Beliefs Culture

‘Heaven Is for Real’ — and for everyone in new film

Connor Corum plays Colton Burpo in "Heaven is for Real," a story of the boy's visions of a trip he said he made to heaven when he was critically ill in the hospital.

(RNS) Heaven is not only “for real,” it’s pretty much for everyone in the new movie based on the near-death experience visions of a precocious preschooler.

colton burpo

“Heaven Is for Real” book cover, photo courtesy of

The original book, “Heaven Is for Real,” was a 2010 sales sensation. Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo detailed his 4-year-old son Colton’s visions of a blue-eyed Jesus in a rainbow-bright afterlife populated with everyone his family ever loved.

The film’s co-producer, Dallas megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes, said he wants the film to prompt people “to explore the death, burial and resurrection of Christ,” especially as the film is released during Holy Week and Easter.

But where the best-selling book tagged every image — however tenuously — to a passage from Scripture, the film jettisons doctrine. Instead, it celebrates an unabashed “God is love” view that goodness in this life gets you, your friends and your family a crown and wings in the next.

This friend-and-family-plan approach rings all the bells of popular attitudes toward heaven. For conservative Christians, however, it’s the theological equivalent of feasting on marshmallow Peeps and calling it Easter.

“I don’t want to impugn the motives of the filmmakers who made this with good intentions as something helpful for the church at large. We just come down on the side that it’s not really that helpful,” said Chris Larson, president of Ligonier Ministries, which publishes and broadcasts traditional Christian teachings from a Reformed Protestant perspective.

“Heaven is a real place, not just a concept, and we know 67 percent of Americans agree with this,” said Larson, drawing on research Ligionier commissioned from LifeWay Research.

“We just wish many people would go to the Bible, rather than the cinema, to find out what heaven is. The Bible says there’s only one way to salvation — through Jesus.”

Larson has not seen the film, and he admitted: “I didn’t read all the entire book. I don’t have a strong enough stomach. When you are describing the Holy Spirit as a kind of blue-ish image, we have definitely entered into the realm of speculative spirituality. … Experience does not validate Scripture. Scripture validates experience.”

So he’s not likely to catch the film, in which Colton’s second sister (never born because their mother, Sonja Burpo, miscarried early in pregnancy)  grows into a little girl on heavenly turf and his long-dead great-grandfather strolls about in youthful prime although no one ever knew whether Pop accepted Jesus.

Such a “convenient heaven” is a dangerous thing, says Pastor Tim Challies of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, who shredded the book’s theology in his blog. He has no plans to see the film, although if his children wanted to go, he’d let them — providing they discussed the film with him.

Todd Burpo, played by Greg Kinnear, does rely on a Bible in several movie scenes. But, Challies said in an interview, “There’s a difference between Scripture being used to back up your point and explaining what it actually means.”

But who wants to tell the tough-love church lady played by Margo Martindale — a film character not in the book — that her soldier-son may not be in heaven after all? Who wants to tell mourners that their loved one won’t be coming back to life on earth, like Colton, with verbal snapshots of a nice big God on a nice big throne?

And who doesn’t want to munch on Junior Mints while enjoying the image of a Jesus hunk resembling a Hugo Boss model in a bathrobe? Challies, for one.

Challies knows he’s up against a cultural tide that celebrates “the heaven we want, the Jesus we want, not the Jesus we’ve really got who is worthy of worship and won’t allow unholiness in heaven.”

In a 2013 survey, Pew found that 74 percent of U.S adults say they believe in heaven “where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded.” That jumps to 80 percent for people who say they believe in “heaven” when the question is without any qualifications.

However, around one in five Americans was skeptical about heaven under any circumstances, Pew found.

While heaven books delight publishers with divine sales numbers, the afterlife actually isn’t a top-of-mind issue for many people: 46 percent told a 2011 LifeWay Research survey they never wonder whether they will go to heavenBut it’s unknown whether they are unconcerned because they already feel sure of their ultimate fate one way or another.

It’s a safe bet to go with the upbeat: Most U.S. adults (65 percent) told the 2007 Baylor Religion Survey they are certain they’re heaven-bound themselves someday.

They also said they believe heaven will be real for most or all of people who are:

  • Christians (82 percent)
  • Their family members (76 percent)
  • Their personal friends (70 percent)

After that, however, the numbers dive. Far fewer predict heaven for their neighbors (56 percent), or for “average Americans” (53 percent). And merely 36 percent expect  “nonreligious” to climb the stairway to heaven.  

Lisa Miller, in her new book, “Visions of Heaven: A Journey Through the Afterlife,” wrestles with questions across the centuries about the nature of heaven in the world’s many religious traditions. Photo courtesy of Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller, in her new book, “Visions of Heaven: A Journey Through the Afterlife,” wrestles with questions across the centuries about the nature of heaven in the world’s many religious traditions. Photo courtesy of TIME


Three years ago, former megachurch pastor-turned-author Rob Bell’s controversial book “Love Wins” posited that heaven and hell are simply choices. Bell said he was utterly uninterested in judging other’s destiny, particularly because, be believes, “the heart of God is to rescue everyone from everything we need to be rescued from.”

Traditionalists promptly branded Bell a hipster heretic who made way too much room for mystery.

But mystery is bound in the popular imagination of heaven, unmoored from 2,000 years of Christian teachings.

Lisa Miller, in her new book, “Visions of Heaven: A Journey Through the Afterlife,” wrestles with questions across the centuries about the nature of heaven in the world’s many religious traditions.

The idea of heaven has a hold on us, she writes, because, “We do not want our love to end.”


About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues


Click here to post a comment

  • A blessed Pascha to all!
    Now, to the question of Heaven: In addition to the Bible itself, particularly the New Testament, our Lord is unequivocal about who will be there–He makes no mystery about it! Did you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, help a stranger?, etc. If not, you’re not going to be there!
    And people don’t get wings because we are not angels–we’re human beings and, hopefully, saints in the making!
    The next book(s) you may want to look at are those written by C.S. Lewis, whom most people only know from his “Chronicles of Narnia” books and/or movies. Mr. Lewis, in addition to being a great teacher and scholar, was a great Christian apologist, who wrote in a down-to-earth style and wit that almost any reader can appreciate. Read what he says about Heaven and Hell and other religious subjects. Get ready for an adventure! A word of caution, though: Mr. Lewis agrees with our Lord!

  • Heaven is real. Only people who Repent/trust in Christ go to heaven!
    Many people today still want to go to heaven without Repenting but
    the Bible says Repent or perish and if people don’t Repent they’re lost!
    If people say they love Jesus and then don’t follow the Bible/religion
    no Truth is in them! Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and also in
    1 Corinthians 6:10 it says drunkards go to hell so why are people in
    church getting drunk? The wine Jesus made was new wine/diluted and
    the Bible says don’t get drunk on strong wine so people who get drunk
    with wine are also wrong! Many people today only want to talk about
    gay marriage or abortion so they don’t have to face their own sin like
    gettin drunk,gossip,gambling,being mean/sharp tongues,hate,sellin sex,
    coveting/jealousy,sleepin around,smokin cigars and these sins get swept
    under the rug. Jesus said you are one of Mine only if you continue in
    My teachings/follow Me and many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter
    heaven so people who think they can just say/do/live however and still
    go to heaven are in for a rude awakening on judgment day unless they
    Repent! Bible says Repent or perish not practice sin. We must Repent!
    Two guys were next to Jesus on the Cross and only one of them went to
    heaven! Why? Only one guy Repented. We all must Repent/follow Him!

  • Why is it that those who ascribe to the reformed position think the totality of reality revolves around that paradigm. Like every theological man (Calvin) based system, the reformed position has it’s flawed theology. There is a strange arrogance about it. I suppose the 4 year old should have brushed up on his theological position before having his NDE.

  • The thief on the cross had zero time to change his sinful behavior because he had no opportunity. He was nailed to a tree. So “repent” has not the definition (stop sinning) as you believe it does. You have not “stopped sinning” because you have a sin nature. To repent is to change your mind about sin, Christ ect. Everything starts with a thought :which lead to action. So to believe only those who have stopped sinning will receive eternal life, shows a fundamental misunderstanding in how we are Justified in the sight of God. He did it wasn’t you putting down that beer that saved you….it wasn’t not clicking on that porn site that saved you either…nor was it your feeding the homeless that sealed you for eternity……It was Him and Him alone and when you believed He died just for little ol you, you were saved and hidden IN HIM and His seed remaineth in you. Forever. That is the gospel truth.

