PIaidion: “Near Death Experiences” are exactly that—near death experiences. They are not after death experiences."
Well, the precise moment when one physically dies is scientifically elusive, but there are many cases in which the heart has stopped beating and the brain displays no activity. In those cases, the NDE elements still resemble the standard form.
Paidion: “And there are no after death communications, since no one has yet been raised from death except Jesus.”
First, the issue is not bodily resurrection, but postmortem survival. Indeed, NT scholars widely reject the bodily resurrection of Jesus on the grounds that the Romans likely followed their standard practice of removing Jesus’ corpse (on Saturday night) to dump it in a common pit with the other 2 crucified victims. Remember, no follower of Jesus monitored the tomb after Jesus’ burial was completed until early Easter Sunday morning. The historicity of the Matthean account of Roman guards at the tomb is widely dismissed as a later apologetic lengend because (1) it is unlikely that the Romans would be aware of claims that Jesus would arise from the dead, (2) the Romans would more likely simply dump the corpse in a common pit with the other 2 crucified corpses, and, (3) in any case, none of the other 3 Gospels is aware of this legend. Indeed, Christians would have no way of knowing the details of the conversation between the supposed guards and Roman authorities.
My point is not to side with the modern scholarly consensus, but rather to point out that the rational basis for resurrection claims encounters a rat’s nest of academic hurdles.
Second, the evidence for postmortem survival from ADCs and NDEs is superior to that for Jesus’ bodily resurrection, but precisely for that reason, this modern evidence lends credibility to the Gospel resurrection appearance narratives. There are many apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel resurrection narratives and none of our 4 Gospels can confidently be credited to an eyewitness of any of those appearances. For many reasons, the modern scholarly consensus rejects the claim that Matthew or John the son of Zebedee wrote the Gospels that now apparently bear their names.
Paidion: “My maternal grandparents were both Christians; they believed Christians went directly to heaven after death. When Grandfather was about to die, he said to Grandmother, “I will try to contact you after I die—if I am allowed to do so.” Grandmother lived 26 years after Grandfather’s death, and never received any communication from him during all those years.” Either he wasn’t “allowed to do so” or else he couldn’t because he was dead and had not yet been raised from death."
This is the only important point in your post. I recall a study in the 1970s that found that 50% of Americans and 48% of the British reported contact from their beloved deceased within the first year after their passing. But you rightly raise the question of why so many of the bereaved receive no such contact. I have spent much time researching this question and will post the results of my search in a future post.