A plausible reason for the dearth of non-Western NDEs?

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A very interesting new article just came out investigating the general lack of Muslim (and to a lesser extent other non-Western) NDEs. I think the author comes up with by far the best explanation so far, actually one which I have generally subscribed to myself, responsible for the general great prevalence of NDE reports from Western ideologically secular non-religious countries that have lost any general devotion to spiritual belief systems and which therefore I think have deep unfulfilled spiritual needs. The only major problem I have thought of with this theory is the supposed statistical fact that NDEs occur fairly evenly across our population, including both the religious and the irreligious, not just mainly to atheist materialists. Of course, one cause for that could be that maybe most members of Christian denominations in our society have still absorbed a lot of the prevalent materialist belief system and consequently live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, not deep faith.

https://near-death.com/the-anomaly-of-mu...periences/

ABSTRACT: 
Quote:Given the dearth of Muslim near-death experiences (NDEs) in the literature, I decided to take advantage of my contacts in the Muslim community to find more of this material. After advertising unsuccessfully in both traditional media and Internet groups, I recruited a student resident of Pakistan who had considerable contacts and help there to visit the area of a major earthquake in the Kashmir area in the hope that this would be a fertile terrain to find additional NDE accounts. Once again the results were disappointing. I conclude that NDEs are specifically designed for people who need them, and the need in certain communities may not be as great because of the persistence of traditional faith in an afterlife and a Creator.
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CONCLUSIONS:
Quote:Despite the recounting of several Muslim NDEs in this article, they appear to be quite rare in fact. All the research in Pakistan in the earthquake zone, at the cardiac centers, in the rehabilitation centers – presumably fertile zones for finding NDEs – turned up not a single one. This result stands out in stark contrast to the 40% yield at the Chinese rehabilitation center and the average incidence of 35% in retrospective studies and 17% in prospective studies (Zingrone & Alvarado, 2009). That difference requires some explanation.

One of the last questions I asked the researchers to look into was how the religious faith of the earthquake victims stood up to the test of this catastrophe. In response I received the following summary:

“Nearly everyone we talked to was impacted positively by the earthquake, in terms of their faith. They are Muslims who are simple in spirit, not always very knowledgeable, even about their own religion, but very humble and God-fearing. They remember God often [a practice known as Dhikr in Islam]. None of them complained about their tragedies which often involved loss of many family members close to them. Although initially in shock, now they look back and hope that those who passed away had died as martyrs and were forgiven their sins. ‘’We have seen the Day of Judgment,’ some said, ‘and now we have no excuse but to believe with complete certainty.’

This reaction may seem surprising to people raised in the secular West, and some readers may even accuse my research collaborators and myself of romanticizing. However, it is not that long ago that many people in the West would have had a similar reaction. This particular context, that of the earthquake victims, led me to a different hypothesis as to what may have occurred.

Several possibilities exist as to this dearth of actual NDEs. I have already addressed the idea proposed originally by Haider that the CPR methods of Pakistani doctors and rescue teams were less effective than those of their Western counterparts, which I believe lacks credibility.

Another possibility was that the events were too recent, and thus the people involved were still suffering from the effects of shock. By contrast, the Chinese earthquake victims were interviewed more than 20 years after the events and so had time to recover and gain some objectivity. However, there are many reports in the NDE literature of people telling their stories almost immediately upon coming back to consciousness, such as after CPR, so that this explanation as well lacks credibility.

A third possibility was that the victims were too ashamed of what they had experienced and were afraid that people would consider them crazy or, even worse in their society, as heretics outside the accepted beliefs of Islam. There were stories I have come across over the years of Muslims who were reluctant to tell their stories or who asked for confidentiality before speaking. However, in general, this was not the impression of the interviewers on this particular project. Instead, they felt that the majority of the victims were open and trusting and recounted exactly what they remembered.

