Skip to comments.Atheist Professorís Near-Death Experience in Hell Left Him Changed
Posted on 03/13/2012 6:33:56 PM PDT by sreastman
Atheist Professors Near-Death Experience in Hell Left Him Changed
by Mark Ellis, FaithIssues, Godreports
In some near-death experiences, people report they were drawn toward the light. But in this horrifying near-death experience for an atheist art professor, he was drawn into the darkness of hell, which dramatically altered the course of his life.
I was a double atheist, says Howard Storm, who became a tenured art professor at Northern Kentucky University by age 27. I was a know-it-all college professor, and universities are some of the most closed-minded places there are, he notes.
On the last day of a three-week European art tour he led, his group had returned to their hotel in Paris after a visit to the artist Delacroixs home and studio. As Howard stood in his room with his wife and another student, suddenly he screamed and dropped to the floor in agony.
I had a perforation of the small stomach, known as the duodenum, he recalls. At first, Howard thought he was shot, and he glanced around the room to see if he could spot a smoking gun. As he writhed in pain on the ground, kicking and screaming, his wife called for a doctor.
They said I needed surgery immediately, Howard says. Its like having a burst appendix. I was told that if they dont get to it within five hours, youre probably going to die.
Howard had the misfortune of a falling ill on a Saturday in a country with socialized medicine, and no doctor could be found. French doctors do seven surgeries a week, and after they do the seven surgeries, they take the weekend off, he discovered.
They placed him on a bed without sheets or a pillow and offered no pain medication. He waited in the room for 10 hours. I was just lying there going south, Howard says. Meanwhile, intestinal contents were leaking into his abdominal cavity, which would soon lead to peritonitis, septic shock and certain death.
At 8:30 PM a nurse came in and said they were still unable to find a doctor, but they would try to find one the next day, Sunday.
I had been struggling very hard to stay alive, but when she said there was no doctor, I knew it was time to stop fighting, Howard says.
Yet the thought of death scared him. I was terrified of dying because it meant lights out, the end of the story, he notes. It seemed horrible that at 38 years-old, when I felt powerful and successful in my life, it would all come to an end in such a ridiculously pitiful way.
Howard made an impassioned farewell to his wife, and told her to tell their friends and the rest of his family goodbye. Then he lost consciousness.
It wasnt long after he lost consciousness that he had a very unusual out-of-body experience, and found himself standing next to his bed, looking at himself lying there. As he stood there, he noticed he didnt feel the pain in his stomach. He felt more alive than ever, and his senses seemed more heightened than usual.
He tried to communicate with his wife and another man in the room, but they didnt respond, which frustrated him. I was glad I didnt have the pain, but also I was very confused and disturbed by the situation.
I saw my body lying on the bed, but I refused to believe it was me. How could that be me if I was standing there, he wondered.
Suddenly he heard people outside the room calling for him by name. They spoke English, without a French accent, which seemed strange, because everyone in the hospital either spoke French or heavily accented English.
Come with us, they said. Hurry up, lets go.
Howard went to the doorway. Are you from the doctor? he asked. I need to have surgery. Im sick and Ive been waiting a long time.
We know all about you, one said. Weve been waiting for you. Its time for you to go. Hurry up.
Howard left the room and started to walk with them down a long hallway, which was very dimly lit almost dingy. They took me on a very long journey through a grey space that got increasingly darker and darker, he recalls.
They walked a long time, and Howard wondered why he was not tired when he had just suffered the worst day of his life.
Where are we going? Howard asked. How come its taking so long? What is the doctors name?
Shut up, one said. Be quiet, another said. Dont ask questions.
Howards fear and apprehension grew at the same time he lost trust in his guides. Finally it was so dark I was terrified and I said, Im not going any farther. I want to go back.
Youre almost there, one replied.
Howard dug in his heels. Im not going any farther, he said firmly.
His guides began to push and pull at him. Howard fought back, but he was horribly outnumbered.
We had a big fight and the fight turned into them annihilating me, which they did slowly and with much relish, he says. Mostly they were biting and tearing at me. This went on for a long time. They did other things to humiliate and violate me which I dont talk about.
