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.”
Regardless of the science argument, Colton Burpo is convinced his personal experience is all the evidence he’ll ever need. His family actually never intended on writing the Heaven Is For Real book, nor did they ever expect a movie to be made. Colton’s father, Todd Burpo, explains why they decided to tell his son’s story seven years after the fact:
“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.”
The Burpo family says they did not write the book to make money. In fact, they did not expect a dime since fewer than 10 percent of published books generate royalties. Despite these good intentions, skeptics have been trying to poke holes in Heaven Is For Real for the last three years. For example, Colton technically never died or flat-lined during the surgery, so it’s claimed he could not have had a near death experience. Todd readily admits this is the case, although he points out that not everyone is like Lazurus and that the Bible gives examples of people who saw heaven yet never died.
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.”
This aspect of the story was also explained by the Heaven Is For Real movie. For example, a woman named Nancy explained why she did not want Colton to talk about heaven:
“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.”
But the Burpo family obviously disagrees with that sentiment. Colton also explained why he keeps sharing his story told within Heaven Is For Real:
“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.”
What do you think about the story told in Heaven Is For Real?