Mod+ 255. IAN MCCORMACK’S EXCLUSIVELY CHRISTIAN NEAR-DEATH EXPEIENCE

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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  3. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    My take . . .on this specific incident as related by him

    He thinks he's dying . . brings an image of his mother to mind. His mother is a devout Christian which he knows. I'd guess that she must have tried to make him one when he was a child and maybe even as an adult. All the rest seems to be thoughts based around stuff he's heard and "what ifs." It's similar to conversion stuff I've read by people who feared that they were going to be killed.

    If by NDE we mean being in a state where one's awareness is not within the standard physical-oriented state, I don't see the incident as being one.
     
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  4. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Saiko, that wasn't his NDE. His NDE was what happened to him once he was in the hospital and "died" (see the account I just linked to).
     
  5. tim

    tim New

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    I've just read the transcript, holy cow, think I'd better listen to it now :) I honestly don't know what to make of his experience.

    Surely God can't be illogical, join my club or go to hell. Wouldn't it be rather hypocritical to convert to something only because you're afraid that you're going to get in trouble if you don't ? Having said that, this is a minefield and the truth is probably a very, very wavy line across it.... and I don't want to upset anybody.

    Personally, this is why I just stick to "do we survive" ?
     
  6. Alex

    Alex New

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    agreed. this fact combined with the "do unto others..." covers almost everything.
     
  7. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    When I read his account on the Kevin Williams site, I don't see where it's crystal clear that this is Jesus talking to him. I saw what I believe was the glory of the Lord. Unless I'm reading this wrong, I don't see the being identifying him or herself as Jesus, only obliquely in the following part:

    I asked, “Who are all those other people?” And God said, “If you don't return, many of these people will not get an opportunity to hear about me because many will not put their foot inside a church”.

    I also don't see anything in the NDE account itself that says Christianity is the only way. (?) That seems to be more Ian's interpretation of what his experience means. (Again, just going on the account as written up.)
     
  8. tim

    tim New

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    The Christ figure that Vicki Noratuk (Blazon now) encountered seemed to be consistent and believable. According to her, he also told her to go back and tell them that.... "I am" ...so what do we make of that ? .I don't think Vicki's two friends who died previous to her experience (and who turned up looking in rude good health) were particularly "good" characters , I think Vicki intimated that they were rather mean....

    I read something interesting in Judy Bachrach's new book about Pam Reynolds. Her grandmother that she met in the light was actually rather a wild woman who was married at least seven times and her uncle was a womanising hard drinker. They weren't in hell. There's hope for me
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
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  9. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I won't be changing my view of NDE's because of any persons interpretation of them, Ian has one interpretation of it, but it's one human? It has been filtered through his brain, with his strengths and weaknesses and his ego and his Mum's religion and everything else he has experienced up to the moment, 32 years on , that Alex interviewed him.

    I would have asked him just one question. Why was an atheist, a self confessed mocker of Christianity through his mother, given the chance to change his mind at that late stage ? It doesn't really matter if it was before the NDE, it was after he had been stung ?After all, he said himself of hell 'Yep, I could've deserved this place'. Who brought those visions to him, and what makes him special ?

    Well I think it's better preaching Jesus than practically anything else, even if he has blinkers on. (I'm not a follower of any religion) but I believe in Jesus.
     
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  10. I think the link I posted on Chinese and Japanese NDEs, and how these reinforced (or at least were used to reinforce) Pure Land Buddhism pretty much cancels out any attempt to use a religious NDE as a definitive, exclusionary revelation.

    The argument he presented to defend exclusiveness of Christianity via NDEs seemed to be based on a combination of ignorance and rationalization.

    AFAICTell, the best you can get out of an NDE is that Mind goes on when the brain is incapacitated, and if we accept that then something seems to push toward moral behavior...without being clear on what that behavior is supposed to be. Honestly it seems almost like an AI left here to spur us on toward moral evolution while simultaneously not being so radical the NDEr is dismissed as a loon.
     
  11. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    [​IMG] at myself. Whoops!! No wonder it didn't qualify. I'll go correct my error.

    ----
    Okay. Yes that IMV qualifies as an actual movement of his attention to beyond the physical. I also like that he generally presents his take as "what i believe to be . " Overall, an interesting translation of what he experienced.


    Are there any known cases where during NDE someone who'd never heard about Jesus encountered what they believe to be him?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
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  13. bishop

    bishop Member

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    All it takes is one human, right? Just because it's one person says nothing about the validity or truth of it.

    So basically any NDE that is 32 years old should be considered shaky on the same grounds, right?

    Just an observation (and I mean no offense to you, Steve, specificially): It's interesting to see proponents using similar tactics that skeptics use to cast doubt on events that don't fit within the "accepted" understanding. In this case, the understanding being that the specific God of the bible couldn't possibly be the actual reality. I have to say I'm impressed that Alex is willing to pit these seemingly disparate NDE accounts against one another to try and understand what's going on. I myself have no idea how to even begin to unpack it. But I can't, and won't, dismiss any part of it.
     
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  14. Mazda

    Mazda New

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    If there are any individuals incarnated on Earth at the present time on a similar spiritual level to Jesus, none of us have heard of them.

    therefore, anyone who has a NDE is most certainly Not going to be in contact with Jesus , or any other very advanced soul.

    Why ? - because we are no different a moment after we pass on , to what we were a moment before.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Member

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    No offence taken.

    All NDE's are individual and subjective accounts, I was only saying that this is only one more of the many. In my opinion this is an extreme, one dimensional interpretation of the experience by a person I don't and never have rated highly as a balanced NDE'r. I make no attempt to cast doubt on the events in his story, only his interpretation of them.

