As important as I believe it is to poke deeply into the relationship between religion and near-death and similar experiences, as we’ve been doing of late, I’m taking this post to go back to basics. Just what is a “distressing NDE” and does having one inevitably involve an encounter with hell?
What are we talking about? There are psychological events which are experienced as an encounter beyond physical existence. Being close to death is a fairly reliable trigger for this kind of happening, which has led to the term “near-death experience.” In actuality, nearly identical events occur under a wide variety of circumstances, including people who are in no danger of dying. The events may be called spiritually transformative experiences (STE), extraordinary human experiences (EHE), mystical experiences, religious or conversion experiences, or near-death experiences (NDE). however, because of its familiarity, I use the term “NDE” to apply broadly rather than exclusively. Yes, that is, strictly speaking, inaccurate; however, it’s efficient. Bear with me for the sake of word count!