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7 Good Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife: A Doctor Reviews the Case for Consciousness after Death

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Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
March 2016
Fred's Rating: 
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Inner Traditions

Jean Jacques Charbonier, M.D., is a writer and lecturer whose 25 years as an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician led him to investigate near-death experience and the survival of consciousness after death.

The Amazon website for the paperback edition of this book is

The home page has a very good summary, click on ‘Read more’ to read it, which adds to the Back Cover summary an opening paragraph with three bullets. Use Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ option and scroll down to the Table of Contents. Note that the subtitles of the 7 chapters reveal what each chapter discusses. The Amazon preview of the 4-pp Foreword omits the final page (xii), which is about the Foreword’s author, not the book’s author, so I don’t give it here. I recommend reading online the Foreword without the omitted page. The valuable 3-pp Preface by the book’s author is included in full in Amazon's preview. I highly recommend reading it. Also included is an unusual 1-p Note to the Reader.

The 7 chapters each include a few case studies which Jean Jacques Charbonier has included so as to discuss them as examples of the many case studies that build up, via these 7 chapters, to the author’s Conclusion.

Before I go to his Conclusion, I was happily surprised at what I got when I clicked on the ‘Surprise Me!’ option in Amazon’s ‘Look inside’ preview. For this gave me the last four pages (52-55) which are prime examples of the author’s style. But I was especially happy because the chapter that has these pages is Ch. 4, which is about “A Mind Outside the Body.” Many other books I’ve read on this topic – seven of which I listed at the end of my review of book 620 – dealt primarily with NDEs (Near Death Experiences) and some don't say enough about OBEs (Out of Body Experiences).

In these books about NDEs it is clear that the OBEs provide a crucial aspect that NDEs don’t. For all NDEs – every one of the many thousands in the literature – are take-home memories of unforgettable experiences that never take home any physical evidence to support the experience. They all have a story to tell – most often a story that has a life-changing effect on them, as mine did for me. But without any physical evidence, skeptics (especially physicians and neuroscientists) mostly call the NDE a dream or a pre-comma or post-coma vision. When skeptical physicians and neuroscientists dismiss these experiences, they claim “there’s no ‘proof’ that this experience really happened – they dismiss the life-changing effect of most NDEs as not the kind of ‘proof’ they demand. However, many of the OBEs, especially those that occur when the person was clinically and legally dead, with their brain in an observable flat-line sign of death, lying in a hospital operating room, with physicians and nurses ‘working' to revive and save the patient's life. In most cases of cardiac arrest (heart attack), a flat-line indicates that the brain is dead, thus very much totally inactive. However, upon being saved from the heart attack, possibly due to a stroke, dead patients often are able to recall what the doctors and nurses said and did while the patient's brain was dead. The typical OBE involves a ‘view from above’ of the patient floating up near (or above) the ceiling and observing the activity going on below on their inert body. When blind patients have had an OBE, they can see and hear. The least thing that this tells us is that their consciousness (or mind) is not confined to their brain. Some of the authors of NDE and OBE patients simply say that the human consciousness has two parts – a 'local' part working inside the brain – and a 'non-local' part that was able to observe the activity from above, near the ceiling. Other authors simply say that such OBEs prove that the consciousness “is not restricted to the human’s brain.” And others try to ‘explain’ these amazing OBEs, those verified by the operating-room’s medical staff who agree with what the dead patient say and heard, including the when and by whom as if the non-local consciousness was recording the observed activity with a camera and voice recorder. And what do the skeptics say about this kind of verified activity? Little, if anything! It is against their materialist worldview, so they can’t admit that such a thing as an OBE exists. But more and more OBE evidence may lead them to a worldview that is not simply a materialist or determinist one. That’s why such books are very important for readers to think about and wonder how such things as OBEs and NDEs can be and are real experiences. What I’ve said in this long paragraph is what I have learned from such books about NDEs and OBEs.

Jean Jacques Charbonier’s 10-pp Conclusion, whose subtitle is ‘A Separated Consciousness,’ begins with this: “Based on what I’ve been able to learn by assembling the different accounts I’ve studied, I’ve concluded that things take place as if we have a consciousness that separates itself from the body at the moment of death. The consciousness leaves the body temporarily in the case of NDE or OBE. From the other side of death, this consciousness is capable of providing information that may be picked up by a medium’s brain receptors or collected through ITC [Instrumental Trans-Communication] by a variety of vibratory, electronic, or phonic media.”

At the end of his Conclusion he has this to add: “Other indications are popping up that suggest a radical change of opinion about NDEs. Evidence of this can be seen in the release, in May 2011, of the first issue of a quarterly review entitled NDE Magazine, which is being sold in newsstands in France and French-speaking countries. I made a commitment to publish an article in each one of its issues. The chief editor thinks, quite justifiably, that there is a sufficient quantity of news to keep the magazine running. This indicates the enormous potential that people ascribe to this topic! (Who could have predicted even ten years ago that an investor would take such an editorial gamble?)

“Eschatological thought is about to change its paradigm and we are at the turning point of this general awakening. Very soon our survival will depend on this reality being accepted by the majority of inhabitants of this planet.

“That is inevitable.

"We have seen that there are currently good reasons to believe in the hereafter – seven good reasons to be exact. These reasons must gain broader exposure. Skeptics and detractors, generally through a lack of knowledge, often slow down the dissemination of valid information such as I have presented in the pages of this book. My wish is that my work will help those same skeptics and detractors make real progress on the path of knowledge – a path that is also, and above all, the path of tolerance and love.”

I expect this book will be an eye-opener to many who have avoided thinking about the topics discussed in this book. May they make "real progress on the path of knowledge." I value this book as I have the other books referred to in this review. I rate this book at 5 stars.

Go to book 620 to see a list of books I've reviewed about NDEs and OBEs; each book on the list has my rating. If you haven't read much on these topics, I suggest you focus first on books with a five star rating, especially those with my comment to 'think six stars.'

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