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NDEs and ADCs: Their Apologetic Value for the Christian Faith

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

It is evidence in the sense that it has the right to be put forward as a claim of truth and it can be representative of the facts, but conversely it can also often be a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the facts.  Hence why courts very rarely convict people on one person's 'word' against another.  Typically courts will require corroboration and verification of any evidence to establish its view.  I am not saying personal testimony cannot be considered as evidence, but rather I am saying that just because a person seems sober and sane and even well intentioned in their testimony, that this is not necessarily evidence of the facts (and indeed is not readily accepted by any court as evidence of the facts on its own merits).

So if you happen to be directing your comment to me when you say "Why refute NDE's or claim they are just imaginings unless one knows for certain", let me say that I am not refuting them, I am just highly skeptical that they actually occur and that they are perhaps explainable by other mechanics of the brain that we don't fully understand as yet.  Scientifically, mass delusion has been established as something that occurs, so just maybe there is some other scientific explanation to NDE's and OBE's?  

But if all that is sought here is storytelling and reaffirmation that NDEs are real, I'm more than happy to leave those to it who want to enjoy that experience.

 

That is true but this is not a court and we are not here to convict people that especially we can't prove might be misunderstanding what they are testifying.

Just because mass delusion can or has occured doesn't seem to prove anything concerning the posts. Perhaps dialogue and questions would be better than debate on such issues. Skepticism can be healthy but trying to explain away that which we don't understand as a general rule most of the time,  seems to me, might be counterproductive and antagonistic. Don't you think that might seem that way to the poster? Or at the least give the appearance of cynicism?

Just my view,

Joseph

 

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Scientific American interviews Templeton Award winning physicist who speaks to the irrationality of non-belief.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/atheism-is-inconsistent-with-the-scientific-method-prizewinning-physicist-says/

Quote

Knowledge advances, yes? But it’s surrounded by this ocean of the unknown. The paradox of knowledge is that as it expands and the boundary between the known and the unknown changes, you inevitably start to ask questions that you couldn’t even ask before.

 

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(4a) :Leonard was a wealthy elderly businessman who was a beloved member of a church I pastored in western New York. On a few occasions I had dinner with him and his wife Helen. He was very anxious that I visit his brother, his wife, and his cousin when they had health issues. But one day it dawned on me that he seemed to have little or no grief about the premature deaths of his son Jeff, Jeff's wife Karen, and their 2 children in a small plane crash. One day Leonard asked me to visit him to discuss a possible visit to his dying cousin who lived across the road and had refused any visitation. Leonard wasn't home, but I found myself remarking to Helen at how easily Leonard seemed to adjust to the tragic deaths of his young son's family. Helen replied cryptically, "Oh, that's because Jeff visited him, but Leonard doesn't like to talk about that!" Curious, I took the risk to make the same observation to Leonard the next time I saw him. His responded with the most dramatically supernatural encounter I've ever encountered.

Leonard told me that after the funeral he was about to drive Jeff's pickup truck to town on an errand. As he approached the end of his driveway, he noticed a figure looming from the ditch by the highway. It was his late son Jeff! Jeff approached the pickup, saying, "Hi Dad, do you mind if I drive my pickup for old time's sake?" A stunned Leonard slid over and Jeff got in and drove his pickup north towards Rochester, NY on Rte. 37. Jeff assured his Dad that he and his family were together and OK and then revealed the details of his financial investments to help Leonard settle his estate. After driving a few miles, Jeff abruptly turned right on a less traveled highway and drove a couple of miles until they approached a thicket of woods. Jeff then solemnly remarked: "I'm sorry, Dad, but I'm not permitted to drive any further." Jeff then got out of the pickup, walked towards the woods, and dematerialized! A stunned Leonard then drove the pickup home.

Leonard told me that Jeff's paranormal visit did little to ease his grief because he was in shock and the whole adventure seemed too surreal to be real. But everything changed the next morning. Leonard awakened with a heavy heart and went for a walk in the woods behind his house to ease his grief. He was soon overcome by a weeping spell and sat down on a log. Then he heard a branch crack and saw a young woman approaching. It was Jeff's late wife Karen! She chided him, "Dad, didn't we tell you that we are all together and OK? So what are you doing grieving like this? You get back in the house and comfort Mom (Helen)!" It was Karen's comforting visit that dispatched most of Leonard's grief.
 
After sharing this amazing account, Leonard gazed at my incredulous expression with great concern and I felt ashamed because he hadn't wanted to share this experience and I had goaded him into sharing it. I apologized, adding that I was grateful that he shared his ADC and I just needed time to process what I'd heard.
I asked him if he had shared this experience with his 2 daughters and he said No. He didn't want his family to think he was crazy. I left to pastor another church a year later and eventually heard that Leonard had passed away, but that his daughter had shared his ADC at his funeral service. Apparently, my sympathetic listening had encouraged him to share his ADC with his daughters.
 