So what are we left with as an explanation? A hypothesis that came to me after long reflection is based on the view of life as essentially a learning experience. This is a consistent conclusion from the NDE literature: We are here to gain knowledge and to learn about love (Ring & Valarino, 1998). The NDE is thus also a teaching, one specifically prescribed for each NDEr. Because we are living in an age in which people have grown distant from their religious and spiritual foundations, God – or the Universal Consciousness or Nature, if the reader prefers – has sent NDEs to remind us humans why we are here and what our ultimate destination is. Several NDEs, such as those of Ritchie (1991) and Eadie (Eadie & Taylor, 1992), contained the specific message to inform people about the existence of God and his delegate Jesus.

These Pakistani Muslims, however, did not need this type of message. They were already believers in their own revelation, the Qur’an, and the tragic events around them served only to confirm their faith. They were given their own reminders and their own tests. But ultimately, each specific event in our lives, including an NDE, is a specific prescription for us as individuals. Those who have NDEs are those who need them. In other cases, it is the people around them who are in need of this witnessing.

This explanation may not be acceptable to everyone, especially to skeptics, but it is the most satisfying one that I have been able to come up with. I hope, as well, that this explanation can be helpful to the readers of this article.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-29, 05:32 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 4 times in total.)
The authors says:
Quote:Why were there almost no accounts of NDEs in the Pakistani earthquake experience? The results were certainly not what we expected initially. Haider thought the problem might be the inefficient Pakistani CPR methods that were ineffective relative to what is done in Western hospitals. I personally did not consider this an adequate explanation, as we have many accounts in the West of NDEs in perilous situations, such as accidents, other illness, and lightning strikes, unrelated to cardiac resuscitation.

The author asked the question "Why were there almost no accounts of NDEs in the Pakistani earthquake experience?" but rejected Haider's suggestion. However the papers I've referenced from 2012 and 2022 (below) suggest Haider could have a point about the CPR situation in Pakistan back in 2005. Muzaffarabad itself is up in the mountains, out in the 'Wilds of Wannie' in Kashmir. If you get sick, or have an accident up in this area of Pakistan, I'd guess your survival chances are a great deal poorer than in the West (particularly in 2005). This is a current 2023 report of healthcare in Pakistan, which paints a pretty dire picture..

Also Wiki states "The Pakistani government's official death toll as of November 2005 stood at 87,350 although it is estimated that the death toll could have reached over 100,000. Approximately 138,000 were injured and over 3.5 million rendered homeless". Considering the scale of the disaster. I guess this would have put even the best healthcare system under strain. However, the Pakistani healthcare system itself was severely affected by the type of disaster, the author states that Haider was "one of the few doctors who survived the earthquake":

Quote:One of the first he contacted was Waqar Haider, a cardiologist from the affected center and an employee of the Combined Military Hospital. Haider was one of the few doctors who had survived the earthquake.

Khan et. al. (2022) Out of hospital cardiac arrest: experience of a bystander CPR training program in Karachi, Pakistan

Quote:In the United States, Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Registry (ROC), survival rates were significantly higher (43.6%) if layperson-initiated CPR occurred. In the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) in the US, automated external defibrillator (AED) use and bystander CPR explained as much as 50.4% of survival variation across 132 counties [6, 7]. In developing countries, where there is a lack of knowledge about bystander CPR, survival rates are dismal. Studies from developing countries have shown varying survival from as low as 0% in Mexico to 2% in Islamabad, Pakistan, and 11% in Karachi, Pakistan
https://bmcemergmed.biomedcentral.com/ar...22-00652-2

Zamir et. al. (2012) Awareness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in medical-students and doctors in Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Pakistan

Quote:The present study showed that the practicing and teaching doctors have inadequate knowledge regarding the theoretical and practical skills of CPR which could be the reason that many doctors are usually unable to perform the maneuver efficiently or are reluctant to perform it at all. The doctors were unable to respond to many questions regarding the procedure and showed reluctance to fill the questionnaires, fearing that their lack of knowledge would stand exposed. The results were quite similar to the studies conducted by earlier surveys on junior doctors and house officers reflecting their inability and inefficiency to perform CPR due to deficient knowledge.
https://jpma.org.pk/article-details/3881...le_id=3881
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And the end of all our exploring 
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And know the place for the first time.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-29, 10:54 PM by Max_B. Edited 1 time in total.)
I'm not saying it isn't worth discussion, of course it is, but I can't honestly see on what basis (after more than forty years of NDE research), a theoretical case could even be made to suggest that Muslims have fewer NDE's than anyone else, or even close to zero NDE's. 

