Life after death or near-death experiences involving hell

Post up on thoughts that are not related to the other forums in THEOLOGY.

Life after death or near-death experiences involving hell

Postby chasinghope » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:29 pm

Hi everyone,

I'd like to know what are y'all's thoughts concerning people who have had life-after-death, or near-death experiences, that involved hell as a torture chamber.

I've read different accounts by people in different religious and cultural backgrounds, and wonder if there is any truth in what Jody Long, a near-death researcher, says:

One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.


Thoughts?
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:59 pm

Everyone knows that people who have NDE's that don't reflect Hell are deceived by Satan and those who have NDE's that reflect Hell are born of God. Hopefully you can catch the sarcasm :-)
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby alecforbes » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:52 pm

Hi AL, :)
NDEs are very interesting to me and I've read quite a bit about them, and trying to integrate what people have experienced into what I might believe as a Christian universalist and based on what I know of human nature and science is challenging. I've come to believe that some NDEs represent experiences outside of the natural world---i.e. they are truly "out of body" experiences by the person's consciousness or soul. Others, I'm convinced, are due to drugs, medications, confabulation or certain psychological states. I think even the legitimate NDEs are often embellished ex post facto to conform to what the person thinks he should have experienced.

I guess my opinion is to be very skeptical about NDEs etc.---but not to discount them. I would sincerely doubt any NDE describing a real "hell" as a "torture-chamber" and I think there are a number of explanations for why people might publicize those types of accounts. NDEs are very interesting phenomena but be careful of being too influenced by any individual account.

Just my thoughts…

All the best,
Steve
alecforbes=Steve Hammond
" What I cry out upon is the misunderstanding that comes of a man’s endeavor to understand while not obeying. Upon obedience our energy must be spent; understanding will follow ."----George MacDonald
User avatar
alecforbes
Moderator
 
Posts: 1443
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:06 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Cindy Skillman » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:17 pm

Good thoughts, Steve -- and good topic, CH!

I wonder whether the trimmings of the various NDEs might have something to do with the inexpressible nature of the experience. Of the ones I've read, those that seem most credible are fairly short accounts, and the person giving them will often make reference to the incapacity of language to describe what they've experienced. That sort of challenge, it seems to me, would naturally lead to people placing these encounters within the context of what they "know" already -- what they believe. I'm thinking of a quote and I believe it was CS Lewis in the Narnia series -- the gist of it is that what you see depends to a large degree on where you're standing, and on the sort of person you are.

That said (and I think that is very significant), ALL the people whose accounts I've read or heard, who've seen a torture chamber they describe as hell in an NDE, have subsequently been delivered from hell. Most of the ones I've read have them calling out to Jesus to save them and Him doing just that. Some have the person simply being resuscitated and so saved at least temporarily -- long enough for them to get their act together and (again) call on Jesus.

I wonder whether, upon returning to this life, people might not be forced by the constraints of the human brain, to see their experience in symbolic ways? I think @Sherman may have mentioned this and it definitely seems plausible to me. What do you think?
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

http://www.journeyintotheson.com
User avatar
Cindy Skillman
Administrator
 
Posts: 4073
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:55 pm

NDEs are very interesting phenomena but be careful of being too influenced by any individual account.


I've actually been reading up on NDE accounts across cultures and religions, and because of the diversity of experiences, it's hard to be influenced by any particular account. However, I did come across a couple NDE accounts from Jewish persons whose experiences were very much similar to what I think your idea of purgatory is. That was rather interesting.

That said (and I think that is very significant), ALL the people whose accounts I've read or heard, who've seen a torture chamber they describe as hell in an NDE, have subsequently been delivered from hell. Most of the ones I've read have them calling out to Jesus to save them and Him doing just that. Some have the person simply being resuscitated and so saved at least temporarily -- long enough for them to get their act together and (again) call on Jesus.


I immediately noticed this pattern, too, Cindy, and also found it interesting.

From my general (and non-extensive) reading, I've seen a connection between NDE's and a person's religious belief system. For e.g, in the accounts that I've read, Hindus who believe in Yamraj, the Hindu god of the dead, experienced meeting him, Jew's who don't believe in Jesus or ECT Hell, experienced God as described in the OT, while Messianic Jews experienced God as Jesus, Christians experienced Hell as a torture chamber, and, unbelievers who did not hold to any particular religious beliefs, experienced God as a vast and personal light, full of unconditional love.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Jepne » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:08 am

http://smile.amazon.com/Journey-into-Li ... +the+light

I am currently reading this book and finding it VERY refreshing. I am more than halfway through and I agree with this review: "The author, who espouses traditional American Christian beliefs reviews what we know of NDE's from a Christian perspective. Not surprisingly, he refutes the New Age style message brought back by most NDE experiencers.

However, his tone is not negative or positive, but very objective (given his stated reference point - The Bible). At the beginning of the book he identifies two basic camps of NDE researchers, - those who think it is purely a physiological process and those who believe it is a spiritual one - and he declares his position which is in the middle. He believes it is a physiological process that occurs when the brain is shutting down, and states that he also believes that it can be a gateway into a spiritual realm, but that he thinks the experiences gained in that realm (if any) are most likely deceptions by evil forces disguising themselves as "messengers of truth".

In the first half of the book he provides a very balanced and non opinionated review of the various NDR researchers and opinions out there. He reviews in detail medical, sociological, historical and psychological studies on the subject. In the latter part of the book he describes how the various "truths" espoused by most NDE experiencers are at odds with his interpretation of Christian doctrine.

Even though I don't share his fundamentalist Christian views, I admit he makes a pretty strong case for NDEs being primarily a physiological process."

What people experience with NDEs is very similar to what people experience when they have a Fear Death Experince - say, when they believe they are facing imminent death. Also similar is what fighter pilots experience when the G-force makes their blood leave the brain....
Jepne
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:38 am

Thanks for sharing that, Jepne.

I've not done a lot of research, and I am neither learned nor informed enough to give an intelligent opinion. However, it makes sense to me, with the limited knowledge and experience I have, that (most?) NDE's are primarily physiological experiences.

I've never had any out-of-body or near-death experiences, but, I have often had dreams similar in nature to many of the NDE's I've read. Most of the things I've experienced in my dreams are indescribable, and nothing like reality as we know it in this world. Emotions experienced in these dreams are also much more powerful, and tend to leave a lasting impact even after I awake from sleep. I've also woken up immediately upon hearing the words "wake up" in my head --which strikingly resembles the way some persons who have had NDE's regain consciousness. If I get injured in such dreams, I also awake feeling pain in the exact locations where I was injured in my dreams --this is something I've also read about in NDE accounts. So, I couldn't help but think that NDE's could be something experienced primarily in the brain during a sort of dream-like state. But, this is view is only based on my own experiences.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby JasonPratt » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:12 pm

I think we had an interesting thread on this recently, but durned if I can find it now...

Oh, here it is: http://evangelicaluniversalist.com/foru ... =12&t=5807

As someone tagged above, Sherman looks into this notion a lot.


CH, sounds like you lucid dream a lot! -- not nearly as fun as most people think it sounds. ;) I've been lucid dreaming since, oh, at least 6 yrs old, and it's exhausting as hell (even when the dreams aren't nightmarish, they're almost always stressful); I probably dream 8 hours a night (or more given the opportunity), and typically have to rest for an hour or so before I can get up. A great way to lose 3 lbs every night, but yeek.

Though yours sound stronger than mine: I've been killed hundreds of times (not any less frightening after the 600th time than it was after the 400th time... ;) ), but I don't experience temporary relevant pain when I wake up. Massive amounts of fear, but no pain to speak of. And while the dreams are always stressful (even when amusing), they're technically describable, and generally like reality or a fantasy/sci-fi version thereof. (My nightmares per se tend to be the most realistic dreams, the ones where I forget I'm dreaming and mistake what's happening for reality.)

