"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth … not going all the way, and not starting." - Buddha
If you are a bit short of time, and do not wish to read through this entire website, but just want a small taste of it, then perhaps you could just go straight to page 6 and look at the links concerning James Leininger. His story alone will give you something to think about.
This set of ten pages does not pretend to be a scholarly discussion of the phenomena, suitable for inclusion in any academic literature. It does not present any new material, except insofar as it explodes the theoretical and speculative arguments that materialist pseudo-sceptics like to use to try to debunk ideas of the afterlife. It merely draws attention to some existing resources that support the ideas being presented, and which present evidence of the kinds that the materialists keep saying do not exist.
The pages do not promote any doctrine, or dogma, or any system of belief. It exists simply to demonstrate that it is not possible to say in all honesty that there is no evidence for an afterlife. It has been said before, but it is worth saying again, that anybody who says there is no real evidence for an afterlife is simply not paying attention.
(More than ten pages are listed, but page 11 is just to say a little about the bloke who wrote this, and page 12 is actually a different web site, a web blog, upon which anything might be said, but which includes a facility for anybody to make whatever comment they want about what is in these pages.)
Why Do This?
The question of what happens after death seems to me to be a critically important one. If this life is all that there is, then we can live our life to suit that idea. But if this life is not all there is, then the way we choose to live this life, and indeed the way that society as a whole chooses to function, can be profoundly affected by that fact. Just as one example, the abortion debate, and the debates about the death penalty, would be significantly impacted by actual knowledge about life behind the scenes of the physical world. The way that we view young babies will be significantly altered, if there is an awareness about the pre-life existences of those newly incarnating souls. The temptation that some people have to commit suicide would be greatly impacted by an awareness of an ongoing process that the person would participate in after his suicide is accomplished. If suicide is known to be a way of merely protracting one’s problems, rather than ending them, then it will become rather less popular. There would also be an impact on those countries that still use the death penalty for serious crimes, if all they are really doing is shifting the criminal to a different jurisdiction (from which he could possibly return). The way that we view the deaths of loved ones, and even not-so-loved ones, will be quite different if we have a real, non-theoretical awareness of what happens to them afterwards. And the way that we prioritise things in our lives, and consider what things are important and what are less important, will also be significantly affected by an awareness of the reality or otherwise of our continuing participation in non-physical planes of existence, and/or the return to this physical one.
The biggest impact will be in the area of religion and philosophy. Different religious and philosophical views of death and the afterlife may finally have a veridical benchmark against which they can be measured.
There is a lot of ignorance about this field, however, despite the immense implications that follow if the evidence is valid. So, these pages are a small attempt to increase general awareness of what is available.
There are three primary groups of opinions about the nature of reality. They are Religious, Materialist, and Evidential. As in any attempt to categorise people, there are those who fall into more than one category, or into none of them. But most people will identify more strongly with one or other of these groups.
The Religious group includes those whose view of the world is shaped primarily by one or other of the organised religions of the world, and often lays a heavy emphasis on a sacrosanct basis, such as a particular interpretation or understanding of one or other sets of writings or creeds, (which may, for example, be the Bible or the Koran), the sayings of one or more venerated teachers, or the customary worship of a tribal god. The particular sacrosanct basis is not to be questioned, This group obviously includes most adherents of the various religions, and also many in the New Age movement, and followers of various self-proclaimed gurus.
The Materialist group accepts without question a set of beliefs couched in scientific language, but which lack any actual scientific evidence to support them. These hold that existence, life and consciousness can all be explained in terms of physics and chemistry, that we are no more or less than biochemical machines, and that our entire existence is due to random chance, with no purpose or design. This is purely a philosophy, with no factual basis, that arose in the face of religious absurdities, cruelties and hypocrisies, and can be summarised as "throwing the baby out with the bath water". This group includes most atheists and agnostics, and many people who just accept whatever they are told on the television. Many adherents of this world-view hold that their views are "obviously" correct, and that any attempt to state otherwise is loudly (and very often rudely) proclaimed as an "extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence". They overlook the fact that their own assumptions are every bit as extraordinary, but lack even "ordinary" evidence.
The Evidential group has views requiring no presuppositions, but which are based on the weight of actual evidence. This is easily the smallest of the three groups, but it is growing. If the three groups were to be placed along some kind of scale, its position would be somewhere between the other two.
This website attempts to describe some of the evidence that has given rise to this third group.
There are also those who have taken some portion of the evidence to support their pre-existing viewpoint, of the religious or materialist variety, but have ignored whatever evidence did not suit them. There are also those who have taken a single set of evidence and used it as the basis of a new religious teaching. People are amazingly creative in the ways in which they interpret the world around them.
