No, near death experiences are not proof of hell.

I have a StumbleUpon account (same username, for those of you who simply CANNOT get enough of my vacuous ramblings). With my typical American attention span, it’s almost a necessity. As with this account, atheism is one of my main interest tags.

So there I was, hitting the Stumble button every thirty seconds like a lab test monkey in meth withdrawal, when I happened across this series of melodramatic grainy videos on youtube. The science employed is the scariest part of the whole thing. It’s the assertion of these “normal, everyday people” that when they experienced their NDE, they were shown hell, and afterward converted to religion. Amazing how motivating fear can be, innit?

Here’s the thing. NDE’s take place inside one’s own mind. There is no “place” you travel to. It’s been proven that oxygen deprivation can cause hallucinations. In fact, it’s been shown that the drug Ketamine can duplicate the visions and feelings experienced during NDE’s (see this article in How Stuff Works).

The fact of the matter is, a lot of it is untestable. We have no way (currently) of proving exactly what happens during a near death experience. But the scientific evidence we *do* have suggests that our own brains are essentially showing us a 3D movie. I can’t consider it “proof of hell” anymore than I can consider lights in the sky “proof of heaven.”

Oh, incidentally? The people in the comments section “witnessing” about how they showed their young children this should be smacked upside the head for traumatizing their kids. Holy crap.