Blinding white lights, the famous tunnel, bright colours, angels and all-encompassing love.
Now according to an American neuroscientist you can add to the Heaven checklist butterfly wings, lush green valleys, pink puffy clouds and a beautiful woman with golden tresses and high cheekbones telling him he can do no wrong.
In this video interview with Newsweek’s editor-in-chief Tina Brown, Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard scientist, maintains he went to Heaven and back during a seven day coma as a result of severe bacterial meningitis.
He said the experience gave him a scientific reason to believe in “consciousness after death.”
“While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.”
Dr. Alexander is promoting his book (surprise, surprise) called Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.
Much is made of his being a Harvard scientist and the son of a Harvard scientist, as though his scientific background once precluded him from having any faith-based beliefs.
Are the two mutually exclusive?
Dr Alexander writes: “I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.
“In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.”
In his interview with Tina Brown, Dr Alexander describes journeying on a butterfly’s wing through a place of beauty before encountering a beautiful girl who told him he was loved and cherished and that he had nothing to fear. Tina Brown doesn’t ask Dr Alexander about his religious beliefs but says critics maintain his account of heaven sounds like it is “replicating an acid trip.”
Paul Raeburn writing in The Huffington Post about Dr Alexander’s claims says: “This is religious belief, nothing else.”
What do you think?
Should we expect scientists to be less susceptible to faith-based beliefs?