Mod+ 254. HOWARD STORM TRANSFORMED BY NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,583
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2015
    Ian Gordon and north like this.
  2. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    349
    Home Page:
  3. Vortex

    Vortex Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    633
    I'd like Howard Storm calm and tolerance being learned by the some militant anti-spiritual Orthodox Christians in Russia (and equally anti-spiritual Fundamentalist Christians in the USA). But, I'm afraid, they won't. These guys would proclaim him as the Devil's servant immidiately.
     
    Lusikka, Typoz and Sciborg_S_Patel like this.
  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,078
    Alex's questions at the end of the podcast:

    1. How much does one trust one's own experience when it comes to spiritual matters?

    2. How might one's own experiences fit into the broader scope of phenomena as reported by others?
     
    alex.tsakiris likes this.
  5. brooke

    brooke New

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    110
    For myself, the answer to this question is "Not much". I've had so many spiritual experiences in my life (While in my 20's I saw "ghosts" and "auras" on many occasions, felt incredible oneness with the universe on a near-daily basis, and had expansive clarity while meditating that seemed bigger than life itself.) At the time it all seemed amazing and undeniably legitimate, but with life experience, professional training and insight gained through research, I've come to believe these experiences were usually a combination of wishful thinking, exaggeration and depression/anxiety (oftentimes with pot and alcohol also in the mix), and not part of some bigger spiritual reality.

    This is in no way to say that I don't believe that spiritual things may exist, but for me, I can't say I would absolutely trust my own judgment if I were to experience something like that now, and I certainly don't trust the many experiences I had when I was younger as being undeniably "spiritual".
     
  6. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,078
    1. How much does one trust one's own experience when it comes to spiritual matters?

    I guess I can say I trust the fact that I've actually had the experiences I've had (such as they are). The much harder question for me is how much I trust my interpretations of them. They change over time in light of new evidence/ways of thinking. At best, I suppose they're working hypotheses that could well be wrong.

    2. How might one's own experiences fit into the broader scope of phenomena as reported by others?

    Difficult to say. Like the man said, one can only speak for oneself. If Howard Storm had the experiences he had, then he's speaking to those and I can't really judge them. I do wonder if what one experiences in an NDE is, as he said, a gift or an aspect of grace that helps one in one's personal journey, whether or not one takes it a face value. Maybe in his case, the only experience that could have moved him to change and to serve had to be projected from within a Christian framework.

    It's a pity that we didn't hear more detail of the actual experience itself; apparently, he met with Jesus and discussed all sorts of things. Whatever, at least on the basis of this interview, he didn't come across as a tub-thumper who insists that Christianity is the only way. I stand to be corrected about that impression if anyone has heard differently.
     
  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,343
    Suppose you undergo a spiritual experience as a result of some chemicals - does that actually make them meaningless? To put this into context, I can't say I have had any but the most mild experience of this sort.

    My feeling is that mere chemistry can't explain these experiences. I mean, whatever such a chemical does to disrupt the mind/brain, it must have the capacity to generate such a strange experience embedded within it. How can this be - there seems no obvious reason why the capacity to have such experiences should have evolved by natural selection.

    By analogy, you can't disrupt a computer in some way and expect it to perform some totally unexpected calculation that had not been deliberately programmed into it!

    David
     
    Sciborg_S_Patel and K9! like this.
  8. Imperial Philosopher

    Imperial Philosopher New

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    1. How much does one trust one's own experience when it comes to spiritual matters?
    I suppose it would depend on what I saw. For instance, if I had, say, some transcendental dream where I encountered a deceased ancestor, and then learned information that I would have no other way of knowing, that is later confirmed to be accurate, I would trust it. Otherwise I'd be somewhat skeptical. I've had dreams that seem to have some meaning or be vaguely predictive, but then I've also had dreams that would basically fit in to a brain rambling about stuff incoherently while in a sleeping state. Overall, I wouldn't just plant myself into certainty, but I wouldn't just dismiss an unusual instance either.

    2. How might one's own experiences fit into the broader scope of phenomena as reported by others?

    Well, this where things can get a tad more scientific. Something that would make these things really difficult to dismiss are instances where multiple people are in the same abnormal experience. And, lo and behold, shared NDEs and shared-death experiences are apparently a thing. Having multiple people in the same experience removes argument ad populatum from the equation.
     
    Sciborg_S_Patel likes this.
  9. brooke

    brooke New

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    110
    To be fair, I said a combination of chemicals, wishful thinking, exaggeration and anxiety/depression...for me, I think that was more than enough to explain the experiences...that said, my experiences say nothing about the experiences of others.
     
    Sciborg_S_Patel likes this.

  10. One factor is that you have to decide if a spiritual message is a personal message just for you, is a message for some group of people, or is a universal message for everyone.

    I think Howard Storm's NDE was a message for Christians.

