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4 Theories On What Happens When We Die

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/23/11 03:11 AM ET   Updated: 12/14/11 12:52 PM ET

Despite the gigantic leaps made by science in the last few decades, a comprehensive explanation of what exactly happens to us when we die is yet to emerge. Simultaneously, more research than ever before has now been done on near-death experiences -- those fleeting, almost supernatural experiences that hundreds of thousands of people have reported feeling on the brink of death.

This oxymoronic combination of progress and the lack of it has meant that a variety of theories on death have emerged in the last several years. Here's a quick look at some of them.

There Is An Afterlife
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Dr. Eben Alexander III has been a neurosurgeon and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School for 25 years. In 2008, he contracted an extremely rare form of bacterial meningitis and fell into a deep coma.

After seven days of virtual brain death, Dr. Alexander emerged from the coma, virtually unscathed. His recollection of the coma varies from a vision of murky brown, to a journey through "the core", where he was faced with the vision of God. Waking up, he realized there was another existence beyond the one he knew and had studied.

Most scientists conclude that "when the brain actually dies, so does the mind/soul/self." But Dr. Alexander's experience shows that this isn't the whole truth -- how can the soul die with the brain if, in the midst of being brain-dead, one had a rich spiritual experience?
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