Posts Tagged With: Afterlife

More than Flesh

Since the dawn of man, there have been pervasive whispers of the beyond. Much more than vague imagination, it has been innate to our existence and nearly all of our belief systems. In our enlightened age it is common to hear that this has all been in our heads. No next life. No heaven. No souls. Such things are unscientific and have been explained away. But have they?

Not quite.

No matter how skeptics have tried to disprove what they see as remnants of superstition, science has bit back. Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard marshals and impressive array of this evidence in Brain Wars and The Spiritual Brain that the mind and the physical brain and entirely two different things.

In other words, a nonphysical essence of us exists. A soul.

While Beauregard doesn’t delve into analyzing what religions say on the matter, he does show how weak the critics’ attempts to demote us to nothing but flesh. The point? Too often people take as gospel whatever the day’s headlines or the current special on the Discovery Channel proclaim as truth. Sometimes we are a bit too trusting in what “authorities” (or those who have proclaimed themselves such) tell us. Not that the majority of the world has given up their “superstition” at any rate.

Science has declared they don’t have to.

Categories: Books, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

After Life Everywhere

There have been a scores of books recently on near death experiences (NDEs) and visits to heaven (and an occasional drop into hell). I briefly considered reviewing a wide swath of these, but there’s way too many. But I was also given pause by the thought, “Has anyone looked closely at these? Or is emotion at work here, much like Y2k and 2012?”

No, I’m not skeptical of NDEs in principal as a possibility. Many of these people’s experiences may be true in every detail. Others may have really seen something, though not really know what it was. There may even be a hoax or two out there, but I haven’t heard of many. In any case, I was pleased to find that Hank Hanegraaff wrote Afterlife, in which he does what few others dare to do:

Take the time to really read the NDE stories and see if their claims stand up to simple reason.

For people who don’t like their beliefs to be disrupted, Hanegraaff probably doesn’t make a lot of friends. All that he is doing, however, is some simple critical thinking. Like asking, “Why do so many of these accounts seem colored by the person’s personal beliefs? Why is everyone’s vision of heaven different?” (paraphrasing Hank here). Indeed, those are good questions.

Since many of these accounts come from Christians, Hanegraaff compares the accounts to biblical theology to find the hits and misses. One interesting NDE has a man describing heaven nearly identical to the Apostle John’s version in The Book of Revelation. Was John’s metaphorical attempt to describe the indescribable so perfect that others couldn’t at least try to use different terms? I think experiencing heaven would encourage one to be a little more creative.

I glad someone is out there doing the dirty work. Also a bit sad that using basic reading skills is now “dirty work.” For those who think this is an exercise in futility because they think there isn’t an afterlife, there is a massive body of work from both scientific and theological perspectives that strongly argue otherwise (such as Brain Wars or Immortality, to name a few). But that debate is not the point here.

It’s okay to let emotion draw you into a book, nonfiction or fiction. That doesn’t mean you have to turn the left side of your brain off. Especially in nonfiction.

Categories: Bible, Books, Critical Thinking | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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