When Howard was no longer amusing to them, he collapsed on the ground, ripped apart, unable to move.
He lay there motionless for a few moments, completely spent. Then he was surprised by a small voice inside his head that said, Pray to God.
He thought, I dont pray. I dont even believe in God.
Then he heard the voice a second time, Pray to God.
But I wouldnt know how to pray even if I wanted to pray, he thought. Whose voice was this, he wondered? It sounded like his voice, but the words were completely foreign to his own thinking.
Then he heard the voice a third time repeat the same message. His mind drifted back to his days in Sunday school as a child. I tried to remember things I memorized when I was very young, he says. He struggled to think of something he could pray.
Then he managed to blurt out, The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want
When the people around him heard his attempt to pray, they became enraged. There is no God and nobody can hear you, they cried, along with other obscenities. If you keep praying we will really hurt you.
But Howard noticed something curious. The more he prayed and began to mention God, the more they backed away from him.
Emboldened, he began to shout out bits and pieces of the Lords Prayer, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and God Bless America. Finally, he was screaming any fragments of Gods truth he could muster from the moldy recesses of his memory bank.
It seemed to work! Even in the darkness, he could tell they had fled, but not too far away.
As he lay there, Howard began to review his life. I came to the conclusion I led a crummy life and I had gone down the sewer pipe of the universe. I had gone into the septic tank with other human garbage. I was being processed by the garbage people into garbage like them.
Whatever life was supposed to be about, I missed it, he thought. What I received was what I deserved and the people who attacked me were people like me. They were my kindred spirits. Now I will be stuck with them forever. Feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness filled his mind.
His thoughts floated back again to himself as a nine year-old in Sunday School, I remembered myself singing Jesus Loves Me, and I could feel it inside me. As a child, I thought Jesus was really cool and he was my buddy and he would take care of me.
But even if Jesus is real, why would he care about me? he thought. He probably hates my guts. Im not going to think anymore; Im going to ask him.
Ive got nothing else to lose. Ill give Jesus a try.
Then he yelled into the darkness, Jesus, please save me!
Within an instant, a brilliant light appeared that came closer and closer. He found himself bathed in a beautiful light, and for the first time he could clearly see his own bodys miserable condition, ghastly for his own eyes to behold. I was almost all gore.
Immediately he recognized Jesus, the King of Kings, the Rescuer, the Deliverer. His arms reached down and touched me and everything healed up and came back together, he recalls. He filled me with a love I never knew existed.
Then he picked up Howard, like one football player picking up a fallen teammate on the field, put his arms around him, and Howard cried like a baby in His arms. He carried me out of there and we headed to where God lives.
In his mind, Howard began to think that Jesus made a terrible mistake. Im garbage and I dont belong in heaven, he thought.
They stopped moving, and both Howard and Jesus were hanging in space, somewhere between heaven and hell. We dont make mistakes, Jesus said tenderly.
He could read everything in my mind and put His voice into my head, Howard recalls. We had very rapid, instantaneous conversations.
Then Jesus told Howard He had angels who would show him his life. It was a terrible experience because my life deteriorated after adolescence. I saw I became a selfish, unloving person. I was successful, a full tenured art professor at 27, the department head, but I was a jerk.
In this replay, he saw his heavy drinking and adultery. I cheated on my wife proudly. It was horrible.
For the first time he realized the way he lived his life hurt Jesus. I was in the arms of the most wonderful, holy, loving, kind person and were looking at this stuff. Embarrassing doesnt even begin to describe it.
As they watched together, Howard could see the pain and disappointment on the face of Jesus. When I did these things it was like sticking a knife into his heart.
Do you have any questions? Jesus asked.
I have a million questions, Howard replied, and proceeded to unburden himself of anything and everything he could imagine asking an omniscient being. Jesus answered Howards questions kindly and patiently.
When Howard couldnt think of anything else to ask, he said, Im ready to go to heaven now.
Youre not going to heaven. Youre going back to the world, Jesus replied.
Howard began to argue, but it was to no avail. Jesus told him to go back and live his life differently.
At 9:00 PM, Howard was back in his hospital room in Paris. Less than 30 minutes had elapsed since he lost consciousness.
