“Evidence of the Afterlife”

“Evidence of the Afterlife” September 15, 2022

 

Philly MOA Hicks
Edward Hicks, “Noah’s Ark” (1846), Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Conference Talks: “The Ark and the Tent: Temple Symbolism in the Story of Noah” (Jeffrey M. Bradshaw)

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw compares Moses’ tabernacle and Noah’s ark, and then identifies the story of Noah as a temple related drama, drawing of temple mysticism and symbols. After examining structural similarities between ark and tabernacle and bringing into the discussion further information about the Mesopotamian flood story, he shows how Noah’s ark is a beginning of a new creation, pointing out the central point of Day One in the Noah story. When Noah leaves the ark, they find themselves in a garden, not unlike the Garden of Eden in the way the Bible speaks about it. A covenant is established in signs and tokens. Noah is the new Adam. This is then followed by a fall/Judgement scene story, even though it is Ham who is judged, not Noah. In accordance with mostly non-Mormon sources quoted, Bradshaw points out how Noah was not in “his” tent, but in the tent of the Shekhina, the presence of God, how being drunk was seen by the ancients as a synonym to “being caught up in a vision of God,” and how his “nakedness” was rather referring to garments God had made for Adam and Eve.

 

Audio Roundtable: Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 39: “Comfort Ye My People”: Isaiah 40-49

The Interpreter Radio Roundtable for Come, Follow Me Old Testament Lesson 39, “Comfort Ye My People,” on Isaiah 40-49, featured Terry Hutchinson, John Gee, and Kevin Christensen.  This roundtable was extracted from the 14 August 2022 broadcast of the weekly Interpreter Radio Show.  The complete show may be heard at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-August-7-2022/.  The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard each and every Sunday evening from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640.  Or, if you prefer or if you have no other viable option, you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.

 

To illustrate the book
The cover of Long and Perry’s interesting 2010 book

 

One of the best books that I’ve ever read on the subject of near-death experiences is Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences (New York: HarperOne, 2010), by Jeffrey Long, M.D., with Paul Perry.  (And I’ve read quite a few of them.)  Dr. Long is a practicing radiation oncologist and the founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF).  Here are some passages from Evidence of the Afterlife in which he lays out his basic methodology and summarizes his chief arguments:

 

By scientifically studying the more than 1,300 cases shared with NDERF [by the time the book was written, more than a decade ago], I believe that the nine lines of evidence presented in this book all converge on one central point: There is life after death.

The convergence of several lines of evidence — like the nine presented in this book — builds a much stronger case than only a single line of evidence.

For example, suppose we had only two lines of NDE evidence.  We may not be 100 percent convinced that these two lines of evidence prove an afterlife, but perhaps each line of evidence by itself is 90 percent convincing.  Combined, these two lines of evidence by mathematical calculation are 99 percent convincing that the afterlife exists.  (4; italics in the original)

 

If each of two lines of evidence from near-death experiences (NDEs) is 90 percent convincing of the existence of an afterlife, then the combination of these two lines of evidence may be considered as follows:  The probability that either of these lines of NDE evidence individually is not convincing of the existence of an afterlife is 10 percent, or 0.1.  The probability that the combination of these two lines of NDE evidence is not convincing of the existence of an afterlife is (0.1 x 0.1), or 0.01, which is 1 percent.  Thus the combination of two lines of NDE evidence, each of which is 90 percent convincing of the existence of an afterlife, gives 100 percent minus 1 percent, or 99 percent confidence that the afterlife is convincingly felt to exist.  (203, note 1; italics in the original)

 

I’m interested in feedback on the reasoning that is set forth above.  Not so much about reader opinions regarding near-death experiences in and of themselves but on the subject of whether the methodology of assessing levels of persuasion is substantially sound.  Please advise.

 

As for Dr. Long’s nine distinct lines of evidence, here they are, in his own summarizing words:

 

  1. The level of consciousness and alertness during near-death experiences is usually greater than that experienced during everyday life, even though NDEs generally occur while a person is unconscious or clinically dead.  The elements in NDEs generally follow a consistent and logical order.
  2. What NDErs see and hear in the out-of-body state during their near-death experiences is generally realistic and often verified later by the NDEr or others as real.
  3. Normal or supernormal vision occurs in near-death experiences among those with significantly impaired vision or even legal blindness.  Several NDErs who were blind from birth have reported highly visual near-death experiences.
  4. Typical near-death experiences occur under general anesthesia at a time when conscious experience should be impossible.
  5. Life reviews in near-death experiences include real events that took place in the NDErs lives, even if the events were forgotten.
  6. When NDErs encounter beings they knew from their earthly life, they are virtually always deceased, usually deceased relatives.
  7. The near-death experiences of children, including very young children, are strikingly similar to those of older children and adults.
  8. Near-death experiences are remarkably consistent around the world.  NDEs from non-Western countries appear similar to typical Western NDEs.
  9. It is common for NDErs to experience changes in their lives as aftereffects following NDEs.  Aftereffects are often powerful and lasting, and the changes follow a consistent pattern.  (199-200; italics in the original)

 

Dr. Long’s book, Evidence of the Afterlife, sets forth those nine converging lines of evidence in some detail and provides substantiating cases, evidence, and analysis.  I find it quite compelling, myself, and I think that his book is a pretty much a must-read on the subject for anybody who wants to speak knowledgeably about it.

 

 


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