I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith
I Met God
— God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Author’s Note: More recent introductions to the experiences covered in this book are in Gary York’s interview with me God’s Libertarian Prophet? and my article elsewhere on these pages, I Argue God With the Atheists.
— J. Neil Schulman
To Charles Darwin, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and Ayn Rand
If They Still Know Anything, They Know Whether I’m Right
Preface by Brad Linaweaver
Over the years many fans of J. Neil Schulman have said they want another book by him. Sometimes you get what you ask for … but it’s not always what you think you want.
Neil Schulman is one of those writers who doesn’t just write the same book over and over and over. He writes a book when he has something to say.
He has been a significant force in libertarian science fiction. But he’s also been an artist who has been recognized by mainstream critics for doing works of mainstream value.
The experiences that led to the book you are about to experience — whether it is the audio version or the print version — were life-changing experiences for J. Neil Schulman that resulted in two books: the novel, Escape from Heaven and the more personal, autobiographical, I Met God.
For Neil Schulman, who can pretty much express everything he has to say about an experience or a philosophy in one book, you can bet your bottom dollar Neil went through a lot when he produces two books — two works — out of a fundamental experience … and in this case a major motion picture may also be one of the fruits from this particular tree.
J. Neil Schulman says: “I met God.”
In addition to being the title of this book, it is also on the license plate of the vehicle he drives frequently back and forth between Nevada — which is God’s country — and California — which some people believe is territory under other control.
I would say the following regarding people who hesitate to read, or listen to, an exegesis by somebody who believes he had a personal experience with God:
I am an agnostic. I have been an agnostic for many years. I used to be a Christian. I lost my faith but I have never been an atheist. I like to say that I have too much imagination to be an atheist. So I’ve been a believer and I am an agnostic.
Neil has been an atheist, Neil has been an agnostic, and now Neil believes in God, because he has had what he claims to be first-hand experience of God.
So, this is the challenge I put forward to Neil’s fans of the past and potential new readers of Neil’s works in the future.
Take what Neil has to say in this work and compare it to what you get from adherents of orthodox, traditional religions. Take what Neil has to say and compare it to what you’ll find in the New Age section of your local bookstore.
What fascinates me about so many people who claim to be religious, or so many people who claim to have had mystical experiences, is how few ideas they get from that experience. One would think — if you have an experience of the Ultimate — a few ideas might stick to you. But you’d never know it from traditional religious people; you’d never know it from the traditional — if I may say so — mystic types, and the modern manifestation of the New Age types.
Neil is overflowing with ideas, and insights, that I find of great value, and I am an agnostic.
If you believe in God, it seems to me what Neil has to say may be of even greater value to you than it is to yours truly, doing this introduction.
I’m telling you, I’ll be thinking for a long, long time about what J. Neil Schulman said in this interview I did with him for I Met God.
By J. Neil Schulman
Although this is my tenth published book, I haven’t been on any bestsellers lists, so I’m going to assume this is the first book of mine you’ve read.
Even though I’ve been busy writing over the last thirty years; even though I’ve appeared on radio and TV more than a few times; and even though a Google search will turn up my same several thousand times, I don’t qualify as a celebrity.
“So why should I believe this fat, bearded, long-haired slob?” you might be asking yourself right about now. “Why should I take this guy seriously when he tells me that, while he was still an atheist, God started whispering to him, and one February day in 1997, God merged with him for the better part of a day and let him see the world through God’s own eyes?”
I’ll understand if you decide to put this book back on the bookstore shelf right now. If it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t believe somebody who said that, either.
So, in the absence of any reasonable expectation that I’m anything other than a fraud or a psychotic, why should you waste time reading any further?
For one thing, I know how to tell a good story.
I know how to make it suspenseful and dramatic.
That’s my craft, which I’ve been learning for the last thirty years.
I’ve received enough celebrity endorsements, good reviews, and checks for writing sales, to convince me that I’m a professional writer. Being a professional writer, I can promise with some confidence that whether you end up believing my story or not, whether or not you’re an atheist who has me pegged as a nutcase or a believer who has me pegged as a heretic to your faith, I promise you a story you’ve never heard before.
Here’s the part where I tease you into reading the first chapter.
I’m about to make statements that are, on the face of them, improbable and unbelievable, foreshadowing what you’re going to read later in this book.
My obvious intent is to hook you so you’ll keep reading.
Let’s see if it works.
When I was five years old, in 1958, I decided that God wasn’t real.
In 1970, at 17 years old, I had my first experience of the supernatural, when I had precognitive knowledge of my grandfather’s impending death. He lived in a different city and had been robustly healthy the last time I’d seen him, about a month before.
At age 21, I was a back-seat passenger in an automobile accident while on a trip with three friends in 1974 when my friend’s car spun out on any icy road, totaling it, but without any of us getting hurt. At about the exact time we were calling for a tow truck, my father turned to my mother in bed and told her about the accident in detail, even though neither I nor any of my friends told anyone other than the towing service about the accident until the next morning.
While I was attending a friend’s Halloween party in 1982, at age 29, I saw a woman dancing. A voice inside my head said, “If you ask her to dance, you will marry her.”
I asked her to dance and I married her in 1985.
On April 15, 1988, the night before my 35th birthday, God put his hand on my heart and said to me, “I can take you now.”
Sorry. You’ll have to read this book to find out why I lived through the night.
Finally, the last of these teasers.
On February 18, 1997, starting at about noon, God merged into my mind for the rest of the day. During that experience I left a phone message for my sister that she should call me because I had a revelation that would change the world.
Part of that revelation came out in fictional form, when my third novel, Escape from Heaven, was published in 2002.
I’m finally going public with the rest of the revelation – or at least as much of it as I can understand – in this book – the book you’re now deciding whether or not to read all the way through.
An important part of the information God gave to me is that each of us has such strong and independent free will that God feels powerless about what we will choose to make of ourselves … and our world.
So you have the absolute, unencumbered, free will to decide to turn to the next page, or to close this book, now, quit reading it, and ignore everything I think God wants me to tell you.
What’s it going to be?
–J. Neil Schulman,
July 21, 2004
Next in I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith is Chapter I: Kid Atheist
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!