Two teachers of A Course in Miracles have differing views on the validity of channeled wisdom.
Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Gary Renard, author of, The Disappearance of the Universe, and Robert Perry, author of Signs: A New Approach to Coincidence, Synchronicity, Guidance, Life Purpose, and God’s Plan. During the interview Mr. Tsakiris and Gary Renard discuss verification of his work:
Alex Tsakiris: One of the points in your book where I really had to stop and go — wait a minute — is when you say that you had these two beings, “ascended masters” show up in your living room. Amazing, amazing. But not unique in that other people have claimed similar kinds of things. So I’m not willing to dismiss that out-of-hand, but Gary, they showed up 17 times… you don’t have a photograph? You don’t have videotape? You don’t have any kind of record of this?
Gary Renard: Well actually, they’re still showing up today. We’re going to do a fourth book together. They do show up and they said that for me to try to prove that they existed would be entirely missing the point. Yes, I could take pictures of them but what would prove, Alex, that those weren’t two actors in the pictures? If I recorded them, what would prove that those weren’t two actors speaking on the tape?
Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris. On this episode, I’m going to tell you why I’m a skeptic.
You know, this show’s been pretty critical of the skeptical community and the skeptical position on a lot of topics, but lost in all of that sometimes can be the fact that I really am a skeptic in a lot of ways. From that position I do understand, I think, why folks are skeptical. This show is going to give you all the reasons you need to understand why people become skeptical and why people even cross over a little bit and become dogmatically skeptical.
I hope to also get at a larger, deeper question that’s really been rattling around in my head for a while and that’s that if we accept the science that’s been presented on this show, psi science, near-death experience science, parapsychology science-the best of it-that really leads us to understand that our world is quite a bit different than we normally experience it. That consciousness does seem to survive death. That things like telepathy and interconnectedness are real. Well, if we accept all that then how do we deal with all these very strange accounts we have and how do we adjust our filter to let some of it in but keep some of it out?
And that’s going to lead us to Gary Renard, my first interview today, who’s the author of several best-selling books based upon A Course in Miracles. Then we’re going to have a follow-up interview and even more interesting interview with Robert Perry, who’s quite an interesting guy, and who has written some very interesting books but is also approaching things from this A Course in Miracles perspective. I think you’re going to find it very interesting to see how all of this plays out.
Here’s my interview with Gary Renard:
Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Gary Renard, whose best-selling books document his spiritual experiences with two ascended masters who, as we discover, appear to him in physical form to tell him the true meaning of Jesus’s teachings and that you, Gary, in a previous life, walked with Jesus as the Apostle Thomas. Gary, thanks so much for joining me today on Skeptiko.
Gary Renard: Thank you, Alex.
Alex Tsakiris: I want to go back and say I wasn’t quite sure how to handle that introduction. You know, of course, that’s going to be jarring to a lot of folks, especially my listeners who are scientifically minded. First of all, did I get it all right, and secondly how do you handle introducing yourself, your books, this message?
Gary Renard: Well you know, it took me nine years to find out from my teachers that I was Thomas. It’s not like they sprung it on my right away. You have to actually read the whole book before you get to that part. I think that people ask legitimate questions and I don’t think that anybody would have taken my book seriously or me seriously if it didn’t evoke some kind of an experience on their part. So it’s like people read..
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, I’m going to have to cut Gary off there. As you’ll see, his credibility just isn’t all that great, so I don’t really want to give a lot of air time to a lot of his ideas. If you’re interested you can go read his book and find out more about it. There were some cracks, I think, in the credibility factor when we got to later on in the interview so I want to play that little clip for you now.
You know, one of the points in the book where I really had to stop and go, “Just wait a minute,” is that you have these two beings, ascended masters, that show up in your living room. Amazing, amazing. But not unique in that other people have claimed similar kinds of things. So I’m not willing to dismiss that out-of-hand and say that that couldn’t happen. But Gary, they showed up for 17 times? You don’t have a photograph; you don’t have videotape; you don’t have any kind of record of this? I mean, anyone would say, “Hey, I have to get some record of this. I have to get some proof of this.” You don’t have anything like that?
