Dr. Americo M. Minotti, Jr., a doctor with Northwest Ear, Nose, and Throat in Elkin, specializing in ear, nose, and throat medicine, lectured Wednesday night at the Fall Creek Full Gospel Church in Jonesville on the uses of science in proving the existence of an afterlife.
The three-part series will run on consecutive Wednesday nights, ending on April 3.
Minotti opened by telling the audience the normal Christian attitude toward science was one of disapproval, as science is typically used in efforts to disprove the existence of God or an afterlife. He said the reason Christians had a disapproval of science is because they are not presented with the scientific facts on the reality of God.
Minotti borrowed from his previous years as a research scientist and published researcher in various scientific publications to show the congregation how to apply the scientific method to NDE’s, or Near Death Experiences.
The scientific method is composed of a series of steps to either prove or disprove an occurrence in the universe, he said. First someone must ask a question. Second, background research must be done. Next, a hypothesis must be constructed and then tested. After the results are analyzed and a conclusion drawn, the researcher must communicate the data.
In this case, Minotti used the method by analyzing stories of near death experiences to draw conclusions regarding the reality of stories like “tunnels of light” or seeing angels or demons. He used cases drawn from the Internet in addition to private individuals who had spoken to him on their own experiences to pinpoint similarities between cases, across both time and distance.
According to Minotti, the presence of a fourth dimension, one step further above what we experience in real life, was the basis of the afterlife. In the fourth dimension, a man or woman could see what is behind and around an object, not just the length, width, or depth an object is perceived to have.
In this way stories of out-of-body experiences could be understood, as many who experience NDE’s tell stories of floating above a room or knowing what happened when they were clinically dead. Minotti added that even Albert Einstein had theorized a fourth dimension existed.
As a means of objective and unbiased science, cases had to meet several criteria to qualify as a real NDE and make it into Minotti’s cases study. A person had to be clinically dead, not asleep. Either cardiac death or brain death was required to prevent people from claiming dreams and visions were NDE’s. Second, a person could not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which may bias the results. A person had to have an out-of-body experience, and a potential case study had to include a bright light.
Minotti said statistically 1 in 5 adults who died and were able to be revived had a NDE to speak of. In children the number was much greater, rising to 90 percent. He added that while some dismiss stories of angels and tunnels of light as a way Christians have defended themselves from the frightening realities of death, children, who account for so many of the cases, had little to no concept of God or death. As such, children would not be biased into believing in a comforting here-after, Minotti said.
He presented the first of two Internet cases Wednesday through YouTube. He said it even has happened to people who aren’t professing Christians.
He gave two accounts from atheists.
One, named Howard Storm, was an art professor at a major university. While suffering a stomach perforation on a field trip to Europe, he was unable to receive surgery after eight hours of waiting. He said goodbye to his wife and prepared for death.
In the story Minotti described, Storm awoke to find himself standing over his own body and unable to make his wife see or hear him. Storm was called down the hallway by “people” he presumed to be hospital staff taking him to surgery. He traveled for what he described as an eternity and was later attacked by the people for refusing to proceed any further. He began praying, which infuriated the people around him and caused them to back away. A bright light lifted him from the darkness and allowed him to return to his life.
The other story Minotti described was regarding an Australian man who had traveled for many years across the Pacific. He was night-diving along a reef when he was stung by several Box jellyfish, what he said was probably the second deadliest animal on Earth. After dragging himself to a hospital he died as the doctors administered the antitoxin.
He was dropped into darkness and told it was hell. A bright light lifted him up and allowed him to see beyond a bright figure into a beautiful, perfect meadow beyond. He was asked if he wanted to stay or go back, but knowing the death of her son would cause his mother to always think he was in hell, he chose to return.
Both men, although former atheists, had such powerful NDE’s they have since become ministers, Minotti said.
“These experiences really get you excited about the Lord, if you believe in the Lord. And if you don’t know the Lord it will still get you excited,” Minotti said.
The second part of the three-part series begins at 7 p.m. on March 27, also at Fall Creek Full Gospel.
Minotti has worked at the University of Texas/ MD Anderson Medical School at Houston, where he also did his residency. He has received Board Certification in otolaryngology as well as head and neck surgery. He currently works with the Northwest Ear, Nose, and Throat practice in Johnson Ridge Medical Park, Elkin.
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