No NDEs to speak of, though, thank goodness.
Cry of Justice -- 2008 Novel of the Year (CSPA retailer poll).
Sword To The Heart -- metaphysical argument to orthodox trinitarianism (and thence to universalism)
Trinitarian universalist exegetics, on internet radio, or here in forum posts.
User avatar
JasonPratt
Administrator
 
Posts: 9682
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Dyer, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:45 pm

CH, sounds like you lucid dream a lot! -- not nearly as fun as most people think it sounds. ;) I've been lucid dreaming since, oh, at least 6 yrs old, and it's exhausting as hell (even when the dreams aren't nightmarish, they're almost always stressful); I probably dream 8 hours a night (or more given the opportunity), and typically have to rest for an hour or so before I can get up. A great way to lose 3 lbs every night, but yeek.

Though yours sound stronger than mine: I've been killed hundreds of times (not any less frightening after the 600th time than it was after the 400th time... ;) ), but I don't experience temporary relevant pain when I wake up. Massive amounts of fear, but no pain to speak of. And while the dreams are always stressful (even when amusing), they're technically describable, and generally like reality or a fantasy/sci-fi version thereof. (My nightmares per se tend to be the most realistic dreams, the ones where I forget I'm dreaming and mistake what's happening for reality.)


I agree, it is TOTALLY not fun, and most distressing. I've been having them from around, say, five years - mostly nightmares. I've been killed hundreds of times, as well. Although I've cut down my sleeping from 20hrs to mas o menos 12 hours, I "lucid" dream for most of that period. Some times it can last for days, if I am not awaken by someone else. Funny you mention weight loss --it's probably the reason why I have not gained as much weight as I should have due to a more or less sedentary lifestyle.

Some of my dreams are like fantasy/sci-fi or like being in the matrix. I can control them, too. I can leave one "world" and go into another. I can have weapons appear when I need it to kill baddies etc. I can even have any talent I desire (I usually choose being a rock star, and I am often crazy-good at the guitar.) I can be more than one person at the same time, or everyone in my dream simultaneously (even controlling their actions, although they are the ones killing me :?) However, lots of dreams are, in fact, indescribable - colors, objects, the environment - there is no way I can articulate it into language.

Exciting to meet another "lucid" dreamer.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:03 pm

JasonPratt wrote:I think we had an interesting thread on this recently, but durned if I can find it now...

Oh, here it is: http://evangelicaluniversalist.com/foru ... =12&t=5807

As someone tagged above, Sherman looks into this notion a lot.


CH, sounds like you lucid dream a lot! -- not nearly as fun as most people think it sounds. ;) I've been lucid dreaming since, oh, at least 6 yrs old, and it's exhausting as hell (even when the dreams aren't nightmarish, they're almost always stressful); I probably dream 8 hours a night (or more given the opportunity), and typically have to rest for an hour or so before I can get up. A great way to lose 3 lbs every night, but yeek.

Though yours sound stronger than mine: I've been killed hundreds of times (not any less frightening after the 600th time than it was after the 400th time... ;) ), but I don't experience temporary relevant pain when I wake up. Massive amounts of fear, but no pain to speak of. And while the dreams are always stressful (even when amusing), they're technically describable, and generally like reality or a fantasy/sci-fi version thereof. (My nightmares per se tend to be the most realistic dreams, the ones where I forget I'm dreaming and mistake what's happening for reality.)

No NDEs to speak of, though, thank goodness.


Hmm, I thought I was alone on this... Jason, do you sleep on your back? At some point a few years ago I lost the ability to sleep on my side and so I had to adjust to my back. Now I slap on my back almost exclusively. Since that time, I have had lots of lucid dreaming. Sometimes I crash in a plane accident, sometimes a best friend says a few choice words and puts a gun to my head and pulls the trigger and just a few nights ago I was swimming in a pool of sand and for some reason decided to do a back float and I sunk to the bottom, but I soon panicked when I realized the sand was too heavy for me to get out and woke up before I died, basically. The weird thing is, I am not really scared of those things happening. I could probably write a book on all the strange weird dreams I have had :-)

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, I think that research is biased. On what grounds can someone claim 'evil spirits' merely because it 'appears' to against what your interpretation of the Bible is? I think we are too conceded. It goes a bit like this: A cannot be B because B Is C. Err, what? There isn't any real sound logic to the argument on how one would accuse another of evil spirits and another of God. Perhaps the Apostle Paul never went to heaven then? It was probably just his brain releasing chemicals? No, of course not, because it was Paul and the Bible says it was real. Now, I am not attempting to mock the Bible, I am more mocking people who are completely biased in their interpretation of these things. That is why I am not offended by Bart Erhman and his skepticism over miracles. Why are miracles false when a Muslim reports them, but true when a Christian does? Is not God, God of all?
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:15 pm

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, I think that research is biased. On what grounds can someone claim 'evil spirits' merely because it 'appears' to against what your interpretation of the Bible is? I think we are too conceded. It goes a bit like this: A cannot be B because B Is C. Err, what?


Interesting point. I suppose we are all going to be a bit biased??? For e.g, one can argue that a NDE which describes hell as a torture chamber cannot be true, because based on their interpretation of the Bible, hell as a torture chamber does not exist.

If NDEs are real, however, perhaps God can use a person's existing belief system (for e.g a belief in ECT Hell), to bring them to repentance. Now, I don't agree with using fear as a motivator for repentance, but, I think it can be effective since I know many who have come to Christ under hell-fire preaching. Fortunately, they did not remain in a state of fear, but came to recognize God as a God of Love.

However, in my ignorant and uninformed opinion, I think it makes sense that NDEs can simply be mental manifestations of a person's belief systems.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Jepne » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:21 pm

You think the research in the book I recommended is biased? What did he say in the book that makes you think he is biased in his view?
Jepne
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:18 pm

Jepne wrote:You think the research in the book I recommended is biased? What did he say in the book that makes you think he is biased in his view?


Based on your description.

Jepne wrote:http://smile.amazon.com/Journey-into-Light-Near-Death-Experiences/dp/080105480X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410894048&sr=1-1&keywords=richard+abanes+journey+into+the+light

I am currently reading this book and finding it VERY refreshing. I am more than halfway through and I agree with this review: "The author, who espouses traditional American Christian beliefs reviews what we know of NDE's from a Christian perspective. Not surprisingly, he refutes the New Age style message brought back by most NDE experiencers


You says his reference point is the Bible. Which I am ok with. I believe the Bible is the word of God. The problem is, do we really know what the Word of God says or do we merely think we know what it says? That is my point. To refute some NDE's that don't line up with personal interpretation. I'll also go far as to say that traditional Christianity could be very, very wrong in the majority of it's beliefs. Enough to matter? Not sure.

I think my argument is essentially trying to remove people from a close minded view point and to quite appealing to tradition. Most commentaries out there on the Bible are based on 'tradition' and very rarely does a commentary research deeper than seeking commentaries from before their time. I don't despise traditionalism, but it is quite clear to see how Christianity can turn into a religion, and perhaps it is now. I am not sure. I know many Christians pridefully say that "We are not a religion, we just believe in Jesus" the problem is, most play the religion game. Sometimes I think people are really good at fooling themselves (myself included). Another bone to pick would be the verse which says "The heart is deceitfully wicked and beyond cure..." and guess what Christianity does with that verse? They exempt themselves from it and apply it to their opposition. That verse was never to be used as a weapon against people. Maybe I am just jaded from all the mud slinging hateful Christians that call each other heretics.

As for my real tone? I am not upset, just really, really cynical over these things. I can't help it. :oops:
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:30 pm

chasinghope wrote:
Anyhow, back to the topic at hand, I think that research is biased. On what grounds can someone claim 'evil spirits' merely because it 'appears' to against what your interpretation of the Bible is? I think we are too conceded. It goes a bit like this: A cannot be B because B Is C. Err, what?


