Sunday, 22 January 2012

Heaven Is For Real

Life has been pretty busy lately, thus the paucity of new material, but I do hope to carve out a little extra time for writing in a week or two.

If you've been following along, on this blog, by now you've likely picked up on the fact that I am a fairly avid reader.  It occurred to me, the other day, that over the past few years, in particular, I have read dozens of books that are probably worth commenting on at some point or another.  So, beginning now, I'd like to mix in the occasional book review.  Really, I have no formal system in mind so I will simply write, about this book or that book, as the mood strikes me.

With that said, for this post I'd like to offer some thoughts on (the #1 New York Times Bestseller) "Heaven Is For Real"...

This book tells the story of four year old Colton Burpo, now 12, from the perspective of his father Todd (a Christian minister).  Long story short, the family claims that Colton went to heaven, during a near death experience on the operating table (his appendix burst).  According to the timeline given, at the back of the book, Colton was actually three when he had these experiences (but four by the time he began talking about them).

Let's get straight to what I think is the best of the hard "evidence"; the book claims that...

a) Colton met his great grandfather, "Pop", who had died 30 years earlier (and later supposedly recognized a picture of Pop, as a young man, since "no one is old in heaven").

b) Colton knew what his parents were doing, including where they were, while he was unconscious on the operating table.

c) Colton talked to his sister, a child that miscarried years earlier (and that he purportedly knew nothing about).

Now, as we'll see, these weren't the only things that Colton did during his short time (three minutes) in heaven.  Not by a long shot.  But, never fear, Colton had plenty of time to squeeze it all in since (as chapter fourteen reminds us) "a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day", on heaven's timetable.

Initially, Colton speaks "only" of sitting on Jesus' lap, in the hospital, while the angels were singing to him.  From the prologue...

"'Well, they sang 'Jesus Loves Me' and 'Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,'' he said earnestly.  'I asked them to sing 'We Will, We Will Rock You', but they wouldn't sing that.'"

Cute.

Later on, Colton's parents begin to suspect that he had much more than an out of body experience (as if that weren't enough to process).  How exactly he got from the hospital room, with Jesus and the angels, to heaven itself is never explained.  I mean, did they fly?  Did Jesus snap his fingers, teleporting everyone instantly from one location to the other?  The reader is left to wonder.

Listen as Todd Burpo describes the very moment he realized his son had actually been to heaven...

"Just as I was processing the implications of my son's statement---that he had met John the Baptist--Colton spied a plastic horse among his toys and held it up for me to look at.  'Hey Dad, did you know Jesus has a horse?'  'A horse?'  'Yeah, a rainbow horse.  I got to pet him.  There's lots of colors.'  Lots of colors?  What was he talking about?  'Where are there lots of colors, Colton?'  'In heaven, Dad.  That's where all the rainbow colors are.'  That set my head spinning. Suddenly I realized that up until that point, I'd been toying with the idea that maybe Colton had had some sort of divine visitation.  Maybe Jesus and the angels had appeared to him in the hospital...Now it was dawning on me that not only was my son saying he had left his body; he was saying he had left the hospital!"

For a short time this creates some cognitive dissonance in Todd since, after all, Colton didn't actually die on the operating table.  So, how could he go to heaven if he didn't die?...

"Then I remembered that the Bible talks in several places about people who had seen heaven without dying.  The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about a Christian he knew personally who was taken to heaven..."

Problem solved.

One of the more intriguing revelations comes in chapter 13...

"This statement marked the beginning of a period that I wished we had written down.  During this conversation and for the next year or so, Colton could name a lot of the kids he said were in heaven with him.  He doesn't remember their names now, though, and neither do Sonja nor I."

How unfortunate (and convenient).

As the book continues Colton reveals a number of other juicy nuggets, about heaven, such as the fact that Jesus is the only one who doesn't have wings.  Apparently, he just goes "up and down like an elevator".  Oh, and everyone there has "a light above their head".  Colton also got to literally see Jesus shooting down power, to his Dad, during sermon time in church.  How cool is that?!

But things get even weirder as the book rolls on.  According to chapter 25, "the angels carry swords so they can keep Satan out of heaven".  Listen, as Todd comments on his son's most recent revelation...

"But how did a six year old know that?  Yes, Colton had had two more years of Sunday school by then, but I knew for a fact that our curriculum didn't include lessons on Satan's living arrangements."

Todd continues...

"'Hey Colton, I bet you asked if you could have a sword, didn't you?' I said.  At that, Colton's smile melted into a dejected frown, and his shoulders slumped toward the floor.  'Yeah, I did.  But Jesus wouldn't let me have one.  He said I'd be too dangerous.'  I chuckled a little, wondering if Jesus meant Colton would be a danger to himself or others."

And a few minutes later...

"'Hey Colton', I said. 'Did you see Satan?'  'Yeah, I did,' he said solemnly.  'What did he look like?'  At this, Colton's body went rigid, he grimaced, and his eyes narrowed to a squint."

And I highly recommend you buckle your seatbelt, because things get even more bizarre in chapter 26.  Listen, as Colton tells his Dad all about "the coming war"...

"'There's going to be a war, and it's going to destroy this world.  Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people.  I saw it.'  I thought of the battle described in the book of Revelation, and my heartbeat skipped up a notch. 'How did you see that?'  'In heaven, the women and the children got to stand back and watch.  So I stood back and watched.'  Strangely, his voice was sort of cheerful, as though he were talking about a good movie he'd seen.  'But the men, they have to fight.  And Dad, I watched you.  You have to fight too.'"

