In the final book of the Harry Potter series, Harry is apparently murdered by his nemeses Valdamort. He wakes up in what appears to be an abandoned Kings Cross Station where he meets his instructor Dumbledore who died months before. They have a conversation, at the end of which Harry decides to go back to life. As he is about to return he posses this question to his friend and mentor:
"Professor, is this all real, or is it just happening inside my head? "
To which Dumbledore responds:
"Of course it's happening inside your head Harry -- why should that mean that it is not real?"
The scene was watched by millions of people around the world and delves into the questions that come when discussing near death experience. What actually happens to those people who "die" and come back, and what can they tell us about the life that might awaits us after death.
In a report released in 2014, scientists at the University of Southampton found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived cardiac arrest described some kind of 'awareness' during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.
One person who had that experience was a mentor of mine; the Rev. Craig Darling who was the founder of Companis in Seattle, Washington.
Rev. Darling is not one to promote an overly pious or sentimental faith, yet in response to a Facebook query, Darling wrote that he experienced: "An Indescribable loving, peaceful presence"
Dr. Eben Alexander is perhaps the most well known of the people who claim a near death experiences The formerly adamantly agnostic Neurosurgeon, Alexander was in a coma for a week and awoke with a powerful memory of having visited heaven. He wrote the best seller - Proof of Heaven followed up with his more recent book Map of Heaven. Dr. Alexander explained to me what happened to him and why he is now such a passionate proponent of the reality of this heaven, and not just something that happens in our minds.
Prof. Greg Garrett is the University Professor at Baylor University and has written a book Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination - He explained to me how many of our ideas of heaven do not come from the Bible, but actually from poetry, films and art, and why that matters in our understanding of life after death.
This week's All Together was produced by Katelyn Boguki and edited by Jorge Corrona