Since I began blogging about 5 years ago, I have one posting that is by far and away the most popular.  I wrote a book review on November 19, 2010, and since that date it has logged 3,408 page views.  The two next closest posts in views reach that same number COMBINED.  The post/review to which I am referring is none other than "Heaven is for Real", by Todd Burpo. 

Basically, it is the story of young Colton Burpo who apparently has an out-of-body experience where he goes to heaven for a short time during a surgery, but then returns.  He gradually reveals truths to his family about his brief visit.  I figure Mr. Burpo must have been inspired by the cash cow bible revealed by his young son, because he took the idea to publishers.  Next thing we know, Mr. Burpo is telling the story for the world to read...because the publishers also considered it a well just waiting to be tapped.

The story (and yes, I consider it a story more than an account) has been a rather good cash cow investment for both parties, because it has turned into a children's story, a bible study (complete with study guide), and a movie. Even news agencies like NPR and USA Today have featured it.  A simple Internet browser search reveals over 252 million hits on the phrase, "heaven is for real."  By way of comparison, a search of the phrase "hell is for real" nets roughly 320 million hits.

There is little argument that we are interested in what comes after this life.
Atheists say there is nothing
Hindus say you get to keep returning in various forms
Muslims suggest 72 virgins for the best of the best
Scientologists say you'll never get there if you know how to heal yourself
Christians say we will stand before God in judgment after death
...and the list goes on. 

There's no doubt "Heaven is for Real" is a popular story.  But does a story's popularity prove its truthfulness?  While I doubt the story's veracity, proving it false is not my first matter of importance.  There are plenty of reasons provided by bloggers and reviewers debunking the testimony imaginative story, so I digress for now.  My biggest issue with the story and its hype is this: People are so interested in hearing what a 4-year old boy has to say about eternity rather than what the Alpha and Omega has to say about it.  Does our purchasing of this book into popularity reveal our propensity to be easily convinced (duped, led astray) by extra-biblical tales? 

Its prominent popularity suggests (1) a good many self-professed Christians are biblically illiterate enough that they swallow dangerous fables without knowing it; and (2) a good many Christians still read to be tickled, rather than critically and carefully digesting what is said on the pages before them. 

Jesus warned his followers to be on guard for false teachers and their false teaching (Matt 7:15-19).  Either you believe what he says (as revealed in the bible) is true, or you don't.  It's that plain and simple.  If you believe what he says is true, and if he says heaven (and hell, too) is for real, then why is there so much interest in needing confirmation about what awaits us on the other side of the grave from a 4-year old boy?

The bible confirms that all have sinned and that all are in need of a Savior.  The bible also tells us that after we die we will stand before God to be judged, and that judgment is an eternal pronouncement.  Will you be ready?  The bible tells us that today is the day for salvation, for we do not know what tomorrow holds.

Or do you need a 4-year old to confirm that, too, before you'll believe it?


  1. I imagine some Christians want to hold this up as "proof," for use in arguments with non-Christians, just as some atheists want to claim the holes in his story are "disproof." Makes me wonder if near-death stories from other religions (like Buddhists who experience being reborn) would be compelling arguments for Christians to convert.

    I think this just proves what you pointed out: that his family knows how to capitalize on a story.

    1. Bret, good points. I agree with the "capitalize" theory.

  2. RE: Capitalize. And so do many others. Our little rural gas station a mile away has several "I went to heaven" books in its little book rack.

    1. Jeff, thanks for stopping by. It's sad how prevalent this is, that even tiny rural gas stations are carrying the products.