Hard Not to Believe—Maybe Not…NDE’s

How gullibility improves faith through modern fiction

Up until the point you no longer believe, it can be hard not to believe what we want, or have been conditioned to believe. Doubts come and go, prayers go up and in spite of our efforts…Nothing! But everyone can’t be wrong, can they? Did I miss something? Then, along comes spectacular proof!

Take the The near death experience of the 4 year old son of a preacher who left his body during surgery, a year later said he went to heaven during the procedure, sold a million books and got a movie deal. Heaven is for real.

Another 6 year old said he went to heaven, sold 5 million books then recanted, says it never happened—after the money came flooding in. Theologians still debate the boys descriptions of heaven in The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, NYT Best seller.

While the first story is very easily dismantled due to inconsistencies and leading questions to a never-dead, sedated, 4 year old preachers son HERE. (Psychology Today- great read, excellent analysis) but believers aren’t asking.

It’s amusing to see the “real and authentic” theologians disputing these “fake” accounts and insisting that their own understanding of the unknowable is superior to the “real” accounts of the unknowable. Nearly identical stories. Both never happened, but hey, if you can take money from fools, is that a sin?

The best new term of the 21 century —HeavenTourism. Millions of gullible Christians line up to get a glimmer of what they know is not real, but believe it anyway.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

127 thoughts on “Hard Not to Believe—Maybe Not…NDE’s”

  1. Near-death experiences. You’ve heard the story:
    “The doctors said I was dead. I was out of my body and could see and hear them working on me. Then I whoooosshhed through this “tunnel” and realized I was dead. I saw a “playback” of my Life. Then, I was in the presence of this bright white light (some report a bluish-white light) and I felt this intense, incredible love coming from the light.”
    Then, people are either told they must come back, or, given a choice to come back or not. Then, they wake back up, here on earth, alive. And they often report they have no fear of death. Most of them. Some people have had terrifying experiences and are very glad to have “a second chance”.
    But that isn’t what I want to talk about. It’s what’s left out, and not talked about, that I find curious:
    Think about it. In all these many testimonies (mostly positive), when you think about it, it strikes me as very odd, that seemingly NO ONE, ever, that we’ve read or heard about, has ever bothered to ask “the loving white light”: (and I say this as someone who is not a member of any church):
    “ARE YOU, Jesus Christ? If not, who are you?
    Who (I’m asking you), is Jesus Christ? Is this a trick? Do YOU love Jesus?
    Why can’t I see your face?
    Is this Heaven?
    Loving feelings or not, if I don’t go back, and do come with you, will I be in Hell? Would you accompany me into Heaven?
    White Light—what is your Name? Are you Satan? Lucifer? Who?
    And NOBODY asks. Isn’t that strange? Hundreds of testimonies, and not one person bothers to ask? People just believe whatever they’re told by some mysterious light that radiates “love”, we have have no idea who we’re talking to, where we are, where the light would take us if we stayed, or who the Light is, or what the light thinks about Jesus. Feelings of love or not, that white light sounds pretty-darn vague. Why? Think about all this. Share this post with others.
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    1. One issue I usually get with reports of NDE especially does that involve hospitals is the whole white light.
      The lighting used in many surgery and hospital rooms is white. So there is a good chance that the light that the patient talks about is just the light in the room

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Just wanted to pass along an article I found over at RawStory about a psychologist who defining the after effects of being involved in fundamentalist religious groups as Religious Trauma Syndrome, or RTS. It’s a fascinating little article and describes a lot of what I’ve seen taking place in the lives of people I know who’ve gone through trying to break away from a fundamentalist sect or cult. It’s at https://www.rawstory.com/2018/10/religious-trauma-syndrome-organized-religion-leads-mental-health-problems/

    Liked by 3 people

    1. To its credit, and unlike most atheists, that article at least acknowledges a basic distinction between mainstream faiths and forms of religion that cause trauma.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really the way you want. “Born-again Christianity and devout Catholicism tell people they are weak and dependent, calling on phrases like “lean not unto your own understanding” or “trust and obey.” People who internalize these messages can suffer from learned helplessness. Basically meaning anyone that takes it seriously is at risk.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. That kind of unqualified statement is absurdly misleading. The link provided for “devout Catholics” is just a site promoting one ex-nun’s published memoirs. Even if that is an accurate account of life in the convent, it is far from most Catholics’ experiences.

