Erwin K. Thomas, Ph.D., Educator & Interfaith Writer
"The website Best Primal Essence (Dfurstane) is meant to foster interreligious understanding. It expresses the ideas and comments on the teachings of a cross section of the many religious traditions and secular humanists' beliefs."
The Best Primal Essence Website’s symbol is the flower Lily of the valley. Its presence is captured in perfumes, weddings, songs, and gardens. In many cultures this flower symbolizes humility, happiness, chastity, and purity.
In 2010, Guyanese-born Erwin K. Thomas, PhD–served as vice president of the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) Old Dominion University, Virginia Beach, VA. After 28 years he retired as a professor and director of the Graduate Program in the Department of Mass Communications & Journalism at Norfolk State University, VA. He formerly taught at the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee (1978–79), SUNY–Oswego (1972–74), and University of Guyana, Georgetown (Summers 1981 & 1988).
Thomas did research at the University of Guyana, University of the West Indies–Cave Hill, Barbados; Port of Spain, Trinidad; and Mona, Jamaica. He graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia–Ph.D. International Journalism & Broadcasting (1978), Brooklyn College of CUNY–MS Television (1972), and University of Oregon, Eugene–BS Radio-TV & Film (1970). His doctoral dissertation was entitled, “The Beginnings of Broadcasting in The West Indies, 1920–1949 (Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago).
Thomas was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1975–78), awarded a Gannett Foundation Scholarship (1975–76), named by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), a Fulbright Senior Specialists Candidate (2002–07), and was for many years a consultant to the Ministry of Information, Georgetown, Guyana. Thomas was a radio newscaster at KWAX-FM, Eugene, OR (1968–70), producer-director BCTV, Brooklyn, NY (1970–71), desk assistant CBS Radio Network News, NYC (1972), producer-director OSUTV, Oswego, NY (1972–74), news writer Columbia Missourian (1974), reporter KBIA-FM (1975), and KOMU-TV Columbia, MO (1976—77). His six “Plain Talk” series were aired on WSLJ-TV, Watertown, NY (1973–74). Some 20 shows on which he worked in various crew positions while at BCTV, were aired on WNET-TV and WNYC-TV–NYC (1970–72). At Norfolk State University he was news director of WNSB-FM (1980—85).
Thomas has authored Make Better Videos with Your Camcorder (TAB Books 1991); co-edited a Handbook on Mass Media in the United States and Mass Media in 2025, Greenwood Press (1994 & 2001) respectively; A Weekly Encounter (2015), Keys of Faith (2016), Gifts of God (2017), Life’s Passages: From Guyana to America, and Guyana’s Seawall Girl (2018), CreateSpace Independent Publishers, Heaven Bound (2019) and Dfurstane’s Spiritual Beliefs (2020) with Amazon.com. He is a member of Hampton Roads Writers (HRW), Virginia Writers Club (VWC), PEN America, and American Academy of Religion (AAR). For years, Thomas was a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), of the International, and Minorities Divisions, and the Religion & Media Interest Group. His research interests are: International media systems, social media, ethics, broadcasting history, devotionals, and world religions & beliefs.
Thomas is a lifelong member of the Church of the Holy Apostles–an ecumenical community of Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, Virginia Beach, VA–where he has served on the Vestry Council, Eucharistic minister, and social media administrator. Presently he views his spiritual beliefs as a religious naturalist, who is married to Mary Barta Thomas. They are the parents of Matthew J. Thomas, who lives with his wife Shannon in Charlottesville, VA.
After many years of dedicated study and meditation of the major world religions from both the Eastern and Western faith traditions – history, dogma, ethics, myths, rituals, festivals, and sacred writings the writer was able to create a unique spirituality based on the following concepts:
1) God like Nature is infinite in every way. God isn’t anthropomorphic – having human attributes or characteristics. Some might think that this Primal Essence is impersonal, but believers’ intuition tells them that God does intervene in creation. Although it could also be through “chance” that people are born in certain families, and the way they will die.
2) Spiritual beliefs are always evolving, and like all of nature nothing remains the same.
3) Dfurstane (Best Primal Essence) is all in all, predictable and unpredictable, the existence of a mystery, and always greater than conceived.
4) The Timeless Spirit is the glue that holds all manifestations together.
5) Through Dfurstane all elements, structures, and people are created.
6) On entering the world all living and non-living things take some form, and at the end of their existence they become invisible.
7) At times the consciousness and health of all living beings are determined by “chance.”
8) Sin and free will are human constructs, but “good” and “bad” exist—different sides of the same coin.
9) People pray by their thoughts, deeds, physical exercises, and works.
10) Rational thinking causes growth, development, discovery, and healing.
11) “Positive” and “negative” polarities cause cultural norms, but eternal reality is diverse in nature.
12) Prayer only works as a regulator of “cosmic wholeness.” It has to do with interdependence, and interrelationships of all structures. Believers should pray for “harmony.” Lack of “harmony” is how the world experiences disruptions of all sorts. This reality has nothing to do with the way people are living, but could be due to God’s intervention or by “chance.”
13) Living in “harmony” with nature is the key for a successful life. This entails having a balance life: a) helping the mind grow in understanding; b) caring for one’s physical body; c) serving society’s poor, homeless, and destitute; and d) building up the world through love and compassion.
14) In nations the people should be the sovereign in determining their destiny.
15) Religious literacy helps believers discover the diverse paths that are essential for spiritual growth.
16) Believers by following a spiritual path will merge with Dfurstane (Eternal Essence).