Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book 7: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M. D.

I'm one or two books behind with regard to the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, but it isn't because I haven't been reading! In the past two weeks, I've done my fair share of book consumption. I devoured Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for the Bookworms Book Club, Stay Close by Harlan Coben for the Mystery Lovers Book Club, and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis for our Black History Month book discussion. Tonight, I managed to finish Book 7 of the Challenge: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander.

"Proof" is used very loosely here.
Alexander, a neurosurgeon who has been employed by several prestigious institutions, spends one week in a coma after his brain is attacked by a rare illness: bacterial meningitis. During this time, he has a Near Death Experience that persuades him that there is a God. Prior to this experience, Alexander considered himself an agnostic and found NDEs to be easily explained away by science. His main, and I might go so far as to say only, "proof" that his NDE was the real deal is his insistence that he could not have had the realistic NDE that he did with a non-functional neocortex, which was out of commission while he was comatose. My problem with his proof is this: while Alexander is a neurosurgeon, which makes it safe to assume that he knows quite a lot about the brain, there are so many things that we DON'T know about the brain. Coincidentally, he touches upon this in the last few chapters of the book when he discusses consciousness and quantum mechanics. Ultimately, I think that this book is "proof" that the brain, consciousness, and the universe remain a mystery.....not necessarily "proof" that there is a heaven.

I wasn't a huge fan of this book, and it didn't help that Alexander coined a few phrases that I thought were a bit silly to relate his NDE to the reader, such as the "earthworm eye view" to describe the first level of his experience.

This was a mildly interesting, albeit unconvincing, read.

Sharlene Edwards
Program Director

1 comment:

  1. This is a book worth reading if you are interested in the topic. However, it offers no proof of heaven. It does offer a very unusual NDE, but despite Dr. Alexander's probably very well meant "proofs" offers nothing in the way of what any scientist would consider to be proof.
    If you are already a heaven believer, this will not change your mind. If you are not already a heaven believer, this book will not change your mind.