Hello everyone! I am an agnostic from an Islamic background, and recently, a friend has tried to get me to "go" Christian. She introduced me to all these Near Death Experience stories. I found the topic interesting, and realized that many of the people who had them claim to have met Jesus. At first, I dismissed them, as I read that they are based on one's culture. However, a recent church service I went to with her, the Priest challenged people to find one NDE where a Muslim meets Muhammad, or a Hindu meets Krishna. I took up the challenge, and searched. I could not find any Muslim NDEs where a Muslim met Muhammad. I went as far as to search google Saudi Arabia in Arabic and Google Turkey in Turkish, still nothing. I did find NDEs of Muslims reporting that they met Jesus, and he told them to become CHristian. I also found one with a Hindu woman who saw Jesus too. I found so many with Jesus, that I am wondering whether or not that means that Christianity has more merit than the other faiths? Let's say it is in fact true that not one Muslim ever saw Muhammad during an NDE, or that not one Hindu saw Krishna, but Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus saw Jesus, would you believe that Christianity is the true faith?
Near-death experiences shouldn't be all that credible to begin with. I mean, the body is FAILING. Blood oxygenation is poor and with that senses and brain functioning will be far from 100%, yet we're supposed to take experiences at this time SERIOUSLY?
On top of that, what if a Hindu met Mohamed or a Christian met Vishnu? Something like THAT would both lend more credibility to such experiences, never mind throw a monkey wrench into any preconceived notions as to just WHO is in the front office! The very fact that we're talking about multiple gods or manifestations is still a powerful indicator of the utter lack of unity of whoever IS running things (presuming there is such a being!) and its failure to give a cohesive and CONSISTENT picture of itself.
...the utter lack of unity of whoever IS running things (presuming there is such a being!) and its failure to give a cohesive and CONSISTENT picture of itself.
Exactly! "God's plan" is indistinguishable from no god and no plan. Victor Stenger elaborates on this at great length in God: The Failed Hypothesis. Rather than assuming the traditional (to many in the West at least) "omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent" type of god, he examines a much weaker model, the possibility of a god who created the universe, cares about us humans, and doesn't hide from sincere seekers. (From memory; I may be leaving a few points out, but that's the gist.)
People carry and propagate various religious beliefs; people do good and evil in various gods' names.
I had a near-death experience like and I saw King of Rock Roll....
Wow, you saw Wayne Newton???
[sigh] Bertold ... yer off yer meds again, ain't ya?
...BB..I wasn't in Las Vegas at the time...seriously??? ....Wayne Newton?
OK, you're making me nervous here . . it was a joke.
No! Seeing Jesus in a near death experience is a cultural thing, I am convinced. Anecdotal evidence does not stand up to careful examination. There have been many reported sightings of Jesus in our culture but one cannot rule out the imagination.
Christianity has a long history of seeking ecstacy and mystical experiences. Many seek security in their decision to believe near death experiences or they redefine what the experience meant. Some move from a belief in an "orthodoxy", or ""conforming to the Christian faith as represented in the creeds of the early Church. Others believe a near death experience is an experience of "orthopraxy", meaning it is "correct conduct, both ethical and liturgica". It is correct thoughts and acts as opposed to faith or grace.
Orthodoxy comes from the Greek and means right belief. Orthopraxy comes from Greek and is translated as right action.
I may have a near death experience and interpret it as confirmayion of my belief in god. Or I may have the same experienc and interpret it as my affirmation of the necessity to take right action.
However, a recent church service I went to with her, the Priest challenged people to find one NDE where a Muslim meets Muhammad, or a Hindu meets Krishna. I took up the challenge, and searched. I could not find any Muslim NDEs where a Muslim met Muhammad.
I wouldn't necessarily expect a Muslim or Hindu to see Muhammad in an NDE. Tell me; prior to having the idea of meeting Muhammad put into your head by this Christian, were you expecting to be personally greeted by Muhammad right away, after you died?
I've never gotten that impression from the Muslims I've spoken to. To my understanding, doesn't Islam mostly have various angels running around doing the dirty work? Christianity is the only one of those three that stresses that sort of personal relationship with their godhead, I think.
Could someone who has a better understanding of Islam (one of our ex-Muslims, perhaps?) back me up or correct me?
There's also the matter of social reinforcement, with the whole seeing-Jesus thing. Humans naturally expand upon and interpret their memories, long after the fact. Particularly after a traumatic event, we're likely to spend a hell of a lot of time contemplating what the hell just happened to us. After an event as traumatic as nearly being killed, I would expect a great deal of this sort of behavior.
