NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES (NDEs) AND ATHEISTS
There are hundreds of reports by atheists who have had an NDE, some of whom are scientists or medical specialists and are trained to be objective. During an NDE, the consciousness or “spirit” leaves the body behind and passes into the new realms of the afterlife: consciousness can return to the body later in a process called “revival”. Many atheists have had a prolonged NDE during which they encountered God the Father or Jesus Christ. These atheists instantly became believers. Hard not to believe under those circumstances I guess, including when in your Life Review you are shown things you hoped would remain secret, and others you did not even know the ramifications about until you are shown them.
You will meet some of these atheists in my previous book: “Living Beyond: Making Sense of Near Death Experiences” and its sister book which will be out shortly. In some examples, their NDEs can include an element of humour. I will quote one out of “Living Beyond”:
The Russian neuropathologist George Rodonaia[i], an avowed atheist, had his NDE in communist Russia in 1976, while lying dead in a morgue for three days.
I was still somehow aware of my existence as George…
I was horrified. I wasn’t prepared for this at all! I was shocked to find that I still existed, but I didn’t know where I was.
The one thought that kept rolling through my mind was, ‘How can I be when I’m not?’ That is what troubled me…
Then I remembered Descartes’ famous line: ‘I think, therefore I am.’ And that took a huge burden off me, for it was then I knew for certain I was still alive, although obviously in a very different dimension.
Then I thought: if I am, why shouldn’t I be positive? That is what came to me. I am George and I’m in darkness, but I know I am. I am what I am. I must not be negative.
Then I thought, how can I define what is positive in darkness? Well, positive is light.
Then, suddenly, I was in light; bright white, shiny and strong; a very bright light! It was like the flash of a camera, but not flickering — that bright. Constant brightness.
At first, I found the brilliance of the light painful, I couldn’t look directly at it. But little by little I began to relax.
I began to feel warm, comforted, and everything suddenly seemed fine.
George subsequently experienced common features of a classic NDE, such as a comprehensive Life Review and the peace and joy that accompanied interaction with God. On his return, he gave up his medical career and trained to become a Christian minister. He served as a pastor in the Methodist Church in Texas up until his death in 2004.
A number of erstwhile atheists have also become Christian ministers on return from their NDE. After all, they now KNOW what other atheists may only wonder about — God and Jesus are absolutely real and are the centrepoint of existence.
These atheists-now-ministers include Howard Storm, BJ McKelvie, Ian McCormack, Howard Pittman, Tim LaFond. They can still become emotional when talking about meeting God in the afterlife: I remember Ian McCormack tearing up when telling us how wonderful and loving God was to him despite the dissolute life he had lived previously. Ian is a great guy despite being a New Zealander — you will enjoy following him on the internet.
[i] Phillip Berman (1998), The Journey Home.
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