David Sunfellow, Can the Scientific Study of NDEs Reveal the Purpose of Life? |413|

Here are a couple of compelling arguments for paying serious attention to near-death experiences:

1. While near-death experiences have profoundly influenced human beings, and human history, since the beginning, in recent decades they have turned into a global phenomenon. Whereas most spiritual paths, religions, and philosophical movements trace back to one visionary, modern near-death experiences are now being reported by millions of people all over the world -- children and old people, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, believers and non-believers, atheists and materialists. The heavens are literally pouring down on us, providing us with so much data that we now have the ability to not only collect this information, but actually separate, to a large degree, the universal themes of these experiences from the personal and cultural conditioning they come wrapped in. The only other universal experience I am aware of that comes close to matching the consistent universality of NDEs are non-dual states of consciousness. Dreams, visions, out-of-body experiences, channelings, shamanic experiences, UFO encounters, hypnotic regressions, and other spiritually transformative experiences are also universal experiences, but they tend to contain less voltage, consistency, and clarity than NDEs.

2. Sorry to quote the New Testament, but I think it is delightfully relevant. In Matthew and Luke there are stories of John the Baptist doubting if Jesus was the messiah the Jews had been expecting. Jesus reportedly answered: “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

The point being that near-death experiences are not only coming to us as a universal revelation, but they also contain serious firepower, which is one of the ways we can determine if they are valid experiences or not. Whereas other religious, spiritual, and philosophical systems (and other kinds of paranormal experiences) may (or may not) have the power to change lives for the better, NDEs are consistently packed with reality-defying miracles of all kinds. There is, in other words, no other human experience that delivers profoundly changed lives so consistently -- at least none that I am aware of. I think that's why NDEs have generated so much interest. We intuit that there is something about NDEs that is akin to angels knocking our personal and collective doors. While people are still trying to deny the evidence of their presence, the NDE angles are becoming increasingly difficult ignore, shoo away, or dismiss as the product of malfunctioning brains. Something new and important is happening here.

...........

Historical & Cross-Cultural Near-Death Experiences

Near-Death Experiences & Miraculous Healings

Near-Death Experiences Absolutely, Positively NOT Caused By Malfunctioning Brains

Jesus, Near-Death Experiences, and Religion
 
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The bomber’s actions don’t have to be condoned in the physical world because he and I as Whole Selves agreed to blow me up; we all keep playing our roles within the context of the physical (the collective reality that we as Whole Selves have chosen to focus upon and participate in) according to what we think is good and right.
I have seen quotes like that before, and they seem to mean that nobody is responsible for anything they do, because it is all a game played out between victims and perpetrators on a larger stage. Do you believe that?

More generally, once you drop the materialist view of life, we tend to think that our life/lives are for a purpose. It puzzles me what the purpose really is. I mean if the earth is a training ground for something else - what is it? Obviously you may just say you don't know!

David
 
“Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

The point being that near-death experiences are not only coming to us as a universal revelation, but they also contain serious firepower,
The mistake of modern faux-science - accepting only 'reliable' observations and thereafter attempting the armchair charade of improving their probative strength - as opposed to taking probative observations and conducting the hard work of increasing their reliability. The latter only is science.

This is what you and your community are doing David, and is well expressed in this compelling exhortation.
 
I have seen quotes like that before, and they seem to mean that nobody is responsible for anything they do, because it is all a game played out between victims and perpetrators on a larger stage. Do you believe that?

More generally, once you drop the materialist view of life, we tend to think that our life/lives are for a purpose. It puzzles me what the purpose really is. I mean if the earth is a training ground for something else - what is it? Obviously you may just say you don't know!
David, near-death experiences offer brilliant answers to the issues you raise. Yes, they say, life is an unimaginably wonderful game that we are all playing together. We play heroes and villains. We kill and get killed. We build houses, towns, cities, nations, civilizations, and then tear them down and start again. We love, laugh, hate, and experience the full gamut of human emotion. We visit other worlds, other dimensions, other times, other places, and other realities. It's all great fun and no one, in the end, is really hurt or lost.

At the same time, the game has been designed to achieve specific purposes and part of the way we achieve those purposes is by experiencing the consequences of our actions in the game.

