I just finished listening to a really interesting hour long podcast of a lecture by Gary Habermas, author of Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality, a "Christian" look at Near Death Experiences (NDEs).
What was interesting about the lecture is that Habermas focuses on what events that patients report happened in the REAL world while they were dead – things that can be corroborated. In other words, while they are brain dead or heart dead for long periods of time, they report things that they could not have heard or seen, in the locale of their body or elsewhere.
This begs the question – if their physical body and memory are inactive, who or what is experiencing and seeing events in the physical world? This argues for the existence of mind, or spirit, apart from mere physicality – i.e. there is more to existence than materialists might claim. [Link to lecture after the jump]
Interestingly, Habermas (who is not the greatest speaker, but he'll do) does NOT focus on their experiences of heaven or hell, which is not confirmable.
However, during the Q&A, which was very interesting, he mentioned that often, what is most impacting when interviewing an NDE person is not what they knew about what was happening here, but their conviction about what they experienced regarding heaven and hell. He said that, when asked if it was like a dream, most people respond "Oh no, it was more real to me than this room – NOT like a dream at all." Enjoy the podcast from Apologetics 315 – Near-Death Experiences: Evidence for an Afterlife?