No, near death experiences are not proof of hell.

I have a StumbleUpon account (same username, for those of you who simply CANNOT get enough of my vacuous ramblings). With my typical American attention span, it’s almost a necessity. As with this account, atheism is one of my main interest tags.

So there I was, hitting the Stumble button every thirty seconds like a lab test monkey in meth withdrawal, when I happened across this series of melodramatic grainy videos on youtube. The science employed is the scariest part of the whole thing. It’s the assertion of these “normal, everyday people” that when they experienced their NDE, they were shown hell, and afterward converted to religion. Amazing how motivating fear can be, innit?

Here’s the thing. NDE’s take place inside one’s own mind. There is no “place” you travel to. It’s been proven that oxygen deprivation can cause hallucinations. In fact, it’s been shown that the drug Ketamine can duplicate the visions and feelings experienced during NDE’s (see this article in How Stuff Works).

The fact of the matter is, a lot of it is untestable. We have no way (currently) of proving exactly what happens during a near death experience. But the scientific evidence we *do* have suggests that our own brains are essentially showing us a 3D movie. I can’t consider it “proof of hell” anymore than I can consider lights in the sky “proof of heaven.”

Oh, incidentally? The people in the comments section “witnessing” about how they showed their young children this should be smacked upside the head for traumatizing their kids. Holy crap.

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12 responses to “No, near death experiences are not proof of hell.

  1. I would suggest you cannot prove NDEs are real AND you cannot prove they are figments of one’s imagination either.

    See http://www.nderf.org, the press the “Current NDEs” tag and see if you are still a non-believer.

    See my blog: Only 9% of NDE are “frightening”.

  2. leftcoastlibrul

    Hi, Christianliberal.
    I’m not saying NDE’s aren’t real. They’re very real to the people who experience them. I’m saying that those people are not being “transported” anywhere. It’s taking place inside their own minds, and it’s each individual person’s mind processing information and reacting to certain chemical imbalances. While I cannot 100% prove that that is the case, there’s far more scientific proof backing that assertion than “God took me out of my body and showed me hell.”

  3. So quick to Spread your anger, why? Most Near Death Experiences are real, some miss interpreted. There is no “eternal torment” only purifying because God loves us and it is impossible to separate us from him. One short story that may not hit your heart as hard as most but at St. Jude where my mother has worked for about 5,6 years now there was a little Asian boy I forgot his name I apologize that died of Graph vs. Host disease on 3 accounts his friends have said to have talked to him and they were told that he would be with them and that they would be fine, too not be frightened when they passes ( my mother works in the ICU, she gets the patients that have almost a 70% mortality rate) A very comforting thought, but here is where I make my point. A year or so later a little African child from Sudan was flown to St. Jude as you can guess he spoke no english but they of course have a translator come with him the boy is about 3 weeks in when the translator approaches my mothers friend (another nurse) and tells her that the boy claims he has been having conversations with a child in his room that the translator has been in the whole time with only the little Sudanese child, he asks if maybe he is having a reaction to his pain meds. They brush it off as just that. later that day the translator tells the nurse a name that his child has said many times the nurse recognizes the name and asks another nurse the name, well the name matches the little Asian boy who one year earlier had passed away. This child came from another part of the world and somehow knew this boys name features and talked with him on numerous accounts just bye chance is the first thing that comes to mind isn’t it?=] this may not answer your statement about NDE’s but about life after death this one I like best, I have many many many more if you would like to give them a listen don’t worry I don’t get angry I will listen to whatever you have to say and give it thought not shoot back with angry bitter words to halt your growth I would just hope to maybe get your views on things and why you have come to believe what you believe. and you can stop whenever you want I’m just curious=]

    Kari Bouzeid

    • Hello Kari, I know this post is old…are you still there? I would like to talk to you about what you have written. Please post back if you read this.

  4. Hi, Kari, thanks for your post.

    Put it this way. If I was all that quick to”spread my anger,” would it take me over a month to answer your post?

    As I said, NDE’s are real to the people experiencing them. The experiences are real to them. That does not automatically translate into “The things I am experiencing are actually happening.”

    When someone is oxygen deprived, they hallucinate. This accounts for most NDE’s.

    And while I appreciate your concern for my “growth,” quite honestly I do not see the mind as something that “grows” when I let myself believe something for which others have no proof. I see that as being gullible.

  5. Haha no harm meant by the quick to spread thing =] But actually yes there is proof everywhere! I don’t mean to insult you but to people who want to argue with anyone on any matter take this into mind you can argue with a rock all day long but in the end it is still going to be a rock. Now a question for you. Do you believe in God? If so why or why not? and you didn’t really touch on how it was possible that children from as far as Africa ( I asked my mom again top see exactly where they were from and I think it was Russia Africa Louisiana…..) can describe the exact same name of the boy and describe him almost perfectly with NO I repeat No knowledge of him? Also This maybe easier to me because and I know this will not sound to you like you are arguing with a sane man here:) but myself my sister and my mother have all had experiences with talking with our dead relatives and friends on the days of and after their death. One case My mother spoke with her mom and our neighbor who died of cancer about 3 years ago on the night they died. I have talked with my Dog who passed away( Yes animals do have souls, and I mean REAL animals not insects and things of that nature) and I felt her love and peace of where she is and I am not concerned about her being in a bad place anymore. Also this seems to run in my family alot of my relatives days before they pass on told us that they could talk to their family members who have passed on as well and they say that they will be with them when they too will come back to a perfect whole. If I have not said it before I do not believe in an eternal hell and everyone WILL be together when they die(why be punished for eternity when we are only on earth for about 70 years and maybe do bad for about 50 of them?? is 50 years worth of doing bad worth the rest of time in torment or is it worth being taught how to love?) but when we die will will know. I’m sure your an awesome dude and you are nothing but a joy to be around and I hope all the best for you and everyone but I do hope you will right back.

    K.B.

  6. And the mind doesn’t grow Your love does and it spreads like a wild fire=]

  7. Until we have experienced what we are talking about I would also recommend being open minded not to say you are not. But until you have been ” Oxygen deprived”, and “hallucinate” then we cant believe that what your examples are experiencing is a hallucination, there is no proof( for some yes but for millions there is none.)

  8. leftcoastlibrul

    Hi, Kari, thanks for coming back.

    No, again, experience=/=reality or fact. Experience is subjective, not objective. We don’t have any proof that NDE’s are false, but we DO have proof that oxygen deprived hallucinations are real.

  9. Very true just not in all cases. Just for the record I don’t mean to come off as angry I just get really into what I talk about. All my friends can back me up on that :] haha but I agree I looked up some cases of oxygen deprivation and I do see how similar some experiences can be.

    I DO NOT hold the fact that you don’t believe in God against you I struggled with this problem and it doesn’t make you or myself any less of a human for our beliefs.

    as long as we as humans do what is best for each other by loving and helping each other than that is all that matters.

  10. No, no, you’re not coming off as angry at all. 🙂
    And I agree with your last point completely.

  11. Good, I see nothing wrong with someone who doesn’t believe in a god, but does only good to others. It isn’t the believing that does anything it is actions that show our true colors 🙂

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