I could have written about the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shooting (was it a complete fraud, a ‘false flag’ attack, or have the media got it right for once?), and the hypocrisy of many of those who are supposedly taking a stand for “freedom of speech” to publish obnoxious cartoons about Islam and perhaps Catholicism; but I am suffering ‘fatigue’ regarding political controversies – and I imagine many others are tired of reading about that particular issue.
But yesterday I found this interesting article about a young man named Alex Malarkey – now 17 years old – who claimed to have died and gone to heaven after an automobile accident in 2004 when he was 6 years old. A book was written about his experience, which became a ‘best seller’. However, now Alex is claiming that he made up the whole experience and the book is being withdrawn from the market. (I’m sure a lot of people felt it was just a ‘bunch of malarkey’ right from the start.)
I have never read the book, and I don’t know Alex or his family. All I can do is give my impressions from the news article. Obviously, only having that report to go on, I could be completely mistaken in the following remarks. Nevertheless, this is how it appears to me.
I’m inclined to believe that Alex really did have the ‘near death experience’ that he originally described. This type of experience is quite common in both children and adults, and many such experiences have been documented and studied by such people as Dr. Raymond Moody.
The problem Alex faced, though, was that he has a ‘fundamentalist Christian’ mother who was convinced ‘from the get-go’ that what Alex described was contrary – at least in some respects – to the Bible (the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, that is). Alex was only 6 years old at the time and so had not read the Bible (as he himself has said, as reported in the article), and certainly was not old enough to understand how what he said was in conflict with fundamentalist Christianity. But being so young, he was quite susceptible to being browbeaten and brainwashed into believing that his experience couldn’t possibly be real because it contradicted the “Word of God” (frequently compressed into one word, “Wordo’god”). Because it couldn’t be real, he simply must have made it up (or else he was tricked by a Satanic delusion seeking to get him to believe and promote “doctrines of demons”)! Thank God he had his mother (and perhaps a fundamentalist church) to ‘straighten him out’ – not!
I am all too familiar with this type of thinking and teaching, having been raised in ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘evangelical’ Christian churches, and having continued in them until my late 30s. In this teaching, the Bible is the “Word of God” (wordo’god). It is the only “wordo’god” (so all other religious ‘scripture’ is to be considered as falsehood); and it is the complete “Word of God” so that it is impossible that any new truth can be added to it. Don’t seek for new ways of seeing ‘truth’ in visions and ‘near death experiences’! Anything contrary to this “only” and “complete” Word of God is obviously a lie – either the inventions and lies of men, or Satanic delusion and lies. “If it ain’t in the Bible, then it ain’t true!”
That it was the unfortunate case that Alex was brainwashed by this fundamentalism, and therefore wound up retracting his former account, is obvious from a letter he wrote, as quoted by the article to which I linked: When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.
So I believe that Alex really had the near death experience he told about, but that he was subsequently brainwashed into denying it because it “couldn’t” be true (it’s contrary to the Bible).
But the fact that he really did have the experience doesn’t mean that what he experienced is the literal truth and everyone should expect to see and experience the same thing when he/she dies. After reading a number of reports from both children and adults, it becomes obvious that despite the many similarities, there are also a lot of differences. People’s experiences generally conform to the imagery, archetypes, and myths (or ‘religious truths’) they have been taught, particularly in the initial stages of the ‘after death’ experience.
This can be either due to the person’s own consciousness interpreting what he sees according to those archetypes and myths; or other ‘spiritual beings’ (“guides”, “angels” [or “demons”], etc.) create a setting using the imagery with which the person is familiar; or a combination of the two. I remember reading an anecdote in one of the “Seth” books by Jane Roberts (or actually, Jane Roberts-Butts), where “Seth” described an ‘after death’ scenario he helped create for a Muslim man. This Muslim man was terrified that he would be judged by the strict law of Moses, which would supersede the mercy of Allah. So “Seth” and another ‘guide’ set up a scene in which one played the part of Moses, and the other of Allah. Initially they were angrily arguing with each other as to who would get this newly departed soul; but after a while the two ‘merged’ into each other and welcomed the man with open-armed love – showing that there was no real conflict between Moses and Allah, and that love is victorious.
(I remember that I was quite puzzled when reading this anecdote, wondering why a Muslim man would fear Moses. The fundamentalist Christian Sunday Schools I had attended had led me to believe that Islam repudiated both Moses and Jesus. It was only much later that, through personal ‘investigation’, I came to realize that Moses and Jesus are both highly respected in Islam as outstanding ‘Prophets’ of God/Allah).
In another book – Life Between Life by Dr. Joel Whitten and Joe Fisher – one of the stories of “between lifetimes” incidents had a person, who I believe was rather “New Agey”, experience her (or his) ‘life review’ at the hands of a panel of 3 ‘pagan’ deities. I have no doubt that those ‘pagan deities’ were archetypal imagery used by real ‘spiritual guides/angels’, because such imagery was more in line with the “New Age” beliefs of the person having the experience.
In the same way, Alex may have seen and talked to “Jesus” and “the devil” in his experience; but that doesn’t mean that Jesus and “the devil” were literally present with Alex. Of course, they may have been – if “Jesus” and “the devil” are literal beings and not just myth/archetype. 🙂 More than likely, though, “spiritual guides” or “angels” were using that imagery to communicate with Alex, because he was familiar with them through Christian upbringing. Perhaps, though, because Alex was so young and not yet thoroughly immersed in fundamentalism, the ‘guides’ were able to present some truths to him by means of the familiar archetypes of Jesus and “the devil” – truths which would be considered “doctrines of demons” by fundamentalism. (I don’t know what “Jesus” and “the devil” told Alex, though, since I have never read the book. All I know is that obviously his fundamentalist mother found what they said to be ‘anathema’, because it was ‘contrary’ to the Bible as interpreted by fundamentalists.)
I’m sorry that Alex has been tricked by fundamentalist Christianity into renouncing his ‘near death experience’. But I guess that the publishers of his book have no ethical option but to withdraw the book since that is Alex’s wish.