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In his 2013 book The Essence of Religions, Christophor Coppes tells why he is convinced that people are able glimpse heaven in near-death experiences (NDEs) and that they are true events even though people report them differently. He feels that most religions have inklings of NDE truths, but the religious teachings are overloaded with superstitions and false notions that hinder their adherents from knowing the truth. Thus the fundamental truths of religions are in NDEs, but all revelations of NDEs are not in religions.
Coppes reveals what he considers the truths in NDEs and how Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, and Muslims have distorted the truths. Religions are like blind men who try to describe an elephant. Each blind man touches part of the beast and thinks he knows what elephants look like. One touches the trunk and pictures elephants as snake-type creatures, while another rubs its thick legs and imagines it resembles a tree.
NDEs, according to Coppes, reveal that everything on earth is interconnected, important, and indispensible, human consciousness is eternal, the light experienced in NDEs is unconditional love, and “love and compassion are the only things we can take along with us when we die.”
Hinduism failed because its caste system discriminates and mistreats people. Buddhism missed the mark when its adherents killed people on a massive scale despite its otherwise excellent teaching to refrain from harming living creatures. Judaism’s mistake is occupying land on which Arabs are living. Islam is wrong in thinking that suicide murders will please Allah; this and its discrimination against women distort the lessons contained in true morality, the lessons of NDEs.
Christianity, like Buddhism, is responsible for multiple deaths because of its insistence upon converting people to Christianity, its Crusades, its anti-Semitism, and its many “foolish fixations” such as its belief in the devil and witchcraft, its insistence until modern times that the sun rotates around the earth that disrupted the advance of science, its teaching that holy wars are just, its teaching that priests can magically annul sins and absolve people from harm inflicted upon others, its notion that only baptized children go to heaven and that “babies who die before the christening ceremony will go to a place adjacent to hell,” celibacy, and the “worst current foolish fixations, however, are the conservative standpoints on morality…the ban on contraceptives…(and) Augustine’s assertion that sex is only allowed when it is aimed at the reproduction of man.”
As critical as Coppes indictment is, it overly kind. Most adherents of virtually all religions are guilty of many behaviors that religions try to eradicate: mistreating people, animals, and the earth; murder; discrimination; belittlement of women; dissatisfaction with what one has and attempts to conquer and control; fear and hatred of people of other faiths; performing superstitious activities; believing in the involvement of the devil and other incarnate evils in human affairs; relying on faith, accepting as true what is contrary to human senses, science, and logic; trusting on the intervention of God to improve human and worldly problems rather than taking actions; believing in the efficacy of prayer and sacrifice rather than remedial human acts; practicing rituals without understanding their purpose and failing to accomplish their purpose; and not studying the truths of religion and living by its truths.