The Facts on Near-Death Experiences by John Ankerberg and John Weldon

This Christian book is an interesting read.

Near death experiences are reported by some people. Probably as many do not mention their experience.  Some not all think they actually died and came back. But the science shows that we are talking about people who were not actually dead but were in grave danger of death.

Typically they feel they have left the body and go through a tunnel and meet a light that talks to them or a being.  The experience is usually one of total love and non-judgement as in harmful actions being seen as no different from good ones.  They feel they are sent back to the body.

The fact is that scientifically they are not dead and they are still "in" their bodies.

The book says that half of those who report this claim that they have started to affirm the doctrine of reincarnation.  A being often tells them they must go back so its a short step from thinking you can be sent back to your own body to thinking you can go to a new one.

By the way with regard to reincarnation the book denies flatly that the claim that “reincarnation circumvents the nihilism of materialism is true.” Its very simple. If you keep coming back in your body that is as much materialist as thinking you only have the body you have now. It can be seen as so materialist and naturalist that one life here is not enough. 

As for karma the book points out that if others suffer that is their karma and you should not care or help. It says that is how believers feel.  You should be glad to see them suffer for at least they are getting rid of their karmic debt.

The book points to certain religious beliefs that evil is an illusion that will exist forever.  The illusion notion is callous for if evil is not just an illusion you are failing to show true rapport with those who suffer evil.  This illusion notion is part of the belief system that affirms karma.  It is an additional cause of the hard-heartedness. 

Plus if we should not judge evil done by people and ignore the consequences in order to feel love for them that is just another take on the "I must see evil as nothing and as an illusion" attitude.

The book points out that there is no karma for you to pay. There is a penalty for sin which Jesus paid.  But karma is based on reaction.  If you do grave harm and repent and you think Jesus has taken the punishment for it you still have a reaction to face.  This leads to people thinking it is a good thing and no compassion is due.  You don't need a doctrine of karma to do harm.  There are some truths in the notion that do harm and those truths are embraced by those for whom karma is not part of their doctrinal system.

"One common element in all near-death experiences - in many cases" witnesses live with this experience summed up as "It's like one life ended, one life began."  People report feeling they have little in common with the person they were before. To change too much is considered to be a sign of a mental breakdown of some kind.  It can be life-wrecking especially for your children and partner.

Maurice Rawlings MD writes about a young man who committed two murders and found himself in a beautiful paradise during his NDE in which the divine voice in the light never even mentioned his crimes and was just interested in showering love on him. He said, “I knew I should be in hell instead of this nice place, but I kept quiet. As for God’s indifference to his crimes he asked Rawlings, “Doc, does God ever make mistakes?”

It has been pointed out that many supporters of the ideas that come from most NDEs argue for unconditional and universal love meaning in practice that you treat everybody as you and you as everybody “It means you cannot divide or separate people, that you have no expectations, no needs, no wants, no conditions of any sort in loving. Love loses its object and becomes objectless.” It is “a love that is impersonal”.  Its a love that is so thin and so spread that it hardly counts as love but a form of narcissist virtue-signalling.  It in the words of Atwater a psychic who is a fan of NDEs "We trust everyone because we know of no reason not to".  In other words, thinking you need caution implies judging.  The authors wonder, "What are the implications of an impersonal, unconditional love bereft of moral absolutes?"  Its impersonal for you do not consider the potential or actual harmful side of human nature at all.  That is loving a person the way you want to perceive them not the way they are meaning its impersonal.  Loving everybody is spreading love so thinly that it is a caricature of love.

I would add that forgiveness gets redefined as saying the wrong act was not wrong but a lesson for the one who did it.

One example of how this love works is a lady in the book who found she was loving that way and her love for her husband went out the window. A man with a similar experience of loving everything was reported by his wife and children to have become unreachable and living as if he were in a world of his own and unaware of their personal needs.

Dr Sutherland, “Perhaps the most noticeable feature of the results [of an NDE] is that major increase in the number of divorced people following the NDE…almost all ascribed their divorce primarily to the aftereffects of their NDE.”

