Stan the Man Musial

Stan the Man Musial

(If you were expecting the second part to Pi and Reality, I apologize. The passing of this great baseball player compelled me to write this week’s article on his life and legacy. I will return to Pi next week.)

“Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.” The commissioner of baseball, Ford Frick, spoke those words of one of the legends of the game. The words now appear at the base of his statue, placed outside his hometown ballpark, where he played every game of his 22-year career. Last Saturday, January 19, that legend departed from this world, 92 years old, leaving one of the most impeccable reputations in the history of the game, or any sport, for that matter.

Stanislaw Franciszek Musial entered the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals at the age of 20 on September 17, 1941, playing in the second game of a doubleheader. He had two hits in a 3-2 Cardinals win. Twenty-two years later he played his final major league game on September 29, 1963 and again had two hits in a 3-2 Cardinals win. In between, he collected another 3,626 hits, fourth on the list of most career hits, amassing 6,134 total bases, second on the all-time list.



His achievements astound the most sophisticated statisticians: 7 batting titles, 3 MVP’s, 20 All-Star selections, missed the Triple Crown by only one home run in 1948, second player to receive $100,000 salary (1958), voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot (93.2% in 1969), 17 consecutive years batting over .300 and 11 over .333, .331 life-time batting average, sixth on all-time list of games played (3,026), and third in doubles (725). But the staggering stat is that during his 10,972 plate appearances, he struck out only 696 times, an average of only 33 times during his 21 full seasons (or once every 59 at-bats), with the highest being 46 in 1962, when he was 41 years old.

(AP) Stan's famous corkscrew stance.

(AP) Stan’s famous corkscrew stance.

One of the great accolades to him was spoken by Dodgers’ pitcher Karl Erskine, who said he found a winning tactic for pitching to Musial. “I’ve had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third.” Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe said the best way to defend against him was to “Throw him four wide ones [walk him] and then pick him off first base.”

His eminent statistics do not tell the full story. It was Stan the Man’s character that attracted tributes like the one on his statue from every person who knew him. He was a consummate good sport, rarely arguing with umpires and never ejected from a game. On one occasion he hit what appeared to be a double down the right field line, which the umpire ruled a foul ball. While his teammates vocalized their displeasure with the call, Musial trotted back to the plate, looked at the umpire and asked, “It didn’t count?” The umpire conceded he may have made the wrong call, but Musial said, “Well there’s nothing you can do about it.” On the next pitch he hit a ball in almost the exact same spot, this time ruled fair.

(AP) The only known picture of an active player with the umpire crew.

(AP) The only known picture of an active player with the umpire crew.

St. Louis is known as one of the most respected and respectable group of fans in baseball. Occasionally they have their moments. In August of 1956 Musial had two errors in a game and had gone hitless for two games. When he came to the plate in the eighth inning, some fans began booing him (the only time in his career), but were quickly drowned out by a counter hail of cheers. The next morning a group of fans purchased ad space in the local newspapers and apologized to the The Man.

Last year the National Sportsmanship Awards were renamed The Musial Awards.

Stan at his retirement ceremony in 1963 (his number 6 was retired with him).

(AP) Stan at his retirement ceremony in 1963 (his number 6 was retired with him).

Conferred each year by the St. Louis Sportsmanship Commission, the awards acknowledge outstanding acts of sportsmanship around the country. “The event recognizes those who exemplify class, character, selflessness, civility and integrity in sports – traits synonymous with Stan the Man.” (The St. Louis Review)

In 1947 promoters enticed big-name players to leave the the MBL and join a newly formed Mexican league. They were offering very large salaries and offered Musial $125,000 over 5 years. He had made $18,500 the previous season. He refused the offer. “Back in my day, we didn’t think about money as much. We enjoyed playing the game. We loved baseball. I didn’t think about anybody else but the Cardinals.”

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Many southern players vehemently opposed integration in the MBL. Rumors suggested that the Cardinals, loaded with southern-born players, were planning a strike to protest Robinson’s entrance into the league. Musial refused to support it, although in later years he would argue that no such strike was planned. Robinson remembers that “Musial always treated me with courtesy.”

