How to Distinguish Spiritual Trash from Spiritual Treasure

Compiled by: Waldis Jirgens.
Updated 20141130


  1. This analysis is based strictly on LOGIC. If YOU think, that religious faith and spiritual beliefs should not be subjected to logical considerations, this is not for you - please leave now.
  2. I tried to keep this page as concise as possible, so I won't write more than absolutely necessary. Even so it is quite obvious, that not many "believers" or "unbelievers" have tried to question their religious and/or spiritual beliefs at all. I am a mathematician and not a theologian and find it naive to "believe" in any spiritual doctrine without compelling reasons to do so. Having had myself numerous psychic experiences from childhood onward helped me to discard materialism pretty much straight away. This is a look at "the rest". Everything that is said here can be verified by anyone, who cares to look at and research the facts without prejudice.

Substantiated Spiritual Facts

In spite of what the majority of people are led to believe, there are facts, that cannot be disputed by any honest and open minded person, who has investigated the topic. These are:
  1. Psychic phenomena are for real.
  2. The afterlife exists.
  3. Communication between people here and people in the afterlife is possible and does take place.
  4. Discarnate spirits do exist.
  5. Genuine mediumship does exist.
Thus we have quite some information about the spiritual realm independent from any religious or spiritual doctrines.


These days many varying religions and spiritual philosophies compete for the hearts and minds of the general population.
Virtually all of the above groupings agree, that there is not only a benevolent but also a malevolent "dark" spiritual force in action. It is however questionable if the traditional separation between "good" and "evil" is the right one. The evidence seems to point to a broad spectrum between "100% good" and "100% evil".

The world's religions are a good example of this. Clearly most religions offer some positive impulses for humanity - love and compassion come to mind. But just as clearly most religions also have some teachings that are less than loving and compassionate. They have a large component of obviously fictional "ballast" - like creation stories. All of them defend their holy books as "inspired by God".

Cult leaders claim to get their inspiration either directly from God or some other "high entities" close to God.

Particular Beliefs


Let us start with Spiritualism and trance mediumship that produces a multitude of spirit messages:
According to Spiritualist teachings spirits are people, who might be less well informed or intentioned than their audience. This makes one question the value of such channelled messages. Of course any medium would be glad to channel "spirits of the light", whose behaviour and morals are impeccable. However many trance mediums discard out of hand the possibility, that the spirits being channelled by them could be anything other than wise and benevolent guides. They naively believe to be protected from spirit predators, because their own intentions are good.
But what if a channelled spirit makes false predictions? Or if they use wrong science? Or if their behaviour and ethics do not meet expected standards?
Any of this should show a medium that they are in contact with a spirit "not of the light". Continuing the association is not in the best interest of the medium (nor the spirit for that matter, they would rather require a psychic rescue). Some mediums disregard such warning signs and continue with the channellings, which are worthless at best and dangerous for the medium and their audience at worst. This is wilful blindness.

The late Joe Fisher (Author of several books, inter alia "The Case For Re-incarnation" and "Life Before Life") described in his last book Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts some very unpleasant experiences with trance mediums and their channelled spirits. In the search for his own guides Joe encountered a trance medium, who was able to let him communicate not only with "Filippa", his own "guide", but also with the "guides" of other participants in the circle. Since the "guides" claimed, to have lived on earth in the not too distant past, their claims were open to scrutiny and verification attempts. The disturbing results were that NONE of the guides were genuine. Joe classified them as "Hungry Ghosts" - attention seekers and mischief makers from the spirit realm. Quite incredibly after these revelations the medium and the circle attending the seances took no action and continued with their activities.

Joe Fisher went on to examine various other trance mediums and well known spirits of channelling fame. He came up with a blacklist of spirits, whose claims of life in the natural world could be disproved, and/or who could be otherwise classified as less than benevolent. For his revelations he felt persecuted by the spirits he exposed, as the story of his suicide shows. His experiences are in no way unique. Centuries ago already Emmanuel Swedenborg encountered lying spirits. More recently several authors have grappled with the fact of channelled spirits not being 100% truthful. The interesting part is, that many of the blacklisted spirits and persons were healers, and very successful ones. So they can't be classified in exclusively black and white terms as "100% evil". Likewise their lies also forbid a classification of "100% good". Their motives for mixing good with evil could be the same as seen in the natural world: Self-aggrandisement by creating a following and ego-gratification by their ability to mislead their followers.

