May 8, 2012 -- CSUB religious studies professor Stafford Betty has spent decades doing controversial research on what happens, if anything, after we die. On Wednesday, May 16 at 3 p.m. in the Walter Stiern Library on the CSUB campus, Betty will give a short reading from his recently published novel, The Imprisoned Splendor, which is set in the afterlife, followed by a look at the evidence for life after death.
"It's rather amazing that there actually is evidence, and it's surprisingly solid," he says. "It's less clear what the afterlife is like, but there are many intriguing hints, and generalities about its nature are beginning to emerge. We'll be looking at these."
Betty's talk is titled "Afterlife: Its Laws, Landscapes, Cultures, and Inhabitants." It will feature an 8-minute video about this material, made with the help of CSUB student Mohammed Khan. A PowerPoint presentation based on Betty's book The Afterlife Unveiled will follow, with plenty of time for discussion.
Originally a scholar of Asian philosophy and religion, Betty gradually began to believe that the ultimate questions of existence weren't being adequately addressed within academia. His extensive reading in the narratives of trance mediums -- who claim an ability to channel spirits of the dead from the afterlife -- persuaded him, along with a growing coterie of like-minded scholars, that "the dead" are probably very much alive and eager to tell us about their world.
"It's a cultural tragedy that an area of studies so filled with hope for all of us is commonly snubbed by leading intellectuals and trend setters, who refuse to even look at the evidence," Betty says. "But the materialist worldview they represent is coming under fire from a new cadre of trend setters."
The novel centers around Kiran, a philosophy professor who teaches at a prestigious university in California. When Kiran dies in a plane crash in his native India, he finds himself, to his amazement, in an afterlife he was certain couldn't exist. It's at this point in the novel, in this strange afterworld, that the reader joins Kiran in an examination of his life. Kiran is forced to face the dark and selfish nature of his relationships with others and to make amends for the choices he made. The novel argues that our choices on earth matter and that death is not the black hole of nothingness that many fear, but an awakening into a complex world where we can continue to evolve and grow.
Betty earned his Ph.D. at Fordham University in New York City, is a Vietnam veteran, and came to CSUB as a religious studies professor shortly after the university was founded. His presentation is part of the year-round Walter Presents series, which brings exhibitions, lectures, readings, performances, and presentations to the Walter Stiern Library. All events are open to the public at no cost. Parking at CSUB is $5.
For more information:
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications