Dr. Stafford Betty, is professor of religious studies and popular author.
[00:00:00] Alex Tsakiris: On this episode of skeptiko. A show about God’s rules.
[00:00:06] clip: ===
There are only two rules. You can’t tell anybody your God, and you can’t mess with free will. Uh, can I ask why? Yes, you can. That’s the beauty of it.
Alex Tsakiris: And what they mean for free will.
[00:00:22] Stafford Betty: But what we can do is, at every moment of every day, right now, we have a choice to make. What am I gonna say next? , how am I going to, , live my life in the next hour? This little nugget of freedom that we have at every moment of our.
[00:00:41] Alex Tsakiris: That first clip was from the movie, Bruce almighty. And the second was from today’s guest. Dr. Stafford, Betty.
You’re going to meet in a minute and I think you’re going to like him as much as I do. He’s just done a tremendous amount of work on. After death, and he’s also a religious scholar and very, very interesting guy. I hope you like the
[00:01:05] Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptical, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m host Alex Caris Today I’m excited and honored to welcome Dr.
Stafford, Betty to Skeptical. Let me read a little bio here. Stafford Betty earned a PhD from Fordham, was a professor of world religions at Cal State University, Bakersfield for a long, long time, just retired a couple years ago. He has become one of the country’s most acclaimed experts on the afterlife, and you can see numerous books up there if you’re looking at this on YouTube.
In 2011, he published the Afterlife Unveil. His most popular book, a more recent publication, Heaven in Hell Unveil 2014 is an in depth description of spiritual life with an emphasis on how spirits progress from lower to higher planes. I’m always talking about whether or not there is a hierarchy to consciousness, and I always have to throw that out there.
Like a question for people who haven’t really looked at the evidence. Here’s a guy who’s looked at the evidence and says, Man, there’s a lot of evidence for a hierarchy. Who knows? But if we’re just gonna follow the data, Dr. Betty’s telling you there’s a lot of data there. We’ll get to that more in a minute.
His 11th book, When did you ever become Less by dying? Uh, was in 2016. He’s written blogs for the Huffington Post. Um, what else? Written some novels as well. Very, very nice writer. Easy to engage with the writing, and yet it’s forceful and powerful. He’s written a number of peer reviewed, professional publications as well.
And, uh, again, you know, the thing I would touch on just a second ago and, uh, we’re, we’re gonna make this an emphasis or a point to emphasize really, is. This is a guy who’s touched the lives of thousands of students that have crossed through his doors over the years with the kind of, with the kind of evidence he’s just gonna bring forward here, which, you know, from listening to the show is just good, solid scientific, as close as we can get evidence about the afterlife, about materialism, about the mind, body problem.
And as you know, But I think one of the things we’re gonna talk about, you don’t, students, they don’t even get a fair shot at this data. It’s not like they’re given, oh, you know, this position and that position. And they’re asked to choose like we think students are supposed to do in most universities that don’t have somebody like Dr.
Betty, they don’t even get a chance at this stuff. So I think it, it’s really exciting. To talk to you today and, uh, Stafford, welcome. Thank you so much for
[00:04:08] Stafford Betty: joining me. Well, I’m honored and flattered, , I appreciate that. Um, I, I don’t know whether I’ve had more of an impact on my students or more of an impact on my readers, but, um, either way, it’s been, it’s been a good life.
It’s been a rewarding career. And thank you for, uh, pointing out my successes for whatever limited though, may they.
[00:04:30] Alex Tsakiris: Well, I have a couple of, uh, kids still left in college right now, and maybe that’s why I’m especially tuned into the fact that you fought the good fight, because I just know that the lives of those students that you’ve touched, you’ll never know.
You know, it’s, it’s just kind of the parent. You’ll never know you had the impact, but college students are not the ones at that time who are gonna stand up and say, Wow, this is great. It’s 10 years later when the little chicken goes off. But you know the question I wanted to ask because it’s kind of one of my.
I just, I’ve just run across this so many times. I’ve interviewed so many, uh, or religious studies folks on this show. It’s usually in a different way because they’re kind of not really, in my opinion, engaging with the data, and I’m kind of forcing that engagement with the data. But what, what is, what was it like were both Californians, What was it like going through the CSU system and doing what you did?
I gotta imagine that was like, you had to strap the armor on every day for that, didn’t you?
[00:05:43] Stafford Betty: What happens, um, is that I would never, I was very lucky because I didn’t get into this afterlife research until I was a full. All right. If I had gotten into it earlier, uh, I don’t think I would’ve ever been promoted.
I don’t know that I ever would’ve been retained, but, you know, I had tenure, I was a full professor. I was being paid top grade for a religious studies professor, which is not quite business. But, uh, and, and I was untouchable. And so I was getting away with things that a young professor wouldn’t dare to even try to get away with.
Namely, to prevent, to present evidence for a spiritual world, for spiritual realities. Um, that, um, even in religious studies, departments are frowned upon because in religious studies departments, what you’re supposed to do is to teach what religions say about things you’re not asked to say or to engage in the kind of research that.
But is it true what these religions are saying? Okay, that’s a philosophical question. And that’s what interested me far more than what maybe Hindus or Jews or Christians had to say about the afterlife. I wanted to know if there was an afterlife, and that’s what got me moving in the direction of my research and all the books that I’ve written ever since.
And that’s what interests you to Alex. You know, the big questions. Is there an afterlife? And what follows from that recognition? And is it scientific to speak of such a thing as an afterlife? I think it is. I think as a matter of fact, most people who consider it themselves, scientists are not really, because they don’t even look at the evidence.
A scientist is gonna look at evidence from everywhere. And most scientists, when they come across a book like mine, they just . That’s just, that’s just nonsense. That’s pseudoscience. Uh, and so I’ve had to deal with that attitude all my life, or at least for the last 20 years.
[00:07:40] Alex Tsakiris: How did you get started? What is a little bit more on, on your background early on, and, and how did you come to be interested in, in this stuff in the first place?
[00:07:52] Stafford Betty: Well, I was raised a Roman Catholic. Um, and I was a, a very religious, spiritual type of kid, and the, that’s really got me to think. Uh, by the time I was 10, I was wondering, you know, what is purgatory really like? I was sort of horrified at the descriptions that were given.
Um, and I worried about the afterlife and what it meant. I worried a lot about it as a matter of fact, and it kept me quite chased for many, many years, right on through high school. It’s probably the latest virgin you’ll ever get to know, you know? Um, and then of course it all fell apart. I realized that, um, that, that Catholicism did not have the answers that I was looking for.
It got a few things right, and I’m not unhappy about the way I was brought up. But by the time I was 25 and came back from Vietnam and Red Berk and Russell, I was done. I had lost my faith. I didn’t believe in God anymore. I was very troubled that there might not be any evidence for God or for an afterlife.
Very troubled by that. Uh, and, and I decided to go to Fordham to see if there were any answers that I could get from, you know, The professionals. And that’s when I really began to grow spiritually and, uh, academically, uh, and intellectually. I began to study the religions of the East Ofie, in particular, Hinduism and Buddhism.
I found different kinds of answers, began to suspect that there was something about these religions that were good and that they had, that they got it right. Okay. But it wasn’t until 1975 when I came across that wonderful book, uh, Life After Life by Raymond Moody, uh, about the near death experience that I began to see, my faith began to reassemble itself.
That was critical for me because I realized that there were scientific evidence for, in afterlife and even, uh, there was evidence suggesting that there was some higher being of light, some transcendental being that these, uh, near death experiences were, were making contact with. And that was the beginning of my.
Later research, I got away from all of the necessary articles that I had to publish in order to get promoted. Uh, began to do what was really interesting to me, and that was what I have written these books about, about the afterlife, about what it’s really like, what the evidence for it is. So that’s, that’s a quick background, Alex.
[00:10:18] Alex Tsakiris: That’s fantastic. I’m glad you went through that. I’m particularly interested in two parts of that. One. I, I think the, the near death experience science part, for anyone who pays attention, it’s a game changer. It was for me. Was it? It was. And, but I I, I, I always pause why? In, in trying to understand why it isn’t that way for more people, and in particular, I guess I’d, I’d go back to you.
In the academic world, you know, the resistance that you face. And then, uh, uh, we’ll talk about that. But then, you know, I told you in the email, like, uh, your books are fantastic and for my audience, they get it. Uh, they get what you’re writing about and they’re gonna wanna go revisit those books as a way for further understanding and explaining to other people what the evidence is in a very well written way.
I’m also interested at the same time, in this kind of larger process, and like I tell you, level two and level three, you know, level one is the data, your books. But level two is the deception. And to me there’s two ways to understand what you faced. The California state, Berkeley is one is just people are closed-minded, don’t like to change their opinion.
You know, it’s the Thomas Coon, you know, uh, one funeral at a time kind of thing. But why is that? Why? Let me just start with that first question and not babble on too much. Why does staff see this and immediately go, I need to investigate this, this would change everything I need to investigate this, and I just will add you, You know, who else I found like that?
Like all the really legit, super smart people that I respect, like, uh, Dr. Jeffrey Long, same thing, right? He’s going through, he’s going into his medical practice. Uh, he runs across these cases of people having near death experiences on the table, report to the doctor. The doctor has to write it down in the journal and say, I don’t know what happened here, but this is unexplainable.
And he goes, Man, I gotta investigate this. Right? And he brings it up to his colleagues, in his colleague. Good. I ain’t touching that. I wanna get, I wanna get my career on, I wanna do all the rest of stuff. Right. What, what is it about you that made you feel like this is something that I can’t just forget about and go on
[00:12:52] Stafford Betty: with my life?
You know, um, that’s a good question. it makes me wonder if there was something in my previous life that, um, that you might say catapulted me in this direction. I really don’t know. That’s a mysterious question, but I’m certainly, my interests are not those of my high school buddies. Um, not at all. Uh, I mean, with a few exceptions, um, it’s easier.
I mean, it’s, it’s more mysterious to answer the question in the other way, why aren’t people who are in high school and are, you know, beginning to question things and beginning to, ah, religion. I don’t know about that. Why do they just jettison the whole thing, throw the baby out with the bath water and just get on with life without even thinking about the implications of what they’ve done.
That is strange, but I’ll tell you what a large part has to do with they are made to feel by their teachers, um, and by others who have had an impact on their lives, that it is simply smart. To stand with those scientists. It’s just smart. All right. And these scientists are telling the world that, you know, religion is, ah, it’s for, it’s for, it’s for, you might say, weak people or maybe it’s better for women than for men.
These kinds of prejudice are, are, are being heard and, and, and you know, a smart 17 year old is just gonna be seduced by this way of thinking. They wanna be thought of as smart. And so they dump their religion and often for very good reasons. Um, their religions have been very disappointing. Um, Christianity, for example, has many strange dogmas that really don’t fit a scientific worldview at.
Um, and, and so they just decide that religion is just not true. And so they throw the, the baby out, which is the afterlife, which they think of as being a religious doctrine rather than a scientifically supported doctrine. They just throw it out because it’s part of religion and they might miss the thought of an afterlife, but not enough to worry about it any further do it, any reading about it, to even be curious about the near death experience that they may have heard of.
But, you know,
they’ve simply been seduced and they have
learned to be comfortable with their pessimistic worldview, with their hopeless view of what happens at death with all of the bleakness that, that, uh, that, that, that, that implies. And they basically sacrifice a lot of happiness that comes with a more optimistic worldview.
Because they’ve been just sucked into this supposedly scientific worldview where the smart people hang out.
[00:15:42] Alex Tsakiris: I’m on a con class and contrarian in that way too. And it’s like, it seems obvious, you know, like who are the big, what are the big picture questions?
Who am I? Why am I here? So why do I want to, uh, settle on that? But I think the way that you phrased it is different than I’ve heard, and I think it’s very, very compelling as a possible explanation. It will never be explored because no one wants to really go there in terms of feeling like maybe we have all been duped in that way and maybe culture, and there’s, but there’s some questions there that I really want to, I wanna dive into and, and you kind of made it two questions.
I just had one, and now you’ve kind of provided it. But the first question is, You know what really kind of changed things for me is when I started understanding some of the more secret black budget that then are exposed programs that were being run about consciousness in the fifties, in the sixties, in the seventies.
Oh yeah. And it’s clear from these programs. Yeah. That they had no illusions of this. Consciousness is an illusion, Euro biological robot and meaningless universe. This nihilism that you’re talking about, they were way past that. Right. They were, look, they presupposed that there were these extended realms.
They even did things like try to, you know, reach the demonic realm. Can we do that? Can we weaponize that? They were certainly doing remote viewing, which is a, a complete end run on materialism. So to me it’s almost. I impossible for me to see that as anything other than a social engineering project, which is to kind of take academia and say, Okay, we want you to continue to run with this meme, this narrative.
Tell people that they’re a biological robot and meaningless universe because. That has some advantages to us, like you just described. Mainly it makes people more just kind of manageable. They’re kinda lost. They’re kind of don’t, so they just kind of, we kinda heard them more easily. But the the, What do you think about that?
Isn’t that, isn’t that an important point? That they weren’t, uh, the, the, the cutting edge inside the big machine wasn’t at all even contemplating this, uh, materialism. This, there’s no extended realm, There’s no afterlife. You, you know, I, I’ll just put a capstone on that. I might edit this out cause I’ve told this story so many times, but have you ever heard of a guy named Joe Mcon?
[00:18:17] Stafford Betty: You know, I don’t
[00:18:18] Alex Tsakiris: think so. He was a, he was a remote viewer for the Stargate program. He was remote viewer, uh, secret spy number, 0 0 0. But here’s his story. He was actually, uh, a real spy. East Germany. West Germany. He was on the border there. He’s working for the army and he has a Stafford, he has an NDE in a restaurant in right on the East German, West German border.
He was poisoned by the East Germans. So he dies and he’s stumbling out of the restaurant and his buddies grab him and they throw him in a Jeep and boom, he’s outside of his body and he’s looking down and you know, the whole thing. The ambulance, he has a full blown near death experience. Okay. Goes and visits the afterlife has a remarkable spiritually transformative experience.
He wakes up and there are his guy, his handlers, you know, the spy handlers. Okay, what happened? You know, and he goes, he was afraid to tell him what happened, you know, cuz they wanted to know what happened in terms of how did you get poisoned? What were you working on? And he’s like, I just had most profound experience in my life.
So that’s kind of what’s happening for me. But fast forward, he goes on in his army career and now he’s tapped to do this, uh, psychic spying thing where they put these guys in a room and say, Go look in Russia and see if you can see the subs by your mind. But in his job interview he said it was either Russell Tar or Hal put off, I forget who was interviewing.
They pull out, they unseal his secret file and they pull out what. Raymond Moody’s book, they pull out Raymond Moody’s book, a Near Death Experience. And what that means to me is these guys were already tapped into the fact that there is this extended realm, there is this afterlife, of course. And they didn’t know how it plays in with the demonic part.
They didn’t know how it played in with the P part. But they were, they were not, they were way past. What’s all the professors in the religious department? , you know Cal State? Philosophy Department. The philosophy department. The philosophy department. Yeah. They’re they’re not, they’re not, they’re not even considering that.
So it’s a game. It’s a game. Let’s have academia keep pedaling this nihilism so we can go off and investigate what’s really going on in these extended realms. What do you think about all that? Well, why
[00:20:54] Stafford Betty: would, I don’t know what the motive would, would be. Um, Uh, in other words, wouldn’t it be better if, uh, if these more enlightened individuals could, could, could reach, uh, academia and begin to convert professors of philosophy in science to bring them around to, um, uh, a more spiritual, more enlightened that worldview?
Wouldn’t it be better to work with them rather than, you know, working around them? Uh, it seems to me that you’re suggesting that, um, that’s what they do. They don’t want to be working alongside of academics. They simply want to do their thing and let these silly academics do their thing. I, Is that what you’re saying?
Uh, Alex, I’m not sure I’m following you there.
[00:21:41] Alex Tsakiris: I, I, Well, I think that’s where they, that’s where the evidence to me clearly, clearly falls, because a, again, I mean, what we know is that like there’s another, you’ve heard of MK Ultra, right?
[00:21:56] Stafford Betty: Uh, no . Oh, I don’t keep up with these movements.
[00:22:00] Alex Tsakiris: Well, M MK Ultra was the, , classified, but then they released a bunch of documents on it, on the mind control stuff that they were doing.
So they were giving people LSD without them knowing it. They were also doing like the remote viewing. And, and that stuff has come out. It, there’s, there were lawsuits, freedom of information, but they were doing horrible things. The other thing, they were doing another project, MK often, they were actually trying to connect with, uh, demonic beings.
And they were like, Well, let’s go get Demonologist and see if you can bring forth, you know, those spirits. And it was all under the guise of, well, if we don’t do it, the Russians will do it. Ah, do you want the Russians to be managing Satan or do you wanna manage Satan? You know, it is this. Military kind of view of things that can kind of justify anything and, and weaponize anything.
And we were also, we’re also concerned cuz in the, the Korean War, you know, we were, we were like, Wow, our, our kids are being brainwashed, you know, our kids are being brainwashed and look at what these soldiers are doing. And we, even after World War II or like these Japanese, they’re like robots. They’re brainwashed.
So we gotta be able to brainwash our own soldiers or see. And all this was just the, the, the mil you in which it was seemed smart to look at what’s going on in the mind and that led them to this extended consciousness kind of thing. And this interest in. The afterlife, but, and then inside the government, then there’s also this Christian faction who is like the Christian faction.
If you talk to the guys who did the Stargate program, the remote viewing program. Okay. Like you talk to Joe Mcle, what he’ll say is, Hey, part of the reason we got shut down is because some right wing, conservative Christian. Congress folks got in there and said, Oh my God, shut this down. This is all demonic.
Mm-hmm. . And now you have the people inside that program saying, You, you, you can’t just be like black or white, you know, we have to figure out what’s going on here before we just shut the whole thing down and call it demonic. But I don’t know, do you shut the whole thing down and call it demonic? But if you’re not familiar with, with any of that, then this kind of is a conversation that doesn’t, doesn’t really get so far.
But that is our history. That’s what we’ve done. So I’m making the leap in saying that that is a possible explanation for why you have this incredibly illogical divide among, uh, among academia.
[00:24:42] Stafford Betty: Interesting. I never would’ve thought of that. I always thought that, um, that I had, uh, a, a good understanding of what was happening around me and, and to me.
So this is, this is something that I had to think about. It does sound to me, though, that these folks were in, in many cases, uh, doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Um, uh, but anyway, uh,
[00:25:07] Alex Tsakiris: this is, What do you, what do you mean? What
[00:25:08] Stafford Betty: do you mean by that? Uh, it seems to me, you know what, I should have put this wrong.
They’re doing the wrong thing for the right reason. They, uh, they subjected, uh, they started out idealistically wanting to, uh, look into such things as demonology, which is something worth looking into in my opinion. I’ve looked into it, but then it became something malevolent, uh, as it developed, Uh, And so, as I now rightly put it, it seemed to me that they were doing the right thing for the, uh, the wrong thing.
I’m confused about that, actually, how to put this, but you might correct me on this, Alex. I, I, um, I, uh, I, I don’t see the connection, the obvious connection between that movement, which is apparently been shut down now completely with, Oh, it’s not shut down. Okay. So the, the Congress, the, the Christian Congress people did not get their way.
They wanted to shut it down, but they didn’t succeed. Is that what you’re
[00:26:12] Alex Tsakiris: saying? Well, well, we’ll, never will never know, but history would suggest that black programs like that are never shut down. They’re just, you know, they play the shell game. You know, I, I’ll, I’ll kind of bring it well closer to home.
You know, you wrote an article, uh, I think for bakersfield.com Okay. A few years ago on Char Charles Manson. Right.
[00:26:36] Stafford Betty: Yeah.
[00:26:36] Alex Tsakiris: Right. Oh yeah. And it, and it was interesting cuz it was like the, the, you know, it was Charlie Manson going to heaven, right? I, I, I tell, you know, Google, Google right now, I’ll, we’ll pause and I’ll cut it out, you know, was, uh, Charles Manson, part of the MK Ultra program?
Hmm. Okay. Oh my gosh. He was, what? He was, yeah, so they were given him Ls d there were, and then there’s this other program that came out, subproject, uh, 39, where they were going into the Michigan prison system and getting serial killers and seeing if they could mind control and weaponize. And again, all this stuff, if you think about it from one perspective, you think about, okay, would you, do you want your government looking into demonology?
This is back to your point, and the, so your first reaction would like, hell no, I don’t want them, you know, summoning demons and doing the rest of this stuff. But then just like you did, you look through it further and you go, Well, do I want ’em not looking? I mean, do I, don’t I want ’em to kind of know if their job is to protect me, don’t I want ’em to know as much as they can about how we should come down
[00:27:55] Stafford Betty: on that?
If it’s done responsibly? Absolutely. If it’s done by people like me who have looked at the evidence in depth, um, by all means, I just don’t see that that’s happening. I can’t even imagine that happening at the governmental level. So, Hey, agree. Yeah. I mean, but we do, it’s very obvious to me, uh, that, that we, we live in a world where there are demonic influences where there are, um, what’s the right word?
Um, Spirits afloat in our world. Um, earth balanced spirits. I think that’s the term that we use now who are inflicting a great deal of mischief and damage on, on, on vulnerable people who don’t know what’s really happening to them, who are being controlled or at least being influenced by demonic influences all around them.
I have no doubt about that. I think a lot of schizophrenics, as a matter of fact, um, are, uh, are, are being hounded. Uh, by, by these demonic uh, beings. I, I think psychiatrists have it all wrong. I don’t think that the voices that schizophrenics hear, um, are coming from within. I think they’re coming from without.
I think that these people are being attacked by invisible forces. It’s interesting because if you really listen to what they say and not what the psychiatrists who interpret what they should be saying, if you listen to what they say, if you give them a chance, they will say, Yeah, these voices don’t seem to be coming from me.
They come from other, some, some other source. Psychia incidentally, is opening itself, uh, more and more to this possibility. Um, I know because I was invited to a conference and I presented a paper on this very topic and there was tremendous interest and openness. I thought I’d be roasted. Not at all. I was champion.
So there’s so many psychiatrists who have seen, um, the, the, the strange, um, behaviors of some of their clients that make them think there’s just, this isn’t quite human. These, these kids can do things that just aren’t quite human. There seem to be something else going on here, and I think there is in many.
I’m inclined to think that most schizophrenia is, is basically, um, due to, to these voices, these terrible voices that are just constantly hounding them. You know, kill yourself. You’re, you’re just a piece of crap. You’ll never succeed in this world. Terrible things that these kids, usually teenage boys, oftentimes, oftentimes are being told, which leads many to suicide or at least suicide attempts.
And very few psychiatrists know what to do about these kids, except just to sedate them with terrible side effects. They become sort of zombie-like the kids hate that stuff, but they won’t take the medicine. Um, so I mean, yeah, it would be great to understand more about the demonic world and how it is impacting our world here and now.
Invisibly and unsuspectingly, unsuspectedly by so many of the people who should know. What to do about this.
[00:31:15] Alex Tsakiris: Totally agree. I wanna know more about what your research has told you about some of those realms and how it fits into the hierarchy of consciousness thing we’re talking about. But I, I wanna kind of digress for just a second to talk about, confirm what you’re saying.
Like, one of the guys I interviewed is a guy named Dr. Tom Zinser, and he was a psychiatrist in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I can’t remember if he was a, he was a therapist. I can remember a psychiatrist, psychologist. And he was doing, um, he was doing work and you know, like a lot of those kids, they kind of burn out, you know, just doing, listening to people’s problems and stuff like that.
So one day in the lunchroom, um, One of the women who worked there just as kind of a part-time said, Hey, Dr. Zor, I kind of heard you talking about the Monroe Institute, you know, and kind of these, I am getting this kind of channeled information from this spirit guide. Do you think you’d ever wanna talk?
And, uh, so here’s a guy who’s kind of reached his end professionally. Like, I’m not even sure I’m interested in still doing this, and I am interested in these kind of alternative things. Maybe like you, you know, when you hit nde, he’s like, I’m gonna give it a shot. You know? Right. So he has this experience with this spirit, and the spirit starts telling him specific things about clients.
Mm-hmm. , he says, You got one of your clients, David, and you’ve been treating it this way. But what it really is, is spirit interference from his mother. And even though his mother is trying to do, thinks she’s doing well, she’s on the other side, she needs to move on and da da da da. And he’s now at a, he’s at a crossroads, right?
He’s like, What do I do with this? You know, Do I go on with my practice the way that it is or do I, you know, so he decides to go off reservation and he, but he does it in a very methodical way in keeping with his training, you know, and tries to say within the protocol. Okay. But low and behold, over and over and over again, he discovers exactly what you’re saying, is that the spirit guide who’s telling him is hundred percent right.
It is the mother in this case. In another case, it is a very negative, uh, benevolent entity that wants to do just. Not, I’d say mischief, but that’s not strong enough words. They wanna destroy someone. They wanna, you know, they wanna pull, they wanna create those blockages that keeps that person from vanity.
Cuz that’s what’s on the other side of this thing. That, Right. So with that, tell us, tell us what you, how you think some of that stuff breaks down. Cuz this is the kind of important stuff that, that we really need to get to. This is the level three stuff. Like, okay, there is a hierarchy of consciousness.
What is your research? And in particular, folks, this is a guy who’s like, don’t you do, do you read Sanscript or,
[00:34:26] Stafford Betty: or, Uh, I, I was a Sanscript scholar and, and, um, translator and interpreter, uh, many years ago. Um, And I, I wrote my first book as a matter of fact, my first published book was, was, uh, The Translation in Commentary on a Sanskrit on a 16th century into Philosopher.
Um, those talents have, um, you might say cooled con considerably since then. So I’m not a sanskritist anymore. Uh, do more important and I think more interesting things like what we’re talking about right now.
[00:34:58] Alex Tsakiris: I just wanted to make sure that I give people a heads up that when we say you’re a professor of world religions, right?
What goes with that is truly this level of scholarship. I mean, you know, cross all these cultures, you’ve investigated this thing. So, Oh yeah. Back to this issue. How are you understanding this hierarchy of consciousness? How are you distilling it all down into how you think some of this stuff works?
[00:35:26] Stafford Betty: I think I follow you.
I think I see what you’re getting at. Maybe not, but we’ll see. Um, I think that the supreme, um, gift that comes to us from the heavens, from God, from the Creator, however you wanna speak about ultimate reality is free will. And um, without free will, nothing of any interest could ever happen from the point of view of the creator or from the point of view of you and me, it’s free will, which makes life so interesting and yet creates all the problems because there’s so many people who abuse it, misuse it.
I did for a while as a young man and, uh, but many people make a career. And they become serious kill. Uh, they become, I mean, what you see all around, what I see all around me are just lazy people who do no serious reading, who just go restaurant hopping for the rest of their lives and, and are just, they, they don’t give a thought to the ultimate, uh, meaning of things.
Uh, but there are others who simply are malevolent and take great joy in. I don’t say joy in the right way. That’s perhaps not joy, but who basically are so selfish, are so not clued into the need to be a servant for the good of humankind. They basically become part of the dark side. They go over to the dark side.
Our prisons are filled with people living on the dark side. Our neighborhoods have many people living on the dark side. But you know what? That’s the way it has to be because if there isn’t any freedom,
point to anything. There is nothing important that any of us will ever do if we’re just rob robots who are programmed to, to do this or that to be good or bad, quote, to be good or bad.
[00:37:27] Alex Tsakiris: So, hey, hey, Step, can I ask you specifically a question that you, you’re probably well versed in? You know, I, I, I really think, uh, Michael Singer, I, I was really drawn to his interpretation of some of this. I love what some of the Western people have done with some of the Eastern stuff, but he’s really taken the idea of the, some scarra and he’s really kind of given it, I think, a better understanding.
He was raised Jewish, but he’s a secular guy kind of thing. Right. But it’s like, it’s the blockages, you know, It’s the, or it’s the blockages. Are created in this ordinary way. And I love the way he gives it. The example of, you know, the guy’s driving along the street and he sees his freaking girlfriend in a Corvette with this guy and they’re having a great time and they’re driving and he’s like, He’s freaking out.
And the next time he sees a Corvette, he freaks out again. Even though he comes to find out it wasn’t his girlfriend, it just kinda looked like his girlfriend. So there’s something that didn’t even happen, and yet it creates this blockage that gets triggered over and over again. Right. But to me, I just think I can relate to that.
I think everyone can relate to that on a personal level is that now I have something and it’s there and I keep hitting it and I keep hitting it and I don’t know what to do with it and I don’t know how to get rid of it. And I just gotta wonder if that guy’s sitting in prison. . Mm-hmm. isn’t somewhat of a victim of a situation he’s created with his own free will, but he’s created in terms of what’s blocking him from that light that’s always shining.
That light never went out. It’s just Right. It’s not the, He was drawn to the darkness because he had to deal with the little situation, and now he’s stuck. What, what do you think of how that, how that fits with your
[00:39:20] Stafford Betty: understanding of those? I, I totally, totally agree with. That’s a great analysis and I think that, that most of the people in prison, and I’ve, I’ve been to prisons and taught meditation.
Uh, my sense is that basically they’re victims. They’re victims of poverty. Um, they, they’re victims of poor education, of poor parenting, and they really didn’t, and they don’t know how to, to improve themselves. You improve yourself by constantly reading, by just challenging yourself to have new experiences to grow.
This is what, this is what the, the heavens want us to do is to is, is to grow our souls. These people have no clue what that even means. Uh, and it’s not because they lack free will. It’s that as you put it, their free will is blocked. It’s not being activated anymore. It’s stuck. And how do you get people like that to unstick?
I don’t know. And most people don’t succeed ever. But all you can say is that some do and some make great strides towards goodness and service. It’s possible. Um, but you know, as long as there is free will, there will be , there will be the misuse of it. And, um, apparently the creator thinks that it’s, it’s worth it.
It’s worth it, just so that some may struggle higher and develop themselves. And eventually, after future incarnations, maybe these people will get a chance to start over and might say, reassemble their capacity for free will. I do believe, , in reincarnation, I, I’m not a great fan of that doctrine.
I don’t have any memories. But my reading of the research by, um, by Ian Stevens. Um, just convinces me that there are many people who have in fact remembered their previous lives. And it makes me wonder if maybe I had one too and I just don’t remember it. I suspect that’s true of all of us who are down here trying again.
You know, we flunked the course maybe last time around and now we’re giving a fresh start. Okay? And that’s great and I can’t think of any better way to run, run a world. If you leave a person, uh, into, uh, a life of indefinite duration and that person is stuck at the age of 18. You know, that person will never change over a thousand years.
So it’s better just to let that poor soul start over again with different parenting, different education, and hope that this time they get it better. I think that’s what’s going on. Uh, at the level of, you might say, uh, the creator, I think that’s the creator’s plan. He wants us to grow. Into our full divinity, into our full capacity by using our free will, right?
By educating ourselves, by striving, by doing difficult things like self-sacrifice. This is what I see as the meaning of life. And that, that, that just inspires me to try harder, to write better and to write more frequently and just be a better person to my wife. And you know, it’s not easy being human, not for me, not for anybody, but it’s a heck of a lot easier for me than it is for the poor sap in prison.
[00:42:37] Alex Tsakiris: Uh, you know, Doc Betty, one of the things that I really appreciated, I’ve heard some of your, uh, lectures and some of your interviews is the nuanced, kind of subtle approach you sometimes take to some of this stuff. Like the whole, uh, transcendental materialism thing I think is Oh yeah. Is very interesting from a philosophical standpoint and how it plays to that.
But I think it also plays into the reincarnation thing cuz that data isn’t, Clear. There’s a lot of contradictions, you know, there too. Yeah. And even in the free will. So I, I got a bunch of questions there. The first one would be how, how do you process the experiences that we’ve heard? I’m sure you’ve heard ’em many, many times of near death experience where the free will seems to be in flux.
You know, it’s like you have, it’s not your, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want it to not be my time. I want to stay, I don’t wanna go back. Well, they’re not, they’re not exercising free will or then you are going to go back. You, you don’t have to go back. Oh, I’m gonna go back to be with my family. Okay, but your son’s gonna die in 10 years.
I mean, but what’s good? Where’s the free, You know, we got all the . It’s paradoxical no matter how we process it, at least from our perspective. So don’t you have to kind of be careful with the
[00:44:03] Stafford Betty: free will? Oh, you do, Alex, thank you very much for that. , , I do not want to, , imply that, , we, , have, , the free will of an angel or of God himself or herself.
Our free will is very limited by circumstances. What makes us interesting though is where we can use it. Now, we can’t decide, Oh, I wanna fly. I’ll flat my arms and I’ll fly. There are all kinds of restrictions. We can’t determine whether or not we’re going to survive, , the near death experience, what’s gonna happen.
But what we can do is, you know, at every moment of every day, right now, we have a choice to make. What am I gonna say next? , how am I going to, um, live my life in the next hour? Am I just gonna crash and be lazy and, and just be stupid? Am I gonna be cruel? There are always this little bit of what makes us who we are.
This little nugget of freedom that we have at every moment of our. But that doesn’t mean that most of our lives aren’t controlled by circumstances completely beyond our control. Absolutely. I agree. Totally.
[00:45:13] Alex Tsakiris: Well, I, I don’t know if you agree. I think you added something there. That’s an awesome piece.
Absolutely awesome in the, we can directly experience our free will in the moment is what I hear you saying. That’s all you can do now, but connect that for us, if you will, to your thinking about this larger issue of free will, because I think it does, it, it does create kind of an intellectual stumbling block again.
It’s like, well then I get you . I get you Dr. Betty, be in the moment. Be here now. But what about these bigger picture things? How do those interact with my localized free
[00:45:57] Stafford Betty: will? Okay. What do you, give me an example of what you mean by these bigger things that,
[00:46:02] Alex Tsakiris: uh, Well, you, you wrote about, you wrote about the war in the Ukraine and we have completely different views.
Some people are political. I know like, uh, Jeffrey Misla, he has some kind of wacky political, I’m so a political, I don’t understand why, I don’t understand how anyone could look at the world and think that God is, you know, it’s like that God is on our side or God needs our help or any of that shit that is just you, you can’t get away from it.
I, I think we’re playing, I think we’re in some different game that we have to understand at a different level, and I don’t think it’s helpful to think about things from a political standpoint. I think it’s, it’s really unhelpful. Uh, but you can connect it to what I’m.
[00:46:48] Stafford Betty: Well, um, what I try to do is to see things from, uh, the point of view of the creator.
And I’m talking about the creator of , you know, the entire universe. Um, I’m talking about the trillion galaxies that we now know. Are part of the universe. Um, God created that. That’s what I’m assuming something created that we can call it God or we can call it the creator, call it whatever you want to. I think there’s a mind and a power, uh, behind that creation, behind the appearance of the universe as we know it, behind all of those galaxies that all popped in or began to evolve 13.8 billion years ago.
I think that that, that God has a plan for, uh, people like us, and I think that
[00:47:40] Alex Tsakiris: there are probably
[00:47:42] Stafford Betty: just probably millions, if not billions of planets where there are people who can make decisions
and make their world better
or worse by the way they use their wills. And God looks at these worlds with tremendous interest and fascination, and you might even say hope that the decisions are being made well by a majority of people on that.
In order to save the planet from
[00:48:08] Alex Tsakiris: destruction? I don’t see any evidence for that. All the evidence. All the evidence for that points in the other direction. I don’t see how you connect the localized free will to any kind of. Random understanding of, of a plan. I mean, that’s what launches us into the, the Christian thing as a social engineering project, not as a, you know, as, as you described in last email, you know, it’s not about this historical.
If it’s about the historical figure, then we’re having a different discussion. If it’s about extended consciousness and our localized free will, then we’re having another discussion.
[00:48:47] Stafford Betty: That’s the discussion that we’re having. It’s not the first one. This is not about Christianity or who Jesus was.
Uh, it’s just the way I try to imagine, and I am a profound optimist. I don’t see any reason not to be an optimist. You have to choose, uh, you can put your faith in an optimistic worldview or in a pessimistic worldview, or you might say in an ambiguous worldview. Uh, I simply choose to, to be an optimist and to see.
Uh, the unfolding of world history, um, as a a, a as going somewhere, uh, That we can make good by choosing wisely and even heroically. I think we have that capacity. I don’t see, I don’t see that being done right now, Alex. Don’t get any wrong, but I think that that’s the challenge that we all have, and I think that’s the challenge that God wants us all to choose.
We want to make the world better in whatever small way we can. You don’t
[00:49:46] Alex Tsakiris: agree? Why is that? No, I don’t agree because I, I think there’s a disconnect there and I, I like, Like I, I’m so with you on this, right? So I want people to understand we’re, we’re picking on little topics that we can in, because in the bigger picture, like what you’ve had to face at California State University Bakersfield, in terms of the nitwit, , world religion, folks that will not, you know, I, I interview guy and he’s not a nitwit, he’s a super smart guy and I, I, I really admire him, but he’s an Ohio State University named Dr.
Hugh Urban. And he had written this book on Scientology and I had him on and he was able to say, Well, yes, I can establish for you, or that, that Jack Parsons and Elron Hubbard really were in the desert in trying to do the working to bring forth the anti-Christ. But it doesn’t matter if that’s real or not.
It only matters if they believe that it’s real.
And I was like,
Hold up, bro. No, it it what matters first and foremost. Got it. Is if there’s any possibility that that’s real. Right. If there’s any possibility that there’s some extended realm and that there’s something like the antichrist and that, that affects our world, that’s what’s most important.
Don’t kid yourself. I agree. But he’s at a university in a world religion studies department where. Head of the department is atheist. Right, Right. So I think a lot of, lot of people don’t appreciate that. A lot of these guys are atheist and atheism is such a failed proposition. It fails intellectually and it fails experimentally cuz it’s built us not on the idea that everything is measurable by your brain and stuff like that, which is falsified all over the place, but it’s also falsified philosophically in that why are you getting up in the morning and not putting a gun to your head?
[00:51:44] Stafford Betty: Yeah. You know? Yeah. It fails, It fails existentially and emotionally. I quite agree. Okay, let’s agree that this world basically is not, , on a trajectory toward improvement.
Let’s agree that it’s not necessarily on a traje, a trajectory in the opposite direction. Let’s just agree that uh, it’s wonderful that we die and that we go into a realm where there is more a light, where there is more happiness, where there is more prosperity. And,
[00:52:16] Alex Tsakiris: uh, where there is. But even that, I mean, Stafford, wouldn’t you agree that that is somewhat of a choice too, as you point out and you’re writing, when you die, you are somewhat propelled by what you’ve done here.
So you may die and go and not choose, which is a kind of bad choice and a good reason to read your books and to understand that there is a choice to be made there and go towards the light. Don’t be seduced to go towards the darkness, but even
[00:52:42] Stafford Betty: that’s a choice. Yeah, it is a choice. And, and, uh, so I’m not terribly concerned about the, the direction of, of the world.
I, I definitely don’t believe in posthumanism. I think transhumanism is a. Okay. I think that basically we’re just going to sort of , gr along, you know, And, but we will die. And when we die, then a more interesting world confronts us. And, uh, and, and that’s where I get my optimism from, essentially. That, that there, this is just, this is just a staging area.
It’s a kind of a kindergarten, and the worlds will become more advanced. Uh, the more we live and the more we choose wisely, they’re out there. And, and all of the research that I do tells me that it’s not just the astral world, which is, which is a awaiting us when we die. There are worlds beyond that which go up.
Um, and there is, there, there’s a whole hierarchy of, of worlds more spiritual worlds, worlds that are closer to the source, to put it that way, where things will be better understood where there will be more joy. Um,
[00:53:54] Alex Tsakiris: uh, I agree with you. , maybe that’s more to the point.
Like I was gonna throw global warming on the table as an example, which we could do numerous ones like politics and, you know, uh, uh, is it better to have a more free and equitable world? And then people get into quibbling over what that means. And, you know, shouldn’t we save the planet from destruction?
And, you know, I hate to tell you this, but God really does need our help and reduce your carbon footprint and all the rest of that. I think the connection there is very, very suspect in, in my opinion, in terms of coming down one way or another. What I think is interesting is taking the, the evidence and the, the hard work that you’ve done and that people can tap into.
Because again, that’s what we’re talking about with your books. We’re talking about a number of different ways that you’ve gone about kind of bringing forth information on, uh, from different cultures, from different methods, from different means of getting to the bottom of what we should most reasonably believe.
And to me, I’d go one step further. What, what I think this is about is, is shifting the burden of proof. And I think what the collection of your books have done is shift the burden of proof onto the shoulders of those who do not accept the evidence for the afterlife. Now it’s up to them. It’s like, you’ve done your job.
Now they have to show that that’s otherwise. But the other point I was gonna make is I don’t think it’s about, you know, if God cares about the Ukrainian war, but I do think it’s about like one thing you put your finger on. I think we can go directly a through line from your books to looking at transhumanism.
And we can say, Huh, I can kind of make some inferences now about whether or not transhumanism is a good idea. I can make some inferences about whether, uh, Crowism and this Satanic Luciferian do what thou will stuff is really a good kind of cultural value. So those are the places I would go. But at the same time, there’s some other places I’d say.
I don’t think I’d take where you’re going, but that’s just my opinion. What do you think about, do you get the broader sense of what I’m saying about what we can do with your research and what I think maybe we should be reluctant about doing with your research? Yeah.
[00:56:27] Stafford Betty: It does seem to me, uh, Alex, that that you, you really need to go back to the source meta, the metaphysical source of the universe. It seems to me that you want to go back that far. Um, you’ve challenged me to do that in some of the, um, words that you used leading up to this, uh, to this interview.