Interesting point. I suppose we are all going to be a bit biased??? For e.g, one can argue that a NDE which describes hell as a torture chamber cannot be true, because based on their interpretation of the Bible, hell as a torture chamber does not exist.

If NDEs are real, however, perhaps God can use a person's existing belief system (for e.g a belief in ECT Hell), to bring them to repentance. Now, I don't agree with using fear as a motivator for repentance, but, I think it can be effective since I know many who have come to Christ under hell-fire preaching. Fortunately, they did not remain in a state of fear, but came to recognize God as a God of Love.

However, in my ignorant and uninformed opinion, I think it makes sense that NDEs can simply be mental manifestations of a person's belief systems.


I join you in ignorance over many things. That said, ignorance or not, it isn't hard to see a double standard concerning NDE's. People would do much better to deny them all, than to pick and chose with bias. To expound my point further, let us pretend we use the Bible as our 'standard' we first must agree on interpretation. Lets pretend we agree on interpretation and have it 100% correct. Now, what if I lie and come up with an NDE that matches scripture? Or rather, doesn't go against it? Do we assume that NDE is of God? What evidence is there for it? Another reason, criteria as a standard cannot prove these things - as I lied about the NDE experience in that scenario, but everyone gobbled it up because it appeared to line up with scripture.

L Ray Smith destroyed that one person's NDE, I think it was called 23 minutes in a Hell. It is difficulty for me to fathom that anyone could read even a few pages into that article before the evidence completely destroyed the supposed 23 minutes in Hell. The contradictions that took place, the logical absurdities.

In fact, this brings me back to an experience I remembered as a child in our church. I remember the Pastors wife said she was "In Hell" and she heard screams and terrible things. This lady really believed it too! Heck, she had me convinced as a kid. Everyone believed her, why not? If I heard that same garbage now, I'd have gone up there and refuted it the way L Ray Smith did.
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby JasonPratt » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:58 pm

Gabe,

Though I often start off sleeping on my back, usually I sleep in a fetal position on one or another side; occasionally I'll wake up and consciously turn over, sometimes I turn over without waking up.


CH,

Days on end or even 20 hours sounds like a severe medical problem! I have heard some doctors say that lucid dreaming is a side effect of our bodies fighting off medical symptoms of depression (whether locally induced by chemical disbalances, or produced as a result of dealing with incoming stress); one consequence being that, as I have read and heard, anti-depressant medication may only have a 100% chance of relieving depression but will certainly result in increased or lucid dreaming. On the other hand, I only picked up (detectable?) chronic depression fourteen or fifteen years ago, due to outside stresses, and it has never affected my dreaming one iota for better or for worse -- other than, perhaps, after a few years of the depression I suddenly lost most of my ability to consciously control my dreams, and for any practical purpose I have never regained it (yet). At about the same time, I suddenly began exhibiting micro-amnesia, a difficulty to clearly processes intended events for immediate recall, a condition that I clearly noticed during my final fencing match when trying to judge bouts: being unable to call the hits and judge right of way (which requires split-second attention and inference) distressed me so badly I effectively gave up fencing as a hobby. :cry:


Which I realize is almost completely off-topic, but I don't have much to say one way or another about NDEs, being still positively agnostic about what to believe about them.
Cry of Justice -- 2008 Novel of the Year (CSPA retailer poll).
Sword To The Heart -- metaphysical argument to orthodox trinitarianism (and thence to universalism)
Trinitarian universalist exegetics, on internet radio, or here in forum posts.
User avatar
JasonPratt
Administrator
 
Posts: 9682
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Dyer, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Dondi » Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:44 am

What if these experiences are related to the condition of the experiencer's soul? I'm speaking even of Christians. Now we all sin, even have pet sins and exhibit certain behaviors that is not beneficial to the condition of our soul. And so what if the condition of one's soul determines what kind of NDE one has? The scriptures make it plain that we are going to go through some sort of judgment process, according to I Corinthians 3:11-15:

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Now typically, one who is a Christian will believe that they are saved from the wrath to come. Yet this verse clearly speaks of some kind of fire that even the "saved' will be subjected to. If that is the case, even Christian's might experience what might seem like some kind of "hellish" judgement, though if one is a universalist, then of course these passages could apply to the whole gamet of humans, and not just Christians. This is evident be the tesimonies of those in other religions, as I pointed out in the other thread. Why do some Jews, Budhists, Muslims, etc, experience a change in their heart and subsequent behavior due to these experiences, even ones that include hell?

I think the question is one of "conversion", if I may use that term for a moment. What makes one converted? Maybe God isn't looking at the person's religious affiliation so much as the willingness of the heart to change. That is what is meant by repentance, after all. Look at how John the Baptist explained repentance to those who came to him for baptism. C.S Lewis spoke of what he termed "anonymous Christians", that is those who seem to exhibit the fruit of a Christian, but is apart from the knowledge or even the adherance in the belief of Christ. And this doesn't necessarily stem from the result of an NDE, of course.


So what can is mean that one is "converted"? Since God searches the hearts of every man, then He's not looking at a label, but the character of a person's heart.

"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." - Jeremiah 17:10

This isn't to denigrate the Work of Christ, for I believe it is the Spirit of Christ that is at work in the hearts of those who seek the good. Anyone who exhibits the fruit of a Christian is one whose heart is changed. They are saved by the grace given by God who bestows it without partiality to those who are seeking, in not the knowledge of Christ, at least the principles of Christ found within them as the fruits of their labor exhibit Christ in their lives. They are saved by believing in those Christ-like principles that God desires to see in every man.

I think it is dangerous to solely adhere to the "saving knowledge of Christ" as your conversion, because I believe God works in a deeper level than just a belief in Christ. Nor am I denigrating grace as the means of salvation. The blood shed and the redemptive work on the Cross provides that grace for every person. For if it is not available for every person, then God shows partiality. What I believe is happening is that the Holy Spirit of God can evangelize a person within the confines of their heart, even with incomplete knowledge.

The "fires" of hell is a direct indication of the state of a person's soul in relation to God. The person experiencing a negative NDE is experiencing the nature of their own soul, for which needs to be subjected to a purification proportional to relational "distance" to the Lord. In most cases of NDE, again regardless of religious affiliation, the person goes from hell-like to heaven-like state, and the tendancy is that the person develops a change of heart and life and a better hope when they return.

I think this make the most sense in regards to NDEs, if what they are experiencing has any basis on reality. And it gives me caution about my own spiritual condition. I can label myself as a Christian and indeed profess my faith in Christ. But it is far more important, IMO, that my life exhibit Christ-like workmanship that is the result of salvation that will transform my soul into the type of person God want's me to be and bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, rather than merely relying on Christ to passively save me. It give me pause and shivers to think that my soul might experince some kind of purification process in what can only be describe as a hellish process in order to be fit for a more heavenly-like state.

Does any of this make sense to you? I hope I'm explaining it right, because I don't want to be misconstrude in people thinking that salvation is not in Christ.
"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40
User avatar
Dondi
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:12 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:16 am

I see Christ as the bridge in regards to salvation. The bridge is open and we can cross it anytime, but he won't force us to cross it. But, the fact is, we will have to cross it at some point if we are to find salvation. Perhaps we exhaust every possible way around until we realize, there is no way but through Christ. Basically "If you want to get to the Father, you have to come through me" and I think we often put constraints on what it means to go through Christ. When Christ said "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me" we might be taking that too literally and put constraints on that statement. It is another potential example of A cannot be B because I believe B is C.

