|FMI on Raymond Moody|
The 1970s and 1980s were funny decades. The Free Love movement of the 60s gave way to Age of Aquarius, Eastern Mysticism (thanks, Beatles) and Near Death Experience movement. The 1970s for some reason was a breakthrough decade for study in NDE. For the first time the phenomenon was studied seriously. Books galore came out and the adults around me ate them up. I remember seeing Raymond Moody’s Life After Life, a seminal book for the decade that broke open the study of what happens after we die. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross‘ study of death and the five stages of grief was another that fascinated the adults around me. Then came all the philosophical books from New Age promoting spirituality and mysticism based on “discoveries” reported from NDEs such as those from Carlos Castaneda, (A Separate Reality) and Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull).
As a side note, adults, if you think the books you read and put on your bookshelves go unnoticed by your kids, you’re crazy. Growing up and as a young adult, I was hugely impacted by the books the adults around me were reading.
As far as NDEs went, I became fascinated by the fact that all these people nearly died or did die, and came back and reported the same thing. They all talked of beauty in another place or dimension, a tunnel, the light, peace. There had to be something to it, I thought! From the vantage point of today, of course I know these to be satanic deceptions perpetrated on unsaved people deluding them into thinking they are going to “that place”, “into the light” without repenting of sins or knowing Jesus.
Those 1970s NDEs are no different in their high deception-factor than are the ones from today by “Christians” like Colton Burpo (Heaven is For Real) or Alex Malarkey (The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven).
But when I was a young adult noticing all these New Age books talking about peace and light after death, it made sense to me. It was by the grace of God only that I didn’t stop there and came to know the real Light and can read the only book that reports what it is really like “over there” – the Bible.
The “Christian” books 90 Minutes in Heaven, by Don Piper; Heaven is For Real, by Colton Burpo and his dad; The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, by Alex Malarkey; 23 Minutes in Hell, by Bill Wiese; Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander; To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, Mary K. Baker’s A Divine Revelation of Heaven and other such books, exploring ‘the other side’ from a Christian perspective, have been enormous best-sellers. As each “Christian” NDE book has been published, they have grown in popularity…and acceptance. By the time Heaven is For Real came along people applauded the book, trusted the four-year-old’s account of rainbow horses and homework in heaven, and made a movie out of it. The Burpos are considered evangelical.
There have been great inroads that the testimonies of Christians who claim to have had a personal encounter with Jesus or angels at near death have become mainstream, a path that the 1970s NDE books started, which at that time were looked upon as paranormal quackery.
In this recent article in The Atlantic, the convergence of the “Christian” NDE and the New Age NDE appears to have been finalized.
Yet even these skeptics rarely accuse experiencers of inventing their stories from whole cloth. Though some of these stories may be fabrications, and more no doubt become embellished in the retelling, they’re too numerous and well documented to be dismissed altogether. It’s also hard to ignore the accounts by respected physicians with professional reputations to protect. Even if the afterlife isn’t real, the sensations of having been there certainly are.
There is something about NDEs that makes them scientifically intriguing. While you can’t rely on an alien abduction or a spiritual visitation taking place just when you’ve got recording instruments handy, many NDEs happen when a person is surrounded by an arsenal of devices designed to measure every single thing about the body that human ingenuity has made us capable of measuring.
And that’s exactly it. That is what intrigued me as a teen and young adult there are too many stories of NDE, they’re too similar, and in this age of technology they are too scientifically confirmed to simply ignore. What the people don’t know, however, is that simply the fact of the cumulative existence of thousands of NDE cases doesn’t confirm that they are sent from heaven.
Yes the NDE occurred. No, it doesn’t mean it was heaven. Satan is a deceiver and a liar, and he can perform lying wonders, (Matthew 24:24, Revelation 16:14), can appear as an angel of righteousness, (2 Corinthians 11:14), and alter the physiology of a targeted human. (Mark 4:3-4).
The fact that it occurred is not the proof. The world believes the NDE occurred but they never stop to think that the NDE itself may be real but is a deception. Satan counts on this.
I’d had a conversation with a young person, age 7. He was fervently trying to convince his mates that Bigfoot is real. Here is his argument.
I KNOW Bigfoot is real, because I had a dream about him…and DREAMS ARE REAL!
He made me laugh, and his argument was a circular but internally consistent logic that made it hard to argue against. I got to thinking about his argument though a little later. It’s the same argument that evangelicals make about Jesus, and when they do, it isn’t so cute or funny any more. But it is the exact argument that people who have had NDEs (or visions or dreams of Jesus) claim.
I had a dream/vision/near-death experience of heaven. Dreams are real. Therefore Heaven is for Real.
Too many Christians fall prey to this also. They blindly believe that simply because a supernatural event occurred that it must be from heaven. But more likely in this day and age, it is from hell.
Some don’t believe that satan is capable of deceivingly presenting a false heaven to people. However remember that angels are powerful. Satan was the most powerful angel of all, dwelling immediately next to the Most High in the heavenly realms at His throne. He was capable of showing all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus! (Matthew 4:8). The magicians were able to replicate Aaron’s and Moses’ sign from God by the power of their secret arts, turning their own staffs into snakes as Moses and Aaron had. (Exodus 7:11-12).
Do not overlook the many cautions and warnings in the Bible about satan’s lying signs and his power to deceive. The lying sign serves several purposes. They lead people astray. They confirm man in his error – for example, emphasizing Gods love toward the unrepentant sinner and the unrepentant sinner’s presence in heaven. Lying signs thus encourage people to rely on the sign and not the word of truth which would set him free.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. (Revelation 13:14)
Satan has the power to deceive the entire earth. Do we not think he can deceive one unfortunate car accident victim lying in a state of drugged unconsciousness?
In The Atlantic article it’s stated,
Whether you saw a divine being or your brain was merely pumping out chemicals, the experience is so intense that it forces you to rethink your place on Earth.
The secular person and sadly the ‘Christian’ nowadays put faith in the experience and rate its credibility based on its intensity. Yet Theologian John MacArthur stated,
Studying mystical accounts of supposed journeys into the afterlife yields nothing but confusion, contradiction, false hope, bad doctrine, and a host of similar evils.
In my opinion, the fact so many “Christian” NDEs are occurring it is in itself a prophesied lying sign. A further sign is the convergence of Christian acceptance of (lying) wonders with with New Age (false) wonders. Another sign is the fact that evangelicals are accepting the New Age/Spiritual NDE instead of the Bible’s word on the matter.
|Convergence almost complete|
Conclusion point #1: Stay in the Word so that you will not be deceived.
Conclusion point #2: A supernatural wonder is not necessarily from God. Satan is supernatural, too.
Conclusion point #3: The world’s fascination with life after life is not only unabated since breaking through to the mainstream in the 1970s, but it’s growing. Christian booksellers are helping this along, partnering with New Age thought, and blending the two so that one is virtually indistinguishable from the other.
Yet even then, the positive outcome of this is that we have the knowledge of the truth, and can share with any person who is similarly fascinated with near-death experiences, as I once was before I was saved. Intrinsically, I knew life didn’t end at death. Eternity is written on our hearts. Share Revelation 21 and 22 with friends or family who want to know more. It is a beautiful future ahead for those who believe. Try to bring as many as possible along with you.