Are Near Death Experiences Proof of Heaven?

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Can science explain near death experiences?

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RELIGIONS & FAITHS Led by Paul H. Carr ARE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES “PROOF OF HEAVEN”? Science and Religion are two windows on the world

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OUTLINE: ARE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES “PROOF OF HEAVEN”? By Paul H. Carr, www.MirrorOfNature.org 1. Neurosurgeon Eban Alexander MD, author of Proof of Heaven , while in a 7- day coma during which he was brain-dead, had a NDE. He was convinced that we are more than brains and bodies and death is not the end of consciousness. 2. Neurologist Oliver Sachs, MD, author of Hallucinations, has a naturalistic, scientific explanation of Alexander’s Near Death Experience (NDE.) Cardiologist Pim van Lommel , MD for decades studied NDE in 100s of patients, which he published in the rewound medical journal Lancet. He believes the current views on the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers, and psychologists are too narrow for a proper understanding of the phenomenon . He shows that our consciousness does not always coincide with brain functions and that consciousness can even be experienced separate from the body. 3a. Biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: “Minds are not confined to brains.” 3b. Extended Memory, the Extended Mind, and the Nature of Technology-Mediated Memory Enhancement. 3c. “In the Beginning:” The Primeval hot Big Bang vs. Spirit of God (Divine Consciousness) moved on the face of the waters (Gen1:2) 3d. St. Paul “Then shall I know even as I am known. (I Cor 13:8)”

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A SCIENTIST’S CASE FOR THE AFTERLIFE In the fall of 2008, academic neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD had near-a death experience. Before this, he had thought he understood what happened to the brain when people are near death, and had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death. However, after seven days in a coma during which his brain showed complete absence of neural activity in all but the primitive portions, he experienced something so profound that it gave him a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death. This included meeting his deceased sister whom he never knew he had. He was able to verify this later. Amazon Best Sellers Rank, #32 Sept 1, 2013

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Dr. Eben Alexander's Bumpy Road to Heaven - Super Soul Sunday - Oprah Winfrey Network http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gef4SxdwcYYt “Did you see God?”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQH_X1JByks  

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The conclusion of Alexander’s book Proof of Heaven . “There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility. But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey.”

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A hallucinatory journey to the bright light and beyond, a full-blown NDE, can occur in 20 or 30 seconds, even though it seems to last much longer. Subjectively, during such a crisis, the very concept of time may seem variable or meaningless. The one most plausible hypothesis in Dr. Alexander's case, then, is that his NDE occurred not during his coma, but as he was surfacing from the coma and his cortex was returning to full function. It is curious that he does not allow this obvious and natural explanation, but instead insists on a supernatural one. Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin; they are part of the normal range of human consciousness and experience. This is not to say that they cannot play a part in the spiritual life, or have great meaning for an individual. Yet while it is understandable that one might attribute value, ground beliefs, or construct narratives from them, hallucinations cannot provide evidence for the existence of any metaphysical beings or places. They provide evidence only of the brain's power to create them. For Sacks, Alexander’s NDE was not “Proof of Heaven.” However, Sacks would, I believe, be open to the possibility “to see Heaven in a wildflower .” SEEING GOD IN THE THIRD MILLENNIUM The Atlantic December 12, 2012 By OLIVER SACKS MD is a professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. His most recent book is Hallucinations.

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1. A Strange Sound:   A buzzing, or ringing noise, while having a sense of being dead. 2. Peace and Painlessness:   While people are dying, they may be in intense pain, but as soon as they leave the body the pain vanishes and they experience peace. 3. Out-of-Body Experience:   The dying often have the sensation of rising up and floating above their own body while it is surrounded by a medical team, and watching it down below, while feeling comfortable. They experience the feeling of being in a spiritual body that appears to be a sort of living energy field. 4. The Tunnel Experience:   The next experience is that of being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light. Also, although they sometimes report feeling scared, they do not sense that they were on the way to hell or that they fell into it. 5. Rising Rapidly into the Heavens:   Instead of a tunnel, some people report rising suddenly into the heavens and seeing the Earth and the celestial sphere as they would be seen by astronauts in space. 6. People of Light:   Once on the other side of the tunnel, or after they have risen into the heavens, the dying meet people who glow with an inner light. Often they find that friends and relatives who have already died are there to greet them. 7. The Being of Light:   After meeting the people of light, the dying often meet a powerful spiritual being whom some have identified as God, Jesus, or some religious figure. 8. The Life Review:   The Being of Light presents the dying with a panoramic review of everything they have ever done. That is, they relive every act they have ever done to other people and come away feeling that love is the most important thing in life. 9. Reluctance to Return:   The Being of Light sometimes tells the dying that they must return to life. Other times, they are given a choice of staying or returning. In either case, they are reluctant to return. The people who choose to return do so only because of loved ones they do not wish to leave behind. Dr. Raymond Moody's Nine Elements of the Near-Death Experiences. www.lifeafterlife.com