Big picture perspectives (life is a game, the created universe is an illusion, everything is unfolding perfectly, no one is lost, we are divine, eternal beings, The Light loves everyone whole heartedly and unconditionally) are represented by encounters with The Light.

Small picture perspectives (we are frail humans full of all kinds of imperfections which must be wrestled with and perfected) are represented by the life review.

Both perspectives are needed to create a truly whole picture. While it is apparently not possible for us to understand the full depth and breadth of what is happening while we are stuffed in human bodies and minds, there is a lot of fantastic information that can help. Here's where to go to learn more:

Near-Death Experiences On The Purpose Of Life

I also encourage you to read my book. If money is an issue, email me your mailing address, and I'll send you a copy: nhne@nhne.org
 
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But can there be any productive outcome for a soul who's experiencing her body having its head slowly removed? I can only self-soothe by clinging to the hope that the souls of these victims are advanced enough to take on these pains for the benefit of other souls (including the perps).
I recall some of Michael Newton’s patients describing death as easy, reporting that their souls were pulled from their bodies moments before a painful death.

Surely that’s a very comforting thought. But, if true, then wouldn’t the lesson/karma of a painful death be lost? And what is animating the body writhing and crying out in pain? A sort of physical autopilot while the soul looks on from above? And in cases of prolonged torture ending in death, at what point would the soul detach?

Perhaps all of the pain and suffering is felt, but at our Whole Selves level, it’s no big thing. I’m reminded of soul groups going through pre-incarnation rehearsals, as though practicing for a play. Also from Newton’s books.

Personally, it all seems a bit too good to be true.
 
I think Jeffrey Longs research helps to demonstrate that there is a higher level of consciousness, not necessarily that God as defined by us actually exists. In a great deal of these accounts people simply encounter other people, oftentimes in a “Heavenly” realm, and then later conclude, “of course there is a God! I saw Heaven!”

Other people encounter a being of light or any other number of beings which appear to be operating on a “higher level than them and conclude, “this must be God. Of course God exists, I just saw Him.” Particularly if this being is loving, since we are told that God is loving, it becomes all that much easier to say, “of course God exists.”

For others, just the mere fact that they survived death is enough to make them go, “of course there’s a God! I literally died and passed on to the other side!”

Of course none of these scenarios actually mean that God as we tend to think of it actually exists. I’m biased in this analysis because I tend to think that we are all part of ONE consciousness which has lots of parts, personalities, and levels But we are all a part of it. For all we know we may be encountering what tons of afterlife researchers and mediums etc refer to as our “higher selves” during these NDE’s and thus move to conclude that this MUST be God. “Certainly God as I’ve been told as God is definitely exists because I died and met a very loving and powerful being in white when I was dead!”
 
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I think Jeffrey Longs research helps to demonstrate that there is a higher level of consciousness, not necessarily that God as defined by us actually exists. In a great deal of these accounts people simply encounter other people, oftentimes in a “Heavenly” realm, and then later conclude, “of course there is a God! I saw Heaven!”

Other people encounter a being of light or any other number of beings which appear to be operating on a “higher level than them and conclude, “this must be God. Of course God exists, I just saw Him.” Particularly if this being is loving, since we are told that God is loving, it becomes all that much easier to say, “of course God exists.”

For others, just the mere fact that they survived death is enough to make them go, “of course there’s a God! I literally died and passed on to the other side!”

Of course none of these scenarios actually mean that God as we tend to think of it actually exists. I’m biased in this analysis because I tend to think that we are all part of ONE consciousness which has lots of parts, personalities, and levels But we are all a part of it. For all we know we may be encountering what tons of afterlife researchers and mediums etc refer to as our “higher selves” during these NDE’s and thus move to conclude that this MUST be God. “Certainly God as I’ve been told as God is definitely exists because I died and met a very loving and powerful being in white when I was dead!”
Hi Wormwood, concerning Jeff's work, no, the work he presents in his most recent book, "God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience," is definitely talking about encounters with a Supreme Being. Here are a few quotes:

“By comparing these accounts, we begin to see a coherent picture of this other world. For example, one striking aspect of these accounts, which we will explore more fully later in this book, is the consistency with which a divine is described. Those who report meeting a divine being generally portray God as someone who radiates incredible love, light, grace, and acceptance. This is not religious dogma or theology, but one of the most consistent claims of multiple individuals who have encountered a heavenly being. In other words, people are not merely stating or projecting their religious yearnings or beliefs, but, like the explorers of old, are describing an entity they have encountered. The fact that they describe these encounters so similarly gives us confidence that they have, indeed, met the same Being.”

