Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife Abigail Alvarado
Rhetoric & Composition - English 1302
September 18, 2014
Eben Alexander is a neurosurgeon who believed for many years that when people explained their near death experiences it was just the hard wiring of the brain. Of course ,though, he had refined medical training. It wasn't until Alexander had caught a rare disease which caused him to fall into a coma and had a near death experience himself. Alexander talks about his journey towards the afterlife in his book which leads to many questions to everyone as to whether it really happened or if it was all just a hallucination. The paper talks about how he recounts what happened during his experience while in a coma for seven days to prove heaven is real and what he experienced could not be explained in any way possible other than there is a heaven. It will explain whether he proved there was a heaven.
Proof of Heaven, published in 2012, was an interesting book about Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, and his near death experience. Throughout the book Alexander recounts everything that happened to him in his journey to heaven as well as clinical insights from his science background . The dispute between his rational, objective and scientific observations, on one hand, with the esoteric-sounding world he was experiencing in his coma, on the other, gives his narrative a unique, almost flamboyant quality. Alexander offers an array of his experiences in the afterlife and the agony his friends and family had to encounter, waiting and praying for seven days as he seemed to be slipping away under a coma caused by E. Coli meningitis. Many readers are taken by the uncertainty of Alexander surviving what he did, and even more by his experience when his brain was apparently turned off. Indeed, Alexander's recovery was a miracle but was his experience proof of heaven? Alexander states that he was distant from religion by announcing he had devoted himself into studying science in the beginning of his prologue. He talks about how he believed people who had a near death experience were just the brain creating these images. Alexander sees the human brain as a computer housed in a living body. When that body dies, that computer ceases to continue functioning. Consciousness has its final and immutable end. Alexander ( 2012) states: When your brain is absent, you are absent, too. As a neurosurgeon. I'd heard many stories over the years of people who had strange experiences, usually suffering cardiac arrest: stories of traveling to mysterious, wonderful landscapes; of talking to dead relatives - even of meeting God Himself.... But all of it, in my opinion, was pure fantasy.... I didn't claim to know, but I did know that they were brain-based.... This is because the brain is the machine that produces consciousness.... When the machine breaks down, consciousness stops (p. 8). Yet he talks about talks about how he occasionally went to church more times than the occasional Easter and Christmas holiday and encouraged his kids to pray every night. Alexander mentions people who came in to see him, which included Michael Sullivan, who was their neighbor and a rector of their church. They were close friends, obviously, since no one but family and very close friends come and stick around when such trauma happens. Contrary to what Alexander says in the book, he was clearly influenced by religion before his near death experience and was just open-minded to New Age thinking. After he slips into an induced coma Alexander begins his journey into the afterlife by describing that while in his coma he was in a dirty Jell-O like darkness full of blood and veins, which he called the Earthworm's Eye View, with a consciousness but with no memory or identity of who he was. That was something different from other near death experiences readers may have read about making it seem believable for a while....
References: Alexander, E. (2012). Proof of heaven: A neurosurgeon 's journey into the afterlife. New York,
NY: Simon & Schuster.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document