Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
After browsing through some reviews posted here, I have discovered that there are basically two types of people who are reading and reviewing Proof Of Heaven
A. The atheist/skeptics who do not believe in an after life.
B. The seeker who is interested in educating themselves on the possibility of after life and NDE (near death experiences).
For myself, after finishing this book in four hours, I came to the realization that I should never read anything about NDEs again.
Not only is this based on PoH, but also on Passage, another book (albeit fiction) that deals with NDEs.
I should preface all my thoughts with stating that I do believe in an after life and I have no idea why people feel the need to argue about such a belief. I may not be able to prove there IS an after life, but one also can't prove irrevocably that there ISN'T, no matter who they say they are.
So I started reading this book on recommendation from a co-worker. Dr. Eben Alexander is a neurosurgeon from the States who was formerly a skeptic who had no time or patience to consider the possiblity of NDEs being true or accurate.
He becomes critically ill due to a strain of meningitis and his brain shuts down for almost a week, leaving his consciousness floating around in...heaven.
Starting off--the title is ridiculous because Alexander doesn't actually offer PROOF of heaven. He tells a story of what he saw when he was in a coma, but that isn't infallible proof...It's an experience he lived through which is far more real to him than it is to the reader.
The book discusses the clinical symptoms and prognosis of those diagnosed with bacterial meningitis: death is usually the inevitable end. Alexander goes into detail about what happens to his family around him while he pines away in the ICU, frolicking around in heaven in another universe. Time isn't linear heaven. Questions are asked and answered in the same moment in heaven. You feel complete love in heaven.
Clearly Alexander has been through a life altering experience, but it doesn't translate well in the book. He assures the reader on multiple occasions that words are weak and unable to properly translate what he saw and felt.
My personal issue with the novel was the fact that Alexander turned faith into a mystic neo-New Age documentary. He describes God as "Om" and "Divine" and discusses "oneness". This has nothing to do with the Christian God. He also then uses Scripture OUT OF CONTEXT in one chapter as a way of illustrating what he means.
The feeling I got from this novel was that Alexander was attempting to encompass every single type of religion with his generalizations of who God is and what He does for us. He does a great job of explaining the scientific aspect of NDEs and the brains functions, but he never truly address the issue of: who is God to you personally and how has your experience drawn you closer to Him?
At the end of the book you are left with an exhortation to treat each other with the same Divine Love that he experienced in heaven. There is no sense of accountability with worship and faith. There is no proof of heaven.
Instead of making me feel less alone and more aware of God's presence, Alexander made me feel sufficiently uncomfortable (especially when introducing psychics and channellers) and unhappy. If you choose to be Bhuddist, Muslim, Christian, etc...choose with all your might. Don't be like Dr. Alexander, attempting to pick the best of each religion or belief, bending it to your wishes.
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