Gary Renard: Well actually, they’re still showing up today. We’re going to do a fourth book together. They do show up and they said that for me to try to prove that they existed would be entirely missing the point. Yes, I could take pictures of them but what would prove, Alex, that those weren’t two actors in the pictures? If I recorded them, what would prove that those weren’t two actors speaking on the tape? And then it becomes about the validity of the proof instead of the message that they’re delivering.
What they want to do is deliver a message. So I think that’s why they said, “Look, forget about all that stuff about proving and give people a message that will produce an experience in them. It’s the experiences that are proof and it’s also the only answer that will ever make them happy, anyway, because this world is certainly never going to make them happy.”
Alex Tsakiris: I do have to say there are a lot of folks, myself included, who are just going to find that unsatisfying as an answer because it seems to want to have it both ways. I mean, we are in this world; we are experiencing your book in this world. If it’s an illusion, it’s an illusion, but that’s where we’re reading your book. So asking for something that’s verifiable seems to be within the realm of what we would expect when you publish a book.
Okay, forgive me if I don’t give you Gary’s full response to that, but let’s move on and go to my interview with Robert Perry:
Next, I want to welcome Robert Perry to Skeptiko. Now, let me unravel how I came to know Robert because I think it will provide a background for what we’re going to talk about today. So Robert, a few weeks ago you sent me an email with a very interesting idea about how we might bridge this gap between skeptics and believers that we wind up talking so much about on Skeptiko.
Looking into that and talking about that led me to your very interesting book, Signs: A New Approach to Coincidence, Synchronicity, Guidance, Life Purpose, and God’s Plan. Quite a mouthful; quite a book. But actually a book that’s gotten some very nice, interesting endorsements from no less than Bruce Greyson and several other academics.
But as we emailed back and forth and I looked into your bio a bit, I discovered that what you’re really best known for is your work with A Course in Miracles, where you’ve written many books–over a dozen–and are internationally known as a teacher on that spiritual book, I guess we could say. That, of course, intersected with the interview that I just did with Gary Renard, who is also a teacher in A Course in Miracles. So with that very long intro, Robert, welcome and thanks for joining me today on Skeptiko.
Robert Perry: Thank you very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Alex Tsakiris: Well, it’s going to be very interesting talking to you. I know because we’ve had quite an email exchange and you are quite a scientifically-minded guy. I like a lot of the stuff you’ve written and yet I’m challenged in some of the same ways that I was challenged by Gary’s work.
But let’s start there because the reason that I wanted to talk to Gary Renard–who most people would dismiss pretty quickly as being way out there and being not particularly credible-was because I think that once we cross this chasm, which I have and I think many of our listeners here have, and are willing to accept the world we live in as maybe different than how we normally perceive it–if we accept that the best evidence suggests that consciousness does survive death; if we accept that the best evidence suggests that medium communication and other things like telepathy and psychokinesis are real, then we’re in a different place in terms of listening to people like Gary or other folks that we’ve had on that I find much more credible.
Like Andy Paquette, who has a long, extensive history of over 20 years of recording his precognitive dreams. Or Marilynn Hughes who is an out-of-body traveller who actually joined me for an experiment that we did that showed very positive results in terms of suggesting that she did have some ability to leave her body and communicate with people who are deceased, even though that sounds quite incredible. From the little bit of work we did here it did seem possible.
I want to shoehorn you in to this topic and see in general what you think about that idea of how do we figure out who’s for real once we cross into this realm of saying we do have to accept that some of these rather extraordinary-sounding things may actually be real.
Robert Perry: For me, it’s a huge topic because I do think it’s important to have an open mind but you also need some process for discerning true claims from false ones. I got into the whole spiritual realm, into belief in spirituality when I was in my late teens. I decided I didn’t know what was what and I read widely as many of us have and on the very topics you mentioned a minute ago. It seemed to me that there was evidence that there is some kind of spiritual reality. That was exactly how I got into spirituality.
So for me it’s all about the evidence. I don’t believe we should rule out claims out of hand as impossible before we look at the evidence, so I believe in having an open mind. But then we have to look at the evidence and make a dispassionate evaluation based on that.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, so with that let’s spend a minute and talk about Gary Renard, who again in Gary’s case, I don’t think-for me at least and I think for a lot of people-it’s not very hard to determine where he’s coming from. I mean, he claims that these ascended masters appeared to him 17 times in physical form and yet when asked why he doesn’t have a photo or a videotape or a recording of them, it’s because that would ruin the message somehow. I mean, that just kind of blows your credibility. But the article that you sent me that’s posted on your website I think is even more concrete.
Robert Perry: It’s interesting to be interviewed about this. It’s a topic that within the Course of Miracles community is a very contentious one and when I and a couple of colleagues came out, about five years ago now, with articles explaining our reasons for not believing in Gary’s story about the masters, it caused a huge controversy. There were a lot of people that felt persuaded by what we said but I think the majority of people felt that the truth of his story didn’t matter and that we were kind of violating spiritual protocol by saying the truth of the story did matter and let’s look at the evidence.
So for me, the evidence-there are a lot of lines of evidence and in fact my colleague, Greg Mackie, wrote an article with 12 lines of evidence that he was looking at. But for me it was pretty basic. First of all, I do believe that people have visitations from figures like Jesus that can at times take on a physical component.
There’s a great book called, I think it’s Visions of Jesus by an academic-I think he’s in Vancouver. I corresponded with him. With Visions of Jesus he details that they had a physical component to them, so I’m open to that. I think it happens but when I hear 17 times for long, detailed conversations then I’m very skeptical. I’m going to need some really solid evidence at that point.
And then I hear, like you say, that he had tapes but was told to destroy them; I read his book and he and the two masters sound like the same character. They have the same kind of demeanor, the same flippant styles. One’s just a bit more holy-sounding like still being flippant, or two of them are a bit more that way. They don’t sound like different characters.
Then for me, and what my article is about, was the fact that I could spot instantly that the voices in the book were not deeply familiar with A Course in Miracles itself, but instead were clearly familiar with a particular teacher’s take on the Course. It’s a very idiosyncratic take on the Course; it’s basically that the Course is largely metaphorical; you can’t take it at face value and therefore we have to reinterpret what it’s saying all the time. That yields a very unique interpretation which the voices in this book were much more familiar with than with the Course itself. To me that sealed the deal. It was all over at that point.
If there are ascended masters who know A Course in Miracles, they’re going to be expert in the book itself. They aren’t going to rely upon some human’s tapes and books. So that settled it for me and then there were other things along the way. And I can get to the Gospel of Thomas for you in a second.
Alex Tsakiris: If I can, I want to direct you to the Gospel of Thomas thing right now because what I think is interesting about that is we have a separate line of verification in terms of Biblical scholarship on the Gospel of Thomas and its…
Robert Perry: Right, and it’s a very solid line.
Alex Tsakiris: Right, so what I read in the article that you published was that there are several different translations, obviously, of the Gospel of Thomas. They differ quite a bit in the translations and yet Gary’s rendition of what he was channeled or whatever you want to say, the Gospel of Thomas is an exact match for one particular translation. Is that correct?
Robert Perry: Pretty close, yes. And the background’s really important. In his second book, Your Immortal Reality, in the chapter titled “Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas” after one of the masters he communicates with, it relates how Persah says, “Okay, I’m going to give you the real original Gospel of Thomas, the pure version that basically is first heard here.”