    Christians deserve spiritual encouragement from the other side just as much as anyone else does. It is not realistic to expect all Christians to give up their religion because of what NDErs say. If all NDEs were nondenomenational, many Christians would reject them. I think that we need to be tolerant of Christians and their beliefs and allow them to have Christian NDEs. If they want to start arguing exclusivity, that needs a response, but I don't see the need to discredit an NDE just because it is religious. Howard Storm is able to help many Christians evolve their understanding in a way that a non-denomenational NDEr would never be able to do, so I think we need to appreciate the work he is doing for his co-religionists and not be too defensive about our own beliefs.

    If you want to teach someone a lesson you have to maintain your credibility. That means you can't tell them something that will cause them to reject everything else you say to them. This difficulty puts a lot of constraints on what we hear from the other side and is the cause of many seeming contradictions.

    Remember, when it comes to consciousness, most religions are closer to the truth than materialist science.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  11. K9!

    K9! New

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,581
    I enjoyed this a great deal, Alex. Good interview!


    I would love to hear you interview Lee Witting. He's a Chaplain and an NDEr, and he hosts NDE radio for IANDS. His last two podcasts (September 15 and 22, 2014) were about how both science and religion seem to fail in the pursuit of the truth.


    http://www.talkzone.com/previousepisodes/204/NDERadio.html
     
  12. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,343
    I was impressed that Howard Storm seemed to open up a lot towards the latter part of the interview - seemingly acknowledging that Christianity could not be unique and that non-Christian NDE's were also valid. He also seemed ready to agree that a lot of Christianity had evolved into something quite harmful.

    I was also intrigued by his acceptance of life on other planets.

    I increasingly think of the other side as an extremely complex place - probably not unlike here on earth! There are probably lots of groups that perhaps only have a partial understanding of reality, even after death.

    Maybe there is even a bit of it all reserved for ISIL :eek:

    David
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  13. RHC

    RHC New

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    As a number of comments here have alluded to I don't see that there is any issue with scientifically researching the commonalities among NDEs, and individuals learning from and living from, the details of their own subjective interpretation of their personal experience. Of course one should 'trust', ie listen to ones owns NDE. What ever meaning, direct or metaphorical there is your own interpretation of a transcendental experience like this is yours to own and not anybody else to question. Modeling common patterns across human experiences and the subjective reality of individual experience are two different domains.
     
    Dmitch likes this.
  14. Howard Storm's account of his NDE is reprinted here:
    http://www.near-death.com/storm.html

    He is led into a hellish place but rescued by Jesus.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
  15. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,078
    Jim_Smith likes this.
  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    4,343
    Yes - sorry - I did unintentionally simplify what you wrote.

    Leaving issues of exaggeration and wishful thinking to one side, however, my main point is that strange states of mind need explaining even if they are associated with medical conditions. For example, I have seen it suggested that the Victorians were more familiar with altered states of consciousness because they suffered from fevers that would be stopped by antibiotics nowadays.

    The puzzle remains as to how the brain - supposedly evolved for a pragmatic purpose - contains such strange features. By analogy, it is as though we could fly, but only when we were fairly ill! Obviously, if you assume the brain tunes in to its mentality, those calculations don't apply.

    Anyway, it is good that you are so careful and honest about your own experiences, and I hope you find this website gives you what you need to avoid depression in the future.

    David
     
    brooke likes this.
  17. gabriel

    gabriel New

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,644
    More likely was the amount of opiates they consumed, including those given to fretful children! I'm uncomfortable with the idea that only modern medical intervention leads to NDEs. People have always drowned, or been hit by falling objects, and recovered. I think their experiences were not recorded because they didn't fit prevailing paradigms. Howard Storm's view seems to reflect my own Christianity, which is to say it isn't a free ticket to salvation, but a method of perceiving and reacting with creation in a meaningful and fruitful way.
     
  18. If your experience produces information that you would have no normal way of knowing but you can verify as true, then you have a clue that something unusual is going on.

    The evidence that an NDEs is a genuine spiritual experience comes from the fact the the experiencer has a realer-than-real lucid experience when the brain is incapable of supporting consciousness because there is little or no electrical activity in the brain.
    .
    The consilience of evidence from NDEs, statements of spirits communicating through evidential mediums, and interlife hypnotic regression, provide a strong argument that the reports of NDErs represent a genuine experience of the afterlife.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
    tim likes this.
  19. Saiko

    Saiko Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,181
    I was shocked by that statement. Experience is paramount! The opinions/beliefs/conclusions of certain "experts" do not even come close to being as valid and vital as anyone's actual experience.

    What people ascribe to those experiences is a different thing. Someone may say their experience is that they met Buddha but that's not the experience. The experience is they met someone or something. The rest is the meaning they're giving to the experience. Their translation of the experience. That meaning may, or may not, be mostly accurate.

    Also, hose who haven't had a relatively similar experience will always be just speculating. Fascination with the reports of others experience is not the experience. And no. current science does not re-experience in this area. Few, if any, scientists are bringing themselves to the point of death and investigating. Collating the translations of others is no substitute. The truly valid researcher in this area is someone who, for starters, has had such an experience.
     
    Dmitch likes this.
  20. brooke

    brooke New

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    110
    How would you decide when it stops being the experience and starts being what people ascribe to the experience? Don't we all ascribe meaning to experiences while they are happening?
     

Share This Page