The end of the near-death experience

(134 Posts)

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

chickydoo Tue 27-Aug-13 19:11:58

I am a fence sitter
But..... Recently my DM died. She had massive brain damage due to a bleed, and was in a care home.
A day or so before she died I was talking to her ( she could no longer talk, swallow etc) she was on no medication at all.
I told her I knew the " real" mum I had known all my life was in that broken old shell somewhere. She opened her eyes, looked at me. ( she hadn't opened her eyes for days) and squeezed my hand hard ( with the hand that had been totally paralysed for 3 years)
She understood what I was saying ( hearing I think goes last) I think she was telling me the "real" non physical mum was there, & was Ok.
Mum didn't respond again and died 24 hrs later.
I was with her when she died, but I think something had left the room when she squeezed my hand.

I still fence sit, but am open to possibilities. We do need to live each day as if it's our last, but we just don't know for sure what's next if anything.

That's a lovely story, thank you for sharing, Chickydoo.

As it so happens I was thinking about all this on the bus today and spontaneously asked God for a sign if He was there. I'm not in the habit of trying to converse with God (unless in a crisis!) so did it only half-seriously.

At that minute I looked up and there was an advert from some Christian group or something with a quote:

"God always keeps his promises."

confused

To be honest, every time I have these big moments of doubt in my life, I seem to get bashed over the head, metaphorically, with reminders that He or She or It is there.

Stripedmum Tue 27-Aug-13 19:57:48

I have weird things like that Shabby. Songs on the radio appearing at apt moments etc. White feathers are a thing with me. I chose DSs nursery recently and just as me and DH were there checking it out with him a white feather floated down and landed in the middle of the toys he was playing with! It felt really special.

I also agree with life being about learning lessons - forgiveness, tolerance, etc etc.

bumbleymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 21:25:05

Grimma, maybe our purpose is to rid the world of suffering? One small bit at a time. smile

GrimmaTheNome Tue 27-Aug-13 21:28:28

>Grimma where did the stardust come from?

Stars. Before which ... that's a question for physics/cosmology, not philosophy/religion/spirituality. Another of those former mysteries yielding to science.

ivykaty44 Tue 27-Aug-13 21:31:51

They have tested rats for brain activity and then drawn some pretty large leaps to switch that to humans and near death experiences.

How do people who have NDE see what is happening in the room they are in with themselves on a table being worked on - even if the brain is at a heightened state how can you explain those cases where people have so many times looked down on themselves being brought back to life?

bumbleymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 21:35:38

I'd like to know that too Ivy. I think people don't like admitting that there are things we don't yet know/can't ex

expatinscotland Tue 27-Aug-13 21:35:48

You're either dead or you're not. Dead people don't come back. Ever.

bumbleymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 21:36:25

Can't explain so they jump to conclusions and try to force things into boxes based on what we do know now...

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 27-Aug-13 22:10:45

First off Just, I am a believer, so bear that in mind when you read my response, although I'm not sure what difference it ultimately makes.

The study that you link shows high brain activity when rats are close to death. This is documented using brain scans. Is this really such a surprise?

Endings are emotional, cognitive and behavioral occurrences. When we end relationships, move house, leave work etc. we are faced with many and conflicting emotions and thoughts. Happiness, sadness, disappointment, joy, excitement and anticipation. Given this, I am not surprised that at end of life the brain lights up. Even when we leave a party we experience a number of thoughts and feelings and demonstrate different complex behaviors. We have developed an entire etiquette system to deal with endings.

What follows death is unknown. There are many theories, religious, spiritual and scientific. The religious and spiritual beliefs are pretty well known: heaven, hell, reincarnation, purgatory etc. The basic scientific belief is that the atoms that make up your body are broken down and re-used until the universe (which started), ends.

Apart from the hell thing, spiritual, religious and (most) scientific theories agree that All Will Be One Again. We started as one in god or Big Bang and we will end as one.

You say Just, that you fear "nothingness". What is nothingness? Does it even exist?smile

fackinell Tue 27-Aug-13 22:15:33

Exactly, Ivy. So many people repeat complex procedures and what was said in the room. Nobody will ever convince me otherwise and if I die and there is nothing, then I won't know any difference.

Each to their own but I am a believer in the afterlife and it's a huge comfort.

headinhands Tue 27-Aug-13 22:37:47

Can't explain so they jump to conclusions and try to force things into boxes based on what we do know now

It's not about jumping to conclusions. It's about saying 'as far as we know there is nothing to suggest that any part of us survives after the brain dies". We're not denying any evidence to the contrary, it just isn't there to begin with.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 27-Aug-13 22:52:51

That's not quite true Head, there is definitely life after death. Quite a bit of us survives, even in ash form. The question is if consciousness exists after the death of the body.

That, like String Theory, is open to discussion and debate. It is a belief. Something that seeks to explain what we don't know in relation to what we do know. Some beliefs have more credence than others but in the end it all comes down to belief, not knowledge.

bumbleymummy Tue 27-Aug-13 23:05:02

Actually there are a few things to suggest that consciousness survives deaths - suggest not prove but I'm happy enough with that for now smile

headinhands Tue 27-Aug-13 23:23:23

I should have been more specific when I said life. I guess I meant personal conscious. Obviously I agree that many of my atoms have probably been part of another human prior to them being part of me, probably even within my own lifetime seeing how we are renewed approximately every 7 years via cell regenration. I quite like that.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 27-Aug-13 23:33:49

So do I Head.smile

When it comes down to it though, the question is "does consciousness exist after body death?". The answer is No one knows. We all have our beliefs, but the truth is we just don't know. And I like that.grin

What I don't like so much is when people state belief as fact.sad

headinhands Wed 28-Aug-13 08:49:15

I wouldn't say my position was a belief. My position on life after death is the same as my position on dragons or similar. I don't have any evidence that either are true. Until I am presented with some then it is logical to assume that it's not true. If I told you I could fly would your rejection of my claim be a belief in itself or just a logical position based on the evidence around you.

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Wed 28-Aug-13 09:00:09

Shabby I feel just the same as you about death and the aloneness of it.

LongGone smile, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Are you a Believer?

headinhands Wed 28-Aug-13 09:11:14

To feel alone you'd need to have a functioning brain though. Did you feel alone for the millions of years before you existed?

headinhands with all due respect, you're not getting it. It's not that I am afraid of feeling alone for forever, it's the fact that as a human being who loves, feels, and is conscious of impending death, unlike other animals, I fear the idea of shutting my eyes some day and that's it.

My memories are gone, my loved ones are gone (to me), the meaning of life is gone.

That makes me sad and fearful of dying.

I would like to believe that life here is a learning experience for something greater and that when I close my eyes I'll be welcomed there. It's a lot more comforting than to think I will just go away forever. The idea of that is scary to me.

Nowhere have I said I believe I will exist in blackness or nothingness. I know I won't be aware then, but I am aware NOW.

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Wed 28-Aug-13 09:42:45

I worry about the moment before I die when I may know I'm dying and leaving everybody hmm

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Wed 28-Aug-13 09:43:34

I'm an atheist I think, but I would love to believe in god and heaven - sadly I just don't...

Dione thank you for the above post on Endings. Something to think about. "All will be One Again."

I like that.

The Golden Girls episode this morning was all about this "is there life after death?" debate. Another sign??

Haha!

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