I could go on with the stories and accolades, but books have already been written to do that. I have dedicated this article to give tribute to one of the greatest men to have worn a baseball uniform, not just because he was a great player, but because he was a great person.

(AP) Stan speaking at the dedication of his statue outside Busch Stadium Aug. 5, 1968

(AP) Stan speaking at the dedication of his statue outside Busch Stadium Aug. 5, 1968

Perhaps Musial’s character was significantly shaped by his faith. He faithfully worshiped in the Catholic Church his entire life, even taking his wheel-chair bound wife to mass on Sundays until she died (he was 91). “This was a man of great faith who loved the Mass and was thrilled any time he could take Holy Communion,” said Msgr. John Leykam. Musial once explained, “Every day that I can I go to Mass and Communion. There I make my Morning Offering and that way you can even turn an error into a prayer.”

I am grieving the loss of this great Cardinal, not simply because I am an avid Cardinals fan, but because he was my namesake. So impressed with the character of this ballplayer, my dad chose the name Stan for his firstborn son. I have always carried it with pride.

A name can provide the lodestar for one’s life, giving direction and perspective to one’s life. This is why the name of Jesus plays such a vital role to the followers of Christ.

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ …” (1 Cor. 6:11).

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him …” (2 Thess. 1:11-12).

My namesake may have died, but the character of his name lives on. I can only hope that I can do as much for the name as The Man did for it.

More than that, Jesus died for our sins, but he was raised from the dead for our justification.   His name has that eternal power for us and it should spur us on to live faithfully for him every day. I only hope that I can bring glory to his name through the way I live my life today.

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PiAlthough it received 11 Oscar nominations, including best picture, Life of Pi has attracted much attention outside the Screen Actors Guild, given its philosophical and religious underpinnings. Adapted for the screen from Yann Martel’s novel, the movie does not drown out these themes with its remarkable cinematography and special effects.

[Before you read any farther, this article necessarily contains spoilers, so you may want to postpone reading it if you plan to see the movie.]

Martel positions his story at the outset in the “Author’s Note,” as an elderly man reports to a Martel-like author, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” The man encourages the author character to find an Indian living in Canada to get the details of the remarkable story.

Piscine Molitor Patel, who renamed himself Pi, possesses a special affinity for religion, which his native Hinduism does not fully satisfy. At 14 he is introduced to Christianity and Islam and discovers assistance from all three religions in his sincere desire “to love God.” He gets no support at home where his father denounces religion in favor of the secular progress of the New India, and his mother has abandoned Hinduism.

Pi 8Pi’s father, a zookeeper, decides that he must move his family to Canada, along with the animals he cannot sell before his departure. On a Japanese freighter they encounter a severe storm that sinks their ship. Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra (who broke his leg jumping into the boat), an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger who bears the name Richard Parker. The hyena quickly takes advantage of the disabled zebra and eventually kills the orangutan, but Richard Parker suddenly bursts out from under the canopy draped over half of the boat and dispenses with the hyena’s cruelty.

For 227 days Pi manages to coexist with Richard Parker, keeping both of them alive. He finds ways to net fish and collect rain water. He constructs a raft out of oars. life jackets and other materials to keep a safe distance from the tiger while the tiger is sidelined by seasickness. Through some innovative techniques, Pi conditions Richard Parker to accept him as a companion in their desperate pursuit of survival.

Pi 6With strength and life nearly drained from both of them, Pi sees land and somehow drags the boat onto a beach in Mexico. In a dazed stupor he watches Richard Parker jump over him onto the beach and walk into the nearby foliage, never to be seen again. Some men find Pi unconscious on the beach and take him to the hospital.

While recovering in the hospital, two Japanese men visit him, government investigators trying to determine the cause of the ship’s sinking. Pi relates his incredible story to the two men, who respond in utter disbelief. Mr. Okamoto appeals to science and reason in dismissing Pi’s story, but Pi effectively counters each argument. Pi asks them if they liked his story and they admit that they liked it, but that did not mean they believed it. Mr. Okamoto again asks Pi to tell him what really happened, “the straight facts,” “words that do no contradict reality.”

Pi finally acquiesces to his request. “I know what you want. You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality. You want a story without animals.”

