This is the fourth in a series of six essays by St. Cloud freethinker Joel Bartos.
There is no afterlife. Once you are brain dead you are in permanent blackout.
Everything that makes us conscious is in our brains. There are neurotransmitters, chemical-electrical impulses generated that make all of our thoughts, imagination, comprehension and memory, etc. When we die, all of this chemical-electrical activity comes to a halt. It ceases to exist. How can anything go on?
Your heart can stop, but your brain can still be functioning. You are not dead until a part in the brain stem shuts down and you die at that moment with no recovery.
A lot depends on how one dies. For example one can die suddenly in their sleep. One can get hit by a car, have a heart attack, pneumonia, etc.
Near death experiences involve feeling peace, seeing a tunnel, seeing relatives, etc. Generally a pleasant experience for those you have experienced it. Even an atheist had a near death experience and saw aliens and a red light. But you are not conscious of dreams nor near death experiences until after you start to wake up/regain consciousness. So if you never wake up or regain consciousness, you would never know you had the dream nor near death experience.