Near Death… tall tales
What is this obsession with tales people tell about their time while unconscious!? How come so much stock is placed on the word of comatose or near-death people!? I understand the interest in death and dying, but why do so many people immediately believe their tales as true?
Many questions need to be answered before I can believe what somebody says.
Who are you and how reliable is your word?
What motives could you have for telling such a tale?
Why should I believe what you are telling me?
How can I know beyond a reasonable doubt that what you say is true?
Can you verify this?
What is to differentiate these tales from other obvious tall tales, such as:
Tales of Big Foot
Tales of the Loch Ness Monster
Tales of Werewolves and Vampires
I need more proof of the veracity of a witness before I can accept what they say as true. How about you? Don’t you “vet” a person’s statement before believing them and putting much stock in what they say?
When someone says they have a “sure-bet” stock to buy… do you go right out and plunk-down $10,000.00?
When the used car salesman says “this” car is what you should buy… do you just sign on the dotted line right then on the basis of his word?
At a swap meet, do you believe the peddler “lock-stock and barrel”!?
Are you one that believes forwarded emails immediately? and Spam?
The biggest issue for me is the obvious non-compliance with Scripture. If Scripture says “one thing”, and a witness says “another”… who are you going to believe? For instance, many near-death experiences report having been in hell with demons all around. Yet Scripture teaches that Hell is reserved for Satan and his demons – but not yet “in place”. That time has not come yet. There are no demons in hell yet! Looks to me those tales got caught in a lie!
But… what do you put your trust in?
(1) the veracity of God’s Word proven throughout history, or
(2) a tale by someone who wakes up and says he was somewhere else!?
“Of the writing of books, there is no end”, Solomon once said. So true today! There is a huge amount of material “out there”. Of all of them, this book seems especially terrific for actually reading, as it is written by a Christian from a biblical and medical reference point: If I Should Die Before I Wake: The Medical and Biblical Truth about Near-Death Experiences, by H. Leon Greene (Jan 1997).
See the reviews here that shed light on this author and book. Very good!
http://www.amazon.com/Should-Die-Before-Wake-Experiences/dp/0891078916/ref=sr_1_141?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323538320&sr=1-141 These opinion reviews are terrific reading.
Biblical and medical truth about near-death experiences, November 23, 1997
Another review: If I Should Die Before I Wake: The Medical and Biblical Truth about Near-Death Experiences (Paperback)
Have you questioned the validity of near death experiences(NDEs)? Read this thoroughly researched book to find answers from a medical and biblical perspective. A Christian cardiologist, Greene finds NDE descriptions contradict his experience with cardiac arrest patients and sheds new light on this subject.
Section one defines NDE, reviews popular books, and answers major questions. Part two summarizes medical knowledge relating to the NDE, focusing on central nervous and cardiovascular systems. This portion may be of most interest to medical scholars. Part three examines biblical examples of death, resuscitation, and resurrection to expose the spiritual deception of the NDE philosophy and guide readers to embrace the truth. Included are extensive documentation and bibliography, Scripture and general indices.
Another review: If I Should Die Before I Wake: The Medical and Biblical Truth about Near-Death Experiences (Paperback)
Leon Greene is a cardiologist and professor of medicine. In his book “If I Should Wake” he sets out to debunk the near-death experience or NDE. He does so primariliy because he finds the idea of an NDE contrary to his Christian beliefs: “Moody’s synthesis of the NDE leaves us with the impression that there is no sin inherent in mankind’s existence, that there is no judgment, that a just and righteous God does not exist, that there is no system of rewards and punishments for our acts on earth, and – most importantly – that Jesus has no place in any redemptive strategy … [the NDE] makes the claim that we are not really responsible for our lives and actions on this earth; everyone (or almost everyone) will encounter peace and love in the end, no matter what we have done with our lives, whether or not we have accepted Jesus as Savior. It gives the believer in the NDE what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called ‘cheap grace’ – a gift from God without commitment to God – ‘no-fault eternity’ … It tells us that all religions are equally valid, from Buddhism to Islam to Hinduism to Christianity.”
If these were Greene’s only objections to the NDE as a real phenomenon, they could be dismissed as projections of his particular religious stance; in fact it could even be argued that he is taking too prescriptive a view of the NDE in condemning it as incompatible with Christianity. But there is much more to this physician’s objections to the NDE and he marshalls a scientific based argument to underpin his case. First he argues that the NDE is rare in practice, citing that he had never personally encountered such a phenomenon despite his years of experience with just the kind of patients who are claimed to be NDE candidates. Second, he points out that there are two types of possible explanation for the NDE that do not invoke spirituality: physical (drug effects, low blood flow etc.) and psychological (fear of death and dying). He points to the fact that temporal lobe stimulation has caused a patient to “relive certain experiences from his past as though they were occurring at that exact time” and that: “It would seem that any event that can be produced by stimulation of the brain is not really a vision of the afterlife or a trip to heaven. Such visions are simply a set of neural discharges coming from a complex area of the brain that integrates such functions as vision, emotion, hearing, perception of time, language, moods, attitudes, and social behavior.” He also argues that “the brain that is not perfused cannot have the metabolic activity necessary to produce energy to form memory.” Referring to the phenomenon of syncope, Greene claims that “the components of the NDE can be explained on purely physiologic bases.”
