People from all over the world, from all different races, genders, and ages, have experienced near death experiences for thousands of years. Still, no one really knows what they are, how they happen, or why. One scientist claims that it is only the brain playing tricks on us when we are under emotional or physical duress, but is that really the answer?
Near death experiences are pretty impossible to study scientifically. Scientists are trying to find a way to study the brain during a NDE. However, when someone is having one, there are no physical symptoms that allude to it; unless, of course, you are having a heart attack or have been hit by a truck. In which case, choosing to do a brain scan instead of saving their life would be slightly unethical. Belgian scientist Dr. Steven Laureys and his colleagues from the Coma Science Group decided to do a more commendable study of the phenomenon. They gave extensive psychological examinations to survivors, primarily ones who had survived a coma, of near death experiences. They compared patients who had NDE’s with patients who hadn’t. What they found was astounding.
Your memory of real events, such as a marriage, is more accurate and abundant with details than it is with dreams and thoughts. The point of this questionnaire was to determine whether NDE’s correlated more with dreams or more with real events. Laureys stated, “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors.” Apparently, the accounts were so different from both imagined and real events that it shocked Laureys. Yet, he still claimed that it was all in your brain, even when patients were considered brain-dead.
Another famous scientist, a Dr. Eben Alexander, is a well-known agnostic who, after having a NDE, was forever changed and had become convinced in the afterlife. He described his experience as being “too real to be real” and has gone on to write many books about his incredible journey after death. He fully believes that what he experienced was real.
Laureys and his team stand by their claims that NDE’s are just extremely vivid hallucinations that somehow or another occur even during brain death, even though proper examination of the brain during the phenomena has not been performed. He believes this simply because he is a scientist, and science and religion are not to be mixed. Just believing that you are dying is enough to elicit this experience. He knows that more research is needed, and hard data needs must uncovered before any conclusive statements are scientifically made. He urges more scientists to become involved in his research because it is the “compassionate” thing to do. Because proving beyond a questionable doubt that his patients are wrong – that they didn’t go to heaven, or see Jesus, or Buddha – is always done out of love…
Many people have described their experiences with NDE’s as being a joyful one that changes their life for the better, and almost always makes them believe in a higher power, if they didn’t before. If near death experiences can be explained, doesn’t it seem unethical to take that joy away from his patients, and everyone else in the world? And maybe, just maybe, science really can’t explain everything. Maybe sometimes, certain things just don’t need an explanation.