The end of the near-death experience

(134 Posts)
Justshabbynochic Mon 26-Aug-13 06:55:24

I've always sat on the believer/non-believer fence.

One of my strongest beliefs in the after-life was the bafflement of scientists over near-death experiences. I would get into debates with athiests over this: "How could a person who is dead still have mental awareness to have these?!"

Well, scientific evidence has come out this week, here:
m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23672150

I have to say, the article has really shaken me. I don't know why, because I'm sure it's not that surprising, but it's one of the things that have kept me on this side of believing in God, and now I'm feeling really confused and sad about it.

I'd like to hear from Believers (of any faith!), who can read that and tell me why it's inconsequential to them regarding their faith.

I have a fear of dying, so please be gentle if you're Athiest...reinforcing to me there is nothing after death will make me feel worse.

Thanks x

AGnu Mon 26-Aug-13 07:44:40

There's no real explanation as to why it happens though is there? Yes, there might be a sudden surge in activity which may be linked to some people having near-death experiences but we don't know what causes it. It could be the brain's physical reaction - like it's panicking because it's not getting the oxygen it needs, or it could be that the soul is leaving the body & going to heaven. Heaven sounds like a pretty mind-blowing place! wink

Either way, it's not going to affect my day-to-day faith. I've known too many people be healed from various ailments with no medical explanation after being prayed for to let something as inconsequential as someone noticing what our physical bodies do bother me. They've just made an observation, not given an explanation as to why it happens.

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 07:57:12

I don't see anything new in that and it ends by saying there is precious little known and that we should be careful about drawing conclusions.
I wasn't near death but have had an out of body experience (not drug induced) so I know that as a person you are separate from the body. I haven't seen many dead bodies but they have been shells- the person has gone.

Justshabbynochic Mon 26-Aug-13 08:54:12

Ah, yes! So even if it's physically what our bodies are doing, it doesn't necessarily explain what our soul might be doing at that point.

Thank you both. I need to ponder on it awhile.

AGnu Mon 26-Aug-13 09:25:09

Yy to what exotic said. I've only seen one dead body in my life - a baby in a hospital - & the second I glanced over I just knew something was very wrong. I don't remember seeing people upset or anything, just the baby on the bed & I instantly felt ill & had to leave the room but I couldn't understand why. It wasn't until I overheard someone coming out that I knew what had happened. There must be a difference between an alive person & a dead body for me to have had such a visceral reaction to a brief glance from the other side of the room!

Gingerdodger Mon 26-Aug-13 09:54:08

I suppose the question is what causes the brain to become so stimulated and react in such a way. This could be interpreted as a physical last hurrah or perhaps the body is responding to something we cannot understand.

I do not really read anything in this that makes the cause one way or another, just information about the behaviour of those animals tested when near death and the question as to whether this is similar for us.

Just my thoughts but hope they help.

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 17:57:40

Nah this doesn't impress me.

Ooh tell us about your experience exotic (if you feel comfortable).

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 18:53:34

It was just completely out of the blue-- I have never had one since. I expect I felt a bit faint- it was one of those days that turn out unexpectedly hot so I was wrongly dressed and had been walking very fast, I expect I felt faint. I was about 14 yrs and when I stopped I was suddenly aware that I was floating at the other side of the road- about 10 feet up in the air and looking down at myself. My friend then asked if I was OK- I must have gone pale and then I 'came back' it was very short but quite unnerving.

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 18:56:43

Not much of an experience really but the memory of it has stayed with me.

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 19:01:02

Oh God! That's bloody weird!

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 19:05:34

I am pleased not to have had it since!

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 19:07:18

I didn't mention it to the friend-I just said I was faint and needed to sit down.

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 19:09:36

And you were looking at you from above?!

I have had kid of out of body experiences through extreme anxiety. That's a bit different though. It just feels like you're slightly next to yourself or slightly above yourself. Not nice.

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 19:09:49

* kind of

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 19:17:24

Definitely from above and a distance.

