Passage to a Realm Beyond - Life after Death

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But eventually we all have to face our mortality. As a scholar I try to make sense of it. As a pastoral counselor, I try to make it relevant. Raphael is definitely on the side of continuance. Stories of the afterlife in Jewish tradition have eradicated any fears of falling into nothingness.

How can Jews who believe in an ethereal realm beyond the grave escape the fate of ghosts and kindred, chaotic spirits? Raphael says that ideally people heal their wounded places and learn to accept lingering losses and regrets during their lifetime. Andrea Jacobs may be reached at andrea ijn. Chris Leppek Nov 14, TPS Nov 14, I have read Dr. Great read.

On Life After Death

Rocky Mountain Jew Nov 07, Rocky Mountain Jew Nov 01, Rocky Mountain Jew Oct 17, Shana Goldberg Oct 03, Home Features Simcha Raphael investigates the Jewish perspective on life after death. Simcha Raphael. Share this: Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to email this to a friend Opens in new window Click to print Opens in new window.

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At Space Gallery. At JCC Denver. Eight-session Hebrew language class at The Jewish Experience, with three tracks: Hebrew reading for beginners; Hebrew reading comprehension; conversational Hebrew ulpan. The Curtiss Harmonikers in concert with vocalist Gilda Shapiro.

This entry cannot undertake an assessment of the comparative merits of dualism and materialism. It is worth noting, however, that recent philosophy has seen an increased recognition in some quarters of the difficulties resulting from materialist views, and a corresponding interest in different not necessarily Cartesian varieties of dualism.

Given even the apparent coherence of dualism in which the person and her body are contingently related metaphysically, it becomes more difficult to argue that it is known that the annihilation of the body entails the annihilation of the person. During the heyday of logical positivism in the twentieth century, it is interesting that while Moritz Schlick proposed that its demands for empirical verification would render propositions about God as meaningless, it would not rule out as meaningless propositions about life after death so long as they involved subjects having experiences.

Interestingly, some of the most rigid materialists in the last century, such as Willard Van Orman Quine and Paul Churchland, allowed for the possibility of there being compelling empirical evidence of parapsychological powers and even ghosts. In this section, let us consider whether there is empirical support for belief in an afterlife. Parapsychology investigates phenomena that are alleged to lie outside the boundaries of ordinary naturalistic explanation. These phenomena include telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, mediumistic messages, possession-type cases, reincarnation-type cases, apparitions, and others.

What The Bible Really Says About Death, Afterlife, and the Future (Part 1) – TaborBlog

Not all of these phenomena are directly relevant to survival and the afterlife, but some of them, if accepted as veridical, do provide such evidence: for instance, messages received through a medium, allegedly from a deceased person, that contain information to which the medium has no other access.

The evaluation of this body of evidence is highly contentious. Clearly there exists both motive and opportunity for fraud and fabrication in many cases. It is questionable, though, whether a responsible inquirer can afford to dismiss out of hand all cases that seem to defy ordinary naturalistic explanation. It counts against a sweeping dismissive approach that the phenomena have been attested as probably veridical by some highly reputable investigators, including such philosophers as William James, Henry Sidgwick, C.

Broad, H.

Death, Dying and Beyond

Price and John Beloff. These men had little to gain personally by their investigations; indeed in undertaking them they endangered already well-established reputations. Investigating the subject with finely-honed critical instincts, they have applied stringent tests in selecting instances they consider to be credible, and have rejected many cases they held to be fraudulent or inadequately attested.

If we are willing to give an initial hearing to this evidence, what conclusions can reasonably be reached? A conclusion that many but not all of these investigators would accept is that the evidence provides some, but not conclusive, evidence for personal survival after death Steinkamp However, the reason why the evidence is deemed inconclusive will give little comfort to many afterlife skeptics.

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An example is a case in which a medium received information that apparently was known in its entirety to no living person. In order to avoid the conclusion that the information was communicated from the deceased person, the medium must be credited with clairvoyance as well as the ability to integrate information received telepathically from several different persons. Broad summarized the situation well: the possibility of extra-sensory perception weakens the direct force of the evidence for survival by making possible alternative explanations of that evidence.

But ESP strengthens the overall case by raising the antecedent probability of survival, insofar as it renders problematic the naturalistic view of the human person, which for most contemporaries constitutes the greatest obstacle to belief in survival. These are experiences of persons who were, or perceived themselves to be, close to death; indeed many such persons met the criteria for clinical death.

While in this state, they undergo remarkable experiences, often taken to be experiences of the world that awaits them after death. Returning to life, they testify to their experiences, claiming in many cases to have had their subsequent lives transformed as a result of the near-death experience. This testimony may seem especially compelling in that a large numbers of persons report having had such experiences; b the experiences come spontaneously to those near death, they are not sought out or deliberately induced; and c normally no one stands to benefit financially from either the experiences or the reports.

These experiences, furthermore, are not random in their contents. There are recurring elements that show up in many of these accounts, forming a general but far from invariable pattern. The subject may be initially disappointed or reluctant to return to the body, and as already noted many testify that the experience has been life-changing, leading to a lessened—or even a complete absence of—fear of death and other beneficial results.

These experiences are surprisingly common. A Gallup poll taken in found that eight million Americans about five percent of the adult population at that time had survived a near-death experience NDE.

The experiences occur regardless of age, social class, race, or marital status. But NDEs have been reported throughout recorded history and from all corners of the earth. As one might expect, there is a wide variety of interpretations of NDEs, from those that interpret the experiences as literally revealing a state that lies beyond death to interpretations that attempt to debunk the experiences by classifying them as mere reflections of abnormal brain states.

Clearly, there is no one medical or physiological cause; the experiences occur for persons in a great variety of medical conditions. On the other hand, interpretations of NDEs as literally revelatory of the life to come, though common in the popular literature, are extremely questionable.


Carol Zaleski has shown, through her comparative studies of medieval and modern NDEs, that many features of these experiences vary in ways that correspond to cultural expectations Zaleski A striking instance of this is the minimal role played by judgment and damnation in modern NDEs; unlike the medieval cases, the modern life-review tends to be therapeutic rather than judgmental in emphasis. In view of this, Zaleski ascribes the experiences to the religious imagination, insisting that to do so enhances rather than diminishes their significance. Claims of cross-cultural invariance in modern NDEs are also questionable.

The majority of the research has been done in cultures where Christianity is the predominant religious influence, but research done in other cultures reveals significantly different patterns.

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  4. One amusing difference occurs in the episodes in which it is decided that the experiencer will return to embodied life rather than remaining in the afterworld. In India, on the other hand, the person is often turned back with the information that there has been a clerical error in the paperwork, so that it was by mistake that he or she came to this point! The causation of these experiences is problematic. Some aspects of the experience have been deliberately induced by the administration of drugs see Jansen ; this demonstrates that such phenomena can be produced by chemical alterations to the brain, but in most NDE cases no such chemical causes can be identified.

    Several researchers have concluded that the triggering cause of the NDE is simply the perceived nearness of death. NDEs have also been experienced by persons who believed they were close to death but were not in fact in any life-threatening situation K. The source of the transcendental content is problematic, though the cultural variations suggest that a significant role must be assigned to cultural expectations concerning the afterlife.

    These are phenomena that, provided they can be verified, would indicate strongly that something is occurring that is not susceptible of an ordinary naturalistic explanation.