I have no quibble with others' religious beliefs. Those who choose to accept Eben Alexander's interpretation of his experiences are welcome to do so, as far as I'm concerned. There is nothing scientific about Alexander's claims or his"proof."
The way to defeat ignorance is with evidence. After thousands of reported religious experiences of various kinds, including near-death-experiences, no one has ever provided a single item of verified new knowledge.
A sense of warmth engulfed me, as though someone had poured a bowl of chicken soup over my head. My spirit guide informed me that I was not yet prepared for the next world and that I would be returning to mine.
Last week, while chasing waves with my 10-year old granddaughter in the Atlantic Ocean in Martha's Vineyard, we got caught in a riptide. We tried to remain calm and swim alongside the shore, but we became separated and waves pulled us down.
The great value of coming close to death, by accident or illness, is the gift of perspective. The gestalt of our daily existence becomes distinct, and what is trivial drops away to make room for the essential.
In my mind, the solemnity of major surgery reminds us that our mortal self is not all there is. Once we recognize this -- truly cashing in the meaning, not unlike those near-death experiences -- our lives change.
If the hereafter is anything like its filmic namesake, then it will turn out to be glacially slow, eternally boring, and pointless, with seemingly random plot lines aimlessly wandering about the ethereal landscape.