As Howard opened his eyes, he heard the nurse say, The doctor arrived at the hospital and youre going to have the surgery.
As they wheeled him out of his room on a gurney, he saw his wife in the hallway. Everything is going to be really good now, he said to her. When she heard him, she cried, thinking they were brave words.
When Howard emerged from surgery, with the effects of the anesthesia wearing off, he spoke to his wife. Its all love, he told her. You dont have to suffer anymore.
You need to sleep, she replied, thinking he was slightly addled from the drugs. Then he awakened again and began to tell her about Jesus and the angels and heaven and hell.
She was an atheist and she didnt like it. She thought I lost my mind. Sadly, Howards marriage ended in divorce after she left him many years later.
When his strength returned, Howard began to devour the Bible. Since none of my atheist friends believed me, I started memorizing verses and I would give them Bible lectures, but that didnt go over very well, he recalls.
He grew desperate for fellowship in a church, and began to attend Christ Church in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, part of United Church of Christ. Howards pastor worked with him patiently, and after three years, Howard was ordained as a lay minister in his church.
Sensing a deeper call into ministry, he attended United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio and later pastored a church in Covington, Ohio.
He also wrote a book about his experience, My Descent Into Death, which he says was written primarily to non-believers.
Howard and his second wife, Marcia, a strong Christian, are both involved in missionary work in Belize. He maintains a passion for painting, with much of his art devoted to spiritual themes.
I used to feel resentful of death-bed converts, who, after living dissolute lives, gained heaven. But a sinful life is its own punishment. Does anyone know a happy scoffer?
And of course, we’re all sinners. Thank God for His mercy.
Having visited France, I beg to differ!
Good thing he didn’t go to Purgatory. It wouldn’t have scared the Hell out of him.
Thank you so much for posting that. What an incredible testimony!
I hung on every word. I cried with joy for this man. How lucky to have been touched by the most loving and merciful Man in the universe.
ALL Praise, Honor and Glory to my Lord Jesus Christ.
- - - - - -
Me too! Praise the Lord Jesus indeed!
It’s call a “Road to Damascus” experience.
Hmm...hopefully the professor will one day be truly saved.
“They admit in one breath they are clueless about a basic function of our existance, consciousness and how it works/what/where it is, and in the very next breath will tell you with total conviction that they KNOW theres nothing after death.”
Do you remember that terrible old movie, “Short Circuit?”
At one point, the female lead mistakes a robot for an alien. Her reaction is to beam and exclaim something like, “I knew you’d come to me.”
She thought she was so special that she would be the one the aliens would contact.
Similarly, I think a lot of people reject all religious experience on the grounds—to which they themselves may be completely oblivious—that if God were going to talk to anybody, it would be them. Or, at least, them rather than some stupid Christian.
I’d like to see some informal experiments at leftard cocktail parties, with an experimenter waiting for the right moment, then saying, “Yes, He spoke to me and not to you.” I’ll bet the reactions would be revealing.
Man, now THAT would be truly frightening!
I don’t see that anything he’s predicted isn’t already in the works.
I was watched man of these things, and being desirous to “prove ll things,” (1Ths. 5:21) i have found some of the things Storm says elsewhere in his testimonial to be questionable at best. But not as much as “A Divine Revelation of HELL,” by Mary K. Baxter.
I collect NDE testimonies and use them in apologetics, in a limited way, and would recommend you see the entire video called to hell and back, which you can download at http://www.tbn.org/watch-us/our-programs/to-hell-and-back. (I know it is TBN, which is a real mixed bag, but this is one of the good ones)
Also high on the list is Glimpse of Eternity with Ian McCormack,
Glimpse of Eternity with Ian McCormack: stung by box jellyfish: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3682855866783766146
Unlike the most others (i have asked) you can share this freely.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6547221602055506348&q=mickey+robinson&total=57&start=0&num=50&so=0&type=search&plindex=1 ( Mickey Robinson air crash to Christ)
http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=390590177647370865&hl=en Heaven & Hell Accounts - Final Destiny
Roman Gutierrez Twice dead: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3754387560159309665
Channel 7 news man raised from dead after 40 minutes: http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-2334132798216105638&hl=en
23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1694635918884432260
Matthew Botsford - To Hell and Back http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/Amazing/Matthew_Botsford011206.aspx
Deerinda Lowe Gets A Second Chance http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/amazing/Deerinda-Lowe-120810.aspx
The Day Jeffrey Thompson Almost Died http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/amazing/Jeffrey-Thompson-072810.aspx
And as regards research,
NDE Research: Gary habermas Near Death Experiences and the Afterlife (Video File download) http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/context/lts_fac_pubs/article/1214/type/native/viewcontent
BBC documentary, The Day I Died 1- NDE Documentary Part 1 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1vWoUoiaP4
As seen in the latter, souls in false religions can also have similar stories, but counterfeits do not disallow the genuine, but even Christian testimonies are subject to Scripture.