— Pages 2,3

…….

“This book is presenting evidence for the reality of God and the afterlife from research that is new and pioneering. There are virtually no prior scholarly studies that explored what will be presented in this book.”

— Page 35

…….

“When I first realized that over 40 percent of near-death experiencers were aware of the existence of God or a supreme being during their NDE, I was shocked. This was an extraordinary finding! No prior NDE study had asked so many NDErs directly about encountering God in their NDEs, and no other study had reported such high numbers of NDErs being aware of God. To put this statistic in context, the percentage of NDErs who were aware of God or a supreme being during their NDE is greater than the percentage of NDErs reporting a tunnel, encountering deceased loved ones, or a having a life review. This new information tells us one element of NDEs happens more often than any of these other NDE elements: awareness of the existence of God.”

— Page 38

More quotes are posted here.

41KkGOau2NL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 
Hi Wormwood, concerning Jeff's work, no, the work he presents in his most recent book, "God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience," is definitely talking about encounters with a Supreme Being. Here are a few quotes:

“By comparing these accounts, we begin to see a coherent picture of this other world. For example, one striking aspect of these accounts, which we will explore more fully later in this book, is the consistency with which a divine is described. Those who report meeting a divine being generally portray God as someone who radiates incredible love, light, grace, and acceptance. This is not religious dogma or theology, but one of the most consistent claims of multiple individuals who have encountered a heavenly being. In other words, people are not merely stating or projecting their religious yearnings or beliefs, but, like the explorers of old, are describing an entity they have encountered. The fact that they describe these encounters so similarly gives us confidence that they have, indeed, met the same Being.”

— Pages 2,3

…….

“This book is presenting evidence for the reality of God and the afterlife from research that is new and pioneering. There are virtually no prior scholarly studies that explored what will be presented in this book.”

— Page 35

…….

“When I first realized that over 40 percent of near-death experiencers were aware of the existence of God or a supreme being during their NDE, I was shocked. This was an extraordinary finding! No prior NDE study had asked so many NDErs directly about encountering God in their NDEs, and no other study had reported such high numbers of NDErs being aware of God. To put this statistic in context, the percentage of NDErs who were aware of God or a supreme being during their NDE is greater than the percentage of NDErs reporting a tunnel, encountering deceased loved ones, or a having a life review. This new information tells us one element of NDEs happens more often than any of these other NDE elements: awareness of the existence of God.”

— Page 38

More quotes are posted here.

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Hello. Thanks for coming on the show, I enjoyed your guys’ talk. Yes I like Dr Long’s book, I’ve bought it and read it. I don’t see those quotes as contradicting my thoughts. I know that they are encountering a powerful form of consciousness. What they call this and interpret it as is still going to be heavily influenced by cultural beliefs and ideas. They are encountering a higher form of consciousness. It’s often powerful and loving. I acknowledged all of this. It’s the interpretation that we cannot be certain of. What is this thing they are encountering? Maybe they are encountering something like we think God is. Certainly that’s possible. I’m just not certain it’s so simple. Maybe it’s a being who was once human. Maybe it’s our higher self, or something of the sort. Jurgen Ziewe, William Buhlman, Graham Nichols, and all of these prolific out of body/astral travel authors are always talking about how we are multidimensional beings. How we are multileveled and layered, and when you can connect with your higher self the experience is extraordinarily blissful. Maybe this is frequently encountered during NDEs. All I’m saying is, we don’t know.

