Hugh Pickens writes "Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek about the thesis that heaven is not a real place, or even a process or a supernatural event, but rather something that happens in your brain as you die. The thesis is based, in part, on a growing body of research around near-death experience. According to a 2000 article by Bruce Greyson in The Lancet, between 9 and 18 percent of people who have been demonstrably near death report having had an NDE. Surveys of NDE accounts show great similarities in the details, describing: a tunnel, a light, a gate or a door, a sense of being out of the body, meeting people they know or have heard about, finding themselves in the presence of God, and then returning, changed. Scientists have theorized that NDEs occur as a kind of physiological self-defense mechanism when, in order to guard against damage during trauma, the brain releases protective chemicals that also happen to trigger intense hallucinations. This theory has gained traction after scientists realized that virtually all the features of an NDE can be reproduced with a stiff dose of ketamine, a short-acting, hallucinogenic, dissociative anesthetic. 'I came out into a golden Light. I rose into the Light and found myself having an unspoken interchange with the Light, which I believed to be God,' wrote one user of his experience under ketamine. 'Dante said it better,' writes Miller, 'but the vision is astonishingly the same.'"
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