    The only thing I take as firm from NDE's ,right or wrong, is that it is all about love. I couldn't give a stuff about Science or religion. To be honest, if Ian's view is 'real' I wouldn't want to be involved !
     
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  16. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    My take on this, and it's only a hypothesis, is that this is just the latest round in some established religion defending itself in the face of a perceived threat. Though NDE accounts don't tend to be hostile towards Christianity, they often tend to disregard or minimise many of its aspects, while focusing more on ideas such as love or serving one's fellows. Feeling itself being undermined, and fearing a loss of power, the idea was conceived to launch a counter-attack by manipulating the concept of the NDE. There's just too much that comes across as a contrived storyline, akin to a whodunnit or other fictional work, that pulls the account outside the scope of even the most extravagant NDE. I can only offer my apologies if I happen to be wrong, but I call it as I see it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
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  17. I think the smart thing is to decouple seemingly connected events as much as possible. In the case of an NDE, you have a visionary experience apparently induced by the cessation (or severe reduction) of brain activity.

    Since this isn't CD, let's go with the working assumption that mind does things without brains during an NDE. (Not to mention we have physician confirmation of this that Jim posted in the last thread.)

    At that point people have incredibly coherent experiences. But are there people who have incoherent visios, or just silly dream experiences as well? I think there are records of this, and I'll try to find some links. So that's one hurdle.

    Let's then look at the coherent visions. We have a lot of comparative accounts from different religions about needing to be saved from Hell through Jesus, or a particular Buddhist doctrine, or Plato's ideas of virtuous action. We'll have to also try and find Indian/Native American/African/etc NDEs to compare at some point as well.

    So there's commonality in the basic idea of Hell, Heaven, and some means of avoiding the former to end up at the latter. But these are different means, that seem very culturally dependent. So that's another hurdle.

    Then we have the NDEs that tell us not to worry about Hell, to avoid playing the Magical Belief Lottery and hoping we picked the right means of escaping damnation. Better to be a spiritual person who picks the best path for themselves. Another hurdle.

    Throw in the negative NDEs, not to mention other high strangeness, and you have a forest of hurdles...

    None of this means Jesus wasn't a real person or didn't have an important role to play - for example it's possible his role was similar to the one Steiner accords him. I also think people's past negative experiences with Christianity make them more anxious to see it replaced with something new, ignoring the reality that one can find a fulfilling path to the Numinous within its confines without being as exclusionary as Ian Maccormack.

    But it seems to me, given all the hurdles, the important lesson is to not abandon reason and to support the values of secular democracy, the latter being the best hope of gaining any real understanding of Reality.
     
  18. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Alex's question at the end of the interview:

    What do you make of the strangeness of NDE accounts?
     
  19. Alex

    Alex New

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    how about this:
    - first, I gotta be a decent human being (secular democracy)
    - then, I gotta get better at this love/compassion/connection thing that I'm much better at talking about than practicing.
    - everything else is in some way or another a distraction/illusion/not-that-important stuff along the way. So if Jesus (or in my case Neem Karoli Baba) helps me sleep better at night, or helps me be better at the first two, then great... but it's ultimately about me discovering/realizing me.
     
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  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    What do you make of the strangeness of NDE accounts?

    I'm not sure what "strangeness" means in the context of NDEs. Let's suppose it means that there's some variety in the nature of of them and how they are interpreted. Alex maintains that the majority aren't experienced or interpreted within a particular religious framework such as orthodox Christianity. I think that may well be true, but so what? Since when are things decided through consensus? At one point, Alex accepted that it might be a case that both Maccormack's and other kinds of NDE might be equally true or valid.

    I'd tentatively posit that all NDEs are relative to the mindset of the experiencer. When people have an NDE, the central commonality seems to be that it's a life-changing experience, however it's presented or interpreted. A fair number of NDEs aren't linked in with orthodox religious themes, indeed seem to indicate that all of us are unconditionally loved regardless of whatever religion (or none) we're used to. In addition, some figure that appears as a bright light or whatever may be thought of as Jesus or Buddha, or may even say that's what it is.

    For my money--and I think Alex and I seemed to agree on this in the discussion about Howard Storm's NDE--we can't take the source of the NDE as being some ultimate transcendent truth in its pristine state. Such a truth might well be involved, but it's filtered by experiencers, possibly influenced by their conditioning and spiritual state at the time of the event.

    For all we know, those who actually die and don't return to tell the tale carry on within the world that appears to them in the NDE. That world could be unique for each one of them. While we're alive, we can share common perceptions: we all see the same stars in the sky, and so on. When we have irrevocably died, and we no longer have these perceptions, there's nothing to ground us in that way. We're literally free spirits, no longer having to work within the biggest conditioning framework of them all, i.e. what we may think of as physical reality.

    On the other hand, what happens when people irrevocably die may be a transition from what is reported in NDEs to an experience that is the same for everyone. The NDE could represent a state of transition between life and afterlife: if one happens not to irrevocably die, but instead returns, one has to find some way of integrating the NDE into a life that continues. Maccormack seems to have integrated it within an orthodox Christian framework. By his own lights, he's being rational and true to the experience he actually had, and the same goes for those who integrate their particular experiences in other ways. I can't find it within myself to pass judgement on his interpretation and present mode of action in the world, any more than I can on those who've had NDEs more in line with my own worldview.

    NDEs are what they are: they're all strange in the sense that most of us have never experienced anything like them, but if we're to accept they are significant, we have no choice but to entertain the phenomenological descriptions of those who have had them. Whilst many descriptions might fit within the broad hump of the bell curve of a normal distribution, some might appear as outliers on the tails. The distribution of numbers just gives us a distribution of numbers; it doesn't tell us anything about the underlying truth we might all experience when irrevocably dead: this might be something different from all the descriptions.
     
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