  • BK-Did both guys next to Jesus on the Cross go to heaven? Only one did and that’s because only one guy saw his sin for what it was and he was the
    only one who Repented! Bible is clear people who practice sin and don’t
    Repent go to hell. Read all the Bible not just part of it. 1 Corinthians 5 and 6
    the whole chapters are a great start. If everyone that claims to be Christian
    goes to heaven why would Jesus say many will say to Me Lord,Lord and
    not enter heaven? Are the drunkards in the bar who are mean and still
    sleep around saved? Bible says to flee from all sexual immorality and
    the sexually immoral go to hell/along with drunkards. The Bible also says
    that if you have a sharp tognue your religion is worthless and people who
    don’t bridle their tongues will not escape the fires of hell. Coveting is a
    sin listed in 1 Corinthians 6 along with drunkards so why don’t people talk
    about sins like drunkards,coveting,sharp tongues,gossip,gambling,jealosuy,
    being mean,sellin sex,smokin dope,cigars,discord,hating,sleepin around?
    It’s because they create a god/idol to suit themselves which is called idolatry.
    The Gospel is good news but to know how good it is people have to see
    their sin and desperate need to flee to Cross/Repent and get forgivness for
    their sin. Grace is not a license to sin it’s gives us the power not to sin
    and people who practice sin will not inherit the kingdom of heaven…Period!
    If doesn’t matter how spiritual people are if they aren’t Biblical they are
    still lost/headed for hell. If people say they love Jesus and then don’t
    follow the Bible/religion no Truth is in them! We must Repent/follow!

  • Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to sin no more! He told
    her to change the behavior! It doesn’t matter how spiritual people
    are if they aren’t Biblical they are still lost/headed for hell. Jesus
    said many will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven because
    He knows that many that claim to be Christian don’t really love Him
    and won’t Repent/admit they are wretched sinners/their heart is very
    wicked. They just want to go to heaven. Why do you think so many
    people that claim to be Christian still get drunk,smoke dope/cigars,
    gossip,gamble,sell sex,be mean,covet/are jealous,still have sharp
    tongues and sleep around? They don’t want Jesus/the God of the
    Bible or want to Repent. They just want to go to heaven. The Bible is
    clear that peope like that are not children of God/will not inherit the
    kingdom of heaven! Why do you think so many false teachers get
    popular with their poor theology? It’s because so many people are
    only reading part of the Bible/only want blessings/to go to heaven
    and that’s it. That is why when someone starts to preach the Truth
    and against sin people get upset. They’re not really Christians/real
    followers of Christ. They just want to go to heaven and the Bible is
    clear that Christ will say to many so called “Christians” depart from
    Me you are a worker of iniquity I never knew you! We must Repent!

  • @Karla,

    Hell is the infamy of INFAMIES. To speak of it is as a real place is shameful, utter nonsense.

    Your theory requires that people believe the following story:

    God created humans sick and commanded them to be well.
    If they fail, which they are designed to do, they go to Hell.
    Oddly, the Bible ITSELF DECLAIMS this as utter nonsense while it contradicts itself on the question over and over again.

    Christianity is a delusion and a frightful, loveless theory of life.

  • @Karla,

    You said, “The Bible is clear people who practice sin and don’t
    Repent go to hell.”

    Not true at all!

    “Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do” – this is a blanket forgiveness to all of humanity.

    “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 5:22)
    This means, whether people believed or not, all were guilty of original sin. Similarly, whether people believed or not, all have been FORGIVEN. The price was paid. Done. NOBODY GOES TO HELL.

    “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin” – (Deut. 24:16)

    The Bible says NOBODY goes to Hell.
    Stop spreading the nonsense.

  • Max- Explain how the world/earth/sun/moon/stars/universe came about?
    If there is no God how did we all get here? You love to twist the Bible
    and you like most people who don’t believe in the Truth don’t want the
    Bible to be True/God to be real because you don’t want to be told how
    to live and it’s the same with many so called “Christians” today who
    create a god/idol to suit themselves so they don’t have to change and
    that’s called idolatry. The Bible says not to subtract from it or you go
    to hell so people who teach there is no hell go to hell because of that
    teaching! Ironic. Jesus Christ spoke more on/about hell and less about
    heaven to warn people because He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell!!
    If there is no hell why would Jesus go to the Cross/go through all that
    if there is no hell/punishment in the afterlife? How can you not believe
    in God? The Bible holds up because of the prophecy accuracy that
    came true! If Jesus was still in the grave why would the Roman soldiers
    lie and say the body was stolen? Read all of the Bible not just part and
    don’t twist the Scripture to fit into your flawed/false teachings! You are
    twisting the Scripture to fit into your own agneda of trying to undermine
    the Truth! The Bible is the Truth and the prophecy accuracy is why you
    can trust Jesus/the Bible/God! Jesus Christ is the Messiah/the Truth!

  • @Karla,

    If Accurate Prophecy is what you care about, why don’t you pay attention to science?

    Science has EXACTLY predicted to the minute when all of the solar and lunar eclipses would happen for more than 100 years.

  • Max- Jesus is real. I used to think just like you! God is real! Jesus is who
    He says He is and He died for you! You are loved by Christ. I don’t want
    you to go to hell. God created the world and gave scientists their gift of
    knowledge to show how real He/God is. Stop denying the Truth and give
    your life to Christ. Lee Strobel has a book called the case for Christ you
    should read it. Ravi Zaccharias has a book called Jesus among other
    gods and that is a good book to read as well.

  • @Karla,
    You say you can trust Jesus. But you cannot trust Jesus at all.
    JESUS commands from both sides of the same coin.
    It is just a parlor trick and grown ups must avoid it:

    “Love your enemies.” – Jesus (Matthew 5:44)
    “Kill MY enemies.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    “Do not judge others” – Jesus (Matthew 7:1)
    Judge others harshly: “If YOU deem [them] unworthy remove your blessings of peace” – Jesus (Matthew 10:3)

    “Blessed are the peace makers” – Jesus (Matthew 5:9)
    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace. I come NOT TO BRING PEACE but a sword.” – Jesus (Matthew 10:34)

    “Pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)
    “Do NOT pray in public” (Sermon on the Mount)

    “Love those who won’t listen” (Luke 6:27)
    “Abandon those who won’t listen” (Matthew 10:14)

    “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:27)
    “DON’T BLESS those who curse you” (Matthew 10:13)

    “Hate your parents”..Abandon them. (Luke 14:26)
    “Support your parents..never Abandon them” (1 Timothy 5:8)

    etc, etc…etc…

    It is all nonsense.

  • @Karla,

    It is very important to think for yourself and not follow orders, as you are doing.

    Preaching Hell – as you do – is nonsense. You have no evidence for Hell and it is dangerous to be fearful of it.

    The idea that Jesus loves everyone is sweet. But if true – IF He was God – why did he leave us with problems like this to interpret? :

    “…bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their king…EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    Yes, it is from his parable of the 12 Minas. That is the context.
 Jesus is the Nobleman in the story and he talks about how his enemies must be executed.
    Is this harmless? Of course not.

    Jesus is dangerous nonsense.

  • @Sister Geraldine Marie,

    By your biblical definition this 4 year old boy did not go to Heaven since he was too young to do any of these things:

    “feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, help a stranger..If NOT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE THERE.”

    So you admit this story of this little boy’s hallucinatory experience was nonsense.


  • @BK,

    Incoherent. Sorry, but that makes not a whiff of sense.
    Such is the harm of religion that people will encumber themselves and others with poor thinking.

  • @Karla,
    There isn’t a whiff of a reason to think anything about Jesus was real.
    The entire bible is man-made and it shows.

  • So you are saying that one should not worry about getting into heaven because whatever you think will get you there, means nothing. It all comes down to God feeling like letting you in. So don’t even bother trying.

    Heaven like being on line at a dance club, trying to get past the bouncer and being of average looks and means.

    Yeesh, that’s a pretty nasty-minded view of eternal bliss.

  • Why all the argument?
    This movie is an account of one child’s experience. So take it for what it is. People become hostile to each other when they feel threatened… like Max… He feels threatened because he fears. We who do not argue do not need to because we do not fear.
    Max, know the risen Christ and you you will not fear anymore. Keep your blinders on and the devil has already got you.

  • The book of Revelation states that ONLY 144,000 are to be bought from the earth. Re14:3

    There are also many verses throughout the bible that state the MEEK SHALL INERIT THE EARTH, whereas the wicked will be torn away. So heaven is real, but only a small amount of people are chosen to go.

  • So you are saying Max is being hostile because he does not believe in mythological places, like some others would. Or it could be that he is seeing the dangers when people forgo reason and common sense in favor of such things. Our society have seen enough stupidity, harm and dangers which come from such things to be worried.

    You are illustrating why magical thinking is so popular. It gives you a sense of irrational calm and a smug sense of community and self-importance. It feels good to have something like heaven to believe in so you can tell someone, “I am going there but you are not…unless you take me seriously”. To believe you are special and others are not. Egotism and passive aggressive patronizing drips from your posts.

