Author Topic: Near death experiences  (Read 1240 times)

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Offline Gill

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Near death experiences
« on: December 15, 2011, 03:15:50 PM »
Ok, so people ask me about evidence. Well, I'd say that one of my inspirations for a spiritual reality, beyond the physical, and and after-life, comes from reading several NDEs.   

There's a good site,  near-death.com, which has plenty of stories.  The site also has a skeptic section and science section so it's more of a resources rather than just persuasion.

I recommend reading.

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 04:12:17 PM »
how about one you think is particularly good?  Seen lots of stuff on NDEs and it's all explainable.  No demosnrated ability to see things you can't see or haven't seen already. No knowledge of things you "can't" know.  No seeing some universal "afterlife", just people repeating what they've been told in stories.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 04:14:42 PM »
Gill,

Though I am happy you are searching for evidence, I am sure you know we've seen this one before.  It's not a new argument.  Aside from the multitude of standard retorts we have for it (E.G. NDE is not death, its NEAR death, white light is what your brain sees when its starved for Oxygen, they are not reproducible and the only evidence we have is testimony, etc, etc) I find a compelling argument to be found in the fact that people of different cultures experience vastly different NDE's.  In Thailand, for example, they sometimes see beings called Yamatoots (dudes who serve Yama, the lord of the underworld in Thai mythology) who carry them someplace else.  In the Hindu culture, a lot of times the person in the NDE is 'taken in hand by "messengers" and brought before a man or woman who is often described as having a book or papers that he or she consults. A mistake is discovered. The wrong person has been "sent for," and this person is then brought back by the messengers to his or her terrestrial life.' (source: http://www.near-death.com/hindu.html)

If NDE's were truly visions of the afterlife, do you think it would matter what their cultural beliefs were PRIOR to their death?  Wouldn't all of them be the same, regardless of what someone previously thought?  Not all cultures have out of body experiences.  Not all cultures see Yamatoots.  Not all cultures see a person with a book that tells them it's not time yet. 

What do you make of that?  Is that evidence of an afterlife, or more evidence of the brain reacting under duress in a natural way that we don't yet fully understand, because we don't have many opportunities to study brains under that much duress?

Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline dloubet

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 04:21:14 PM »
So wait, are you suggesting the spirit sees things as it leaves the body? That it has spiritual eyes that are just as good - or better - than our physical eyes? That makes no sense. If we are all equipped with perfect spiritual eyes, why do we need physical eyes that suffer from debilitating diseases? The same with our other senses. What's the purpose of a crass physical model when we have these perfect spiritual ones already in place? And why, when our physical eyes are damaged, can we not use our spiritual eyes instead?

Of course, if we realize that our brains play tricks on us when deprived of oxygen, all these problems and questions vanish.

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 04:25:40 PM »
I come close to a near-death experience every time I read about near-death experiences.
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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2011, 04:29:33 PM »
Gill, I had a look at that site. I don't find their answers in the Skeptics section very convincing. As an example, the replies to "the NDE should be able to be demonstrated empirically" seem to boil down to "the phenomenon is nonphysical / spiritual so of course physical science can't prove it" or similar.

And their dismissal of the Randi Foundation's offer to investigate paranormal claims is a big red flag for quackery. If the "paranormal" can't hold up to accepted standards to distinguish fact from fancy, then it should resign itself to not being accepted, period.

BTW, I did a Google search on this Einstein quote they had:
Quote
"Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it." - Albert Einstein
A lot of practicioners of thoroughly debunked concepts- like astrology and magic thinking- seem to love it, which is another red flag. Einstein was not exactly a friend of that kind of sloppy thinking.
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Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 05:33:59 PM »
how about one you think is particularly good?  Seen lots of stuff on NDEs and it's all explainable.  No demosnrated ability to see things you can't see or haven't seen already. No knowledge of things you "can't" know.  No seeing some universal "afterlife", just people repeating what they've been told in stories.

Pam Reynolds is a good one.  Doctors purposely stopped her heart to do an rare surgury, and here brain waves went flat, yet she had out-of-body observations of the surgery, observations verified by the doctors.

Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 05:38:54 PM »
What do you make of that?  Is that evidence of an afterlife, or more evidence of the brain reacting under duress in a natural way that we don't yet fully understand, because we don't have many opportunities to study brains under that much duress?

If it were just the brain reacting to duress, I don't see why there would be any experiences.  It would make more sense that the brain would just release some endogenous pain killers, then knock one out so they don't experience the pain.  Yet, these people all claim to have become more aware, more lucid consciously, not like a hazy dream, they remember clearly much of the experience.   That would seem like an over complicated way for a brain to just ease us to some comfortable demise.

As far as the differences in the experience, I don't see why they'd have to be exactly the same, although what's interesting is they all tend to share similar qualities to them.

Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 05:41:31 PM »
So wait, are you suggesting the spirit sees things as it leaves the body? That it has spiritual eyes that are just as good - or better - than our physical eyes? That makes no sense. If we are all equipped with perfect spiritual eyes, why do we need physical eyes that suffer from debilitating diseases? The same with our other senses. What's the purpose of a crass physical model when we have these perfect spiritual ones already in place? And why, when our physical eyes are damaged, can we not use our spiritual eyes instead?

Of course, if we realize that our brains play tricks on us when deprived of oxygen, all these problems and questions vanish.

Yes, I am suggesting this.  Your spiritual eyes are far better.  Why then are we in a physical body?  Course I don't know, but my guess would be that maybe, as some of these NDEers suggest, that maybe the physical body is where the spirit can learn and grow or evolve.  But what I do know is that the physical body is temporary, but that everyone's spirit is eternal.

Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 05:44:05 PM »
Gill, I had a look at that site. I don't find their answers in the Skeptics section very .....

I'd encourage you to read more sometime.  I haven't delved into all of it there's so much but it still spikes my curiosity.

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 05:56:58 PM »
But what I do know is that the physical body is temporary, but that everyone's spirit is eternal.

How do you know this Gill? I'm interested in what led you to believe that very particular thing that a spirit is eternal. Are you saying spirits exist before the body, that everyone has been immortal since the moment of creation?
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2011, 06:05:23 PM »
As far as the differences in the experience, I don't see why they'd have to be exactly the same, although what's interesting is they all tend to share similar qualities to them.

No Gill.  That's what I am trying to tell you.  The interesting part is that they are NOT all the same.  In fact, culturally, they are VERY different.  The ones that share similarities occur within the same culture.  Outside of that culture, there are not the similarities you speak of.  There just aren't.  See for yourself.  Look around at all the different NDE experiences outside of our western culture and really compare them. Don't take my word for it.  Look around. 

You say you don't see why they have to be exactly the same... and I agree with you there.  But the kicker is that they are similar to each other within the same culture.   Could you not then come to the conclusion that the NDE's are phenomena that occur inside the brain based on the reality we faced during our lifetime and the beliefs we possess when we have them? 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2011, 06:53:58 PM »
If it were just the brain reacting to duress, I don't see why there would be any experiences.  It would make more sense that the brain would just release some endogenous pain killers, then knock one out so they don't experience the pain.  Yet, these people all claim to have become more aware, more lucid consciously, not like a hazy dream, they remember clearly much of the experience.

How do you know that those memories are actually formed during the near-death episode?  They could just as easily be formed afterward.  Human memory is notoriously unreliable.  Here's just one example: people describing the taste and texture of popcorn that they never ate.

http://neurobonkers.com/2011/05/26/study-demonstrates-false-memories-implanted-via-advertising/

Now if you can be fooled that seriously just by an advertising campaign when your brain is functioning normally, who the heck knows what your brain might be doing when it's functioning erratically?
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Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 06:56:00 PM »
As far as the differences in the experience, I don't see why they'd have to be exactly the same, although what's interesting is they all tend to share similar qualities to them.