Pi 5So Pi offers a different account of his amazing experience. He retells the events with a sailor, who broke his leg in a fall, the ship’s cook and his mother in the lifeboat. The story becomes gruesome as the cook kills the sailor to use his flesh for fish bait. Pi’s mother soon discovers the cook was also secretly consuming more than his share of the emergency rations on the boat. In a fit of righteous indignation she slapped the cook. Two days later she confronted the cook when she discovers him eating the sailor’s flesh. Eventually the cook killed his mother and days later, Pi killed the cook.

At the conclusion, Pi asks the investigators, “Is that better? Are there any parts you find hard to believe? Anything you’d like me to change?” Mr. Okamoto asked if the cook had any explanation for the sinking of the ship. When Pi could offer no additional information to explain why the ship sank, the men conceded that he would be of no help in the purpose of their investigation.

Pi 7Before they leave, Pi asks them, “… since it makes no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story?” Both men agree that they think the story with animals is the better story. Pi replies, “And so it goes with God.”

Florence Stratton wrote a careful analysis of Martel’s novel, “Hollow at the core”: Deconstructing Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. She argues, “He is not out to prove the existence of God, but rather to justify a belief in God’s existence. Martel’s position is a post-modernist one, from the perspective of which God’s existence has the same status in relation to truth and reality as Pi’s experience of shipwreck. Agnostics, Pi tells us, ‘lack imagination and miss the better story’ (70). God’s existence, in other words, is a matter neither of fact nor of faith, but rather is a better story than the one told by those who doubt or deny God’s existence.”

In an interview with Ray Suarez in the Online NewsHour, Martel says, “… my novel is about the line between fiction and fact. It is about how we interpret reality, right? Reality isn’t just out there; it’s how we interpret it. And to me, that’s what religion is about, isn’t it? It’s an interpretation of reality.”

Clearly there is more to this story than a mere fantasy adventure. We will explore the religious/philosophical theme of Life of Pi in my next blog.

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Mis 1Some years are better than other years. Some years look like the 1962 season of the New York Mets when they lost 120 games out of 162, or the 1976 season of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who went 0-14. I have had one of those latter years. In the spring, a family crisis put an extraordinary strain on all of us. This October I painfully ended my tenure at my church as senior pastor. In November, my brother-in-law died of a heart attack. He was one year my junior. In the past year, there have been few days when the tentacles of stress were not wrapped around my heart.

But my year does not compare to the the years depicted in the lives of Victor Hugo’s characters in Les Miserables, touted as “one of the half-dozen greatest novels of the world” by author Upton Sinclair. The book was adapted into a Broadway musical in 1980 and has inspired numerous film versions, the most recent one released in theaters in December 2012.

Jean Valjean serving duty in prison

Jean Valjean serving duty in prison

Hugo set his story in the social and political chaos that followed the French Revolution. The principle character, Jean Valjean, was condemned to 5 years in prison in 1796 for theft – he stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving daughter. Repeated attempts to escape compounded his sentence to 19 years.

The scene opens with Valjean’s parole and futile attempts to find work or assistance. Turned away from every inn in town, he locates a secluded spot on a street and settles down for the night. An elderly woman discovers him and directs him to the bishop’s house. Bishop Myriel was endowed with a heart full of grace and mercy and readily welcomed the ex-convict, feeding him a hearty meal and providing a warm bed.

Having lost all hope for a future and encumbered by the desperation of his habit of life, Valjean steals the good bishop’s silver utensils and flees in the early morning. He is quickly apprehended by the police, but he claims the bishop gave him the silver. The police return him to the bishop, who corroborates Valjean’s story and indicates that he had forgotten the most valuable pieces, two candlesticks.

The bishop extends grace to Valjean

The bishop extends grace to Valjean

Valjean had experienced only the harsh and dispassionate force of the law, but he was now the victim of a sublime grace at the hands of a merciful and compassionate bishop. The bishop urged him to use the money from the silver to make himself an honest man. Then the bishop anoints him with these words,

“Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.”

This single act introduced Valjean to spiritual transformation. Six years later, he resurfaces in the story as a wealthy factory owner and mayor of a small French town. Having adopted the name Madeleine, he abandoned his identity and former life and destroyed his official papers. Known for his generosity and compassion, he uses his position for the benefit of others, providing employment for the economically afflicted.

