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Near Death Experience: A Damaging Lie?

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posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 09:56 AM
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When young schoolboy Alex Malarkey was involved in a severe car accident, he spent months in a coma as a result. Thankfully he survived. However, upon his return, he recounted an experience that was to amaze his family and friends: he claimed that he had been taken to heaven, where he had met Jesus Christ. Malarkey’s out-of-body experience led him to co-author a book with his father, entitled The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.

The book was quickly snapped up by a popular Christian publisher, where it quickly ranked high sales and raised high hopes to the readers that accepted the account. However, on January 13th 2015, Malarkey penned an open letter to the publishers, confessing that his account of the after-life was a deception, and that, “I never went to heaven, I did not die. When I made the claims I did, I thought it would get me attention.”

As a result, the book was pulled off the shelves. Disappointed readers of Christian faith expressed their dismay at learning the truth. Sceptics of the near-death-experience openly criticised not only the book, but the many people who had eagerly subscribed to the supernatural account.

Does this disappointing admission from Alex Malarkey damage the reputation of a field of study that is seriously examined by neurologists and biologists the world over? To see how easy it is to lie, enhance or replicate experience?

Hopes of an after-life have saturated humanity from the beginning. Whether it was the Egyptians, who buried their dead with tools to help them cross over to the other side, or Christians, who trust in the gospel proclamation of eternal life, there has always been an element of hope that there may be more to life than the physical ‘here and now’.

Are near-death-experiences a modern day clue to what may – or may not – lay beyond the moment of death? That there have been many, many documented cases of people who were clinically dead, ‘returning’ with fascinating tales, is but one aspect of the NDE experience. Altogether more compelling – in my opinion – are the cases in which revived individuals are able to recount events they witnessed whilst clinically dead. Events that are often corroborated by medical professionals. For example, an individual, whilst brain dead, witnessing conversations and actions between nurses and doctors during attempts at resuscitation. Those descriptions, often described in some detail, often match exactly what was going on in the room – at a time when the patient should have been aware of nothing.

Argument and debate continues, as do serious medical studies. Sceptics argue that the classic NDE experience is nothing more than “fireworks” from a dying brain. Lack of oxygen can cause hallucination, it has been said. Believers conclude that any experience independent of the physical body, whilst clinically dead, lends credence to the concept of life-after-death. The possibility that consciousness exists separately from the mind is being explored seriously, with some very impressive case studies bringing more to the table of debate.
Raymond Moody, a psychologist and proponent of the validity of NDE, studied thousands of cases before his own death, and personally concluded that life existed beyond physical death. Scientists at the university of Southampton studied NDE in October 2014, and concluded that the mind “may continue to exist after the brain has ceased to function,” as a result of research on the experiences of those who suffered cardiac arrest.

It is a fascinating and mysterious field of study, sure to ignite hope in the faithful, and to give substance to those who believe there is life after death. Does the fictitious account of Alex Malarkey cause damage to the reputation of NDE studies and its subscribers? It is unlikely, although it is certainly not good news that experiences of this nature can be exaggerated or fabricated to such great effect – and with such mass acceptance.

Whilst the answers evade us, sceptics can remain unmoved by what has, so far, been offered as proof of eternal life. However, I do not think that the disappointing fictions of a school boy – admittedly seeking attention – can deter those who are still examining the NDE with full fervor and with a clear scientific approach.

I would love to know your thoughts on NDE, and on your ideas regarding survival of consciousness. Is it all a misunderstanding, which can be understood once science has caught up? Or are we really on our way to uncovering the truth behind a mystery that has haunted human beings from the very beginning?




posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: AlmostRosey

As a Christian I have to subscribe the whole point of 'it is appointed for man but once to die, then the judgement'.

If people claim to have near death experiences IN heaven I'm suspicious anyway as it's both outside of time (so it wouldn't be so easily comprehend-able) and also you're supposed to go to a place called Abraham's bosom. You don't go straight to heaven at all.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: AlmostRosey



It is a fascinating and mysterious field of study, sure to ignite hope in the faithful, and to give substance to those who believe there is life after death. Does the fictitious account of Alex Malarkey cause damage to the reputation of NDE studies and its subscribers? It is unlikely, although it is certainly not good news that experiences of this nature can be exaggerated or fabricated to such great effect – and with such mass acceptance.

Nice presentation.

I, for one, am a "none". But I do believe in NDEs. Does it matter that the guy made it up? Of course it does. It discredits the actual scientific research being done on the brain/mind/soul connection, which stands up to scrutiny for millions of people.

My only objection to your entire OP is that it does not require someone of "faith" in Jesus or Mohammed or any other "revelationist" - to believe in NDEs. I don't believe that 'revealed religion' is above the same - or worse - skepticism. I personally don't believe for one minute that Moses or Mohammed or Constantine or Paul or Mary or anyone else was spoken to "by God" or a messenger there-of.

But I DO BELIEVE in NDEs. There is no 'religion' required to believe that our souls, our minds, operate independently of our bodies - and the multitude of NDEs speak MUCH MORE to my sense of what is 'true' than any blowhard preacher alive or dead.

