Don't near-death experiences hurt the case for God?

From what I’ve read, the seeming light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel isn’t always just a Catholic candle. To some people it’s a Mosque-lamp, a Menorah, or even stage-light from some huge revival-type religion-thingy.

The point is: Near-death experiences don’t point to some absolute, universal-truth, but instead to the preferences of the individual.

So ultimately, if what we regard as “heaven” is more similar to some pre-programmed, biological movie theatre than a narrow-gate…

**isn’t it possible that the very origin of the very idea of heaven was the result of some ancient near-death-experience that ultimately meant nothing more than contradictory good-feeling-nonsense?

NDE’s don’t necessarily point to anything more than a scientific anomaly. I.e. there are some pretty logical, medical reasons for the whole light at the end of the tunnel thing.

That being said…

I think I can see your point, and I’m not sure if this will mean much…
But for me…
Christianity…Catholicism has presented the most consistent of view of life and death.

Now, if you want to get into the whole experience where one sees hell or heaven…that’s something else entirely.

Seems like it would create a chicken or the egg situation. In order for the person to have a preprogrammed movie scene of them going to their heaven, they would already have to have the idea of heaven in their head.

Hopefully I haven’t misunderstood you.

I guess it proves the point that it’s a different world in everybody’s mind.My father told me that. he’s a smart man.:smiley:

If you read Fr. Seraphim Rose’s excellent work THE SOUL AFTER DEATH, he makes a very good point to show that these near-death/after-death experiences (light at the end of the tunnel and such) are NOT visions of the next world, but are merely the invisible part of THIS world, which is the normal habitation of demons, who of course will seek to deceive the soul.

There are two more aspects to this also, that I can think of. One is that some people have an experience of initially seeing light, but then after a while what they’re seeing turns into hell. So some of those people might just not have traveled far enough to have their NDE unmasked.

Also, according to Catholic teaching, there are elements of truth in other religions. And Paul said that he would become everything to everyone so he might save a few. Jesus might in some cases be doing the same thing, leading people into deeper relationships with him through the elements of truth that exist in their own religions.

From what I’ve read, these experiences are pretty nice and comforting and I understand people regret “coming back”, so even if they are “demonic”, I honestly don’t care: there nice nonetheless.

But *also *from what I’ve read: it’s all biological.

I, too, read the studies of some scientists who tried to prove that the “light at the end of the tunnel” was actually just the brain reacting to the lack of oxygen and bloodflow. They also posited that the wonderful feelings experienced in NDEs were caused by a rush of “feel good” hormones – another of the body’s reactions to being “near death.”

The scientists, however, could not explain the experiences people had of seeing and hearing not only everyone in the room, but also people outside the space where they were dying. And from what I understand, scientists also could not explain why some people had the experience of hell instead of seeing or after they saw the white light/tunnel.

So science may be able to explain biology, but biology cannot account for the entire experience.

With respect to Fr. Seraphim Rose, however well-reasoned and insightful his thoughts may be, they are not the official teaching of the Church, which as I understand it has not made any such statement about NDEs being an encounter with demons.

Just my two cents’ worth.


I had a NDE when I was 9 years old at a dentists surgery,( I was from an atheistic family, no beliefs in particular )and I was put to sleep with Gas, except because I am half deaf I didn’t hear them or understand, I believed I was being killed, I found myself drawn throogh the classic dark tunnel with the light at the end, in front of me i could see figures making their way,but as I got to the light a voice said to me “its not your time…” and I found myself drawn back.(not in the dentists chair, in the waiting room with my mother.

apparently rock climbers sometimes experience this in a fall when they belive they have had it… (wikipedia)

There is a famous old painting by Bosch that shows the experience called "ascent of the Blessed"

I am the only “believer” in my family this day, 30 years on, the experience was very vivid, something I didnt share with anyone untilI was an adult. For me it meant this isnt it, there is life after death. It brought me ultimately(this year!) to the Catholic faith

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