Proof #8: Think About Near-Death Experiences

December 14, 2007 at 1:26 am 17 comments

Near-death experiences, or NDEs, represent a person suddenly becoming aware that he is dead, yet still experiencing sights and sensations. Marshall Brain is arguing that introducing ketamine into someone’s system produces the same reaction as an NDE. This does not prove that God is imaginary for two reasons.

First, there is no Biblical support for NDEs. The implication is obvious: this could be meant as a deception from a spiritual warfare point of view.

Second, Brain himself admits that this is not proof that God is imaginary:

Is this a direct proof that God is imaginary? No. However, it is a direct proof that the NDE (which many people use as “indisputable” proof that God and eternal life exist) has no supernatural meaning. We can scientificaly prove NDEs to be chemical side-effects rather than “a gateway to the afterlife” as many religious believers claim.

So, if this isn’t proof that God is imaginary, why is it on a site that purports to give us direct proof of that?

NDEs are not direct proof of anything–supernatural or otherwise. They actually raise more questions than they answer, and therefore have no place in an apologetic for the Christian faith. That means that this entire section is completely meaningless and Brain should never have included it in his website.

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Entry filed under: Religion, Science. Tags: .

Proof #7: Understanding Religious Delusion Proof #9: Understand Ambiguity

17 Comments

  • 1. Lynn Sollis  |  January 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    hi I didn’t have a near death experience because I was wide awake. It was many years ago when I was at school. Suddenly I wasn’t in the class anymore but floating in the universe with all the knowledge that we as humans would love to know. I felt at ease and euphoric. Then just as suddenly was back in my class. From that moment I have never been afraid of death, has anyone else had this experience ( Not near death)because I have wondered for 45years what happened to me.

    • 2. JDSTATS  |  May 6, 2009 at 5:45 pm

      Hi, You are describing an OBE. I have not had one or an NDE, but my mother and a good fiend has had similar experiences (NDE), I do not believe as the author does that they are deception, but I also don’t believe that they are easily explained away by ketamine. My mother died and actually remembers people who came in to work on her. This cannot be easily explained away, as some of those people who came in to work on her were not present when she died, but she knew they had come in. Most people who have had NDE’s have come back more spiritual, knowing that life is just a temporary state.
      It is quite humorous to me how quickly people want to disregard these accounts with experiences from taking ketamine, but given all of the varying effects of drugs on the body, finding one that has some minor similarities seems like an absurd disproof.
      It is frustrating that both christians and atheists tend to agree that they are not real. I tend to think that this shows that close-mindedness is not limited to religion.
      I wouldn’t worry about what happened and just be thankful that God gave you a glimpse that the spirit is indeed eternal.

  • 3. Samuel Skinner  |  February 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Out of body experience. They can make you under go it by using magnets on a certain part of your brain. The flip side is what your brain considers I is very slippery. Personally I want to see what it is like.

    Once again, not a proof, just a rebuttal. Actually since god is infallible it would make since NDE are insights to the afterlife- he does know when you die, so he wouldn’t come early.

  • […] Proof #8: Think About Near-Death Experiences […]

  • 5. Luke  |  June 13, 2008 at 7:56 am

    You’d be surprised at some NDE stories. Dannion Brinkley is one such person. One of Dannion’s 3 NDEs was when he was struck by lightning and clinically dead for 28 minutes. A few years later, he had a 2nd NDE by being struck by lightning a 2nd time.

    His experience is in no way that of a God or heaven or hell, but more like the “new age” spirituality of oneness with the universe and all things. http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com/members/dbrinkley.htm

    You may have to sign up for a free membership to view interviews at http://www.consciousmedianetwork.com

    There’s also another fascinating interview at CMN with Dr. Mitchel Gibson regarding the afterlife as well.

  • 6. White  |  July 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    So? God is fake becos…?

  • 7. Luke  |  July 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    White Says:
    So? God is fake becos…?
    —No offense or insult intended, but it’s spelled “becAUSE” for future reference. 🙂
    –Anyway, I’m still waiting to hear a good, solid reason why God ISN’T fake.

  • 8. Anti-Devil  |  July 14, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Anyway i am still waiting to hear a good solid reason why God is fake? luke

  • 9. Luke  |  July 16, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Anyway i am still waiting to hear a good solid reason why God is fake?
    –Which God are you referring to? The thousands of other Gods you see as imaginary and fake? Or is it the particular God you chose to believe in? When you understand why you dismiss all other Gods, you’ll understand why I dismiss yours. Oh, and the Bible is fiction, just like every other religion’s so called bibles and writings. That’s a good solid reason.

    • 10. JDSTATS  |  May 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

      So are you saying that no god exists or that the God of the bible does not exist? These would obviously require two differing “proofs”.
      If it is the former, then clearly there is no god that you can point to and say “Look there is god” or perhaps we are looking at god all of the time and just not realizing it. It seems simple to me, because I understand chaos theory and the type of patterns seens by random chance, and that clearly the universe does not follow these patterns. So the complexity and purpose seen in the universe would obviously imply a creator. I must admit that this might not be obvious to everyone. Then it becomes not a question of you needing proof, but you needing proof you can accept. This is more in lines with how open-minded you are. It should seem self-evident to you that those that believe, are not idiots, but instead have reasons for why they believe (some may be as simple as “my mother believes and she is a good person, some may need much more). To their mind, this constitutes proof. Thus, without knowing what constitutes proof (if anything) in your mind, this question cannot be answered.

