Testimonies of astral projections, out-of-body experiences (OBE) and near-death experiences (NDE) abound, both within and outside Christianity. Many interpret these experiences as evidence that consciousness persists after a person's spirit departs from the body. Of course, this cannot be the case if Christian mortalism (a.k.a. 'soul sleep') is true.

Question: How do 'soul sleep' adherents make sense of the abundant reports of astral projections, out-of-body experiences (OBE) and near-death experiences (NDE) both within and outside Christianity?

Some examples:

Related questions:

How do 'soul sleep' adherents explain reports of personal experiences with deceased saints, friends and relatives by Catholics and other Christians?

How do soul sleep adherents make sense of Jesus' acknowledgement of the existence of disembodied spirits and ghosts?

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    This is opinion based, taking in vast numbers of claimed experiences by all and sundry, none of which can possibly be proven.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 9:22
  • @NigelJ - the Bible if full of claimed experiences. Can they possibly be proven?
    – user50422
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 15:55

2 Answers 2


How do atheists and other skeptics explain reports of astral projection, etc.?

Given that there is no scientific evidence of the reality of such events other than as a neurological effect, why should anyone, whether a believer in 'soul sleep' or not, need to explain them?

One might as well ask how Anglicans explain the reincarnations that Hindus and Buddhists experience.

  • If we should use the epistemology of atheists and skeptics in order to derive beliefs about reality, shouldn't we all be atheists and skeptics then? Are you an atheist and skeptic? Are you skeptical of the resurrection of Jesus, for example? (EDIT: the downvote was not mine btw.)
    – user50422
    Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 0:35
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    @RayButterworth " ...are explained away without religion ever being a consideration". This is what science does. It is the only thing it can do since it does not incorporate the possibility of the supernatural. The very existence of God is unnecessary for the explanations of science. Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 13:58
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    @RayButterworth Every Christian denomination explains why they don't believe in a multiplicity of Gods. Here is a Trinitarian apologetic against astral projection: reasonsforjesus.com/statement-of-faith-and-doctrine You can easily find similar regarding reincarnation, ghosts, etc., from many Christian denominations and theological positions. Atheists produce apologetics against the existence of God, "The God Delusion" for example and they certainly think they are in agreement with science. Everybody's doing it! :) Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 14:53
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    "Given that there is no scientific evidence of the reality of such events other than as a neurological effect" I think this answer is correct as a basic description of belief among atheists, but it would be stronger by couching the language as a belief and then linking that claim to actual claims by soul-sleep adherents. Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 14:03
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    "To a disinterested observer though, it's difficult to believe that it was real." OK, but I think this is going to vary. To me, it's quite straightforward and meshes with my overall worldview. Knowing the particularities of NDEs, it doesn't seem plausible at all to me that people who have no detectable brain activity are also having vivid hallucinations where they claim greater consciousness than regular everyday consciousness. So I think to some observers this is right, because they have beliefs that make them disinclined to believe it. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 13:35

Demons tricking people.

Simply put, spiritual phenomena are either from God or His messengers (angels), or they're not. If they're not from God, and they are genuine spiritual phenomena rather that humans deluding themselves or experiencing mundane hallucinations, who would they be from? Satan and His demons.

Satan is called the "Prince of Lies" for a reason; if he can lead someone astray by giving them an experience of astral projection, near-death experience, or the like, he'd happily do so.

Even if a vision seems to be of God, Heaven, or angels, it's content needs to be examined against the Bible to determine its origin. Satan and his minions leading people astray by pretending to be God and spouting false doctrine is nothing new either.

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    This very well may be a common belief among soul-sleep adherents, but I think this answer could be made more convincing with links from actual, prominent soul-sleep adherents who claim this. Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 14:04
  • What is your view on how people who didn't yet have the Bible were expected to discern between that which came from God and that which came from the devil? Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 0:13

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