Near Death Experiences - Religion vs Spiritual


I have studied Near Death Experiences for approx 25 years, and I am finding that people that have experienced a Near Death Experience come back as a more spiritual person, and less into religion, also those that have fallen away from religion tend to become athiest. When these non-believers have a Near Death Experience(NDE), they tend to become spiritual, because they are aware of an afterlife.

Much of this life is based on freewill, and faith in the unknown, so those that have not had an NDE will be exercising faith to a greater degree, than those that had one.

People that have an **NDE, **become more spiritual, they have a greater Love for God, and each other, and have a lesser need to follow a religious dogma of a church.

Many people have had an experience of seeing spirits waiting for entry into mortal bodies prior to birth, when they where having an NDE and they where visiting areas of the Spirit world, wether it be Pergatory, Heaven, Paradise, or whatever. Some of these people have a recollection of having been in heaven prior to Earth life, and also they may recognise a spirit of a loved one, that died prior to their birth on Earth.


  1. The need for Religion - The need to follow religious practices of a church.

  2. Spirituality - Can unconditional love be practiced, when we are swamped in Religious Issues, and the materialism of this world?

  3. How can we succeed in life without a Child-like Heart?

  4. Can the possibility of having been a spirit prior to Earth life, give a purpose to this life? or NOT?

  5. Can we have both a Religious and a Spiritual Life?..and how do we do both without one snuffing out the other?

  6. The need to get the World back in check via Religion, or will there need to be increased number of NDEs to get people to notice that there is a God?

  7. Do you know of anyone that has had an NDE? - What was it like?

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NIV)

Links pertaining to Near Death Experiences:

The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS)

Google search of NDE


What does “more spiritual” mean?


In my experience with those who have experience NDE’s, they tend to drift toward more “New Agey” groups even though they belonged to more…“orthodox” religious groups before their NDE.

Their outlook on life is much better…and they are concerned more of the ‘spiritual’, but not a “practical spirituality”.

Over a decade ago I was diagnosed with a disease my doctor gave me 6 months to live…and while I didn’t have a NDE, I did contemplate the meaning of my life and who I had touched…my spiritual life did get deeper…at least I believe it did…and my concern with “being right” about God lessened considerably…I came to know Him “experientially”…and I experienced grace…well, I’m still here…my doctor was wrong…I went to a specialist and while he didn’t have a cure…he knew how to treat it…and I’ve been under treatment ever sense…but the overwhelming experience of His grace has not lessened.


Spirituality vs Religion?

My Spirit grows closer to Christ through His Church and the Sacraments.

All spirits (souls etc), are called to God. The Truest and most Certain path is through His Church (religion).

Without the Church, our spirits will just wander. Perhaps that wandering will lead them to Christ, but I don’t advise wandering. Join the Church, and be guided and united with Him. :slight_smile:

  1. The need to get the World back in check via Religion, or will there need to be increased number of NDEs to get people to notice that there is a God?

Theologians and Philosophers of Religion, as well as scientists and doctors, basically don’t accept NDE’s as proof there is life after death. The problem with NDE’s is they are rather varied and also non-repeatable, so in general they can’t offer an empirical proof that there is an immortal soul or that there is an afterlife. Certainly to those who experience them they can imply or prove there is one, but to the bar of rational evidence and logic, these experiences can be explained as either directly or possibly due to activity of the brain near death, influenced by certain chemicals or extreme states which fundamentally alter conciousness. If Occam’s Razor is applied, then the hypothesis which can explain such events without resorting to supernatural entities or causes is in scientific and philosophical terms, the best.

Hans Kung put it well in his book *Eternal Life *when he basically concluded that (after a fairly detailed study of NDE’s) even for a theologian, NDE’s cannot prove that life does or does not continue in some form after death. It is not an object of human experience in terms of this life, and therefore is beyond the range of knowability and is unknowable.


