Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting further away

This is just a quick post. A practising Christian friend shared the other day that during open heart surgery his heart was stopped whilst he was awake and he watched his own heart flat-line and the world went mottled grey and then no bright lights and out of body experiences. I'm hoping that someone reading this is going to give me some perspective on what happened. My first reaction was to think " there's nothing after death after all". I shared the tale with a couple of Christian friends. One said "He hasn't given his life to the Lord. He has had a glimpse of hell - the nothing-ness of not being with God". Another friend said "Oh I wouldn't pay too much attention to that. It was during an operation". He was technically dead for a couple of minutes.

On the other hand, I have an atheist friend who reports an "out of body experience" - looking down at his own body and forcibly making the decision to go back.


1 comment:

  1. I had an out of body experience, but not as a matter of life or death, but after reading (when a teenager) Dennis Wheatley's "Strange Conflict", which is a fictional story all about out of body experiences, and then falling asleep. It was very vivid, and I was floating, looking down at myself in bed. But because I had been reading that book makes me suspect that part of how we interpret strange experiences has to do with the frame of reference we latch onto when trying to make sense of it all.

    There's nothing in the Bible about out of body experiences, and in fact the chief emphasis there is not heaven (or hell), but resurrection and new creation - this is the theme in the gospels, and Paul - where he employs the metaphor of a newborn. Christ is the head, and his resurrection is a sign that the body (believers) will follow. Revelation speaks in imagery of a New Heaven AND a New Earth. Paul does speak about "being with Christ" (a kind of intermediate state) before a final resurrection / new creation.

    To say that a lack of an out of body experience means someone "hasn't given his life to the Lord" is to be absurdly presumptuous, and rather arrogant. It has nothing to do with Christian belief, even though Christians may adduce it as "evidence" - always a dangerous option, as it may turn out to be some kind of neurological illusion.

    "Technically dead" is a very gray area - especially when the heart, rather than the brain, is taken as a sign that the person is living.

    This is a breaking news story (March 2011):

    The patient has no pulse or heart beat but is very much alive —and awake.
    Earlier this month, doctors at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital implanted in a gravely ill man a new artificial heart device that offers continuous flow of blood by way of a turbine device instead of a pump.
    The mechanical device created by THI doctors O. M “Bud” Frazier and Billy Cohn is not a permanent solution to the patient’s rare condition —cardiac amyloidosis. It does, however, enable his body organs that also are impaired from the disease to receive a steady and restorative blood flow. The patient may stabilize enough to be a candidate for a future heart transplant, something not previously considered possible."