'I felt the presence of pure love': Survivors find God in near-death experiences
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You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children -- which is what we are! - 1 John 3:1
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF), which has amassed thousands of near-death experience stories, most return from the brink with a profound understanding of God's love.
On the group's Exceptional NDE Accounts page, most stories refer to God, a place that "seemed to expand for all eternity," and more.
Even if they were unaware of the origin, many reported an "absolute feeling of love and light."
Bridget F's experience is a wonderful example of God's Glory shining through an unbeliever's experience: "I was not raised religious nor was I baptized. I could be wrong but, it felt like what people call Christ. It was not the Christ we see in paintings or pictures, it was not the Christ we hear about from evangelicals, it was not America's Christ nor any other representation of Christ I have come across.
"This was a being so pure and so benevolent and so non-judgmental I could barely comprehend the level of compassion this being possessed in the small yet brilliant light that it was. Not until it touched me and said "I'll take that, it's for me" and took the beam from me and touched me, was I even able to fathom this amazing love."
Dr. Jeffrey Long, a physician specializing in radiation oncology, has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Near-Death Studies and remains actively involved in near-death experience research.
Dr. Long explained in The Washington Times, "Love is clearly an important part of near-death experiences."
He continued, stating: "This experience of deep love often carries within it an affirmation of unity or oneness between all people or even all things. About 400 people volunteered answers to a long survey we offered, including this question: 'During your experience, did you encounter any specific information/awareness regarding love?'"
Of the 400 volunteers, 58.1 percent reported they did encounter love, while 32.4 percent answered "no" or "uncertain."
Dr. Long claimed to have been startled by the consistency found within the answers of 400 people of different gender, ethnicity, religion, education level and personal beliefs.
Examples of the transformative experiences of a unique love began to crop up again and again:
- "I knew that the being I met was composed of a substance I can only call 'love,' and that substance was a force or power, like electricity. Love is the only word I have, but it's not the right word here."
- "I knew that love was the greatest force around us and that we are all love, and love is the only thing that is real, that hatred and pain and hurt and all the negative things are not really the way it is, that we just create these negative thoughts."
- "Love was everywhere. It permeated the afterlife. It was incredible."
- "I was loved unconditionally despite my faults and fears."
- "No human can ever love with the love I felt in that light. It is all-consuming, all-forgiving. Nothing matches it. It is like the day you looked into the eyes of your child for the first time magnified a million times. It's indescribable."
- "God loves us all infinitely."
- "I came to realize that God is more loving and caring than I could imagine."
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It is important to note these encounters were voluntary, as are the thousands of encounter stories on the NDERF website.
Though each must be taken with a grain of salt, it is impossible to deny over fifty percent described encounters with love, God or both.
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