The more I study, the more I truly believe most people (myself is not exempt) going to meet Jesus completely off-guard... Their trick memorized questions to supposed questions that won't ever be asked. Example: "Why should I let you in heaven?" That isn't a question that is going to be asked, as if our Lord is giving a quiz to determine who gets in and who doesn't... Besides all that, our concept of heaven could also be very misunderstood.
Gabe Grinstead
 
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:55 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Sherman » Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:57 pm

Thanks for the tag Cindy. I've come to believe that in such experiences people are experiencing either the full reality of or having a visionary revelation of the reality of what Paul calls "this Present Evil Age." In this "Present Evil Age" many people are separated from God, tormented, consumed by evil from within and without, even demonized. They could also be experiencing or having revelation of the kingdom of darkness that we are translated out of, the BC Realm (Before Christ).
Sherman Nobles
author - "God Is A Divorce' Too! A Message of Hope, Healing, & Forgiveness"
http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore ... 331481-8-7
User avatar
Sherman
Moderator
 
Posts: 1832
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:09 am
Location: White House, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby alecforbes » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:12 pm

AL said: If NDEs are real, however, perhaps God can use a person's existing belief system (for e.g a belief in ECT Hell), to bring them to repentance. Now, I don't agree with using fear as a motivator for repentance, but, I think it can be effective since I know many who have come to Christ under hell-fire preaching. Fortunately, they did not remain in a state of fear, but came to recognize God as a God of Love.

However, in my ignorant and uninformed opinion, I think it makes sense that NDEs can simply be mental manifestations of a person's belief systems.


I've often thought that at least the setting of an NDE and some of what takes place may, indeed, be tailored to that person's belief system. I'm sure if we actually experienced God, our Creator, in an unfiltered fashion, it would be incomprehensible. Even with an expanded mental capacity, so much of what we experience, is filtered through prior experiences and beliefs that I think we would either interpret an NDE based on that and/or the experience, the setting, "props", "costumes" etc would be altered to help us. I think that may explain at least some of the disparity in the NDEs of people from diverse cultures.

That being said, I really can't accept that experiencing a "Hell" as a torture chamber is anything from God. I suppose someone could interpret pain they experience in spiritual education as "torture", but the graphic, "hellacious" descriptions of torture, pain, howling demons etc. is absolutely not from God. As I mentioned before, I think there are many possible explanations for these descriptions of experiences---from complete fabrication (most likely), to embellishment to purely mental (and not OBE) experiences.
alecforbes=Steve Hammond
" What I cry out upon is the misunderstanding that comes of a man’s endeavor to understand while not obeying. Upon obedience our energy must be spent; understanding will follow ."----George MacDonald
User avatar
alecforbes
Moderator
 
Posts: 1443
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:06 pm

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Sat Sep 20, 2014 7:00 pm

JasonPratt wrote:Gabe,

Though I often start off sleeping on my back, usually I sleep in a fetal position on one or another side; occasionally I'll wake up and consciously turn over, sometimes I turn over without waking up.


CH,

Days on end or even 20 hours sounds like a severe medical problem! I have heard some doctors say that lucid dreaming is a side effect of our bodies fighting off medical symptoms of depression (whether locally induced by chemical disbalances, or produced as a result of dealing with incoming stress); one consequence being that, as I have read and heard, anti-depressant medication may only have a 100% chance of relieving depression but will certainly result in increased or lucid dreaming. On the other hand, I only picked up (detectable?) chronic depression fourteen or fifteen years ago, due to outside stresses, and it has never affected my dreaming one iota for better or for worse -- other than, perhaps, after a few years of the depression I suddenly lost most of my ability to consciously control my dreams, and for any practical purpose I have never regained it (yet). At about the same time, I suddenly began exhibiting micro-amnesia, a difficulty to clearly processes intended events for immediate recall, a condition that I clearly noticed during my final fencing match when trying to judge bouts: being unable to call the hits and judge right of way (which requires split-second attention and inference) distressed me so badly I effectively gave up fencing as a hobby. :cry:


Which I realize is almost completely off-topic, but I don't have much to say one way or another about NDEs, being still positively agnostic about what to believe about them.


Is there anything one can do that would result in decreased lucid dreaming?
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:18 pm

CH,

I think that you may find exercise helpful. If the exercise is work, then so much the better. Spend as much time as you can working, whether it's cleaning the house, cooking, caring for the yard, dedicated exercise time, or at a moderately active job. This will tire you in a good and healthy way so that you will sleep more soundly. Try to go to bed at a regular time (say, 10 pm or thereabouts) and get up at a regular time. At your age you should probably be fine with 6-8 hours of sleep a night, but if you genuinely need 10, that's not so unusual. Just make sure you do get up at a regular time, rather than lying in bed drowsing. That's probably your dreaming time. And if you don't exert yourself during the day, most of your sleep time will be spent in light drowsing and dreaming.

The advantages of this are that first, you won't feel guilty for failing to accomplish things you'd like to do (or at least things you'd like to have done :lol: ). Second, you will be healthier and far less prone to depression, tension & nervous irritation -- as well as a whole long list of unpleasant symptoms brought on by inactivity. Third, I think you'll find your sleep sounder and your dreams much easier to forget on waking -- even the unpleasant ones. It's hard to make oneself do these things, but if you can accomplish it, I think it will at least help, and maybe even eventually eliminate the disturbing dreams. These are just observations on sleep and dreams generally. I haven't had much experience with lucid dreams, so this isn't specific to them, but I think it will probably help you if you can do this -- even if you have to wean yourself gradually from the excessive sleep periods. I hope it does -- do give it a try if you can. :)

Love, Cindy
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

http://www.journeyintotheson.com
User avatar
Cindy Skillman
Administrator
 
Posts: 4073
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby JasonPratt » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:02 am

CH,

I don't want to distract from the thread farther, so I'll pm. :)
Cry of Justice -- 2008 Novel of the Year (CSPA retailer poll).
Sword To The Heart -- metaphysical argument to orthodox trinitarianism (and thence to universalism)
Trinitarian universalist exegetics, on internet radio, or here in forum posts.
User avatar
JasonPratt
Administrator
 
Posts: 9682
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Dyer, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:37 am

Cindy, friend, thanks for your advice. I can't go wrong with being more active - but it is a challenge. Weaning myself off gradually seems like the only practical solution.

Jason - will PM you back. Thanks.

Anywho, I did a quick search and came across a website where researchers conducted experiments which seem to suggest that NDE's are lucid dreaming, or, to put it in the words of one neurologist, "NDEs are generated by the same brain mechanisms that cause lucid dreams."

http://www.livescience.com/19106-death- ... reams.html

Given my own experiences, it seems like one possibility. There definitely seems to be strong correlations between LD and NDEs, imo.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:16 am

I came across this post on the internet, and thought it was very insightful. The writer sought to explain how the brain and our belief system works, and why he feels convinced that religious experiences such as NDEs can have natural causes. He also spoke about his own NDE experience. It's a bit lengthy, but, I thought it was worth it.

Let us look at the human brain itself - it is made of localized areas called lobes, and these lobes "do" things when electrical activity takes place within them. Communication between the lobes is virtually simultaneous, and most of us would like to think that our brains are a seamless whole.

However, each lobe has its own specialization. One lobe processes your thinking and reasoning, another handles input from the five senses, another deals with speech and yet another is your short term memory. These lobes are the conscious part of your mind - it is where you see, hear, think and react to the world outside. Although these lobes are part of the integrated whole, just for discussion purposes and not as a definition, it is useful to group these lobes together as a single unit, and call it "the little brain".

The rest of the brain deals with everything else from controlling your heart rate to providing emotional responses to holding long term memory. Again, purely for discussion, it is useful to call this subconcious area of your brain "the big brain", for it really is very much larger than the concious brain.

The technology of fMRI allows doctors to study what is wrong with any one lobe, and researchers to examine what each lobe does. Some of the research simply confirms prior theories, and some gives new insight and explanation.

For example, we now know that the little brain processes about 2,500 bits of data per second, constantly during waking hours, and never varies much from that figure. Big brain processes about 4 billion bits per second, some lobes in constant agitation and others at rest until their functionality is required.

