"Now I share
's fascination for NDEs, and I am nonplussed that theologians by and large seem content to ignore them" Gary
However, these scientists may have good reason to ignore them. Here is a great article on this sort of phenomena here. As Gary Habermas admits in his essay here, may of these events do not have very good evidential merit.
"In my own study of apparition cases, in spite of my very positive mindset, I hardly ever saw a case for which there were not several potential alternative theses. In fact, when even the best cases are studied, something regularly seems to be lacking."
So it seems to me that, by Gary's own admission, the burden of proof lies on the Theist to explain why they think that these apparitions constitute as proof of an afterlife, and not of vivid Hallucinations. However, I think that, even if one where to concede that apparitions are strong evidence in support of an afterlife, that they could still turn around and mount a powerful attack against traditional Christianity. To do this, one has to show that the apparition data is inconsistent with the Bibles teachings and thus, Christianity. The doctrine that stands out most quickly to me is the doctrine of hell. Traditional Christianity has always taught that not all will enjoy salvation. However, if within the vast amounts of apparitional data we find at least one case of a non-Christian enjoying his/her stay in the afterlife, than that should constitute as damning evidence against the doctrine of hell and, by extension, traditional Christianity as we know it.
Now, I'm not sure what Theologians would make of this sort of argument- perhaps they would find it convincing. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is why they are so hesitant to embrace the data in the first place! Personally, I see apparitional data as being, if anything, quite relieving to the atheist, since it offers some hope of an afterlife, even if we don't believe it.