"I was confronted by a red light, exceedingly bright...I was aware that this light was responsible for the government of the universe." atheist A.J. Ayer, "What I Saw When I was Dead" ""Whenever I stopped pushing on his chest in order to adjust the pacemaker, the heart would stop and Charlie's eyes would roll up. He again would sputter, turn blue and begin to convulse. I reached over and started him up again. But this time, he was screaming the words, "Don't stop! I'm in hell! I'm in hell!" Maurice Rawlings, M.D., "To Hell and Back"
In his recent bestseller, "Life After Death: The Evidence," author Dinesh D'Souza presents a logically reasoned, scientifically based case that the evidence for life after death greatly outweighs atheistic claims to the contrary. D'Souza notes that throughout the world today Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are acknowledged to be a global phenomenon that provide strong support for life after death. Indeed said D'Souza,a 2005 survey of
"American doctors showed that 59 percent now believe in some form of afterlife, a much higher percentage than is found in other scientific professions. Possibly their encounter with patients who have had near death experiences is partly responsible for this. I doubt they learned it in medical school." (pp. 64-65)
And it isn't just NDEs that have revived interest in unseen intelligences and the afterlife. Today a vanguard of anthropologists, scientific psychiatrists, and other professionals from the counseling and medical field take very seriously the fact that something frightening and unexplainable by Western science (scientific materialism) is going on here in America and throughout the West. In their search for answers they are jettisoning as useless the materialist claim of man as a soulless animal whose brain is a biochemical machine. A "new" consensus is emerging: Men have souls, demons exist and they can and do possess people:
"...we need to understand a number of different concepts in order to comprehend the worldwide phenomenon of possession and exorcism. On the psychological level, we have come to know the notion underlying all possession, namely, that the body is a shell, inhabited by a soul, and that this shell may on occasion be surrendered to an intrusive alien entity. " (How about Demons? Possession and Exorcism in the Modern World, Felicitas Goodman. IndianaUpress:1988)
Slowly but surely, Americans are emerging from the spiritual deadness of scientific materialism to the frightening spiritual reality long known about by ancient pagans and early Christians.
With regard to the state of the soul upon the death of its' body, as well as its state during Near Death Experiences and out-of-body-experiences attained by way of certain drugs, transcendental meditation and/or other occult mystical techniques early Church Father St. Augustine taught that when a soul separates itself from its' body,
"the man himself who is in such a state, though it be in spirit only, not in body, yet sees himself so like to his own body that he cannot discern any difference whatever." (City o9f God, Book XXI, 10)
In his treatise, "The Divination of Demons" Augustine explains why men, when "in body" are unable to perceive demons and angels:
"The nature of demons is such that, though the sense perception belonging to the aerial body, (spirits) readily surpass the perception possessed by earthly bodies, and in speed too, because of the superior mobility of the aerial body, they incomparably excel not only the movements of men and of beasts but even the flight of birds. Endowed with these two faculties (keenness of perception and speed of movement) they foretell and declare many things that they have recognized far in advance. At this, because of the sluggishness of earthly perception, men wonder." (Because evil spirits have existed from the beginning they) "have gained a far greater experience in events than accrues to men because of the brief span of their lives." (In light of all of this) "demons not only foretell many things that will occur, but also perform many miraculous acts." (Chapter 3, Divination of Demons)
Though men cannot perceive evil spirits, they are there, said Church Father Cassian in his "Conferences." Cassian writes:
"Such a multitude of evil spirits fills this air which is spread out between heaven and earth and in which they fly in disturbance and not idly, that the Divine Providence for our benefit has hidden and removed them from the gaze of men; otherwise, from fear of their attack, or of the frightful spectacle of the faces into which they are transformed and changed by their own will...men would be struck with unbearable terror and ready for collapse..." (The Soul After Death, Fr. Seraphim Rose, pp. 29-30)
It is during "out of body experiences" that the soul/spirit of man can fully perceive aerial spirits. The most commonly reported encounters are with a wonderful being of light experienced as some kind of personal being filled with warmth and love to whom the out-of-body soul is drawn by a kind of magnetic attraction. Often the experience includes many other apparitions, including other people. Church Father Gregory the Great describes these encounters in his Dialogues:
