NDE contradictions

#1
I've been reading through the submitted NDE accounts on IANDS, NDERF, and near-death.com (the latter strikes me as rather troubling; the webmaster has the site loaded with the same sort of editorial commentary that Alex is so fond of, albeit near-death's is less combative). While reading these reports does seem to affirm the consistency of the NDE in a general sense, I've noticed that some of the most celebrated/notorious/detailed accounts contradict each other, sometimes quite wildly, on major points - what the afterlife is supposed to be like, what the Source/Light/God is like, how much of what makes us "us" survives, and claims of visions of the future (the world's, not personal).

I tried finding some studies/academic writing/informed questions on these contradictions by researchers, but a Google search for "NDE contradictions" and "NDEs contradict each other" generated a bunch of blogs or pop articles from Christian writers about how NDEs contradict Scripture.

Anyone have some useful links here?
 
#2
I've been reading through the submitted NDE accounts on IANDS, NDERF, and near-death.com (the latter strikes me as rather troubling; the webmaster has the site loaded with the same sort of editorial commentary that Alex is so fond of, albeit near-death's is less combative). While reading these reports does seem to affirm the consistency of the NDE in a general sense, I've noticed that some of the most celebrated/notorious/detailed accounts contradict each other, sometimes quite wildly, on major points - what the afterlife is supposed to be like, what the Source/Light/God is like, how much of what makes us "us" survives, and claims of visions of the future (the world's, not personal).

I tried finding some studies/academic writing/informed questions on these contradictions by researchers, but a Google search for "NDE contradictions" and "NDEs contradict each other" generated a bunch of blogs or pop articles from Christian writers about how NDEs contradict Scripture.

Anyone have some useful links here?
Yea to be quite honest you need to take these accounts with a huge grain of salt.

For example, Dannion Brinkley is one of the famed NDE'rs who claims to had future events revealed to him during his NDE. However it turns out that Dannion Brinkley was more than likely making all that up.

Also it's impossible to know what the experience objectively witnessed. Their subjective report on it after the fact doesn't give us a direct glimpse into what they actually saw.

For example Sam Parnia says that some experiencers see Jesus, some see buddha or Krishna, but when you probe further you realize that they are seeing the same thing.

In fact their are NDE'rs themselves who say that people who see Jesus, or other religious figures are only identifying the being as that. For example:
http://ndeinfo.wmthost.com (You have to go to the one that says "Phil Donahue" with Viola Horton, and watch that. I don remember when they say it but I think it comes during the question and answer portion).

Also some NDE'rs say that initially the experience is more subjective for the purpose of making them feel comfortable. In fact the beings even offer to change form such as the case of Howard Storm I believe. Interestingly he also says that the beings who showed him future events qualified that it was only a possible future if things continued the way they did. So it could be that these future prophecies that these beings are shown are only possibilities.

For me, I take it as a huge red flag when an NDE is heavily focused on religion, or pushing a certain type of religion. By far the vast majority of the NDE's I have come across, the person afterwards is less inclined to religion as an absolute truth, but instead become more spiritual.

Regardless you need to keep in mind that since we don't actually know what these people are experiencing, we need to look at other ways of verifying whether these events give us any insight into the reality of an afterlife. The best way I think to do that is through "Peak in Darien" NDE's, and Veridical OBE's.

For me, even if all NDE's were 100% consistent, it wouldn't prove to me the reality of an afterlife. I would still place the most weight on veridical NDE's, and Peak in Darien cases, since they at least have an objective connection that can be observed by non-NDE'rs.
 
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#3
If as a NDE'r you were interacted with by a local third party field pattern from a person who was - for example - losing you, and trying to save you, like a medical professional. It's reasonable to me that you may in some cases be able to partially interpret the meaning of those external field patterns, when your brain has lost some of it's own endogenous local field.

In this case, the medical professionals concern that they might lose you, trying to bring you back, and their brief thoughts of other patients they have lost in the past etc. might cause you to interpret this sense of loss in accordance with your own experiences. Thus if you were so inclined, you might see appropriate imagery which evokes a similar sense of loss in you, as is being experienced by the medical professional.
 
#4
Anonymou5 - thanks, but I'm not sure you took my meaning. Like you, I don't take NDEs as conclusive proof of the afterlife, and I do take the most religiously coloured with a heavy dash of salt. What I'm looking for is some research or commentary by NDE researchers about the contradictions between reports, and their implications for the various theories on NDEs.
 
#5
I've been reading through the submitted NDE accounts on IANDS, NDERF, and near-death.com (the latter strikes me as rather troubling; the webmaster has the site loaded with the same sort of editorial commentary that Alex is so fond of, albeit near-death's is less combative). While reading these reports does seem to affirm the consistency of the NDE in a general sense, I've noticed that some of the most celebrated/notorious/detailed accounts contradict each other, sometimes quite wildly, on major points - what the afterlife is supposed to be like, what the Source/Light/God is like, how much of what makes us "us" survives, and claims of visions of the future (the world's, not personal).

