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Life After Death Essay

2090 words - 8 pages

Life After Death There are many beliefs that explain what happens after a person dies. Some people believe in life after death, and some believe that there is nothing after someone dies. Those that believe in an afterlife fall into different categories. While some believe in a single life on earth, others believe in reincarnation (Elnadi 1). Reincarnation is the belief that when one dies the soul is placed into another body and lives another life, over and over again (Schouweiler 17). Some people say, "ideas like heaven or reincarnation are just wishful thinking because no one wants to die" (Schouweiler 17). The belief in an afterlife has existed in many different religions and cultures since the time of cavemen. For example, archeologists have found flints and food in a Neanderthal's grave, indicating that they believed in an afterlife. Probably one of the most notable traits of the Egyptians is the way they dealt with their dead ones. The many stories of mummies and pharaohs being wrapped in cloth and preserved are all related to the belief in the life here-after (Schouweiler 15). Blackmore's research says that over half of the people surveyed believe in some type of life after death (4). Near death experiences, known as NDEs are one of the most recorded accounts of spiritual life after death. The earliest NDEs were recorded thousands of years ago and are even present in Plato's famous story The Republic (Blackmore 8). Research has shown that the number of NDEs has increased in the twentieth century because of medical advances that have caused more people to be brought back from death (Blackmore xii). Both viewpoints concerning life after death use NDEs as a proof for their arguments. Scientists claim that NDEs are a product of a dying brain (Blackmore 4). However, there are aspects to the NDE experiences that cannot be explained by science, strongly indicate that life after death does exist.Susan Blackmore is one of the leading researchers of NDEs and has interviewed hundreds of NDE cases. She believes that NDEs do not prove that life after death exists. Her research indicates that all characteristics of an NDE are "products of the dying brain; hallucinations, imaginings and mental constructions that will ultimately stop when the brain's activity stops" (Blackmore 4). Scientific research has also shown that NDEs can be simulated by drug hallucinations. Hans Küng, a Catholic theologian and an authority in religious beliefs, and Ron Seigel, a well-known Californian psychologist, both say that descriptions given by a person hallucinating from drugs are sometimes the same as descriptions given by a person experiencing an NDE (Blackmore 3; Schouweiler 27). Dr. Siegel gives another explanation for NDEs, stating that "NDE visions may be a defense reaction caused by fear of death" (Schouweiler 29). He believes that when someone is dying, they subconsciously escape their extreme fear by creating images that makes death more acceptable...

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