Skip to comments.Heaven is real, says neurosurgeon who claims to have visited the afterlife
Posted on 10/10/2012 2:42:35 AM PDT by Kartographer
Dr. Eben Alexander has taught at Harvard Medical School and has earned a strong reputation as a neurosurgeon. And while Alexander says he's long called himself a Christian, he never held deeply religious beliefs or a pronounced faith in the afterlife. But after a week in a coma during the fall of 2008, during which his neocortex ceased to function, Alexander claims he experienced a life-changing visit to the afterlife, specifically heaven.
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Was Jesus blue-eyed / blonde-haired in his vision of “heaven”?
Well he didn’t speak with a Aussie accent that’s for sure.
Any Starbucks up there?
Now that couldn’t be heaven, if everyone didn’t speak with an Aussie accent, could it? Let’s be reasonable here.
That said, did you think I was joking? LOL.
Pastors kid describes seeing heaven in near-death experience
November 29, 2011 at 11:47 am by firstname.lastname@example.org (Kate Shellnutt)
A 12-year-old Nebraska boy appeared on the Today show to talk about the vivid details of his visit to heaven amid treatment for a life-threatening medical condition several years before.
Colton Burpos storycomplete with sitting on Jesus lap, hearing angles sing, talking to late family members and moreis the subject of the book Heaven is for Real, which has spent almost a year on the New York Times best sellers list.
It was written by his father, the Rev. Todd Burpo, pastor of an evangelical church in the Wesleyan tradition, based on the account Colton told after being treated for a ruptured appendix at age 4.
Despite the skeptics or the cynics who say the Burpos are trying to market their sons visions for money, Coltons parents believe his tales from heaven to be true and believe that God gave him that experience to bless the lives of others.
We questioned our son at first, Todd Burpo said on the Today show Tuesday. But as parents, everyone can tell when their 4-year-old is telling the truth. Theyre telling you things that they cant really make up. We also see all the people that are finding peace and hope and comfort from Coltons story, so for those people it might be a gift.
Colton recognized his great-grandfather and miscarried baby sister, both of whom he didnt know about, among the angels in heaven, his parents said.
In previous interviews, the boy described God as a very big man and Jesus as having a rough but kind face, sea-blue eyes and a smile that lit up the heavens.
Do I think you was joking? Sadly no I don’t think you were.
It's strange and sad how the knee-jerk secularists (knee optional) have to vigorously attack the validity of such stories. Belief in an afterlife, with some form of cosmic justice keeps a society on the path of Good. It allows us to better bear injustice during life and to face death with hope. A few years ago Stephen Hawking, at the time believing in God, wrote that even if Man created God, it was a good thing.
No. That's kind of the point.
I hope he did see heaven.
More than likely he had a beautiful dream.
Dreams are wondrous things.
How they can sometimes seem so real. My father died when I was 17 but I can sometimes still see him in my dreams,I would give anything to see him again, but I cannot believe I will see him after death. Heaven may be a beautiful place, but how can it bring back relatives and the security they brought to you as you remember them.
I know I wouldn’t want to be brought back to my grandkids as an old man crippled with arthritis, at what age will they be when they are appear before you, and will you recognise them? Will you recognise your great grandparents when they are introuced to you at the age they appear to your father.
I believe Heaven will be a spiritual world with no hunger and no wars and peace and happiness, but I do not believe in meeting my parents and my family and we all live happily ever after.I wish I couldlook down from heaven and help my children here on earth, but I know that cannot happen.Too many good people who had good parents suffer with cancer and other diseases ,suffer from people torturing and killing them,for me to believe that.
What good am I in heaven if I cannot help my children here?
That would be my heaven, but it won’t happen.
I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in a Heaven where I will meet with family in the way many expect.In the way so many pastors preach of at funerals. Gone to meet with loved ones who went before. To me that is a dream for the individual, but it will not be the reality.
Perhaps heaven is in each person’s mind.
“Perhaps heaven is in each persons mind.”
Perhaps it is the sum of all dimensions, including the ones we know nothing about.
Interesting for sure.
I lean toward the ‘vivid dreams’ explanation for these visions.
However I believe you are placing too much importance on the brief period that people are in the Stream of Time. If Time is an invention of God's to make life linear it may then be imagined that what was unspooled might be re spooled. Or that what was done might be undone-literally.
If history provides any testimony it is that God doesn't seem to care (in the sense that we care) what happens to people in their brief sojourn on the earth, only how we conduct ourselves while here.
I have always thought of the dead as being released from Time (and thus gone to their reward instantaneously). How the realms of Time and post Time could ever possibly interact in the way that these believers describe beats the heck out of me.
Help your child now to the Holy Spirit and it won't matter at all if even a Hitler gets a hold of them in their relatively short time on the earth. Earth and Time itself are only so much dust.
I wouldn't dwell too much on what Heaven may be like. For it to even exist, it would have to be outside the realm of human understanding. God himself is outside our understanding. We get a glimpse of him in the person of Christ; but an eternal being who is outside the boundaries of space and time, and who existed before the universe itself is beyond our comprehension.
It is pointless to compare Heaven or God to anything our earthly minds can conjure. I agree with you that when we meet family and friends, that it will not be in the way we expect. But that is the only possible way our minds can comprehend Heaven. If we were told what it is really like, we would not appreciate it or understand it; because the people we are on earth and the people we will become in eternity are entirely different beings. Just try to comprehend eternal life. In my earthly mind, I imagine I'll get bored after a couple hundred years. This is because the very thought of such an existence is beyond my scope.
