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  #1    
Old October 15th, 2012 (01:05 PM).
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Dr. Eben Alexander has taught at Harvard Medical School and has earned a strong reputation as a neurosurgeon. And while Alexander says he's long called himself a Christian, he never held deeply religious beliefs or a pronounced faith in the afterlife.

But after a week in a coma during the fall of 2008, during which his neocortex ceased to function, Alexander claims he experienced a life-changing visit to the afterlife, specifically heaven.

"According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent," Alexander writes in the cover story of this week's edition of Newsweek.

So what exactly does heaven look like?

Alexander says he first found himself floating above clouds before witnessing, "transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamer like lines behind them."

He claims to have been escorted by an unknown female companion and says he communicated with these beings through a method of correspondence that transcended language. Alexander says the messages he received from those beings loosely translated as:

"You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever."

"You have nothing to fear."

"There is nothing you can do wrong."

From there, Alexander claims to have traveled to "an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting." He believes this void was the home of God.

After recovering from his meningitis-induced coma, Alexander says he was reluctant to share his experience with his colleagues but found comfort inside the walls of his church. He's chronicled his experience in a new book, "Proof of Heaven: A neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife," which will be published in late October.

"I'm still a doctor, and still a man of science every bit as much as I was before I had my experience," Alexander writes. "But on a deep level I'm very different from the person I was before, because I've caught a glimpse of this emerging picture of reality. And you can believe me when I tell you that it will be worth every bit of the work it will take us, and those who come after us, to get it right."
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Any thoughts? A textbook out of body experience, or divine intervention?
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Old October 15th, 2012 (03:15 PM).
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Not convinced at all. I believe that he had the experience he says he had but the part of the article that really stands out to me was "According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind". Current medical understanding - and this man knows as well as anyone that has studied neuroscience and, tbh, anyone at all, that our current medical understanding is not particularly wide compared to other fields of science. As such I'm more inclined to believe that something biologically normal which we simply don't understand yet happened than I am to believe that this man experienced heaven. It's also worth noting that, while he admits that he never had a profound faith in the afterlife, Alexander calls himself a Christian so that probably stands for something regardless.

...although tbh it makes me kinda sad that we have to wait for someone with fancy qualifications to experience a religious phenomenon before we give it a second thought. Had someone else had this experience we'd have simply brushed it off. It's annoying. "You require a PhD to have any sort of opinion on a religious matter which will be taken seriously" basically. |:
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  #3    
Old October 15th, 2012 (03:50 PM). Edited October 15th, 2012 by TRIFORCE89.
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Not convinced at all. I believe that he had the experience he says he had but the part of the article that really stands out to me was "According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind". Current medical understanding - and this man knows as well as anyone that has studied neuroscience and, tbh, anyone at all, that our current medical understanding is not particularly wide compared to other fields of science.
Bingo.

That is the role of religion though isn't it? Fills in the blanks. Answers that which science cannot, until science ultimately can. To give people a peace of mind in the mean time
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Old October 15th, 2012 (04:21 PM).
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I thought science wasn't to disprove religion -.-

I think people relate the two things when they really shouldn't be (ok, we disproved people from hundreds of years ago, way to go. I mean remember Aristotle convinced people matter was made of elements as in fire, water, earth, and wind. We disproved that but not science) Religion isn't something that is completely logical, its something that gives peace of mind (to the people who are actually religious and not ignorant to what religion is).

This guy could've had the most lucid dream, non-Christians will say that. He could've gone to heaven, Christians might take that. But we would never be able to really know and just argue about it.
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  #5    
Old October 15th, 2012 (07:23 PM).
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To me, this sounds just like a normal dream. From what I understand the neocortex doesn't affect the unconscious, which creates dreams when there is a lack of conscious thought while sleeping (the brain never stops/doesn't sleep). It does, in fact, affect the process of language which might explain why the beings he supposedly saw spoke in a 'transcended' language. I could be wrong.

Anyway, aren't you supposedly greeted by Saint Paul at the gates of Heaven? I don't think he is female, lol.
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  #6    
Old October 15th, 2012 (07:42 PM).
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Hmm, could he have been under the influence of medical chemicals administered by the hospital staff for his condition?
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  #7    
Old October 15th, 2012 (08:26 PM).
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Hmm, could he have been under the influence of medical chemicals administered by the hospital staff for his condition?
Either that or the effects that you feel when the brain begins to shut down.
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  #8    
Old October 15th, 2012 (10:08 PM).
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Obviously something Quantum is at work that we don't understand to do with consciousness. Perhaps his mind has entangled particles with another beings mind in a different part of the universe and the information is undergoing quantum teleportation to reach this guy.

