Moderator: I would like to welcome you all to this panel discussion on a topic that has eternal significance for all of us—Salvation. Today we are fortunate to have as our guest panelists a church minister, a psychologist and a real live angel from God’s heavenly kingdom!
All three of our esteemed panelists will address the theme of salvation from the unique ideas put forth by scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. My first question is addressed to the minister. What must a person do to obtain eternal salvation?
Minister: The Lord makes it clear to love God and the neighbor. So I stress the importance of people opening their hearts to others and I let them know that God loves and cherishes them all.
To this answer, the psychologist chimes in next.
Psychologist: I agree with the minister 100% but we have to also take human psychology and its flawed reasoning into consideration. Goodness is certainly the price of entry into the divine process of salvation. However, goodness comes from the Lord God alone. Therefore we must each acknowledge that we are nothing but ashes and dust; that is, nothing but evil. Only by such humility and our individual efforts at resisting negative worldly compulsions can God’s spiritual love be given the proper room to enter our lives.
The moderator turns his attention back to the minister.
Moderator: Do you have a response?
Minister: (Sighs) Because I have a congregation to maintain and grow I have to be pragmatic. You attract more flies with sugar than vinegar. People want to know that they are loved and important in the world. While what the esteemed psychologist is saying is true, if I were to push the idea of introspection too hard it would cause those with fragile egos to go somewhere else where they could be more pampered, hugged and cared for. Since most people would be repelled by the notion that they are merely dust and ashes, my job requires lots of hand-holding and lots of warm words of encouragement. I cannot afford to scare anyone away.
Everyone’s attention now turns to the radiant angelic being sitting in the third chair.
Angel: Both speakers have been truthful. But the process of salvation addresses people on different levels differently. That is why the Lord treated the multitudes one way and His disciples, quite another way. When I lived on the planet earth I was a microbiologist. Upon entering the spiritual world and being prepared for heaven, I received special organic details about the process of salvation. I not only learned that spiritual love would come from humility and resisting my personal faults but was shown how this practice had purified my animal spirits—which is a species of bio-magnetic blood that is formed deep in the neuron from the conflict between the terrestrial influences derived from one’s red blood and the spiritual substances derived from God’s Spiritual Sun in Heaven. The quality of one’s animal spirits determines the formation and nature of one’s spiritual body, which houses the soul after death. This spiritual body is adapted to a particular environment in the other world—based on the individual’s preferences and life choices. In other words, our spiritual body represents who and what we really are and it can only live in an environment which is in concord with our personal likes and dislikes—whether this be heavenly or hellish.
Moderator: I have to admit that combining the topic of salvation within an anatomical framework is a unique approach.
Angel: The more one knows about the various details of salvation, the more one can become an effective partner with God. Angels not only have big hearts, we have great knowledge to share. In fact, I am not saying anything different from what Swedenborg covered in his vast writings.
The minister and psychologist nod their heads in agreement.
Moderator: (Addressing the panel). Why is it that Swedenborg’s ideas are not spreading faster throughout the world?
Angel: Let me take a shot at that one. On one extreme, Swedenborgians feel compelled to look as normal and be universally acceptable as possible—so they promote love and goodness. Heck, there is nothing unique or controversial about such a safe and watered-down strategy. On the other end of the spectrum, like me, you can offer additional information that is so far removed from mainstream terrestrial thinking that you sound like a representative of some bizarre New Age cult. Even our esteemed psychologist on this panel offered ideas about introspection that many people would deem threatening and upsetting. People want to change the world but they do not want to change themselves.
The angel thoughtfully paused for a moment, then said: I can assure you from my own personal experience that in the spiritual world, one’s faults come front and center! And, I can assure you that God wants humanity to elevate their noggins. Anyone who sincerely wants to change his or herself would recognize the value of Swedenborg’s writings in a microsecond.