Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience, Mark Fox

Written for theologians and philosophers this overview of the state of NDE research includes original research as well. The best introduction to the topic for the academic I have seen as well as the most challenging one for the rest of us.

Given it’s target audience this is not the most accessible of books about Near Death Experiences. It does not ignore either the neuroscientific explanations of the phenomenon by people like Susan Blackbore, nor the spiritual interpretations by Kenneth Ring and co. The result is balanced and thorough. The questions NDEs call up have not been answered, but at least we know where we are…

At present, no total neuroscientific ‘explanation’ of even the most basic and consistently encountered features of an NDE is sufficient to adequately explain them. (p. 342)

Near Death Experiences as Personal Stories

Based on the work of Robert Kastenbaum this book makes clear that the whole area of NDE-research needs to come to terms with one simple human fact: what we know about these experiences is not what is actually experienced IN the event of dying and coming back, but what is reported afterwards. As such these stories need to be compared to narratives about religious conversion for instance. (p. 345 among others)

Twenty-five years after the coining of the actual phrase ‘near-death experience’, it remains to be established beyond doubt that during such an experience anything actually leaves the body. (p. 340)

RERC study

Aside from providing a historical and analytical overview of the whole field of NDE-research up to date, this book is based on analysis of the RERC data.

RERC = Religious Experience Research Centre

RERC was founded 1969 to house a large collection of personal spiritual and religious experiences. This motley collection was reviewed for NDE experiences and about 100 were found – interestingly enough many experiences fit the traditional descriptions except for the fact that the experiencer was not near death at the time of the experience!

This material is interesting largely because it was collected by people with no vested interest in NDEs and much of it dates from before the first publications about the issue. This makes it more impartial than previous studies have been.

Tunnels, space, light and darkness

In the RERC study tunnels didn’t come up much at all. Instead an experience of space was central to many accounts.

Postmodern idea of death…

The NDE is the quintessential postmodern idea of death – eclectic in imagery; philosophically accessible to a wide range of beliefs without being particularly harmful to any of them; and critical of broad, singular, and simplistic ideas, whether materialistic or religious. It is not an innocuous idea of death but rather a highly adaptable, and hence highly attractive, set of images. (Kellehear 1996: 91)
(p. 352)

More about NDEs

1 thought on “Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience, Mark Fox”

  1. READ THE TRUE LIFE STORY OF DANNION BRINKLEY, SAVE BY THE LIGHT AND AT PEACE IN THE LIGHT. HE DIED TWICE . ONE FROM A LIGHTING STRIKE WHICH KILLED HIM AND A HEART ATTACK. HE WAS ABLE TO READ PEOPLES MINDS AND WAS FORETOLD 119 EVENTS THAT WOULD TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE. HE WAS KILLED IN 1975. THE SPIRITUAL BEINGS GAVE HIM INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUTURE AND HELPED HIM START HOSPICE CENTERS FOR THE PEOPLE THAT WAS NEAR DEATH .
    OTHER FAMOUS NEAR DEATH PEOPLE ARE MELLEN THOMAS BENEDICT, BETTY EDDIE, KEVIN WILLIAMS AND DR. KENNETH RING. MELLEN THOMAS BENEDICT INTRODUCED LASER SURGERY BY THE SPIRITUAL BEINGS. READ THESE STORIES AND YOU WILL BELIEVE IN WHAT HAPPENS IN THE AFTERLIFE.

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