|Near-Death Experience Analysis
|Compiled by Kevin Williams
and near-death experiences just like everyone
else does. The
philosophy of Positivism, founded by
the famous atheist named
A. J. Ayer,
is the philosophy that anything not verifiable
by the senses is nonsense. Because NDEs
mark the end of the senses, Positivists
believe the survival of the senses after
death is nonsense. But this philosophy has
been challenged by its founder A. J. Ayer
himself. Later in life, Ayer had a NDE where
he saw a red light. Ayer's NDE made
him a changed man: "My recent experiences,
have slightly weakened my conviction that
my genuine death ... will be the end of
me, though I continue to hope that it will
be" (Ayer, 1988 a,b).
1. The NDE and Conversion of the Famous
Atheist A. J. Ayer
Reprinted from: Can There Be Life
After Life? Ask the Atheist!
by Gerry Lougrhan, Letter From London,
March 18, 2001
When the famous English novelist,
Somerset Maugham, was expiring in France, aged 91, he summoned
the world-class atheist,
A. J. Ayer, like a priest
to his deathbed, to reassure him that there was no afterlife.
Professor Ayer duly delivered the words of consolation Maugham
longed to hear.
But when Ayer
himself was dying two decades later, he wasn't so sure.
Having choked on a piece of smoked salmon that stopped his heart
for at least four minutes, the famed philosopher saw, and heard
things he had spent a lifetime denying.
On his return from he knew not where,
Ayer wrote a chagrined but enigmatic account of what has become
known in Britain and beyond as a near-death experience (NDE).
Millions of people say they have had
an NDE, as it is now commonly known, while many more are thought
to have had the experience but are too embarrassed to talk about
it. A Gallup poll in the United States indicated 8-12 million
people (approximately the population of New York City)
claimed experience of life beyond the grave; in Britain, a Mori
poll showed seven people out of 10 believed NDEs happened and
of an afterlife.
aspect of the claims is their similarity: a
rushing sound, a
a feeling of ecstasy and
being told it
is not yet time to die. Also frequent are: the
experience in which a person appears to observe his body
from above - often watching medics trying frantically to revive
his corpse; an
instantaneous review of a person's whole life; and sometimes
seeing dead friends
and family. One woman said she met a brother she did not
know she had. Her father told her later: "You did have
a brother. I am the only one alive who knew about him."
the many testaments on record, that of Jack Foreman,
a US naval technician, combines most of the common elements.
Foreman was "cooked" by a radar leak and had
major surgery for a large hole in his diaphragm. Several
days later, he appeared to die. "I could look down
on my whole body," he later reported. "One
medic was applying electric paddles to my chest to shock
me back and shouting Breathe, you son-of-a-bitch, breathe.'"
They stabbed needles into his lungs to extract fluid
and injected adrenaline direct into the heart.
says he saw his entire life pass in seconds: being in
the womb, the ceremony of his Christening, an embarrassing
incident as a small boy when he soiled his pants. He
heard a loud rushing noise and appeared to be speeding
through a dark tunnel with a light of unbearable brightness
at the end. This light took human form and he received
a message, though not in words, "You must go back."
The tunnel experience happened in reverse.
Because of its radioactive
status, Foreman's body had been taken to a cleaning
room. He had a feeling that he re-entered painfully
through his toes and when he spoke, the medics were
The majority of recorded claims link
NDEs to feelings of joy and comfort. A statistician calculated
that 69 per cent of the thousands of cases he investigated reported
a feeling of overwhelming love. When he broke his subjects down
by belief (Christian, Religious but non-Christian, Non-religious,
New Age, etc.) he found 100 per cent of people calling
themselves atheists had experienced "tremendous
ecstasy". Sixty-three per cent reported
the life review
Stories such as
these are denounced as laughable by skeptics, who argue
that some people copy what others have said or project their
own childish ideas of heaven:
a robed Jesus,
joy, flowers, cottages, even
deceased pets. The existence of an American society,
From Heaven, is seen as proof of the battiness of these
usually refers to residual electrical activity in the brain
cortex. Medics mostly argue that the feeling of peace could
be caused by the release of endorphins in response to
or cardiac arrest and
the brain state; neural noise and retino-cortical mapping
could explain the rushing sound, the
account of his own NDE, for a man of such formidable
intellect, was surprisingly similar to most of the others
on record, though more elegantly observed. He wrote
of "a red light for governing the universe"
and some barrier he crossed, "like
the River Styx." The experience, he said, "weakened
my conviction that death would be the end of me, though
I continue to hope it will be."