The social reinforcement comes in after the person who was nearly killed talks to friends and family about it. When the person who nearly died is questioned by Christian family members, things start to shift. Besides simply introducing questions about seeing Jesus without being asked, the family members will also help interpret stories about NDEs from a Christian perspective.
That person with the deep voice who made you feel calm and good inside? Well, that must have been Jesus!
After a while, the person who had the NDE will even start to interpret it that way.
Oh, and give this article a read: http://nypost.com/2015/01/16/teen-admits-he-lied-about-dying-going-.... It's from some kid who was behind one of those obnoxious NDE books. He's still a Christian, but his confession gives an interesting perspective into the sorts of pressures that can lead to a good number of the stories. People like to have others pay attention to them and feel special.
By the way, I refer to these people as "nearly being killed," because people who have NDEs were never actually dead, just had their heart stop for a while or something similar. The point of death isn't so easy to define. If someone has been dead for several days, and pretty much all organic activity in their cells has ceased, then sure, they're dead. If there's no real electrical activity going on in their brain, then they're dead.
When someone undergoes cardiac arrest, though, they're not completely dead. Your brain doesn't stop doing things after your heart stops beating, even if you're no longer conscious. The research of NDEs by spiritual believers is badly tainted by this sort of absolutist thinking. According to their thought, once your heart stops or something similarly deadly happens, you've died, and everything you're experiencing after that must be from the afterlife.
This is ... not good ... not objective or properly analytical.
I did find NDEs of Muslims reporting that they met Jesus, and he told them to become CHristian. I also found one with a Hindu woman who saw Jesus too.
Oh sure, you find this sort of thing in Christian literature. What else would you expect? All religions tell only the stories that support their religion, because they're trying to convert people to their religion and shore up their own religious beliefs.
I found so many with Jesus, that I am wondering whether or not that means that Christianity has more merit than the other faiths? Let's say it is in fact true that not one Muslim ever saw Muhammad during an NDE, or that not one Hindu saw Krishna, but Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus saw Jesus, would you believe that Christianity is the true faith?
To go back to the earlier bit ... if it was true that not one Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Native-American spiritualist, Chinese traditional-spiritualist, Buddhist, Skih, or Jain had ever had an NDE that was indicative of and reinforced their religious beliefs, then that would be interesting and could be considered a bit of evidence. Far from anything I would call "proof" though, given how dodgy all of the NDE stuff is.
That isn't true, though. People of other religions have their own religiously-reinforcing NDEs, just not necessarily involving Christian analogs, like a meeting with someone similar to Jesus.
The whole Jesus/Muhammad/Krishna thing is far too specific. I've heard that sort of argument from Christians all of the time: "Well, Christianity is the only religion that claims that its founder did X!"
So? So, what if that is true? Being the only person to make an absurd claim doesn't mean that you're telling the truth. You don't get to call dibs like that and have anyone take you seriously.
What about these stories of Hindus and Muslims having NDEs involving Jesus? How do we know that they weren't lying, like that kid in the article was? How do we know that they didn't convert to Christianity for other reasons, then make up things to fit into their new religion better?
People are REALLY bad witnesses. They lie, misinterpret, alter their memories over time ...
This is why anecdotal evidence isn't evidence.
And as far as proving Christianity? Which version of Christianity, for that matter?
Is it proof of the Flood of Noah? Is it proof of the Tower of Babel as the origination of all of the different languages on Earth? Is it proof of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden?
Hell no. Those things are mythology. Asking if Christianity is true or false is a very simplistic question. Examining claims isn't as simple as asking if one set of claims is absolutely true or absolutely false.
Your question about it being the "one true faith" is also a bad question. Who says that there IS a true faith? The various world religions make wildly contradictory, mutually exclusive sets of claims. It isn't possible for them to all be correct. It is possible for them to all be wrong, though.
These articles have some interesting stuff in them, too. People who have NDEs have a wide variety of experiences that almost always reinforce their personal beliefs about what they expect to happen after they die.
It might be noted that many people also see the Virgin Mary but this does not happen unless you are Catholic. Think on what that might mean and use it as a yardstick in the measurement of any religious visions or claims of them. You see what your mind is going to allow from your prior training. It doesn't mean that any of it is real.
Heh, another point, yeah. Religious apologists always frame the arguments in the terms most to their benefit, because all of their reasoning is post-hoc reasoning. You can't get from any of their supposedly logical arguments to their actual beliefs, since the only supposed evidence for their beliefs comes from authoritarian sources which don't contain a shred of evidence.
So, do you think this guy was asking this question honestly, or do you think he's a stealth Christian? I've unmasked a few of those on here, over the years.
I'm more inclined to believe this guy, though, since he wrote this up in a more conversational tone. He probably doesn't have a strong background in philosophy and counter-apologetics.