We also need to consider the differences in cultural NDEs. Dr Longs research involves nearly entirely Western NDEs. But take this study of Japanese NDEs for example which was compiled by Greyson. It offers some differing ideas of this Western God which westerners seem to experience during an NDE. The sole purpose of this study was to contrast between Eastern and Western NDEs

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/23c7/f37c0899b665364c0ad3fa737edeffe5295e.pdf

1) Quantum physics shows that our thoughts seem to affect matter in this reality
2) The placebo effect further demonstrates that our thoughts affect matter/reality
3) regular out of body experiencers and some NDERs report that this ability is magnified, sometimes dramatically, in out of body states in other realms. That is to say that our environments can become more thought responsive in these “higher” dimensions.
4) That said, in these realms, we should expect cultural differences during NDEs, and that’s what we in fact seem to see.
5) Any higher being in its “more pure state” may be falsely interpreted as “God.” I don’t hear people in their NDEs say that this being formally introduced itself as “God.”

Concerning this quote:
“The fact that they describe these encounters so similarly gives us confidence that they have, indeed, met the same Being.”

With all apologies to Dr Long and his wonderful and highly important and valuable research, this is an extraordinarily overconfident and hyper-simplistic proposition concerning a topic that we aren’t even close to understanding. Of course there’s no way to know that everybody is meeting this same being. Having a few similar qualities, doesn’t make a being the same being all across the board in every case. We’re talking about a few similar qualities that I would expect any number of beings in its higher state to have. Since we know that love and knowledge are part of a universal truth (as per NDEs and other mystical experiences), again, I would expect a number of other conscious beings, some appearing quite formidable and powerful, to have these qualities as well.

I’m of the opinion at these are either more highly developed forms of consciousness, or perhaps they are currently immersed in a different reality set with different rules, and have more power and truth and love at their disposal than we do, OR maybe it is something like Westerners think of as God that they are experiencing. I don’t know. But we need to be careful With our conclusions here.
 
We also need to consider the differences in cultural NDEs. Dr Longs research involves nearly entirely Western NDEs. But take this study of Japanese NDEs for example which was compiled by Greyson. It offers some differing ideas of this Western God which westerners seem to experience during an NDE. The sole purpose of this study was to contrast between Eastern and Western NDEs

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/23c7/f37c0899b665364c0ad3fa737edeffe5295e.pdf
Wormwood, I agree there's wiggle room when it comes to figuring out who, exactly, the Supreme Being is that so many near-death experiencers encounter. I'm good with that. That said, we still must face the fact that large numbers of NDErs encounter a Being THAT THEY DEEPLY BELIEVE is their creator (and the creator of everyone and everything else) -- a distinct, all-knowing, all-powerful Being who knows them and loves them with an intensity that is completely transformative.

Now for the main event. I hadn't seen the report from Ohkado and Greyson that compared Japanese and Western NDEs. Thanks for sharing it! I downloaded it, read it, and added it to NHNE's resource page on Historical & Cross-Cultural Near-Death Experiences.

Ohkado and Greyson really went out on a limb with this one. Their study, which was published in 2014, examined 22 Japanese near-death experiences. Because these 22 experiencers didn't report an encounter with the kind of all-knowing, all-loving Light that is often reported in the West, and because these 22 experiencers didn't report life reviews, they concluded "that these characteristics may be accounted for in terms of cultural backgrounds."

Since this research flies in the face of other research that spans thousands of NDEs, from around the world and throughout human history, they should have at least held off until they had a larger sample. You can find and use small numbers of NDEs to support just about anything. When it comes to basic, universal truths, clarity only emerges when you have enough data to hone in on what is actually true for all of us, versus what is true for specific individuals from specific cultures.

So where does the "big data" come from that I am talking about? For the purposes of this post, from Jeff Long and Gregory Shushan.

Beginning with Jeff's first book, Evidence of the Afterlife, which is based on 1,200 NDEs from around the world, it includes these two quotes:

“The core NDE experience is the same all over the world. Whether it’s a near-death experience of a Hindu in India, a Muslim in Egypt, or a Christian in the United States, the same core elements are present in all, including out-of-body experience, tunnel experience, feelings of peace, beings of light, a life review, reluctance to return, and transformation after the NDE. In short, the experience of dying appears similar among all humans, no matter where they live.”