For Ayer to admit doubt about
his life-long conviction "no God, no afterlife"
shook the academic establishment in Britain. As a student,
he had debated with some of the greatest minds in the
country, including the
Jesuit Fr. Martin d'Arcy who described Ayer
as "the most dangerous man in Oxford University."
Not bad at age 21!
the classic route of Eton, Oxford and the (Welsh) Guards,
Ayer became that rare thing, a popularly-known philosopher,
mostly through his appearances on the BBC radio program,
research on NDEs has been going on since the mid-1970s.
What put the subject back on the front pages was a new revelation
concerning the Ayer experience. Many of his friends felt his
published account reflected an academic's urge to embellish
and tease the classical reference to the River Styx, for example.
What's more, the doctor who attended Ayer suspected the
smoked-salmon story was meant to impress his friends. He found
no salmon in his patient's throat, but if you want a truly
high-class way of dying, you couldn't do better than choking
on this expensive delicacy!
None of his
circle, however, denied Ayer's claim to have had an extraordinary
experience while his heart was stopped. And a year later, his
wife said, "Freddie has been so much nicer since he died."
What his friends questioned was whether his NDE account was
the entire truth.
Now the surgeon
who attended him has broken a long silence. He told an author
who wrote a play about the affair: "Ayer
told me he saw the Supreme Being." There was no further
elucidation. The physician said simply that when Ayer recovered, "he
told me he saw the Supreme Being."
His friends were astounded. Ayer had
admitted there was a god! Was this another joke? If not, why
did he withhold it from his story? Was it that he could not
face the possibility that he had built a glittering career on
a false premise?
In the post-Christian
age that is Britain today, few people are ready to admit to
belief in the supernatural, at least not if Jesus or God are
involved, though stone circles and pyramid power seem quite
acceptable. However, a London magazine last week carried a strange
claim from one of those least likely to fall victim to delusion,
a veteran journalist.
Blair Kaiser is an author and a former correspondent
for Time magazine. Reviewing a book about miracles he
wrote: "In 1994, behind the wheel of my Mercedes,
I lurched out of my driveway and was awakened from my
dreamy preoccupation by the sight of a speeding car
bearing down on me, not five feet away on my left. I
knew I was a dead man.
"All of a sudden, that
car was on my right. The driver weaved a bit, braked
for a moment and then drove off, shaking his head in
disbelief, as I was. For it was clear to me, there was
no way he could have missed crashing into me, no way
he could have steered aside. His car had flashed through
my car, his steel and glass and rubber passing through
my steel and glass and rubber like a ray of light through
a pane of alabaster."
Kaiser ends his anecdote with
a reflection: "This miracle moment was a turning
point in my life, for I took it as a sign that God wasn't
finished with me yet and that I had some new business
to attend to."
Kaiser may well be right. But has he reflected that
maybe it was the other guy God wanted to keep alive?
2. Famous Atheist, Anthony Flew, Converts
to Deism with the Help of Christian NDE Researcher Dr. Gary
Antony Flew (1923 - 2010) was a British philosopher
belonging to the
schools of thought, he was notable for his works on the
philosophy of religion.
Flew did not have a near-death experience but he was friends
with Christian NDE researcher
Dr. Gary Habermas who was a big influence on Flew's conversion.
Flew was a
strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose
of a God surfaces. He also criticized the idea of life after
the free will defense to the problem of evil and the meaningfulness
of the concept of God. In 2003 he was one of the signers of
However, in 2004 he stated an allegiance to
more specifically a belief in the
stating that in keeping his lifelong commitment to go where
the evidence leads, he now believes in the existence of God.
He later wrote
There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed
His Mind, with contributions from
Roy Abraham Varghese. This book (and Flew's conversion
itself) has been the subject of controversy, following
an article in The New York Times Magazine alleging that Flew
had mentally declined, and that Varghese was the primary author.