One early discovery explained the experience of deja vu. When a subject loses the short term memory of a sight or sound just after seeing or hearing something, the sound or sight is present in long term memory. That is, the sight or sound entered both short term and long term memory simultaneously, short term dropped it for some reason, and found that long term memory recognized the sight or sound - even though it was being sensed for the very first time. Deja vu really is nothing more than a brain blip.

We now know that the ability to believe in religious ideas is held in three separate lobes, which do other jobs as well. This ability piggy backs on those lobes. That is, there is no special religious belief lobe. (It would have been a very odd god who had the human mind built in such a way that it was impossible to believe in god, and the mechanism neither adds nor subtracts from theology).

The second piece is the temporal lobe. When this lobe is activated, it gives us the ability to empathise with others. It is normally activated by seeing somebody or something, and we sense whatever it is that the person or thing is experiencing. Sometimes it gets activated when no-one is present, and we then sense the presence of that no-one. One cause of such activity is temporal epilepsy - and such epiletics have so many religious experiences that they are considered to be blessed by some cultures. Another cause of such activity is an experimenter providing the lobe with micro-electronic stimulation, and the subjects consistently report religious experience, consistent with the prior teaching of what a religious experience consists of. Christians report sensing the presence of Christ, jews the presence of God, Muslims the presence of Allah, buddhist a state of nivarnah and so on.

The third piece is the Limbic system - several lobes deep in the lowest reaches of the subconcious that provide, among other things, the ability to get ready to have sex, to fight, to flee in fear and so on. One thing we have learned about this particular area is that it is where all Near Death Experience originates - with its hallucinations, ghosts, and light beckoning from the other side of death's door. Some brave people have had NDEs invoked upon them in labatory settings.

However, outside of such experiments, the strength of NDEs produced by the limbic system are so overpowering, that atheists have been known to become theists after such an event.

We need to look at these three pieces in some more detail - but we have gone far enough for an OP.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Before looking at religious belief itself, I'd like to take your time to look at how the belief system works in general.

The events you conscious mind witness pass into your subconscious instantaneously. The subconscious processing of those events causes emotions, memories etc to be evoked and the results often are passed back to the conscious mind equally instantaneously.

But sometimes the mechanism does not always work properly.

For example, you meet a person and big brain gives you an instant signal that you know this person. May be with some images of shared experience, and so on. Definitely with a signal if this person is friend, foe or an unknown quantity. But the person's name may escape you. How can that be? Big Brain definitely knows a lot about this person, and must have that name stored somewhere - it is just the ability to get to that memory sometimes stalls. Hypothesis: until modern times, recognizing friend or foe was far more important than remembering names, so our brains are still more geared to the friend/foe recognition than to trivial side issues.

There is a similar effect when you mislay something. Short term memory has no idea where your keys are - someone tells you left them in a particular place - and Big Brain's instant confirmation makes you slap your head as you say "Doh!" Hypothesis: Big brain sometimes is working to an agenda that does not necessarily match that of little brain. Being at a subconscious level, we have no idea what that agenda is at any one time.

When it comes to what we belief, the sequence is that input to the conscious is processed by the subconscious and the subconscious sends a "true/false/don't know" sort of signal to the conscious mind.

If I say "Madagascar is a large island in the Indian Ocean" you probably get a "true" signal - even if you have never been to that place in your life. Your subconscious measures the statement, finds it consistent with everything you have been previously been told, and you get the "true" signal.

If I say "Frenchmen live on a large island called France in the middle of the Atlantic" you could get a "false" signal. If the person making the statement is someone you trust, you might get a momentary "don't know" to see if there is some special meaning, or joke, tied up in a statement clearly at odds with everything you have previously been told about Frenchman and France.

The signal for true/false comes as early in receiving input as possible, and then affects everything that follows thereafter. (This really is very recent research, and may need further work to get it clarified into a predictive phenomena). But it has been shown that if someone makes an early statement that the recipient holds to be false, all the following statements made are scrutinized purely to see where they also fail to be true.

The mechanism is very powerful: a professor of English found that he could dismiss a 27 page essay showing that William Shakespeare might not have been the "real" author of the plays and poems ascribed to him. The professor had published a paper supporting the opposing view - that Shakespeare was the real author. He dismissed his student's essay out of hand, without further comment, because the wrong year was given in it for King James' coronation. It mattered not how trivial the error was, it gave his Big Brain all it needed to satisfy its agenda that the submitted essay was wrong.

The sub-conscious acquires its stock of what is true and what is false over a relatively long period of time. Once something is held to be true or false, the belief mechanism is designed to keep that belief intact. When something is moved from being true to being false, or vice versa, the emotion involved with such a switch is very strong. We call it an epiphany.

Once a belief is established, it is very hard to get it changed to something different.

Which is why we will consider next the Jesuit truism "give me the child before he is 7 years old, and I will give you the man"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The lobes in the mind become active from some source of input, and your mind reacts to that stimulation.

For example, there are localized spots in two lobes (the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum) which, when activated, give you a deep sense of pleasure. (Aw, come on, there has to be something in the brain that causes the pleasure sensation). An experiment with Rhesus monkeys (who have similar spots) involved giving them a button, which when pressed, stimulated their pleasure centers. If left to their own devices, those monkeys would have starved themselves to death as they became fixated in a nonstop cycle of pressing their button.

When someone tells you that the purpose of human life is to seek pleasure, it is not impossible for that purpose to be fulfilled by a suitably engineered helmet.

The lobes in the human brain fall into two broad groups: the four lobes that make up your conscious mind, and all the others that make up your subconscious.

A large number of activities in the sub-conscious are reflex conditions that have evolved over time, and exist in us because that reflex in ancient times made our specific ancestors survive in primitive settings.

Being subconscious, we are not aware of the mechanism, but we are aware of the resulting emotion. Public speaking today is often difficult because our successful ancestors fled when surrounded by eyes, and survived. We have a built in reflex to want to flee when surrounded by the eyes of an audience.

Our personality is not inherited - it is a mix of life time experiences reacting with the underlying reflexes. And in acquiring our personality, we acquire our belief system.

There is constant feed back from those we trust as infants (infants who have trust in elders tended to live longer in primitive times, so we also have a built in trust during our infancy). This feedback influences our personality, and as a side effect, our belief system.

Some beliefs rapidly become self-evident through proof: pain is unpleasant and avoiding it is worthwhile.

Some beliefs become self-evident through repetition: if you are bad you will go to hell.

And some through reflexes giving us internal input-response relations. When I stroke a pet cat, it purrs and that gives me a pleasurable sensation. Therefore it is nice to stroke a pet cat.

Now, there was a relevant experiment that used human volunteers. It involved a helmet that stimulates the subject's temporal lobe.

The temporal lobe's prime purpose is to give us feelings of empathy with others - it meant that humans could work in packs a long time ago, and as teams nowadays.

When there is no one present, stimulation of the lobe causes the person to emphasize with no-one, and through a process known as agenticity, create some sort of "being" to account for the presence felt.

The device became to be known as "the God helmet". It was placed on the subject's head, the button was pressed, and the subject reported a sensation that was consistent with the subject's core religious attitude.

It was found that the stimulation of a theist's temporal lobe produced the presence of the relevant god, of a Buddhist led to a heightened oneness with the universe, and atheists reported a warm and fuzzy feeling that they couldn't quite pin down.

To understand religious belief mechanisms properly, we need to tie to this phenomena those of the Limbic system and the three lobes that carry religious conviction. Then we shall be able to decide if religion is a by-product of stray neurological activity, or the way a God "tickles" lobes to confirm his presence to the believer.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was once in the triage ward of a hospital. I was waiting for surgery to deal with an internal burst blood vessel. In the early hours of the morning, my blood pressure caused an alarm to sound, and suddenly my bed was surrounded by several nurses and a doctor, doing all sorts of presumably coordinated activity. One nurse smiled at me, stuck a syringe in my arm and said "You are going to be ok" A few seconds later, I went to sleep, and when I woke up, all had been put good, and I was discharged a couple of days later.

