Oliver Sacks, “Proof of Heaven”, and Newtown

Here is Oliver Sacks in The Atlantic denying the supernatural origin of near-death experiences like the one described in Proof of Heaven:

Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin; they are part of the normal range of human consciousness and experience. This is not to say that they cannot play a part in the spiritual life, or have great meaning for an individual. Yet while it is understandable that one might attribute value, ground beliefs, or construct narratives from them, hallucinations cannot provide evidence for the existence of any metaphysical beings or places. They provide evidence only of the brain’s power to create them.

And here is Father Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut last night:

“Thinking about those little children, we now have 20 new saints looking over us in all the days to come.”

I am dubious about the idea that there are no atheists in foxholes, but if religion does any good, it is to provide consolation to people like the families whose children were senselessly murdered yesterday.  They don’t need Oliver Sacks; they need Father Weiss.  They need hope, no matter how ephemeral and unproven it may be.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s