The Hokum argument
Materialists and alleged sceptics like to describe all of this material as "hokum". They state it confidently, but with no more evidence than the Chinese government has of any wrongdoings of the Dalai Lama, whom they nevertheless love to malign. Materialists have a number of standard philosophical arguments that they raise against the idea that any evidence of survival into the afterlife can be real. They will, for example, say: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence", and then insist that apparent evidence of survival makes an extraordinary claim, whereas a claim of any materialist explanation of anything is not. They then go on to describe the evidence for the paranormal as hokum, without any further consideration. The great debates that rely most seriously on genuine evidence are those in the law courts. However, there is no maxim there that resembles this "extraordinary claims …" mantram. It can just as easily be argued the other way round, that extraordinary claims should never be lightly dismissed, because of the importance of their ramifications if true.
However, if you are willing to let the mantram stand, then it can equally be argued that to deny the vast body of paranormal evidence is also to make an extraordinary claim. If our consciousness does not survive physical death, then it would mean that our consciousness is, by some magical process, a product of physical processes, presumably those in the brain. Now, the brain is a very complex organ, and capable of remarkable things, but I am not aware of any explanation or theory that explains how a set of physical processes, however complex, can give rise to such an abstract phenomenon as conscious awareness. To claim that it does is a remarkably extraordinary claim, and should therefore, by the standards that the materialists themselves have set, demand quite extraordinary evidence. To date, however, none has appeared.
As is shown in the following pages in this set, however, there is indeed evidence for the notion that the consciousness survives physical death, and some of that evidence is indeed extraordinary.
If there is evidence for survival, and no evidence against survival, then what is the most sensible conclusion to draw?
A second argument you are likely to hear from materialists is called "Occam’s Razor". Occam’s Razor, simply stated is a fairly sensible assertion that if there are competing explanations for the same phenomenon, then the simplest explanation is the one that has the best chance of being right. This has been re-defined by materialists to say that the materialist explanation is the one that has the best chance of being right. It is an arrogant change that they have made to a simple proposition, to arbitrarily bolster up their own side in any argument.
It is theoretically possible to concoct a hypothetical, fantastical, materialistically-based explanation for any Phenomenon at all, if you are willing to make assumptions about the effects physical processes make on non-physical phenomena such as consciousness. Materialists can treat this as a game that they can always win. But for the open-minded, it is not a game, it is research, a quest to find the truth about a topic that is important to all of us, the truth about life itself. It is important always to maintain an open mind, and accept nothing without question, and that includes not accepting the fantastical materialist explanations without question.
Occam’s Razor is not about finding a materialist explanation for something, however bizarre it might be. It is about finding the simplest, most straightforward explanation for something. If you are not sure which explanation is the simplest, ask a small child who is just old enough to understand the question.
The Light-Switch Argument
The result is that, when faced with evidence that seems to suggest that we survive death, they will not accept such a simple, face-value explanation. Instead, they wander off into the realms of speculation and suggest that the evidence is simply a manifestation of chemical processes in the brain. They have still not cleared the hurdle of showing any mind of causal link between chemical processes and conscious experiences, except to say that when such-and-such a physical condition exists, the phenomenon in question can occur. For example, if there is a certain chemical in the brain, then a certain type of Near Death Experience can occur. They then say that such being the case, it proves that the Experience is caused by that chemical. The outspoken materialist apologist Dr Gerald Woerlee is famous for this kind of argument.
It is a bit like saying that when I flick the switch on the wall, the lamp comes on, filling the room with light. Therefore, the light comes from the action of flicking the switch, and that there is no need to postulate the existence of an electrical supply grid, or such fanciful notions as electric power stations. It is all down to that switch, which is proved by the fact that operating the switch can by itself result in the presence or not of the light in the room.
Arguments of this nature, while often heard, do nothing whatever in reality to advance the cause of the materialistic theory of life.
And there are deeper reasons for doing this. Not only our actions, but also our thoughts, have consequences. If our thoughts are enlightened by truth, then they will have much more benefecial consequences than if they are darkened by ignorance.
For example, some of the stories from the other side speak of atheists who have died, and it would save them a lot of grief if they were more open to the evidence that is available here on this side of death. There are degrees of wilful disbelief, and there are indeed those who disbelieve from genuine ignorance. But there are also those who have been faced with reality, but stubbornly held to their denial, perhaps out of psychological need, or feeling the need to maintain their dignity after being painted into a corner. Nobody can force them to embrace the truth, but if they can be encouraged to view the evidence in an impartial manner, and let go of their preconceived negativity, they can do themselves, and those around them, a lot of good.
The Real Argument
However, these ideas of the negative consequences of atheism are not provable, either way, They are stated here simply to illustrate that the question of whether there is indeed an afterlife is an important one, and that the evidence deserves to be considered openly and without prejudice, as the consequences of making a wrong or ill-informed choice could be greater than one realises. These ideas should not by themselves be persuasive of anything. The real persuasion lies within the real evidence, pointed to in other pages of this set, and in the person’s own willingness to be truly open to going wherever the evidence may lead them.
And, if any person should have a genuine reason (as opposed to a mere theoretical materialistically-biased speculative reason) for disbelieving anything that is found in these pages, I should be very glad to hear of it.