Now - something very strange happened in the period between the needle jab and falling asleep.

I was suddenly aware that I was in the presence of an invisible (to me) entity that had an intellect vastly superior to my own. What is more, I instinctively "knew" that this being was totally aware of every single detail of my entire life.

When I was discharged, you might be curious as to why did I not run to church? Well, there was in my way of thinking a serious fault in what this superior being had done - or rather not done. Why had it arrived at that particular moment, and then simply watched as an idle bystander? Why no communication? And where was he or it all the rest of my life? This did not seem at all rational. And I found no solace in the catchall "God moves in mysterious ways".

I later came across a paper published by Dr R. Joseph. His research material showed that activation of the amygdala, hippocampus, and temporal lobe are responsible for religious, spiritual, and mystical trance-like states, dreaming, astral projection, near death and out-of-body experience, and the "hallucination" of ghosts, demons, angels, and gods.

These lobes are not part of the four bits that make up the conscious part of the brain. When stimulus in the subconscious turns on the images visible to the conscious, the conscious part of the brain has no idea where those images are coming from. And the conscious is absolutely certain that the images are not self induced.

More than one F-84 pilot flying at night, through a cone-of-silence, reported on landing safely that during the scariest part of the flight, they had hallucinated that they were sitting on the wing of their jet fighters, watching themselves fly the airplane. This was originally thought to be a consequence of spatial disorientation, but is now seen to be a result of limbic stimulation caused by the extreme anxiety of flying solo at night in life threatening circumstances.

In short, when the limbic system is activated the subject has strong religious experience, when the temporal lobe is activated when no one is present, the subject has a mild religious experience, and when the conscious part of the mind becomes aware of the subconscious part, the subject invariably reports being in the presence of an invisible all knowing being who has total knowledge of the subject's life.

These three responses has a causal effect in that three other lobes of the brain may then hold a belief in a deity, either for the first time, or to reinforce an existing belief.

A side effect of the three lobes holding the belief, is that whenever input is heard or seen that challenges that belief, the conscious brain looks for any reason whatsoever in order to be able to discount the input.

The same thing happens with non-believers - they are also constantly looking for any reason possible to discount any input that might disprove their non-belief. We all inherit the same systems.

The limbic system, the temporal lobe and mind expansion can be triggered by stress, drug, illness, random internal neural activity, external electro-magnetic activity, input from any of the five senses and, not proven but included for the sake of completeness, a deity activating these components as part of his divine will.

So - you look at a starry night, a newborn child, a perfect rose, a portrait of Christ - whatever - and the sheer majesty of the emotion evoked from what you see or feel causes the temporal lobe to activate. You could become convinced you are in the presence of god, whose presence now explains the mystery of what you are seeing.

The only thing you have to resolve is whether that temporal stimulation is natural or supernatural.

In my case, I became convinced it was natural.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Paidion » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:25 pm

I suggest exploring a book by Richard Abanes (a Christian) called JOURNEY INTO THE LIGHT Exporing Near-Death Experiences.

You can read reviews of it at Amazon, and can purchase from them a used one for $1.99 or a new one for $9.92

JOURNEY INTO THE LIGHT
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years. I am now in my 80th year of life.
User avatar
Paidion
 
Posts: 3739
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:38 pm
Location: The Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:14 pm

Hi, CH

I read the first article you linked a couple of days ago and I've been thinking about it since. It's interesting, but I think, not very persuasive. I'm not saying they're wrong, just that the evidence they present isn't (imo) very good. A couple of problems . . . first, while there are NDEs while the brain still displays electrical activity, there are many NDEs with medical documentation of no discernible electrical or any activity at all in the patient's brain. By definition then, the brain isn't suffering from an overload of CO2 or anything else. It's turned off -- like when you power down your computer and take the battery out. The data is still there (as long as the tissues aren't without O2 for too long a time), but nothing is happening at all.

Second, these lucid dreamers in the experiment are first coached to have a particular kind of experience, and then they make an effort to replicate the experience in their dreams. I can do that in a daydream anytime I like. It wouldn't be as real as in a lucid dream, I'm sure, but the thing is -- the fact that they can implant a fantasy they've been coached to create within their dream doesn't prove anything regarding people who spontaneously experience this scenario (or another scenario) during periods of cardiac arrest (or even during periods of extreme stress such as immediately prior to and during a car accident). And then there are the NDErs who report accurately on the activity of the medical team, or report meeting (in their NDE) people they know, who have unbeknownst to them, recently died -- while they themselves were sick and uninformed.

Anyway, I guess I'm undecided on the whole NDE thing, but I can't see where this lucid dreaming experiment teaches us anything about the authenticity of NDE's or its lack. It probably teaches us quite a lot about lucid dreams though, and I'm glad I read it. :) I'm going to scan your second article now.

Love, Cindy
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

http://www.journeyintotheson.com
User avatar
Cindy Skillman
Administrator
 
Posts: 4073
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:25 pm

Another worthwhile read, CL, and I enjoyed reading it. :)

I was particularly interested in one of the 'asides' that probably has little to do with the writer's conclusions. The idea that personality is not inherited? :roll: Sorry to fixate on that, but it's total bunk. Personality is most certainly inherited. Input along the way has its effects -- no denying that -- but personality follows genetics. Ask anyone who has adopted an infant or raised the child of a completely absent father or mother. They get personality traits from BOTH parents; they just do. Separated identical twin studies also confirm this. Not on topic, but it kind of makes me wonder at the quality of the author's researching skills. It's a valid point of contention -- difficult to prove something like that for yea or for nay, but to just flat say "Our personality is not inherited" is silly.

The author rightly points out that we respond to stimuli to the brain. The thing is though, most of us don't walk around with suitably designed helmets gently zapping carefully selected portions of the brain. There's no reason to suspect that otherwise perfectly normal persons who've never experienced a supernatural phenomenon in their lives are suddenly seeing a "ghost" -- and that this is happening because this or that lobe was falsely stimulated, thus causing a hallucination of some sort. He speculates that this has to be what happens, because he does not believe it possible for a person to truly see a ghost. After all, he knows that ghosts don't exist. I reserve judgment on ghosts, but the point here is that he's reading his own belief system back into the data. In his beliefs, consciousness is a product of the brain. If there is consciousness, then it absolutely MUST be a product of brain function, and if that consciousness is aberrant to what he considers natural, then the brain has to be malfunctioning. From his point of view, it makes perfect sense.

Again, I'd give the same objection about the brain essentially being powered down during many medically studied NDEs. This writer had an experience that he seems motivated to discount. (That's fine -- he needs to do what he needs to do.) And it's possible that he DID have nothing more than a drug-induced hallucination. It doesn't sound (from what he writes) as though he was ever in danger of his life or that his heart (much less his brain) flat-lined. But from his writing it does sound like the experience troubled him and he has a need to explain it naturalistically. To the naturalist, the brain IS the mind IS the consciousness, and when the brain ceases to function, everything winks out. If the person is revived, then he should remember nothing past the time of the shut-down -- not even a hallucination. I'm guessing that in his experience, his brain did NOT cease to function -- however a great many people do have experiences while their EEGs are flat, indicating no measurable electrical activity, indicating what medical science considers to be brain death, and solid grounds for asking about the patient's organ donor card and/or seeking permission from the family to pull the plug (after harvesting any useable organs). If a flat EEG for a given period of time and absent medically induced coma doesn't indicate irreversible brain death, then a lot of people have been . . . well, let's not get too macabre here. :?

Atheists are highly motivated to discount these experiences because their belief system says that they cease to exist once their brain ceases to function. Any activity (true or hallucination) after brain death is cause for trepidation. So they ignore this inconvenient factor: the flat-line EEGs of many NDErs.

