Image source: http://encounters-with-jesus.org/category/buddha/
One of our Facebook group members recently wanted to share an article on our page about a woman who had a near-death experience in which she went through pearly gates and met God, who told her to go back to earth to proselytize about Christianity. The admins didn't approve it as a free-standing post, but chose instead to share it with a cautionary comment. The caution was designed to remind our members that near-death experiences are culturally subjective. In this case, the article came from a Christian website owned by Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
Our point is that we must use critical thinking skills when reading near-death accounts, because what we experience just inside the threshold to the other side is influenced by culture and belief. A Hindu would not have an experience like this woman had, nor would a Native American, a Buddhist or anyone who is not steeped in Christian theology. If you study the academic research on near-death experience, you will quickly see that different scenarios are experienced in different cultures.
Good examples of this research can be found in the work of Dr. Gregory Shushan and Dr. Mark Mirabello, to name a few. And of course the work of Dr. Melvin Morse in the 1970s, which studied the NDEs of young children. Children who were raised with Christian imagery saw Jesus. Those who were not were greeted by their grandmothers or by Disney characters. Bottom line... in an NDE, we are not fully integrated into the afterlife. We are just barely in the doorway, and at that point, we are still carrying our belief systems and life experiences with us. So of course that will influence what we see and hear.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!