Many of us want to learn all we can about what happens to us when we die. Facts about the finality of death, near-death experiences (NDEs), and the afterlife fascinate us. Yet, we have many more questions about life after death that some of us dare to admit. Trying to separate fact from fiction—the things that we want to accept as true and those we hope exist—make up a fascinating aspect of how society views life after death.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- 1. There are new findings to report
- 2. We can’t always trust scientific findings
- 3. Doctors are uncomfortable with certain discussions
- 4. More facts
Death occurs when the heart stops beating. The ceasing of the heart's function is how science defines clinical death in approximately 95% of the cases where someone dies. Death used to be considered an irreversible condition or event. However, during the last few years, science has realized that cells inside the body, including the brain, begin a death process after a person has died. Therefore, we understand life after death even more so by studying NDEs.
Things Science Tells Us About Life After Death
Science and medicine have accepted what it means to die in a clinical sense based on research and findings throughout the history of modern medicine. However, there’s been little room for looking at death from a spiritual perspective in a clinical setting. As a result, the possibility of life after death is rarely admitted to or discussed by most physicians and other medical professionals.
Doctors tend to stick to what they've learned in medical school and through research they've conducted. As they tell it, once we die, that's all there is to it. There's no spiritual aspect that comes into play when medical professionals talk about life after death, or at least that they care to admit to in professional settings.
We've researched and combined the following facts about life after death as viewed by science.
1. There are new findings to report
In the past decade, there's new scientific evidence that's emerged pointing at the genuine possibility of life continuing after death. As medical science advances, new approaches to the study of life after death emerge. Specifically, measuring the body's physical reactions and processes that occur once clinical death has been established.
In recent years, scientists have discovered new ways of registering what happens to the physical body and the cell function during the precise time of death and in the minutes that follow. These findings contradict much of what we've known about the body's natural death process at the cellular level.
2. We can’t always trust scientific findings
One thing that we've learned about these new findings is that we can't always trust scientific research. That's not to say that we shouldn't rely on what the experts say, but rather, we should use caution in accepting everything as factual. Scientific researchers, just like doctors, can be wrong.
Not everything exists how we see it just because someone in a lab coat thinks it's real. There are different perspectives to everything. It would be a disservice to our humanity and our society to discount the spiritual aspect of life after death or reject the new scientific findings because they don't align with what we once thought to be true.
3. Doctors are uncomfortable with certain discussions
Doctors have always been quick to explain what happens when you die based on their medical school teachings. Whenever you talk to a doctor and bring up life after death, chances are they'll steer away from that conversation. One reason is that it makes them uncomfortable.
Another reason might be because what they witnessed and experienced in their years of medical practice doesn't align with what they learned in school. And, sometimes, their minds remained closed at the thought of introducing spirituality to medicine. Regardless of the reason, this conversation doesn't sit well with many medical professionals.
4. Thanatologists have long known about life after death
Thanatologists are those who study life after death, along with death, dying, and bereavement. The study of life after death is called thanatology. Along with many scientific publications, there are books about life after death that explain the process of what someone goes through when they experience certain life-altering events such as near death.
Of those professionals who dedicate themselves to learning about the dying process, some of them choose to study death from a spiritual perspective. They open themselves to learning about death in different cultures and religions. Most thanatologists will spend a lifetime of research and learning about the fascinating subject of life after death.
5. NDEs are not as rare as you might think
In a recent study conducted by over thirty-five countries of people who've experienced NDEs, one in ten people reported experiencing this phenomenon. Interestingly, even people who weren't in imminent danger of losing their life experienced NDEs in much the same way as those facing life or death situations.
Participants experienced abnormal time perception, increased thinking, heightened senses, and out-of-body experiences. An emerging thought when it comes to NDEs is that not everyone has a pleasant experience during the event. Some people suffer distressing after effects, which hasn't been a common finding in the past.