Jeff had lamented the fact that he "was not permitted" to drive further than that clump of trees. Someone was apparently orchestrating Jeff's visit and imposing limits on its duration. I marveled at how effectively Karen's follow-up visit had eliminated Leonard's grief and at the verification he received in the form of helpful  information from Jeff about how to settle his estate.  Most vexing to me is the question of why more deceased loved ones can't or won't visit their grieving loved ones in such a spectacular way.  I will share my current thinking on that question after readers gain more perspective from the variety of cases that I'll post here.
 
(3b) You will remember the bald actor, Telly Savalas, who starred in the Kojak TV series. Telly shares an ADC analogous to Leonard's in an interview:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...D861&FORM=VIRE

I suspect that the discarnate driver is trapped in Hades.


 

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8 hours ago, JosephM said:

That is true but this is not a court and we are not here to convict people that especially we can't prove might be misunderstanding what they are testifying.

Of course we are not here to convict anybody for anything whatsoever.  I only use the court context because it was first raised by Burl and then I tried to clarified the meaning of 'evidence' by referencing how 'evidence' is actually regarded.

8 hours ago, JosephM said:

Just because mass delusion can or has occured doesn't seem to prove anything concerning the posts. Perhaps dialogue and questions would be better than debate on such issues. Skepticism can be healthy but trying to explain away that which we don't understand as a general rule most of the time,  seems to me, might be counterproductive and antagonistic. Don't you think that might seem that way to the poster? Or at the least give the appearance of cynicism?

I'm not trying to 'prove' anything with mass delusion - I'm just suggesting there may alternative ways of looking at the 'evidence' as put forward for NDEs/OBEs.  I value debating and arguing subjects - it helps me think through the pros and cons, the 'evidence' for and against.  But maybe I need to be more cautious around other people's sensitivities, I agree.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think anything I have posted so far doesn't seems to have dampened any other poster's preparedness to continue.  If anybody interprets from my posts the appearance of cynicism then I would suggest re-reading my posts that make it very clear that I am expressing being 'skeptical' of the proposed, for the very reasons I have outlined in my posts.  I myself see a huge difference between that and outright cynicism, but maybe I am missing something in how I see things.

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In my Life Journey's thread, I celebrate my experience as a 16-year old of unexpectedly speaking in tongues as the spiritual and emotional high point in my life.  But Leonard's 2-day ADC (case 4) is the most haunting and evidentially convincing experience I've ever encountered.  My initial reaction to Leonard's testimony is best expressed by the disciples' puzzling initial reaction to Jesus' resurrection appearance: "And while they were still disbelieving as a result of sheer joy and amazement....(Luke 24:40)."  No experience I have ever shared on the internet has been a more electrifying game changer for some agnostics than this one.  Yet a partly skeptical reaction also seems natural because this ADC is so disanalogous to what we normally think is possible.  The main reason it eventually made such a huge impact on me is that I knew Leonard so well and knew him as a very level-headed and bright man, who would never make such a story up and whose grief seemed to have been terminated as a result. Then, of course, there is the impressive fact that his discarnate son disclosed verifiable information about his bank accounts and investment portfolio that aided Leonard in settling his estate.

So how do I expect or hope you readers  will react to the apologetic aspect of my experiential and biblical threads?  Well, such arguments are only as good as their assumptions.  But assumptions derive from life experience.  So your evaluation of such arguments will inevitably be shaped by your own life experience and by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit as to the truth or falsehood of my claims.  From all this, I infer that you can't really try or choose to believe; rather, a new faith gradually envelops your psyche, as if you are ambushed by God.  Precisely that is what happened to the OBE adept who used to ridicule Christianity on the Astral Pulse website, only later to be surprised by joy at a dawning realization that Christ was real and had a legitimate claim on his life after all. 

 

I love what famed Christian author, C. S. Lewis, said in his book "Surprised by Joy" about 2 decisive stages in his conversion from atheist to devout Christian.  (1) While he was riding a bus, he had the odd feeling that he was like a lobster locked in his presuppositional shell and the insistent question kept being posed to his mind: "Well, are you ready to unbuckle you shell or not?"  (2) Not long after, he reports that he was being driven to Whipsnade Zoo.  At the beginning of the drive, he didn't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but by the time he arrived at the zoo, he did!  Yet, he muses, "I wasn't really engaged in thought about the matter during the trip!  So instead of viewing my paranormal posts through the lens of convincing/ unconvincing evidence, I encourage you to simply notice whether and how your assumptive network is being gradually affected or not and to think in terms of whether you might be persuaded rather than convinced by so-called proof.  

 

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