The matter remains contentious, with some commentators including
supporting the allegations, and others, including Flew himself,
Flew taught at the universities of
Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading, and at York University
in Toronto. He was also known for the development of the
no true Scotsman
fallacy, and his debate on
3. NDE Researchers
Analyze the NDEs of Atheists
Dr. Barbara Rommer
has this to say about atheist NDEs:
that disavowing the reality or possibility of the
existence of a Higher Power may contribute to the
why of a Less-Than-Positive (LTP) Experience: 19.4
percent of my LTP study group labeled themselves
as atheist or agnostic prior to their experience.
Dr. Kenneth Ring
concludes that religious belief is not required:
orientation was not a factor affecting either the
likelihood or the depth of the near-death experience.
An atheist was as likely to have one as was a devoutly
religious person. Regardless of their prior attitudes
- whether skeptical or deeply religious - and regardless
of the many variations in religious beliefs and
degrees of skepticism from tolerant disbelief to
outspoken atheism - most of these people were convinced
that they had been in the presence of some supreme
and loving power and had a glimpse of a life yet
to come. Almost all who experienced a NDE found
their lives transformed and a change in their attitudes
and values, and in their inclination to love and
to help others.
Some atheists do not need to have
a NDE to have their life changed. Dr. Diane Komp, a pediatric
oncologist at Yale, was transformed by hearing about children's
NDE reports, such as that of an 8-year-old with cancer envisioning
a school bus driven by Jesus, a 7-year-old leukemia patient
hearing a chorus of angels before passing away. Dr. Komp states
the following about her conversion:
I was an
atheist, and it changed my view of spiritual matters.
Call it a conversion. I came away convinced that
these are real spiritual experiences.
Dr. PMH Atwater
concluded the following about atheists NDEs:
what the nature of the experience, it alters some
lives. Alcoholics find themselves unable to imbibe.
Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others.
Atheists embrace the existence of a deity, while
dogmatic members of a particular religion report
feeling welcome in any church or temple or mosque.
Dr. Raymond Moody
concluded that the identity of the Being of Light is based on
the experiencer's religious background:
all the possible near-death elements, the light exerted
the greatest influence on the individual. Patients interpreted
the light as a being - a being that radiated love and
warmth. Christians recognized the light as Christ. Atheists
identified the spirit only as a guide. (The
Light Beyond, p.22)
Dr. Susan Blackmore
concludes that a belief in an afterlife is not necessary:
to people who don't appear to have any need
to believe in an afterlife: they are as common among
atheists as they are among the devout.
IANDS FAQ pamphlet
the question is asked: Are the people who have NDEs very religious?
The IANDS answer is:
report NDEs are no better or worse and no more or
less religious than in any other cross-section of
the population. They come from many religious backgrounds
and from the ranks of agnostics and even atheists.
The experience seems more closely related to a person's
life afterwards than to what it was before.
My own NDE research
shows that atheists who return from a NDE may not believe in
a God after it, but they do return recognizing a higher power
in the universe and behind everything.
gave some examples of the death experience of an atheist who
cares little about others:
Let us take
as an example a person who is so sure that there is
no God and no hereafter that he treats others badly
while on Earth and he feels no moral obligation to lend
a helping hand or to be a decent citizen.
When he makes
the transition he is angry and tempestuous as he finds
himself in a situation of his own making, surrounded
by other greedy souls who, because they are in like
situation, welcome him gleefully to the hell that they
have created for themselves. He is shocked. These are
not the type of people he wants to associate with. They
are fiendish and ill-mannered, whereas he has been a
stiff-necked, educated, and polished man, although he
never gave thought to anyone but himself.
He tries to
break out of the fiendish group, but they surround him.
He calls for help, but no one with a better nature can
enter the group to save him. He has dug his own grave,
so to speak, and is allowed to lie in it for a while.
He is utterly miserable, for he now begins to see the
folly of his ways but does not know how to avert his
fate. He is left there until his own remorse for sinful
ways begins to penetrate his being and he acknowledges
to himself that he wasted a lifetime, a rare privilege,
by thinking only of himself.