I tried finding some studies/academic writing/informed questions on these contradictions by researchers, but a Google search for "NDE contradictions" and "NDEs contradict each other" generated a bunch of blogs or pop articles from Christian writers about how NDEs contradict Scripture.

Anyone have some useful links here?
NDERF is not a great idea IMHO for obvious reasons (fraud etc) . And anyone that keeps reading tour-guide tales of the afterlife is going to need ever bigger fixes after they've read about the beautiful countryside with the streams and waterfalls etc.

This is a real problem, I think, the afterlife is already being mapped and divided up by all this competing inside information. The broad "facts" are best, it's an extremely nice place :) hopefully.
 
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#6
I love NDERF (except for the horrible UX). The stories come out with the experiencers voice, while there is still some stucture to it.

One of the most common features in NDEs (from reading NDERF), is telepathy. Stuff like that can easily be picked up on sites like that, just be reading a bunch.

As for the contradictions: There are probably multiple factors. Some fraud, some cultural biases ...and some natural variation. Perhaps there are multiple levels, as some suggest from their NDE stories? Also: Perhaps the afterlife won't be exactly the same for all. Maybe 1% of us gets reincarnated. Maybe another 1% gets to stay on earth for a while. Maybe yet another 1% gets a frightening experience. But indeed, it seems like most of is will face a loving God/light, and have a bliss.
 
#7
Some paradoxes I see:
  • If NDE stories aren't archived, the "cultural bias" argument gets invoked and people say its a hoax.
  • If NDE stories are archived and compared, the lack of cultural bias in two stories is claimed as biology and people say its a hoax.
  • If NDE stories are archived and compared, similarities can be blamed on the person having read one.
  • If NDE stories oracular claims fail to pan out, the person is considered a fraud.
It might be plausible that a lot of the language varies in trying to find words for the experience as well. Heavenly or angelic might seem like the closest analogy to relate something they saw, since many languages are really horrible at describing personal experience or artwork.

(Consider that Chinese has many forms of the word "love" with specific meanings; English has just one. So lets assume the account is correct, now how would someone who is not an articulated writer manage to form their experience in a foreign environment with light beings?)
 
#8
Some paradoxes I see:
  • If NDE stories aren't archived, the "cultural bias" argument gets invoked and people say its a hoax.
  • If NDE stories are archived and compared, the lack of cultural bias in two stories is claimed as biology and people say its a hoax.
  • If NDE stories are archived and compared, similarities can be blamed on the person having read one.
  • If NDE stories oracular claims fail to pan out, the person is considered a fraud.
It might be plausible that a lot of the language varies in trying to find words for the experience as well. Heavenly or angelic might seem like the closest analogy to relate something they saw, since many languages are really horrible at describing personal experience or artwork.

(Consider that Chinese has many forms of the word "love" with specific meanings; English has just one. So lets assume the account is correct, now how would someone who is not an articulated writer manage to form their experience in a foreign environment with light beings?)
I'm sympathetic to all of these issues. The kinds of contradictions I'm talking about are more:
  • One NDE story will state that people retain their sense of identity, gain a "spirit body," and inhabit a realm with buildings, mountains, rivers, etc. (essentially a Platonic "true Earth"), while another states that people merge with "the Source," losing all sense of their old identity and becoming "one with God."
Something like that can't really he chalked up to translation issues, cultural bias, or struggling for the right words; that's two completely different scenarios for what happens when we die.
 
#9
I'm sympathetic to all of these issues. The kinds of contradictions I'm talking about are more:
  • One NDE story will state that people retain their sense of identity, gain a "spirit body," and inhabit a realm with buildings, mountains, rivers, etc. (essentially a Platonic "true Earth"), while another states that people merge with "the Source," losing all sense of their old identity and becoming "one with God."
Something like that can't really he chalked up to translation issues, cultural bias, or struggling for the right words; that's two completely different scenarios for what happens when we die.
I'm assuming "losing all sense of their old identity" means conscious oblivion? Its very difficult to tell with esoterics, because one will say loss of ego as in "loss of one's body / bodily expectations" and another will say loss of ego as in "no sense of self." A lot of the texts are specific to say individuality remains, however one can expect their identity to change over a prolonged period of time. So whether that loss of identity means that they are no longer individual agents or whether that simply means they realize that they are not "that brain" especially after "that brain" is no longer working has been a puzzle before NDEs started becoming popularized.

