Near death experience over the years might have given scores of people a religious epiphany, but should it serve as a basis for “religious doctrine”?
By: Ringo Bones
The New York Times bestseller that has recently made into a movie that became a box-office hit during the Easter weekend of 2014 has been now called into question by a prominent Baptist minister from California. Both avid readers and moviegoers had been fascinated by the life of Colton Burpo whose near death experience when he was four-years-old while undergoing surgery for a burst appendix was the basis of a book titled Heaven Is For Real which had been recently made into a movie.
Unfortunately, a prominent radio talk show host named John MacArthur who is also a pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, begs to differ. According to John MacArthur, Colin Burpo was probably “coached” to tell tales of what Organized Christianity’s accepted consensus on what Heaven – a place where righteous Christians are rewarded for living a righteous and pious Earthly life are sent as a reward after they die - looks and feels like. But is Pastor John MacArthur’s “expert insistence” only serves to drive a schism in the global Organized Christianity community?
Given what hard science had recently uncovered on the near-death experience phenomena, using near-death experience as a “doctrinal dogma” for traditional Organized Christianity could drive ordinary Church going folk into agnosticism and even atheism. And this very idea had since made secular humanists cringe at the prospect given the strides science had recently uncovered on the near-death experience phenomena.
Canadian cognitive neuroscience researcher Dr. Michael A. Persinger wit over 300 peer reviewed publications during his tenure at the Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario since 1971 had since become science’s de facto bastion on the scientific and rational explanation on the near-death experience phenomena. Dr. Persinger even established the science of neurotheology ever since he designed a laboratory rig that could induce the near-death experience to healthy, sane and rational test subjects just by stimulating certain regions of the brain via electromagnetic means.
And let not forget the proliferation of herbal natural highs during the past 20-years where psychoactive plants like Salvia Divinorum and the San Pedro cactus – scientific name Echinopsis pachanoi – has been experimented and known to induce visions akin to near death experience. More so the San Pedro cactus ehose common name was due to its ability to make someone who takes it mimic the experience of meeting Saint Peter in the Christian Heaven’s Pearly Gates while being read the Book of Life / Book of Judgment while seeking absolution and redemption for his or her soul. Which makes the Heaven is For Real hoax issue a really thorny one.