After he reaches
full repentance he is then able to free himself of the
unrepentant creatures around him, and for a long time
thereafter he searches his own soul to review the past
mistakes. This is sometimes a long, drawn-out process
because he will have to make his way alone. Only he
is able to assess his wrongs and seek forgiveness, although
there are many here willing to lend a hand whenever
he reaches out to them for it.
example of an atheist's unpleasant NDE, it must
be qualified by stating that not all atheists have unpleasant
The description of this atheist's
death experience sounds uncannily similar to Rev. Howard Storm's
NDE whom I profile on this website. Rev. Howard Storm was an
atheist who was rescued from hell by Jesus. While in hell, Storm
was subjected to extreme torment and torture by hideously dark
souls. The following passage describes his conversion from atheism
while in hell:
what happened was ...and I'm not going to try
and explain this. From inside of me I felt a voice,
my voice, say: "Pray to God."
responded to that: "I don't pray. I don't
know how to pray."
a guy lying on the ground in the darkness surrounded
by what appeared to be dozens if not hundreds and
hundreds of vicious creatures who had just torn
him up. The situation seemed utterly hopeless, and
I seemed beyond any possible help whether I believed
in God or not. The voice again told me to pray to
God. It was a dilemma since I didn't know how.
The voice told me a third time to pray to God.
saying things like: "The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want ...God bless America .." and
anything else that seemed to have a religious connotation.
people went into a frenzy, as if I had thrown boiling
oil all over them. They began yelling and screaming
at me, telling me to quit, that there was no God,
and no one could hear me. While they screamed and
yelled obscenities, they also began backing away
from me as if I were poison. As they were retreating,
they became more rabid, cursing and screaming that
what I was saying was worthless and that I was a
back at them: "Our Father who art in heaven,"
and similar ideas.
for some time until, suddenly, I was aware that
they had left. It was dark, and I was alone yelling
things that sounded churchy. It was pleasing to
me that these churchy sayings had such an effect
on those awful beings.
Note: Howard Storm's acknowledgement
of a Higher Power led to his rescue from hell. This
suggests that it is the way to leave hell.]
gives another example of an atheistic death experience except
that this atheists was a murderer as well.
a murderer who deliberately kills another for his
personal gain or satisfaction? This is not a pretty
hatred or vengeance, he expects to find nothing
when he passes through the door called death, and
for a long time that is usually what he finds -
nothing. He is in a state like unto death for a
goodly while, until at last something arouses him,
and he wakens to find out that the hell he had every
reason to expect is indeed awaiting him. It is not
goblins and devils that he sees, but visions of
his own face distorted by hatred, greed, malice,
and other defeating emotions. He cringes from the
sight, realizing that he sees himself thus, that
he himself was possessed of a devil, and that except
for his baser nature he would have been able unaided
to cast him forth.
He is appalled
as he realizes that he wasted a lifetime of opportunity.
Not for him is enrollment in the temple of wisdom
or the higher school of learning.
will stay in torment for a long, long time, until
he believes himself to be totally lost.
eventually reaches this pit of despair, he may at
last cry out to God to rescue him and that wail
of despair is heard by God. Other souls are sent
to ease his suffering, and if his will is truly
uplifted toward spiritual development, he will slowly,
slowly, slowly begin to work himself upward until
he has learned the penalties for taking another's
life which was given by God.
is sufficiently strong to do so, he will accost
the person whose life he took, and their reaction
is such as to ring bells in paradise; for, as likely
as not, the other soul has conquered self to such
an extent that he has already forgiven the suffering
soul who cut short his span of physical life. This
forgiveness uplifts the murderer to such an extent
that he is gradually able to take his place in the
society of other souls and finally to learn some
of the lessons of salvation.
that a soul on this side, just as on your side,
is never without help from God and the good souls
whom God created in his own image. Ask and ye shall
receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it will
be opened unto you. That is the law of the universe.
Ask, receive; knock, open the door of your mind
and let the rays of universal love flow in.
was an experiencer and paranormal researcher who concluded the
following about atheists:
If you don't
believe in God or an afterlife, you will probably
be kept in a sleep state for the first two to three
day period. You will wake up in a beautiful meadow
or some other calm and peaceful place where you
can reconcile the transition from the death state
to the continuous life. You are given teachings
in the hope that you do not refuse to believe that
you are dead.