6. Some movies did get it right
Hollywood studios are notorious for putting out movies about life after death in droves, especially during the Halloween season each year. Sometimes films can seem a bit far-fetched, however, others are right on point with what it's like to experience an NDE and life after death. Movies like 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is for Real are both book adaptations based on actual events and experiences.
In most cases, the person subject to the incidents portrayed in the movie is called to the movie set to act as a script technician. They fill in the blanks where needed and ensure that the movie's filming sticks to the actual events as much as possible.
7. Consciousness continues after brain death
The above heading is another way of describing an NDE. This is where it gets a bit complicated. There's a difference between the brain, an organ in our body, and our mind, separate from the brain. The brain is the physical home of the mind. The mind controls our perceptions, thoughts, emotions, memories, determinations, and imaginations.
The brain by itself can't control these functions. But, the mind is also what makes us aware of our consciousness and holds what we do and why. In recent years, scientific research has found a connection that shows that the mind continues to have activity beyond clinical death.
8. Soul substance might have weight
Back in 1907, a man named Dr. Duncan Macdougall experimented with several of his dying patients in an attempt to weigh their souls leaving their bodies. He did so by calibrating the weight on their clinical beds to precisely measure body weight variances before death and immediately after death. His findings were recorded and indexed in the medical journal called American Medicine.
After measuring the weights of six individual patients who died, Dr. Macdougall hypothesized that each of the patients lost a soul weight of 21 grams each. There was a movie filmed with the title 21 grams, and this is where modern American pop culture latches onto the idea of the soul having a precise weight.
9. Doctors around the world disagree
As it turns out, not every doctor around the world relies on medical and scientific evidence when determining if there's life after death. Depending on the part of the world you're in, it may be that your doctor is very much in tune with the spiritual world and what it means to die. African doctors, for example, don't think that the physical death of the body is the end of life.
Africans generally believe that life continues in another realm after the body dies. Becoming an ancestor after death is one of the biggest goals of the African cultural belief system. The African concept of death is also known as Ancestral Worship, where death is considered a rite of passage into the spirit world.
10. Scientists want to gain your trust
Scientists want you to trust and believe their scientific findings despite how complicated their answers to your questions may seem. When it comes to proving that life after death exists, science has no clear evidence. There's no solid scientific factual basis that points to an afterlife. Nonetheless, scientists want you to trust their research and findings even when things may seem complex, diluted, or incomplete.
Scientists stress that science is continually challenged, honest, and that nothing's ever accepted on pure blind faith. They triple tests until their hypotheses are either proved or disproved. So, either their experimentation ultimately fails, or it yields an expected result. Unlike spiritual teachings that rely on the works of distant authors who lived long ago.
11. Theologians want you to believe
The secular world seems to always be at odds with the spiritual. When it comes to the existence of life after death, there's no exception. Scientists want you to trust in what they believe the evolutionary process of how the universe came to be. They base their findings on research, mathematical computations, and experimentation.
On the other hand, theologians place their complete trust and faith in the written word of whatever religious background they choose. These two competing schools of thought are at odds with one another, and they're constantly competing for followers in the life after death arena.
12. The brain can live for hours after death
One final fascinating scientific fact about life after death is that the brain can continue to function for several hours after physical death. This functioning is separate from that of the mind discussed earlier. The brain can continue sending and receiving signals even though there's been a registered physical or clinical death of the body.
The brain can take hours to shut down during its final moments. This is how people who've suffered heart attacks, near-fatal car accidents, or other life-threatening events and have come back to life can account for what they experienced during this period of clinical death.
What We Know About Life After Death
Science explores many aspects of the human brain, the mind, and the physical body and how it reacts to death and dying. There's limited knowledge available to any of us on how this universe came into existence and how humans came into being. Science tells us one thing, while religion tells us otherwise. As our knowledge becomes more evolved, perhaps we'll have a clearer understanding of what happens after we die.