Re the afterlife: Where do you get your information from?

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By Tom Holmes

Contributing Reporter / Religion Blogger

Re. the afterlife: Where do you get your information from?


My next question regarding the afterlife is, "Where do you get your information from?"

My assumption is that none of us alive today have been to "the other side," so the question is critical: "Where do you get information regarding what will happen to us when we die?"

I'm aware that people have had experiences of light and peace when they stopped breathing for a few minutes and then were revived, but exactly where they were when they had those experiences is problematic.  Were they in the train station?  Were they on the train? Or, had they travelled all the way to the other side? 

So, I'll stick with my assumption that none of us have been there.

As I read them, there have been four sources of information.

One is a religious scripture.  The Hebrew Bible.  The Gospels.  The Pali Buddhist Canon.  The Qur'an.  The Book of Mormon.  It's a question of whom do you trust.  The thinking goes that since I'm such an infinitesimally small and limited being in this vast universe, I need to trust the authority of someone else: eg Jesus Christ who St. John says was with the Father from the beginning or someone like Muhammad who was given information by a heavenly being or the Buddha who figured it out for himself, ie was enlightened.

A second category is composed of folks who believe they themselves have communicated with people who are already on the other side.  Bonney Rega, a hospice chaplain, tells stories of people including herself who claim to have done so in her recently published book Everyday Miracles, Tales of Life Beyond Life.

A third group consists of people who rely on themselves, through reason or intuition, to figure out what will happen when they die.  These folks will be heard to say things like, "I just can't believe in a God who would. . . ."

A fourth group confesses that they don't know.  "Beats me," they say.  "I'll just have to wait till I'm dead to see. . .or not."

It's a critical question.  Most of us have become skeptical about the reliability of most sources of information these days.  If we doubt the reliability of "intelligence" coming out of Syria based on what we were told a few years ago about WMDs, how much more should we be concerned about the question, "Where does your information about the afterlife come from, and why do you trust it?"

 Please share your thoughts on this, here or in a letter to the editor or email me at

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