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          1. You’d have to do very little research to see the ill effects that Catholicism has inflicted on the world, from boys worldwide to bloodshed. Not sure what kind of person can really defend that. It’s not ever been a localized phenomenon, but the more we learn it’s a global problem. Germany being the latest massive coverup of abuse. Physical abuse and mental anguish, hand in hand, Religious trauma has affected readers here as well. Who could possibly separate the religion from its outcomes? Even if it’s harming one person, one child, that is alarming. But it’s millions in the making.

            Liked by 5 people

      2. @Loy

        I agree. The article addresses negative psychological effects associated with a particular form of religion, generally fundamentalist. However, the original poster of the article presented it in that context.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I would offer an educated guess that the tip of the iceberg is just in view on this subject. Difficult at this point to say, although I have my own opinion on the matter, when the measuring stick itself is covered in religion, imagining the overall negative impact is difficult. More people will come forward, that I am confident. I know psychologists tiptoe around the issue of healthy delusion vs unhealthy delusion in differential diagnosis. There’s too much positive stigma (crazy I know) and money to be made to just call it what it is and offend the clientele.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I was pretty sure I wrote a post on this waaaay back when, but couldn’t find it. One of the things I included was the NDE of an atheist woman who, obviously, had an entirely different experience than most who see that “bright light,” and the ethereal Jesus.

    Personally, I tend to think it’s “all in the head” … literally. And any “visions” people have originate from their memories.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Back in 2011 the excellent, provocative series Through the Wormhole covered NDE’s and life after death. A synopsis of that Season 2 Episode 1:

    Modern physics, Quantum Mechanics, and neuroscience are finding answers and probabilities that whether consciousness continues after physical death or not, what we have learned by NDE’s — as NeptuneDolphins above already pointed out — they are all different based upon that person’s brain and life experiences stored in their brain. This bank of NDE’s is of course as varied as there are some 250-billion different stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone! What is ABUNDANTLY clear is that based on these full testimonies of NDE’s… the afterlife(?) is NOT anything like what the Abrahamic religions postulate. Period. End of discussion.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yep, and modern neuroscience and neurosurgeons can electrically stimulate specific areas of ANYBODY’S brain and make them “hallucinate” divine revelations, divine images, shadow-people, fake-sounds, fake smells, etc, etc. It is indeed… all in our heads if we choose to wire it that way over repeated routines over many years. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        1. After reading things on you-know-who’s blog, I tend to think someone has been “electrically stimulating” his brain. Why else would he come up with some of the things he writes about?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I think your referring to de-stimulation. That’s how I read it anyhow. CT could suck the energy out of a cheerleader symposium. The fact is, their blogs will bore anyone to death if we didn’t stop by once in a while.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. Hahahaha! Yep, he and I have been going round-n-round yesterday and today…

            Thanks (or no thanks!) to you know who right here! I won’t mention his name, but it starts with a “J” and his blog is called TheCommonAtheist! He tempted me into going over to you-know-who’s blog… and sure enough, I’m regretting it AGAIN. 😒

            Liked by 1 person

          1. I was just reading about a neurologist creating shadow figures by manipulating certain areas. It’s merely a projection from yourself. Quite literally you are seeing yourself through imaginations in your mind. OBE is the same effect. And some of these OBE experiencers are wrong in their details. One guy was reporting to his wife what had happened. He had come home late that night. In his OBE he even recounted the dog in the room and the color of the blanket. He didn’t know she had changed the bedspread and the dog slept in the garage that night. It was all past memories. He had left the light off as to not wake his wife. If he had turned the light on he would be a believer in this and “know” for a fact that he had left his body. Lucky for him he left the light off.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. They use the same approach to phantom limb sensations as well. When people with missing limbs have an experience like this, they see themselves as whole. Even those deformed from birth, so there is some hardwiring involved with your brain viewing you as your whole self. The brain is not recognizing the limb as missing, even from birth. Still a lot to learn, but huge strides every 4-5 years are keeping it interesting.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. @TCA, yes they can. Now of course stimulating those specific areas with the tiny electric pulses via electrodes always vary slightly from person to person. And what the patient sees, hears, smells, tastes, or feels varies as well based upon THEIR brain and THEIR individual experiences/memories, etc. But neurologists have essentially located the area of the brain (the temporal lobe) that is most responsible for divine or spiritual encounters. For example:

            https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104291534

            That is a second part of a 5-part series on the show All Things Considered. So with “spiritual faith-followers” sometimes/often their neural-synapses are mal-developed or misfiring OR rewired after constant, repetition (indoctrination) within a Herd-Mob mentality or Peer-pressure/assimilation and a Placebo-effect. After many months or years of these routines — today, often with excitable music and light-shows in mega-auditoriums of mega-churches — pretty soon even “normal” people start to believe their placebo is working. If you are interested, I wrote a blog-post about this. 🙂