      Scientifically you cannot prove anything, just fail to disprove it. Clearly this is not what you mean by proof, otherwise you would disregard all of science has having never been proven. My proof in the existence of God is simply the complexity, intracacy and beauty of the universe and all living things. Nobody doubts the complexity, intracacy and beauty of the universe and all living things. One can only doubt whether this points to a God. I seems absurd to me to believe this points to random processes, randomly arrived at with absolutely no purpose. To you, however, it is irrelevant what constitutes enough proof for me, as I am sure you have heard a similar proof before.
      To disprove the First Law of Thermodynamics, you need only create or destroy energy. It is only through this agreement that one can move forward in science.
      So lets start with what would “prove” God to you? Secondly, is this “proof” you require realistic or is it possibly a sign that you are holding on to another belief you are not willing to part with, as I am sure you are aware that irrefutable evidence is unlikely in anything?

  • 11. Anti-Devil  |  July 19, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    LOL-_- it defeinately pointless to tell someone is is strongly and adamant in not believeing god when obviously 33.33 percent of humanity is christians

  • 12. Schoulayer  |  October 7, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I do believe in the continuation of consciousness after death, near death experiences and out of body experiences are proof of non-locality.

    If you seriously look into these experiences you’ll find many cases where people have knowledge of things they could not have known about.

    As for if there is a god or not? I’m not as certain.

  • 13. Vong  |  November 3, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Hmmm – just been doing some reading up on NDE.

    Firstly please understand where I am coming from. I think it is most accurate to define me as NOT an atheist. Beyond that I am not sure.

    Firstly, critics on the original article. Some points are very poorly expanded.

    – yes most books documenting NDEs are religious. And this is to be expected. BUT NDEs have similar themes and reccurences regardless of religion, culture, age et cetera. The outer body experience, the tunnel of light and the life evaluation are all universal despite the difference of cultures and beliefs. The interesting part is that the characters they meet are different – Buddha, Jesus, a friend, a dead relative (even living people!) – I find this point inconclusive to the nature of NDEs.

    – Ketamine and other oxygen deprivating states to the brain do cause similar experiences to NDE. But what he omitted was that none of these cause the completeness of an NDE – they merely reproduce elements. Again – yes I think we should recognise a biopsycho aspect to NDEs. But does that mean that everything beyond biology are precluded?

    – and his point on completely scientific proof about chemical basis of NDEs? that certainly is not the case. NDEs are a great debate precisely because there are interesting case studies that start to tip the scales towards something beyond a chemical electric storm triggered by oxygen deprivation.

    my two cents worth

  • 14. Schoulayer  |  December 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Even if they did find a physical trigger that did cause an experience -exactly- like an NDE, what would it prove? Death itself is physical, so why would you be surprised that NDEs could be triggered by physical means/changes?

    Finding a physical trigger for NDEs would do nothing to invalidate the experience at all.

  • 15. MyName  |  December 19, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    * Ketamine was not released until the 1960s. NDEs have been reported since ancient (4,000-2,000 BC?) Egyptian times
    * All famous religions, even the oldest one, teach that Light is our real Creator. Zoroastrian (oldest religion?): Ahura-Mazda is the “Sun God”, “God of Light”. Hinduism: “He is the Light of all Lights which shines beyond all darkness”. Buddhism: “The Incomprehensible, Bound-less Light” (TBOTD). Christian: “God is Light”, “Ye are all the children of Light”. Islam: “Allah is the Light”
    * It is a FACT that the Sun – our source of Light – supports ALL life on Earth: Humans, animals, plants
    * Medicine does not account for OBEs (“Out of Body” experiences) where patients see verified events that occurred outside of the hospital room while they were dead
    * How can medicine be effective after being declared “dead” – with no heart beat, no breath and no brain activity – by doctors and machines?
    * How do we know that OBEs caused by Ketamine and *natural* substances like Iboga fruit, Cacti (Peyote, Trichocereus Pachanoi), etc, are unreal? How do we know that Iboga, for example, does not cause a real OBE? Many users believe that they do, especially members of the Native American Church. To say “it’s just a hallucination or dream” is a way of avoiding the question without explaining anything. No one knows how or why dreams occur

  • 16. MyName  |  December 20, 2008 at 12:21 am

    PS: Religion? Universalism. God? No, I don’t believe in a personal “God”, but it depends on what you’re referring to. First cause? Supernovae (PLURAL). I believe that Star explosions generate planets in the surrounding galaxies in the same way that volcanoes create land. NOT just ONE big bang, but multiple. Evolution? Yes, definitely. Afterlife? Absolutely, there is overwhelming evidence that our existence continues. Reincarnation? Yes. If physical evolution exists, then there must be the opposite: non-physical permanent evolution of consciousness as explained in religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism. This could help us understand why there is inequality in the world, and why some people are born poor while others are born rich.

    My point? One does not have to be Christian or believe in God in order to believe in an afterlife. Who says we have to? I have Atheist friends who believe in the afterlife and they are sincerely good loving people. Ultimately, what’s most important is that we try our best to be good, help others, not which religion we profess to be or how many scriptures we’ve memorized.

    If a NDE experiences a “God”, it is because they believe in it. That is their interpretation or perception of the ultimate reality, their “Heaven”, and it’s only true for them, not what everyone else experiences.

    According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead (TBOTD), “God” is a human conception
    (“projection”) of the Light that is relative to the individual’s perspective and culture.
    “May I recognize whatever [visions] appear, as the reflections of mine own consciousness” – TBOTD.

  • 17. eric  |  October 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    God != existing of soul

    Proof that something–consciousness perhaps–survives death
    doesn’t prove that God exists, though if God does exist, that
    would probably prove the former.


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