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Consciousness Beyond life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience By Cardiologist Pim van Lommel, MD Pim van Lommel designed a research study to investigate NDE under the controlled environment of a cluster of hospitals with a medically trained staff. For more than 20 years van Lommel systematically studied such near-death experiences in a wide variety of hospital patients who survived a cardiac arrest. In 2001, he and his fellow researchers published his study on near-death experiences in the renowned medical journal The Lancet . The article caused an international sensation as it was the first scientifically rigorous study of this phenomenon. Now Van Lommel offers an in-depth presentation of his results and theories in this book that has already sold over 125,000 copies in Europe (Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,230 ).

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Van Lommel provides scientific evidence that the near-death phenomenon is an authentic experience that cannot be attributed to imagination, psychosis, or oxygen deprivation. He further reveals that after such a profound experience, most patients' personalities undergo a permanent change. In van Lommel's opinion, the current views on the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers, and psychologists are too narrow for a proper understanding of the phenomenon. Van Lommel shows that our consciousness does not always coincide with brain functions and that, remarkably and significantly, consciousness can even be experienced separate from the body.

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OUTLINE: ARE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES “PROOF OF HEAVEN”? 1. Neurosurgeon Eban Alexander MD, author of Proof of Heaven , while in a 7- day coma during which he was brain-dead, had a NDE. He was convinced that we are more than brains and bodies and death is not the end of consciousness. 2. Neurologist Oliver Sachs, MD, author of Hallucinations, has a naturalistic, scientific explanation of Alexander’s NDE. Cardiologist Pim van Lommel MD for decades studied NDE in 100s of patients, which he published in the rewound medical journal Lancet. He believes the current views on the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers, and psychologists are too narrow for a proper understanding of the phenomenon . He shows that our consciousness does not always coincide with brain functions and that consciousness can even be experienced separate from the body. 3a. Dr. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake: “Minds are not confined to brains.” 3b. Extended Memory, the Extended Mind, and the Nature of Technology-Mediated Memory Enhancement. 3c. “In the Beginning:” Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters (Gen1:2) vs The Primeval hot Big Bang. 3d. “Then shall I know even as I am known. (I Cor 13:8)”

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A PHILOSOPHIC WORLDVIEW Van Lommel’s and Alexander’s claim contradicts neurologist Sack’s assertion that our consciousness cannot survive physical death. Which is true? For philosopher Whitehead, truth is the confirmation of appearance to reality. What then is reality?

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SETTING SCIENCE FREE FROM MATERIALISM Biologist Rupert Sheldrake, PhD Contemporary science is based on the claim that all reality is material or physical. There is no reality but material reality. Consciousness is a by-product of the physical activity of the brain. Matter is unconscious. Evolution is purposeless. This view is now undergoing a credibility crunch. The biggest problem of all for materialism is the existence of consciousness. Panpsychism provides a way forward. So does the recognition that minds are not confined to brains.

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Extended Memory, the Extended Mind, and the Nature of Technology-Mediated Memory Enhancement. Smart, P. R. (2010) 1st ITA Workshop on Network-Enabled Cognition: The Contribution of Social and Technological Networks to Human Cognition, Maryland, USA. How does a spider, who has no brain, construct this complex web?

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As the web develops, the positioning of the spider’s legs becomes a reliable cue as to what type of action needs to be executed next, as well as what type of silk needs to be produced. In essence, the web serves as “its own best model” of what needs to be accomplished, and the spider need only be responsive to local information concerning the structural organization of threads in the immediate vicinity of its body.

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The external environment emerges as more than just a space for sensory inputs and motor outputs; it is also poised to play an important (explanatorily-potent) role in the mechanisms by which that behavior is realized. Intelligent behavior, we might say, is at least sometimes realized by processing loops that extend beyond the neural realm and productively incorporate a variety of extra-neural resources.

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Collaborative Recall . Social Memory Consider the following exchange (taken from between a husband and wife) discussing their honeymoon together, some 40 years previously. In this particular exchange, the couple are trying to recall the name of a show they both attended. Wife: And we went to two shows. Can you remember what they were called? Husband: We did. One was a musical, or were they both? I don’t... no... one... W: John Hanson was in it. H: Desert Song. W: Desert Song, that’s it, I couldn’t remember what it was called, but yes, I knew John Hanson was in it. H: Yes.

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“In the Beginning:” BIBLE “…..God created the heaven and the earth…..and the Spirit of God (Divine Consciousness) moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1.1-1.2)” “… was the Word (logos, rational ordering principle) and the Word was God and with God. (John 1).” SCIENCE …The primeval hot Big Bang.