            Liked by 4 people

            1. I’m sure they do. What I find baffling is that the enthusiastic Christians or the fanatical Fundy-Evangy Xians (apologists esp) NEVER seem to understand or know about these repeatable studies & advancements. Or they just flat out deny them and science. 🙄

              Liked by 2 people

  5. While there are many people who fake NDE for that sweet sweet cash, there are countless more who actually believe they have experienced NDE. I’m not saying I believe they actually died and went to some other dimension or whatever, but that the body reacts in strange ways when under intense distress or near death. Would be interesting to see what the research says on this. I’m assuming it’s a hallucination of sorts.

    In saying all that, heaven tourism is a pretty profitable scam. I am reminded of my Christian days reading this cringey book called ‘Heaven is so real’ by Choo Thomas. She claimed Jesus would visit her at her bedside late at night and show her heaven. Apparently there’s this giant warehouse where all the aborted babies go to…

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        1. I always wonder how anyone knew that Onan spilled on purpose, or how they knew at all? That’s some pretty intense breeding. Like a horse stable or some damn thing.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s been a while since I’ve read Genesis, had to look it up lol. Um… God was watching? What was the ‘sin’ he committed? Not getting his brother’s widow pregnant? I’m glad I’m not a Christian anymore.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I highly doubt it’s the same book, but I can remember about one where the narrator said he or she ( can’t remember which ) was taken to where aborted children go and their spirits were crying out to god for revenge

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I highly doubt it’s the same book, but I can remember about one where the narrator said he or she ( can’t remember which ) was taken to where aborted children go and their spirits were crying out to god for revenge

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Welll thanks a lot for ruining my faith! I was taught that heaven was President’s Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookies. Now what am I supposed to do with the ones left over? Obviously there’s no point in keeping on eating them if they’re not what my faith says they are… Should I contemplate suicide again now? Nah, I’m going to find a popcorn religion. Where’s Orville!

      Liked by 2 people

            1. Oh boy… I was raised in that world, not sure I would want to discuss it. All I could say from personal experience is, it is an indefensible monstrosity. It’s pure evil and has been so since its inception (credit Paul of Tarsus for that). Anyone who defends that institution is expressing either abysmal ignorance of its history or has a similarly evil agenda to disinform and misdirect.

              Liked by 2 people

  6. Given that the universe as been around for at least 14 billion years, every experience is a near death one relative to that time scale! 🙂

    The similarity of many NDE certainly indicates that there is something going on, but to suggest that this is some evidence of the supernatural is a huge stretch and for which there is no evidence to support. This is a nice article written a couple years ago in the Atlantic on NDE: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-science-of-near-death-experiences/386231/

    Given the wide variety of conditions that can produce hallucinations, the fact that we really don’t understand the brain and conciousness well enough at this point, this is one again a case of “I don’t understand what’s happened therefore God”

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Hey Jim,dead dudes talking have more clout! I’m with neptunesdolphins on this fascinating topic. I’ve had those kinds of experiences and didn’t go to heaven either. I did get a huge bonus out of the first experience. I was completely healed of an incurable extremely painful chronic condition. So yes, there are such things. But like anything else there are those who will either sell their experiences or make them up based on what they’ve read or been told. Here’s how I measure it: if you profit from it at others’ expense, you’re a fake. If it changes your life and you become a better person for it, usually more compassionate or empathetic, then obviously something did happen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Interesting. I won’t speculate on how that healing took place, I was recently looking at this from a scientific stand and in summary, findings indicate hypnotic analgesia produces significantly greater decreases in pain relative to no-treatment and to some non-hypnotic interventions such as medication. You may have healed yourself. Tinitis can also be eliminated by placebo, which means your mind may very well have rerouted some neurons to give you some relief.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes good sense, Jim; thanks for the alternative viewpoint. To me, that way or another way, what matters is what happened and that I got my life back. If I knew how I did it, there’s something I sure would like to do for myself today… 🙂 Too bad it’s such an unpredictable and unreliable process even if it’s superior to praying and believing in God!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I was born that way. Takes some indoctrination during susceptible times to believe in god. Children believe anything. I have my own and have to be very careful to always be honest with them.