Greene cites findings from many NDE advocates and suggests weaknesses in their methods or assumptions about the NDE. For example, he critiques the work of Dr. Kenneth Ring as described in the book “Life at Death”. But Ring has recently updated his findings and in “Lessons from the Light” he has addressed some of the points that Greene criticized. After reading both of these books, I found neither argument compelling but maintained a fascination for the subject of the NDE, which I do not think Greene has altogether refuted. But I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the NDE, since it represents a sound scientific as well as scriptural critique that should keeep one grounded in evaluating the phenomenon.
You cannot go to the other side. Impossible. Not going to happen! How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Scripture tells us, “there is a great chasm fixed” between earth and the afterlife.
“between us and you
there is a great chasm fixed,
so that those who wish to come over from here to you
will not be able,
and that none may cross over
from there to us.’”
– Luke 16:26
Read Luke 16
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus (S)was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to (T)Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In (U)Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘(V)Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in (W)this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that (X)during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And [r]besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may (Y)warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham *said, ‘They have (Z)Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, (AA)father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16: verses 19-31
The man in Hades said, “I am in agony in this flame.” Quite graphic. And Jesus (yes it was Jesus Himself speaking) said, “none may cross over from there (from hell – life after death for those without Christ) to us” (to earth – our present existence).
There have been biblical accounts of angels and demons in contact with man. THAT certainly is possible, as Scripture teaches us. The Devil and his demons can make contact, and believers can cast-out demons that possess people. The most famous Old Testament example is when Saul had the witch try to contact Samuel after he died. I don’t believe that was actually Samuel, and we have no indication it was actually Samuel. Perhaps it was a demon impersonating him. But nobody crossed over to the other side. God had forbidden contact with witches and mediums. It was demonic. The same can happen today.
Some very likely explanations for “near-death” experiences:
3. Demonic influence
4. Wild imagination
5. Willful misleading lies
Popularity of the Topic
Amazon book lists show the popularity of the “near death” topic. Look at this list! (List gathered on: 12/10/2011 And there are many more at Amazon.com. For interesting reading about what these authors report, try reading a few of the introductory text Amazon provides for its books on sale. The titles alone reveal a lot about what is being said, what is being researched, and the author point of view.
The Return from Silence: A Study of Near-Death Experiences by D. Scott Rogo and Scott Rogo (Aug 1989)
Walk of Faith: Three Near-death Experiences and a Journey from the Brink of Hell to Heaven by Chiemi Lynn Haman (Jun 20, 2003)
The Facts on Near-Death Experiences (Anker Series) by John Ankerberg and John Weldon (Apr 1996)
Near Death by Richard C Hale (Oct 24, 2011)
Smashing through Death’s Door by Marshall J. Alexander (Mar 1, 2010)
Glimpses Beyond Death’s Door: Gospel Insights into Near-death Experiences by Brent L. Top and Wendy C. Top (Feb 28, 2010)
The Butterfly Theory of Life (Secrets of UFO’s, Life After Death, and Near Death Phenomena) by Susan Ripley Rodgers (Nov 15, 2011)
Modern-Day Miracles: 50 True Miracle Stories of Divine Encounters, Supernatural Healings, Heaven and Hell Experiences, and More by Pastor Evans Barning and Allison C. Restagno (Apr 1, 2011)
The Lazarus Initiative – Book 1- N.D.E. by David Sakmyster and Steven Savile (Nov 15, 2011)
Disarming Death by Peter Watson Jenkins (May 8, 2011)
Dying To Live. Three True Stories Of Near Death Experiences. by Brian Coates (Jul 24, 2011)
Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry (Jan 4, 2011)
The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation by Janice Miner Holden, Bruce Greyson and Debbie James (Jun 22, 2009)
Near Death Experience by Jim Highfield (Apr 14, 2011)
Journey to the Other Side – A True Accounting of a Death Experience – Ebook I by Deborah B. Gregg (May 12, 2011)
