In answer to the many people who have asked how I came to write this book: it was not planned! As was the case with my first book (Heaven is Not the Last Stop), From Fragmentation to Integration was the result of questioning a long-held premise. Meaning and purpose developed over time, the result of a series of events and streams of thought. This is how it all unfolded.
Decades ago, I participated in a discussion on the subject of what happens to the soul/identity after physical death. There were a wide range of answers. Some of my New-Age friends believed that identity is lost at physical death; that their individual consciousness would merge into a universal consciousness; others believed that as spirit beings having a human experience, they would first return to “their divine origin” and then move again into physical incarnation; still others believed that they would “ascend” – they would consciously step into a higher level of light and simply disappear into a higher dimension. My Christian friends also shared their perspectives. Some believed their soul would go to “Heaven” and live forever, or they believed they would receive immortality only when Jesus returned to resurrect them from the dead! My personal opinion was a blend of Catholic/Christian doctrine and New Age beliefs! However, none of us could share any deeper insights into the process of survival. There simply was no concern about these contradictory perspectives or the apparent lack of detailed information.
This was not the first time that I had experienced similar conversations, but it was the first time that I struggled with a plethora of perspectives. I remember thinking: “The universe is orderly and operates according to laws. Shouldn’t the process of survival (after physical death) be likewise orderly, consistent, and deliberate?” The more I reflected on the various perspectives, the more loopholes I perceived. “Where would I begin looking for answers to questions I had not yet formulated?” I did not realize then that my question had propelled me into a long journey of intellectual discovery that would eventually reveal a comprehensive and consistent model of reality which superbly reconciled and illuminated all seemingly contradictory perspectives.
I decided that my journey would begin with research into the concept of creation which was common to all religions and cultures worldwide. Elusive patterns began to emerge that encouraged me to keep searching without knowing the destination. My strong commitment to find answers combined with the many desperate prayers for guidance eventually led me to a book purported to be a planetary revelation to humankind - The Urantia Book.
With a sizable portion of skepticism, I began to explore The Urantia Book. Mixed emotions greeted the fact that some of the chapters were way beyond my comprehension. Others, however, filled gaps in existing knowledge, giving me the assurance that I was on the right track! But two of the chapters challenged doctrines I had never questioned and I found myself struggling to hold on to my comfort zone! It is one thing to discover new knowledge that answers questions you have raised, but another to embrace new knowledge that shakes the very foundation of your spiritual orientation! My reaction to this mental anguish was to close The Urantia Book, which I would not open again for six years! I continued my research, searching for new information but arriving at the same familiar dead ends! But there was a difference. The elusive patterns became more defined and this enabled more precise questions. A pivotal moment in my life came when my church’s bishop explained that beliefs should always leave room for clarification and expansion; that releasing my fears and letting go of the familiar, resulted in faith leading me to greater truth within an expanded perspective of my existing beliefs. Those profound words gave me the encouragement to challenge my comfort zone. I approached my research with a fresh objectiveness that eventually led me back to The Urantia Book and the writing of my first book, Heaven Is Not the Last Stop (HINTLS).
As I was writing HINTLS, I came across a brilliant monograph entitled Worldviews: From Fragmentation to Integration, the result of the philosophical and academic research of a group of thinkers led By Belgian philosopher Leo Apostel. This monograph excited me because I could relate to his work and purpose which I envisaged as formulating a coherent and comprehensive philosophical worldview that supported the sciences without being in conflict with them. However, further search of progress in Apostel’s work, proved fruitless. For years after publishing HINTLS, the monograph would progressively stimulate my thoughts. On one of these occasions it dawned on me that I was supposed to write another book! Soon, another chilling discovery ensued. I learned that Leo Apostel died before he had time to conclude the work he started just about the same time that I had the discussion with my friends that set-in motion my search for the true model of reality. This is why I was unable to find much information about his project beyond the monograph. However, I did discover that his work was being used to build value-free frameworks that are practical in every day communication. In my opinion, however, these frameworks deviated from what I envisioned was Apostel’s enlarged philosophical vision. I like to think that this new book will advance Leo Apostel’s important work.
