Near Death Experiences

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  • 1. The After-Life and Near Death Experiences A2 Module 3 Mr Harding
  • 2. What makes me ‘me’?
    • Basic Elements?
    • Appearance – my face?
    • Thoughts?
    • Feelings?
    • Job – what I do?
    • Relationships?
    • My Soul/Spirit?
  • 3. Why is an After-Life Desirable?
    • We will all die
    • Life is short – it’s hard to accept
    • Gives meaning to life on earth
    • Morality – balancing the books
    • Eternal reward or punishment
    • A life without restriction
    • Bible – God’s gift to believers
    • Reincarnation – improving your varna
  • 4. Possible Evidence
    • Reincarnation – soul gets a new body
    • NDE’s
    • Parapsychology – ghosts/spirits of the dead
    • Immortality of the soul – Monotheism
    • Resurrection of the Body – Christian
    • Logic
  • 5. Key Words
    • Qualia: felt experiences, eg tasting chips
    • Dualism: two-fold distinction eg body/mind
    • Epiphenomenalism: mental events are caused by brain events
    • Emergentism: humans are only physical
    • Behaviourism: mental events are just physical behaviour
    • Identity theory: mind and brain are same object, but with different functions
    • Functionalism: expressing the mind and body relationship as descriptions of their casual roles
  • 6. The Soul – Religious Views
    • Judaism – Genesis 1, Ruach
    • Christianity - 1 Corinthians 15 the resurrection of the dead
    • Hinduism – Atman, Samsara
  • 7. Muscle Spirit/soul desires Organs Will Size, shape, weight Reason Consciousness Flesh Mind Nerves Emotions Personality Qualia Blood
  • 8.
    • BODY
    • Flesh
    • Muscle
    • Nerves
    • Organs
    • Blood
    • Size, shape, weight
    • MIND
    • Mind
    • Spirit/soul
    • Emotions
    • desires
    • Will
    • Reason
    • Personality
    • Consciousness
    • Qualia
  • 9. Reincarnation ‘Samsara’
    • Eastern Religions eg Hinduism
    • Vedas (Holy Books)
    • Atman “Soul”
    • Part of Brahman “Supreme Reality”
    • Karma – good or bad actions
    • Until ‘Moksha’ is achieved
    • “ Just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on new, so the disembodied atman casts off warn-out bodies and takes on new”
    • Bhagavad Gita
  • 10. MOKSHA Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Good Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma Bad Karma
  • 11. Samsara Case Study
  • 12. Evidence for Samsara
    • Testimony, Memories
    • Consensus Gentium
    • Hypnotic Regression voice changes memories recalled Verification? Case study
  • 13. Philosophical Problems with Samsara
    • Human = body, memory, psychological patterns (personality)
    • Can I be me without a body? Ice-cream
    • Can I be me without a memory?
    • Can I be me with different personality?
    • Can so many be Queen Vic, King Arthur?
    • Simply memories from this life
  • 14. Immortality of the Soul and Christianity
    • OT – Heb al-mawet lit ‘not-death’
    • NT Gk athanasia eternal life
    • Originally immortal, no sickness, pain, death
    • Made in image of God, breath ( ruach ) of God – ex nihilo – no pre-existence. Corrupted / lost through sin
    • All will die a bodily death, all will be judged. As sinners – death, hell
    • Those who die ‘in Christ’ will be raised to life in the last days
    • Resurrection bodies ‘spirited bodies’
    • Jesus died and was raised with a ‘resurrection body’
    • He ate, spoke, touched, had scars “touch me and see I am not a ghost” Luke 24:39
    • BUT appeared and disappeared
    • Followers will too be raised to new life
    • Like seeds sown into ground – new body
    • Heaven – paradise restored, eternal bliss
    • Hell (Gk Gehenna) Literal place or state of seperation from God?
  • 15. Outline the Christian View of the Soul
    • In the beginning – immortal, perfect
    • Image of God – ruach
    • Immortality lost through sin
    • All – bodily death
    • Judged
    • Heaven – through Jesus
    • Or Hell
    • End of world – bodily resurrection
  • 16. Evaluating Christian View
    • Can we be really human, really ‘me’?
    • Based on faith and scriptural authority
    • Heaven’s inhabitant are perfect What about disabled, mentally ill? If these are cured am I really ‘me’?
    • John Hick ‘Replica Theory’ God able to raise people with same memories, personality and physical features (replicas) to inhabit a new earth
  • 17. Materialism or Dualism ?
    • Dualism – Plato - body/soul distinct
    • Soul/mind makes the body a ‘person’
    • Greeks – good ‘soul’ released from bad ‘flesh’ Hinduism, Christianity
    • Descartes – distinct – can interact eg nightmare
    • Soul/mind immortal
    • Is there anything my body can do without my mind? – breathe, heart beat – ROBOT/Machine
    • Is there anything my mind can do without my body? Reason/think
    • Plato – ‘reason’ was immortal
  • 18. Nihilism
    • human existence is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth , or essential value. Nihilists generally believe all of the following: There is no reasonable proof of the existence of a higher ruler or creator, a "true morality" is unknown, and secular ethics are impossible; therefore, life has no truth, and no action is known to be preferable to any other
  • 19. Mind and Body.
    • Dualism = body + soul (mind)
    • Humans – material/physical So are rocks, plants etc
    • Humans – able to think – minds CARTESIAN DUALISM
    • HOW DO WE KNOW THINGS?
    • Brian (body) sends electrical impulses
    • Sight – object converted in impulses
    • Interpreted/recognised by the brain
    • HOW DO I KNOW YOUR SEEING THE SAME AS ME?
