Review: Eben Alexander III, MD 1/28/13
The phenomenon of near-death experiences (NDEs) is relatively new, having originated in large measure because of the advent of medical techniques, over the last few decades, for resuscitating those who have suffered a cardiac arrest. Sporadic cases of those who had apparently "died" and then come back to life go back for millennia, but the vast majority of such cases have occurred in the last half-century. The initial professional view of these elaborate journeys as hallucinations or dreams has given way to a widespread scientific recognition that the similarities of these extraordinary recollections across a wide range of medical conditions, personal and cultural backgrounds and prior belief systems (religious, scientific, etc.) suggest a common underlying reality as their basis. The consensus among those scientists who study them is that they are not simply "tricks of the dying brain," or brain-based phenomena at all. In fact, they often share similarities with the stories of religious mystics and prophets over millennia. I suspect that much of our religious literature elaborating on the spiritual realm originated in "near-death" and similar mind states.
Christophor Coppes, chairman of the Dutch branch of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), has provided a scholarly assessment of the similarities and differences found in the world's five major religions when compared with the prominent lessons learned from near-death experiences. Although the real essences of each of the five main religions can be found in NDEs, not all essences of NDEs can be found in each of the religions separately. He rightfully concludes that the NDE seems more comprehensive than each of the religions individually.
As we move away from worn-out dogma from both the religious and scientific realms toward a contemporary synthesis of understanding about our existence, Christophor's refreshing and comprehensive analysis of major religions in light of the profound lessons from numerous NDE journeyers offers a rich new tapestry of understanding that I find most valuable.
-- Eben Alexander III, MD, author of NY Times #1 Best seller Proof of Heaven
About the Author
Christophor Coppes is the president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in the Netherlands. He is employed as a senior economist at the Dutch Central Bank monitoring developments in international financial markets. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Groningen and has published many scientific articles on finance while still maintaining a strong interest in humanitarian issues.