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 Sean Daniel Weeks


Assignment Presented for the Course:

 English Literary Themes:

The Disposables – Old Age and Death in Modern Literature


In a country where most public institutions are encouraged to teach open-mindedly to avoid being bias towards anyone’s opinion, most people find it difficult, if not brought up by parents encouraging one viewpoint or another, to accept all the viewpoints of a particular faith. However, despite the pronounced differences amongst so many different opinions, the existence of an afterlife remains constant throughout almost all faiths.[1] Even though tangible scientific evidence of the existence of an afterlife is not possible to find, the accuracy of the near death experiences, and their close correlation to the Bible the create an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of the existence of afterlife.

            Afterlife is a supernatural phenomenon. As all other forms of supernatural concepts, it cannot be scientifically proven with tangible data. The word supernatural means “above or beyond what is natural”[2] This is specifically why afterlife is placed into the “supernatural” category.

As a result, it takes some faith to believe in afterlife, something that cannot be seen or explained.[3] However, most people quite readily believe in things that cannot be tangibly proven – for example ghosts, UFOs, and even the latest gossip. This makes is hard to believe why some people deny that they believe in afterlife, unless perhaps they simply profess their disbelief in afterlife because deep down inside they are afraid of it.

Therefore it is easy enough to be sufficiently skeptical hat one will decide not to consider the existence of afterlife until the question becomes of greater importance – often when faced with death. However, even when death becomes imminent, preparation for afterlife is still often refused. Only when the person is actually dead will they come to discover the supernatural reality of afterlife. For the vast majority of humans, once someone they are dead, there is no going back. However there are thousands of recorded accounts of people who, after being clinically dead for some time, have returned to life with a radical and astounding experiences to tell that goes beyond the nature of this world. These experiences, called near death experiences, or NDE’s, are experienced by the person while they are considered clinically dead. The experiences are often so powerful and real, that the person’s outlook on life is changed completely.

The abundance and credibility of many near death experiences is really quite astonishing. While no doubt some of them are made up, or tricks, as with many other types of supernatural phenomenon[4], such as encounters with extra-terrestrial beings and forms of “magic”, many of the near death experiences reveal information to the victim that they could not have possibly known otherwise, as in the following case.

The near death experience of Rev. J. L Bertrand is one that bears the hallmarks of truth, and has been confirmed by several other witnesses. Bertrand was ascending a mountain called the Titlis with a party of other climbers. As they approached the top Bertrand felt tired and told the others to go on without him and meet him on the way down. Once left alone, Bertrand froze to death, yet his thoughts and feelings were sharper than ever before. He could see his body down below as he viewed our world from a completely new perspective. His feelings were so peaceful and exciting that they made his old life seem unimportant. Still tied to his body with a mystical string, he wished that someone would cut it. From high above the earth he observed his wife leaving on a trip a day earlier than she had said she would, even though she was hundreds of miles away. He also saw the guide of the climbing party take a route that he said he would not take, and watched as the guide downed his bottle of Madeira and steal a chicken leg to eat. Suddenly he found the string pulling himself back into the “the corpse in which I lived and which I called me.”[5] Intensely irritated that he was to return from the new exciting and indescribably peaceful situation, he saw that the guide was rubbing him with snow to revive him. Once he had come back to life, he asked the guide why he had taken a different route and had stolen his Madeira and a chicken leg. The guide, staggering back is disbelief, couldn’t believe his ears. Could this man see through the mountain? It was also later confirmed that Bertrand’s wife had left a day earlier on her trip as Bertrand had observed.[6]

Bertrand’s case is not the only one in which someone acquired knowledge that was not possible to know. There are many recorded cases of people who have met other dead people in their NDE, and lived to astound others with concealed information, thus helping confirm the existence of afterlife.

Many years ago a banker approached a lady whose husband had died shortly before. The banker demanded money of the woman claming that her husband had still owed him money. The woman, certain that her husband would have let her know of any unsettled accounts, proceeded to tell a few others her problem. A while later she was visited by someone who had had a NDE. The victim of the NDE had spoken to the woman’s husband during his NDE, and asked him where he had placed the receipt of the payment. The husband told exactly where the receipt was kept. To the widow’s astonishment the receipt ended up being exactly where described, and the banker didn’t bother her anymore.

