Apr 2, 2010

Atheist Howard Storm's Near Death Testimony

Easter is approaching. Lately, my thoughts have turned to the resurrection. I've been finding a lot of testimonies of people who've suffered clinical death, stepped into eternity for a time, then came back to talk about what they experienced. I'd like to investigate this phenomenon a little more.

From a clinical perspective, brain death begins when the brain is deprived of oxygen for four minutes at room temperature. Hypothermia slows metabolism, so a body that's been cooled may survive longer. But, most people who have these experiences are not hypothermic. In the emergency setting we typically end resuscitation attempts after 10 to 15 minutes have passed and no sign of circulation has been observed. That isn't a very long time to determine death.

Most of the stories I've found involve people who have been in cardiac arrest for more than 20 minutes, some for nearly an hour, and some for several days. There is little in the way of science that can plausibly explain the spontaneous recovery of people in cardiac arrest for this length of time. All of these people who were clinically dead, returned to life with no sign of brain damage.

Whether you call them resurrections or near- death experiences, (NDE's) makes little difference. These stories all have similar features. That fascinates me. There are a number of these stories that lack credibility. I'll do my best to post stories that are well documented.

Before his near-death experience, Howard Storm, a Professor of Art at Northern Kentucky University, was by his own admission, not a very pleasant man. He was an avowed atheist and was hostile to religion and those who believed in a higher power. He considered all belief systems associated with religion to be self- deception and fantasy. Beyond what science proved, there was nothing else. What could make a hardened atheist change his mind?

On June 1, 1985, at the age of 38, Howard had a near-death experience due to a perforation of the duodenum, while hospitalized in France. It's unclear exactly what happened, but he tells of briefly stepping into eternity. His life was so changed after the experience that he resigned as a professor and devoted his time to attending seminary. Today he's the pastor of a church. His website can be found here. This video is a brief account of that experience. He published a book My Descent Into Death, which describes his life and the experience in great detail. Those who research NDE's view his as one of the most complete experiences to date and often cite it research on the subject.

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