One of his employees, Fantine, had fallen victim to a summer romance and was left with a child and no means of support. She gave the child, Cosette, to an unscrupulous couple for care and nurture, sending as much as money as she can, at great personal sacrifice, for Cosette’s support. Unjustly dismissed by the factory foreman, Fantine sells her hair, two teeth, and eventually the only the thing left to sustain her existence, her moral dignity.

Mis 4Valjean encounters Fantine in the street after an altercation with a man. The police inspector, Javert, was arresting her when Valjean intervenes and orders her release. Fantine tells him her story, bringing upon Valjean the guilt of his neglect for the attentive care for his employees. Noticing the desperate health of Fantine, Valjean takes her to a hospital and promises to bring her daughter to see her.

Breaking parole makes Valjean the object of Javert’s attention, the rigid and relentless servant of the law. Suspecting that Monsieur Madeleine may be the fugitive Valjean, he inquires about him, but learns that a man in another town was currently standing trial and had been identified as Jean Valjean. The inspector confesses his mistake to Valjean.

Javert explains his mistaken suspicion to the mayor (Valjean)

Javert explains his mistaken suspicion to the mayor (Valjean)

When Valjean learns of the false identification, he is faced with a moral dilemma. To remain silent would send an innocent man to a severe prison sentence. To speak up would mean his own arrest, the loss of his factory and the financial distress for his employees. He realizes that the injustice would haunt him the rest of his life and reveals his identity to the court on the neighboring town.

Javert hears about Valjean’s revelation and tracks him down at the hospital. Void of any mercy, Javert arrests Valjean, denying him the benevolent deed of bringing Cosette to see her dying mother. Overcome by despair, Fantine dies.

Fantine weeps in despair of her dissolute life.

Fantine weeps in despair of her dissolute life.

The story continues like this with Valjean escaping, finding Cosette and raising her, eluding Javert repeatedly, sparing Javert’s life when he was captured by student revolutionaries, saving the life of one of those revolutionaries with whom Cosette fell in love, and Javert’s perilous decision in the end. By the end of the movie (or stage play or book), you will be in tears over the unending anguish of all the characters.

But standing out like Mt. Everest in the Sahara Desert is the story of redemption. Valjean is irreversibly changed by the bishop’s powerful act of love and grace and he doggedly extends the same love and grace throughout the remainder of his life. The darkness of persistent misery is drowned out by the beautiful light of invincible grace.

Hugo’s story mirrors the Bible’s story of the redemption that rescues miserable sinners from the cesspool of sin. The supreme act of grace came at the cross, where Jesus purchased our souls from perdition and gave them to God. And those who experience that redemption repeat that act of grace hundreds of times to touch other lives for the kingdom of God.

No matter how hard it gets, no matter how dark it becomes, no matter how desperate your condition, the power of God’s redeeming grace can lift you out of the darkness and into his healing and  rejuvenating light.

I would highly recommend seeing the movie or stage play this year. It may completely change the way you respond to the adversity that awaits you in 2013.

Posted in Grace, Movies, Redemption, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments




It is difficult to know what to say about the horrifying event at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, especially when so much has been said about it already. Unless we have endured the pain of losing a young child, we cannot imagine the deep sorrow inflicted on the families of the 20 children who were gunned down that day. Their sorrow is compounded by the grief of the families of the 6 teachers and staff whom the gunman shot.

In the midst of national grieving, talking heads pontificate on the causes of and solutions for gun violence. The word so often associated with these kinds of tragedies is “senseless,” which suggests that they transcend logic or explanation. Being human, however, we dig and scratch and claw for reasons so that we can prevent another “senseless” act of violence.

We should feel no less sorrow for the perpetrator of the crime, Adam Lanza, and his mother, who had spent most of the past 20 years trying to help her son deal with the disorders that plagued him from birth. No one ever suspected that this young man was a danger to himself or anyone else. Yet, he initiated his “senseless” crime by taking the life of the mother who protected him.



Now a father and brother must clear the debris from the devastating explosion in their family. Yes, the parents divorced several years ago. Yes, the brother had very little contact with Adam in recent years. But blood and the family name glue people together in ways that make complete separation nearly impossible. We must grieve for them as well.