Note: Bethards' analysis agrees
with Ruth Montgomery's research who described
an atheists being kept in a sleep state for a short
period because of their disbelief of an afterlife.]
One particular atheist
once emailed me and argued that life outside the physical universe
is unlikely. He stated:
looks bleak so far for our survival. If the spiritual
universe is completely outside of the material universe,
then it has no true bearing on the physical universe,
and if this is the case, then there might as well
be no god. God's existence is only useful if
it somehow interacts with us, in the physical universe;
after all, all of our thoughts are determined by
molecular motion in the brain. Prayer is initiated
in the brain. A response, if it's valid, must
obviously move matter through space-time. Therefore,
we have this thorny problem:
If we believe
that there is a spiritual universe, how does it
interact with the physical universe, of which we
are a part?
The Webmaster's response to the above
remark is this:
of all, you will have to give me some definitions.
What is your definition
of God? What do you mean by spiritual universe?
I will assume
you are using the traditional definitions. If you
define God as an old man with a long beard somewhere,
then I agree with you that there is no God. But
if you define God the same way that many experiencers
do - that everything is God - then you can come
close to understanding what they know. In other
words, denying the existence of a Higher Power is
denying the existence of everything. In addition
to this, it must be stated that the term God has
so many different meanings by so many different
people, that it is virtually meaningless. Perhaps
the only meaning of God is what a person gives it.
After all, we create our own reality and what may
be true for one person, may not be true for another.
evidence that, to some degree, we get what we expect
after death. If your using of the term spiritual
universe means you are referring to another reality
called heaven which exists separately from physical
reality, then I would agree with you that such a
reality probably does not exist. Experiencers have
some good ideas about this. From a great number
of near-death accounts, one can basically conclude
that the realm of life after death is the realm
of the mind and imagination. Today there is some
very compelling circumstantial evidence that the
mind survives physical death. I personally believe
life after death means living in pure thought form.
And thoughts are a part of reality as well. Especially
if consciousness survives bodily death as the circumstantial
This same atheist argued that
the existence of a God is unlikely.
His reasoning is the following:
at human behavior as objectively as I can, from
an anthropological perspective, all paths lead me
to support the hypothesis that God is the combination
of projection and transference of a given culture's
(and individual's) ideals and ideal relationships
onto an unseen (yet psychically, very real) entity.
Borrowing from analytic psychology, what I believe
happens is the creation (or greater potentiation)
of a complex, charged emotional contents with attendant
thoughts and images, continually reinforced through
normal operant techniques through institutions such
as churches and their various rituals.
latest thinking on the topic of God is that it's
hard to look at the DNA sequence for a particular
trait (speaking as a software engineer), and not
know, that looks a lot like machine
code! And that, in turn, presupposes
a programmer, a Creator!"
At the same
time, this is far removed from the idea of a personal,
loving, Christian God who cares about us individually
and will somehow rescue us from extermination at
death. Don't get me wrong: I very much hope
that there is a loving God, but in light of what
I know of neuroscience, it seems unlikely. It seems
much more likely that we are the miraculous products
of natural selection.
I also believe
that religion is very much man-made, and that if
God does exist, he appears to be utterly and absolutely
silent, having nothing to do with humankind, other
than in man's dreams, hopes, and fantasies (though
these are products of man's minds). I don't
say any of this to be disrespectful, and I'm
painfully aware of how emotional an issue religion
is, but I say it in the spirit of honest exploration.
My response to this is:
support much, if not all, of what you are saying.
Man did create religion and the idea of god(s).
And the idea of a Master DNA programmer God does
seem much more impersonal than the idea of a Christian
God. In fact, both of these ideas are probably the
product of human imagination. This, of course, is
not to say that imagination is not real, unless
one believes that thoughts are not a part of reality.
The only realistic answer to the question, What
is God? is that God is only a term that represents
whatever you want it to mean. It can mean virtually
anything, such as:
Many Christians believe God is a divine Father.
Hindus believe God (Brahman) to be divinity manifesting
everywhere with no exceptions.