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“Hot” to “Cool” Cosmology

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A BEAUTIFUL NEW STORY The scientific story of the origin and evolution of the cosmos has intrinsic beauty and transcends national and cultural differences. The images of modern science and cosmology have aesthetic beauty and the potential to birth a new sacred story . Hubble OpticalDeep Field Image of Galaxies 12 Billion Light Years away, about 2 Billion years after “the beginning.” (1996) Image of the universe 0.4 Million years after “the beginning.” This image of temperature fluctuations was measured by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. The cooler regions “seeded” the stars and the galaxies.

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THE WHISPERING COSMOS Today Einstein's general relativity frames the whispering cosmos, the “cool” remnant radiation from the hot big bang. The “cool” (- 270 C) remnant of the hot big bang.

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“In the Beginning:” BIBLE “…..God created the heaven and the earth…..and the Spirit of God (Divine Consciousness) moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1.1-1.2)” “… was the Word (logos, rational ordering principle) and the Word was God and with God. (John 1).” SCIENCE …The primeval hot Big Bang.

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Sjoerd L. Bonting is an emeritus professor of biochemistry, Netherlands and an Anglican Priest -Theologian Are near death experiences neurophysiological artifacts caused by cerebral hypoxia due to cardiac arrest? The lasting life-transforming effects can hardly be explained as neurophysiological artifacts. Finally, no neurophysiological finding can explain the full range of near-death phenomena. Scientist Pim van Lommel’s, MD, book, Consciousness Beyond life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience , sold 125,000 copies sold in Europe. It appears to provide information about the interim period between death and resurrection, a subject about which the Bible tells us little and on which most theologians remain silent. It also leads us to consider our scientific knowledge of life and its inescapable limitation. We need a discussion of the images that bible and science present of the human person.

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St. Paul’s 1 st Letter to the Corinthians 13: 8  Love never faileth: but whether  there be  prophecies, they shall fail; whether  there be  tongues, they shall cease; whether  there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9   For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 1 0   But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11   When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12   For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known . 13   And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these  is love.  

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OUTLINE: ARE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES “PROOF OF HEAVEN”? 1. Neurosurgeon Eban Alexander MD, author of Proof of Heaven , while in a 7- day coma during which he was brain-dead, had a NDE. He was convinced that we are more than brains and bodies and death is not the end of consciousness. 2. Neurologist Oliver Sachs, MD, author of Hallucinations, has a naturalistic, scientific explanation of Alexander’s NDE. Cardiologist Pim van Lommel MD for decades studied NDE in 100s of patients, which he published in the rewound medical journal Lancet. He believes the current views on the relationship between the brain and consciousness held by most physicians, philosophers, and psychologists are too narrow for a proper understanding of the phenomenon . He shows that our consciousness does not always coincide with brain functions and that consciousness can even be experienced separate from the body. 3a. Dr. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake: “Minds are not confined to brains.” 3b. Extended Memory, the Extended Mind, and the Nature of Technology-Mediated Memory Enhancement. 3c. “In the Beginning:” Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters (Gen1:2) vs The Primeval hot Big Bang. 3d. “Then shall I know even as I am known. (I Cor 13:8)”

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What is ultimate reality? Are we physical beings having a spiritual experience? Are we spiritual beings having a physical experience? Religions have a longer historical tradition for finding meaning in death and life than science. The resurrection showed that the transforming power of God’s eternal love in Jesus was stronger than death. My web page www.MirrorOfNature.org

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Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery   Biologist Rupert Sheldrake Scientific Dogma is Unfounded : All of reality is material or physical; the world is a machine, made up of inanimate matter; nature is purposeless; consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain ; free will is an illusion; God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls. The existence of information fields act as a kind of universal memory. Once a form or activity has come into being it provides the blueprint for other similar effects, which may then multiply with ease. The classic example is the formation of crystals, for which Sheldrake has elsewhere provided evidence, but in principle he thinks it can apply to anything, from the development of organisms to the acquisition of new skills.

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Raymond Moody, M.D. , Ph. D., author of “Life after Life” (1975), which sold 12 million copies. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lunfjnCt5ic#t=1417 ) .  Dr. Moody coined the term Near Death Experience (NDE) and listed their 9  characteristics. He believes NDEs are visions of another world we enter after death. The happiest life is that of love.  

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A PHILOSOPHIC WORLDVIEW Van Lommel’s and Alexander’s claim contradicts neurologist Sack’s assertion that our consciousness cannot survive physical death. Which is true? For philosopher Whitehead, truth is the confirmation of appearance to reality (15). What then is reality? For Schopenhauer (32) who followed Kant, we can never know the reality of the “thing in itself” (of NDE) but only its representation filtered by the input of our five senses. What we interpret as reality is not that at all, but our representation of perception. Clearly van Lommel, Alexander, Jung, and Sacks have very different representations of NDE. However they all can agree that NDE has spiritual meaning for those who have experienced them.

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