And so then Pursah gives the Gospel of Thomas and this is, of course, the original. Well it just so happens that a great deal of it, a very high percentage of it, is absolutely word-for-word in agreement with a contemporary translation of the Gospel of Thomas by a man named Steven Patterson and a colleague of his. And what isn’t word-for-word is actually quite close to word-for-word. So it’s not a particularly subjective thing.
These kinds of correspondences don’t happen by chance and in fact I happen to have already known one of the translators. I’ve been in contact with him about this. I don’t want to say a whole lot about that but suffice it to say that it’s an open and shut case that one has borrowed from the other.
Alex Tsakiris: That handles Gary and then once his credibility is cast with that kind of shadow, which is a pretty big shadow, then we don’t really have to go much further. But here’s the real rub for me. Let’s take a step back and look at A Course in Miracles. Can we really look at this channeled information that came through as automatic writing to one person in 1975, unchallenged in terms of its source which is supposed to be Jesus, but we have no verification of that.
I mean, it sounds like you’ve done good scholarship, good scientific digging on this one point, but I’m really stuck with why do you think A Course in Miracles stands so far above it? How does it stand any different from Scientology, Mormonism, Fundamentalist Christian dogma, or any of the other religious sects that we love to hate?
Robert Perry: [Laughs] Well, I’ll say a couple things about that. One is that the questions you’re raising are really important questions. And they’re the questions that I’ve had in my mind for 30 years now. We have to ask those questions. I think we also have to admit that it’s something you can’t prove. I mean, we prove identity in this world based on physical things like fingerprints. How do we prove that a non-physical incorporeal voice that this person, Helen Schucman-a psychologist-heard in her head is the same as a person who was physically embodied 2,000 years ago? You can’t prove it.
At the same time, the Course is definitely in a class by itself in terms of the lists that he gave. You know, if you look at Mormonism the Book of Mormon has all kinds of tell-tale signatures from books of that day. There’s every reason to believe it was borrowed from things extent in that day. Scientology, that’s a whole other case. The thing about the Course is that it impressed so many people, very intelligent people, and also very learned people in spirituality and world religion. There’s a level of sophistication in its thought, in its wisdom; there’s a level of originality in its insights; there’s a level of artistry in its language and poetry that just is very unusual and rare.
Many people end up feeling, and I end up feeling that when I read the Course, I’m just dealing with a mind that is above the human. I’ve read a lot of great thinkers. I have a lot of respect for a lot of minds but I just feel like whatever wrote the Course is a bigger mind. He’s a smarter guy. He’s thought things through more thoroughly. He’s thought in circles around the rest of us. And the other thing I’ll say is it’s been a very powerful factor for me.
I’ve done a lot of reading for the last 20 years in contemporary Biblical scholarship and for the last two centuries scholars have been trying to piece together the historical Jesus and there’s a lot of disagreement in it. But there’s also a lot of agreement as well. What I see is a remarkable amount of concord between what we think we know historically about Jesus from 2,000 years ago and what we see from the author of A Course in Miracles. The correspondences are in my mind quite uncanny and while they fall far from proof they do, I think, strengthen this case that the author of the Course may well be the same guy.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so there’s a lot to tear apart there. Let’s start with the first point that you made about proof. Of course we’re never going to find the kind of proof that we would like, the hard, empirical data that we can get from science. But we do have a lot of different ways of pulling these things apart. It comes down to kind of social science and historical analysis and those kinds of things.
And that ties back into your point about Biblical scholarship. I think Biblical scholarship is relevant here and while I can certainly see where you can find the lines of coherence between the Course in Miracles and the modern interpretation and the historical accuracy of the Bible, there’s a lot of divergence, too. There are a lot of Biblical scholars who would not at all agree with some significant parts of the Course.
But all that kind of takes us in a different direction in terms of proof. I think it’s important; I think we need to go there in the same way that we go there with Gary’s claims and the Gospel of Thomas and are pretty quickly able to discern what’s going on there.