“The results of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) study… finds that what people discovered during their near-death experience about God, love, afterlife, reason for our earthly existence, earthly hardships, forgiveness, and many other concepts is strikingly consistent across cultures, races, and creeds. Also, these discoveries are generally not what would have been expected from preexisting societal beliefs, religious teachings, or any other source of earthly knowledge.”

Evidence of the Afterlife was published in 2010.

In 2016, he published his second book, God and the Afterlife. His second book was "based on the largest near-death experience study in history, involving 3,000 people from diverse backgrounds and religious traditions, including nonbelievers."

Does Jeff shy away from the conclusions he reached in his first book? No. He doubles down:

"Remarkably, the content of near-death experiences is strikingly consistent. Even after rigorously studying NDEs for over fifteen years, I still marvel at how amazingly similar these experiences are regardless of the experiencers’ age, cultural beliefs, education, or geographical location. By comparing these accounts, we begin to see a coherent picture of this other world.

"For example, one striking aspect of these accounts, which we will explore more fully later in this book, is the consistency with which a divine is described. Those who report meeting a divine being generally portray God as someone who radiates incredible love, light, grace, and acceptance. This is not religious dogma or theology, but one of the most consistent claims of multiple individuals who have encountered a heavenly being. In other words, people are not merely stating or projecting their religious yearnings or beliefs, but, like the explorers of old, are describing an entity they have encountered. The fact that they describe these encounters so similarly gives us confidence that they have, indeed, met the same Being."

So Ohkado and Greyson's 22 person report challenges two of Jeff's core conclusions, and Jeff's conclusions are based on over 3,000 near-death experiences that he has studied over the course of 15 years. Which source do you think is more credible?

To be fair, the NDEs that Jeff is using mostly come from the West and he doesn't provide a country-by-country, religion-by-religion breakdown of where his statistics come from. We need that and I hope he publishes it some day. I also hope the kind of non-western research that Ohkado, Greyson, and others are doing continues. We need that too.

We also need the kind of fantastic research that Gregory Shushan has been doing. He's been examining ancient and indigenous cultures to see if they had near-death experiences and, if so, did their experiences mirror modern NDEs? Turns out they did. You can find all the main elements we find in today's experiences, including encounters with Supreme Beings, life reviews, encounters with deceased loved ones, healings, aftereffects, heavenly realms, hellish realms, and on and on. You can also find most of these elements in other ancient accounts, such as the Myth of Er which Shushan doesn't discuss. (As a side note, I noticed that Ohkado and Greyson didn't mention hell in their baseline elements. That was/is a stunning omission.)

Anyway, I'll wrap this up by posting a video from a fantastic presentation that Gregory Shushan gave at the 2016 IANDS conference, along with a few screen captures and book links.


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GregoryShushan-02.jpg

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To download a three-page summary of the most important findings of Dr. Long’s research, click here (pdf).

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1) Quantum physics shows that our thoughts seem to affect matter in this reality
2) The placebo effect further demonstrates that our thoughts affect matter/reality
3) regular out of body experiencers and some NDERs report that this ability is magnified, sometimes dramatically, in out of body states in other realms. That is to say that our environments can become more thought responsive in these “higher” dimensions.
4) That said, in these realms, we should expect cultural differences during NDEs, and that’s what we in fact seem to see.
5) Any higher being in its “more pure state” may be falsely interpreted as “God.” I don’t hear people in their NDEs say that this being formally introduced itself as “God.”
I tend to keep item 5 in particular in mind when reading/listening to NDE accounts. We often read hyperbole in headlines, when the details of the experience as originally related does nor substantiate that headline.

Also related to that item 5, I recall at least one experience which I came across, the person had an encounter with some radiant being and (though lacking a physical body) fell to their knees in worship and humbling themselves. The being responded with something like "get up, don't be so silly, I'm just like you". Or at least that's an abbreviated version of the account.
 