Who knows, SCIENCE!!
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  #9    
Old October 16th, 2012 (08:23 AM).
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Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
Not convinced at all. I believe that he had the experience he says he had but the part of the article that really stands out to me was "According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind". Current medical understanding - and this man knows as well as anyone that has studied neuroscience and, tbh, anyone at all, that our current medical understanding is not particularly wide compared to other fields of science. As such I'm more inclined to believe that something biologically normal which we simply don't understand yet happened than I am to believe that this man experienced heaven. It's also worth noting that, while he admits that he never had a profound faith in the afterlife, Alexander calls himself a Christian so that probably stands for something regardless.
I was totally with you on everything until this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
...although tbh it makes me kinda sad that we have to wait for someone with fancy qualifications to experience a religious phenomenon before we give it a second thought. Had someone else had this experience we'd have simply brushed it off. It's annoying. "You require a PhD to have any sort of opinion on a religious matter which will be taken seriously" basically. |:
Because religious stuff is so subjective the best it can be is anecdotal. "I had a near-death experience and totally saw my grandfather, just like I thought I would!" It's a question of bias, too, as you pointed out.
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  #10    
Old October 16th, 2012 (03:27 PM).
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Either hes lying or he had an out of body experience. Great way to get publicity and sell a book.
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  #11    
Old October 16th, 2012 (04:07 PM).
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

True, he may very well have gone to his "happy place"... but I am pretty sure given the research on Near Death Experiences, that he saw heaven because that was the image he was raised with and that's what makes him comfortable. What would make me comfortable is envisioning Liber XV playing out... or if I were to have found my chosen and preferred and she were dead, to be reunited with my chosen and preferred. We go to the most peaceful thing we can and given the brain chemistry going on with a dying brain, that's what happens.

We may think it to be real, and to some of us - it is. Much like other types of "religious experiences", though, it's not objective proof to others of the validity of your belief system. Personal experience only really proves the validity of that religion to the person having the religious experience. I invoke all sorts of Goetic experiences but I would never think that this would be sufficient proof for you to believe in the Goetia... I'd recommend going into it for yourself and judging these claims based on your experience. You may pray to a god and I meditate on Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel... and we may attain communication back - doesn't make it proof to others of the validity of either beliefs.

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  #12    
Old October 16th, 2012 (06:28 PM).
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I don't buy it, at all. First off, religiously speaking, most religions claim that no one can see the afterlife and come back. It will remain a mystery to everyone and anyone until the day they do actually die.

Logically speaking, if he was still alive even at the lowest levels, his soul couldn't have traveled to the afterlife.

Plus I mean, this could have happened to so many other good people, why this one? Doesn't make sense imo.

I don't have time to speak my full mind, so that's my quick 2 cents~
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Old October 28th, 2012 (12:44 PM).
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I think he's not lying, and he's not telling the truth either.

It's all for yourself. If you enjoy pretending Christians are dumbasses, that's your heaven, and some way or another, it's totally true. If you enjoy pretending that your life is gonna get better after you die, that's your heaven, and some way or another, it's totally true.

We're not trying to force the "truth" on anyone, because everything is the truth.
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  #14    
Old October 28th, 2012 (03:09 PM). Edited October 28th, 2012 by Tyrantrum.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
...although tbh it makes me kinda sad that we have to wait for someone with fancy qualifications to experience a religious phenomenon before we give it a second thought. Had someone else had this experience we'd have simply brushed it off. It's annoying. "You require a PhD to have any sort of opinion on a religious matter which will be taken seriously" basically. |:
I think it may be because people rely on scientific evidence more than religious belief? I mean, if someone were to have a near-death experience and manage to get a glimpse of heaven - or hell - then you really can't tell that person it didn't happen; that's their belief and they'll most likely stick with it. However, if that person will to tell someone else, if they were to be a non-religious person, they most likely won't believe them because there's no evidence to back it up, I guess.

This probably made no sense, which is why I never contribute to discussions in this forum all too often (except for DCC). :P
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  #15    
Old October 28th, 2012 (08:06 PM).
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He may not be lying. I think he believed he had an experience.

But that doesn't mean it really was what he believed.

This is a 'god of the gaps' moment. He had this experience, which he cannot explain with whatever knowledge he has, nor can he find an explaination from others. The next logical thought process leads to the belief that obviously means it was otherworldly.

From this standpoint I don't think he's crazy, just mistaken. But if he starts saying he's a prophet...
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Old October 29th, 2012 (10:21 PM).
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BS.

Science has rendered most religion impossible; Christian being one of them. That guy was either having a dream, some weird sort of fantasy, or he's made it all up as an attempt to prove that Heaven exists; when quite frankly; it's pretty much impossible. If he seriously believes he actually went there, I think he needs to see a psychiatrist of sorts; it's rendered impossible by science, and pretty much general impossibility.
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  #17    
Old October 30th, 2012 (08:10 AM).
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BS.

