It seems to me that half the problem with everything in this world stems from organized religion. People are so sure that when they leave this world all their sins will be forgiven, and because the world was made through a divine source we cannot really hurt it or any other species occupying it because God made it his way.

Therefore we cannot improve or impoverish the world. It almost invalidates life to think that afterwards we go to a perfect place where everything is perfect and that our lives were a test to see if we were ready for perfection.

It seems that this is the most perverse way of thinking I’ve ever heard. If I thought my life did not matter because I was heading to a perfect place and anything I did wrong would be forgiven as long as I confess, well I wouldn’t feel as guilty because it is all God’s design.

I think the biggest step in this revolution would be to change minds about this issue. Am I way off base or is there some truth to this?

On more than one occasion in your books and in your responses to questions you categorically reject the idea of gods, in particular the Abrahamic god. Yet in The Holy Tim, after being prompted by Pablo who “sees” this all the time, finally sees the glory the cactus has to offer him.

Therefore I have two questions. If you do not believe that there is a God or gods in this world, then what or who is Pablo (whom you saw yourself as a young child)? Second, both in The Story of B and in The Holy, you position the Abrahamic god as an opponent of the very world he allegedly created.

Why do you believe that a Satan/Ba’al zebub or an antichrist figure would be so much more in tune with your world vision?

I recently finished The Holy, which I found clever and thought-provoking. Had I merely read the book, I’d simply see the many connections between it and your other work, and that would have been that.

But I’d read Rennie’s account on your website of the childhood event that partly inspired the book—your encounter with the part-man-part-animal. There is much I don’t know about the world, so the last thing I’d do is just discount this experience of yours.

However, I have to admit great surprise. What (admittedly little) I know of you is that you’re a lover of science and a skeptic—this is evident in your work, on your website, and in much of our previous correspondence, in which you have spoken scientifically in general and, in some cases in particular, directly against “new age” or “occult” beliefs and phenomena.

I’m very curious to hear how you reconcile this childhood experience of yours with your scientific knowledge—and, by extension, what you might tell your science-loving fans (like me) who might not understand how they should reconcile these two things about you, these two things that, not knowing better, we might see as contradictory.

I’m also incidentally curious about the extent to which your portrayal of the “yoo-hoos” is fictional, i.e., simply for the purposes of fleshing out the story, as opposed to things you actually believe. For example, that they themselves represent what ancient cultures thought to be gods and what older Taker cultures thought to be demons/devils—that they are matter-based and yet immortal and possessing of shape-changing abilities, etc.

According to information found on this website, the prologue to The Holy is based on an experience you had as a young child. From reading Providence, it seems pretty clear to me that other aspects of the book are drawn from your life as well. Some examples: the strong similarity between your experience in the garden at the Trappist monastery, Our Lady of Gethsemani, and Tim Kennesey’s experience in the desert; the Chicago setting; and David Kennesey’s background in educational publishing.

I’m curious about the source(s) for other events in the book’s narrative, though, particularly regarding Howard Scheim’s early attempts to discover what happened to the old, “false” gods of the Bible.

What experiences/research did you draw on in writing about the rite Howard participated in with the Satanists Verdelet and Delices? What did you draw on for Howard’s meeting with the tarot reader, Denise Purcell?

While I do not mean to overstate the endorsement of Darwin’s theory of evolution in your essay “Our Religions: Are They the Religions of Humanity Itself?” I have a related question. I believe that I understand you correctly to only be specifically advocating Darwin’s theory as the most sort of ‘comprehensive’ theory in light of the evidence available, and in terms of its provision of a sort of workable model to explain an apparent question of somewhat comparable significance to the primary question of your essay regarding the processes relating to the placement of the beginning of humanity at the beginning of the agricultural revolution.

I would say that I quite agree with your estimations of the merits of Darwin’s theory, and again I hope that I am not too presumptuous in assuming some greater acceptance in the processes of evolution that he describes.

Ultimately my question is whether or not you would describe the sort of ‘religious’ processes you describe in your essay, or the sort of ‘assault’ on animism as a similarly uncontrollable or irreversible process.

Is there an afterlife in animism? Without an answer, I would assume that the answer would be something to the effect that “One’s life-force is simply re-inserted into the cycle of life, and one’s energy sustains other lives.

“In practice, a deer continues life after being eaten by a mountain lion in the form of the mountain lion.” That much I assumed is the animist afterlife.

What I want to know is whether one’s consciousness continues after death, as it does in the Christian interpretation of a “soul”?