Heaven Is For Real is the title of a book that was written based on the real life story of a little boy who had a near-death experience. He apparently reported to his family that heaven was real and that he had met long-dead relatives. The book is now a movie and Brad and I were subjected to a preview for it when we were in North Carolina.
I’m a little saddened that this story and the experience of this little boy is being turned into Christian propaganda. The book and the movie, from what I’ve seen, both seem to be using the little boy’s experience as a way to “prove” that Christianity must be right. (I have neither read the book nor seen the movie).
It’s not that simple, though.
I believe that in our time of death we are met with whatever we expect and need in that moment.
God doesn’t want to jar us or scare us. Death should be a peaceful transition. And so if we pray to Krishna every day, I think it will be Krishna who greets us as we leave our current earthly body. If it was Jesus we revered, it would be he who would show up.
If we have always believed that we will see our past loved ones, then their images will be there for us. Even those we never knew or met can manifest because their life is woven into the collective unconscious Being.
Heaven Is For Real doesn’t prove anything. It could be a lovely story of peace and hope if it weren’t being used as a tool to bludgeon other religious belief.
There have been many accounts from people who have died and come back or had near-death experiences (and from what I understand this boy didn’t actually die). They tend to tell slightly different stories of that experience. Perhaps they really went somewhere, perhaps it was the brain putting out comforting hallucinations to calm one into death.
Christians are invested in everyone believing exactly what they believe (to the point of fighting among themselves about what those beliefs are), so they can’t just enjoy a story. They have to use it as a “I told you so” to everyone else on earth. They cannot accept that an experience they had may not be the same experience everyone else will have. If the pastor who wrote this book could have just been inspired by his son’s story and used it to be a better person, great. But he has to capitalize and monetize that story instead, using it for criticism of those who don’t share his beliefs.
This is, of course, leaving aside that the authority of a three-year-old is not all that compelling.