There are some hell cases too (though I guess you could argue that these are corrective). Also, people in other religions go to their respective religious heaven and I don[t think we would say this is evidence for some form of religious pluralism, right?
The evidence that we already have-now at the near-death experience conference here in San Diego just a couple weeks ago and had just a delightful chat with several folks. But one is the guy who’s probably collected and analyzed more of these cases than anyone else, Dr. Jeffrey Long, who is a medically trained doctor and was able to add a medical perspective to these cases and say, “Hey, is this really an accurate, believable account of someone who experienced near death and then, too, able to analyze some of the other factors in the story and in the account?” So with all that, I think we can approach this data with more than just saying we’ve crossed the chasm from materialism to what lies beyond, you know? And I think we can start saying in broad strokes what is the data telling us? And I’m going to come back to this point. The data is telling us that there are many paths to whatever is this higher consciousness as near-death experiencers talk about it and as most of us would talk about it in terms of God. This all-engulfing, indescribable love. We’d all probably feel pretty comfortable with the term “God” but what the experiencers are telling us is that there is no one path to that. They seem to be pretty clear about that. So even though I agree with you, we can’t at this point say, “Gee, this is the religion of choice,” or “this is the religion of choice.” I would assert that we can say that there is no exclusive path to God. And I think that flies in the face of Christian doctrine.
Regarding hellish NDEs, these are relatively rare so I think we can put these aside if Buddhists and Muslims, for example, are having NDEs in which they experience "heaven".
To be honest, as a Christian I find this challenging. Of curse I'd be happy for it to be true, but it is inconsistent with conventional Christian teaching.
squirrelman wrote: Well, they are rare but they do occur. They also happen to occur in India more than the US. So, would you want to say that these are somehow corrective or something?
I definitely think that the way in which Habermas and Moreland try to explain this away while retaining exclusivism is enourmously ad hoc and contrived.
One must have very strong reasons to reject pluralism and to accept exclusivism to stomach the ad hoc explanations they offer. Perhaps the variety of religious experiences support this conclusion too? Objectively speaking, it doesn't make sense to reject or accept a religious experience prima facie without some reason to prefer one over the other--and I don't see any reason to prefer the Christian religious experience over the Muslim's.
tlarsen wrote: "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).To be honest, I'm rather sceptical of near-death experiences. I'm not sure how genuine they are, or how accurate people's recollections of them are. In any case, we should be concerned with finding out what is true.
On the internet / YouTube you can find many personal testimonies from people that have had NDEs that come back with the same message: one of the importance of loving one another and not adhering to a specific religion - the religion does not matter, what matters is how we treat one another. It's quite obvious these people are sincere and I see no reason to doubt the objective reality of their experience given the similarities of NDEs across different cultures / religions and time.Does anyone think this supports some kind of Universalism?
NDEs do not translate by the fact of being a NDE as true or factual. If Christ (Who really came back from the dead) is left out of their message or religious NDE then it may have been because they have blocked Christ out of their life as well as in death and God has obliged them the courtesy of continuing ignorance and blindness. There are none so blind as those who will not see, whether dead or alive. The truth or falseness of their experience or vision is born out in how they deal with Jesus.
Peace Love and universalism without Christ is a doctrine of demons…. who can put on a pretty good show if they have a mind to.