  • And here comes the sectarian sniping. Being a good loyal Christian of another denomination is not enough. Now you have to be a Jehovah’s Witness. All other so-called Christians are doomed to perdition as evil vile heretics.


  • Gosh….I could spend so much time commenting on each one of your statements, Max. However, I never comment online, and the only reason I am doing so today is because it is the anniversary of the death of my handicapped baby, 27 years ago, April 21. (And I was sitting at the computer feeding a grandbaby). The world would have counseled us to abort her, as her life was sure to end prematurely. However, instead of suffering with the pain of abortion, we have the knowledge of a saint in heaven, four days old, who prays and intercedes for us each day. (My husband baptized her immediately in the delivery room). The comments you made were so very interesting, especially the references of Our Blessed Lord which seemed to contradict one another. I know that you will blow me off, but Jesus’ comments do NOT refute one another. One of the teachings of Jesus is the reality of Mt 16:18….”Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Our Lord established one, holy catholic and apostolic Church to give explanations for seemingly irreconcilable concepts. The quick version of salvation is to be open to Jesus and accept Him as Savior. (The good thief.) The day to day, 24/7, struggling version of living as a disciple of Christ is clearly outlined by the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Roman Catholic Church, which is full of sinners, who repent, who confess sins, and try again to live a life imitating Christ. I know you and most will tear me up, but that is OK…..I just invite you to read the early Church Fathers and recognize in their writings the Eucharist, and the other Sacraments,which our Lord instituted. Likewise, I would invite you to purchase Catholic Religion Proved by the Protestant Bible, published by New Hope Publications, Box 10, New Hope, KY 40052. (It is just a booklet….but it is dynamite!) Our Eternity has already begun. I pray at this moment that I will see you in the next dimension of Eternity, which WILL BE DETERMINED by the composite reality of how we live our lives in this dimension. (Which I am working toward “in fear and trembling” Phil 2:12). May God bless you and keep your mind open to Him in His fulness. By His grace, I am off to serve (Sister’s references to Scripture) and I will continue to work and hope for the salvation of my soul. (Ro 8:24-25). Glory to God!!! HE IS RISEN!!! Alleluia!!!!

  • The movie was not what I expected. I thought it would be more family friendly. The parents made many sexual comments to each other not to mention the many gag me deep throat make out sessions. The mom worse tight see through clothes. Even a lace see through no bra dress on date night. They constantly talked and fought about how broke they were. It made it seem like they were desperate for money. I just think it could have been made so much better.

  • I think sometimes we over analyze!! This was a little boy’s heavenly experience. This experience may be just what some people need to increase their faith. If they start searching- the movie is a great evangelizing tool. Let’s let the Holy Spirit do His work and pray for all who see this movie. I thank God for people who are not afraid to share their stories.

  • @Barbara,

    “so what?”

    Karla seems to think that prophecy – the predicting of things – is the PROOF that Jesus is real. But science is the true predictor, not revelation.

    Besides, Jesus knew what previous ‘prophets’ were saying the Messiah would do.

    If I go to a restaurant and order a steak well done and the waiter brings it to me, he isn’t fulfilling prophecy!!!

  • Fatima was a delusion.

    Why does the Holy Mother only appear to Catholics?
    Ever wonder about that?

    Why does Mohammed only appear to Muslims?

    Why does the Hummingbird Wizard only appear to the Aztecs?

    The mind is conditioned by indoctrination from childhood in a set of imaginary things – some are rather benign, like Santa Claus but others are insanely harmful like Allah, Jesus or Yahweh.

    These asserted, unfounded fantasies are causing deep and sometimes irreperable damage to individuals across society.

  • @Albie,

    I must challenge your assertions about your god. Not because you don’t have a right to believe them, but because in the public realm these notions must be confronted and challenged.

    You seem to think that God is against abortion. But the Bible says no:

    “Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer… Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts…they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, YET WILL I SLAY even the beloved fruit of their womb.” (Hosea 9:11-16)

    Jesus agrees, validates and enforces such passages. (JOHN 1:17)

    Would Jesus kill babies? Of course HE would.
    “Did not Moses give you the law [of stoning], and yet none of you keepeth the law” (John 7:19)

    “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:3).

    And though you may believe God exists – even believe that God is Jesus (incoherent nonsense) – there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for anyone else to believe it.

  • @apokalypse1,

    “Why all the argument”?

    Because the claim that Heaven exists is a dangerous, destructive, harmful lie – and it implies that Hell must be true also, an even more insidious and outrageous lie. The nonsense of an afterlife ruins the value of this life and destroys our capacity to think clearly.

    If one believes that there is an eternity waiting for us later, we will certainly treat this life as if it is nothing more than a doormat.

    Additionally, the list of requirements to attain ‘Heaven’ is outrageous on its face! If Jesus is correct that it is “easier for a Camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” – NOBODY IS GOING TO MAKE IT! Camels, do NOT fit through eyes of needles.

    This nonsense destroys societies and renders them incapable of thinking clearly. Just look at the insane posts in reaction to these outrageous claims.
    Abandon religion before it destroys you.

  • @Lauren,

    I saw the same thing in this film. Lots of sex. And I thought, ‘perfect, the God Virus is in full swing.’

    Denial of sexual freedom is part of the disease of religion, part of the control it wields over ‘believers’. More sadness, guilt and repression sprayed out over the world thanks to another dumb God story. Ugh.

  • @apokalypse1,

    There is no evidence of:
    Sin, Heaven, Hell, answered prayers, Devil, Zeus, Jesus, God, or angels.

    We do have evidence that FEAR of HELL corrupts people’s thinking entirely and forces them to make WRONG judgements about ALL of the above!

    People are so terrified of Hell they are willing to believe the completely stupid story that God became a Man to commit suicide on a cross to save Man from God’s own rules! An impossible story from beginning to end.

    Yet these outrageous, harmful, destructive claims of Heaven and Hell persist and cloud the thinking of otherwise very smart people. Religion is the worst sort of ancient cultural garbage.


    What good has come to the world from the belief that there are 72 Virgins waiting for each Muslim martyr in Heaven?

    And what good has come from Jesus wanting you to DIE FOR HIM?

    “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life FOR ME will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

    Destructive, cancerous nonsense.

  • I am amazed at all the differing attitudes to The Bible.
    I think that the western world would do well to bring back stories that I learned when I was a child, AEsop’s Fables! They illustrate how a truth can be illustrated by a story that is obviously not true.
    Lighten up, people. There is only one person in The Bible who is probably going to Hell, and that is Judas. Jesus said it would have been better for Judas if he not been born.
    We are not to think that this person is going to Heaven or that person is going to Hell. We are only to concern ourselves with our own life. If there is no Hell, why is there “the weeping and the gnashing of teeth?”
    I am interested in the person who found contradictions. I would be surprised if there were none. Everything must be taken in context, not just a phrase here and there. I doubt if the person making these statements could have his/her own life examined for consistency like he is doing. I know I couldn’t. Some days I feel good and some days rotten.
    Another thing, when did smoking cigars become a sin? And as to the drunk Christians, is he speaking of taking a sip of sacramental wine?
    The reason one must do good works is because that external action reveals the internal attitude of belief in being saved, not because the action itself has any redeeming value.

  • @El Gato,

    You present this as if it just a bunch of optional stuff – like moral stories or fables – and we should not get so excited about it.

    But there are real world consequences as a result of believing these Religious claims (unlike Aesop’s fables) – real people are dying as a result of these ridiculous God beliefs:

    “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (Surah 48:29)

    “bring to me my enemies….Execute them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
    “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life FOR ME will find it.” – Jesus (Matthew 16:25)

    “Everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.” (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    THIS IS NOT A GAME or a debate about fables.
    Religion is a cultural CANCER and it needs to be abandoned.

  • BK is right. It is Christ’s saving power. When we decide for Christ – that decision is an action – a free willed conscious action with conviction that we know ourselves that it is sincerely made. That admission was made by the Good Thief. The grace of God poured over both – enlightening them to the truth. The Good thief contemplated and believed. The other thief was also encouraged by the Good Thief to consider who Jesus was… but he chose not to. So the Good thief in choosing Christ was completely forgiven of all his sins which he acknowledged as just reasons for his punishment. Whereas the other thief was not sorry at all for all the harm he did and refused to seek God’s forgiveness. He was given the same opportunity as the Good Thief to decide for God and he did not. So through his actions he chose Hell.

    In the Bible – good and evil are presented in every form. God’s Ten Commandments – a simple set of commandments to keep us in good shape need to be followed to help us journey towards God if we follow them in word and in spirit. The Beatitudes give us the Way to live the Ten Commandments. The Books of Proverbs, Wisdom, Ecclesiatics, Song of Songs – need to be contemplated further to give us more insights into human behavior and nature.