Some critics have tried to disprove the authenticity of NDE with some of the following arguments: First of all, the actual point of “real” death of the victim of the NDE may occur long after all visible signs of life have ceased. Secondly the victim, upon revival, may have made up the story for one reason or another. (However in many cases this would be hard to believe since many peoples lives are changed so dramatically after the experience that they couldn’t possibly have invented the story) Thirdly, the new understanding gained could be attributed to a sort of “dream clairvoyance”, allowing the human to analyze the data in their brain differently than before, and come to unprecedented conclusions about the life surrounding them. Also, “…it could still be some defense mechanism of the brain when confronting death, perhaps a release of enkephalin, one of the brain’s natural anesthetics.”[7] Nevertheless, if we allow ourselves to accept the only possible kind of evidence available without bias, it points quite directly to the following conclusion: “that the physical body is inhabited by another kind of body that can survive death.”[8]

            Among the thousands of NDE around, a number of striking similarities tend to arise. Surprisingly, (or perhaps not so surprisingly), these similarities are amazingly close to many supernatural concepts that are brought out in the Bible. One of these is the presence of a bright light, often told as being God or Jesus Christ himself. In Acts of the New Testament, God met Saul of Tarsus in a bright light on his way to Damascus. “…suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’"[9] In revelation we read that “The city [heaven] does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light”[10] Howard Storm, a devout atheist before his NDE, described his experience with God as he approached the light of his glory shortly before his life review.

"Then I ... I didn’t say it, I thought it. I said: "Put me back."  What I meant by telling the light to put me back, was to put me back into the pit. I was so ashamed of who I was, and what I had been all of my life, that all I wanted to do was hide in the darkness. I didn’t want to go toward the light anymore – I did; yet I didn’t.”[11]

This is stunningly close to what Jesus told Nicodemus in the Bible:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”[12]

Howard did however, eventually approach the light and observe his life as a life review. In fact, according to NDE Research, 100% of the NDE’s collected under the atheist category include a life review.[13] The judgment seat of Christ, where life review will take place according to the Bible, is described in the book of Jude:

“See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[14]

            The profound feeling of indescribable peace, happiness, and love are feelings often described in NDE’s.[15] This correlates with the bible in Isaiah where it reads “he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces”[16] and in Ephesians “He is our peace”[17] When the sorrows of this earth are removed not doubt peace will avail! Interestingly enough, according to NDE Research, people categorized as atheists felt a much greater sense of overwhelming love (75%) than people in other categories.[18] Many people would say this is due to the fact that atheists are not yet settled on Gods terms and therefore feel indebted to him for their sin. However, God still loves them so much that he is forgiving them of the debt though Jesus Christ, and giving them a second chance on earth to live a life for him.

            While it is still impossible to prove the existence of life after death, the hypothesis of its existence has been confirmed repeatedly. There is plenty of supporting evidence to prove that indeed a very large percentage of NDE’s are actually very real, partially due to the fact that the person who experienced the near death experience gained knowledge that they were previously unaware of and shared it, confirming the reality of the experience. When backed up by the testimony of psychical research, near death experiences become strong supporting evidence[19] that that the existence of a another life after death, is truly a reality.


“Belief in the Resurrection and the Afterlife is Universal”, Oct 3, 2000, Discover Islam, Accessed April 5 2003, <http://www.thewaytotruth.org/resurrection/universal.html>

Robinson, B.A. “Introduction to concepts of the afterlife”, 2000, Accessed April 3, 2003 <http://www.religioustolerance.org/aft_intro.htm>

The Holy Bible, King James Version, New International Version

Williams, Kevin. “An analysis of the NDEs of atheists” 2000, Accessed April 12, 2003, <http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html>

Williams, Kevin. “Howard Storm - A Rescue by the Light” 2000, Accessed April 12, 2003, <http://www.near-death.com/experiences/storm02.html>

Wilson, Colin. Afterlife. London: Grafton Books, 1987

[1] http://www.thewaytotruth.org/resurrection/universal.html

[2] The World Book Dictionary, DoubleDay & Company, Inc., 1976, USA

[3] The Bible, John 20:29, KJV

[4] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 255

[5] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 35

[6] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 36

[7] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 255

[8] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 255

[9] The Bible, Acts 9:3,4, NIV

[10] The Bible, Revelation 21:23, NIV

[11] Storm, Howard, “A Rescue by the Light”, <http://www.near-death.com/experiences/storm02.html>, Apr 11, 2003

[12] The Bible, John 3:19,20, NIV

[13] Williams, Kevin, “An analysis of the NDEs of atheists” <http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html> Accessed Apr 12, 2003

[14] The Bible, Jude 1:14, NIV

[15] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 242

[16] The Bible, Isaiah 25:8, NIV

[17] The bible, Ephesians 2:14, NIV

[18] Williams, Kevin, “An analysis of the NDEs of atheists” <http://www.near-death.com/experiences/atheists01.html> Accessed Apr 12, 2003

[19] Wilson, Colin, Afterlife, (Britain: Grafton Books, 1985), p. 255


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