Are "out-of-body" experiences legitimate?


#1

What is the orthodox Catholic thinking about near-death/out-of-body experiences in which a person says he died, had some sort of supernatural experience, and then came back to life?

I’ve heard that some people who’ve had these experiences talk about the next life as a “fuller reality” than this life, as waking up is a “fuller reality” than dreaming. And I’ve heard that sometimes people don’t want to come back to this life, but “it’s not their time”, and they are resuscitated or something.

What do theologians think of this? Is it compatible with orthodox Catholicism?


#2

The Church teaches that human beings have both a soul and a body. The idea that human consciousness can have experiences separate from the body is perfectly compatible with the Faith. The shared visions of “white light” “feelings of warmth” and sadness at returning to their own bodies are too commonplace to dismiss.

This is not to say that every out-of-body experience should be considered legitimate. Patients under the influence of heavy sedatives, painkillers or other drugs may experience hallucinations very similar to out-of-body experiences.

In any event, even if out-of-body experiences are real, they would fall under the category of private revelation, which means they are not required to be believed by the faithful. In addition, information or instructions related to the souls during an experience are not binding on anyone but those who receive them.


closed #3

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