|Eben Alexander didn't see a tunnel either.|
Eben Alexander didn't experience any of these either, except for the first (unless you count the iffy identification of the girl on the butterfly, and she wasn't waiting for him in the tunnel, as in classic NDEs). He writes that he would've liked to have seen his father, but Dad was MIA. Maybe he something better to do instead.
Indeed, when you read Proof of Heaven, it becomes clear that it's only his later interpretation of his NDE that categorized it as Heaven in the first place. He saw butterflies, an idyllic landscape, and an orb that emitted an "om" sound. That's more like what you might expect from a New Age guru, not a Judeo-Christian God. And have any of those true-believers ever wondered why other NDErs haven't flown on butterflies or languished in the Earthworm's-Eye View? If this is the afterlife, shouldn't all NDErs see these realms too?
He claims that his NDE was typical, but was it really?
Of course, I've viewed my NDE through my own filter, but as a skeptic, I not only didn't see anything with a spiritual quality, I didn't search for any larger meaning in what I experienced. I think we both had elaborate coma-dreams. End of story.
The back matter of the book is filled with thanks to the flakey New Age and near-death experience groups he's joined since his NDE. There are acknowledgements to NDE researchers and his fellow experiencers. He's obviously drunk deeply from the New Age Kool-Aid cup. In Proof of Heaven, Alexander repeatedly claims that he was a skeptic before his NDE, but he also refers to his wife's supposedly psychic and "intuitive" friends. Yes, spouses can have completely different views on these subjects. Indeed, there are many atheists with religious spouses.
And speaking of which, I will soon be a regular contributor to The Secular Spectrum, a group blog on the Patheos site's Atheist Channel, home of the Friendly Atheist. My editor is Dale McGowan, author of Atheism for Dummies. Do they have a Religion for Dummies or is that redundant? Sorry, I had to make that joke. At any rate, Dale wrote a cogent post about his wife, who was an evangelical when they married. So, of course it's possible that Holley Alexander could've been associated with beliefs Eben doubted before his NDE. But I can't help wondering how firm his skepticism could've been if he so readily rejected the more scientifically sound explanations for his NDE. I mean, come on, the neurosurgeon in him must surely know that his brain couldn't have been offline during his NDE. After all, how could he remember his experience if it had been?
At any rate, as I mentioned, I am now a blogger for The Secular Spectrum, nicknamed SecSpec. I'm also still in recovery, and I have to devote hours every day to rehab. I therefore have no choice but to reduce my blog rate here at Coma Chameleon: My Recovery Chronicles. After all, it wouldn't make sense to have my recovery blog cut into my rehab time.
I will continue to post at least one full blog a week, plus links to my SecSpec posts, with behind-the-scenes content. I'm not abandoning my first love just because it's now an open marriage. ;-)