Nicholas Oliva (“o-lee-va”) has been a musician, writer, poet, photographer, audio engineer, and entertainment and technical director for over twenty-five years.
His first book, Only Moments, was published in 2007, which was a novel that followed the lifetime journey and professional musical career of a husband and wife team to the year 2020.
His latest book is Finding God: To Believe or Not To Believe, now available at Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble and will be available in the Kindle store soon. To visit the website, go to Tobelieveornot.com. Mr. Oliva’s other websites are OnlyMoments and for his first book Only Moments by Nick Oliva. You can find him on Facebook as well on either the book page, Finding God: To Believe or Not To Believe or his home page, Facebook.com/noliva.
Oliva lives in the quiet mountains of Nevada.
Q. Thank you for this interview, Nicholas. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write a nonfiction spiritual book as opposed to what you’ve been writing?
First of all, thank you for allowing me the ability to promote what I think is an important subject in our world today. I waited a long time to begin writing this book. The incidents contained within occurred in October 2004, while at a hospital in Nevada. There are a few reasons why I chose to wait this long to tell my story. The first and most influential was the reasoning that by taking a stand on what I experienced and believe, I would have many detractors and people who would attack me in order to perpetuate and bolster their own beliefs and/or lack of beliefs and use me as an example. In order to fully explain what I’ve gone through, I had to touch upon religion, morality, and ethics—all controversial subjects in the context of what this book is about. The theme promotes the energy within us all as Godly, not the looking outward for all of the answers.
Q. What is the most unusual or interesting thing about your book?
I think the fact that the NDE actually happened to me after I wrote about it years earlier is very unusual but the entire picture of the book is much more than that. The conversations with atheists and Christians produced a very interesting picture of how people seem to be threatened by small things as the word “spirit” or “devout” or that the illusion of what they perceive is so righteous as to completely cut off any and all other possibilities when faced with the real facts of what religions are based in: myth. I say that not to fan the fires of those who have taken that leap of faith so vehemently, I say it because it is true and I prove it. That being said, no one who is steadfast in their thoughts is going to budge, regardless of the facts of the matter. That is where the wars start with such thought. Ideologies that do not bend usually end up being fought by warring factions of different ideologies as we have around the world today. Whose God is the only supreme God … does this matter when there is no empirical or scientific evidence whatsoever to prove the existence of any God? And then the first sword came down and the blood poured forth. It never ends and if the human race is to evolve, we need to get past this violence that gets us nowhere and begin to understand that love trumps over all these ideologies and put all of this nonsense to rest.
Q. Can you tell us what important benefits that people will receive from your book?
Don’t you think that if people would wake up and realize that life is so short that they could put aside their differences and follow the Golden Rule and just do unto others as they would have done unto themselves? “If” is the key word in this question. “If” is a small word with huge implications. One of the quotes I use in the beginning of my book is from Star Trek II. “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” Most would not say, as they fear the unknown, no matter how imminent it is going to be and allow that fear to seep through in myriad ways that are not healthy or good for society as a whole.
Another primary reason for writing this book was to try and create a bridge for people of different spiritual beliefs (or none) to come together and understand that each has their own path. For example, if we take away any possibility for life after flesh, does it make any difference in how one acts in this dimension? If one is an atheist or a Christian should they not act to make the choice for the betterment of society as a whole?
Q. What message are you trying to get across to your readers with this book?
People should take good wishes from anyone and whatever sources that may be based on illusions of what anyone may think God is. Those good wishes are still good deeds and not a road to hell as many atheists want to believe. They do not want to believe it because they do not want to validate anyone’s religion because they think that if they allow any piece of that religion then they are acknowledging all of it. And atheists have a point in that they are highly discriminated against by those of religion. They have a tougher road to hoe than Wiccans. I think they should be called naturalists, not atheists, as it is closer to what they ascribe. They believe in the natural order of things. There are also different levels of what constitutes atheism. I think that many become hostile as a result of the backlash that is given to the negative connotations of the word atheist and what it implies to most people.
Q. Thank you for this interview, Nicholas. Do you have any final words?
Atheism is the lack of belief in a deity … it is not an end-all nothingness. The degree of that lack of belief can range from a mild person to a radical person. And so it goes with religious people. They range from mild to wild. The point here is not dogma or lack of, it is the vociferous dialog that divides people of diverse thought. The reason I took a year to write a book that outs both ends of this thinking was to build a common ground between people who can be humanist and rise above the Us vs. Them mentality. It’s one hell of battle to begin but it needs to be done if we are to evolve from the naked fears that cause so much bloodshed throughout the ages. The word “spirit” always seems to disturb those of no belief, but we are organic beings capable of incredible willpower, determination, and energy, and that “spirit,” be it the will to live or to heal, exists inside the mind … and that’s really all that counts—consciousness is reality. Your mind, your thoughts, your choices. Here is a thought that is truly ironic: If we had an all-powerful God that knew everyone’s exact future, then the very foundation for religion would cease to exist—that of human being’s free will (see The Council of Trent). Without free will we have only what supposedly is already written or seen in the future, which renders our lives and the decisions we make meaningless. It means no matter what we decide it cannot matter and that makes no sense whatsoever. Yet, people need hope and if it doesn’t hurt anyone else, let them find it wherever they can to get by another day … Wiccans, theists, Hindus, Sufi’s, Christians, Jews, etc … I can do without the dogma, but I like the parades and costumes. Religious differences can be made irrelevant if we let the anger go and let the love in. Imagine all the people … Thank you again for allowing me this contribution.