Home Christian News Why Lee Strobel Is No Longer a ‘Skeptic About Near-Death Experiences’

Why Lee Strobel Is No Longer a ‘Skeptic About Near-Death Experiences’

lee strobel
Left-hand photo courtesy of Lee Strobel

Christian author and apologist Lee Strobel used to be skeptical that near-death experiences (NDE) were ever legitimate. But after looking into the evidence, he became convinced that experiences of the afterlife sometimes do occur.

“I was a skeptic about this thing of near-death experiences,” Strobel said in an excerpt of an interview with LIFE Today TV. “I thought it was kind of New Age-y. I thought maybe it’s explainable by oxygen deprivation in the brain, hallucinations, or whatever. But there have been 900 scholarly articles written in scientific and medical journals over the last 40 years on this phenomenon. This is a very well-researched phenomenon.”

Lee Strobel Looks Into Near-Death Experiences

Lee Strobel is a former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune and the founding director of the Lee Strobel Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics at Colorado Christian University. He became a Christian in 1981 after exploring the evidence surrounding Christianity’s claims about Jesus, a journey Strobel recounts in his book, “The Case for Christ.”

His latest book is, “The Case for Heaven: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death.” Strobel dedicates a chapter of the book to near-death experiences, and NDEs are one of the topics he discusses in his LIFE Today interview, which will air next week

In a 2014 article titled, “Near-Death Experiences Evidence for Their Reality,” Dr. Jeffrey Long says, “Near-death experiences (NDEs) are reported by about 17% of those who nearly die.1 NDEs have been reported by children, adults, scientists, physicians, priests, ministers, among the religious and atheists, and from countries throughout the world.” In “The Case for Heaven,” Strobel cites a 2019 study that found that at least 1 in 10 people has had an NDE. 

“There is no uniformly accepted definition of near-death experience,” writes Long. Rather, “definitions of NDE with some variability have been used throughout the 35 plus years that NDE has been the subject of scholarly investigation.” He explains:

Individuals were considered to be “near-death” if they were so physically compromised that if their condition did not improve they would be expected to irreversibly die. Near-death experiencers (NDErs) included in my investigations were generally unconscious and may have required cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The “experience” component of an NDE had to occur when they were near death. Also, the experience had to be reasonably lucid, which excluded fragmentary or brief disorganized memories. For an experience to be classified as an NDE, there had to be a score of seven or above on the NDE Scale.3 The NDE Scale asks 16 questions about the NDE content and is the most validated scale to help distinguish NDEs from other types of experiences.

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.