Friday, January 8, 2016

Near Death Checks, Part 4: Betty Eadie

From the November 2012 E-Block.


Readers following this series know that we have had little success fulfilling our purpose of finding verifiable details in NDE experiences. For this reason, you might say I got to the point of scraping the bottom of the barrel. While looking for an account like that of Colton Burpo's (that did offer some details), I then turned to another popular account by a Betty Eadie. 

Eadie's NDE account is a longish one, and in the past was subjected to criticism by various apologists. It's not hard to say why as she presents herself as having received a message from beings in the spirit world that is mishmash in three parts. One part is Mormonism, per her own faith where she even calls God a "Man," refers to pre-mortal lives, and presents a Mormon view of the Fall as a positive thing. Another part is straight out of Wayne Dyer where she refers to "positive and negative energies" and to "positive self-talk" with alleged healing powers. The third part is pantheism, with the notion that even drops of water have purpose and intelligence. That sounds more like a Disney cartoon than a serious rendition of the afterlife, yet Eadie has the temerity to equate these with the "living waters" of the Bible. 

Eadie also presents a sort of naive universalism, as the existence of multiple religions is explained as an accommodation for some persons just not being suited, or ready, for certain religious traditions. Some speak of making God in one's own image, and Eadie does that very well -- her career is that of a "registered counselor," so her God seems to be one too. 

Her account offers not one instance of a verifiable detail of the sort we have been seeking. 

Indeed, if Eadie is telling the truth, she passed up the chance to get such details numerous times. As with many NDErs, she claims to have met a divine being that she states to have been Jesus, but she never asked if it was him. This, and everything else she claims to have been imparted to her, she says she either "saw" or "understood." Her account of the "understood" Jesus also includes a revelation that (surprise) the Trinitarian view is wrong and Mormon tri-theism is right. I would have liked to have asked "Understood Jesus" about Wisdom theology, then. More practically, she claims to have been given a vision of early American pioneers, and of a street corner drunk who was aided by a lawyer, but heaven forbid she might ask for the names and locations of these alleged visions. This is all the more outrageous since Eadie claims that while in the NDE, she could "learn about anybody in full detail." Gee -- any chance we might get some helpful facts to verify her NDE? Perish the thought! We're also told a couple of times that she was made to forget some of the details she had learned…how very convenient. 

Eadie's account fails the closer we come to any verifiable details. Her reports about things like divine love assume modern, Western values for those concepts, which alone is enough to call the authenticity of her account (or her understanding of it) into serious question. More evidence is found in her primitive understanding of prayer, which reads more like a Frank Peretti novel than the Biblical expression of patronage. As for the rest, though it has some parallels to more serious NDE accounts, it is but a mere caricature. A closing account of how demons surrounded her in the hospital, and were warded off by a "dome of light", sounds like a scene from a Chick tract, rather than a serious account. 

A reader with an interest in NDEs told me the week I wrote this that I shouldn't take Eadie seriously, and I don’t.

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