Orthodox Jews generally believe God to be a national
Cave men may have believed God to be the sun.
To tribal cults, God may be a stone statue.
people throughout history believed things that seem
utterly ridiculous to our enlightened minds. As
stated previously, the idea of God has so many different
meanings to different people that it is really useless
to talk about the idea of a God unless a consensus
is reached on it's definition.
Experiencers have much to say about
their experience with God.
Many times I have read NDE reports where experiencers say that
God is a reality that words alone cannot adequately describe.
Most of the time, we hear descriptive words such as Love, Life,
Light, All, Source, Force, One, Mind, Consciousness, Vibration,
Spirit, Being, etc... But, according to many experiencers, even
these descriptions are woefully inadequate.
One experiencer described God as:
experiencer, Chuck Griswold, stated in the NDE documentary entitled
is love is God. If you add anymore to this definition
then you are not making it any better."
When experiencers say that life itself
is God, they are stating that everything is God, or that everything
is a part of God, or that all is God. With this definition,
we may as well state that reality itself is God. For this reason,
we should probably just assign the term God to the toy box and
simply say that there is no God. There is only reality.
4. An Analysis of Fifty
NDEs Profiled on this Website
following is my,
the webmaster of this website, analysis of 50 NDEs from
this website. More information about my research methods
can be found at the bottom of
this web page.
Concerning the NDE aspect of feeling overwhelming love, more
experiencers in the category of
reported experiencing overwhelming love
than any other category of experiencer.
This highest percentage may
be a reflection of how atheists, more than any other
category of experiencers, may be more overwhelmed by
the love of a God they didn't believe existed. This
highest percentage may also be a reflection of how most
atheists get what they don't expect - an experience
with God - and get what they need (divine love).
the NDE aspect of experiencing mental telepathy, the percentage
of all atheists
(65%) reported experiencing mental telepathy.
This is not
the highest percentage nor the lowest percentage of
people in a particular category who experienced mental
telepathy. This is interesting because it may be assumed
that the atheist category of experiencers should be
the least category of people open to the paranormal
idea of mental telepathy.
was the non-Christian category that experienced the
lowest percentage of experiencers (50%) experiencing
mental telepathy. The highest percentage was in the
new age category which may be a reflection of how mental
telepathy is considered more of a new age concept than
any other category of experiencer.
the NDE aspect of having a life review, more
reported having a life review than any other
category of experiencer.
high percentage may be a reflection of how atheists,
more than any other category of experiencer, need a
life review to understand their life from God's
perspective. Atheists generally reject the concept of
an afterlife. A life review would certainly teach them
how the belief in an afterlife has its advantages. Because
atheists do not believe that their actions have divine
consequences, this high percentage of atheist experiencers
having a life review may be a reflection of how all
atheists get what they don't expect - judgment of
their life - and get what they need - a perspective
of their life from God's perspective.
the NDE aspect of seeing God, the percentage of all
who saw a divine being.
this percentage isn't the highest percentage of
all the categories of experiencers who saw God, it may
be a reflection of how a majority of atheists get what
they don't expect - an experience of God - and get
what they need - knowledge of God. This also demonstrates
how people don't have to be religious to see God
the NDE aspect of feeling tremendous ecstasy, the percentage
of atheists (50%)
who experienced tremendous ecstasy.
atheist category is not the category with the highest
percentage of experiencers having tremendous ecstasy.
Another point of interest is within the atheist category
itself. Because the percentage of atheists experiencing
tremendous ecstasy is equal to those atheists who didn't,
this statistic is basically irrelevant other than it
destroys the idea that atheists don't have positive
the NDE aspect of receiving unlimited knowledge, more
reported receiving unlimited knowledge than
any other category of experiencer.
atheists generally emphasize knowledge over religious
faith, this high percentage may be a reflection of how
a majority of atheists get what they desire - knowledge
- and get what they need - knowledge of God.
the NDE aspect of traveling through different afterlife realms,
(25%) reported traveling through a number of different
afterlife realms than any other category of
low percentage may be a reflection of how their NDEs
are limited in scope because of their disbelief in life
after death. This low percentage may also be a reflection
of how a majority of atheists may be getting what they
expect - a restricted understanding of the afterlife.
the NDE aspect of being told they are not ready to die,
(13%) reported being told they were not ready
to die than any other category of experiencer.