For us, it might also be more convenient to discount NDEs because they challenge our belief system with Muslims seeing Muhammad or Allah, Hindus seeing Krishna, etc., Buddhists melting into the collective nirvana, and Christians seeing Jesus. (And of course certain people who believe in it and are perhaps expecting to end up there, experiencing hell.)

People who try to describe their NDEs soon pick up a new vocabulary word: ineffable. It seems the experience genuinely cannot be described with human language. If this is the case, I wonder whether it can be translated into human thought filtered through the apparently inadequate human computer: the brain? If they've ignored God, rebelled against Him, been cruel to their fellow human beings, etc., I wouldn't be surprised to learn that their NDE was unpleasant. But if the NDE cannot be described by human words, I doubt it can be adequately processed by the human mind either. We do a pretty good job of expressing our minds -- some better than others. I can't think of a thought in my head at this moment that I'd describe as ineffable. Hard to explain, maybe, but not completely impossible. Not ineffable.

So, if this is the case, I'd expect each person to interpret his or her visions in an NDE they experienced via their own symbolism -- the things familiar to them. I don't have a problem with people who aren't Christians meeting with a welcoming presence beyond the veil. Actually, it gives me quite a lot of hope for myself. God's mercies never come to an end. I think He knows when our intentions are good and when we at least desire to do the best we can with what we have. All names (sounds) will be sorted in the end and we will all know God by His true names and titles. No one comes to the Father except through the Son, but all come through the Son. Why would He send Pagans to hell simply because they innocently worshiped the gods their parents and culture taught them to worship? If they by nature do the things they know to be right to the best of their knowledge and ability considering their circumstances, why would He demand more from them than they were able to give in those circumstances? And if they come back here and interpret their experiences (ineffable -- completely beyond human expression) in light of their own culture, I don't think that's surprising.

What the NDE tells us, if it tells us anything, is that human consciousness survives the apparent death of the body. People report seeing temporal things they could not see in the circumstances (even people blind from birth have reported accurately, in visual language, what they have seen), hearing things they should not be able to hear -- that they weren't even in the proximity to hear, and knowing things they ought to have no way of knowing -- verifiable things, available via video recordings, surgery records, testimony of medical personnel, etc. Atheists don't like to hear that. They are VERY invested in the idea that consciousness is seated in the brain and the brain only. We are flesh and blood, and spirit does not exist. For them, this is a dangerous idea, and even more dangerous if they perceive themselves to have experienced such a thing. Scarier still when well-known atheists (as has occasionally happened, I'm told) have such an experience and back off ever so quietly from their former beliefs.

So . . . again, an interesting article and I don't doubt the author's sincerity -- but it's not especially persuasive to me. I think he's struggling to explain away his experience -- whatever it was.

Love, Cindy
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

http://www.journeyintotheson.com
User avatar
Cindy Skillman
Administrator
 
Posts: 4073
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby JasonPratt » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:21 am

Aside from not accounting for brain-death experiences (though I could make some lightly educated guesses as to how those would be accounted for, at least partially), what I noticed was that the author seems to reduce religious belief or lack of it down to (apparently) mystical experientiality or the lack of it -- except that the author tacitly acknowledges his own capability to actively infer truth in a fashion qualitatively superior to the experientiality. He allows on one hand that even he might, in theory, be rationalizing away an experience to better match his pre-experience set of beliefs; but his whole article is set up to be an argument about the truth of various inferences from data, in a fashion nominally superior to mere rationalization.

The point being that if he's capable of that, other entities similar to himself can be capable of it, too, and so might be responsibly reaching different conclusions about how the facts of life add up.

That's kind of an aside; I can see, and generally agree with, why he decided his own particular experience was only a natural by-product, under the circumstances, and he fairly allows that the areas could be intentionally stimulated for actual communication or valid informational purposes by an outside person (including, in theory, a deity).
Cry of Justice -- 2008 Novel of the Year (CSPA retailer poll).
Sword To The Heart -- metaphysical argument to orthodox trinitarianism (and thence to universalism)
Trinitarian universalist exegetics, on internet radio, or here in forum posts.
User avatar
JasonPratt
Administrator
 
Posts: 9682
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Dyer, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Dondi » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:40 am

There is also the advancement of the idea that the consciousness is apart from the brain, that the brain serves as a sort of a filter in which the consciousness resides. In other words, while in the body the brain limits what the consciousness perceives. But once death occurs, the brain is freed up to a greater consciousness that is not bound by the confines of the physical brain.

Support for this would be cases of people who are blind (even from birth) having NDEs where they are able to see colors they never seen before. (There are even cases of people, not necessarily blind, who have seen "colors" that are not in the normal visual spectrum of colors). Likewise, with the deaf NDEs hearing sounds they couldn't while in the material body.

In most of the NDEs I've read about, the person experiences a sharper clarity of mind and sense of awareness even greater than normally experienced in the physical body. Sensations are acute and a sense understanding about their surroundings and knowledge suggests more than just dreaming or even lucid dreaming. They claim that a reality exists that is even more real than what we experience here.

Then there is the phenomenom of cases, especially involving children, where they have encountered dead relatives or family friends whom they never met or seen in pictures, and upon returning are able to identify them when a picture is shown to them.

Or there are cases where a person with an NDE is unconscious and therefore would not be aware of their surrounding, coming back and describing conversations that took place that they shouldn't have been aware of, even down the hall from the hospital room they are in. Or describing precise procedures performed on them while unconscious during surgery or resuscitation performed while undergoing cardiac arrest.

I can grant that the brain can perform some mindboggling things, but some of the stuff I've read just can't be easily explained. Not that I'm fully bought into the idea of NDEs reflecting spiritual realities, but it is intriguing to study and lends open all sorts of possibilities.
"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." - Matthew 25:40
User avatar
Dondi
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:12 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:07 am

Thanks for reading; and good points everyone. I have to come back to this, but wanted to acknowledge your responses.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:38 am

Arrrggghh!!! I typed up a decent response to y'all's replies, and lost it! I know I should have copied it before clicking "preview" but I didn't this time. I honestly don't feel like re-typing a post al momento, but, hopefully I will get to it some time. Boooooooooooooooo.
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby JasonPratt » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:49 am

Like I have tried to train my Mom (to no avail): ALWAYS COMPOSE IN A TEMPORARY TEXT FILE SOMEWHERE YOU'VE SET UP FOR THAT PURPOSE, SO YOU CAN SAVE IT AS YOU GO!

Which even I occasionally forget/neglect to do, so I still feel your pain. :)
Cry of Justice -- 2008 Novel of the Year (CSPA retailer poll).
Sword To The Heart -- metaphysical argument to orthodox trinitarianism (and thence to universalism)
Trinitarian universalist exegetics, on internet radio, or here in forum posts.
User avatar
JasonPratt
Administrator
 
Posts: 9682
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:08 pm
Location: Dyer, TN

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:11 pm

CH, I can usually find posts that happens to by hitting the "back" or the forward button. Too late for your lost post I fear :( but next time . . . .
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

http://www.journeyintotheson.com
User avatar
Cindy Skillman
Administrator
 
Posts: 4073
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:11 am
Location: South Dakota, USA

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby NightRevan » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:31 pm

The work sighting neurological studies is interesting, though I do wonder if the author interpreting as Jason suggests the evidence somewhat narrowly. He does make an important distinction above of course that there is a possible distinction between stray and random (and perhaps damaged or dysfunctional) synapses firing off causing the sensation which the brain interprets as a religious experience which is then filtered through the person's own understanding, or whether it is rather normally a sign the person reacting to something they are interacting with (since it was extra medically-induced artificial stimulation of those areas of the brain, just as other such stimulation can produce similar feelings and sensations in patients that are normally the result of actual interactions, sensations and events in life), though he reflected a hope that future research would clear some events up.

