Inter-faith Religion

     The 1988 book The Light Beyond, by Raymond A. Moody, in its chapter Changed Lives, has a section entitled Better Developed Spiritual Side, with the following text (which seems to coincide with Howard Storm's statement, about the response to his question, "Which is the best religion?", in Future Outlook):
     "An NDE ["near-death experience"] almost always leads to spiritual curiosity. Many NDEers study and accept the spiritual teachings of the great religious thinkers.
     "However, this doesn't mean that they become pillars of the local church. To the contrary, they tend to abandon religious doctrine purely for the sake of doctrine.
     "A very succinct and thought-provoking account of this attitude was given to me by a man who had studied at a seminary before his NDE.

     "'My doctor told me I "died" during the surgery. But I told him that I came to life. I saw in that vision what a stuck-up ass I was with all that theory, looking down on everyone who wasn't a member of my denomination or didn't subscribe to the theological beliefs that I did.
     'A lot of people I know are going to be surprised when they find out that the Lord isn't interested in theology. He seems to find some of it amusing, as a matter of fact, because he wasn't interested at all in anything about my denomination. He wanted to know what was in my heart, not my head.'"

     In the chapter Why Near-Death Experiences Intrigue Us, the section The NDE As Religious Confirmation says:
     "Although some researchers theorize that NDEs are caused by intense belief in God and the hereafter, the fact is that these experiences happen to nonbelievers just as frequently as to believers.
     "Over the years I have discovered NDEers with all sorts of religious backgrounds. Some people tell me that before the experience they didn't believe in God. Others say that they were very religious.
     "The interesting thing is that after the NDE, the effect seems to be the same: people who weren't overtly religious before the experience say afterward that they do believe in God and have an appreciation for the spiritual, as do the people who believed in God all along.
     "Both groups emerge with an appreciation of religion that is different from the narrowly defined one established by most churches. They come to realize through this experience that religion is not a matter of one 'right' group versus several 'wrong' groups. People who undergo an NDE come out of it saying that religion concerns your ability to love -- not doctrines and denominations. In short, they think that God is a much more magnanimous being than they previously thought, and that denominations don't count.
     "A good example of this is an elderly woman in New Hampshire who had an NDE after a cardiac arrest. She had been a very religious and doctrine-abiding Lutheran since she was a child. But after the NDE, she loosened up and became a more joyous person. When members of her family asked her to account for the change in her personality, she said simply that she understood God after her episode and realized that He didn't care about church doctrine at all."

International Association for Near-Death Studies


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