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Problems with Out-of-body Experiences

Problems with Out-of-body Experiences

We need to be careful of some of the reports of out of body experiences. Some are not Biblical in what is reported and can lead many astray. I find this to be true of reports in Life after life by Raymond A. Moody, Jr. He summarized his finding with these statements.

“Even those who previously had some traditional conviction about the nature of the afterlife world seem to have moved away from it to some degree following their own brushes with death. In fact, in all the reports I have gathered, not one person has described the cartoonist’s heaven of pearly gates, golden streets, and winged, harp-playing angels, nor a hell of flames and demons with pitchforks.”

“So, in most cases, the reward-punishment model of the afterlife is abandoned and disavowed, even by many who had been accustomed to thinking in those terms. They found, much to their amazements, that even when their most apparently awful and sinful deeds were made manifest before the being of light, the being responded not with anger and rage, but rather only with understanding, and even with humor. As one woman went through the review of her life with this being, she saw some scenes in which she had failed to show love and had shown selfishness. Yet, she says, ‘His attitude when we came to these scenes was just that I had been learning, even then.’ In place of this old model, many seemed to have returned with a new model and a new understanding of the world beyond — a vision which features not unilateral judgment, but rather cooperative development towards the ultimate end of self-realization. According to these new views, development of the soul, especially in the spiritual faculties of love and knowledge, does not stop upon death. Rather, it continues on the other side, perhaps eternally, but certainly for a person of time and to a depth which can only be glimpsed, while we are still in physical bodies, ‘through a glass, darkly'”(pp 70).

Many of the stories in Moody’s book appear to have a New Age spin. I cannot find anywhere that Moody reports any really bad experiences, even from those who did not believe Christianity. Dr. Maurice Rawlings, M.D. wrote his book Beyond Death’s Door to show that there are bad experiences as well as good. He states: “One fifth of those interviewed after resuscitation report out of body experiences. Unpleasant experiences in my study have turned out to be at least as frequent as the pleasant ones.”

“Those who returned to life believing that there is no final judgment may have been deceived, ‘And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:24)” (pp 29).

Later in his book, Dr. Rawlings makes this statement: “Let me tell you how I began my study of after-death experiences. I began following published report of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (finally compiled in her book on Death and Dying) and Dr. Raymond Moody’s reports in Life After Life. Except for cases of attempted suicide, all of their published reports represented unbelievably good experiences. I couldn’t believe this! Their case reports were too pleasant, too euphoric to be true, I thought. As a youth I had been taught there was a ‘good place’ and a ‘bad place,’ a heaven and a hell. After the experience of resuscitating a man who said he was in hell and my subsequent belief in scriptural truth, I assumed that some would go to the ‘bad place.’ But almost all of these case reports spoke only of a ‘good place.’ It even occurred to me that some of the ‘good’ experiences could have been false impressions, perhaps created by Satan appearing as on ‘angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:14)…”

“As a result of these observations. I am convinced that all of the cases published by Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Kubler-Ross, and subsequently by Drs. Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldson in their excellent collection At The Hour of Death are accurately reported by the authors but not always completely recalled or reported by the patients. I have found that most of the bad experiences are soon suppressed deeply into the patient’s subliminal or subconscious mind. These bad experiences seem to be so painful and disturbing that they are removed from conscious recall so that only the pleasant experiences – or no experiences at all – are recollected” (pp 46-47).

Billy Graham, in his book, Death and the Life After, had this to say, “Today the dying experience is more openly discussed; however, many of the accounts I’ve heard or read of those last moment’s tend to confuse the biblical doctrines and raise more questions than they answer. A good example is the popularity of account of “near-death” experiences, in which a person claims to have approached death (or even died) and then come back to life.”

“It is not my purpose to doubt the sincerity of those people who have recounted their “out-of-body” experience.”

“Many describe near-death encounters after a cardiac arrest or other medical crisis and tell how they seemed to rise and watch as the medical team tried to revive them. Nor do I question those who tell about seeing spirits of relatives and friends who have already died, or others who have encountered a ‘being of light’ which brings them through a tunnel into an overwhelming, ecstatic experience of such intensity that they find it difficult to describe. (pp 19).

“But these experiences are not the bases for eternal truths nor are they a solid foundation for our confidence in life after death. They may be dangerously deceptive. They must be examined in the context of God’s Word.”

“What bothers me about the life-after-death stories is that regardless of whether the person is a believer or not, seldom in these experiences does death appear to have any negative consequences – which is a direct contradiction of the Bible’s teaching” (pp 20).

Tim LaHaye, in his book, Life in the Afterlife, had this to say: “Although a numbers of similarities can be listed, serious contradictions between out-of-the-body experiences and the Bible persist. In addition, several of the researchers have drawn dangerous conclusions and advanced theories that contradict the Scriptures. Consider the following:

1. God (or the ‘angel of light’) will accept everyone, whether good or bad into his Kingdom…

2. Jesus Christ is not consistently presented as unique…

3. There is no future judgment for sin…

4. Both Christians and unbelievers have the same experience in the afterlife..

5. OBE travelers return and are granted a second chance after death…

6. When they return, some are told to warn others regarding the next life…

7. Many returnees teach that a mortal need not fear dying… ” (pp 131-132).