Soon after, the thought stream that would set the scope for that book became clear: Humanity is at the point of a major expansion of philosophy and the task to revamp our models of reality with wisdom is now critical. But what did that mean? Our world is one where there is a diversity of belief systems generally co-existing well in society. What came next?
It took months before I would get direction. While working on a presentation that I was giving at The Parliament of World Religions, I had the sudden realization: Unity of thought amidst diverse traditions and worship is the highest expression of living religious pluralism. If the mission of philosophy is to achieve unity in the intelligent comprehension of the universe and The Urantia Book is a critical resource to help revise our beliefs towards Truth, then all that is needed to begin the palpable march towards common understanding, is committed individuals from the various religious traditions willing to take the challenge of revamping existing models of reality. These efforts would be the springboard to building a shared worldview that would refuel the spiritual power of transformation! But what a tall order….!
While this was not my purpose when I wrote Heaven Is Not the Last Stop, now I do see my work as a contribution towards this large-scale effort. My first book, Heaven Is Not the Last reconciled my Catholic, Liberal Christian, and New Age beliefs with the teachings in The Urantia Book. Its approach is most significant to Christians who as young adults have been influenced by Indian philosophy.
Now, the urgent need was to write a book that would be relatable to The Abrahamic Religions as a collective. Why? Because members of the Abrahamic religions account for more than half of the world's total population and joint efforts towards attaining a shared worldview would have the greatest impact on Peace in the relatively shortest amount of time. Studies have found that 10 percent of the population holding an unshakable belief is needed to be adopted by the rest of the society. If just 20% of Abrahamic faithful were to share a comprehensive worldview in harmony with the sciences and illuminated by newly revealed insights, it would jump-start a large-scale religious and cultural cohesiveness that would foster meaningful and peaceful progress throughout the world.
It became evident to me that my approach to this assignment had to duplicate the same neutrality that ran through my first book, Heaven Is Not the Last Stop. If the future generations of leaders assimilate and integrate these new insights into their worldviews, they will be planting the seeds that will eventually break the monotonous cycle of philosophic chaos and spiritual stagnation gripping our world today. Philosophic chaos and spiritual stagnation have become a numbing and brutal reality, reflected in society not only as bigotry, persecution, and narrow-minded intolerance, but personally as liberal materialism and narcissistic self-glorification. Declining attendance in houses of worship and the presence of only partially successful mega-churches and multi-million-dollar self-improvement empires, are the unrecognized result of outdated and flawed doctrines that have lost the spiritual power to inspire and transform.
Whether leaders from the Abrahamic Religious Institutions take up this challenge or not, only history will tell. One thing is certain. If they ignore the challenge, the religious institutions will ultimately fade into the archives of history. Strong, visionary leaders from each religion will eventually come forth to take up the challenge- to vanquish hate by love and destroy fear with a courageous living faith in truth. These leaders will dare embark on a cooperative journey to build a comprehensive worldview that can be shared and will not fear using The Urantia Book as a resource. Their efforts supported by faith will attract adherents drawn to the critically corrective philosophy that will awaken faith, activate emotions, and elevate spiritual insight; they will be drawn to the consolation and stabilization of sound religion.
It is the goal of my two books – Heaven Is Not the Last Stop and From Fragmentation to Integration: A Call to the Abrahamic Religions - to serve as a gateway in the process. Both books are most assuredly for the open-minded reader committed to the enthralling pursuit of truth wherever it may lead. For the discerning reader, these books will speak volumes! The importance of assimilating these concepts for future generations cannot be underestimated or overstated.
 A detailed account of my discovery of The Urantia Book can be found in the Preface of my first book Heaven Is Not the Last Stop.
 Minority Rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas; phys.org, July 25, 2011. Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to make this discovery. Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2011-07-minority-scientists-ideas.html#jC
To be announced