But the point that I really wanted to come back to was this idea that gets to the heart of what we began talking about, and that’s that gosh, it sure rings true. It sure is beautiful text. It sure speaks to me personally. Or, moreover, it has afforded me some kind of spiritual experience. I’d suggest to you that those are some real bad reasons to believe that A Course in Miracles is what it says it is.
We can have all sorts of spiritual experiences and if we take a step back and we look at it somewhat analytically, scientifically, I can say people throughout the ages, cult leaders-and I’m not saying it’s a cult-but cult leaders and all sorts of bad people have said, “Hey, give it a try. And if you have the experience, then isn’t it true? Isn’t it real?”
And that’s not the scientific way of doing it. The scientific way of doing it is stepping back and saying, “You know, you could go through A Course in Miracles and you could have this profound sense of This is real, this is true. Well, you can read all sorts of books and have that kind of sense. You can have a sense that this is a mind greater than mine, or that this could only be written by an inspired being.
Hey, I read Khalil Gibran, one of my favorite spiritual authors, and I think it’s truly inspired work. But I don’t think he was a divine being. I just think he was a very good author and I don’t know how he was tapping into that information. But that doesn’t mean it’s divinely inspired.
Robert Perry: Well, I suspect that you could imagine a situation in which those kinds of factors would be enough for you. There are a lot of materials I could read and I would think, “Well, it’s very inspired.” But I’ll bet you could imagine a situation in which you were so blown away by the intelligence and the wisdom you saw manifested in a certain body of writing that your mind would get pushed into a different category for it than the human. That’s what happened with me for the Course.
Alex Tsakiris: And I think that’s what’s happened with several people that I’ve talked to about the Course. I have to tell you, personally I would not go there. And I don’t go there. And I pull myself back. That’s where I feel that we need to be grounded in science and we need to be-gosh, I hate saying this word out of my mouth-skeptical. We need to look at it skeptically and say, “What other possible explanations can there be for this?”
Robert Perry: Okay. Well, I have a very similar mindset to yours. However, I’ve gone through the process for a lot of years and while I think there are other explanations, I don’t think they’re quite as good. I don’t think a human could have written the Course, personally. So then I start thinking, “Well then what are we talking about here? Maybe there’s something in the unconscious that has that kind of level of intelligence and breadth of mind.” That seems like a reasonable idea to me but the idea of a normal human writing the Course at this point does not seem reasonable to me.
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s say I’m willing to go there with you, Robert, and say that there’s certain material that we come across or in the case I was mentioning, Andy Paquette who was on the show, there’s some dream information that comes through in terms of a precognitive dream. Or in the case of any of the near-death experiencers we’ve talked to there are some out-of-body kind of experiences that clearly are beyond our normal consciousness.
Let’s say we take that material and we say we want to treat that somewhat differently, specially, as more important. I’m willing to go there to a certain extent but I also want to look at that critically and say if I look at all the channeled information that’s come through over history I can clearly see that while some of it seems truly inspired, it’s a very muddy picture because some of it is clearly proven to be wrong. It’s predicted things that didn’t come to be; it’s said things that turn out not to be true.
I don’t know if you buy into this trickster thing and I don’t totally buy into it but it does seem that there is something else going on. How do we know A Course in Miracles is not any different than that? We need a special kind of critical analysis of it. It isn’t enough just to say, “Well, it sure seems to be divinely inspired to me.”
Robert Perry: Yeah, and I think I’d say more than that. The problem here-let me back up and say I totally agree about channeled material. I mean, it’s a muddy area. Much of it is clearly influenced by contemporary, current culture in modern society. Much of it is clearly full of material that’s factually inaccurate. Thinking back on some of the channeled stuff I read years ago and the things that were said, I can’t believe the things I’ve read from channeled material. I mean, things that if you know any history or science are ludicrous.
Alex Tsakiris: So then why believe A Course in Miracles? A Course in Miracles is channeled material. How is it any different?