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        1. Rubbish. The “heart” as you use is a metaphor. If what you say is true, what does coerce the heart? Virtually everything you’re exposed to, or are Christians just naturally nasty hearted and need a change? Why are these “hearts”varied by regional and familial influences?

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Hi Ken,
            Thank you for this website. Based on my experiences described above, I can back up Hamer’s view, all living beings are connected. This connection is what we call life. I would love to talk to Hamer, or someone like him, to bring my non-scientific understanding to his scientific mind. I tried to do that with Richard Dawkins many years ago, but I was basically laughed at. Maybe Hamer might be more interested. No matter, my NDEs showed me the connections, which I call spirituality. Hamer is possibly giving me the scientific proof of what I “know” to be true.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Speaking of belief, it’s hard for me to believe that a Christian with even a cursory reading of the Bible would say you can’t coerce the heart. I remember a biblical passage that said, “the heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?” Unfortunately no time to double check this quote. Maybe later.

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            1. That “heart” quote I said I’d look up is in Jeremiah, “Je. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
              Got a little confused switching from KJV to NIV. This quote is from the New International Version. Anyway, in keeping with the way the commenter was using the term ‘heart’ – not as a flesh and blood organ but as it was used then, as the center of thought – for which I would use ‘mind’ today. The commenter was being totally unbiblical in his comment about ‘the heart’ when he wrote: “Nonsense. You can’t “indoctrinate” or “brainwash” or coerce the heart.” The Bible disagrees with Mr. Christian.

              Liked by 3 people

        2. The heart? You mean the muscly organ with two ventricles and two atria? You are right you can’t indoctrinate or brainwash that organ. You can definitely do it to the brain though, which is the thing that you think of as the “heart”.

          Liked by 6 people

        3. I was indoctrinated, I would swear that on a stack of bibles. Telling a virtual baby that they are going to hell if they don’t accept jesus as their saviour is a severe form of brainwashing. Then following that up with all the biblical lies, presenting them as truth over and over and over again, I had no choice but to believe. Until i found out I had a choice, and belief slipped away. There was never any god in my heart, just fear so strong I would shake if I saw someone committing a sin, expecting them to be blown up right in front of me. And every night I prayed for god to stop my father from beating the hell out of me, literally and figuratively. He never did. If you call this love, I would hate to be you.
          Believe as you like, Loy, but there is no god in my life, and never will be.

          Liked by 4 people

        4. @Loy, you are correct
          you can not indoctrinate an organ whose main function is to pump blood
          You can’t “brainwash” an organ, that is not involved in thinking, emotion and voluntary actions. It is called brainwashing for a reason. Duh

          Liked by 3 people

        5. My only point is that most people are perfectly capable of thinking for themselves (though how many actually bother to do so is an open question), and can’t actually be programmed to adopt deeply held convictions.

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            1. No word play is needed. Indoctrination and brainsteering superstition takes decades to undo. Meanwhile, most avoid a lot of areas of serious scholarship because it contradicts an unfounded belief that essentially was put upon them without consent. If you have so much faith god knows what he’s doing, why do you have to hedge the bet so thoroughly? Why take away their ability to discern and choose?

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Bingo! Absolute truth rg. And even in adulthood, with strong convictions one can be brainwashed by inundating the senses with emotions and information, threats and calculated tactic and that is the heart ❤️ of raising children in strict faith.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Panic over religious “brainwashing” is absurdly exaggerated. Mindless worship of sports and entertainment celebrities is far more prevalent and problematic.

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            4. Nobody’s panicking Loy. Your ignoring reason and handwaving facts here that dispute your claim. In this case it just feels you’re oppositional at any cost. Defending a misstep in your thought process takes a religious mind. You bravely challenging them on the visitors turf is admirable. I did it too. But when I realized the only reason I was arguing anymore was out of hard-wired pride, I made the first step. Deflecting to sports analogy is proof in this instance you know it! This is where science excels and improves its models. When it’s wrong it finds a way to make it work and throws out the old.

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            5. @jim – Sorry, but you’re not arguing from facts, you’re arguing from inflammatory anecdotes and a lot of malarkey. It’s not at all persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already agree with you. That’s all.

              Let’s try not to psycho-analyze each other, shall we?

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        6. Threatening little kids with eternal damnation, being burned alive for all eternity if they disobey, which virtually all of these religious sects do, is indeed indoctrination and brainwashing, as well as abuse.

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          1. The religion can’t stand on its own merits without it Grouchy. They have no faith in it themselves or they wouldn’t need to build a hedge around it and force-feed frighten little kids with hell and god.

