AE #673 - near-death experiences

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AE #673 - near-death experiences

Postby ExTech » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:12 am

Steve in Hong Kong seemed to be suggesting that it was normal, even rational, to believe in the supernatural while facing death.

Like Jen, I can speak from personal experience against that notion. I've nearly drowned, and spent all my energy trying to get out of the surf - no time or even remote inclination to "pray," and I was a theistic agnostic at the time.

I was still theistically inclined when my car went over a cliff (turned out to be a ditch, but, at the time, I was sure it was a 100' drop into the ocean off the 101). I distinctly remember thinking, "this is it," and feeling no sense of the supernatural at all. Just a strange sort of calm.

Same thing when I saw a cab bearing down on me at Lexington & 66th: just a sort of resignation with a tinge of panic.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one. I think it's like the "no atheists in foxholes" canard - something theists tell themselves because it makes them feel better (every knee shall bend and so on).
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Postby Mythman » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:30 pm

Part of it may be occurring after the fact as well. I can easily imagine someone nearly getting hit by a car and, after narrowly avoiding it, having their mortality shove its way into the front of their mind. And then, when they're calmed down a bit and primed to think about it, supernatural woo might briefly cross their mind as they rethink what happened.
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Postby eimerian » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:44 pm

People like Steve are wrong twice in my humble opinion.

Once because (as Jen and ExTech pointed out) not everybody who almost dies embraces the supernatural for hope and/or comfort.

And twice because even if we say for the sake of the argument that every person who died or came close to death ever in the history of mankind adopted a belief in the supernatural this still has no impact on whether or not these beliefs are true.

Also Im not sure if Steve understands the concept of rationality. Reason is by definition objective. Claiming that it is rational for a guy who is about to be killed by a tsunami to adopt a certain belief, while this would be irrational for another person who just sees the tsunami on CNN is nonsense. A belief is rational or not. Your point of view is irrelevant.
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Postby Cephus » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:49 pm

I've been on the brink of death and had plenty of time to sit around and think about it and God never crossed my mind at all, even though I knew I might die or suffer serious bodily and/or mental harm as a consequence of my situation.

Steve is an idiot.
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