    We are created by God… so the above books are maintenance manuals so to speak… if we do not learn the ways of God when we do not explore the avenues available to us… we are then making that conscious decision not to follow God and open our lives for evil to possess us. The devil will manipulate such souls with 99% of the truth so they will buy into the 1% of lie he sells them to keep them away from God.

    God gave us an intellect which He does not manipulate and expects us to use it to make the right decisions. He sends us soft urgings… you know that little voice which we sometimes hope we had listened to? The sources of our thoughts come from two sources – from God and His agents and secondly from the devil and his agents. To discern whether they are from God… none of God’s thoughts will cause us to do any harm to any one in any degree… as in cheating in relationships or in finance [someone is harmed] – taking of innocent life [ capital punishment laws to deter murder and just wars are not included. In the case of just wars… it needs to be further discerned on the purity of intention for the same…]. More over God never makes us feel guilty – He is our creator and He knows how frail our nature is since sin entered our lives… He is there for us to call out to for help… then we must discern in silence for His response.

    Jesus did not even hold His persecutors and torturers responsible as He knew they weak in their knowledge of Him and were easily manipulated by the evil one and his agents. The Pharisees were not exempt because they had the deposit of faith and chose not to discern the Truth themselves… so since they misled their people they will have to be accountable to God for the same…. But God’s mercy is so unfathomable that even if the Pharisees see light in their particular judgment {which takes place at our physical death} and they acknowledge God’s mercy and ask for forgiveness.. God will still forgive them and allow them to make restitution in purgatory [if necessary] before entering heaven. But if their souls remain hardened and refuse to ask God’s forgiveness then the only other place available is Hell for them to go to.

    The Good Thief bypassed purgatory because through his repentence his spiritual eyes were opened and he was able to see Christ as the Savior despite the fact that Christ lay hanging on a Cross next to him. The good thief did not respond to the doubtful thoughts which were temptations to reject Christ and simply believed it was Christ because of Christ’s lack of resistance to carry and die on the Cross.

    When one contemplates sincerely on these matters with God – God will never fail to answer. It is good to have a journal book to record the time spent with God

  • So you say that Hell is “the infamy of INFAMIES” ?? Wow, that’s some heavy infamy dude.

    But since you also claim that Hell doesn’t exist, how could Hell be infamous at all????

  • Helen-There is no purgatory! It’s either people go to heaven or
    they go to hell…Period! Read all of the Bible not just part of it.
    If people can go to hell then get out that would be works and
    works don’t get us in heaven! Only Repenting/trusting Christ does!

  • Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that
    drunkards go to hell. The wine Jesus made was new wine/diluted and
    the Bible says don’t get drunk on stong wine for it’s debauchery! You
    are right about hell being a place of torment/weeping/gnashing of teeth.
    Smokin cigars is messing with the persons body which is the temple of the
    Holy Spirit and we are not to defile our temple/body with cigars/we aren’t
    to be drunk. Hell is real and you are right on about works not saving us.
    Only Repenting/trusting is Christ saves us so that no person can boast.

  • Dear Larry, the movie just points out to us of God’s desire for us all. He created us originally for paradise and humankind was in paradise until sin entered. Our lives on earth are lives of exile. Our final destination is Heaven or hell.

    There is another place in the kingdom of heaven called purgatory where those who make a deathbed conversion to make reparation for their sins before entering Heaven. It is part of God’s mercy… since nothing defiled can enter heaven, God places us in another area where we can make restitution, and learn of the ways of God so we will find Heaven to our liking.

    When we die we take our knowledge and personality with us… imagine if we were ushered into heave and come face to face with someone we had harmed in life or who has brutally harmed us… it would be difficult to reconcile ourselves with that encounter. Heaven then would not be our idea of Heaven.

    So in purgatory we are prepared for such encounters and see sin for what it is and understand how our fallen nature is susceptible to sin – learn the art of forgiveness and embrace love for what love is. In purgatory we work with God at our own pace. We can choose to do our purgatory here as well… by studying and living the ways of God.

    Change is always difficult and the struggles that go with change can be offered up to God so we can unite our will with His and become true children of God.

    So Heaven is for Real movie – based on a true story of a little boy who journeyed into heaven – is God’s way of letting us know that Heaven is not a myth. In the Catholic world we have numerous such events over the centuries which are chronicalled by the Church. There are many now occurring to people of all faiths and no faith… as God is trying to reach us all.

    After seeing the movie… start researching on the Way of Life Christ intends us to have to take advantage of this grace filled moment. God is welcoming all but the prerequisite is we need to follow His commandments. It is the only way to develop a relationship with Him and to avail ourselves to His help. He has given us free will to choose Him or not. He has chosen all of us through creating us.

    Living the Christian life is a challenge… there is always a human tendency to come up with our own brand of Christianity. Our efforts to live the authentic Christian life is up to us. When we choose to do it … we develop an intimate relationship with God and our eternal bliss will be greater for it than we do not. Moreover we can begin experiencing an inkling of heavenly even on earth.

  • Jesus does talk about hell:Mark9:42-47.
    “Where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched”. Mt 5:29-30.
    The children at Fatima were shown a vision of hell that scared them so much that they started performing acts of sacrifice so sinners would repent and not end up there. If there’s no afterlife , when I die, I’ll never know. But if there is, I’ll know forever. I’d better be good.

  • Dear Atheist Max, sickness is one of the consequences of sin entering our lives. When God first created paradise there was immortality for human kind – no sickness, no falsehoods of any kind. Nonetheless God did not want humankind to be likened to puppets or robots… He gave us a gift of free will – to choose His Way or the Evil Way. The angels who were created before human kind were given the same choices.

    God is Love. For the definition of love read 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4-6. Love is an action, so it is used as a verb. Love does not restrict so God who is Love created us with no restrictions, knowing full well we may rebel against Him.

    He gave the Ten Commandments, books of Proverbs, wisdom etc to enlighten ourselves about the spiritual invisible world that co-exist with us.

    It was the choice of the first human race to rebel and we thus suffer the consequences of sin. If the first human race did not rebel we would all be in heaven and will not know any better.

    To understand the Bible you will have to open yourself up to the Catholic understanding of the Bible since the Catholic Church put the Bible together after Jesus ascended into heaven and not just rely on the sources you have. Then objectively compare both sources and ask God to help you in the discernment.

    A good source is EWTN which will lead you to other sources.

    Until you try that exercise the Bible will remain a book of contradictions

  • How did science get that knowledge? The bible says the Gifts of the Holy Spirit include: Knowledge, Counsel, Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

    God endows us with all those gifts that we can choose to develop for the benefit of good or evil. In our particular judgment we will be accountable for the gifts and our use of them.

  • The holy Mother has appeared all over and to people of all faiths. Research and you will find this. The Catholics recognize her for who she is and have promoted mostly.

    She appeared to a native american Juan Diego in Guadalupe and cause the conversion of the nation and a halt to infant sacrifice.

    She appeared to people of India, middle east to Muslims and Japan to name a few.

  • It is interesting that you say Christians hate; yet, most all your comments are hate-full against Christians and Jews. irony. The only man that had a whole book written about him before he was born was Jesus. Everybody else who claims truth has no book written before they were born; Buddha, Muhammad, Edgar Casey etc. We are made in the image of the Father, and Jesus came down to show us how to image the Father. Jesus never killed anybody. Jesus loves you very much and wants you in the Kingdom of God for all eternity beside him. Most people who reject Jesus I have found desire for sin in their life, adultery, fornication, abortion, lust etc. These people do not love or they will never know how to love until they come to know Jesus. Happy Easter!

  • Max….and all who agree with him:
    I don’t understand how anyone can say there is no evidence for the existence of God….take off your self important blinders and just look around! From the incomprehensibly vast universe above to the careful engineering of a centipede’s leg below, the claim that it is all a cosmic accident stretches the imagination to say the least! And the Creator responsible for that is actually a personal God! He created you, Max, and desires you to know that! He actually became a man and created a Church to help you understand it! Don’t settle for believing the lie that your entire life consists of only 80 or 90 years! If for nothing else right now, consider Pascal’s wager and at least give it a thought….you may have a wonderful eternity open up to you!

  • @RBK,

    1. Look around. Take off your “self-important” glasses and see that God answers no prayers. Every supposed ‘answered prayer’ has better explanations than intercession by a god. If you deny this then you must explain why God hates Amputees so much – no arm or leg has ever grown back despite all the faith possible.

    2. Just because you can’t explain why things happened doesn’t mean “God did it” – that is foolish. Lightening was explained by ‘Thor’ not long ago. Now we know the truth.
    Never has a scientific answer been overturned by a religious explanation – EVER.