"It frequently happens that a soul on the point of death recognizes those with whom it is to share the same eternal dwelling for equal blame or reward. (To the righteous) it often happens that the saints of heaven appear (and) with the vision of the heavenly company before their minds, they die without experiencing any fear or agony." (Dialogues, IV, 12)
In his book on the Holy Spirit, Church Father Basil the Great states the heavenly powers only appear "to those who are worthy, in the form of their own bodies." (Works of St. Basil, cited in The Soul After Death, p. 23)
Jesus Christ Himself affirms that to the worthy appear the heavenly powers:
"And it came to pass that the begger died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom." Luke 16:22
There is nothing vague about the heavenly powers. They do not appear as "beings of light" but rather have a human appearance. By contrast, the being of light encountered during so very many out-of-body-experiences and NDEs has no visible form and does not conduct the soul anywhere. The being of light merely engages the soul in dialogue and shows flashbacks of one's past life. But then Satan can in fact fashion himself into an angel of light. (II Cor. 11:14)
In his 1975 book, "Life After Death," Dr. Raymond Moody reported on 150 cases of people who experienced NDEs. What made these cases incredible was that most of these people had similar if not virtually identical experiences. With regard to the being of light Dr. Moody, along with other investigators wondered if it was an evil spirit but then dismissed the possibilty because it was not in harmony with the wonderful results the apparition produces.
Dr. Maurice Rawlings, a cardiologist, has resuscitated many persons who have been clinically dead. His own terrifying experiences with some of his patients have taught him that contrary to the most-published accounts of NDE encounters with a being filled with warmth and love, not all NDEs are good. Some are absolutely terrifying. In these hellish encounters, the out-of-body soul meets with,
"grotesque people who may be lurking in the shadows or along a burning lake of fire. The horrors defy description..." Even some 'regular church members' have been shocked to find themselves experiencing hell, "of manifestations of imps and grotesque giants, of a descent into blackness and a fiery heat, of a pit and an ocean of fire." (Beyond Death's Door, Rawlings, pp. 63-64, 103-110)
Rawlings is now convinced that men have souls and that upon death they either enter heaven or hell. In a video hosted by Rawlings, he investigates life after death and his experiences with patients that actually saw 'the other side':
Dr. Carl Raschke is an internationally known writer and academic who for the past decade has been researching and explaining the effects of postmodern Christianity and its global significance. He notes with alarm America's downward spiral into the madness of demonic spirituality. He points out that the decadence, pornography, mass murders, criminality, the 'new religions,' and Satanism in American culture have certain social and spiritual ties that bind them together, revealing that they are part of a similar spiritual genus. In "Satanism and the Devolution of the 'New Religions,' Raschke notes that Satanism is so widespread today that there are even U.S. military personnel who are members of secretive Satanist groups.
Raschke concludes that the post-Christian West is experiencing an upsurge in satanic manifestations. The Satanist mindset, said Raschke, is a mystification of the most corrupt secular passions and values:
"Satanism is but the spiritual Frankenstein created by a social order that has attempted to sustain itself without God." (Satanism and Witchcraft: The Occult and the West â€” Part 6, Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon)
It is in the context of the upsurge in satanic spirituality and its' increasing manifestations that todays' marked increase in 'other worldly' encounters can be understood, and it is Church Father Gregory the Great who makes it clear to us just what is going on and why. After describing various visions and after death experiences in his Dialogues, Gregory remarks,
"the spiritual world is moving closer to us, manifesting itself through visions and revelations...As the present world approaches its end, the world of eternity looms nearer..."
Gregory adds that through these visions and revelations, which in our own time are much more common and widespread than they were in his, we see the truths of the future life imperfectly because the light is still "dim and pale, like the light of the sun in the early hours of the day just before dawn."
In other words, during Gregorys' time mankind was being given striking and clear proof that there is another world, that life does not end with the death of the body, that there really is a soul that survives the death of its' body and is in fact more conscious and alive after it is released from its' body.
At no time in the history of mankind have NDEs and other 'out-of-body-experiences' been a worldwide phenomenon such that secular investigators have taken notice. Gregory saw that the spiritual realm was even then approaching. The marked increase of our own time is a sign of its extreme nearness and therefore signals the approaching end of this world.