This low percentage may be
a reflection of how they, more than any other category
of experiencer, already knew they were not ready to
die (as was the case with
Rev. Howard Storm)
and didn't need to be told so. This low percentage
may also be a reflection of how the vast majority of
atheists don't get what they don't need - information
that they are not ready to die.
the NDE aspect of meeting Jesus, the percentage of
who reported meeting Jesus.
category is not the category with the highest percentage
of experiencers who met Jesus. Another point of interest
is within the atheist category itself. Because the percentage
of atheists who reported meeting Jesus is equal to those
atheists who don't, this may be a reflection of how
a person's lack of religious belief has no relevance
when it comes to meeting Jesus. It also means you don't
have to be a Christian to meet Jesus during a NDE.
On the other
hand, the relatively large number of atheists who do
meet Jesus may be a reflection of how some atheists
get what the don't expect - an afterlife and experience
of Jesus and get what they need - an experience with
a great spiritual leader and/or get what they don't
desire - knowledge that they were wrong about the afterlife
or Jesus. It may also be a reflection of the fact that
Christianity is the dominant religion in the West were
the vast majority of these experiencers come from.
the NDE aspect of receiving forgotten knowledge,
(0%) reported receiving forgotten knowledge
than any other category of experiencer.
This low percentage of atheists
may be a reflection of how atheists, more than any other
category of experiencer, don't believe in a
For them, it is possible that forgotten knowledge of
life before birth is not realized because they may not
be receptive to the idea. However, the category with
the highest percentage of experiencers receiving forgotten
knowledge are those in the category of being non-religious.
The other categories
of experiencers (Christians, non-Christian religious
people, and so-called "new agers") have
a percentage that is somewhere in between.
thing about this is that Christians generally don't
believe in life before birth either, yet a percentage
of them received forgotten knowledge of a life before
birth. This may be because Christians are more open
to the idea of an afterlife than atheists are. This
low percentage of atheists receiving forgotten knowledge
may be a reflection of how they don't get what they
don't expect - knowledge of life before birth and
perhaps not getting what they desire - knowledge in
the NDE aspect of experiencing fear,
more atheists (50%)
reported experiencing fear than any other category
This high percentage may be
a reflection of how atheists, more than any other category
of experiencer, are surprised, if not terrified, in
knowing they were wrong about the existence of life
after death. Their denial of the existence of a Higher
Power may also cause them to have a terrifying experience
while in the presence of a Higher Power. It may be that
their prior disgust of religious people, such as was
the case with
Howard Storm, caused them to be horrified of their
This high percentage
may be a reflection of how some atheists get what they
don't expect - earning they were wrong about the
existence of an afterlife. It may also be a reflection
of how such atheists get what they deserve - fearing
what they don't know concerning the afterlife.
the NDE aspect of having a homecoming with family and friends,
(0%) reported having a homecoming, or something
similar to it, than any other category of experiencer.
low percentage may be a reflection of how atheists,
more than any other category of experiencer, don't
believe in life after death, including seeing family
and friends after death. This low percentage may be
a reflection of how atheists get what they expect -
the NDE aspect of being told of past lives,
(13%) reported receiving knowledge of past lives.
low percentage may be a reflection of how atheists,
more than any other category of experiencers, reject
the possibility of reincarnation. This low percentage
may also be a reflection of how a majority of atheists
get what they expect - not receiving knowledge of past
lives. Another interesting fact is that Christians today
generally don't believe in reincarnation, yet a
percentage of them receive knowledge affirming the reality
the NDE aspect of being in or seeing hell, the percentage of
who reported experiencing or seeing hell.
percentage of atheists who reported experiencing hell
is equal to those atheists who don't, this may be a
reflection of how a person's lack of religious belief
has no relevance when it comes to experiencing hell
or not experiencing hell. This relatively high percentage
may be a reflection of how atheists may feel they are
unworthy of heaven, as was the case with
Storm, once they realize they were wrong about God
and the afterlife.