I have bought and read Natalie’s book and listened to her interviews online. My conclusion is that she is very invested in appearing in control and objective , for whatever reason. I believe that this has landed her firmly in a point of view that diminishes her suffering and by extension the suffering of others, which is a slippery slope.
It’s massively uncool and presumptuous to diminish the suffering of someone’s painful death, to pretend the soul has already left, people that say these kinds of things give me the hives.
We have no way of surmising that anyone feels less pain or are removed from
The body before death or that they ‘chose’ their victimhood. A lot of people who have been abused have forms of Stockholm syndrome and have a psychological need to ‘own’ the events in order to satisfy a feeling of control and aafety.
It’s possible imo that some kind of polarized match is there between circumstance and victim... I don’t understand exactly how we interact with reality.. but as far as ‘choosing’ it..
I believe she is delusional. I am often wrong however; could be wrong here. I just like to keep my options open and this is my gut feeling in it.
There may be an element of truth to this ‘ choosing’ her being bombed by her being a match to the event for some reason but any such ‘choosing’ would have to be highly unconscious ( and a bit masochistic ) and since it was unconscious except by some predetermined
Contract or whatever then it isn’t really a choice anyway.
Telling ourselves that others suffering isn’t that bad or they chose it lets us off
The hook for having to feel bad about it ourselves or having to feel the need to act
To change it. Hence the slippery slope.
 
I have bought and read Natalie’s book and listened to her interviews online. My conclusion is that she is very invested in appearing in control and objective , for whatever reason. I believe that this has landed her firmly in a point of view that diminishes her suffering and by extension the suffering of others, which is a slippery slope.
It’s massively uncool and presumptuous to diminish the suffering of someone’s painful death, to pretend the soul has already left, people that say these kinds of things give me the hives.
We have no way of surmising that anyone feels less pain or are removed from
The body before death or that they ‘chose’ their victimhood. A lot of people who have been abused have forms of Stockholm syndrome and have a psychological need to ‘own’ the events in order to satisfy a feeling of control and aafety.
It’s possible imo that some kind of polarized match is there between circumstance and victim... I don’t understand exactly how we interact with reality.. but as far as ‘choosing’ it..
I believe she is delusional. I am often wrong however; could be wrong here. I just like to keep my options open and this is my gut feeling in it.
There may be an element of truth to this ‘ choosing’ her being bombed by her being a match to the event for some reason but any such ‘choosing’ would have to be highly unconscious ( and a bit masochistic ) and since it was unconscious except by some predetermined
Contract or whatever then it isn’t really a choice anyway.
Telling ourselves that others suffering isn’t that bad or they chose it lets us off
The hook for having to feel bad about it ourselves or having to feel the need to act
To change it. Hence the slippery slope.
Yes exactly, you put it very diplomatically Pamela, and I appreciate your ability to do so - I tend to be far more blunt in my way of expressing myself, but I most definitely do not wish to be offensive to anyone and if some people feel better believing this highly implausible interpretation of what is going on, good for them.

I am just not drinking the Kool-aid.

This NDE-based, "it's all good and it's all a game we're playing willingly" is just another religion based on blind faith, which requires abandoning all ethical common sense and which leads to absurd paradoxes, as you correctly pointed out.

To put it in a nutshell, this is a typical, morally shocking and unfalsifiable statement based on blind faith (I quote David Sunfellow's reply to my previous post): "all the injustices we see and experience in this world serve a glorious purpose that lies beyond human comprehension. "Our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple," she wrote, "that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of God."

Think this through: Islamic terrorists take the very same approach to Truth: God has a "higher purpose" that doesn't make any moral sense to us human beings, but we still should submit to it, regardless of common sense. God wants us to kill all infidels, terrorists will say, because he's perfect and good, a God of love, but in a way that we can't understand, because he requires violence in this material world to realise his perfect Plan (which only seems absurd and contradictory for us because we are too stupid). Just because NDE-based "it's-all-good religions" do not ask us to kill people doesn't make their way of thinking more logical or morally justifiable!
 
David, near-death experiences offer brilliant answers to the issues you raise. Yes, they say, life is an unimaginably wonderful game that we are all playing together. We play heroes and villains. We kill and get killed. We build houses, towns, cities, nations, civilizations, and then tear them down and start again. We love, laugh, hate, and experience the full gamut of human emotion. We visit other worlds, other dimensions, other times, other places, and other realities. It's all great fun and no one, in the end, is really hurt or lost.

At the same time, the game has been designed to achieve specific purposes and part of the way we achieve those purposes is by experiencing the consequences of our actions in the game.

