It was a big surprise to me when I realized that what I was writing about Christianity would eventually turn into a seventeen-chapter book, Unveiling Christianity. This is a one-of-a-kind book. Some of its most significant information was not available until the last fifty years. To help me author Unveiling Christianity, I brought a strong background in research, analysis, and writing, in addition to my spiritual background and prior religious experience.

Why would someone want to “unveil” or expose Christianity? Let me explain how and why the inspiration to unveil it came to be. Looking back, it appears that I have lived my life in roughly four two-decade phases: The first twenty years as a Christian, the next phase as an agnostic, the third phase as a spiritual seeker, and the last twenty years as one who is spiritually awakened.

I was raised Catholic and had sixteen years of Catholic education. In grade school I believed everything I was taught. This included the list of all the venial and mortal sins. I was taught that if I committed a mortal sin and died without first going to confession, God would send my soul to the burning fires of hell for eternity. During grade school, I lived with fear, guilt and shame.

In high school, I questioned the legitimacy of the sins and much of the dogma. How could a loving God send the souls of Catholics who knowingly ate meat on Friday to hell for eternity? (The Church later reduced the every-Friday rule to a select few Fridays, but it is still a mortal sin). How could a loving God who we were taught was all-knowing, create people with the foreknowledge that their soul would go to hell if they died in the state of mortal sin?

Shortly after I graduated from college, I became romantically involved with a woman who was an atheist. Since I had found much about what I had been taught about God to be preposterous, her atheism made sense to me. I found relief in no longer needing to ponder God and the illogical nature of Catholic dogma. However, I realized that I couldn’t be an atheist who believed that God did not exist because that would be impossible to prove. Having found atheism to be intellectually unacceptable, I decided that I was an agnostic—someone who didn’t believe in God, but couldn’t prove his nonexistence. I now viewed myself as being part of nature. I was no different than or separate from all life: the animals, birds, fish, and trees which were all in an endless cycle of living and dying. No God, no sin, no heaven, no hell.

After about twenty years as an agnostic, I had some profound telepathic experiences that compelled me to investigate the nature of reality beyond the five senses. I discovered that the Catholic Church was right about people having a soul, and I began an intense and passionate spiritual journey. Twenty years later, in 2003, I had my spiritual wakening. The account of my awakening appears in an anthology, Dancing in the Fire: Stories of Awakening Within the Heart of Community.

Since then, I have read hundreds of books on the afterlife, many of which are listed on this website, and I discovered that much of Christian dogma is not supported by solid evidence. I realized that if people could learn about the higher, non-physical realms of pure love, they would be able to lead lives with less fear and more love. I created BeAwake.com to provide information to help people understand that their true nature is pure consciousness, universal unconditional love, and eternal spirit (soul). When people become aware of their eternal nature, their fear of death lessens. When people release fear, they are open to more love, and their lives have more room for peace and joy.

In the process of developing BeAwake.com, it became apparent that even though Christians believe they have a soul that continues to live on after their body dies, many of them also believe that their soul could go to hell. I was surprised to learn that 79% of adult Christians in the U.S. believe in hell, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey:  Views on the afterlife. This same Pew Research Center survey reveals that in 2021 62% of the U.S. population was Christian. This means that over 160 million U.S. Christians believe in hell. The fear of hell constricts people and causes them to feel stressed and angry. One may wonder how a belief that instills fear in people could be so popular.

The Christian teaching that souls end up in the fires of hell for eternity is false. Contrary to Christian dogma, there is no reward or punishment when the soul exits the body upon death. The soul is released from all physical pain once it no longer has a body, so it would be impossible for a soul to experience physical pain in the “burning fires of hell,” even if there were such a place.

Based on my own experience as a Christian, I understand that the fear of hell is a variant of the fear of death. I reasoned that if Christians learned that the origin of the concept of hell had nothing to do with what they had been taught, they might be able to give up this false belief. I became inspired to try to help open-minded Christians who still believe in hell and in a God who judges and punishes those who “sinned” against him. Any Christian who has the open-mindedness and courage to read Unveiling Christianity may be shocked to learn the original meaning of such concepts as “hell” and “Satan,” whose meanings were changed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Most of what I have learned about the afterlife conflicts with core Christian dogma. In fact, Christian denominations teach almost nothing about the afterlife. Rather, many denominations focus on all the rules that their followers must obey to get into heaven and stay out of hell.

This focus on blind obedience is compounded by the fact that according to Christian doctrine, everyone in the world is born with original sin on their soul. This is a core teaching, that all people are fundamentally defective from birth, which inherently instills guilt and shame in Christians. I wondered, “Where did this idea come from?” A desire to find and document the answer to this one question led me on a journey to find the origins of this idea and many other Christian teachings.

The overall impact of such harmful Christian teachings as original sin and hell is disturbing. In 2023 the non-profit Global Center for Religious Research published the results of its pioneering work, “Percentage of U.S. Adults Suffering from Religious Trauma: A Sociological Study.” The study concluded that around one third of U.S. adults have experienced religious trauma at some point in their life. It also found that quite possibly as much as 20% of U.S. adults currently suffer from religious trauma.

Any Christian teaching, or teacher, that has caused you to feel shame, guilt or fear is opposed to the core teaching of Jesus. According to the New Testament, these are his words:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37–39)

Moreover, according to John 4:16, “The kingdom of God is within you.”

The Kingdom of God (love) is indeed within you. Pure, unconditional love is your true nature. Clearly, any Christian sect or sect leader who tries to manipulate people through fear, shame or guilt is not acting in the name of God or Jesus. Accept only those beliefs that take you to love. If you have religious beliefs that are causing you to be judgmental and unloving toward anyone at all, it would be wise to question those beliefs. When Jesus spoke the words “love your neighbor as yourself,” he wasn’t talking about your next-door neighbor, he was referring to everyone.

For Christians whose love for Jesus is foremost in their religion, it is helpful to remember that Jesus, who was a Jewish rabbi, did not start Christianity, despite what some Christian denominations claim. In fact, the earliest recorded use of the term “Christianity” was by Ignatius of Antioch about 70 years after Jesus died. Moreover, Christianity wasn’t legally recognized until 313 CE, and later the Roman Catholic Church became the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Tom Cain BeAwake
Tom Cain -- 2020

I dedicate Unveiling Christianity with love to Jeshua ben Joseph, also known as Jesus the Nazarene.

Tom Cain — 2024