want to make a differance to change current california laws that kill out babies which is the destruction and plagues of American greed lived. We do not protect our babies or women or elderly or accident victims. Sincerely chrissychamonix@yahoo.com

  4. I understand why the thought of Hitler going to Heaven is so hard to accept – of course. But everything being One, it is impossible for anything to be ‘separated for eternity’. This is hard to understand here, but I think in ‘Heaven’ it will be impossible NOT to understand.

    Also, if there wasn’t ‘evil’ there wouldn’t be ‘goodness’. God is EVERYTHING, including the thing we call ‘evil’. Yes, God is Love, but everything is an offshoot of love – ‘love is all there is’. Evilness is really just a form of FEAR, which is really love @ its deepest level, …the fear of losing love, the fear of not having love, etc.

    Of course, I bet Hitler was probably incomprehensibly shattered when he became one again with ‘The Source’ (ie Heaven) and realized how grotesque his actions were.. because when love is all there is, the thought of doing anything else but loving must be a horrendous feeling. Also, yes what Hitler did is beyond words.. tremendously heartbreaking, but I believe we will feel the same heartbreak from our ‘less evil’ Earthly actions once we get to ‘the other side’ and are back with God (even something as little as not being sensitive to someone’s feelings).

    I think the moral of the story is not to judge. Things that hurt people are of course no good! But God can’t help but look past those things, because he is everything and all of us, and has UNconditional love. ❤

  5. I’ve read CWG books 2 and 3 and was blown away. Book 3 changed my life and book 2 added to that (I read them in that order). Book 1 is next on my list.

    A huge portion of book 3 rang true for me, very true – like life-changing true. In there, however, was some of NDW’s politics, which stood out as not-so-divinely inspired. Book 2 also has a great deal of truths, but has more of NDW’s politics. Here’s specifically where I noticed that:

    The voice of God observes the suffering of people all over the globe and appears to blame the wealthy few for the conditions. YET, the entire book is about creating our own reality. So can’t the exploited masses make a different choice?

    Overall, CWG 3 markedly changed the direction of my life. I dedicated a full post to it on my blog.

  6. Lawrence brown

    people that dwell on religion and think they will get to heaven by going to church services are fooling themselves. these religious organisations are man made and ignorant in their teachings, they try to rule by fear and pressure on their congregations. there are so many versions of the christian religion and not one of them speaks the truth. we have to follow in the way of christ and be humble and not have a bank balance like these churches have, they only exist to rake in money by stopping 25 percent of peoples earnings , their bibles are changed to suit their doctrines and there ideas are wrong. everything they stand for is financial gain? i was brought up roman catholic and they are one of the worst controling churches in the world today, their beliefs are all about going to hell if you dont listen to their ways. well ive got news for all these creeds? there is no religion in the afterlife and there is no hell either, god couldnt make mistakes as to make an angel that would rebel its nonsense. i saw in a near death experience how we reincarnate if we do wrong until we get it right, all souls are belonging to god and all return to him. when we enter paradise we become solid in body again just like on earth only much better. there is no problems or disease there. those who dont want to believe what i have said are entitled to just go and waste their lives on masses and services as thats up to them but at the end of the day its a waste of time. god didnt want these sort of religions and people bowing down to praise him he is a perfect being and doesnt need worship its all wrong doctrine. he is all forgiving and wouldnt of made us to let us get punished by him, the people in this life need to wake up and see the light, get out and help others and help the poor not fill the church collection boxes to keep false preachers.

  7. I agree with your comment, Lawrence. There are so many different church systems that I do not even know which one is telling the truth. Every church system has a different interpretation of the Bible and if we put all of these different church systems together in a room, I guarantee that they will be verbally and physically fighting each other over what they believe. This is why I do not bother with religion and also I do not read the Bible as much because there are so many disturbing things in there which makes me sick to my stomach and makes me have trouble sleeping. That makes me wonder, did someone change the Bible by writing things in it just to scare the living daylights out of people? However, I am a strong believer in God, but it is just messed how the church is saying that He is such an angry and vengeful God who is so quick to kill and send people to Hell. I am starting to believe that Hell does not exist because if God is so loving and peaceful, then why would he send us to such a place where people say it is pure torment and misery?

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