Check out part 2 of my Howard Storm interview.
He was an atheist—but then he died, had a hellish experience, and met Jesus.
In case you missed it, check out part 1 of our time together. In part 1, he goes into great detail about his near-death experience and meeting Jesus.
In part 2, he talks more about atheism, what Jesus told him, and what message he has for atheists. Toward the end of the video, he even talks about reconciling science and faith.
What do you think of Storm’s points? What do you agree with or disagree with? What surprised you?
11 thoughts on “Howard Storm NDE Interview (Part 2)”
Ultimately, I believe that Storm’s points (those that align with the teachings of Christianity) are positive and constructive. Even if you don’t consider yourself a religious person, the message of loving people and serving others are pretty good guidelines on how to be a decent person. If I’m being honest though, I’m torn between being very interested in his account and wondering if any of it is embellished or self-serving (not saying that is what is going on here, just couldnt help but think it while listening at times).
The one point I really disagreed with was when he criticized people who said they love God or love Jesus but don’t love the church. Even though I personally find value in going to church, I think it is unproductive for him to dismiss other people’s opinions and assume that the entirety of their discomfort with the church is based upon there being “flawed people” in the church. There could definitely be other reasons for people who love God or Jesus not loving the church. Maybe they don’t connect with the format of how a mass is conducted or they just find it boring. Even if people feel uncomfortable with the church because of flawed individuals in the church, I don’t think that should be dismissed either. What I find most valuable about going to church personally is being among a community of people who are trying to connect with God. I think it would be far more productive to help people find what could be valuable for them in the church or helping them find other ways to connect with their faith than it is to assume their argument is about flawed people in the church and dismissing it outright as wrong.
Cool interview though, definitely thought provoking stuff.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey PJ, thanks for the great thoughts!
I appreciate the honesty about your reaction to his story. I don’t want to hang my faith on one story, but, like you acknowledge, it’s great food for thought. I agree with you that his main point, the importance of loving and serving others, is great advice for anyone–including folks who totally discount near-death experiences.
I think you’re also right that folks stay away from church for many reasons.
Storm’s former atheist experience makes all of his points such a great affirmation of the truths of Christianity, as one who didn’t believe and now does. Right off, loved his comment that the examples of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong are logical progressions of what Atheism leads to—proving that what you believe or don’t believe affects the way you live, whether you want it to or not. And bad theology (or lack thereof) hurts people. Storm’s comment was brilliant and insightful because so many people don’t realize that taking God of our society doesn’t just affect the religious sphere of our lives, it affects the political, sociological, and philosophical progression of a society.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yolanda, thanks for these great comments! I think you’re totally right that the “religious sphere” encompasses all others—which explains why religious beliefs affect every aspect of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Regarding atheism, I think I would hold off on saying that it necessarily leads to Stalin or Mao. First of all, atheism is not monolithic, as there is no such thing as “atheism”—there are only varieties of atheism. (This point comes from Nick Spencer‘s new book on atheism.) I do think, though, that atheism might lead to materialism, and materialism leads to nihilism.
This was a great interview, Mike. It’s fascinating to listen to Storm’s first-hand account.
What surprised me most was how disturbing and unpleasant the first half of his NDE was. In the 2nd part of the interview, I think Storm brings up some great takeaway points, especially about the utter lack of hope without God.
On the other hand, I have to agree with PJ above that Storm seems a bit dismissive of the important agnostic / atheist objections you present. Perhaps he personally disliked church because of the flawed people, but that’s only one of several reasons even believers don’t frequently attend. I also find it somewhat disingenuous to basically assume some degree of intellectual dishonesty in atheism and to chalk all lack of belief up to willful, selfish ignorance.
Overall though, Storm brings an incredibly unique and insightful perspective; thanks for conducting and posting this interview.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Eddie, thanks for these thoughtful points. I would love to see a conversation between Storm and an especially sophisticated atheist, like Vlad Chituc or Chris Stedman.
The thing about his account that seems odd to me is that the early part of his experience, with the demons or whatever they may have been, had the demonic figures telling Storm that “God doesn’t exist.” Theologically speaking, and I’d like your thoughts on this Mike, it seems that even demons do not deny the existence of God. So as much as I want to believe his story, that part seems to be a bit inconsistent. On the other hand, deception being what it is, who knows what demons might say.