    • reality – could be illusion or dream
    • Some P’s “we’re born as a tabla rasa” blank slate
    • Others “basic data is hard wired” (body) eg redness
    • Kant “only concepts of time and space are known” everything else is learned PROBLEM – all relative
  • 20. How is the mind and body linked?
    • PROBLEM non-material influences material eg olives
    • material influences non-material eg bereavement
    • Epiphenomenalism: Brain is like a VCR. Physical events stored and played back by the mind
    • Emergentism: World is physical, therefore the mind is physical – thoughts/feelings are outcomes of brain activity.
    • Behaviourism: Skinner. Mind and brain linked through physical activity. Mr X is angry. How do I know?
    • Wittgenstein – thoughts do not exist – express physical behaviour
  • 21. How does this effect Immortality?
    • Emergentism: Undermines immortality/NDE’s as there is only the physical.
    • Behaviourism: undermines reincarnation and bodily resurrection. ‘Mind’ is language of certain brain activities. If the brain changes…
  • 22. NDE: Definition
    • Near Death Experiences NDE’s are out of body experiences which occur, by definition, when the patient comes close to death. In some cases the patient is deemed to be “clinically dead”, but is resuscitated. These experiences often include OBE’s, contain reports of accurate information and have striking similarities
  • 23. Some Key Questions
    • Is this a biological or spiritual issue?
    • Is there a soul?
    • When does death really occur?
    • At which point in the dying process do NDE’s occur?
    • Can we validate NDE’s using Religious Experience criteria?
  • 24. Death and Dying
    • A well researched process – medical
    • Previously – cardiac arrest
    • David Lamb ( Death, Brain Death and Ethics , 1985) ‘the irreversible loss of function of the whole organism’
    • After 10-15 mins of no blood/oxygen supply most of the brain cells and brain stem cells will die. Brain-Stem Death .
  • 25.  
  • 26. A Heart Stops Beating B Brain starts to lose function C Brain loses all function D Brain Stem begins to lose function E Brain Stem loses all function Rigor mortis sets in 15 mins NDE’s
  • 27. NDE’s: Who Has them? 1
    • Kenneth Ring (Professor of Psychology at Connecticut Uni)
    • Suicide survivors – experience the initial peaceful stages but did not ‘enter the light’
    • Illness survivors were much more likely to ‘enter the light’
    • Status, culture, religion, age, race had no influence on who has NDE’s
    • Conclusion – NDE is a dissociation from painful reality, and an ‘embracing of another reality to feel safe’
  • 28. NDE’s Who Has them? 2
    • Raymond Moody ( The Light Beyond , 1988)
    • 1 in 30 have experienced or know someone who has experienced a NDE or OBE
    • Researched Characteristics
  • 29. Moody’s Research 9 Tunnel experience 14 Sensation of light 17 Audible voice/music 23 Encountering other beings 26 OBE 32 Being in another world 32 Review of Life 32 Feelings of peace FREQUENCIES ELEMENT
  • 30. Characteristics Kenneth Ring Life after Death 1980
    • Peace 60%
    • OBE 37%
    • Entering Darkness 23%
    • Seeing the Light 10%
  • 31. Characteristics Raymond Moody Life after Life 1975
    • Ineffability
    • Hearing the news
    • Peace and quiet
    • The Noise
    • The dark tunnel
    • OBE
    • Meeting others
    • A Being of Light
    • Life Review
    • The Border
    • Coming Back
    • Telling others
    • Effects on lives
    • New view of death
    • Corroboration
  • 32. Case Studies 1
    • Content
    • Context
    • Connections
    • Outcomes
  • 33. Case Studies 2
  • 34. Do the Case Studies work?
  • 35. Authentication: Can we validate NDE’s?
    • Science / Biology - Empirical Approaches
    • Parapsychology
    • Philosophy – logical positivism
    • Archetypal Images
    • Religious
  • 36. A biological approach
    • Increase in NDE’s with increase in resuscitation technology
    • Oxygen starvation to brain and release of pain-killing chemicals
    • Comforting images – preparing for death
    • All in the mind? How could we evolve this phenomenon?
    • “ death of a person” – bodily death
    • “ personal identity may survive death… and may be lost prior (biological) death
  • 37. Biological Approaches 2
    • Karl Jansen (London Psychiatrist)
    • Replicate NDE’s through chemicals like Glutamate
    • Concludes that NDE’s are a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain
    • Susan Blackmore (1993)
    • Identified chemical responsible for feelings of peace and bliss
  • 38. Hallucinations?
    • Ronald Siegal (expert in hallucinations)
    • NDE’s consistent with all other types of hallucinations
    • Do you agree? Why?
    • John Gibbs
    • Drug induced hallucinations far more random, chaotic and scary
  • 39. Logical Positivism (AJ Ayre)
    • Only verify through the senses if not – “non-sense” NDE’s personal – others can’t engage
  • 40. NDE’s and Mystical Experiences
    • Bosch’s Ascent into the Empyean
    • After a ‘mystical experience’
  • 41. Authenticating NDE’s as Mystical Experiences
    • NDE’s are mystical experiences
    • Judith Cressy (NY minister & NDE)
    • St Teresa of Avila (…carried up to heaven)
    • James: Ineffability, Noetic quality, Transiency, Passivity
    • Numinious/mystical
    • Otto: awefulfulness, overpoweringness, energy/urgency, otherness, fascination
  • 42. Principle of Credulity and Testimony
    • Richard Swindburne
    • What other ideas can you apply from your Religious Experience module?