The problem is I think he might still be defining things to narrowly, or rather defining his idea of what he means by God to narrowly, which together with an imagined 'natural' vs 'supernatural' division of reality that just isn't the case with what classical Christianity or creational monotheism in general means by God (nor does it see reality as having a natural realm and then a supernatural realm that 'breaks in' and intervenes as it were). He seems to see God as a god, a being among other beings, part of the universe (though a powerful and supernatural one), who can only if he will interact with do so through particular mystic ways, rather then that God as beyond Being, or Being in it's full reality, the one infinite source of all that is, the uncontingent Ground of all contingent things and reality, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, uncreated, uncaused, perfectly transcendent of all things, and so by this very reason completely immanent to all things. He is not an inhabitant of any natural or supernatural dimension, He is not posed over against the universe, nor rather is He the universe itself, but is beyond the totality of all created being (which comprises all beings such as ourselves, stars, galaxies, or for that matter potential angels, demons, gods etc). He is rather the Being who is beyond being, the inexhaustible source of all reality, the absolute upon which the contingent is always utterly dependent, the unity and simplicity that underlies and sustains the diversity of finite and composite things, Infinite being, infinite consciousness, infinite bliss, from whom we all are, by whom we know and are known, and in whom we find our only true consummation (Hart, D.B. The Consciousness of God, pg. 30). Therefore his hope to divide an experience into a provable mystic 'supernatural' interaction in light of the theistic conjecture of who God is (as a opposed to a god, say Zeus, who however powerful was always thought to be part of the universe, of nature, a being among other finite and contingent beings, a god, even the architect creator god of the Deistic view, is a completely different category of thing to the God the theistic and Christianity in particular declares) is fatally flawed from the beginning. God as understood above is not limited to only certain supernatural interactions, as if he were just a being among others, rather everything is Him interacting with creation, and creation interacting with Him, so the very example he gives that he would think can be defined as a 'natural' experience, such as being overcome by the beauty and majesty of something which then causes the neurological response (or for that matter such experiences, or for that matter acts of love or compassion that don't involve such stimulation) would not be the result of God communicating and interacting with us is just wrong in my opinion. The very experience of beauty and wonder, particularly the deeper insight it gives and the growth is very much an experience of God and interacting with Him, to think otherwise is to bring in somewhat Gnostic ideas about reality, and not the Christian one.

He defines God to narrowly and therefore his analysis as well, and brings in a 'supernatural/natural' division that isn't part of Christian conception of reality, in hopes of defining whether such stimulation is the result of God or not, which misses the point of who God is. Such a study might reveal potentially whether someone might be interacting with some other being (say an angelic being etc), though even there I imagine trying to demonstrate how something could convincing be shown not to be purely a neurological effect or a reaction, or vis versa might prove terribly difficult from a purely neurological perspective.

As to NDE I tend towards the somewhat skeptical as to what if anything can be reliably gained from such experiences in terms of what is claimed to be seen in the unseen dimension of heaven, though it might tell much above the brain itself, and beyond that the brain/mind might exist and function beyond (though not on the whole separate) to the observable brain itself. The experiences are as suggested above quite similar to lucid dreaming, and the very trauma of events could likely generate in the coma states such experiences, this would apply even when the person potentially on the edge of death perhaps did interact with the unseen realities. They would still both filter that experience through their perceptions, particularly in their current comatose and traumatic state effecting how they understood what they were interacting with, and then when they finally recover this experience is processed and interpreted by their mind/brain which combines such sensations with the trauma induced lucid dream. Such experiences therefore would seem to me to be highly dubious as providing any reliable information, even the 'Christian ones, in fact in some respects the very traumatic nature of the experiences might suggest that some of the mystic and other experiences to the extent they operate and reflect some experience of God are more reliable to vary extents then NDE's, though of course we must be cautious.
"We learn of God through theology, but we learn about God through others." - Kate
"The beggar's outstretched hand is the altar of the Lord"
NightRevan
 
Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:45 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:29 am

Of all the NDE books I've read, four stand out:

    Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander
    Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani
    To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story… by Mary C. Neal M.D.
    Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death by Sam Parnia and Josh Young

Erasing Death is the most comprehensive research book on the topic, written by a medical doctor (i.e. who is Hindu, by the way). Proof of Heaven is an excellent rendering by a neurosurgeon, who writes also as an objective scientist. These two books would be at the top of my agenda.

Basically, you can explain near death experiences from the standpoint of Aristotelian philosophy (i.e. in the brain) or Platonic philosophy (a soul independent of the brain and body). And scientists and philosophers will try to align NDE experiences along one of those philosophical frameworks.

There are some alternative renderings. For example, the Lakota tribes know from experience a lot about spirits and the near death experience. And for a Christian view of spirits, I recommend the book The Pipe and Christ: A Christian-Sioux Dialogue by William Stolzman, who is a Roman Catholic priest and Lakota tribal member. But once I was talking to a Lakota elder about a sun dancer (i.e. one of their sacred ceremonies) who committed suicide. His response was that things would be much worse after death, as they need to deal with the same problems there. And he said it was like the Robin Williams movie What Dreams May Come. He said that movie was pretty much like it is. To learn a bit about the sun dance - from a Westerner's perspective and who ran a dance approved by Lakota elders - see Sun Dancing: A Spiritual Journey on the Red Road by Michael Hull.

Then there's the experiences of Tiffany Snow, who had a near death experience. She became a contemporary Christian healer and stigmatist. Here is her perspective on what happens three weeks after death at http://is.gd/zWLzER It should be noted that while she claims to be Catholic, it's not through the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome doesn't publicly acknowledge, endorse nor condemn what she learned and shared. But I have dialogued with her husband in the past, who's a priest in the Old Catholic Church (i.e. they broke from Rome). I did enjoy the dialogue and he was a nice person to talk with.

The Tibetan lamas also have done research into this area. They ended up producing the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Back to your question. Atheistic and agnostic scientists will continue to devise experiments to prove it's just smoke in the brain. Theistic and those with some conception of God (i.e. Brahma, Allah, Jehovah, etc.), will continue to devise experiments to prove it's more than smoke in the brain. More publications will be produced from shamans and mystics. Theologians and philosophers will continue to debate and reflect on near death experiences. Experimental Psychologists will try to see if any thoughts, feelings, etc., are influencing what they see and experience. They probably are experiencing a personal hell of their own thoughts, feelings, actions, etc. I personally look forward to what philosophers, neurologists and psychologists come up with in Phenomenology.
Eastern Anglo-Catholic, Holy Fool Theology; Inclusivist / Hope For All / Purgatorical Conditionalist; Joel Osteen Fan;
Contemplation (i.e. Fox Golden Key, Mindfulness, Yoga); Healing (i.e. Homeopathy, Kampo / TCM, Ayurveda, Native American);
User avatar
Holy-Fool-P-Zombie
 
Posts: 2465
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:30 pm
Location: Near Chicago or hanging out with Holy Fools, Zombies, P-Zombies, Nerds and Geeks

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby chasinghope » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:49 pm

Thank you for the recommendations! I listened to a few online panel discussions with medical experts on the topic of NDEs that included Sam Parnia. He does seem to have extensive insight and knowledge about the topic - particularly since he is works in the area of resuscitation science & medicine. Really intriguing stuff.

Edited to include:

In 2008, a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria was launched. The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK, examined the broad range of mental experiences in relation to death. Researchers also tested the validity of conscious experiences using objective markers for the first time in a large study to determine whether claims of awareness compatible with out-of-body experiences correspond with real or hallucinatory events.


For anyone interested, you can access the journal here: http://www.resuscitationjournal.com/art ... 00-9572(14)00739-4/pdf
chasinghope
 
Posts: 370
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:20 am

Re: Life after death or near-death experiences involving hel

Postby Kyle » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:08 pm

I have met someone who claims to have went to hell then came back. It has haunted me ever since along with an apparent vision my classmate had right next to me. If someone could help me please do.

God bless
Kyle
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:54 pm
Location: USA


Return to General Theology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests