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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2000
If you would like listen to the experiences of 25 million people who came close to the border of life, clean from the autdor's own feelings, you will be pleased with every page of this research by Gallup. Gallup neatly classifies similarities in these accounts and helps you form your own view or compare it with your own experiences. This is a book about near death and out-of-body experiences, that you do not have to ask yourself the common question "is this fact or fiction", as you read through other people's experiences. I found it most valuable and interesting to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Famous pollster George Gallup Jr. wrote in the Introduction to this 1982 book, "Perhaps the most provocative question of all time is, 'Does a life exist beyond death?' This is the basic question that has highlighted the spiritual speculations of mankind since the dawn of history... Because of the pressing nature of this topic, I decided several years ago to turn the full resources of the Gallup Poll toward an exploration of the afterlife. For about a year and a half, from early 1980 until September 1981, our organization conducted a series of national surveys probing the attitudes and beliefs that Americans eighteen and older hold about immortality... this series of polls... and other studies we've conducted represent the most comprehensive national survey on beliefs about and experiences with the afterlife and near-death encounters that has ever been undertaken." (Pg. 1-2)

He adds, "The results of all this research don't by any means constitute what might be considered proof of immortality or the afterlife. But of course our purpose hasn't been to provide such proof. Rather, our focus has been upon gathering information in as objective a way as possible, and then letting that information speak for itself." (Pg. 3)

He states, "Our surveys have also shown that nearly one-third of all Americans---or about 47 million people---have had what they call a religious or mystical experience. Of this group, about 15 million report an otherworldly feeling of union with a divine being. They describe such things as special commounications from deceased people or divine beings, visions of unusual lights, and out-of-body experiences." (Pg. 17)

He observes, "we've asked national audiences ... 'Do you think there is a Heaven...' A consistent seven out of ten people have responded 'yes.'" (Pg. 58) He adds, "the intensity of belief in heaven increases as personal religious experience increases. An overwhelming 86 percent of those with a deep religious experience say they believe in heaven, while a more modest 64 percent of those without such an experience believe." (Pg. 59) He also notes that belief in Hell/eternal damnation has slowly declined: from 58% in 1952, to 54% in 1965, to 53% in 1980. "These figures are considerably lower than the consistent seven out of ten who said they believed in heaven in those years." (Pg. 74)

He also recounts, "evangelist Billy Graham at one point seems to have left open the possibility that there may be some justification for regarding near-death experiences as a kind of window on the afterlife." (Pg. 159)

Though more than 30 years old, the results of this survey are still interesting for anyone studying American attitudes to religious issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2011
There is not much survey done on the afterlife and this book has the merit of giving and idea of what people thought in the '80. But 20-30 years after, this book isn't worth much without an updated version that gives a comparative to today's thinking.
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on October 16, 2013
This book was published 1982, since then there have been an explosion of NDE (near death experience) books. But this book by George Gallup, Jr. was one of the first to study NDE's in depth.

A lot of good information here, tho I wish there were more first-person accounts of what people encountered when they "crossed over" to wherever it is we go when the body ceases to exist.

Still a good read, exhaustively researched.
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on February 4, 2015
I love to hear about heaven.
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