    3. Paschal’s wager is an extraordinarily wasteful thing to do. If God exists what sort of God would not know that you were faking it? And what is the value of such a God? Why would he be worthy of worship?

    4. Just because you don’t know how the universe started doesn’t mean it had to be a ‘god’ – that answers nothing. And then you’d have to ask where that God came from? And how do you know it wasn’t 100 gods? or 1000 gods which started the Universe?

    5. Obviously if God exists he doesn’t care whether we believe in him or not. There are 40,000 religions in the world. Either ONE of them is correct or NONE of them is correct – since they are all mutually exclusive. So most of the world already believes in the WRONG GOD!
    Does God intercede to show us which religion is correct? Absolutely not – because the decision is completely up to you, NOT the gods!

  • @Leo,

    But I don’t hate Christians, Jews or Muslims. That is a slander!

    I hate the belief in the same way a doctor hates cancer.
    I hate the affliction not the victim.
    I hate Cancer – not the cancer victim.

    Unlike cancer, religion can be cured.

    ALL of the hate and tribalism I report is coming from the religions.
    ALL of them HATE non-believers for example.

    I have already said I do NOT hate the believers. Only the ridiculous, shameful beliefs they hold.

  • No. You are incorrect.

    Guadaloupe and the places you mentioned all had Catholic missions. The people who saw the Holy Mother were already Catholics who were directly connected to or from families already ‘converted’ by the missions.

    Never has Mary appeared to Jews, Muslims, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Mormons or countless others – ONLY to Catholics.

    Of course it is wishful and biased. It is delusional and self explanatory.

  • @Helen,

    You ask “How did science get that knowledge”?

    OBSERVATION. That is how.
    We look and we can measure the freezing temperature of water.
    We look and we can measure the distance of stars and moons.
    We look and we can see how everything is made.

    The only mystery left is why anybody could bother with the idea that God exists. Love and Curiosity are enough to live with. God is completely unnecessary, invisible and frankly, very dangerous.
    God is “Unobservable” and “indemonstrable” and can be dismissed entirely and without paying any price at all.

  • @Helen,

    You said, “God gave us a gift of free will”

    If free will is a “gift” – then we never had it!
    If free will exists – there is no sign that it was “a gift”!

    You are told by Catholicism that you are born in sin and are on a conveyor belt to Hell. That is your doctrine.

    But you are also told by Catholicism that Jesus is God incarnate – that Jesus is your Savior from Hell. Just grab hold of Jesus and you are no longer on the conveyor belt to Hell.

    So who operates the conveyor belt? God.
    That is why the whole theory is insane. It makes no sense at all.

  • Living life as a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu is all completely unnecessary and a lot of extra work – for nothing.

    There is no reason to any of it.
    Self-imprisoning nonsense.

  • If you look online at the near-death-experience websites, you will see that these experiences vary WIDELY!!!!! GOD is more than we think HE is and far B I G G E R !!!!!

  • Max:
    1. How can you claim that no prayers are answered? (That’s pretty high and mighty of you). Do you pray? For what? An end to poverty or illness? Maybe your giving to a charity or helping at a clinic is someone else’s answered prayer. Maybe, just maybe Max, you are being used by God to answer someone’s prayer!
    2. I still don’t think you really believe that the universe and all it’s incredible diversity came about by accident. Then what caused it? “Religion” doesn’t have to overturn science… in fact proves the existence of an intelligent Creator.
    3. Sorry to confuse you (or anyone reading this) with the mention of Pascal’s wager….it was only meant to try to get you thinking of the consequences of your life’s direction. If you are right, then we both win nothing and lose nothing. If I am right, I win everything and you lose everything.
    4. See #2 above.
    5. Why would you say that God does not care if we believe in Him? Why would he create beings with the capacity to fathom Him, yet not care? Doesn’t make sense….He does care, very deeply; in fact, Christians believe that he actually took the form of man and lived among us. He showed us which “religion” is correct- not the one with 40,000 “gods”, but the one in which the true God will examine everyone’s heart and conscience. He will not vengfully send anyone to Hell…..he will, though, allow people to spend eternity without Him if they so wish. You are right, Max….it is up to you. I sincerely pray that you make the life changing decision to embrace Him.

  • Everyone seems to have their own impression of who will get to heaven and who will not, but in the final end that will be the decision Jesus makes. Someone may repent in their final breathe, who knows? All we need to is to worry about getting ourselves there and praying for those we are concerned about that seem to not have the qualities to get there. Jesus will take it from there. The totally unforgivable sin is, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which would be unbelief in God. Those people have condemned themselves and disappointed God, their Creator.

  • reading all the comments … you seem to be trying so hard to convince others. Could it be doubt so deep down inside your “soul”? Maybe your struggling and forcing it away by spouting your own superiority or just trying to get to people to make their blood pressure rise. I find in life the people who work so hard to deny the Truth are the ones who eventually be come the most powerful Evangelists. True happiness is through the Lord. Try it – you will find it the most freeing event of your life.

  • To all who debate the reality of God – you are free to choose what you believe, but sometimes life throws you into a position where you cannot deny the existence of God. I can tell you from my own life’s experiences that physical life is not all that exists. Some examples include my prayers and sacrifices for my mother to be delivered from alcoholism in my younger years (without her knowledge) and my choosing not to give in to despair, resentment and self-pity and finally hearing one day from her lips that she was inspired one day, before taking a drink, to say “Jesus, this is for you.” and stop from that moment and never drink another drop. Also, my husband and I woke up to our bed shaking while we were fast asleep, and other family members have also witnessed strange unexplainable things happening at the death of a family relative and I can attest that we are all a very sober, loving, close, caring family who try to live our faith out every day through good and bad days. So many examples that I could give, but there isn’t enough space for it all. It is my belief that God allows us sometimes to witness these things but we may be called afterward to suffer trouble and still choose to do good and help others. The strength I find to do this comes from God’s love for me and finding hope in Him. Ultimately, it comes down to having faith, hope and love, along with living in humility (honesty). I do not condemn anyone, but hope and pray and try to live so that others do find hope and eternal life. God bless you all.

  • @Swami Joy,

    Religion is cynicism.
    The idea of God is the biggest personal cop-out a person can claim.

    “God says I must…” – removes my responsibility.
    “God says I can’t..” – removes my responsibility.
    “Dear God, please..” – removes my responsibility.
    “God says He will…” – removes my responsibility.
    “God wills it…” – removes my responsibility.
    “God did it..” – removes my responsibility.
    “I must do it because He says God wants me to…” – hands my personal responsibility to another person.

    Atheists believe in personal responsibility. We own our lives and behave accordingly, which is why so many Atheists avoid prison.

    We are 7% of the population but make up only .05% of the prison population.

    Atheists are not cynical. We believe in humanity.

  • @RBK –

    Show me a single reliable case of an arm or leg growing back thanks to prayer and I will retract my claim that “prayers are NOT answered”.

    It is outrageous that anyone can claim their prayer was answered while 2000 years of AMPUTEE prayers to Jesus have been entirely rejected.

    If God won’t heal a single amputee in 2000 years but will provide a parking space for grandma, I won’t accept it and that sort of God isn’t worthy of worship.

    Show me ONE case of an amputee growing back a limb.
    Otherwise it is inhumanly cruel beyond words to claim that God has answered other people’s prayers.

    Why does God hate amputees?

  • @Li,

    I would love to give it a rest but you know what? I am speaking up about the religious take-over of USA laws.

    Atheists are mostly former believers. We are tired of the ways in which religion is being forced on us at every turn WITHOUT DEBATE – as if the doctrine of Jesus’ blood sacrifice is just a given fact of life!

    These faith-based agendas are fully funded by Evangelicals:

    Creationists are pushing their agendas into our schools.
    State Legalized Murder of Doctors – South Dakota
    Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature

    PREACHING of the Bible IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS – Hobby Lobby $$
    Blocking family planning services – Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Louisiana
    Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington

    Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)

    Anti-Gay laws – Texas

    Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina, Virginia, Ala, Lo., Fla.

    Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota, TX, Kansas
    Creationism to fully replace Science Education: 12 States
    Seizing of Palestinian lands to rebuild Temple Israel to prompt God to send the 2nd coming of Jesus- $100 million last year alone.

    This agenda is a concerted effort and it is creating by fiat, an oligarchy in the USA.