I think it's highly likely that those (Pakistani) Muslims that do have an NDE, are very wary of broadcasting them, as they don't fit with what they've been taught (indoctrinated is a better word IMO) is going to happen when they die. I've seem more than enough to feel confident about that, but it doesn't mean I'm right, of course. Pakistani Muslims in particular are very strict (religiously) and paternal rule is the norm. If you die and are brought back to your family, he (the head of the family) is not going to want to hear anything other than what the Koran has to say about death.

Iranian Muslims are much more willingly open because their religion has merely been forced upon them, rather than embraced and is not wanted (resented unlike Pakistan) by a large majority, if the reports from that country are accurate of course.

 Near-Death Experience among Iranian Muslim Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Survivors - PMC (nih.gov)

Iranian Muslim CPR survivors, reported NDEs, much similar to those reported by survivors in Western countries with different theistic religions. This means that medical professionals dealing with these patients need to be aware of such experiences in Iranian Muslims.
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It seems to me that the history of NDE research points to the fact that a prior religious (or atheist) belief does not rule out that believer from having such an experience - although it might influence the nature of the experience. So I can't see any reason to doubt that Muslims are any less likely to have an NDE than anyone else.

What I can imagine is that community and peer pressure would discourage the sharing of the experience with others, particularly with those having an authoritarian disposition. That's something not confined to Muslims, however. It is not so long ago that, in the West, people were extremely reluctant to talk about spiritual or seemingly paranormal experiences (many still are). So talking about a visit to heaven and chatting with someone who they thought was Jesus might have been enough to have them committed to an asylum. Perhaps Raymond Moody changed all that but not until 1975. I read his book back then and had never heard of the NDE phenomenon before doing so despite being particularly interested in the subject of the afterlife.
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I was *hoping that the phenomenon of NDE's might bring about a much needed alteration in the preconceptions and beliefs of all religions and some more than others.  Islam in particular is wholly resistant to change and vehemently self righteous and in my opinion, the most illogical, although materialist sceptics would merely bracket it in with all the others and in that they have a point, of course. Personally, I don't find the text of the Koran anywhere near the quality of the new testament, nor Mohammed comparable to the historical Jesus as regards the shaping of our culture for our welbeing) 

*Not at all. They all seem to be 'cherry picking' or altering the meaning of these reports to suit their own beliefs. So I don't know what's going to happen. If any one has any great news, I'd love to hear it.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-30, 08:01 AM by tim. Edited 3 times in total.)
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To me this seems like a lot of excess legwork when the most simple answer would probably be that in countries that are very religious, like a lot of muslim countries, people incorperate NDEs into their existing belief systems and don't talk about them as much. It's also important to remember that NDEs are not a very well known thing even in english speaking countries. Regular people hear about them and go "huh that's interesting" and then never think about them again, or never hear about them at all, which greatly effects how people report them. To follow the example in the original post, a muslim person has an NDE, thinks oh man that's a crazy religious experience and incorperates it into their existing worldview and never talks about it again. It happens with christianity and other western religions and makes more sense to me than them only occuring for people who need them or people being pressured to not talk about them cause they don't fit to existing worldviews.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMyDbY9VE58
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I find it interesting that the posters here in this thread generally reject the spiritual learning hypothesis as the explanation for this phenomenon. 

