Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander

Has anyone seen this book: Proof of Heaven?
"Dr. Alexander, a renowned neurosurgeon, was felled by e coli meningitis. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life."

Anyone read this? I glanced through it, and am concerned with his statement that he was told, “you can do nothing wrong.” That’s a little hard to believe.
Yet his story is convincing.

It’s really not. At least, not if you have a semi-serious grasp of neuroscience. Which Dr. Alexander seemingly does not. His account of the relevant brain science makes this much clear.

When Jesus told the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to preach to his five brothers. Abraham said no one will be sent back, if people don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets they won’t listen to someone who has returned from the dead (proven true when people refused to believe in Jesus after His resurrection). This passage makes me skeptical of all accounts about meeting Jesus or God when someone is “dead” and then “returns.” If the story inspires someone or improves their relationship with God, then praise God. Visions, maybe; dreams, possibly; entering heaven, I doubt it.

But if a person went into a coma and experienced the Buddha I don’t think you would find it convincing, despite the claim that a vital part of his brain was shut down. You would look for a reason to doubt it.

Adding some further irony is that one of the more common criticisms of his book, from people of faith, is that his visions of the afterlife didn’t appear Christian enough.

I don’t expect to find incense, familiar hymns, or similar Christian things in heaven, because those are cultural in large part. But neither do I expect to hear that one can do nothing wrong. That kind of does away with the 10 Commandments, among other objections.

Would you expect to find Jesus? Because I understand that the Savior also failed to put in an appearance in Dr. Alexander’s account.

My main question, after reading the book, was he actually seeing heaven, or perhaps that “place” that the ancients called “Limbo.” That place of natural happiness, or some other place without a name. A way station, since he was not yet dead. What I find most attractive is his repudiation of the modern view of the mind and spirit as epiphenomena of the brain.

I haven’t read it thoroughly, but I did read somewhere that the Trinity is portrayed in the book.
I don’t know that not seeing Jesus would prove it was untrue. I don’t know how Heaven works. When I visit Washington DC. I don’t expect to be welcomed by the president.

Sam Harris’s take on Alexander’s account of his experience was the first I heard of it.

Sounds like Mr Harris thinks Alexander’s trip may have resulted from drugs he received while in the coma, or an intensification of stuff our brains already produce. Possible.
I guess I’ll stick to St Paul’s description in 1 Cor 2:9: “no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–

skeptiko.com/sam-harris-wont-debate-eben-alexander-on-near-death-experience-science/

And Harris subsequently followed up, having read Alexander’s book.

samharris.org/blog/item/science-on-the-brink-of-death

I believe people have after-death experiences. But I do have a problem in that most of them never seem to report any negative experiences. Everything seems to be so lovey-dovey.

I’ve said before the night my own father died, he appeared in my room. He started with an apology, we argued and talked, and at the end he gave this absolutely terrifying scream and then just disappeared. I’ve got good reason to believe it was real enough due to other experiences I’ve had, including a couple which had a sort of byline to that experience.

So his “after-death” experience was not a happy one, and as far as I’m concerned, I saw his reaction to his judgement - sheer terror. It was obvious something was coming for him.

I also might point out I had no idea he’d died, and had no reason to think he might do so. I wasn’t told by normal means for another four days as it took that long for his body to be found. And he didn’t even know where I lived, and I don’t think I knew where he lived.

So there was no expectation, or wishful thinking involved.

What intrigues me is that these people always seem to have a wonderful experience, regardless of the life they might have led beforehand.

The human brain is a remarkable thing, capable of presenting us with ideas and impressions which, with hindsight, we might consider to have been premonitions. A couple of weeks before our adopted rescue dog killed one of our cats, I had commented - not truly believing it could happen - that the only thing that would make me take Max back to the shelter (this after he had destroyed a number of our possessions in fits of separation anxiety) would be if he killed one of our cats. During the same time period, I had seen a dead and decomposing cat near the river across the road from our house, a cat that resembled our two pure-white cats. A superstitious person might interpret this as some kind of premonitory vision or awareness - frankly, I consider it mere coincidence, happenstance. How could it be otherwise?

I agree it’s interesting that people who report NDEs all tend to have much the same experience - of blinding light and a sense of peace - but surely that’s better evidence of a common physiological occurrence than of a genuinely personal taste of the afterlife…

I just read this book last night and I took the statement concerning “You can do no wrong” to mean he could do no wrong in the place he was currently in, not that he could do no wrong in his earthly body.

Has anyone read “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” It’s fascinating. This little boy reports an experience of visiting heaven and although he was raised in the protestant faith his description of Jesus was Catholic in nature.

Also, “Hungry Souls - Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory.” Granted this one is not about NDEs but documents visits from souls residing in purgatory who return to seek intecessory prayers from the living.

I have to say that the whole concept of NDEs fascinates me and I want to read more books about it.

I have read accounts written in earlier times of people who had visions of or visited hell, and when they came back lived changed lives. I can’t remember where I read them, but I’m sure those accounts are out there.
We in our present time focus on the good reports because we want reassurance, I suspect. Nobody would read Dr Alexander’s book if he had visited hell and returned, we’d just write him off as crazy.

I don’t put much stock in these out of body experiences. A few might be worth something if we could verify the experience but I don’t see how that would be possible. Of course, Christians know heaven exists. :shrug:

I’ve read some of his interviews and he uses deep “meditation” and centered prayer now. Those are real no-no’s in scripture (and for all real Christian religions). So is soliciting the dead to come back (Samuel). Prayer for healing is different. I enjoyed the book though, but, we are called to “discern and test the spirits”. I’m not sure by what spirit he saw these things. He didnt call Jesus Lord and called God “OM” not "I Am " which is what God calls Himself in the bible.

But I don’t know whether he has converted to Christianity recently.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.