Sunday, February 27, 2011

Near Death Experiences As Evidence for the Transcendance of the Human Mind

Recently the controversy of the human mind versus the human brain has become very important. The question: Is the human mind just an extension of the human brain or is the mind distinct and transcends death? The question has many implications. The issue is many atheists desire to define the mind as indistinguishable of the brain because then they can argue that there can't be any mind without a brain and no soul  - casting serious doubt on the existence of God. They desire to think of a human as being composed of nothing more than a physical body. They reject the Biblical descriptions of humans having having souls. They even try to say that there is no evidence to the contrary that supports that the mind transcends death and continues to exist or that the mind is not the same as the brain. They say that the fact that brain injury can cause changes in personality and behavior that the mind and the brain are the same thing. Is this true? Does it make sense?

What we have is a false parallel. The argument is designed to making you choose between the prospect that the mind and the brain are so tied together that they are the same thing or that they are so separate that the what happens to the brain doesn't affect the mind. The thing is that there is no reason to conclude that if  the mind is affected by what happens to the brain that the mind/soul do not live on after the physical body (brain) dies. There is no evidence that the relationship should be so. I have yet to read or hear anyone successfully argue why we should make that assumption. It seems that there is no reason why they both can't be true - that the mind is affected by what happens to the brain  and that the mind/soul survives physical death - brain death in other words.

A lot of people admit that if near-death experiences (NDE) are proof that the mind/soul survives death, then it's proof that the mind and the brain are not the same thing. This is why many atheists argue very hard against NDE's. They recognize that if accept the possibility that our minds survive the death of our bodies it puts their atheism in a precarious condition because we can't really know anything about what happens after we die using our own natural ways of observing the material world. Worse than that.  It means that all truth cannot be determined using the natural methods many of them have pinned their faith on. It means you have to truly consider if the Bible is true. You have to admit that it matters if the Bible is true or not.

Is there proof that NDEs are true experiences? I think they are  and not because I need them to be true to validate the Bible. I think that a good place to start looking at these issues is to look at the work of Gary Habermas. Here is an audio lecture on the subject of NDEs.

Dr. Gary Habermas gives a talk about data reported in peer-reviewed medical journals involving near-death experiences.

Listen to the talk at the following link: Near-Death Experiences: Evidence for an Afterlife? - Gary Habermas MP3 Audio

Also he has a FAQ section on NDEs on his website. Read it at
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