Since it can
be assumed that people in hell need to be there because
of a hellish spiritual condition, this relatively high
percentage of atheists finding themselves in hell can
also be assumed that they are there because of a hellish
spiritual condition as well. This relatively large percentage
of atheists in hell may be a reflection of how they
get what they need - a purgatory of their hellish spiritual
condition - and/or get what they expect - self-punishment
for not believing in spiritual matters.
the NDE aspect of seeing a heavenly City of light or some variation
of this, more
atheists (25%) reported seeing a City of light,
or something similar to it, than any other category of experiencer.
high percentage may be a reflection of how atheists,
more than any other category of experiencer, get what
they need - a vision of a higher realm of spiritual
This City of light is often
described by experiencers as being similar to the New
Jerusalem, a heavenly city described in the
Book of Revelation
in the Bible. According to Revelation, this city comes
down from heaven to the Earth sometime in the future.
Because the Book of Revelation is highly symbolic, it
can be assumed that this city coming down to Earth is
also symbolic. Nevertheless, because more atheists report
seeing this holy city, this may be a reflection of how
such atheists get what they don't expect - knowledge
that the Bible contains spiritual truth - and perhaps
they get what they need - receive knowledge that
the Earth will one day be
the NDE aspect of seeing a Temple of Knowledge, more
reported seeing a Temple or Library
of knowledge or a Hall of Records
than any other category of experiencer.
high percentage may be a reflection of how some atheists,
more than any other category of experiencer, emphasize
knowledge over religious faith. It may also be a reflection
of how they get what they desire - knowledge in general
and get what they need - spiritual knowledge - and get
what they don't expect - knowledge of life after
Concerning the NDE aspect of witnessing
spirits among the living,
(0%) reported seeing spirits among the living
than any other category of experiencer.
This fact that no atheists
saw spirits among the living may be a reflection of
how they, more than any other category of experiencer,
reject the idea of
It is interesting
to note that more Christians (25%) reported seeing such
spirits than any other category of experiencer. This
may be a reflection of how Christians believe in demons
more than the other categories of experiencer. The fact
that no atheists witnessed such spirits may be a reflection
of how they get what they expect - don't receive
knowledge of demons and ghosts.
NDEs that occur due to a suicide attempt,
(0%) reported having a NDE resulting from a suicide
attempt than any other category of experiencer.
fact that none of these atheists made a suicide attempt
may be a reflection of how they, more than any other
category of experiencer, reject the concept of an afterlife
and are more connected to physical life than the other
categories of experiencers who may be more heavenly
minded and therefore have a lesser connection to physical
life. This may also show that atheists would probably
be less likely to commit suicide than those who believe
in a life after death. On the other hand, those who
believe in life after death may have an even stronger
reason not to commit suicide - the fear of having to
go to hell because of it.
seeing the Devil during a NDE,
no category of
experiencers (0%) saw the Devil.
is significant because atheists get what they expect
- no Devil. The category of religious experiencers who
believe in the existence of the Devil (0%) and get what
they desire - no Devil - and perhaps don't get what
they expect - don't receive an affirmation of the
existence of the Devil.
In summation, the following conclusions
can be drawn from my brief study:
Compared to the other
categories of experiencers, more people in the
atheists category experienced 
life review, 
overwhelming love, 
unlimited knowledge, 
temple of knowledge and
city of light, than in
any other category of experiencer.
These 6 aspects are
part of the total of 21 aspects found in many
Of these 6 NDE aspects,
two of them (feeling
overwhelming love and experiencing a
life review) are in the top 3 most common
aspects of the 21 total aspects researched.
Compared to the other
categories of experiencers, fewer people in
the atheist category 
attempted suicide, 
saw spirits among the living,
received a homecoming,
received forgotten knowledge,
received past life knowledge,
and were 
told they are not ready to die,
than in any other category of experiencer.
Of these 6 NDE aspects,
two of them (saw
spirits among the living
attempted suicide) are
in the bottom 3 most common aspects of the 21
total aspects researched.
show more atheists experienced two of the
three most common aspects; and more
atheists experienced two of the three least
common aspects. This shows
more atheists experienced
both extremes - the top 3 common NDE
aspects and the bottom 3 common NDE aspects.
Could these statistics be a reflection of how
extreme atheism is? It is anyone's guess.