I also believe in reincarnation - it makes vastly more sense than any Abrahamic version of 'heaven' and 'hell.'

You might be interested in Chris Carter's books.

Carter, Chris:
Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness
Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death
Two very important works explaining how close science is to explaining what happens when we die.

Source

I've read Moody's book also, and many, many others treating this question. Dr Ian Stevenson did tremendous work in reincarnation studies.

EDIT TO ADD:
Shame that "Malarkey" did not think to use a pseudonym. He might as well have just called himself "Alex L. Nonsense" (the L standing for Liar). Kind of like the preacher now trying to get donors to buy him a Gulfstream: C. "Dollar" (the C standing for Clepto instead of 'Creflo').
edit on 3/14/2015 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: AlmostRosey

Is this the story that was also turned into a movie and released last year??



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 11:15 AM
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Ultralight: I'm not sure...As far as I'm aware it wasn't turned into a movie but I could be mistaken.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 11:24 AM
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The "real" NDEs usually don't have someone holding a sign that identifies them as a religious figure cementing one dogma over another. But they could.

As any true reality or "before and after-life" could well be purely 'mental,' anything experienced wouldn't surprise me. Heck, the more the waking, living reality we are experiencing is studied, the more it seems made of ...well, ideas. Very solid, consistent ideas... but mental constructs more than little pieces of hard realness. But a dream world could seem as real, or more so, than this one.

We may well carry beliefs into the next realm, and use those ideas to construct an environment. One dead person expressed that to me in a dream... for what it's worth. The things that cemented my own openness to non bodied intelligence, though, were more concrete than a dream... and even witnessed by others.

I, like many Western folks, was brought up to be agnostic and be as comfortable as is possible with the idea that we cease to exist when we die. I am still okay with it (except dying itself might suck) as constant consciousness seems... rough... but personal interaction with things that seemed like disembodied dead people told me that at the very least, intelligence can exist without a body to house it... and from there, anything's thus possible.

It would still be better for this world to assume this is it and we might then build a world we would be loathe to leave... but personal experience has shown me there is much, much more to reality... or rather, reality can mean many things.

Anyway... we'll all see soon enough... or not.


edit on 3/14/2015 by Baddogma because: grammar mistake I happened to catch



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 11:35 AM
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Yep people lie and make things up for attention or to feel special.

There's nothing outside of anecdotal tales and hearsay to suggest that such things are true.

It's the wishful thinking of greedy mortals.

edit on 14-3-2015 by Prezbo369 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 12:07 PM
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No, this is not the same story. This story was fiction. The story about the boy from Nebraska however, IS a true story. The movie was called "Heaven Is For Real".

I believe the stories told by people who have experienced NDE's.

Folks who ridicule these experiences are usually atheists, which means, deep down, they are compelled by fear.

Fear is the mind-killer. Their atheistic "faith" is the one, true "blind" faith.




a reply to: Ultralight



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 12:25 PM
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This whole issue is about the fear of death, and what tales we tell ourselves as to what happens when we die. If you embrace your morality (as I have) you can live a life devoid of fear and apprehension and instead enjoy the thought that this one life is the only ride we are going to get and how lucky we are to have experienced it in a 99% lethal to life universe.

But if you do worry about your existence to the point where you make up/believe in fairy tales to comfort ourselves in the face of cold, hard, reality, they you've already chosen to live a life of illusion and delusion.

Fear can lead people to believe the most outrageous tales, and this is one of them...



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:15 PM
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originally posted by: Ignatian
No, this is not the same story. This story was fiction. The story about the boy from Nebraska however, IS a true story. The movie was called "Heaven Is For Real".

I believe the stories told by people who have experienced NDE's.

Folks who ridicule these experiences are usually atheists, which means, deep down, they are compelled by fear.

Fear is the mind-killer. Their atheistic "faith" is the one, true "blind" faith.




a reply to: Ultralight



Heaven is for real was a garbage movie that didn't even try to cover up the complete lack of evidence for the kids claim. Hell, they showed him one picture and asked if this was who he saw, with dad chomping at the bit with anticipation. They didn't show the kid a line up he had to pick from. You had a crazily excited dad askin "IS THIS WHO YOU SAW SON!! PLEASE SAY THIS IS WHO YOU SAW!!"


They are the same story. Just about 2 different kids who's parents/preachers wanted there 15 min of fame.

NDE's aren't a mystery to science. Pilots in the big G force testers have NDE when experiencing high enough G's to pass out.


There's a scientist who has 100% recreated Devine experiences. He beams alpha waves into the right part of your brain and everyone from atheists to nuns to Buddhists feel like they are with a divine entity.


How long before we stop letting corrupt religious leaders cash in on our curiousities?



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:21 PM
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originally posted by: Baddogma
The "real" NDEs usually don't have someone holding a sign that identifies them as a religious figure cementing one dogma over another. But they could.