No Gill.  That's what I am trying to tell you.  The interesting part is that they are NOT all the same.  In fact, culturally, they are VERY different.  The ones that share similarities occur within the same culture.  Outside of that culture, there are not the similarities you speak of.  There just aren't.  See for yourself.  Look around at all the different NDE experiences outside of our western culture and really compare them. Don't take my word for it.  Look around. 

You say you don't see why they have to be exactly the same... and I agree with you there.  But the kicker is that they are similar to each other within the same culture.   Could you not then come to the conclusion that the NDE's are phenomena that occur inside the brain based on the reality we faced during our lifetime and the beliefs we possess when we have them?

Understandable.   I don't think this logic though necessarily leads to the conclusion that they did not travel, spiritually to the same place, maybe it's just that their ability to express the experience, after the return, is limited to the different languages they have when returning.   

I suppose someone who comes back who can all of the sudden speak all languages would be more convincing, hehe, but I still find it interesting, worth looking into further.

Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2011, 07:01:18 PM »
If it were just the brain reacting to duress, I don't see why there would be any experiences.  It would make more sense that the brain would just release some endogenous pain killers, then knock one out so they don't experience the pain.  Yet, these people all claim to have become more aware, more lucid consciously, not like a hazy dream, they remember clearly much of the experience.

How do you know that those memories are actually formed during the near-death episode?  They could just as easily be formed afterward.  Human memory is notoriously unreliable.  Here's just one example: people describing the taste and texture of popcorn that they never ate.

http://neurobonkers.com/2011/05/26/study-demonstrates-false-memories-implanted-via-advertising/

Now if you can be fooled that seriously just by an advertising campaign when your brain is functioning normally, who the heck knows what your brain might be doing when it's functioning erratically?

Interesting, and point taken.   I'm not sure though if this speaks to the unreliability of memory though as much as these students need to pay more attention to what they're doing?  hehe.


Offline Gill

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2011, 07:06:45 PM »
But what I do know is that the physical body is temporary, but that everyone's spirit is eternal.

How do you know this Gill? I'm interested in what led you to believe that very particular thing that a spirit is eternal. Are you saying spirits exist before the body, that everyone has been immortal since the moment of creation?

I say this because of personal experiences, rationalism, and reading other's experiences, to name some.   Just simply, a rational, it doesn't make sense to say we came from nothing.  Sure, maybe this physical state can said to have a beginning, and end.   But an absolute beginning and end doesn't make sense to me.  So eternal in the sense that there's something about people which must transcend the limits of time, as we know it.

Offline dloubet

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2011, 08:17:17 PM »
So you've experienced a spirit being eternal?

How long did that take?
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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2011, 09:27:23 PM »
How long did that take?

You demand physical[1] answers to a spiritual matter, dloubet.
 1. And by "physical" I mean "sensible" or "coherent"
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2011, 10:37:20 PM »
Just simply, a rational, it doesn't make sense to say we came from nothing.

Nobody is saying we came from nothing.  But do you think it is reasonable to say that just because you don't understand something, that means you get to make up some sort of alternate hypothesis that is completely unsupported by evidence? 

Sure, maybe this physical state can said to have a beginning, and end.   But an absolute beginning and end doesn't make sense to me.

Do you think your lack of comprehension has any bearing on whether or not something is true? 

So eternal in the sense that there's something about people which must transcend the limits of time, as we know it.

No, there doesn't have to be any such thing.  We may desire this.  We may yearn for it.  Ache for it. Desire it with 'all our hearts'. Feel it in our bones.  But that has no bearing on whether or not we actually do transcend time.  Your dogged persistence that there has to be something more is all well and good, but it's just not in evidence.  It's a nice thought.  It's just vastly more likely to be false until you can prove that its true. 