Science has rendered most religion impossible; Christian being one of them. That guy was either having a dream, some weird sort of fantasy, or he's made it all up as an attempt to prove that Heaven exists; when quite frankly; it's pretty much impossible. If he seriously believes he actually went there, I think he needs to see a psychiatrist of sorts; it's rendered impossible by science, and pretty much general impossibility.
I dont think he needs to nessesarily see a psychiatrist. He isn't crazy, he had an experience he believes was real. I mean the story is sketchy especially after reading the part that says he never had strong religious belief or belief in an afterlife, but he does consider himself a Christian. He cant explain this with his scientific knowledge. If he believes this is real and that Heaven is real I dont find any problem with that. Just because someone is a scientist or a doctor dosent mean they can't have religious beliefs.
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Old November 19th, 2012 (05:06 PM).
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People handle trama differently. What I find interesting here is that a learned Neurosurgeon has a near death expierience, and arrives at this conclusion. Maybe there is an aspect of his psychology he's not keen on sharing, or something else behind the scenes.
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Old November 19th, 2012 (05:52 PM).
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I'm Atheist. So I'm going to refrain myself from saying anything offensive:

God Isn't real. Oh and by the way, that's not offensive, it's an opinion.


Was he under the influence of drugs? I doubt it. Drugged people are delusional, and for someone in a coma, It also seems unlikely that he had any sort of interaction with anything.

If I remember correct, a patient in a coma is put on a drug that completely sedates the body and puts the brain in a temporary stasis (which it ultimately breaks out of) So therefore, he probably saw nothing but utter BLACKNESS for his 8 years of coma....ness.

@AChipOffTheOldBrock - You may also be right. Judging that he's a catholic/christian, he probably wants to fascinate the public by telling them a make-believe story and make millions. It's certainly a possibility, but of course Christians don't understand 'dishonesty'.

OH well. I won't bash any christian. Even though they'll probably bash me. Call me a sinner... make a fool of themselves. I don't buy it at all. I'll just sit here and see what I can come up with
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Old November 19th, 2012 (06:02 PM).
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BS.

Science has rendered most religion impossible; Christian being one of them.
How?

Anyway, about the story he said. I don't really know. I think he did defiantly have a dream about it, of some sort. But if it was real, eh. Possibly not. People have detailed dreams all the time, and sometimes they feel very real, but all it is is just the mind. Personally, I'd say I'm christian ... but it's sort of confusing for me at the time weather I believe in God or not, but I'd at least say I am agnostic. I tend to think that there is just as much chance as there is something out there in which we have a bigger purpose or something more then just this, as there being nothing and we just live a life.
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Old November 19th, 2012 (06:12 PM).
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How?

Anyway, about the story he said. I don't really know. I think he did defiantly have a dream about it, of some sort. But if it was real, eh. Possibly not. People have detailed dreams all the time, and sometimes they feel very real, but all it is is just the mind. Personally, I'd say I'm christian ... but it's sort of confusing for me at the time weather I believe in God or not, but I'd at least say I am agnostic. I tend to think that there is just as much chance as there is something out there in which we have a bigger purpose or something more then just this, as there being nothing and we just live a life.

Being Agnostic is actually a perfect religion when you think about it.


Christian - Believes everything involving human sexual interaction or deragitory actions/words is a sin.

Agnostic - Doesn't believe in god unless proven otherwise. (Very very very short summary)

Atheist - Anti-religious ass (that's me! <_>) that makes fun of christians and constantly tries to disprove any theories regarding a God or Jesus Christ.


If you're a christian, you offend people who aren't christian. If you're atheist, you offend people who are christian.
If you're agnostic, you don't take either side and you look at the logical side of things.


Huh. Now that you mention it... I guess I am agnostic. Nevermind! hahaha...
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  #22    
Old November 19th, 2012 (09:12 PM).
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The only thought that comes to mind is, is that because this is a scientist saying it, people put that much more emphasis on the speculation and legitimacy of it. Whereas, I don't know that it would have been as major if someone who's in any other profession in the world was the one to say it.
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Old November 19th, 2012 (10:22 PM).
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What about religions without the god of Abraham, or indeed even god itself? Native spirituality of the Native Americans come to mind. As well as the Shinto religion of the Japanese. Because of that, I refuse the notion of Christianity's heaven and god because it is blasphemy to every other culture in the world.
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Old November 27th, 2012 (03:38 PM).
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Wow, this seems to have become a debate over religion.

Anyway, I'm not sure I believe him. This isn't the first time someone has claimed to have seen Heaven, so who knows which people were lying, if any of them were? So there's a chance he's lying about all of this just to get famous.

But I want to throw into the discussion that it was discovered that the Bible is actually the most historically correct book in existence. So I have reason to believe that Heaven itself exists, aside from faith itself. As for that man, who knows?
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  #25    
Old November 27th, 2012 (07:33 PM).
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Originally Posted by TRIFORCE89 View Post
Bingo.

That is the role of religion though isn't it? Fills in the blanks. Answers that which science cannot, until science ultimately can. To give people a peace of mind in the mean time

This, this, and exactly this..

You look back at the Greeks and think "what the hell are they thinking? Lightning gods and flaming chariots in the sky?", yet most people's beliefs are just as absurd.

Science has proved many, many religions wrong, yet there is still controversy.

Until science improves, there is no answer. So, half the population DOESN'T TRY TO GET AN ANSWER, and makes up a fake one. Then, the other half actually tries, and then the first half gets mad at them for proving them wrong.

Yippee.

Yeah, I don't buy that kind of stuff. That guy was definitely looking for attention or is way too convinced about something.

Could've been tripping, though.
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