No matter how great heaven looks when I kick the bucket I am volunteering to stay behind as a wandering soul on earth so I can haunt all the commies and totalitarian leaders and drive them to take their own lives before they take any more lives.
Heaven may have everything I need/want, but I am got a higher duty. If that damns my soul, so be it.
I don’t automatically believe nor automatically disbelieve what is called “private revelation.”
Hildegard of Bingen had them for over 70 years, and they weren’t “near-death” experiences either: they were intense visions that came to her, on and off, through all 5 senses, from age 3 until her death at age 81.
Even she did not consider them automatically worthy of belief, and for a long time didn’t know if they were a delusion or a gift.
I admire her sane and balanced point of view. God is capable of giving us visions; on the other hand, the brain itself is inconceivably complex, and capable of engendering convincingly fantastic other worlds.
But I want to ask the doctrinaire atheists this question: why and how would unaided materialistic evolution -— you know, that mechanistic process totally defined by survival and reproductive fitness -— have given us such powerful, apparently otherworldly, perceptions, capacities, and drives?
I ask you.
A vibrant imagination is critical to inventiveness. Inventiveness aids survival, depending on the circumstances. If the early humans survived better because individuals were able to fashion better tools to help them defend themselves from harm (and thereby survive to reproduce), formation of societies (which again aids survival) increased the avenues available to express inventiveness (correlated with intelligence) - into fields like the arts where the “invented product” may not have a direct survival benefit, but stands well as a token for the intelligence that allowed it to be produced. This, goes back to the vibrant imagination, completing a virtuous cycle.
Trivia: The person who formulated the theory for the structure of the Benzene Ring, Friedrich Kekule, dreamt of a snake eating itself tail-first, which led him to the structure of the Benzene Ring. This was one of the biggest breakthroughs in chemistry and critical to the advancement of organic chemistry.
I'm not sure it's as straightforward as all that. I'm fascinated by civilizations that had huge imagination that didn't pay off in technology. E.g. the Aztecs, whose name in Nahuatl means "craftsmen" but who used the circle for ornamental purposes only: never "dreamed up" even an axle, and thus never had a functional wheel, not even a pottery wheel, a spinning wheel, or a windlass for raising buckets from a well. Not even so much as a barrel-hoop.
They knew nothing of iron or bronze (their weapons were stone, obsidian) but had fantastic-worked gold and silver for ritual and ornamental purposes.
They worshiped all kids of imagined beings, birds, beasts, insects, but had no domesticated mammal to supply them with animal proteins and fats, nor to serve as a draft- or tractor-animal. Huge pyramids for sacrifice, and never so much as a donkey-cart!
I guess I should have refined my question: what does *this kind* of imagination (if that's what it is) contribute to one's aptness for survival/reproduction, if it does at all?
And if it doesn't, why would evolutionary forces have developed, preserved ,and extended these materially very-costly capabilities?
Well, if modern societies which have nuclear arms end up exterminating themselves (imagine the participants of the two world wars armed with nukes like select countries around the world today are), an external observer would conclude that the technological advancement contributed to their downfall. That’s why I mentioned that the circumstances are crucial in my earlier comment.
Imagination is just that, imagination. A vivid imagination correlates well with intelligence and creativity, both of which have potent survival benefits. That Benzene Ring example was just one such illustration.
That said, if you have dogs as pets you’d know that even dogs dream (if you don’t, then look up ‘dog dreaming’ on YouTube). Does the ability of dogs to dream imply that they are not the unthinking, imagination-lacking flesh-based automaton animals that certain Middle-East-origin religions project them as? Would their ability to dream imply that animals share something we do - an ability to imagine? Evolution supports this, while religion doesn’t (except maybe Dharmic religions like Buddhism / Hinduism). If animals can have an imagination, would they also have souls? This is the kind of questions a believer (in superstition) will have to contend with.
I'll admit my ignorance on this: I don't know of any doctrine of any religion concerning animals' ability to dream or imagine.
Nor do I know of any doctrine saying animals don't have souls.
I neither speak nor read Hebrew, so maybe somebody who does could correct or amplify this, but as I understand it, Judaism uses 5 different Hebrew words for soul:
Therefore (as I understand it) animals have a "level" of soul (like, maybe, nefesh and ruach?) which coresponds to the Catholic/Aristotelian idea that animals have an "animative" soul --- including, I'm guessing, dreams, emotions, imagination --- but humans have a "rational" soul.
So Catholic teaching doesn't deny that animals have souls. And its stance needs to be clarified, according to: http://www.all-creatures.org/ca/ark-186soul.html>
Pope John Paul II explains that animals have souls according to their nature (an animal nature.)
A righteous man knows the soul of his animal - Proverbs 12:10
This corresponds to the idea that animals do not have moral responsibility. You can't put an animal on trial for what it does or fails to do, because it lacks accountabilty; it's not "answerable" for what it has done.
Humans are "answerable" for their actions because they have the intellective capacity to deliberate and choose.
If you said animals had "rational" souls, you'd have to hold animals legally or juridically accountable for their choices. But they don't.
Does this make sense?
From a cursory reading, yes, and thank you!
I’ll post questions if I have them, after poring through your reply in detail.