Monday, September 7, 2015

Just my imagination running away with me

Shockingly, no Christians saw Shiva in their NDEs.
For Jews, sitting shiva means an entirely different thing, and they weren't mentioned in the study. For the record, none of the 700 Indian medical personnel surveyed reported hearing tales of seeing Jesus from their patients. Among the 5000 American doctors and nurses participating in the study, no Christian patients spoke of being greeted by Hindu deities. As I said, there was no word on any Jewish patients, but I'd bet they didn't see Ganesh or Jesus.

I read about this study in Susan Blackmore's classic skeptic-oriented near-death experience book "Dying to Live." She states, "Religious figures [in the NDEs] were, not surprisingly, in conformance with the person's own religion." No duh! You'd think if the patients were actually visiting Heaven, and if, as most religions believe, there is only one true religion. the experiencers would be visiting the same set and cast of characters.

It's almost as if the images of Heaven were nothing more than the product of their own cultural influences.

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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine

In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.

But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.