  • Amen Sister,, thank you for your response.. and we know that the BIBLE is not all the source our Lord has left us in HIS teachings.. HE LEFT HIS SACRED TRADITIONS… JESUS has given us the great writings of the Saints.. Little Colton had no idea about his sister.. he had no idea about his grandfather. OUR LORD is using many near death experiences for their personal testimony to convert sinners, to convert atheists and to show ALL the world that the SUPERNATURAL world does exists and is all around us.. The Holy Spirit can come down upon a soul.. The blue light was the Blessed Mother as we know this from the writings of the saints as well as personal experiences of those who she has come to.. May Colton tell the truth about the Blessed Mother in which he saw as his father has asked him to deny.. for that alone is a great sin. For this pastor who does not understand we will shall pray for him to study the first chosen of Jesus, the EARLY CHURCH FATHERS,, St. Peter to start with.
    ( Matthew 16:18 ).. maybe then he will see that the BIBLE is not the only source of Our Lords great works.. especially the Protestant Bible ( which came from the Catholic Bible ) after Martin Luther took the bible and took 7 books out of and changed the books he did not agree with, so the Kings James Bible is not the real Bible or holds the TRUTH. All you have to do is to love JESUS enough to study HIS SACRED TEACHINGS with the EARLY CHURCH FATHERS as did Dr. Scott Hahn, Alex Jones, Allen Hunt and Tim Staples.. all former Protestant Pastors from Mega Churches now CATHOLIC…
    Go do your own research and ask GOD and the HOLY SPIRIT to lead you to the TRUTH and HE will !! St. Padre Pio pray for us..

  • God can take anyone to visit HEAVEN at anytime HE choses and HE does so.. St Faustina was taken to HEAVEN, HELL and PURGATORY and so was Dr. Gloria Polo who was struck by lighting and died.. She will be giving her testimony in Atlanta Ga next month.. FREE so come and learn, GOD does take may souls to HEAVEN..HE IS GOD AND HE CAN DO ANYTHING!! HE DELIVERS THE POSSESSED SOULS AND HE CURES THE SICK MIRACULOULSY … PRAISE BE TO JESUS

  • Max, I will pray for you because HELL is real and it will be so sad for you if you don’t convert.. You think we just all showed up here one day after the destruction of the dinosaurs. You really think we just formed out of the thin air ?? REALLY ??? how ridiculous…
    Tonight MAX get on your knees and close you eyes and say this simple prayer.. GOD COME IN TO MY HEART… since you don’t think there is one.. then you have nothing to worry about right…. so do this pray and see what GOD does with your life… YOU will be greatly rewarded in ways you could not even imagine…

  • I just want to make a quick comment to the (atheist)..My name is Pam. I can testify to you that Jesus Is alive and well! I lived a life full of sin for many years. I was depressed and decided after 15 years to start praying the rosary every day with my 3 children. one night after putting the kids to bed the Blessed Virgin came in my room! With A very tender mother’s voice I heard “confession my child”I went to confession that week .

  • @Pam,

    When I was a Christian I had similar experiences. I was a believer for 44 years.
    Your experience doesn’t prove god is real. It proves you believed God was real enough for you to hallucinate something to confirm your beliefs – this is more common than you might think.

    I can’t prove you didn’t have a mystical experience.
    But my explanation is just as good as yours if not better, since previous evidence of similar occurrences are common.

    People truly believe they were lifted up and brought onto UFO’s. I can’t prove they are wrong but there is no reason to believe it really happened. It is far more likely that it is delusional.

    None of this denies you the right to believe what you want.

  • I would like to contrast the children’s response and courage at Fatima, when
    they were persecuted and questioned beyond belief. They spoke the truth,
    courageously, after seeing OUR BLESSED MOTHER> Why? They were given the grace !!! I cannot believe Our Lord would not bestow the grace of wisdom
    and courage upon this boy, Colton. He suddenly cannot remember meeting GOD’S MOTHER? One false statement contradicts the entire story, in my opinion. I feel this is a fabrication.

  • Max:
    I know this is difficult to understand, but God does love amputees. Did he cause the amputation? No. Did he allow it to happen? Yes. Why? Because it is useful in his plan for humanity. How does that possibly help humanity? It can evoke compassion, empathy, assistance, strength. Don’t only look for the earth shattering “miracle” of a limb suddenly growing back….look instead for the miracle of God’s grace…..inspiring people to invent technology to build an amazing prosthetic (my wife was watching Dancing with the Stars…one of the contestants is dancing (!) on two prosthetic legs!)
    All prayers are answered… may think this is a cop out but sometimes the answer is “no”,…..for a very good reason that someday we will understand. I really pray you open your heart to God’s grace.

  • That’s even more depressing and infantile. The only life you clearly know anything about being less important than some hazy, barely described, mythological afterlife as set down by clergy long ago who were making stuff up as they go along.

    [Most of what people associate with Hell comes from Dante’s musings and long lost in-jokes rather than religious texts]

    The movie is about a child who suffered a hallucination which was specific to the culture he was raised in. One which resonates with popular mythology of the audience. A near death experience is not death. Its not even near death. Somehow it always reflects the religion of the victim A Jewish, Buddhist or Hindu’s NDE would display a much different view of the afterlife than yours (none at all). So does that means your take on heaven is incorrect, or theirs? Or is it just subjective?

    If what people see during NDEs are proof of the eternal, I should convert to Buddhism and take my chances with rebirth and nirvana. 🙂 It is much more pleasant than your version of an afterlife.

  • The book HEAVEN IS FOR REAL was a fascinating read for me.  For many it has given them hope for eternal life.  To me, this is a far too important a subject to put my hope in a little boy’s experience.  I wanted to see what God had to say so I went to the Bible.  I have written a Bible study about heaven.  I would be delighted to send you a free copy.  Email me at [email protected] and I will email you a copy.  If you have only seen the movie, I would suggest you read the book.  The movie changed somethings, add things that did not happen and left out some great material.

  • @RBK,

    “God does love amputees.”
    Not one of them ever grew back a limb. Despite 12 direct promises like this:

    “And WHATEVER you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask ANYTHING of me in my name, I WILL DO IT. “(John 14:13-14)

    This prayer has never been answered – ever – in all of recorded history for a single amputee. Pointing out that some atheists – in their mercy – created some prosthetic limbs should embarrass you. Your God failed.

    “How does that possibly help humanity? It can evoke compassion, empathy, assistance, strength…”

    How unethical is it, how immoral, to claim the pain and suffering of some innocent child’s loss of legs or arms (or both!) is for your personal improvement? How incredibly cruel. The holocaust victims will be happy to know you are a better person thanks to their suffering.

    “All prayers are answered”
    Talk about delusional. Religion is cancerous, indeed.

    Better to be honest. There is no need for a god if Atheists can create Prosthetics for poor children – as we do every day.

    This delusional nonsense is harmful and we need look no further than in the cruelty of your reply.

  • Max:
    Our God enabled the intelligence for humanity to create prosthetics, yet He failed? I don’t get your “logic”….(or your claim that atheists seem to be the saviors of the world!) And apparently compassion, empathy, strength are bad, selfish things….All you’re proving is that the fruits of atheism are sadness and cynicism.

  • According to the Bible, heaven is made up of children and unless we become as a child we will not enter there. Childlike means we are humble and simply trust. This is what the thief on the cross did and he was with Christ in Paradise that day they both died. This thief did not have time to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. He only believed that Jesus was who he claimed to be. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • @RBK,

    How did Atheist prosthetics become God’s idea?
    That is like thanking the British Red Coats for the American Revolution!
    It like thanking snowstorms for snow tires!

    And you don’t to say Atheists are inadvertently doing the Lord’s work by creating alternatives where God refused to do anything –
    and at the same time condemn Atheists to Hell for being Atheists.

    What then is the value of God’s grace? If Atheists are solving the problems what is the point of God? Where does God step in? The Atheists are God’s right hand?

    Life preservers were invented by people who didn’t put their faith in God
    but in their own observations of life and death on the seas.

    You don’t get to say – “aha! That was God’s plan all along! To get humans to solve their own problems!”

    Here’s a clue: We don’t need God for that.

  • Ok….let’s look at life through your eyes. When your earthly existence ends there is nothing but unconscious oblivion. No God, no Heaven, no Hell, no consequences for your life. Why would I not live my life as if I were the only important thing in the world? It doesn’t make sense for me not to think that the universe would be mine, that everything exists solely for my pleasure. I wouldn’t give a rat’s rear end for amputees or starving children because I would know that their (and my) lives are ultimately meaningless. On the flip side, I would logically conclude that everyone would feel that way…..I would live with my head on a swivel because I couldn’t trust my neighbor not to kill me for the fun of it. We would live in a world of self gratifying, paranoid hedonists. What a paradise!

    But we do not live in such a world. Humanity for the most part does not behave that way. Why? Because there is something in us that lifts us out of that selfish mindset….an empathy for others, an appreciation of the world around us as a gift to everyone. What is that little spark within us? We call it a soul, a spark of divinity given by God….we are made in His image, to live a life of eternity. You have a soul, Max, whether you believe it or not. Think about that and imagine the possibilities that open to you.