We would all like to think this life isn't all there is, Gill.  That's universal.  Atheist or not, everyone can want that.  That doesn't mean we get it.   Sometimes life is like that.  The truth is cold and harsh; and it doesn't give a crap if we don't like it.  But it deserves to be respected.   
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2011, 10:42:54 PM »
I believe in near death experiences, and hope to have one someday. Like, right before I die, I hope I'm awake and experiencing my own death. My last few minutes or seconds or whatever will be a near-death experience. But after that, not so much.

I would love there to be life after my human death. I would love to be able to live in some other plane and perhaps explore other parts of the universe or whatever. But what I want is not one of the physical laws of the universe, and I'm not going to bother turning my idle dreams of a post-death adventure into a reality I insist is real. I've got standards.

I've heard all sorts of anecdotal stories about near-death experiences. Some sound pretty convincing. And I've no doubt that many telling those stories actually think that they had one. But as others have mentioned, we're all very good at making up memories, and until someone has more to offer than just an unconfirmable story, I think I'll stay skeptical.

(Crap, JeffPT made some of the same points while I was writing this. But hey, great minds think alike, and so does mine, sometimes  ;D)
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2011, 10:47:05 PM »
(Crap, JeffPT made some of the same points while I was writing this. But hey, great minds think alike, and so does mine, sometimes  ;D)

Holla!!

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Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Samothec

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2011, 01:02:27 AM »
As far as the differences in the experience, I don't see why they'd have to be exactly the same, although what's interesting is they all tend to share similar qualities to them.

No Gill.  That's what I am trying to tell you.  The interesting part is that they are NOT all the same.  In fact, culturally, they are VERY different.  The ones that share similarities occur within the same culture.  Outside of that culture, there are not the similarities you speak of.  There just aren't.  See for yourself.  Look around at all the different NDE experiences outside of our western culture and really compare them. Don't take my word for it.  Look around. 

You say you don't see why they have to be exactly the same... and I agree with you there.  But the kicker is that they are similar to each other within the same culture.   Could you not then come to the conclusion that the NDE's are phenomena that occur inside the brain based on the reality we faced during our lifetime and the beliefs we possess when we have them?

Understandable.   I don't think this logic though necessarily leads to the conclusion that they did not travel, spiritually to the same place, maybe it's just that their ability to express the experience, after the return, is limited to the different languages they have when returning.   

I suppose someone who comes back who can all of the sudden speak all languages would be more convincing, hehe, but I still find it interesting, worth looking into further.

Little did I realize there was a better place for my comments relating to the discussion of consciousness. So I repeat part of my own post from the 'Belief in science, not religion' thread:

Experiments studying "astral projection" (usually in association with NDEs) have shown that it does not happen which means that there is no mystical version of consciousness or awareness. The "astral projection/NDE" experiment I find most interesting and significant is where a light bar that would flash random messages was placed in an operating room on top of a cabinet roughly 7 feet high. This insured it could not be seen unless one was above the level of the top of the cabinet as people claim to be when floating near the ceiling while experiencing the supposed astral projection. None of those who said they experienced astral projection relayed any of those messages or even saw the light bar.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2011, 01:04:30 AM »
Understandable.   I don't think this logic though necessarily leads to the conclusion that they did not travel, spiritually to the same place, maybe it's just that their ability to express the experience, after the return, is limited to the different languages they have when returning.

Seriously? Did you even READ what was written? They experienced different things, all depending on what they already believed and/or heard.
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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2011, 01:07:28 AM »
Yes, but those were physical words, on a physical computer screen.  You have to feel to get the true meaning.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2011, 01:11:21 AM »
how about one you think is particularly good?  Seen lots of stuff on NDEs and it's all explainable.  No demosnrated ability to see things you can't see or haven't seen already. No knowledge of things you "can't" know.  No seeing some universal "afterlife", just people repeating what they've been told in stories.