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        1. No critic performs an important service, all they are doing is giving their opinion. If what you want is someone else’s opinion, then you are giving up your right to form your own opinion. Think for yourself, man, stop letting others think for you.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. @raw: Ignoring opinions other than your own is not thinking for yourself. Considering opinions other than your own is part of the learning process (as I hope you may someday discover).

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            1. Not much time left for that. But one thing I have discovered, my opinion is the only one that counts for me. I don’t need others’ opinions to back me up. The strongest number in the world is ONE, it cannot be divided, ever. For me, that one is me!

              Liked by 3 people

  8. To me, NDE is possible cuz the ‘near’ part. Other phenomena are also possible. I have major doubts abut zombies (been/are dead). When everything is proof of god, nothing is proof of god. Skeptic is a real word in a real world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can see how incredibly powerful telling a dream can be. Very convincing to the recipient, and equally as convincing to those that want to believe something more. Like the guru story, after he revealed the scam, his followers were having none of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had an NDE. I didn’t go to heaven. I did have a religious experience but it was not a Christian one. What I found out when I discussed NDEs with other folks, is that they experience whatever their belief systems are. Atheists who have NDEs just hover over their bodies and then rejoin the body.

    I often wondered about heaven tourism. Like the five people you meet in heaven, etc. It seems a bit silly to assume that everyone goes there, when there are at least 400 different versions of the afterlife. Who knows where people go? In Roman tradition, there are various choices – one is that you stay around after death and help guide your family.

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        1. Yes, I suppose old, dead things have always carried more weight. Look at Abraham. Famous for what, cutting off his forskin and nearly killing his son and he’s a Saint! There’s hope for me after all.

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    1. My TWO NDEs were drug induced, but no jesus or angels were waiting for me. I ended up in a pool of spirits returning from deaths while others were leaving to inhabit newly created fetuses. I was given the choice to return to this life, or stay and wait for a new fetus. Obviously I chose to return. Now I believe in reincarnation, but I do not believe in gods. There was no god where I went, but there was life, even in death. I am now a spiritual atheist, and it has made me a much better person. Not that I was a bad person to begin, I don’t think, but my level of consciousness has risen greatly. I am now a happy person, and I love myself for who I am. My ego is now my partner, rather than being my master. Life is the most important force for me. Nothing else can compare…

      Liked by 3 people

        1. My mother goes around telling people she has a daughter (me) who is an atheist and is the most spiritual person she knows.

          I’ve never asked her what she means by “spiritual.” I’m content to leave it at that.

          Liked by 4 people

    2. When I was still a catholic, I had read a lot of accounts of people being taken up by god, Jesus, an angel etc ( you get the point ) where the were told messages ( majority of them if not all were along the lines of tell the people of earth to repent that judgement is coming )
      I used to believe them afterall it gave credibility to my beliefs

      I first notice something was fishy when I stumbled on one heaven tourist tale by a member of a different denomination ( can’t remember which ) where Jesus emphatically stated that purgatory was not real
      Some I had read previously had Jesus showing the tourists purgatory
      When I discussed this discrepancy with another catholic, the just waved it as since it did not agree with the Vatican teaching it most be fake
      With more studying, it didn’t take long to figure out that all the tales aligned with the religious teachings of the tourist before the experience and many of them contained contradictory messages
      Though, it’s plausible some of these maybe genuine, but it is also possible that some people are makimg things up or all their experiences are products of their brains with no supernatural contribution

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In a case like this I would do two things. It’s hard to critically analyze your own experience. The father in this case, a preacher, severely biased towards anything heavenly and lacking critical thinking skills, should’ve asked for help. We all know someone that has a way of cutting though the bs and finding the obvious. While he was fairly skeptical in his initial approach, he was unable to see what many professionals could see from the word boo. The fact is he wants to believe it’s true, and any critical review will always diminish your wanton first instinct or look when it comes to confirmation bias.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. From my own experience, preacher’s often don’t ask for help. To ask for help indicates spiritual weakness. As well, their theology teaches them they are next in line under the Trinity. They get their help from above. Any one else is beneath them.

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    1. My kids saw the movie with their fundy auntie, and they didn’t believe it, although they’d never heard the counter arguments. There is excellent evidence these things are all in our heads. We make stuff up in our dreams. Convincing dreams. But you’re right, who’s asking? ”Tis better to think your beliefs are right, rather that be right.

      Liked by 2 people

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