AECES' "Afterlife Guide" is a compilation of different previously written texts; under the Apostheosis section, they reference this specific question. The short version appears to be that its one possible destination, which may not necessarily be permanent in itself. My favorite answer to the question listed there is where they ask the spirits about it, and they simply state that they don't know; I guess agnosticism is a multiversal constant :)
 
#10
I'm sympathetic to all of these issues. The kinds of contradictions I'm talking about are more:
  • One NDE story will state that people retain their sense of identity, gain a "spirit body," and inhabit a realm with buildings, mountains, rivers, etc. (essentially a Platonic "true Earth"), while another states that people merge with "the Source," losing all sense of their old identity and becoming "one with God."
Something like that can't really he chalked up to translation issues, cultural bias, or struggling for the right words; that's two completely different scenarios for what happens when we die.
From the accounts I've come across, the merging with the source has been a component of the experience, but not the final outcome. That is, after a period of 'merging' there can be a re-separation. It's hard to give an everyday analogy for this, perhaps it could be compared to a drop of water merging with the ocean for a time, and later the same drop re-emerges intact and with the same identity.
 
#11
I'm sympathetic to all of these issues. The kinds of contradictions I'm talking about are more:
  • One NDE story will state that people retain their sense of identity, gain a "spirit body," and inhabit a realm with buildings, mountains, rivers, etc. (essentially a Platonic "true Earth"), while another states that people merge with "the Source," losing all sense of their old identity and becoming "one with God."
Something like that can't really he chalked up to translation issues, cultural bias, or struggling for the right words; that's two completely different scenarios for what happens when we die.
In my opinion you're taking the the later parts of the NDE too literally, particularly the imagery.
 
#12
Paul The NT writer, states that he spontaneously "went to the third Heaven", and that "he didn't know if he was in the body or not".

I think that sounds genuine; there might be more than one state/heaven (higher vibrations? Some like to say that; no clue what it means). Also, even to the theologically strict Paul, there was confusion about his body and the continuation of it.

We can't know if Paul really had an NDE though.
 
#13
I'm assuming "losing all sense of their old identity" means conscious oblivion? Its very difficult to tell with esoterics, because one will say loss of ego as in "loss of one's body / bodily expectations" and another will say loss of ego as in "no sense of self." A lot of the texts are specific to say individuality remains, however one can expect their identity to change over a prolonged period of time. So whether that loss of identity means that they are no longer individual agents or whether that simply means they realize that they are not "that brain" especially after "that brain" is no longer working has been a puzzle before NDEs started becoming popularized.

AECES' "Afterlife Guide" is a compilation of different previously written texts; under the Apostheosis section, they reference this specific question. The short version appears to be that its one possible destination, which may not necessarily be permanent in itself. My favorite answer to the question listed there is where they ask the spirits about it, and they simply state that they don't know; I guess agnosticism is a multiversal constant :)
I'm in a bit of a hurry to a busy day, so I'll check that link out tomorrow. As to "identity loss;" I suppose on reflection that those accounts still claimed awareness, but that they were completely transformed and submerged into the greater mind (a prospect I can't say I find agreeable).
 
#14
In my opinion you're taking the the later parts of the NDE too literally, particularly the imagery.
Well, as I said, the glaring contradiction to me isn't the imagery; I've noticed in a number of accounts that people who claim they've seen, say, Jesus, seem to insert that name themselves.

And I'm not necessarily looking for some answers to reconcile the big contradictions between certain accounts; I'm just curious if someone like Bruce Greyson or Peter Fenwick ever devoted some time to investigating and discussing such contradictions.
 
#15
Well, as I said, the glaring contradiction to me isn't the imagery; I've noticed in a number of accounts that people who claim they've seen, say, Jesus, seem to insert that name themselves.

And I'm not necessarily looking for some answers to reconcile the big contradictions between certain accounts; I'm just curious if someone like Bruce Greyson or Peter Fenwick ever devoted some time to investigating and discussing such contradictions.
I was just responding to your example which you gave at post #8...
 
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#16
AECES' "Afterlife Guide" is a compilation of different previously written texts; under the Apostheosis section, they reference this specific question. The short version appears to be that its one possible destination, which may not necessarily be permanent in itself. My favorite answer to the question listed there is where they ask the spirits about it, and they simply state that they don't know; I guess agnosticism is a multiversal constant :)
That's an impressive collection of accounts, though I can't figure out how you're supposed to know which of their books the Source ID Page count is meant to indicate.
 
#18
I've been reading through the submitted NDE accounts on IANDS, NDERF, and near-death.com (the latter strikes me as rather troubling; the webmaster has the site loaded with the same sort of editorial commentary that Alex is so fond of, albeit near-death's is less combative). While reading these reports does seem to affirm the consistency of the NDE in a general sense, I've noticed that some of the most celebrated/notorious/detailed accounts contradict each other, sometimes quite wildly, on major points - what the afterlife is supposed to be like, what the Source/Light/God is like, how much of what makes us "us" survives, and claims of visions of the future (the world's, not personal).
I think the point may be that the non-material world may be no more uniform than this one is. If someone sampled different places on Earth at random, the experiences might be wildly different. Should we assume that 'up there' everything is more or less uniform? I think perhaps it is religion that has pushed a rather anemic view of that realm that is responsible!

To me, NDE's seem to contain a remarkable core of experiences that repeat frequently. Suppose you took 10 witnesses to a car crash or a robbery, they would not agree about everything.

David
 
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