Yes, a member of our church died and went to heaven. God let him come back to earn rewards. He was a Christian but did not do what he was called to do. Since then he went to bible school and is now preaching the Word.

According to him, Heaven is absolutely beautiful. Your senses are heightened… colors are brighter… you no longer worry about things like on earth.

I don’t know if you guys are interested in hearing about people taken to Heaven and/or hell but if you go to you’ll hear about some that have incredible testimonies.


I have almost died a couple of times. It was a pretty quick process, falling over while my hearing faded and my sight dimmed to black. Coming back, I saw no light at the end of a tunnel, no vision of heaven or hell, had no message from the other side – I felt air in my lungs from someone breathing for me, my senses returned one by one, and I got up, shaky but alive.

I was agnostic before, and I’m agnostic now. I wouldn’t say I’m any more spiritual either. The only thing I can think of that all that did for me was show me what to expect when I die for real: oblivion. It holds no fear for me now… actually, it’s somewhat comforting.

So from my perspective, the stories of people going to heaven or hell before being yanked back to earth and so on seem quite outlandish, and most likely the product of hallucination. But, as always, I cannot say for sure :wink:


I had an NDE. I did leave more conventional religion for a wider more open concept of Theos. My NDE did not support a belief in a being like deity, nor did it confirm or support an afterlife.

I am, but always have been, a very spiritual person. I do practice a religion, but in a very different way, than before.

I don’t think religion and spirituality are necessarily at odds. But they don’t necessarily overlap either.

If more NDE’s are occuring, I think it is due to medical types being able to revive more people after catastrophic injury, heart failure, etc, than was previously possible.

I do happen to think the song “Live Like You Were Dyin” makes a great deal of sense, because, we are ALL DYING. This very night our lives may be required of us.

I think that is a huge lesson that many gain from an NDE, that death is real, that is can occur at any time, and that we are all going to succumb to it. There is no denying death when you’ve come that close.


Wow. Lotta stuff there. I’m listening to the one by the guy who was stung by all the jellyfish. Amazing.


I have studied Near Death Experiences for approx 25 years, and I am finding that people that have experienced a Near Death Experience come back as a more spiritual person, and less into religion

SPIRITUAL: “of the human spirit or soul, not physical or worldly; of a church or religion” (Oxford American Dictionary)

Spirituality usually refers to our relationship with God.

Guess what … the words “relationship” and “religion” come from the same latin root word – “religare”

“Neocatcher’s” conclusions are not well-founded at all. He generalizes and he is judgmental. I know plenty of people who are very “spiritual” (close to God) because their religion (set of beliefs, morals & practice) helps bring them closer to God.

God manifests Himself to us in so many ways, to draw us to Him. And people choose to open their hearts and minds to Him, or not to, to varying degrees. Christ founded His Church to be a light of His love to all. But He loves all, no matter what. How dare anyone sit high up on a judgment seat and judge someone else’s relationship with God.

It’s not “spirituality versus religion.”

In Christ’s merciful peace.



Rom 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual (pneumatikos): but I am carnal, sold under sin.

1Cr 2:13
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual (pneumatikos) things with spiritual (pneumatikos).

1Cr 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually (pneumatikos) discerned.

1Cr 2:15
But he that is spiritual (pneumatikos) judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.


I don’t understand the “religion vs spiritual” and what it has to do with NDE’s. Do you think its “subjective”? Tim


I can see from the experience of near-deaths of my friends, that it has no relationship with becoming God or NearGod or Son of God, just because of it. Jonah experienced it in the belly of the whale but he was as human after the experienc as before he was, he became nowhere neargod. Lazarus (and so many others mentioned in the OTBible) was the same case, it is said he was raised from the dead, yet he also not beacame God or no change of supenatural being occureed in him.I, as of my own thought, would conclude that logically it has no connection with Jesus having attained deity because of it i.e., his being put on the Cross becoming neardead. Catholics could believe as per their faith. I was just thinking aloud.

