Why near death experiences of hell?

by Reg Johnston

Near death experiences abound these days and have essentially silenced those skeptics who once vociferously claimed there is no existence beyond this physical state. I have had several discussions with hard core atheists who either present a lame scientific explanation or refuse to talk about it at all.

In any event N.D.Es can no longer be logically ignored and the majority of them contain fundamental similarities that are most impressive.

However I have frequently been asked the question "if there is no hell why are there so many N.D.E. accounts of excursions in hell?" My reply was/is we create our own reality while in this physical realm. Many of us were reared under the auspices of fundamental Christianity which preached liberal doses of eternal torture in hell for sins committed while alive here on earth. Although many of us have moved past this mindset, I think it possible that there remains, albeit subconscious, residual contamination which is instrumental for some of us creating what we expect to experience when we come close to death.

What are your thoughts Carl?

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Feb 27, 2016
Who Knows?
by: Carl

Hi Reg,
Thanks for the inquiry and your comments. I truly appreciate you taking the time to be in touch. I’ve often told people that when it comes to what is happening at any given time, I believe everything or nothing, which is really saying the same thing. What I mean is that if someone tells me they have had this or that experience it is never in my purview to question or to even suggest an explanation. This gives me the opportunity to always be open to a myriad of things happening in life all the time. I really don’t need proofs and scientific explanation either.

At best all I can ever say is: I have had or not had such an experience and that is enough. We can make comparisons but ultimately what they experience is uniquely theirs. I know many who have had NDE’s and while I haven’t, I never doubt those who confide that they have. Life is too mysterious to place anything in a box of disbelief.

As for your summation of what might be happening when some experience "hell", it’s as good as any, I suppose. In all honesty I just don’t know. I can say that "mind"-created reality is not reality. It is the illusion humans live in and it does look like those things we are taught and conditioned to believe and if someone has been brought up in such a way as to embrace hell or heaven in a religious context, then it is likely that such experiences could be an outcome of that thinking. Having said that, however, would also suggest that the NDE might have been the conjurings of the mind. I just don’t know.

I will share with you from my own experience, which wasn’t an NDE but an out of body experience, and what tends to happen after these things occur. The ego of humans is breathlessly powerful and will pull relentlessly on any experience to make it fit into the pattern of experience it knows and has adapted as a map for life.

This might look a bit like your explanation, that deeply seated beliefs are embedded in the subconscious and create scary imagery. Regardless, most people who experience NDE’s or out of body experiences always put the experience into a context of the current life they are living.

For instance, let’s say the experiencer was raised Catholic and is moved by great beauty and wonder during their experience. They will almost always speak in terms of wonder and amazement and the experience shows little or no connection to anything until the mind gets engaged and voilà - this experience happened while I was Catholic and so it must have contextual significance in Catholic terms, e.g. Catholic church is true, the Pope really is God's emissary on Earth, repent of your sins and confess everything so you can be saved, etc., etc. and it is all confirmed and made certain by the NDE experience I had.

I’ve listened to many who have had NDE’s and they all fall back into their current belief system and the experience does little more than reinforce something that is mind based and ego propagated.

I did the same thing when I had my out of body experience. I was watching a DVD of "The Secret" when it happened and somehow I connected what had happened to me to the DVD itself and even went so far as to reference "The Secret" DVD in the introduction of my first book "On Being God", as if to say "The Secret" had something to do with my experience. It didn’t. What happened to me was independent of anything else going on. I could have been watching "Rambo" and I would have had the experience.

I’ve had to remind myself often not to let anything either past or present obscure the purity of something so profound. No belief system, teaching or philosophy could ever begin to explain it. I pretty much leave it at that.

I apologize that I don’t have something more profound and eloquent to respond with. I love the variety of experience that befalls us all and I love even more the mystery of it. I do know without any doubt, in fact I can say it is the only thing I actually do know with absolute certainty, that "I am not this body." That includes the mind, heart, feelings, identity and everything else we often associate with human form; even consciousness. I accept that everyone has their experiences and I place no judgments on them or the experience. Sometimes the best explanation is simply no explanation and this might be one of those cases.

Again, thank you so much for the question. I am deeply honored and grateful and I appreciate that you reach out to others as they quest for answers to perplexing questions and the great mysteries we humans ask and experience.

My love and best,


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