I just finished listening to Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. Because I am in the car driving so much I often “read” books this way and I highly recommend it. But back to Dr. Alexander. He was attacked by an infection in his brain and was in a coma for a week. The book is his take on the experience, through a neurosurgeon’s filter. Here are parts of an interview he did with Oprah Winfrey after the book was published.
The story is an amazing story of the author’s near death experience. He describes the journey, and along the way he tells us about his family and his life as a neurosurgeon. However the core of the book occurs when he takes us inside his hospital room and describes both the medical treatment that was happening around his unconscious self, and the spiritual journey which tells us about.
It’s a comforting and intriguing thought that a learned neurosurgeon and scientist has a near death experience and comes out of it convinced that there is an afterlife. It is of course one of the questions that has defined us as human over the course of tens of thousands of years.
Neanderthal burial sites reflect a formal burial procedure, and many bodies were buried with tools and possessions; which suggests that the deceased was thought to have some need of those tools after death. Research suggests to us that the Göbekli Tepe (a site in Turkey ca. 8-10,000 B.C.) was built for the purpose of religious ceremony. In fact, there have been suggestions that one of the motivations for the move to agricultural/city society was the development of religious ceremony.
However…, back to Dr. Alexander’s book.
The scientist in me still wonders — and there has been some controversy about both Dr. Alexander’s medical practice and his recollections of what happened when he was ill — but the believer in me applauds him! The discussions about Near Death Experiences (NDE) are fascinating, and will continue to be studied by scientists and theologians.
Because Dr. Alexander’s story is so personal I think he made the right choice to do the reading himself for the audio version; it works well for this book. But I generally prefer professional narrators for audiobooks. Usually the ones read by the author are not as impactful for me. By far the most powerful audio book I have ever listened to is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and read by Jeremy Irons.
My rating: 3.5 brains