I’m also curious if there is any Biblical information that you’re aware of related to Jesus himself coming to get someone who has died. I’ve never seen anything particularly related to this, but is there any information that might suggest that Jesus either would or wouldn’t have come directly to Storm?
Finally, someone brought it up on the part 1 thread but it never really got discussed. What are the accounts of NDEs from people adhering to other religions like? Do they simply follow that person’s worldly beliefs (ie, their story comes out matching the religion they followed or didn’t follow but grew up around)? Or do they trend towards Christian-seeming experiences? Has this been studied? (sorry if I missed this somewhere in the post but I didn’t see it discussed)
I ask that in part also because Jesus wasn’t European. Yet those with these accounts seem to draw/describe a European-looking Jesus most of the time. I haven’t read through many accounts, but it would seem to me that unless Jesus simply appears to the people in question as-expected, there would be more accounts of “He didn’t look like I expected” or something along those lines.
I’d like to respond to Dak’s question regarding the NDE stories told by people of other religions, belief systems. I’ve read a lot of books on Near Death Experiences and this is my take on what generally happens. Almost always there is a life review but it is from a very objective view so that one sees how their actions both bad and good have hurt or helped others. You would think that this could be a very painful experience but actually there is love and compassion shown to the individual even at this stage of the experience. Then they see a brilliant tunnel of white light that is so full of love that the person who enters it wants to stay there and not go back to earth. They seem to project onto this beneficent light energy images from their own belief system. These experiences are extremely varied. For example, Catholics may see Mary, angels or Jesus. Buddhists see Buddha or Kuanyin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. Muslims see Mohamed and so forth. Those without any belief system may see figures full of wisdom and love. All seem to come back to life changed. Some of that loving energy remains with them and they have a strong sense of empathy for others and are stronger kinder people.
Howard Storm’s experience was unusual because he literally went through hell before being rescued by the Jesus image. I was touched however by how rich his experience was, how it influenced him to live such a compassionate life, a true representative of what Christianity teaches. I particularly liked his reference to the total acceptance of flawed people. I feel however that living a spiritual life is what is important and there are many who can do that without going to church.
Thank you, Mike for sharing this interview!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Dak and Beverly, great comments!
Dak, good question about the “demonic” figures. I think Howard says that they weren’t quite demons, but they were people like him who had just succumbed to evil. I forget if Howard mentioned this in our interview, in his book, or both.
In terms of Christ descending into hell, there’s “the harrowing of hell.” Storm receiving a postmortem chance to embrace Jesus, though, is clearly controversial.
I’m not nearly as familiar with other NDEs as Beverly is, so I’ll defer to her. I will add, however, that this “love” appearing to folks in different forms doesn’t negate the possibility that it’s just Christ meeting other people where they are. I’m not sure people need to know who Jesus is to be saved by him.
Oh, and Dak, most of the Jesus NDE accounts I’ve read say that he looks slightly different than expected.
Having had a full blown NDE myself, I didn’t see Hell or Heaven or Jesus or anything “biblical”.
I did pass through nature firstly, then the tunnel and finally the light. What happened after that is far too long to comment here. I did see the light and the love was most amazing force I’ve ever encountered.
As for the bible, I’ve since read it and there are very important theological aspects that Storm has missed entirely. If he saw “Jesus” what colour, race and perceived nationality was he? How or what was the process of his miracles, far too many questions aren’t answered.
There are divine covenants which outline different stages of “church” of which Storm may or many not have answered. The main covenant of Christ was his “temple theology” which means the human heart is the construction of the new temple, not a building.
Spirit can communicate directly with the individual through various techniques and not in a group driven by ministers. So I’m dubious of Storm’s Hell account from the biblical theological perspective.
What I did find out is the bible is “Egyptian” the whole story of “Jesus” is Egyptian, but Storm hasn’t mentioned anything about that. I’m surprised Storm hasn’t interpreted complex eschatological symbolism in a new way if at all?
He merely said he saw Hell and that Jesus and the church is the only way. What about Indigenous people’s and other religions?
I would love to debate him live on his theological knowledge. Maybe he saw what he saw to bolster end timers who are “waiting” for Jesus to return. The whole concept of having spirit inside you negates any external manifestation of spirit coming to save one?