What happens a lot to those who report this experience is that they become “virtually fearless about death. And for that matter virtually fearless about life. They live very firmly ‘in the now’ savouring life as it happens, making as much of it as they can”.

Do reports of the NDE encourage those who are contemplating suicide?  Researchers deny this and say one, "individuals who commit suicide and then have an NDE seem to come back with the conviction that their suicide attempt was not a solution to their problems" and/or two "some people have it communicated to them during their NDE that suicide is a 'sin'".  The NDE would be as bad as ever if it did not encourage suicide but did not discourage it either.

Betty Eadie who had an experience said we must never miss out on opportunities to grow on earth by committing suicide but then she also said, "Our deaths are also often calculated to help us grow...some people choose to die in ways that will help someone else."  So if there is an issue you can avoid it perhaps by making sure somebody will profit from your suicide.  Perhaps you are an organ doner.

The book answers that the social climate or feeling is that choosing to leave the world is a right.  The NDE reports a being who is not a judge at all so there are no real final bad results for dying by suicide.  And those who say its a sin still say that going to the afterlife by suicide or having an NDE after an attempt is about "opportunities for growth".  The idea is that its just a mistake and does not really matter for growth can and will go on.  It will always be provided.  Some feel that they have grown and now its time to leave by suicide.

A liberal view is common among NDE people is that with suicide that it was not for them personally and "it [the wrongness of suicide] wasn't a general statement for every person.  There are some people I know who've committed suicide.  It's a path for some people.  It's just not my path."  This does not regard suicide as anything that serious.  Its all about the lessons not the actual act of killing yourself.  If you can get out of your body and there is no sin in that then why should getting out by suicide matter that much?  The experience makes out that your body is not you but your house so you cannot really think of killing yourself as killing yourself.  It is not self-murder.  If it is then what is demolishing your house?

Closer to the Light is a book that tells us about NDEs that explicitly tell the person to take their own life.

The blissful paradise and light during the NDE make this world seem like a drag so "I really didn't have much desire to go on living.  I really wanted to go back ---I really wanted to die."  Betty Eadie writes about the horror of having to return to her body and she said during her NDE, "I'm staying right here where I belong.  I'm through with earth!."  After she said "I became inconsolably depressed."  Conversations must be started about people who ended up mentally ill or dead over being so depressed at having to live here in their body just because they keep wanting to go back to the bliss they found in the NDE.

A Janet says, "I feel that if a person did commit suicide, they would be met with total love and compassion, as I was.  God is just total love."

The book correctly tells us that “Apparently one’s experience in an NDE has something to do with one’s views prior to the NDE.” I wish to stress that this is in fact true. I’d like more exploration into why this is. Is it because religion is a form of self-delusion which in certain circumstances can flower into hallucination or such a strong delusion as a vision when your body feels it is dying?

It points out that some report visions when they nearly have died that match Christian views. The story of Dan appears who was an active homosexual and he seen a light from which Jesus spoke to him and said he is living an ungodly life and to go back and change. “Go back and glorify Me.” Dan repents of his “sinful” gay life. The book says that God “can intervene in a near-death situation anytime He chooses”. The idea seems to be that the experience in itself is problematic so God can intervene and stop the problem. Its similar to how you can consort with demons and get a message from God for God can speak when he wants. It does not validate near-death experiences.

The book points to how the unsaved dead don’t appear to be able to visit the living if you look at Luke 16:26 and 2 Peter 2:9. It asks, “Have the unsaved dead ever made appearances to Christians and given messages? Biblically this seems hardly credible”. So the visions of certain holy people or people who never glorified Christ are probably from demons or the people themselves are no better than demons.  Yet some NDE experiences report non-Christian figures.

As spirituality is spirituality and religion is religion, I would hold anyone who encourages people to go to the supernatural and adopt "spiritual" beliefs is part of the problem.  You are a drug dealer even if you tell yourself that you are giving the profits to the hospice.  You and other drug-dealers have individual differences but are collectively something intolerable.  Same principle.