Joe Fisher's blacklist deals solely with trance mediums and their channelled spirits. This is a very narrow focus, so I have added other sources of spiritual (mis)information to his blacklist together with my reasons for doing so. These reasons are the following:

The Blacklist contains spirits, people, books and religious groupings who proclaim their teachings as truth, promise salvation for their followers, heal sick people, whilst claiming to be the agents of God, and whose claims can be shown to be wrong. They are impostors.
Firstly Joe Fisher's entries: Now my additions to it. These include :
Of course not every channelled spirit is a mischief-maker. And mediums often give messages to their audience from their departed loved ones by clairvoyance and clairaudience. And some of these messages can be proven to be genuine.

In conclusion: Spiritualism as such has the basic facts right, but when it comes to trance mediumship there are many spiritualists who uncritically accept the opinions of the spirits channelled by themselves or others as "the truth". There is no justification for such gullibility. Thus as a spiritualist keep your eyes and ears open and your brain switched on, when dealing with channelled spirits!

New Age Movement

The New Age movement encompasses all kinds of teachings, natural therapies, lifestyle choices, and paranormal activities, often at odds with each other.

Most of these activities are very ancient, for instance: There are also lots of self help books and "spiritual teachings", that can be classified as "New Age". Not surprisingly quite a few of them are less than helpful:

In conclusion: The New Age can be, what every devotee of it wants it to be. As long as your particular interpretation of it does not contradict established spiritual facts and is in itself non-contradictory - go for it. An occasional reality-check is however appropriate!

Fundamentalist Christianity

Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible - the book upon which they base their faith - is the literal truth - inspired by God. Modern Bible scholars classify it as collection of ancient religious thinking, skilfully created by various authors, that were keen to promote their religion (Judaism in the OT, Christianity in the NT). They admit that most of the stories in the Bible have very little to do with true history. However it is not quite as simple as it seems, because the Bible contains a "seal of authenticity", a code, based on the fact, that each Hebrew and Greek letter has a numerical value. It was studied by the mathematician Ivan Panin, and published by CF Payne in his book "Seal of God" (ISBN 0908208 03 0). This proves beyond reasonable doubt, that the Bible is inspired by intelligences superior to regular human ones. I know that this sounds preposterous, but please check out Panin's case meticulously, and if you ever had anything to do with Statistics, you will have to agree with the above statement. Fundamentalist Christian sects use this to "prove" that the Bible is "inspired by God".

Taking an unbiased look at the problem one can see that what is required to write a book like this is:
1. Prodigious mathematical ability.
2. Knowledge of prime numbers and their mythological meaning.
3. Highly developed talent for literary writing.

Mathematical prodigies are not unheard of, and there have been plenty of literary greats in human history. So to claim that God must have been involved in putting together the Bible is way over the top. Still the fact that Panin's Bible code stretches across many (if not all) books of the Bible suggests strongly some involvement from the spirit world. Some parts of the Bible are wonderful and uplifting - for instance Psalm 23, or the Lord's Prayer. The law of karma, and the concept of forgiveness rather than revenge, are positive contributions to human development.

On the negative side there are many parts of the Bible, that do not pass Kant's Categorical Imperative test. Here a selection:
» The sacrifice of Isaac Genesis 22. Can you imagine a loving God commanding anyone to kill an innocent child, let alone one's own son?
» A command to commit genocide Deuteronomy 25.
» Frivolous torture The book of Job.
» Psychic Attacks: Psalms 35, 78, 83.
» Sexism: 1 Corinthians 14:34.
» Extreme Cruelty (Hell): Revelation 14 V 10 and 11. Can anyone in a lifetime commit crimes that deserve eternal torture?

There are other things in the Bible, that are disturbing:
» The concept of the vicarious atonement, and the mere thought, that God would require not only a human, but a divine sacrifice, before (s)he can forgive humanity, is a teaching, that is deeply offensive for many people. Modern Christian theologians, like John Shelby Spong have noticed that, and are trying to change their particular denominations' doctrines, but still they encounter stiff resistance.
» Numerous contradictions: Look for instance at Luke 2 and Matthew 2, both describing the birth of Jesus. One could be forgiven for thinking, they describe two totally different events!
» The NT thought that "We are all sinners, because Adam sinned" in Romans 5:18 and 19 is Nazi "Sippenhaft" taken to the extreme. Already Ezekiel 18 repudiates such an idea, but it is nevertheless deeply ingrained in Christianity!
» The teachings of the Bible are subject to various interpretations, resulting in the many denominations of Christianity, often in deep and sometimes deadly conflict with each other.