Robert Perry: It is different. It is different and I think it’s commanded a different level of respect from intelligent people for that reason. Once you’re familiar with it, I think you would see that there is a quality of thought and wisdom there that is very rare. That’s kind of the issue. We have to evaluate something that we don’t really have, at this point in human history, the scientific tools to evaluate and that is the quality of wisdom.
Alex Tsakiris: Hold on, Robert, because we’re heading towards kind of coming together. I have these discussions a lot. It seems that people who have a particular belief system where you can kind of come together and then boom! You jump apart again. And that’s where I think we were.
We were saying that we’re both looking for proof. We’re both looking for scientific evidence and we’re saying in these softer science areas that don’t come in really concrete, black and white ways. It’s in shades of gray. So the shades of gray here is that if we look at the larger body of channeled material, we come away and say we can’t trust it 100%. We have to be very discerning.
As it turns out, it all looks like it’s flawed in some way that we don’t fully understand. So we’re coming together on that. I make that point; you make that point. We agree. And then I said, “Well, what about A Course in Miracles? That’s channeled.” You go, “No, that’s different.”
Robert Perry: That’s not what I’m saying, really. What I’m saying is that I think the quality in this material is on a different level, not that we shouldn’t apply discernment to it. I believe in applying discernment across the board. What I’m saying is that with me, this has passed the tests of my discernment.
Alex Tsakiris: Do you think it’s without error?
Robert Perry: No, I don’t.
Alex Tsakiris: Well then, if it’s channeled from Jesus where did the error come into play?
Robert Perry: Well it’s actually one of the rare bodies of channeled material where the purported source of the material would critically evaluate how well the material got through the channel. So the voice that claims to be Jesus would often say to the scribe, Helen Schucman, “You didn’t hear that right and here’s why you didn’t hear that right. Here’s what I really said.”
So there’s a whole idea built into this material of what the author called “scribal error,” which is when there is something clogging the pipeline and things came through with some junk in them. So I think that there are errors in the material. Helen did hear things that were incorrect. I think that’s built into this particular body of material.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, so once Jesus corrected Helen, were the corrections correct 100% without error?
Robert Perry: Well, you know the corrections-the material is really like I say, it’s a wisdom teaching. The corrections were about the wisdom teaching. I can’t recall any corrections about factual matters so that kind of test really isn’t available to us.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, but basically what you’re saying is that all this stuff that Jesus, to the extent that He was coming through as the channel, was without error. The only error would have been introduced is if Helen wrote it down wrong or repeated incorrectly.
Robert Perry: That’s what I believe.
Alex Tsakiris: And why do you believe that given the long history we have of the unreliable nature of channeled material?
Robert Perry: Well, I’m not sure. I mean, channeled material is-there’s channeled material and there’s channeled material. Different materials are different in character so I believe that really based upon long experience with the character of this particular material.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay. I don’t feel like I need to push that any further than I could.
Robert Perry: I like the way you’re coming from, I really do. It’s one of those things that maybe you’d be where I am if you had the same degree of experience with the Course. Your considerations are very similar to mine.
Alex Tsakiris: Let’s talk about that for a minute because it’s one other area that I guess I’d probe a little bit and that’s the experience. I think it’s much, much harder for the people to get away from their spiritual experiences. When A Course in Miracles leads someone to have this transformation that is a very deep spiritual experience, I think they’re very tied to what they perceive as the source of that spiritual experience. I’d come back and say, “Should we really rely on those spiritual experiences in quite that way? In such a literal way, linked to one particular source or not?”
The point that I’d make is we can have people who go through A Course in Miracles and have a spiritual experience. I had a guest on a few months ago named Nick Bunick who claims to be the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul. Whatever. His book inspires spiritual experiences of a certain type to people and then they’re drawn to his teachings.
Similarly, I could go to the Monroe Institute and wear the Hemi-Sync goggles and go through that and I’m liable to have a spiritual experience there. So many people have. So as a scientifically minded person, doesn’t that also give you pause to say, “Maybe we need to step back and look at what is really going on with these different spiritual experiences that to the different practitioners all look the same.”