MostlyLovingLurchers Mon 26-Aug-13 19:17:26

Well, it certainly shows that rats experience an intense period of brain activity following a cardiac arrest. Does it follow that there is no such thing as life after death? Of course not. It doesn't demonstrate that the rats are having a nde, only that they could be. How do we know without subjecting humans to the same treatment (i'm guessing the rats didn't come back to tell us what they were experiencing)?

This piece of research offers a possible explanation - it doesn't provide any proof one way or the other. Since science cannot detect a soul there is unlikely to be any research that explains what happens to it on death! So, if it is your belief that we do continue to exist beyond the death of our bodies (it is mine btw) there is nothing here to categorically disprove that. I would say though, that nde's don't really offer any real proof of life after death anyway - if someone is truly brain dead they tend not to come back and talk about it, and while there is still some brain activity it is always possible that this is responsible for the experience.

Regarding out of body experiences, I remember reading years ago that there was going to be a serious study into this, placing items on top of cabinets in operating theatres etc, to see if the patient could see them during an obe. Does anyone know if this ever happened and what the results were?

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 19:25:11

Yes! I can remember that study lurchers. Ooh it's on the tip of my tongue what it was called - IANDS?

happybubblebrain Mon 26-Aug-13 19:32:52

I had an out of body experience and I'm still pretty much an athiest. The mind is powerful and there are different states of it that don't confirm one way or another anything beyond this life or higher powers.

My out of body experience felt lonely and terrifying.

As an atheist I don't fear dying. Nothingness is not frightening. If I was religious I'm sure I'd be feeling more worried about the changes and where I might be headed.

exoticfruits Mon 26-Aug-13 19:59:22

Either it is life's next great adventure - or it is the end and you won't know anyway!

MostlyLovingLurchers Mon 26-Aug-13 20:05:06

Found it! Thanks Stripedmum - there was a link on the IANDS site. It is called the AWARE project and is still ongoing. Preliminary results due this autumn.

https://iands.org/news/news/front-page-news/908-aware-study-preliminary-results-due-in-the-fall.html

www.horizonresearch.org/main_page.php?cat_id=38

GingerBeerAndTinnedPeaches Mon 26-Aug-13 20:15:11

I had an NDE when I was in ICU and had a huge haemorrage. I wasn't expecting to die, but I guess the doctors were, otherwise I wouldn't have been there. I remember seeing my DH and DC, being 'pulled' away from them upwards. And then suddenly thinking, very clearly, they'll be OK, and let myself go.

Woke up a few days later, very relieved to be alive, and with no sense of God or anything like an afterlife. It was just the body and ind's way of shutting down, IME.

I am not a believer, but had been very frightened of death until then. Now I am frightened of my death for those I would leave behind - my DH and DC - but not for myself. Death is nothing.

Stripedmum Mon 26-Aug-13 20:53:03

Maybe you did die and coming back to your DH and DC is your heaven smile

headinhands Mon 26-Aug-13 21:21:13

Firstly, what we know from observing people who have had brain injuries suggests that we are our brain.

Also, generally we don't tend to start storing memories until around our 3rd birthday due to developing the necessary cognition.

Lastly, I have no recollection of the millions of years before I had a working brain so I have no reason to assume it will be different afterwards. I just won't be aware of my non existence to care!

Justshabbynochic Mon 26-Aug-13 21:26:38

The idea of nothingness terrifies me more than an afterlife. I don't know why, but I guess it's the idea that everyone has to go it alone, and it's the Great Unknown. I find it comforting that we continue on.

The idea of just stopping existing, blackness forever, really scares me.

happybubblebrain Mon 26-Aug-13 21:59:33

But you wouldn't experience the blackness forever or at all. It's not worth worrying about. Your body becomes something else, part of the earth again, so in a way it goes on living. Your mind stops. I find it hard to believe anything other than this and that's perfectly fine. Make the most of the time you have now, you are very lucky to have it.

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