I haven't had any NDE but this reminds me of a dream I had in which the cure for AIDS was revealed to me. It was complete with molecular models and all kinds of fancy equations and such. I awoke with the most powerful sense of urgency and hope. For a minute every detail was crystal clear but I didn't understand them. Sadly soon after waking the dream and all it's miraculous details faded away. I couldn't hold on to it.  :P
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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2011, 05:57:27 AM »
as some of these NDEers suggest, that maybe the physical body is where the spirit can learn and grow or evolve. 

We've been learning for a long time, Gil. It was awfully necessary for our spirit to experience several million years of wandering around in the bush, hunting animals. Also, awfully necessary for our spirit to learn about being chimps and pigs for 5 million years. All told, in conscious mammals, birds and dinosaurs, our spirit has experienced about 800,000 trillion years of pointless crap.

The experience system only works if you embrace a Hindu model of the world being 5000 years old.

Pam Reynolds is a good one.  Doctors purposely stopped her heart to do an rare surgury, and here brain waves went flat, yet she had out-of-body observations of the surgery, observations verified by the doctors.

Would this be uncontactable Doctar 1, and uncontactable Doctar 2?

I had a near death experience on the road, today. I found myself in a cemetery, and met all my relatives. As I hovered around the cemetery, I noticed that it was raining. How could I feel the rain, I asked? One of the doctors I was near saw nearly everything I did, and confirmed what I saw.

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2011, 06:30:07 AM »
Ok, so people ask me about evidence. Well, I'd say that one of my inspirations for a spiritual reality, beyond the physical, and and after-life, comes from reading several NDEs.
You seem to be using words that have no particular meaning. Reality is reality - there  is no "spiritual reality" You know there is none because you don't know what it means, and even if you did someone else using the same phrase would mean something different.

If you want to know about NDEs, check out the following and come back with something sensible.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20509.msg453344.html#msg453344

Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have Scientific Explanations
September 12, 2011 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=peace-of-mind-near-death (Actual paper: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661311001550)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15494379 -> the experience is real; not that what is experienced actually happens.

Study into near-death experiences  18 September 2008 -  testing out of Body Experiences - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7621608.stm (This was interesting as experimenters placed pictures face up on high shelves; the idea was that if you did have an Out of Body Experience, and it was real, then you should be able to describe the pictures.)

'Near death' has biological basis 11 April 2006 - halfway between sleep and waking - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4898726.stmhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4898726.stm

Out of Body ExperienceWiki

Near-death experienceWiki
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2011, 09:30:23 AM »
But what I do know is that the physical body is temporary, but that everyone's spirit is eternal.

How do you know this Gill? I'm interested in what led you to believe that very particular thing that a spirit is eternal. Are you saying spirits exist before the body, that everyone has been immortal since the moment of creation?

I say this because of personal experiences, rationalism, and reading other's experiences, to name some.   Just simply, a rational, it doesn't make sense to say we came from nothing.  Sure, maybe this physical state can said to have a beginning, and end.   But an absolute beginning and end doesn't make sense to me.  So eternal in the sense that there's something about people which must transcend the limits of time, as we know it.

The irony in seeing you write that is overwhelming to me  ;D

Your thoughts in this entire thread are based on what you "believe", not what you "know".

You definitely need to read more... Of the right material !!

Coming into an atheist website as a supernaturalist and confessing that you spend your time ingesting into your mind the foolish claims stated at a Near Death website is to commit an embarrassing intellectual faux pas.  :-[

Good luck in trying to find the afterlife you want  ;)
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Near death experiences
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2011, 12:22:18 PM »
I say this because of personal experiences, rationalism, and reading other's experiences, to name some.   Just simply, a rational, it doesn't make sense to say we came from nothing.  Sure, maybe this physical state can said to have a beginning, and end.   But an absolute beginning and end doesn't make sense to me.  So eternal in the sense that there's something about people which must transcend the limits of time, as we know it.

This is not rationalism.  This is filling in for ignorance with wishful thinking.
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