Thursday, June 20, 2013

Proof of Heaven - Book Review

Proof of Heaven: a Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander.

Dr. Eben Alexander is a neurosurgeon. A near death experience changed his life. This is a fascinating book, not just for the science (it’s mostly not about science), not for the biographical descriptions, not for the hard-to-explain experience, but for the totality, the wholeness that glows through it.

Dr. Alexander had a nearly fatal illness and found himself in the realm and wonder of God. Not the God of Christians or Muslims or any other faith, but the God behind everything.  As a scientist, he said he had believed, and had been taught, that the brain determined everything. His journey into the afterlife changed that. He returned to our world and said that the summary of all he saw and felt while in what he called “the core” was love.  He learned that thinking “outside the brain” brings us closer to our genuine spiritual selves, showing love and compassion. He learned that our world has more good than evil. He learned that everyone is part of a great wholeness.

I found this short book to be a page turner. Not preachy. It didn’t make him into an evangelist. He wrote it because he was filled with the wonderful experience that he needed to share.  I thought his attempts in a few pages to reconcile the science he knew well with his new knowledge of the spiritual realm less easy to read; I believe that it was difficult for him to express it.

After reading this book, I was more able to understand things like post-death appearances of loved ones, as well as the post-death, post-Easter appearances of Jesus which were put into our New Testament.  However, Dr. Alexander doesn’t connect his experience with any organized religion or dogma.

Read it. It’s short. It’s worth taking the time. It was published in 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Your review surprises me, Kathy. Here's mine:

    I read this book at the behest of a friend who knows I'm a committed Christian. Because the book is a testimonial and makes truth claims, the credibility of the author is critical in evaluating what he says.

    The first thing I noticed in reading it is signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder on page after page; Alexander asserts his exceptionalism from beginning to end, sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously. I decided to check out his background on, a website which helps prospective patients find a qualified doctor. The opening page on Dr. Eben Alexander III warns "It's important to do your research before making an appointment with this provider."

    His background includes two malpractice suits in 2007 after performing surgery on the wrong sites, and in both cases he attempted to conceal what happened -- in one case retroactively altering the original diagnosis to make it appear he hadn't erred. He faced medical board sanctions and reprimands in 2009 and 2010 in three states (MA, VA and NC), and was ordered to attend classes in professionalism and medical ethics. He never mentions any of this in the book -- published in 2012, so it wasn't ancient history while he was writing it.

    Further evidence of his lack of credibility is the book's title: that it's `proof` of an afterlife. Not even a bad scientist would make this claim: Scientific proof requires that a hypothesis can be tested, and the results can be replicated by other scientists -- that's Science 101. What his experience, if we can believe it, proves is that the brain is a mystery we are only beginning to understand.

    If Alexander had said, "This is true for me, I can't prove it, but I believe it completely," I would be inclined to put more faith in what he says in spite of my reservations.