The article wonders what to make of people with near death experiences – the people who almost die and come back to life with stories of seeing the light or feeling intense peacefulness. Thousands of people have these experiences. Some say it is proof of a higher being; some say it’s just “hallucinations triggered by a brain undergoing tremendous stress.”
So, which is it? Is it really the pearly gates – is God giving people a quick fist-bump and sending them back to the living? I don’t think so. I think these folks are close to dying and dreaming of what they expect of death, which to many people is some sort of edifying, clarifying experience.
I find it interesting that going into the light is what happens to good people when they die, so essentially these folks come back to life bragging that they made it into a pretty exclusive club. But what of the sinners?
If an afterlife exists, and proof of this is when people experience Hollywood-esque versions of Heaven when on the brink of death, why do we rarely hear of hellish near-death experiences? Why do folks never talk about seeing mounds of horrid dead people toiling away in some fire pit shoveling pig manure while listening to muzak versions of the Spice Girls greatest hits?
I don’t think that we go to heaven or hell, or have another go at life in a different form. I think we simply die. That’s nature, and try as we might to claim a higher purpose than all other creatures on earth, we are, in fact, just another creature on earth playing our part in the ongoing cycle.
I don’t think a “comprehensive explanation of what exactly happens to us when we die” has emerged yet because there is no way to know. Only dead people know, and they’re not talking.