I heard probably the best piece of advice from a pastor who addressed this subject Sunday morning. He said that Christians often feel responsible to explain these events somehow, and their explanations often tend toward shallow trivialities and spurious theology. He advised his congregation to stop trying to give answers where there are no answers.

That may seem incongruous with this blog site, dedicated to understand all of life through a Christian theology. Thinking deeply, asking difficult questions and recognizing the complexities about life have disappeared from a culture content with the latest technology or newest video game. Christians, claiming to know the God who created and sustains the universe with distinct purpose and order, should lead the charge into the shadows of life, believing that they will discover the light of God’s presence and purpose there.

But we must also recognize and admit the limitations of our humanity. By definition, God is mysterious. Because he is not finite flesh and blood, he surpasses human understanding and transcends human knowledge.

We will frequently find ourselves sliding down the curve of a question mark in perilous fear, struggling to understand and pleading to know. God may remain silent, but he will not let us fall into the abyss of despair.

shooting 3

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

One clear sign of our hubris is the hasty willingness to point the finger of blame at God. Really? How do you blame God for the deliberate, intentional, volitional act of a human? God will not be blamed. It is ludicrous for the creature to hold the Creator in contempt, for the flawed to accuse the Flawless of fault. Like Psalm 2 says of God’s response to the nations as they rage against God, “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”

Perhaps the only thing we can say with certainty in response to events like this one is that just as surely as humans are entirely dependent upon oxygen to exist, they are also deeply contaminated by evil. That evil manifests itself in various ways and to varying degrees, but it unavoidably shows up.

We can construct systems to restrain it, build structures to contain it, concoct formulas to medicate it, and invent therapies to manipulate it, but we just can’t seem to extract it from human society.

How do we live with the absence of answers in the face of evil? Some would say get guns off the street. Others would say remove violent video games from the shelves. Still others would argue for prompt identification and treatment of mental illness. And the list goes on. Every human invention may have limited effectiveness in retarding the advance of evil, but they will not remove it.

shooting 4

(Photo by Andrew Gombert)

For this reason, we desperately need the God we want to blame. Evil is bigger than we are, much bigger. If there is no God who is bigger still, then we are in deep trouble, for our efforts to conquer evil will be like trying to restrain the Hulk with shoelaces. We had better hope for a God who is neither infected nor affected by evil. And we had better hope he is on our side. If there is such a God, then he is able to turn ashes into beauty, to use pain to bring strength, and to redeem man from his own evil.

The Christmas season reminds us again that such a God does exist and he has put such a plan of redemption into motion. For thousands of years his mercy covered man’s evil acts.

Then, in the fullness of time, God entered the arena where evil has mastered humanity, taking upon himself human flesh, to do battle directly with evil. Three decades later, he endured the full force of evil unleashed against him through his broken creatures. And he won.



He conquered evil. He conquered death. He redeemed man. He defined hope. He offered rescue. We must accept it on his terms – not with all the answers, not without uncertainties, not exempt from the grief of living in the ripples and waves of evil, but in simple trust. We must learn to trust him, especially when we cannot explain the “senseless” events of life. He promises to one day make sense of all of them. Jesus came to validate that promise.

Posted in Evil, Faith, Nature of Man, The Gospel, Violence | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


science 1“Heaven Is Real” according to the cover story of the October 15 issue of Newsweek. The story chronicles Eben Alexander’s descent into a seven-day coma and journey into a wholly different level of conscious reality during that time. Dr. Alexander’s 25 years as a neurosurgeon and former professor at Harvard Medical School qualifies him to speak as a scientist, although his conclusions have provoked numerous critiques from fellow scientists.

In the fall of 2008, Alexander was rushed to the emergency room of Lynchburg General Hospital, where his colleagues determined that he had contracted a rare bacterial meningitis. E. coli had attacked his brain, shutting down his cortex, the part of the brain that controls thoughts and emotions. The synapses between the neurons no longer functioned, halting all electromagnetic activity that produces brain function. His doctors had verified by repeated tests that no brain function was possible during that seven-day period – no vision, hearing, emotion memory or logical reasoning.

The overwhelming majority in the scientific community argues that the brain alone produces all conscious activity. Significant advances in technology have fortified these materialists’ belief that consciousness can be defined as a physical phenomenon solely.

