Modern Christian Mythology: Out of Body Experiences

Modern Christian Mythology: Out of Body Experiences

The belief in Out of Body Experiences (OBEs), Astral Projection, or Near Death Experiences (NDEs) is not a belief held exclusively by Christianity, though the religion does have a vested interest in the belief. After all, if you can prove that there is consciousness outside of the human body, then it would be a very small leap to propose a literal existence of the soul, a key, yet unproven, concept in the Christian belief system.

While a casual Sunday afternoon spent watching In Search Of or the “History” Channel, may lead one to believe that OBEs are well known in the medical world, closer scrutiny at the actual data makes it clear that all we have are the vague recollections of personal experiences, usually of a time when a patient’s body was under extreme duress, like during surgery or after head trauma of some sort.

So, how would we, as researchers, test the claims made by an individual about an experience they had while in a disorientated state? Modern ethics keeps us from going around hitting people on the head with lead pipes, of course, so we have to wait until people have these experiences naturally. And, the only controlled environment in which OBEs happen with any regularity is in a hospital. Next, we would need to verify what they are experiencing what they believe they are experiencing. If we take the claims of OBEs seriously, they float above their body, looking down. If that is the case, they should then be able to see objects that are on top of shelves and cabinets that they could not see while they are lying in bed looking up.

And that is exactly what Dr Sam Parnia is doing. In an intense study of OBEs, cards with easily descriptive pictures on them are being placed on top of shelves in an hospital resuscitation area. As of yet, no one has been able to describe the cards.

On the laboratory side of the research, experiences similar to NDEs have been replicated by electrical stimulation and virtual reality simulations, and researchers from the University of Maribor, Slovenia have found that there appears to be a strong correlation between Near Death Experiences and the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood stream.

What really amazes me, is that anyone that experienced a blow to the head would be
so insistent that anything that they experienced while in a diminished capacity
was absolutely real.

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