Please don’t mind, it is just a discussion to reach the truth


Of course, I believe our life experiences shape and form our “spiritual” experiences. People who have visions of religious figures tend to frame those visions around their beliefs…I have a Wiccan friend who claims the Great Mother Goddess Diana appeared to her…I have an RLDS friend who firmly believes Jesus and angels appeared to him…I have read about Catholics and Orthodox who have Mary coming to them…I attended a Buddhist service where the speaker spoke of their vision of Quan Yin.

I have yet to hear of a Mormon have Mary appear to them, they do claim the Three Nephites visit on occasion, but not Mary.

So IMO we “frame” our religious experiences with our “religion”. It is one of things that makes the mind so amazing…personally I believe NDE’s are brains response to our systems closiing down to remove the fear of approaching death. It is a physiolocial response…not necessarily a “religious/spiritual” experience.



I have also noticed the same thing and I have read many NDE stories. The degree of religious developement you enter into the NDE determines the amount of your “spiritual” experience you have during the NDE. If you are an atheist your experience is minimal to nothing; a protestant returns a protestant with more spiritualism; a nominal catholic returns a nominal catholic with more spiritual insight; etc. So it seems to me as a Catholic that there is no free ride in terms of belief. If you are going to find and follow the truth you are going to have to find the truth and follow it here on earth. No free lunches in terms of faith. Even if you happen to see Christ in heaven during your NDE there is no catechism lesson given. The maxium still holds: you have to approach God in spirit and truth.

I do wonder one thing though. I have never read one NDE about a traditionally minded Catholic having a NDE. I wonder what that experience would be like. Anybody out there that is a traditional Catholic that has had a NDE?


My NDE was not “in step” with my religious beliefs at the time I had it. That was rather surprising.

I was a practicing Christian, but my experience was in no way Christian, nor did it support a judgement or heaven.

Also, I’ve been interviewed by folks who write NDE books, and some didn’t like my experience and even argued with me because it didn’t support what they believed about NDE’s.

People who write those books are not neccessarily presenting a full spectrum of experiences. Many have agendas, and only include that which meets it.

All I know is what my experience was. I don’t claim it to be the ultimate truth, or some great revelation meant for the entire world. But it is what I experienced, and it was powerful and meaningful for me.



Can’t argue with personal experience that’s for sure. You’re right, NDE’s documeted in various publications certainly don’t represent the full spectrum.

You are fortunate your NDE impacted you postiely. While I’m not looking for a NDE experience, if I should have one, I hope it impacts me in a positive way.


Demons have been known to assume the form of anyone you expect to see: Buddha, angels, even Christ Himself. NDEs, just like any personal visions or dreams, are not a trustworthy source of information on the afterlife. Sometimes they are genuine, sometimes they are products of demonic deception. If a person becomes less concerned about their actions and engenders a gushy sentimental notion that we’re all going to an abode of bliss and enlightenment, notwithstanding what we believe and practice and how we act, chances are the latter was the case with their NDE.



So, even further posts on near-death experiences show no clue of anybody becoming a demigod if not a deity in full, they all remain a human like Jonah was a human. It is for this, in my opinion, that Jesus linked his status with Jonah. He might have an apprehension that his apostles would not withstand him in the tribulations, and when he would survive from the death on Cross and migrate to far-off lands, they might ashamed as they would be in his absence, resort to deifying him so Jesus linked this incidence with Jonah as an infallible measure. I think you would agree with me.

The Word of GodAllahYHWH is and had been the first/authentic and primary source of human knowledge whether revealed on Moses/Jesus/Muhammad or Mirza Ghulam Ahmad; it is of itself complete and without doubt and requires no external witnessing.


Yes, I agree on the subjective. I believe God gives us all a chance. For me, the Catholic faith is my “structure”. I was born into it and I believe in it, vowing to be a soldier in Christ.
I’m not so sure about NDE being physiolocial. My experience was and still is beyond my comprehension. Tim

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