Although technology can trace every thought and emotion to neural activity, scientists have not been able to explain how the brain produces this consciousness. And, of course, it is fair to toss the hypothesis into the lab that perhaps the brain is only a physical conduit of this conscious activity, but not the source.

Dr. Eben Alexander explains brain function

Dr. Eben Alexander explains brain function

Alexander’s coma has profoundly convinced him that this hypothesis is indeed fact. He is able to describe in elaborate detail a vivid conscious reality during those seven days. He saw clouds in a bright blue sky and transparent beings floating across it. He heard a loud joyful chant coming from the sky. A young woman accompanied him during this time and he could feel both her penetrating look and her vibrating words, even though she did not speak. In fact, he writes that “hearing and seeing were not separate in this place.” What he saw he also experienced as sound.

Alexander’s conclusion that he journeyed to heaven cannot be verified. But he argues that his conscious experience detached from brain function cannot be refuted. In a subsequent article for Newsweek (Nov. 26), Alexander writes, “My seven-day odyssey beyond my physical body and brain convinced me that when the filter of the brain is removed, we see the universe clearly for the first time. And the multidimensional universe revealed by this trans-physical vision is not a cold, dead one, but alive with the force that, as the poet Dante wrote some 600 years ago, ‘moves the sun and other stars.’”

Just months before Alexander explored the edges of life, Gary Habermas delivered a lecture at California Polytechnic State University on the evidence of life after death. Habermas has a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Religion and is Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he serves as chairman of the department of philosophy and theology. Habermas has devoted nearly 30 years to the study of near-death experiences (NDE).

Habermas asserts that an NDE cannot prove the existence of heaven (or hell) since they cannot be validated empirically. His interest lies in what he calls evidential cases where consciousness existed after a patient arrived at a flat-heart and flat-brain wave. He describes several of these cases in his lecture.

science 3Maria suffered a heart attack and was taken to the emergency room. During efforts to resuscitate her, she describes a conscious view of the hospital room from a perspective different from the gurney. These reports are vulnerable to dispute by skeptics. Maria went on to describe something that escapes dispute.

After she was revived she described floating through the floors of the hospital until she was at the roof. She told the doctors and nurses that she saw on the roof a very large men’s blue canvass shoe with a small hole in the little toe area. Kim, one of the nurses, decided to follow up on Maria’s story, which even specified the section of the roof. She found several vantage points that enabled her to see portions of the roof, but did not spot the shoe. Finally, in one of the last places she could look, she found the shoe, exactly as Maria described.

In another case, a nine-year-old girl drowned in a pool and no heartbeat was detected for 19 minutes. Doctors now claim that brain activity goes flat 11 seconds after after the loss of a heartbeat. The girl, Katy, was declared brain dead when she arrived at the hospital. Dr. Melvin Morris attended the case and placed her on life-support, giving her 1 in 1,000 chances to survive, and 1 in 10,000 chances to survive with brain function.

Three days later Katy spontaneously woke up. When she saw Dr. Morris she said, “Oh, you are the doctor with the beard who saved me. Where is the tall doctor without a beard?” Dr. Melvin retrieved him and they asked Katy about her condition. She said that she was fine and that she had been with her angel, Elizabeth. Katy said that Elizabeth allowed her to view her family’s house the night she drowned and she told with detail where each member of her family was located in the house, what they were doing, what song was on the radio and what her mother was cooking for dinner.

science 4Angels cannot be verified, but reports of contact with this world during a flat-brain state can. Dr. Morris took notes and later interviewed Katy’s family before she could tell them what she experienced. Katy’s report was accurate in every detail. Dr. Morris went on to do extensive research in NDEs. Originally an agnostic, his research has moved him to a theistic position.

As Habermas says, “Heaven can’t be tested. Angels can’t be tested.” But mounting reports of conscious experiences during conditions that are as near to death as we have the ability to define would indicate that the scientific position that nothing exists apart from the physical universe seems seriously flawed. Science may never answer all the questions generated by these reports, but they should at least tell us that the hard sciences alone are incapable of defining human existence. Science must give theology and philosophy places at the table.

Dr. Alexander’s book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, was released in October.

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