  • @RBK,

    I understand your concern about how people would behave if they did not believe in or fear a God. At first glance – all appears to be chaos.

    But it is only an appearance.
    You have been conditioned by religion to believe that all is lost without a God. I was a Christian for 44 years and felt similarly. It is one of the harms of religion that we are told such things.

    Consider the evidence:
    The Good Samaritan may have been an Atheist. He wasn’t a Christian (as Jesus is telling the story) and he wasn’t among the religious individuals who Jesus speaks about as those who pass by the sick person. Yet his behavior is exemplary. This is one Parable that Atheists understand completely.

    Atheists have morality – and it is strikingly more powerful and more demanding than the morality of religions. Atheists are not necessarily any more or less hedonistic than Christians – but we are less likely to feel that we will “be forgiven” if we push it too far. We tend to behave well because we know there is no redemption later.

    Consider :
    Atheists are at least 6% of the population. Yet almost none of them are in prison! The prisons are full of Christians.

    Atheists are exemplary members of society. Most physicists and doctors are atheists. So it is no evidence that lack of belief in a God changes people for the worse.

  • Max:
    That is my point… would only be logical to behave as a self indulgent hedonist if there really was no consequence to your life. Why would you behave well if there is nothing to redeem? But you don’t act that way….I have no doubt that you are an exemplary member of society. But I wonder what it is within you that guides you to that “morality” when everything you seem to profess denies any real meaning to a person’s life. I think maybe your soul is crying out to you to rethink your position.

    Not to change the subject, but I’m really sorry you have misplaced your faith after being a Christian for 44 years. Was there anything in particular that drove you away….someone saying something, acting hypocritically, Church scandals?

  • @RBK,
    I’ve spoken of my change of mind from faith to atheism with others here – my journey, i have learned, is not unusual. The shock that god probably does not exist was quite a turning point for me. I can’t prove god doesn’t exist but there is no reason to believe in it as far as I can tell. And I don’t believe.

    Morality is easier to explain.

    First, consider how little faith in God religious folks really have:

    They stop as stop lights – why? Wouldn’t it be fine to just ‘trust jesus?’
    They take medicine – why do that, If you had 100% faith in God?
    They get vaccinated
    install lightening rods
    keep electrical appliances away from water
    check their tires
    hire babysitters (why not just let Jesus watch them?)
    hire lawyers (why not just trust Jesus, let the legal chips fall wherever they may?)

    All of this sounds silly, but it isn’t. You are doing all of those things because you already don’t believe that Jesus can (or would) necessarily protect you – no matter how much faith you have.

    I’m the same person.
    I stop at red lights just as I did before.

    In the same way, my morality hasn’t changed except perhaps for the better.
    I don’t rape – wouldn’t cross my mind to hurt anyone. Why start?
    Anyway, I’d like to not go to jail.
    I have only one life – why screw it up?

    Instead of praying for friends who are in need (as I once did) I drop everything and go see them – there is nothing helpful about prayers.
    Instead of crossing my fingers and telling a lie knowing that I can ask God for forgiveness later – I just tell the truth as I now know there will probably be no redemption later.

    I see Christians who behave horribly and clearly they believe they will be forgiven later when they ask for forgiveness from God.
    I see now how bad that is. The promise of forgiveness encourages awful behavior. That is what people need to think about – and that is why Atheists are (very often) extremely moral people.

  • Max:
    I’m sorry….I just don’t (and probably never will) understand your thinking. We are physical beings (eternal, yes, but for now physical) living in a physical world with physical laws that we must obey. If we drive too fast, we could get in an accident; if we are careless with electricity, we will get zapped; we can get sick, we will even die. You seem to think that God has to be a physical baby sitter, literally holding your hand as you go through life. He could do that, but do you want to be a robot or puppet? God wants you to live in this life enjoying it as you can, suffering through it as you must (He does have a purpose for your life). You are obviously (and often rightly so) disappointed in the actions of believers. But do you really base all your decisions on what others do? We are all sinners, that is our nature (even you). If asked with sincerity forgiveness will be given…don’t be misled by stories of people doing what they want thinking they have some kind of get out of jail card; that is not the case and I think you know that.

    Visiting friends in need is a noble thing….praying for them as well is even better; this shows that you are not only interested in the physical life, but their eternal, spiritual well being as well. I pray for the safety and well being for my family and friends all the time…there are many stories (that in your current state of mind you probably wouldn’t believe) of miraculous occurances that have saved lives; mainly though we pray that they become closer to God and understand more fully His love for us.

    I did notice a “‘probably’ doesn’t exist” and a “‘probably’ no redemption” in your note above….I am praying that slight doubt you have about atheism will open your heart back to God.

  • The Bible says heaven is real, so it’s real.
    What we know about heaven isn’t important.
    What is important is if you know you CAN’T get to Heaven because of the things you’ve done wrong.
    We’re not talking about the things you’ve done right as that is what you were supposed to be doing all along.
    What about the things you’ve done wrong?
    The Bible says “All have sinned” and says “The price for sin is death”.
    How are you going to pay the death price for sin?
    The price has to be paid and the price is your death “eternal separation from God”.
    I can’t pay the price for what I’ve done wrong without going to hell.
    I need saving!
    The Bible says there is only ONE SAVIOR and that Savior is Jesus.
    He’s paid the price for those who believe in Him and ask for forgiveness.
    The meaning of “Believe” requires us to give up our choices and follow His commandments. Where Jesus goes, we go. What Jesus does, we do.
    So what Heaven is like is unimportant because the only important thing is to know if you’ll be with Jesus.

  • I am not like some people against “Heaven is for Real” for the sake of it, but there are some really serious reasons to doubt what is being claimed and these reasons are examined in the article “Colton Burpo’s Real Heaven, Akiane’s Jesus and New Christ Images” at

  • Heres the Bible truth whether u believe it or not. Forget any thoughts of the child being 4 yrs old, God Is no respector of persons. Little Colton said JESUS has br hair and no wings. But God had yellow hair and wings. First God is spirit and has no physical body. All who worship God must worship him n truth and spirit. The deciples saw JESUS when he was raised from the dead and were scared thinking he was a spirit. JESUS told them touch and handle me, a spirit does not have flesh and bone as u c I have. JESUS just told u God is spirit, c the correlation? Paul said absent from the body present with The Lord. Ok physical body can’t enter the kingdom bc God says flesh and blood can’t enter the Kingdom. Ok it’s a fact little Colton didn’t die bc the Doctors and monitors said he never died so did Colton’s parents. So u have to die for the spirit to separate from the body. He didn’t go n physical body and he didn’t go n spirit bc he never died. Concrete Bible proof colton didn’t go to Heaven. Good story but with this Bible proof he didn’t go and if u believe he did with this rock solid proof it’s the same as calling God a liar. Td jakes one of biggest false teachers of out time who says trinity is bogus and says if you need healing and don’t get it u r not giving enough or your faith is to weak. He had surpluses if 2 hundred million dollars And 13 mega mansions is the producer of the film. It’s in the Webb. Go FIGUURE. Read ur Bible. Wolf n sheeps clothing peddling a lie. He raking n the millions.

  • Athiest Max. My best friend kevin, who died four years ago, was paralized from the neck down for over 30 years. Did God heal him? No. Did God use him,? Yes! This wonderful Catholic man, through the grace of God, brought me and others to the faith by his example and love for others. The physically disabled resemembles the suffering Christ more closely. So theres a good reason why God does not heal those with no legs or arms. Could that reason be, He uses them, to heal others, with no faith, hope nor love.

  • Bull crap. You do not have to feed the poor and shelter the homeless to get into Heaven. There IS only ONE way, and that is to BELIEVE. That is ALL HE ASKS to get into Heaven. Does he want us to do these other things? Of course he does! But they are NOT conditions to get into Heaven. We are all sinners and doing good works does not make one better than another. You can do great things but if you do not believe, you will not get it. You can do terrible things but if you believe, you will get in. I am sure there are even murderers in Heaven, but it is because before they died, they found God in their hearts, not because they did some good deed.

  • In the book (which I read), Todd Burpo, almost as an afterthought at the end of the book, says that his Catholic readers asked him if Colton saw Mary in Heaven, and Todd says that Colton told him that Mary was sometimes kneeling before Jesus and sometimes walking beside him.

    However, a Catholic man attending a book signing with Todd and Colton describes this encounter (the man had not read the book): He asked Colton if he saw Mary in Heaven. Colton appeared perplexed and looked up at his dad, then said, “Uh, uh, I don’t really remember”. Then Todd quickly dismissed the man and called up the next person in line. (the man had a rosary ring on, which Todd saw)

    And now I hear that the Blessed Mother is not in the movie at all!!!! Are you kidding me??? Either Todd lied in the book when he said Colton told him he saw Mary, or Colton lied (at his father’s prompting) at the book signing.

