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My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life Hardcover – February 15, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Although numerous studies and books have explored near-death experiences, the phenomenon has been viewed with caution by many Christian denominations. So it is intriguing to read a first-person report of such an event from the perspective of a pastor in the United Church of Christ. While visiting Paris on a European tour nearly 20 years ago, 38-year-old Storm, then an atheist and art professor at Northern Kentucky University, was stricken with an almost lethal attack of peritonitis. In this necessarily subjective but absorbing chronicle of what is essentially a conversion, the writer describes a descent into Hell, where he confronted his anger and self-centered personality. After praying for the first time, he was rescued by Jesus and brought to heaven for an extensive conversation with Jesus and various angelic beings on topics that include the Holocaust, God's plans for the earth, angelology and, of course, what happens to us when we die. Blending traditional Christian theology with a doctrinal eclecticism more common to New Age philosophy, Storm's book may appeal to readers hungry for reassurance, both about the possibility of eternal life and the meaning of our choices here on earth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“This is a book you devour from cover to cover, and pass on to others. This is a book you will quote in your daily conversation. Storm was meant to write it and we were meant to read it.”
—From the Foreword by Anne Rice
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Top Customer Reviews
First, Howard Storm was not a "Christian" when he had his NDE. Instead, he was totally indifferent to God, and became a Christian only after his NDE. Howard's NDE begins when he dies and finds himself in an existence with countless other loveless/godless beings who did nothing but attack and dismember him (and worse). In the depths of his despair, Howard the atheist remembered a line from a song to Jesus from his childhood and began to sing it. Jesus rescued him. Howard learned the hard way that Jesus was his best friend. Yet if Jesus can save an avowed atheist, and be "best friend" to such a person, then Jesus can also save anyone, including other atheists, Hindus, Catholics, Presbyterians, Moslems, etc. Second, when Howard asks one of the "Angels" with whom he visits "what is the best religion?" he's told that it is "the one the brings you closer to God". This is hardly Christian doctrine. In fact, those defenders of Orthodox Christian doctrine will find much to condemn in Howard Storm's NDE.
Incidentally, I had to chuckle at the irrefutable logic of Jesus when he pointed out to Howard that there really were no atheists because it is impossible to believe in nothing.
One of the main messages set forth in Storm's book about his NDE is that your life matters because of the way in which it affects others. This is a common thread in most NDEs, Christian and otherwise. As you affect others, so do you also affect yourself and God. If you choose to live without concern for others, you've chosen to live without concern for God as well. As it was pointed out to Howard during his NDE, the opposite of the love for God is not hatred of or anger at God, but indifference. The opposite of love for others is indifference as well. It is possible to "reject" God's love by your actions, whether you are an atheist or a Christian.
Howard Storm's book contains a great deal of hope, love, inspiration, as well as some warnings about how you live your life, its effects on others, and the effect your life will have on you in the afterlife. It is these warnings, coupled with Howard's bedrock belief in Jesus as his Lord and Savior that some reviewers find disturbing. Many NDEs are non-threatening because they affirm that God is all loving and will love us no matter what we do. Most NDEs (at least the popular ones) assure us that we will all be saved and in heaven with God when we die (or at least reincarnated to try again) because God is all loving and all good. NDEs that reject this concept (and there are just enough to cause you to pause and think about it) are usually ignored.
I believe God's love will save us all. Howard Storm's NDE reaches the same conclusion, but warns us that God gave us free will and we are free to reject God's love. Storm's NDE points out that in the spirit realm of the afterlife, your spirit cannot lie to itself about whether it accepted or rejected God's love in this life. You will judge yourself truthfully and accurately in the afterlife. And there are consequences. I highly recommend this book.
Howard Storm closes the book with this line: " Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the best friend you will ever have." Amen!
I don't know, I wasn't there when this happened to him..... But I 'm learning towards believing the dude. Either way this book is a great read. It's fully within Christian thinking and beliefs. It does not promote Howard at all, but 100 percent promotes God. the writing is a little weak, but the story makes up for it. The only thing controversial thing about it is when he asked Jesus about the future and Mr storm described seeing a significantly reduced population and lack of technology.....