Big picture perspectives (life is a game, the created universe is an illusion, everything is unfolding perfectly, no one is lost, we are divine, eternal beings, The Light loves everyone whole heartedly and unconditionally) are represented by encounters with The Light.

Small picture perspectives (we are frail humans full of all kinds of imperfections which must be wrestled with and perfected) are represented by the life review.

Both perspectives are needed to create a truly whole picture. While it is apparently not possible for us to understand the full depth and breadth of what is happening while we are stuffed in human bodies and minds, there is a lot of fantastic information that can help. Here's where to go to learn more:

Near-Death Experiences On The Purpose Of Life

I also encourage you to read my book. If money is an issue, email me your mailing address, and I'll send you a copy: nhne@nhne.org
Thanks for that!

I probably will read your book, but I like to be careful because it is easy to end up with too much to read/view (hence my joke a few pages back). Your offer is appreciated, but I am comfortably off, so if I get your book I will buy the Kindle version. Maybe you should offer 'my' copy of your book to the first person here who asks for a copy - I am sure some here would really appreciate that.

David
 
Thanks for that!

I probably will read your book, but I like to be careful because it is easy to end up with too much to read/view (hence my joke a few pages back). Your offer is appreciated, but I am comfortably off, so if I get your book I will buy the Kindle version. Maybe you should offer 'my' copy of your book to the first person here who asks for a copy - I am sure some here would really appreciate that.

David
Glad to.
 
Yes exactly, you put it very diplomatically Pamela, and I appreciate your ability to do so - I tend to be far more blunt in my way of expressing myself, but I most definitely do not wish to be offensive to anyone and if some people feel better believing this highly implausible interpretation of what is going on, good for them.

I am just not drinking the Kool-aid.

This NDE-based, "it's all good and it's all a game we're playing willingly" is just another religion based on blind faith, which requires abandoning all ethical common sense and which leads to absurd paradoxes, as you correctly pointed out.

To put it in a nutshell, this is a typical, morally shocking and unfalsifiable statement based on blind faith (I quote David Sunfellow's reply to my previous post): "all the injustices we see and experience in this world serve a glorious purpose that lies beyond human comprehension. "Our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple," she wrote, "that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of God."

Think this through: Islamic terrorists take the very same approach to Truth: God has a "higher purpose" that doesn't make any moral sense to us human beings, but we still should submit to it, regardless of common sense. God wants us to kill all infidels, terrorists will say, because he's perfect and good, a God of love, but in a way that we can't understand, because he requires violence in this material world to realise his perfect Plan (which only seems absurd and contradictory for us because we are too stupid). Just because NDE-based "it's-all-good religions" do not ask us to kill people doesn't make their way of thinking more logical or morally justifiable!
I think this is why I tend to keep a very open mind about most subjects here on Skeptiko. I am pretty definite about politics, and about the fact that materialism is false and also doesn't make sense, but as to the purpose of it all, the best I can do is collect opinions and let them all stew in my mind!

Everyone needs to remember that blind faith can quickly become intensely cruel. Imagine what the religious men who condemned girls to be burned for witchcraft must have thought they were doing.

(I hope David will respond to this).

David
 
God wants us to kill all infidels, terrorists will say, because he's perfect and good, a God of love, but in a way that we can't understand, because he requires violence in this material world to realise his perfect Plan (which only seems absurd and contradictory for us because we are too stupid).
We can’t blame God for man’s stupidity, can we Magda? Yet you appear to be somewhat offended by the thought that we might be ‘too stupid’. You can’t have it both ways. Just taking an objective look at the state we humans find ourselves in would not suggest to me that we’re that intelligent. Of course by our standards we would say “look at all we know”. I would say a hesitant yes, but do we really know that much about the really important things? Many may think we know almost everything, but I doubt that very much.

I think we overestimate and underestimate ourselves in equal measure.

I am very content with this reality as it is, both dark and light. I can see that to become the light, we may have to experience the dark.

You and I have differed on this for a few years, I know. I just have to push back every so often! ;)
 
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Everyone needs to remember that blind faith can quickly become intensely cruel. Imagine what the religious men who condemned girls to be burned for witchcraft must have thought they were doing.