The Bible contains some "tall stories":
» The creation of the world in 6 days.
» Noah's ark.
» The 7 plagues of Egypt followed by the exodus.

If that's not enough for you, please read John Shelby Spong's book "Sins of Scripture" where you will find many more such examples.

There have been some attempts to read more into the Bible than is there on the surface:
Of course both of them cannot be right at the same time. It is highly unlikely that a book, that was going to be a cornerstone of a new religion, would hide its message behind some symbolism that could not be understood by the general public. Swedenborg and Thiering looked for hidden meanings because the texts, when taken as they are, did not satisfy their desire, that "there has to be more than that to this book". This highlights the dilemma every unbiased reader faces:

The Bible - when taken as it was written - is a mixture of good and bad, contains several unbelievable stories, many contradictions, and shows a seal of inspiration. Therefore the verdict has to be: The Bible is inspired by intelligent but not always truthful or benevolent spiritual beings.

In conclusion: The faith of fundamentalist Christianity is NOT based on truth or on sound ethical and logical principles.

Fundamentalist Islam and Fundamentalist Judaism

The "holy books" of these faiths are the Qur'an and the Tanakh. Both very much resemble the first books of the Bible. Thus everything what was said about Fundamentalist Christianity applies to Fundamentalist Islam and Fundamentalist Judaism in the same way. It is not surprising that adherents of these faiths are often in deadly conflict with each other and "unbelievers", committing unspeakable atrocities in the process.

In conclusion: Fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Judaism are NOT based on truth or on sound ethical and logical principles.

Non Fundamentalist Christianity, Islam and Judaism

This group shows an extremely wide variety of doctrines, which very often contradict each other. The vicarious atonement is contentious amongst Christians. The nature of life after death is contentious amongst all 3, as are views of an ethical nature. All these doctrines are either claimed to be of a channelled nature, or have been imposed by church authorities. Each follower of such a denomination should ask themselves, why they believe their churches particular doctrines. See the General Rules section below.

Other Religions

Every single one has their "holy book(s)". You can read them online at The Internet Sacred Text Archive. It will take you a very long time to go through the multitude of these texts. As far as I know, none of them has such a "seal of higher intelligence inspiration" as the Bible. However this does not mean, that they are of a different quality. Please read these books as an informed and educated adult and form your OWN opinion about them. How do the various Gods in these books come across? As highly benevolent, powerful and wise beings, or as arrogant, petty, vindictive and jealous despots? What do you think of their morals? Are they worthy of a God? Are they better than those of the most spiritual and benevolent humans? Do these books tell fictional stories? Do they contain contradictions? Would YOU classify any of these books as "holy", and if so, which one(s) and why?


Mostly based on teachings of their leader(s), who will claim inspiration from high spiritual sources. The same scrutiny must be applied to their teachings as to any of the above "holy books".

Modern Mainstream Religions

Because of all the problems with their "holy books" modern mainstream (i.e. non-fundamentalist and wanting to appeal to as many people as possible) religions move away from literal interpretations of them. They use the Spiritualist principle of taking aboard what sits comfortable with them and discarding the rest. This has the effect of softening their views, and showing much more tolerance towards believers of differing faiths. There is a negative side to this: It gets hard to define, what these people believe or don't believe, i.e. what they stand for.

General Rules to Separate The Wheat from The Chaff

How to Deal with The Chaff

You may ask: What about a "Whitelist"? Which spiritual teachings are not misleading?
This is a very hard task, since nobody knows for sure. The general rule is: "Accept what is logical, ethical, and sits comfortably with you. Discard the rest". Still this does not guarantee the truth of the teachings. Using this caveat here is part of MY whitelist:

A final thought

If you are a religious fundamentalist and still think, that YOUR "holy" book(s) is (are) the only literal and divinely inspired truth, ask yourself first, why your particular "holy" book(s) should be better, or more important, or more true than all the others? After all spontaneous healing and other miracles have been reported by ALL religions! Is your God so much more benevolent, powerful and wise than all the other Gods in the other "holy" books? Finally compare the character of your God with current humanist thinking and morals. Ask yourself, if your God could stand before any secular human court of law, and defend his/her moral code successfully? If this is not the case, I am afraid, that your "God" is not the true God, and you have been deceived - possibly for a very long time.

In this case the time is NOW to use your reasoning power - given to you by the REAL God - and dispose of beliefs, that do nothing more than enslave you, and turn you into an intolerant fanatic! This step might be very hard, but you don't want to believe and live a lie, do you?

The real God - every mainstream religion agrees with this surprisingly simple definition - is:

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