Colton Burpo is the name of the little boy who nearly died of a burst appendix at the age of four and claims to have seen heaven, Jesus, and dead loved ones. His story is the subject of the book Heaven Is For Real, which recently was translated into a movie. Colton is now a teenager and his message has earned him plenty of critics, especially from atheists whose religious beliefs are indirectly attacked by the boy's account.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, recent Christian movies like God's Not Dead have many atheist critics, as well. The movie also happened to feature the writings of Stephen Hawking, who famously declared the universe does not need a creator:
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
"I mean, we never wanted to write it. It was not something that we pursued … God brought people to us to keep prompting us to be willing to do it. I never saw myself as a writer, an author, I had a garage door business, I coached wrestling, I was a fireman, I'm still the state chaplain, and in a couple of weeks I've got to go to state fire school and teach a class. I mean, I've got plenty of stuff to do."
Interestingly enough, Colton says the sharpest of critics are actually fellow Christians who want him to stop telling his story:
"When you actually reach past [the critics] and you can actually reach some of these people like that it's just like God saying, 'You can't stop.' It's like, 'No we're not going to.' The atheists, you're like, I expect that from them, but when you see a person who claims to be a Christian attacking you're like, 'This is awful.' Well, with me, my main response is, 'OK you can believe what you want to. That's not going to stop me from sharing what I saw.' I am decently easygoing. It takes a lot to rattle my cage, so I take the pacifist approach."
"People who want to take their brains out of their heads and beat them with the Bible. Heaven and hell are concepts that have been used to control people."
"Well, I'm not scared of death because I know where I'm going. And the funny thing is that the worst thing Satan can throw at you is death. So if I get death, I get heaven. If I don't die I get to keep doing what I'm doing now and I get to help people out. The problem is we're too attached to things in this world and they can't go into heaven. So when you love Jesus and you decide to follow him, it's easier to let those things go so you can be in heaven for an eternity."