What is the Purpose of Life?

I love to read and listen to near-death experience (NDE) accounts. They give me many types of satisfaction. I find them spiritually inspiring and uplifting. They give a glimpse "beyond the veil" of forgetting into a form of spirituality that I find more logical and credible than that offered by most religions, especially the more extreme, orthodox, and dogmatic ones.

I was never comfortable with the concept of an angry or vindictive god. It never made sense to me that god would put us here with no clear instructions and simply expect us to figure it all out in a single lifetime or be condemned to some form of "hell" for eternity. This is the anthropomorphic version of god. A god created in our image instead of the traditional teaching that we were created in God's image.

I'm not against religion so much as I do not appreciate the dogmatic approach that the most popular religions have devolved into. "You must do it this way or suffer the consequences." Or "Ours is the one true religion."

NDErs who often get to ask which religion is the correct one in their experience, universally report that God is only interested in us learning to love each other.

I believe most religions start with a profound and sincere spiritual experience by a charismatic person. They then attempt to share their experience in order to help other people come to a similar experience and understanding. These teachers often have a great impact on their early followers. Then when they pass on and their influence declines and regular people get involved, things devolve and dis-integrate under the influence of normal human issues and imperfections.

The normal human reaction is to begin to codify their leader's teachings and to derive a set of rules for living a 'holy' life.

It's pretty clear that Jesus/Yeshua simply taught a gospel of love. "Love God and Love your neighbor [those who you are with] as yourself." [Matt 22:37-39] And to do so without reservation - what some refer to as unconditional love.

To my knowledge, there is only one account in all of the gospels of Jesus/Yeshua getting upset. That is the account of him and the money changers on the Temple mount. I will assume he was simply being human and expressing his frustration with such worldly activity soiling the spiritual experience of sincere people who were seeking some connection with their God. He never judges anyone. He never gives any rules for living other than the verse mentioned above.

Instead of perpetuating the belief in a highly exalted and fearsome deity who could only be approached with unblemished blood sacrifices offered to the priestly classes, Jesus did his best to make God a friendly and approachable father figure. Jesus' God is a loving, caring friend with whom anyone could have a close relationship without the need for any intermediaries or 'sacrifices'.

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NDE accounts convey this same vision of a friendly, loving, and infinitely forgiving deity. There is no judgment. This upsets the dogmatic types who feel that without judgment and the threat of punishment, people cannot be trusted to behave. I disagree.

Yes, there are many people in this world who are confused and who believe it's okay to take advantage of others, but I believe many of these bewildered people are the product of our society's ingrained system of judgment and the unworthiness it engenders. Instead of receiving understanding for their human failings and being encouraged to do better next time, people are judged and too often lose hope and in their despair, they fall further off the path of love for self and love for their neighbors, and love/appreciation of God.

So, what then is the purpose of life as recounted by NDErs? It's very simple - the primary purpose or goal of life is to learn to be more loving. The God experienced in NDEs is infinitely understanding and loving. The only judgment NDErs experience is self-judgment. I believe this is the deeper meaning of the saying "Judge not, lest ye be judged." [Matt 7:1-3]

Many NDErs report that they are shown their life experiences without being judged, but they often feel ashamed based on their own standards.

If one tends to be forgiving of others, one will tend to be more forgiving of themselves. If one tends to be harsh, they are likely to be very hard on themselves when they experience the life review.

Jesus may have said it best, "Go and love each other as I have loved you." [John 15:12]

"It's all about the Love." is the essential message that many NDErs feel compelled to share whenever given the chance. Earthly life as most of us know it, is filled with challenges, disappointment, struggles, and suffering of many kinds. But NDErs come back shocked by a new perspective that casts that view of life in a new light.

If we can let go of the traditional earthly perspective that we are bad and unworthy - if we can find compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others - we can see life as a series of situations and experiences designed to help us simply become more understanding and loving.

So, why is there so much suffering in life? I believe it's simply because we have lost our way and we have forgotten that it's all about the love. If we learn to be more kind, compassionate and loving of ourselves and each other, what do you think life would be like on Earth?

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