Robert Perry: Oh, absolutely. But when I just used the word “experience,” I wasn’t really talking about spiritual experiences. I was talking about-I was using the word in the same way that say a Naturalist would who has studied a certain animal species for years and talking about his life experience in studying that species. I’m not talking about the spiritual experiences the Course may have sparked in me. I’m talking about my experience with my subject matter as an intellectual.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay Robert, let’s talk a little bit about some of the other things you have going on, and particularly this book, Signs.
Robert Perry: What happened was I’m 50 now but in my teens I started noticing some really extreme coincidences. They just seemed too extreme to be chance. So what happened was I thought these things seemed significant and they seemed to know stuff about where my life was heading. Things that turned out to be true. So I just started focusing on these events and over time I remembered them and remembered the dates of them and after a while I started writing them down, at least some of them. Then I started writing them all down.
Over time what happened was as my experience stacked up and as my skeptical mind sort of looked at things and turned them around and looked from different angles, I slowly winnowed the field to where it was a particular kind or class of coincidence that I was interested in and putting my trust in. These are kind of extreme forms of coincidence or synchronicity.
Slowly I realized there was a very specific phenomenon going on here. One that could easily be separated out from your garden-variety synchronicities. So in the end I started consciously teasing out the model from these experiences. I have hundreds written down. I started working with them. I learned the ins and outs of how to interpret and apply them. I began helping friends who asked me for help with their examples of the same phenomenon. Just slowly over time it’s developed.
I met my current wife a dozen years ago. She became interested in this and as we got married we’ve really together worked with these things. What happened was out of these 30-some years of experience, I coalesced a model and I decided it was time to publish something about this and tell other people.
Alex Tsakiris: And as well you continue to work with A Course in Miracles and would you say that’s your primary focus as a teacher and a writer on the book, A Course in Miracles?
Robert Perry: Yeah, the Course is my day job. That’s what I do for a living.
Alex Tsakiris: Tell us a little bit about your website.
Robert Perry: Well, it’s the website of The Circle of Atonement, which is the organization I founded about 20 years ago. Our job is basically to help people use the Course as it’s written. The Course is a very practical book. It’s all about practical change. So we believe that it’s like a cookbook. If you follow a cookbook you end up with a better dish, so we’re going to help people follow the cookbook and therefore get better results from doing the Course. We help people understand the book, work the workbook, and we have a lot of writings. The website has, I think, closing on about 1,000 articles and commentaries. It’s www.circleofa.org.
Alex Tsakiris: Great. We certainly will have that linked up to the interview. Well, Robert, thanks for being so open and having this dialogue. It’s really an important discussion and I’m glad we’re able to approach it like this. I think it’s fascinating; it’s never-ending and we just appreciate you participating in it.
Robert Perry: Thank you very much. I’ve never had quite an interview like this. It’s great to be talking actually about the Course with somebody who has sort of a skeptical, scientific bent because most Course students aren’t coming from that place. I feel a bit like a fish out of water. That’s where I’m coming from, so it’s nice to be able to link up and talk about these issues.
Alex Tsakiris: Okay, thanks to both Gary Renard and Robert Perry for joining me today on Skeptiko. I think you are going to have a lot of things to say about this. I hope you do and I hope I hear from you, either on the Skeptiko forum, on the comment section in the website, or on my Facebook page. In case you don’t know, our website is www.skeptiko.com. You’ll find links to all that stuff as well as an email link to me if you want to reach me that way.
Okay, I have a number of very interesting shows coming up. Stuart Hameroff, Richard Strassman, Rupert Sheldrake’s going to join us again. A lot of stuff going on. It’s going to be hard to get all these shows out. A lot of work, but I want to bring to you a lot of interesting stuff out there. Please stay with me for all of that. Until next time, bye for now.