Friday, July 03, 2015

"Heaven for Real," "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven," and meeting God or Goddess?


The movie “Heaven is for Real” is so wonderful yet I hear the Christian community is against it.  Why?”. . . Anonymous


The answer is complicated.  And it involves two boys who had near-death experiences, a book about what happened written by their respective fathers.

Todd Burpo, a Methodist Minister, wrote the book Heaven is for Real about his son’s near-death experience that occurred when his son almost died during surgery.  Colton Burpo was four, and during the days and weeks that followed, he began to talk about angels and Jesus and his grandfather “Pops” (a grandfather long since deceased), and his mother’s previous miscarriage (he met that “older sister” while he was in heaven).  Since there was no way he could have known what the long deceased grandfather could have looked like, much less having heard the affectionate nickname of “Pops;” nor could he have ever known about his mother’s miscarriage, these were taken to be verifiable proof that little Colton indeed had a near-death experience.  He also saw the doctors working on him “from above” during surgery and described where his parents were and what they were doing while they waited to hear news about him (both were in different places doing different things). Again, Colton was right on - every detail.  The major motion picture made from the book Rev. Burpo wrote leaned heavily on what the child actually saw and did, not the father’s version of it.  For that reason, I can stand behind the film as being genuine - except that in this case - the family and parishioners in his father’s church eventually came to embrace and believe Colton.  In most families, the opposite occurs, leaving the child to deal with not only the event but the aftereffects alone, unaided, and often not believed.  Both the book and the movie were best sellers.

The other boy was Alex Malarkey; his dad Kevin Malarkey wrote The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.  Alex lay in a coma after a car accident (when he was six years old).  The coma lasted two months, his injuries leaving him with lifelong paralysis.  The book brought in millions of dollars, all the while Alex and his mother rejected what the father had written.  The mother kept saying that what her son had described “was not biblical”- therefore it could not be real.  This dissention continued for several years.

This spring, Alex publicly announced he made the whole thing up.  An investigator was called in and found irregularities with the book’s contract, giving all the money to the boy’s father, none to Alex, and that the book’s publisher, Tyndale House, knew almost two years ago that there may be a problem with the story itself yet they refused to pull it off store shelves because, according to the investigator, “it was making so much money.”   Alex’s parents are now divorced.  There is reason to wonder about all of this, in the sense that maybe, because Alex was told his experience wasn’t real because it wasn’t biblical, he later decided it must have always been just his imagination.  This ending is far more typical of what happens with child experiencers, than the Burpo case.

Now, today, Christian publishers have decided that “heaven tourism” will no longer be published.  Those denominations considering themselves Fundamental Christian Churches, have publicly announced that near-death experiences from both  adults and children are not real, and that if anyone wants to know about heaven they should read their Bible.  Yup, we are witnessing the narrowing of the religious mind!!!


“Hello, I’m curious to know if there ever have been NDE accounts with Wiccans.
Do they encounter a Goddess, or other Pagan deities?  And what about NDE’s for Satanists?  Are there any?  I understand that Satanists are more colorful atheists, but I imagine all the demonic themes they surround themselves with would have some influence on their NDE’s.”....Shawn


I find it very interesting that your question occurred at this time with the narrowing of the religious mind.  If you’ve been reading the news or watching television, that return to a more fundamental viewpoint is not just with Christians.  You find it worldwide, in and through religion itself.  

Back to your question.  Within nature-based religions - pagan, Wicca, Native American, Aborigine, etc. - all encounter the same basic components identified with near-death scenarios and deal with the same pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects.  Any idea that a Christian always meets Jesus, a Muslim Father Abraham, or a Wiccan the Great Goddess does not hold up with broad-based research, either in this country or abroad.  Where you tend to find “matches” with previous beliefs is via language constraints, how an individual chooses to describe what happened and what that might mean.  Cultural constraints also occur.  For instance, in those countries that are “we” centered (tribal/collective/nature-based), you seldom find life reviews.  Life reviews are more common in those cultures that recognize and encourage “I,” the individual.

Of the nearly 4,000 child and adult experiencers I have had sessions with or talked at length with, not one, regardless of age, was ever met by a Goddess figure.  Please read Dying to Know You:  Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience for more details about this.  Please note the God one finds in death is not necessarily the God of Holy Writ - rather larger, bigger, more powerful than that, a God without gender, a power of unspeakable voltage, range, and strength.  Yes, there are demonic-types of hellish experiences, yet these too do not match what you might think.  I discuss these also in the book.

As a brief note, there was an elderly Catholic priest who recently made the news, claiming that when he nearly died he was greeted by “Mother God.”  He now believes God is female, not male.  I do not know the details of his life or his beliefs.  I only know he is deeply touched by the caring and love he received from this God-figure.  

Many blessings, PMH

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