NDE's are equally likely to turn someone religious.

wherever they may turn, but for the most part when I have heard stories of NDE's these people previously weren't religious.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:22 PM
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a reply to: Prezbo369

Replying with such a venomous tone and black and white finality, tells me that you have done little to no research on this topic. It's likely that this is coming from a place of deep mistrust in religion, which I totally understand.

You can't throw the baby out with the bath water.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:24 PM
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originally posted by: Ignatian
No, this is not the same story. This story was fiction. The story about the boy from Nebraska however, IS a true story. The movie was called "Heaven Is For Real".

I believe the stories told by people who have experienced NDE's.

Folks who ridicule these experiences are usually atheists, which means, deep down, they are compelled by fear.

Fear is the mind-killer. Their atheistic "faith" is the one, true "blind" faith.




a reply to: Ultralight







You gotta hate those people who blindly believe whatever they hear with zero evidence in it's favor.... I mean it's not like every human on the planet for the last 15,000 years (at least) has been hunting for some proof.... Any proof there religion is true . Only to never have come up with one credible shred of evidence in all of human history.


I have yet to see these science bozos show one example of these mysterious cars, trains and microwaves they have been theorizing......




Lol just lol



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:29 PM
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a reply to: AinElohim




NDE's are equally likely to turn someone religious.


Actually most people become spiritual and not religious. The experience is spiritual in nature, for example a hallmark of an nde is a life review where you go through every moment of your life even from other people's perspective and you judge yourself. This fly's in the face of religious thinking that god is waiting to judge you when you die.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:31 PM
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originally posted by: AinElohim

originally posted by: Baddogma
The "real" NDEs usually don't have someone holding a sign that identifies them as a religious figure cementing one dogma over another. But they could.


NDE's are equally likely to turn someone religious.

wherever they may turn, but for the most part when I have heard stories of NDE's these people previously weren't religious.




Weather you are religious or not we all grew up religious with the oh so comforting belief in an afterlife. So it's not like people who have never heard of the concept of religion/afterlife are having NDEs and seeing a blond haired blue eyed Jesus telling them about heaven.


It's people who spent (some times the majority of there lives) believing in Christianity who now doubt it. So that's not at all a fair analysis.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:45 PM
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originally posted by: jaws1975
a reply to: AinElohim




NDE's are equally likely to turn someone religious.


Actually most people become spiritual and not religious. The experience is spiritual in nature, for example a hallmark of an nde is a life review where you go through every moment of your life even from other people's perspective and you judge yourself. This fly's in the face of religious thinking that god is waiting to judge you when you die.


yeah... you got me.

All I know is most of these cases I have heard about, previous to their experience they we're irreligious.

Christianity they seem to gravitate towards after this spiritual experience, although that could be cultural influence.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:48 PM
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originally posted by: jaws1975
Replying with such a venomous tone and black and white finality, tells me that you have done little to no research on this topic. It's likely that this is coming from a place of deep mistrust in religion, which I totally understand.

You can't throw the baby out with the bath water.


Well what that 'tells' you is besides the point.

Do you have anything other than anecdotal tales to confirm your claims?

Because then you'd be breaking new ground on this superstition.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 01:59 PM
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originally posted by: Prezbo369
Well what that 'tells' you is besides the point.

Do you have anything other than anecdotal tales to confirm your claims?

Because then you'd be breaking new ground on this superstition.


Well this would sound extremely cruel and unusual to me if said to a person lying in a hospital bed who having just cheated death has had on of the most profound and happily exciting experiences in their life.

This is yet another way that Atheism fails basic room #101 test in the morals and ethics department.

Science is to sympathize with the experience in order to investigate and understand it before they can claim something in fact didn't happen.



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 02:06 PM
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originally posted by: Entreri06
You gotta hate those people who blindly believe whatever they hear with zero evidence in it's favor.... I mean it's not like every human on the planet for the last 15,000 years (at least) has been hunting for some proof.... Any proof there religion is true . Only to never have come up with one credible shred of evidence in all of human history.


I have yet to see these science bozos show one example of these mysterious cars, trains and microwaves they have been theorizing......


Lol just lol


The evidence is in...

It can not be denied that yet one more thing theistic religion offers that atheism does not is... a conscious

edit on 14-3-2015 by AinElohim because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 14 2015 @ 02:15 PM
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originally posted by: AinElohim

originally posted by: Entreri06
You gotta hate those people who blindly believe whatever they hear with zero evidence in it's favor.... I mean it's not like every human on the planet for the last 15,000 years (at least) has been hunting for some proof.... Any proof there religion is true . Only to never have come up with one credible shred of evidence in all of human history.


I have yet to see these science bozos show one example of these mysterious cars, trains and microwaves they have been theorizing......


Lol just lol


The evidence is in...

It can not be denied that yet one more thing theistic religion offers that atheism does not is... "a conscious"


What?!? No it's just that science reguardless conciousness as a creation of the brain. Not religions belief that the brain is the creation of conciousness...because there is zero proof conciousness can survive without a brain!


So what evidence is in???? None that back up religion.... Or spirituality. There is literally zero evidence of anything metaphysical....with the exception of maybe the warm and fuzzies lol!



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