Roger Ebert: An ‘Atheist’ and a Death Bed Vision

Famed film critic Roger Ebert

Famed film critic Roger Ebert

Famed film critic Roger Ebert was widely thought by friends and colleagues to be an atheist . Although he himself apparently never owned that label, and in fact rejected all attempts to put a tag on his spiritual beliefs, if any, the fact that he talked little if at all about matters religious or spiritual led many to that conclusion.

Now, according to a report by his widow, it appears that Ebert had a number of death bed experiences or visions that sound and feel a lot like spiritual or religious encounters. At least once, he told his wife that, “This is all a big hoax.” When she asked what was a hoax, he told her he was referring to this life, this world. That, of course, is a very Eastern way of describing our present “reality”. In fact, mystics of all stripes maintain that Reality exists only outside of this physical experience, which is all illusion, or maya.

I am absolutely certain Ebert is/was right. This is a world of appearances. It contrasts directly and sharply with the world of Eternal Reality, which we can touch in rare moments and specific circumstances and which we can come to know through meditation. End-of-life experiences (ELEs) expounding that Truth are not common, at least in terms of what’s been reported and published, but I am certain there are many who reach this conclusion as they near the end of this physical journey. I know I did.


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