Publisher: Hay House, Inc
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Cover: D. Patrick Miller
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 4/2/2007
Summary: The religion of Forgiveness. For the uninitiated, this book drags them into a “new age” remix of Christianity and spiritualism. However, by the time it hits you that the ideas are a middle of the road perspective, you are already hooked. Renard reveals everything through conversations with two spirit beings. Excellent book for both content and execution.
If only. . .
We reviewed James Redfield’s THE CELESTINE PROPHECY in February 1995. It is an enjoyable book and well worth reading. However, we did note that there was a recurring use of the term “energy field”. It was an ancillary issue, distracting but not of critical importance. Gary R. Renard, thankfully, does not use that amorphous phrase, but his book, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE UNIVERSE is a pedantic version of Redfield’s craftily constructed adventure story. Love, happiness and peace, etcetera, and the illusions of the Christian Church. In Renard’s book however there is the matter of two spirit people who guide him through the discussion. The guides raise the question of whether we prefer Renards’ spirits or Redfield’s energy field. The fact of the matter may be that without “hard science” terms such as energy field and “new age” disembodied characters such Arten and Pursah, Renard’s guides into the realm of Forgiveness, books such as Redfield’s and Renard’s are even possible. The English language is rather deficit in terms appropriate for discussion of the spirit.
It is impossible to read THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE UNIVERSE without catching yourself saying, “Yeah, that’s true.” The reason is one which Renard points out and is at the core of A Course in Miracles. The dogma is an extension of Christian belief in God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. The extension part is the catcher and the commonality with other new age thought. While Christianity sees Man as outside God, A Course in Miracles and other new age type belief systems see Man as part of God. The distinction may be subtle, but is really the seed from which life blossoms into struggle and conflict. Renard does an excellent job of explaining the religion of Forgiveness.
The religion of Forgiveness essentially says that we are on earth in spirit only. Nothing here is real. There are echoes of agnosticism within the religion of Forgiveness, but it more an effect than a regime.
In the religion of Forgiveness, we left God and became trapped in a belief system which is one of duality. The fundamental duality, the state of mind, is one of “I” and “them”. It is the “I’m okay but the outsider domain is questionable” outlook on life. The duality, our own making, pits God against ourselves.
Original sin is our creation–-it is a reaction to our feeling of isolation. The “I” of existing. We are afraid to return to God because we have a sense that we should be punished for leaving God in the first place. To maintain this dualistic thinking, we develop omens and signs pointing to God’s damning judgement. “The end is near”, is one manifestation of our fear and guilt. We are destroying the environment is another manifestation. The tumultuous rise and fall of civilizations we see as a history of “them” doing clever things and bad things. Global warming and “destruction” of the environment are “them” doing counterproductive, bad things. Our view of “them” is our take, our ego’s take on a “life” that is a construct of our fear. Fear reinforces the dualistic perception of our spirit. These signs and judgements are of our own making.
We seek atonement in suffering and sacrifice, an offering to God to forgive us for wondering away from the Oneness. All the “evils” that happen in the world are a result of people straying from God. God punishes. God tracks and tallies waywardness and dispenses punishment accordingly. Yet, if we look within ourselves, we see that the very thought that God punishes “them” for their sins is simply a manifestation of our own distance from the Oneness of God. “Righteous punishment” is ego cementing itself to this “life”, rationalizing our own distance from God. In truth, if “they” are punished, is it not I also who is punished? Again, the duality is my acceptance of my own distance from God. “They” and God. Who am I in this equation? Recognizing a good and bad are an acceptance of the distance between myself and Oneness. This is the key. I can not recover that distance by judging God. A good God. A just God. A compassionate God. I, standing in the distance, judging and describing the acts of God. Ridiculous. And judging others. I can not recover the distance between myself and God by seeing Adolph Hitler as evil incarnate and Mother Teresa as the epitome of angelic mercy. To accept Hitler as evil and Mother Teresa as good, is to accept my separation from the Oneness that binds the spirit of Hitler and the spirit of Mother Teresa to me. Both are, in effect and fact, me-–my reality and what I make of it. The religion of Forgiveness would have me ask: Is it God who judges the Hitlers and Mother Teresa’s of this world, or is it me, my ego? Am I so above others and so much closer to God that my heart may speak for God?
There is a deviousness inherent even in such innocent sounding questions. Am I so above others that my heart may speak for God?–it is a judgement, not a question. If one is committed to the religion of Forgiveness, then forgiveness of self is paramount. In fact, you can only forgive others when you are capable of forgiving yourself. For me to even ask whether I am better than others is an act of isolation. I do not stand here isolated. I can not stand isolated. I create nothing. I destroy nothing. My ego would have me believe otherwise. My ego would easily let me believe that I perceive isolated from all that is, all that can be, from God. Yet, I know in my heart that my ego deceives.
The religion of Forgiveness is the most difficult path to walk in this reality.
All of this is basic to A Course in Miracles. Renard, as do other authors with an axe to grind, carefully hide the grindstone until you are hooked on watching and reading the sharpness of the axe. In chapter three, page 87, of THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE UNIVERSE, Renard finally introduces us to A Course in Miracles. If you Goggle the phrase you will discover that A Course in Miracles (or ACIM) was “channeled” by the writing team of Dr. Helen Schucman and Dr. William Thetford. Their teachings from the ACIM resulted in the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP).
This is really a good book and inspirational. Of course to arrive at that conclusion requires divorcing oneself from the dogma of conventional religion. Religion of the conventional type is more about the formalities and rituals rather than belief and principles. If you can look beyond the conventional, you will find THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE UNIVERSE really worth reading.