    This is why I will NEVER see this anti-Catholic movie, which I now believe is a hoax.

  • Oh, really, Blueridge? Simply believing gets you to Heaven? Lucifer believes Jesus is the Savior, and where is he, Blueridge? So do all the demons. Where are they, Blueridge?

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom, but only those WHO DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER”. (Jesus)

    “Those who PERSEVERE to the end will be saved”. (Jesus)

    “God will repay all men ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS”. (Revelation)

    At the end of the world, God, when the angels assemble the nations, Jesus will place the lambs on His right and the goats on His left. He will tell the lambs, “Come, you blessed of My Father, and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for when I was hungry, you gave Me to eat, when I was thirsty, you gave Me to drink; when I was naked you clothed Me; when I was a stranger, you welcomed Me, when I was sick, you visited Me, when I was in prison you came to Me.”

    But the lambs will say, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink, or naked and clothed You, etc.?”

    And Jesus will answer, “Amen, I say to you, as often as you DID IT to the least of these my brethren, you DID IT to Me.”

    But to those on His left, He will say, “Depart from Me, you wicked, into the fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For when I was hungry, you gave me no food, when I was thirsty you gave Me no drink, etc”

    And the goats will say to Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and DID NOT feed You, thirsty and DID NOT give You drink, etc”?

    Jesus will answer: “Amen, I say to you, as long as you DID NOT DO IT to the least of My brethren, you DID NOT DO IT to Me.”

    Looks like Jesus puts conditions on salvation, like DOING WORKS OF CHARITY AND LOVE!

    Blueridge, do you still think simply “believing’ is getting you into Heaven? If so, then I guess Jesus is a liar, and the Bible is in error.

  • Could someone email me the name of the hymn the Pastors wife sings near the end of the movie
    Thank you

  • No .. good works alone are not enough .. this is true ..
    HOWEVER, if you are a believer .. John 3:16
    then the fruit of the spirit IS going to naturally be
    helping others, feeding the poor, etc .. WHY?
    Because the bottom line of Gods Word is unconditional love … period

  • All religion is severe Delusional MENTAL ILLNESS! A delusion that there is an imaginary
    MALE Deity who judges and punishes and rewards us for proper or improper behavior is insane!
    Humans cannot deal with their animal instincts and SEX, so they make up rules to cope with
    them and call this Religion. Humans are the only creature that can contemplate their death. They
    fear death and cannot cope with the thought of it. Religion is a COPING mechanism that allows
    humans to get through the day without the panic that they are just like any other primate on the
    Earth, except that they know they will DIE and their powerful sexual and violent behavior has to
    be tamed and controlled or they cannot function as a society.
    Humans wrote the Torah, Bible, Koran and other holy books.
    How can GOD have gender? ..always referred to as a MAN–HE, HIM, HIS, KING etc.? Why
    would god who created the sun, the earth, and formed man out of dust –need a human woman
    Mary to create a son? Why would god allow the torture of his son to forgive bad actions of
    people thousands of years later? Belief in this silly fantasy/fable is a delusion and total insanity!
    Where was god during–Hiroshima Bomb, the holocaust? The WTC attack? On vacation? What
    did god do on the seventh day of rest, take a nap, lie in bed in Heaven, read the newspaper, watch
    football, have sex with his goddess wife? why would an almighty powerful god need to rest?

  • God don’t lie either Donna. And you can settle this real quick. Go to John 3.13. It’s written in red so it’s JESUS speaking directly to us. It reads. No Man has ever been to Heaven except the one who came from Heaven, even the Son of Man. So either the Burpos are right or JESUS is right. I say JESUS is right every time.

  • I once heard a four year old describe Disneyland, he said it was “just like being in Heaven.” . It is impossible to accept a child’s testimony regarding such a questionable topic. Having no life experiences of consequence and being programmed during formative periods to accept a particular viewpoint the best he can do is parrot what he has been taught. It is well known that children hear and process many things that adults assume they do not, so any details that have the claim “He couldn’t have known that !” are invalid. In addition his body and brain experienced the sever trauma of “dying” ( he didn’t, dead is dead, he was merely unmeasurable by current technology ) and misfiring neuron’s combined with file access to stored memories are more likely the source. Heaven, or more correctly, “afterlife” are most likely real but it is unlikley that this child experienced those. Worshiping anything (including science) does nothing to further humanity. Only observation and a tenacious drive to get the true facts of our universe have advanced us a species. Remember that the same people who deny the science of Earth’s age and history ( not mankind’s) have no problem’s with the same science creating their iPhones or other devices. It’s time to run the world as a brotherhood of all and turn our back’s on any religious superstitions (regardless of brand) and move forward to better all lives, including those people we often don’t care for. This movie simply serves to motivate certain individuals to beleive the have somehow received “proof” and should be avoided. Thank you and please note I have shown respect in capitalizing the proper name of certain peoples afterlife even though I dislike all religions. And no. I’m not an Athiest, God just doesn’t play the games described in religion.

  • Apologies to the women reading my post, I should not have used the word “brotherhood” but perhaps unity instead. My insensitivity was unintentional.

  • in answer to your comment…I am LDS (Mormon), We believe that when a person dies you go to spirit world until judgement day. Spirit world is a waiting place. Until Christ comes again no one can be judged. Also any child under the age 8 are not held accountable for what they do. so a child under the age 8 would not be judged anyway…they will go to Heaven after judgement day. If you would like to research more go to Hope that this helps.

  • I attended Catholic school from 4th grade to 12th grade and know I was not taught the Bible accurately. Bible is clear though regarding how we get to Heaven. Only by faith in Jesus Christ – not of our works, lest any man should boast. Good example, the thief on cross who trusted Christ. I pray all Catholics will stop trusting in Pope, Mary, idols, false gods, etc to get them to Heaven. Stop working your way to Heaven. You cant. Only Christ’s righteousness – not ours. We don’t have any.

  • You won’t see the movie because it’s ‘anti-Catholic’? Would you consider yourself Christian? Because by your reading of the story, it would seem to confirm indeed you are in the wrong denomination, if it is true.

    Jesus was and is no Catholic. Don’t put your denomination above him.

    (Having said this, I am sceptical myself about the biblical theology of the movie)

  • Linda;
    Excellent theology; it might help our fundamentalist brothers to know that that is clearly spelled out in Matthew 25: 31-46. This is the bar set for us, yet I believe his mercy is more infinite than we can imagine. Good job being in the trenches.

  • To Cathy,you’re a typical uncatechized ex catholic.i felt so sorry for u,as you have been brainwashed by your anti catholic pastors about the cc.catholics were the original and first Christians.we compiled the wonder hundreds of anti catholic religious leaders have converted themselves to the cc,after finding out that their beliefs about the cc were all read conversion stories,there are hundreds of them.just google them.remember these converts were religious leaders not just members like you and me.just this yr ,the born again Christian minister ,largest congregation in Sweden converted to the cc together with his family,after yrs of hatred for the cc.he found the truth,as well.

  • Fibonacci. The Human Genome. There’s two Max. Tell me how science explains the creation and existence of those?

  • I have waited so long for this movie to come out, after seeing it on a religious show one Sunday Morning. My heart was so broken, just thinking about my 20 year old son lying in the floor after being murderded , i’m sure i lost my mind that day, that empty feeling of just knowning there was nothing i could do , there was a feeling came over me that this would be the first day of the rest of my life. So many times tears pour down my face and uncontrollable pain filled my heart, it was if i had no reason for living at all. The lonliness fills my insides each and everyday, i do know there is a GOD and he stands beside me daily, for it is he why i am here, i know for the rest of my days i will hurt for my only son , for he was the best person i know MISSING YOU FOREVER MY TRUE LOVE! See you in heaven, Love your mommy. I wait for the day we will be together again, my beautiful son Christopher W. Cline

  • Well, Athiest Max. Rather than de-bunking us Christian’s and our God-given knowledge of Him, it’ll be interesting to see hear what you think you were created for anyway. What this really boils down to is how and why was humanity created anyway.

    If not God, what? Usually the answer we get from athiests is about as uncreative, has no intellectual bearing, and is as blunted as it can get.

    Or they do not have any answers at all. Once you get to the “I have no answer” or “no particular reason,” you get to the pure bankrupt nature of the thinking. We pray for you and any like you whose defensiveness against The Answer hide your own lack of answers.

  • With all the religious infighting on this site these are the only comments that really disturb me….and are about behaviors which supposedly occur in the film and are totally adverse to any sort of Christian values. They don’t make any sense to be in such a film. I haven’t been able to see the film, only the trailers. Anyone else who’s seen it care to comment? Are these comments true? “Seeker”