Ping to Post #62
Just noticed that i gave the wrong link to To Hell and back. See here http://media.tbn.org/wmedia/tbn/gallery/To_Hell_And_Back.wvx or here instead: http://media.tbn.org/download/tbn/gallery/To_Hell_And_Back.wmv
They do not sell and would not give me permission to share it for free as a DVD
Also here are various testimonies of God’s amazing grace, some more credible than others, http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/Amazing/
Good doc. related to the Jesus movement of the 60’s:
http://vimeo.com/6728377 - A Venture in Faith” (History of Calvary Chapel)
And this is very touching: http://www.hulu.com/watch/17789/fox-news-specials-crime-scene-the-amish-schoolhouse-murders
Those kind of things (there are others) which you do not hear in the Hell and Back part is what i was referring to, but could not recall.
I do admit that I like his story and it might even be true.
I am having problems swallowing the whole thing though. I have a book by a doctor that describes similar incidences and I know God is not in a box and He has no limits, and it goes up in my opinion in that Jesus Himself is the one who comes to talk with him.
I just wish Jesus would have given him the gospel. I have to think that the atheist was not the double atheist that he claimed and that he knew what the gospel was all along. He just chose to reject it so he could live the life he wanted.
I’m going to do more research on this pastor to see if I can see the 180 turn he claimed. I hope it’s true.
For what it is worth,
On Labor Day 2004, while most Americans had the day off, my surgical team was hard at work, sawing my chest open, stopping my heart for close to an hour, putting me on a heart-lung machine, relocating a vein from my leg and rerouting an artery from my chest to bypass my four blocked arteries.
Of course, I dont remember much about that day, but as I was going under, I do recall seeing dark masks coming toward me, followed by circles of light containing the faces of Hillary, Chelsea and others close to me. They smiled and flew away toward a brightness. Im not quite sure whether it was one of those “near-death experiences” or a life-affirming one perhaps it was a bit of both.
Thanks to God and the great medical team at New York-Presbyterian, led by Drs. Craig Smith and Allan Schwartz, things went very well, and I was soon on the road to recovery. http://www.clintonfoundation.org/what-we-do/alliance-for-a-healthier-generation/why-childhood-obesity-/we-must-act-now-by-bill-clinton
Yeah, I felt the same way as you but who am I to tell God "not" to save someone.
The parable about the workers who agreed to work for a certain wage at the beginning of the day and then paying the same wag for people who came at almost the end of the day shut my mouth.
We are not to compare ourselves among ourselves, it isn't wise and when I do that, I always come out at the bottom of the list. I'm a loser and I thank God for his grace and mercy.
And you are right about scoffers. They are an unhappy lot.
Nothing beats experience, that's for sure. It creates not only unshakeable faith, but a way to constantly surrender to God over and over again.
On the other hand, we are ALL fortunate.
The only difference between us, from a purely spiritual point of view, is how much drama each of us wants.
For example, this guy needed a lot of drama. But ask yourself - do you want that level of drama? God speaks to us constantly, at every level. If we catch the subtleties, we will be led with subtleties, into ever deeper and more profound connections with God. If we want crudities - drama - well, it doesn't seem that God has any problem at all giving us any level of drama that will do the job.
Personally, I do a LOT of praying for the Grace not to need ANY drama. Granted, I haven't turned into a ball of light yet - but it beats the alternative direction.