It made me think about what is the ultimate design of the, uh, master of the universe for all of the planets that, uh, are filled with people like us. What does that being want us to do? , it’s not as if this being needs our help, uh, for his own satisfaction. I think that what God would want us to do is to.
Environments that are conducive to human happiness or to the happiness of free beings. , I think that, that, that, that God looks upon that with tremendous interest to see if there, if we’re capable of it, are we capable, uh, in, uh, in some wonderful way of making good choices? Um, maybe not, but, um, uh, and, and maybe many of the planets have destroyed themselves in the, in, in, in the course of, um, of cosmic history.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised. And we may do that too, but I think if that happens, there’s always this other world that will be propelled to the, the, the physical world. The physical environment is not the only environ. There are these spiritual environments that we’re all being catapulted to when we die.
Like it or not, that’s gonna happen. We’re gonna find ourselves in an astrol zone, uh, where there will be different kinds of choices to make and different kinds of outcomes, and there will be hellish zones as well as heavenly zones and zones in between. Um, and I think that that’s important to look at that, and not to shy away from it like a materialist inevitably does, but to look at it and to think about it and to plan for it, I, I, uh, am not at all sure what my.
Uh, place, uh, in the afterlife will be like, I’m really not. Will I be considered to be one of God’s angels? Or will I be found to be some sort of a schmuck who was , you know, who, who was basically, uh, uh, just not clued into who he really is in his depth? I don’t know that it’s mysterious to me, but I do know very sure of myself that there is this world that’s coming quickly and that in all likelihood, the things we do in this world will influence at least where we start when we die.
Now we’re free over there as well. Freedom doesn’t just end right here. When we die, it continues, and you can continue to live well or poorly, selfishly, or as a good servant at every level. Uh, at every level, uh, in, in all the worlds that we will ever come into contact with, there will be that choice that in the moment choice that would be challenged to, to make wisely and generously.
So that’s how I see it,
[00:59:34] Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s awesome. I’ll tell you as, as we move to wrap things up, Stafford, I wonder, share with us, uh, first of all, I have a comment on that. You know, I love , , your unsureness about what?
Awaits man. If you weren’t, if you, if that, that’s like real to me. That’s like anyone who doesn’t, who doesn’t walk that line, they haven’t got the message. You know what I mean? Cause of like in trouble. That’s right. Doubt. Uh, perpetuate doubt. You know, doubt is the most spiritual thing. But what, what is. Do, do you wanna share anything about what you’ve learned that you’ve then incorporated into your spiritual practice and in particular, like your daily or your somewhat regular spiritual practice that’s, and, and in particular, something that’s come directly out of what you’ve learned.
Because one of the things you’ve touched on so frequently, and I think it’s a beautiful thing because you’re such a scholarly mind and a such a thinker, is that you can think your way into some of these things. Of course you can feel it and experience it, but you can also think it. So what have you thought your way into, in terms of your spiritual
[01:00:44] Stafford Betty: practice?
, I’m thinking of, , Robert Shere and you have interviewed, uh, in the past, and he and I have very similar. Uh, outlooks on things. Um, he’s a prayerful person and he’s an amazing scientist, but he’s a deeply prayerful person and I try to be, I try to, Between 15 and 30 minutes every morning when I get up, uh, I simply require myself to sit down and do what is not easy work for me, because I am easily distracted.
I love my mind and the way it, it, with all the problems that need to be solved. It’s very hard for me to sit down and, and force myself to be quiet, to really quiet the mind and let that sort of inner divinity sort of well up and, and, and, and overtake me and, and, um, express itself through me. But I pray for that and I even ask that.
Um, I, you know, I never ask God for anything. Um, I just thank God. I thank God for my existence. That’s what God is there to be, to be for me, to be thanked, just for the incredible blessing of having a life on this planet. After all these billions of years, I finally get my chance. You know, I’m delighted to be here, but I also need help.
And, uh, I, I. Lesser beings. Um, um, my heavenly friends, I think of them. I don’t know who they are, but I have a feeling from reading all of the literature that I’ve done for my research, for the writing of my books, that we have spirit guides and guardians. Uh, we have spirit newses. If you’re a creative person like myself, and these are people I reached out to and ask for help on a daily basis, and whether or not I get any help, I don’t know, but it won’t hurt.
, and, and it, um, it keeps me humble. Um, it, it, it makes me aware that, that, that my, that my destiny may be to be one of these beings to, uh, to help people who reach up to me in a few short years. I’ll be on the other side. So I think there, there, there really is a window between their world and our world, and it’s open.
Most people don’t use it. Most people don’t look through it, but I do. And I do it not because I was taught that, uh, when I was a kid. I do it because my research tells me that there are beings who look to us and are happy to help us, are happy to be remembered by us, um, our ancestors. I remember my mother and father because I’m told that they like to be remembered, uh, on the other side.
And so I make a point of doing that. So I’m very much influenced by the research that I’ve done and that I write about in my books. There is this sort of almost childlike innocence about some of the things they say that I think, uh, is important for incorporating into
[01:03:39] Alex Tsakiris: one spiritual. That’s awesome. Our guest, again, has been Dr.
Stafford Betty. Uh, please do check out his books, his many books, great books, and thanks to him for indulging me in, you know, a conversation that wasn’t just about these books. But that doesn’t mean that you can find a, a bunch of interviews with the guy on YouTube, and I think you’ll be drawn into his work.
But I also think just presenting him this way, you’re sharp as ever. I don’t know. I think, uh, yeah, I, yeah, you haven’t lost the beat in terms of what I think. So it’s been great having you on, and, and I really appreciate you joining.
[01:04:20] Stafford Betty: Alex, I enjoyed it too, it was just delightful being with you. really was. And thank you.
[01:04:26] Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Stafford Betty for joining me today on skeptical. The one question I’d have to tee up from this interview is. What are you think of freewill? And how do we kind of thread that impossible needle that we have localized, immediate freewill, but maybe at sometimes it seems like we don’t have.
Global freewill. I don’t know. I think that’s an impossible contradiction to even contemplate, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about it because I love connecting with y’all and I love hearing what you have to say. Especially if it’s smart and if it’s new and if it allows me to grow. So let me hear from you skeptical form or however you find me.
Until next time. Take care. And bye for now.
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