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)
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)
- Title:Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience
- Author: Mark Fox
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415288312
- ISBN-13: 978-0415288316
More about NDEs
- The word Reincarnation in Psychological Literature – 30 abstracts of papers appearing in the Psychological literature in the nine years from 1987 to 1995 all contain references to Reincarnation and NDEs.
- Dalai Lama on …Preparing for death – Buddha’s world – Preparing to Die, By His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. Just as when weaving One reaches the end, With fine threads woven throughout, So is the life of humans. Buddha It is in the nature of cyclic existence that what has gathered will eventually disper
- Blavatsky a medium? about consciousness, channeling and more | Theosophy – This caused a movement throughout the Western world: people communicating with the dead in sÃ©ances and proving to themselves that the physical wasn’t all there was. It was a bit like the popularity of Near Death Experiences today.
- Reincarnation: Evidence – Evidence for reincarnation
- Quotes on devachan and kama-loka: life after death – Archives: kama loka and devachan – quotes
- Best NDE Books – The sharing of stories of NDE (near death experience) is not something that is new to this century or in centuries past. As far back as the 4th century BC, Plato describes the near death experience of a soldier. Suffice