We probably all heard of Doctor Eben Alexander by now, the neuroscientist who now believes in heaven. For reference http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net/ is his website.
What is the TA opinion about this man's experiences?
Is he a crafty man exploiting the gullibility of the religious and becoming very rich indeed by selling his books.
- or -
May he indeed be on to something? Could there perhaps be such a thing as a collective universal conscience that we all join upon death and is our idea of simply ceasing to exist too short sighted?
So in short, is he a charlatan or a visionary?
From what I've read he had an experience well explained by his own field of study, an experience that completely refutes his religious beliefs, but he has chosen to write a book detailing how his experience is inexplicable by his own field of study and thus proves his religious beliefs. Either he is brain damaged by his neuro-injury, psychologically compromised by his cult indoctrination, or is just trying to make some cash to cover the financial burden of having his practice diminished by his convalescence.
Like Heather, I wonder about the current condition of his brain. He had a major trauma to his brain which has altered people's personality and behavior so why should he be any different?
Is it likely we don't have all the answers about how the universe works? Definitely. Is his story likely? Very, very doubtful.
I think a real scientist wouldn't commit the fallacy "I can't understand something, therefore it doesn't exist."
Me, personally...I love to quote Mark Twain when expressing my view on life after death..
So really, the way it was before you were born, is the way it will be when you die.
As to your OP.
Given your two options, I would say that he perhaps believes what he believes, so as such, perhaps in his OWN mind, he is not being crafty or a charlatan.
That said, there is a HUGE audience out there, near RABID in their "need" for an afterlife to exist. Many world views are based on that premise after all and hey... if a sciency guy is out there backing up their "faith" assertion, well.. there is a pile of moolah to be made.
Facts are though.. those experiencing NDE's are in the minority. Around say 15% of "clinical deaths" experience this phenomenon. One would assume IF there is some collective universal conscience, then ALL parties, not just 15% of them, would experience it.
It is also interesting to note that all these experiences are reliant on cultural elements. A xian for example, or someone exposed TO concepts of xianity, tend to speak of the "white light" stuff.. with long-haired Jesus.. greeting them....when of course they have a "jesus" vision. No one has EVER reported their Jesus vision of being a 1CE Jew with sidelocks....not from any study I have read on it anyway. As such, it sort of goes to show that they run with the taught impression, rather than a presumed "truth". (I don't believe any Jesus of Nazareth existed BTW..)
My question to Eben Alexander would be... as you now believe in heaven and I would assume has claimed to be there, where IS it exactly in the cosmos? Perhaps sounds silly, but usually these "experiences" are coupled with being told 'It's not your time.. go back"... why has not ONE person... friggin asked specifically where they ARE? Not silly after all when one looks back at pre abrahamic religions and they can actually "pin point" where their god supposedly lived and didn't have to die to "know" it.. (dogon is one such religion)...which one would assume is where "heaven" would be?
Clearly only thos 15 percent are true Xians then... or predestined to become one someday. Jesus in his mercy is not showing the other 85 percent what awaits them.
[Did I just offer an argument that Calvinists might use, once they outgrow Hobbes?]
well, even if there is a heaven. ill be dead. i wont have a body just a "soul" according to christians. my idea of a heaven isnt bowing down to some dude for eternity on streets of gold. ill be dead wat the fck will gold streets do me any good? im not following some dude that fucked up the book he so called wrote/inspired watever.