I Died Three Times in 1977 – The Complete Story by P.M.H. Atwater and Pim von Lommel (Jul 20, 2010)
On Life after Death, revised by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and Caroline Myss (Mar 1, 2008)
Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death by Raymond Moody and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (Mar 6, 2001)
There Is Life After Death: Compelling Reports from Those Who Have Glimpsed the Afterlife by Roy Abraham Varghese and Raymond A. Moody (Nov 20, 2009)
Medicine, Miracles, and Manifestations: A Doctor’s Journey Through the Worlds of Divine Intervention, Near-Death Experiences, and Universal Energy by John L. Turner and Robert F. Spetzler (Mar 20, 2009)
Flight to Heaven: A Plane Crash…A Lone Survivor…A Journey to Heaven–and Back by Capt. Dale Black and Ken Gire (May 1, 2010)
“I Saw Heaven!” Life Changing Conversations with My Brother after His Near Death Experience by Patti Miller Dunham (Jun 30, 2010)
A Measure of Heaven: Near-death experience data analysis by Vince Migliore (Oct 9, 2009)
Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-death Experience by Kenneth Ring, Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino and Caroline Myss (Sep 1, 2006)
Preparing for Death: The Science of Dying by C.W. Adams (Aug 5, 2010)
After Here: The Celestial Plane an d What Happens When We Die by Elizabeth Maxim (Oct 26, 2010)
Making Sense of Near-Death Experiences: A Handbook of Clinicians by Mahendra Perera, Karuppiah Jagadheesan and Anthony Peake (Dec 15, 2011)
From Soul to Soulmate: Bridges from Near-Death Experience Wisdom by Jody Long (Jan 11, 2010)
The Last Laugh: A New Philosophy of Near-Death Experiences, Apparitions, and Theparanormal by Raymond A., Jr. Moody and Neale Donald Walsch (May 1999)
Journey to an Afterlife Time by Dominick J. Villella (Nov 22, 2008)
The Experience (Near to Death) by Eric Maurice Clark (Sep 19, 2011)
The Near-Death Experience: A Reader by Lee W. Bailey and Jenny Yates (Jun 6, 1996)
Full Circle: The Near-Death Experience and Beyond by Barbara; Bascom, Lionel C. Harris (1993)
The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Painful Near-Death Experiences by Gracia F. Ellwood and Gracia Fay Ellwood (Jul 2001)
Surviving Death Again by Scott Degenhardt, Colleen Anderson and John Ronner (Aug 22, 2010)
Death and Beyond by Tony Crisp (Nov 20, 2010)
Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience by Mark Fox (Dec 29, 2002)
Michael Jackson: The Afterlife Experiences II – Michael Jackson’s American Dream to Heal the World by Marilynn Hughes (Dec 17, 2009)
TURBULENCE – A Near Death Experience – Volume 1 by Chris William (Jun 2, 2011)
TRAVELS WITH LUCY 3600 Miles, 19 Flat Tires, 7 Puppies, and 4 Near-Death Experiences by CHRIS BUERKI (2003)
Collection of Near-Death Research Readings by Craig R. Lundahl (Oct 1982)
Come to Wisdom’s Door: How to Have an Out-of-Body Experience by Marilynn Hughes (Oct 27, 2010)
Out of Body Experience How To: by Jimmy Jacks (Nov 23, 2010)
90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey (Aug 31, 2004)
A Second Chance: The Story of a Near-Death Experience by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Ajamila (Jan 1992)
By the Light: Astonishing True Stories of Near Death Experiences by Lionel C. Bascom and Barbara Loecher (Sep 1995)
The Unanswered Question: Death, Near-Death, and the Afterlife by Kurt Leland (Nov 1, 2002)
Purring in the Light: Near-Death Experiences of Cats by Stefanie Samek (Nov 1, 1995)
Petted by the Light: The Most Profound and Complete Feline Near-Death Experiences Ever by Patrick R. Tobin and Christine R. Doley (Nov 1995)
Best Evidence: An Investigative Reporter’s Three-Year Quest to Uncover the Best Scientific Evidence for ESP, Psychokinesis, Mental Healing, Ghosts and Poltergeists, Dowsing, Mediums, Near Death Experiences, Reincarnation, and Other Impossible Phenomena That Refuse to Disappear (2nd Edition) by Michael Schmicker (Mar 27, 2002)
A Second Chance : The Story of a Near-Death Experience by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1991)
Death Explorers: A Near Death Experience is only a glimpse of death. It Can Cause One To Marginalize Death. Since The Eighth Century Tibetan Buddhists … If You Wish To Prepare For A Peaceful Death. by Scott Grant (Jan 26, 2011)
The Lost Secret of Death: Our Divided Souls and the Afterlife by Peter Novak (Aug 1, 2003)
The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study by Penny Sartori and Paul Badham (Sep 14, 2008)
Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife: True Stories From People Who Have Glimpsed the World Beyond by James L. Garlow and Keith Wall (Aug 1, 2010)
Non-Christian Sites and Organizations related to “Near Death” (Source: from Amazon.com)