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To what extent can a near death experience be considered a religious experience?

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Introduction

To what extent can a near death experience be considered a religious experience? A near death experience can be defined as an event which occurs to people when seemingly the bodily functions which confirm life have stopped, (i.e. clinically dead). It often has an 'out of body' element and may be interrupted in a religious or non religious way. Most individuals who claim to have had a near death experience say that there is a sense of indescribable bliss, ecstasy and peace. Similarly, a religious experience is usually described as a non-empirical occurrence, and may be perceived as supernatural. It is a mental event which is undergone by an individual and of which that person is aware. Recipients of a religious experience usually say what has happened to them has 'drawn them deeper' into knowledge of awareness of God. This experience that each individual has is absolutely unique and cannot be shared with anyone. Looking at the definitions of both types of experiences and their features, it can be clearly seen that both are very similar. However, some can also say that a near death experience as nothing to do with religion and God, this may also depend on an individual's blick. ...read more.

Middle

This can also lead to us considering whether people are telling the truth, they could be perceptions only. Even so, if these experiences do occur, in particular, during emotional times, we may be just interpreting them wrong; hence they may have nothing to do with death or any such divine experiences. Also, why is it that only some people have a near death experience? Moreover, religious people who believe in reincarnation could say that memories of their past life ought to reside in their subconscious, and hence could think that the memories they have from a previous life are near death experiences. However, some may believe that the event is a near death experience but it has nothing to do with religion. Advances in modern technology have resulted in more people who have been declared clinically 'dead' subsequently being resuscitated. Dr Raymond Moody realised that the descriptions by these people of what happened to them a while they were 'dead' were so similar that it must be more then a coincidence. His research on near death experiences demonstrated that they were common features to the experiences such as at the moment of death, the person has a feeling of being outside the body and of floating above it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Christians believe Jesus bought a new covenant that all people can enter the kingdom and his death sealed this. For Christians, near death experiences confirm for them entry in to the 'kingdom' too, by having this experience, they see a glimpse of it. Moreover, death is an event in life for Christians, life will continue beyond this life as proved in the Covenant. A near death experience confirms this. Christians have more to say about near death experiences than Muslims because the Quran makes clear what happened after death, this is not so clear in the gospel. Hence, a near death experience could be a taste of death. In conclusion, to a large extent a near death experiences can be considered as a religious experience. This is because both experiences can be perceived as supernatural; they can be described as mental events and are spontaneous. Recipients of religious and near death experiences usually say what has happened to them has 'drawn them deeper' into knowledge of awareness of God. This clearly shows the similarities between both types of experiences. Moreover, to a small extent, there is no proof of a near death experience, it is the way the experience is interpreted or it could just be an individual's blick, the way they look at the world and interpret it. It is subjective rather than objective. ...read more.

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