The author capsulizes it as
Quote:"So what are we left with as an explanation? A hypothesis that came to me after long reflection is based on the view of life as essentially a learning experience. This is a consistent conclusion from the NDE literature: We are here to gain knowledge and to learn about love (Ring & Valarino, 1998). The NDE is thus also a teaching, one specifically prescribed for each NDEr. Because we are living in an age in which people have grown distant from their religious and spiritual foundations, God – or the Universal Consciousness or Nature, if the reader prefers – has sent NDEs to remind us humans why we are here and what our ultimate destination is. Several NDEs, such as those of Ritchie (1991) and Eadie (Eadie & Taylor, 1992), contained the specific message to inform people about the existence of God and his delegate Jesus.

These Pakistani Muslims, however, did not need this type of message. They were already believers in their own revelation, the Qur’an, and the tragic events around them served only to confirm their faith. They were given their own reminders and their own tests."

I disagree with the consensus of the other posters here (which is to reject this hypothesis), and think this is the most reasonable single explanatory hypothesis. Of course the alternate hypotheses like there being much poorer resuscitation treatment available in these countries, and there being strong cultural/social inhibitions from talking about such experiences because they don't exactly follow the Koran's words regarding death, must at least be a part of the picture, but not the major cause. 

Looking at the resuscitation techniques available argument, in various countries with substantial Muslim minorities, such techniques must be readily available in European countries that have taken in large numbers of Muslim refugees, plus Muslim countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the Emirates where modern medical services are supposedly available at least in the major cities. Despite this, there still are very few NDE reports from these Muslims. This demands another explanation.

If the spiritual learning experience hypothesis is rejected as not explaining the observed demographics, then does that mean it is also rejected as the central reason for the NDE phenomenon in the first place? What does that leave, then - some more materialistic theory? Unintended unplanned glitches in the design of our world that allow occasional mistakes to occur where humans are given unintended glimpses of the states that will precede death? Or even a vast deception being perpetrated for unknown reasons? The existence of a small but significant class of negative or even hellish NDEs also figures into this of course.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-30, 04:39 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 3 times in total.)
(2023-12-30, 04:24 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: I disagree with the consensus of the other posters here (which is to reject this hypothesis),

That's fine, nbtruthman !

(2023-12-30, 04:24 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: and think this is the most reasonable single explanatory hypothesis.

What is exactly ? 

(2023-12-30, 04:24 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: The NDE is thus also a teaching, one specifically prescribed for each NDEr.

I don't think it is a "teaching" in that sense. Certainly NDErs may learn or remember what they had forgotten, a great deal. They also of course change their lives comprehensively but NDE's were relatively rare before modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation, so rather than a teaching, it seems to me more like a premature (accidental?) return/peek into the dimension we originated from. 

If it was a teaching (something necessary to traverse one's life) from the intelligence behind the universe, then it would have been extraordinarily difficult to get an "appointment" or to get on to the curriculum before 1960 or so, I would have thought.
(This post was last modified: 2023-12-30, 04:55 PM by tim. Edited 1 time in total.)
(2023-12-30, 04:47 PM)tim Wrote: That's fine, nbtruthman !


What is exactly ? 


I don't think it is a "teaching" in that sense. Certainly NDErs may learn or remember what they had forgotten, a great deal. They also of course change their lives comprehensively but NDE's were relatively rare before modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation, so rather than a teaching, it seems to me more like a premature (accidental?) return/peek into the dimension we originated from. 

If it was a teaching (something necessary to traverse one's life) from the intelligence behind the universe, then it would have been extraordinarily difficult to get an "appointment" or to get on to the curriculum before 1960 or so, I would have thought.

I might point out that as time has gone on into the 21st century, atheistic materialism as the de facto pseudo religion of scientism has become more and more entrenched in our society as the prevailing belief system, one that considers spirituality and survival as superstitions, with humans being purely intelligent animals with a very temporary life having no ultimate meaning or purpose with morality entirely subjective and culturally relative. The promulgation of this nihilistic creed by the educational system and media has progressed to engrain it into every cranny of our society, starting with academia. I think these are facts of our current society.

The result of all this at least seems to me to be a general spiritual emptiness and feeling of hopelessness and despair, possibly making NDEs a way for the powers that be to try to correct the path.
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