(I hope David will respond to this).
Look, if you study NDEs carefully, all kinds of human assumptions are challenged. We're told time doesn't actually exist. That the world is an illusion. That the universe, both what we can see with our physical eyes and what lies beyond our five senses, is full of life, some of which is unimaginably weird. We're told that we are all accountable for everything we do. That all life is connected. That God loves everyone, wholeheartedly and unconditionally, including rapists, murders, and people like Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung. There are hellish realms and demonic beings. There are heavenly realms for all kinds of believers, not just Christians. There are also Christians, who thought they were living good, Christian lives, in hell. And on and on and on. There is pretty much something to offend everyone. I'm not making the rules. I'm not trying to justify what NDEs tell us. I'm trying to understand. And even that's a problem because NDEs also tell us, point blank, that the system is designed to be beyond human comprehension. We're not supposed to be able to remember who we are, where we are really from, and how everything works. That's a foundational rule of the game. Near-death experiencers regularly report becoming omniscient and while in that exalted state, knowing how everything works. And it's beautiful. It's Perfect. It's breathtakingly wonderful. And then those memories are snatched away and they are stuffed back into fragile bodies and tiny brains that can't figure out how to deal with doctors who want to commit them to mental institutions, husbands and wives who abandon them, and careers that fall a part.

I'm sorry. There are no easy answers. If we want to understand what NDEs are about, we have to learn how to swim in waters that are deeply disturbing to ordinary human sensibilities. And that takes time, patience, and effort. And a whole new set of skills that are completely alien to normal, every day life.
 
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We can’t blame God for man’s stupidity, can we Magda?
Yes we can blame him of course (if he exists - I'm not at all convinced that there is a God of any description; I'm only trying to follow the bizarre line of reasoning of those who believe in this kind of God): he HAS to be blamed because he made us stupid! He made us so stupid that we can't understand his mysterious ways. But of course, you and some others are not stupid like the rest of us because "you get God". Good for you (rolls eyes).
 
Since this research flies in the face of other research that spans thousands of NDEs, from around the world and throughout human history, they should have at least held off until they had a larger sample. You can find and use small numbers of NDEs to support just about anything. When it comes to basic, universal truths, clarity only emerges when you have enough data to hone in on what is actually true for all of us, versus what is true for specific individuals from specific cultures.
Yes - you definitely have to be cautious about what modern science says on just about any topic (traditional science is much more reliable).

If the 22 cases were somehow randomly selected from a (presumably) larger pool, then fine, but if they were selected in some other way......

There are medical doctors and researchers who tell some very sobering tales about their area of science. For example, in one of his books, Dr Kendrick (a UK medic) explains that there were a number of studies of women who took hormone replacement therapy vs those that didn't. They showed very promising results - those who took the hormones suffered less cancers and less heart disease. Beyond a certain point, it becomes 'unethical' to deprive some patients of a treatment that is considered beneficial, but just in time, someone decided to do a proper randomly controlled trial of hormone replacement therapy. Some women got the hormones, others got a placebo. This study showed that these hormones increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. The reason for the earlier results seems to be that middle class women chose to go on hormone therapy, and less well off women chose not to. Unfortunately being better off reduces your risk enormously - presumably because of lower stress.

However, many people even now are threatened with death if they renounce their faith - so they are not going to describe NDE's that are inconsistent with the religion they are supposed to believe.

I don't rule out your concept that life is some sort of improving game - though I think most of us would need several reincarnations to get it right.

One reason why I think this might be true, is that some people put themselves i perilous, and painful situations, just for the fun of it. Some soldiers say they enjoyed going off to war, and mountain climbers, Arctic trackers, and like seem to have the same urge.

This is why I don't feel the existence of extreme suffering necessarily rules out the idea that we plan out our lives deliberately on a higher plane.

David
 
I'm sorry. There are no easy answers. If we want to understand what NDEs are about, we have to learn how to swim in waters that are deeply disturbing to ordinary human sensibilities. And that takes time, patience, and effort. And a whole new set of skills that are completely alien to normal, every day life.
I know, and many of us here have puzzled over the whole jig-saw for a long time!

David
 
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