London’s Daily Telegraph reports an article from a top neurosurgeon who says he went to heaven during and near death experience. Heaven was full of pink fluffy clouds and shimmering winged beings and lovely music and there was a pretty lady too who went with him on his out of body journey. The Telegraph also reports Professor Colin Blakemore’s skeptical response. You can read that one here.
What are we to make of NDEs? For the believer they confirm his beliefs. For the skeptic they confirm his belief that believers are gullible mugs.
What interests me therefore about the experiences is that they would seem not to prove anything to anybody. Or do they? What they do prove is that there’s something to prove. What I mean to say is that there is something not nothing. The curious thing is that an NDE is an experience of something. It is a positive happening. No matter what it means or how it happened–it took place. Therefore it has the potential to have a positive effect. It just might convince some people of an afterlife whereas it will never convince someone that the afterlife does not exist. Those who disbelieve in an afterlife are therefore banking on a negation. They’re putting their beliefs in a non belief. They’re investing their time in denial and their efforts in de-bunking something. They therefore end up with nothing, and they have no way to prove their nothing except to continue to deny the something. Their position is what darkness is to light or cold is to warmth. It’s the absence of something not the presence of anything.
This is why the position of faith is so much more attractive and interesting than the position of atheism and doubt. The believer is always proposing something positive and real and possible–even if it is far-fetched and turns out to be fake. At least he’s investing in an experience and banking on a belief. The non believer can only ever deny, negate and affirm an emptiness. The believer has something he can get his teeth into. He’s got dogma and gospels and hypocrites and popes and saints and sinners and heaven and hell. The non believer has….nothing except his denial.
Here’s my point: I’m in favor of the fellow who had an NDE and went to heaven and saw pink fluffy clouds, angels and a beautiful lady. I like Dante and the circles of hell and the visions of hell that the Fatima visionaries had and the dying experience of my grandfather who saw the angels before his died and told my grandmother so. This is so much more interesting and well, FUN than the sour old spoil sport who says, “Nah, that didn’t happen. It was just a pop and fizzle in the guys brain.”
Me? I’ve got an interesting heaven to think about and some puzzles about what comes next and a certain amount of anticipation and trepidation. What does the non-believer have? Nada. Zilch. Only himself and his disbelief and denial.