And later in the chapter...

"'Yeah, Dad but it's okay,' he said reassuringly.  'Jesus wins.  He throws Satan into hell.  I saw it.'"

Alright, I think you get the idea.  Let's re-cap...the angels sang (at least two) songs to Colton while he was sitting on Jesus' lap, still in the hospital.  At some (unspecified) point afterward, Colton and company went to heaven (instantly?), at which time Colton had more conversations with Jesus, John the Baptist, his great grandfather, his sister, and possibly others.  Then, Jesus gives Colton several super cool demonstrations, including one of him zapping down power to his Dad during church services, as well as a (movie like) preview of the final battle between good and evil. For the big finale Jesus tops it all off by showing Colton what it will be like when Satan is thrown into Hell once and for all.

Wow!!!

Oh, and did I mention that God is "really, really big" and that Colton also saw the thrones that God, Jesus, and the angel Gabriel actually sit on?  In between all of this, Jesus also managed to relay several messages to Colton, most notably that "he had to be good" and that "Jesus really loves the little children".

I hope you'll forgive me for that (rather lengthy) summary, but, I felt it was important to set the stage, as fully as possible, before giving my personal opinions on "Heaven Is For Real".  Frankly, it's always difficult to critique books like this.  I very much want to respect people's personal stories and, really, who am I to tell the Burpo's what did or didn't happen to Colton?  I don't even know these people.  Having said that, by way of disclaimer, I'd now like to offer a few speculative thoughts on why I personally did not find this story convincing.

First off, I couldn't help but notice that neither Todd or Sonja ever question the veracity of anything that Colton says about his supernatural experiences.  Ever.  It seems they became fully convinced of the story's legitimacy, right from the get go, because of details that Colton supposedly revealed during that very first conversation about it (the one re: Jesus and the angels in his hospital room).  It's as if they give Colton a free pass, after this point, and believe literally everything he tells them over the next several years.  Everything.  This struck me as somewhat odd since, as a parent myself, I know that kids tend to mix truth and falsehood together in a way that adults typically don't.  So, frequently there are nuggets of truth to what a child is saying, but that doesn't automatically entail that every word of it is 100% accurate.  This is where parents need to step in, with discernment, to gently help the given child sort out fact from fiction.

Secondly, while Todd makes it very clear that he was careful not to plant ideas in Colton's head, it never seems to occur to him that Colton may be embellishing the story in order to please his parents.  Now, I'm not suggesting here that Colton is lying, intentionally, but kids have a way of picking up on the fact that parents are especially interested in a particular topic.  And often they continue on, with that topic, because of how the parents are reacting to it, and this tends to lead (even inadvertently) to embellishment.  In my own experience, as a parent, this is especially true prior to the age of about 7 or 8, after which time it tends to naturally ease up a bit, as the child matures.  But, by this age, Colton would have been several years into the re-telling, having received affirmation over and over again (through both verbal and non verbal cues) that his experience was real.  Any window, for self reflection and analytical thought, on Colton's part (ie. that perhaps he overheard more than he realized, and/or that he had a dream, and/or that perhaps he knew some of these things from church or Christian books etc. etc.), would long since have passed.  In other words, I think that Colton now believes that he really went to heaven.  But, remember, he was 3 years old when this happened.  How likely would you be, to completely trust your memory (much less interpretation) of most anything that happened when you were 3 years old?

Lastly, this book seemed to lose credibility as the story went on.  Many of the really rad parts, about what happened in heaven, seem to only have been revealed by Colton years after the fact. Now, Todd would likely claim that this is because he didn't want to push Colton too hard, but actually it seems, from the book, that Colton was typically very eager to talk about it whenever the subject was broached.

In short, my tentative conclusion is that Colton's parents are, in all likelihood, simply more credulous than they ought to be.  As one of the reviewers on Amazon has put it, they probably owe Colton an apology; for believing every word of what he has told them.  They are, after all, his parents, and it's up to them to help Colton learn to think carefully.

So my question to the Burpo's would be this...has Colton said anything, about heaven, over the past 9 years, that you don't believe?  Anything at all?  If the answer is "no", this should ring alarm bells.  Some (ok, all) of this stuff is pretty fantastic, and it would seem that the story pretty much rises and falls together, becoming increasingly more implausible as multiple new layers are added, by Colton, year after year after year.

I should mention that I've also watched numerous videos, of both Colton and his Dad, discussing this experience (just google it and you'll find plenty).  And, I don't mean this to sound like nitpicking, but, I have to say that I find Colton even less credible in person than I do in print.  It comes off to me as if he is just parroting the same answers over and over.  And he uses an awful lot of biblical phrasing and terminology when he is "remembering" things...let's just say it's quite easy to tell this kid spends a great deal of time in church.

Some will no doubt accuse the Burpo's of manufacturing the whole affair.  Let me state, plainly, that I do not believe this to be the case.  I believe that they believe it.

But one also has to wonder, if this were in fact real, than what's the point?  Is God hoping this story will convince the skeptics?  Then surely he would've revealed something to Colton (about future events, perhaps?) that might have a hope and a prayer of accomplishing these ends.  As it happens, "Heaven Is For Real" has just enough in it to be interesting (thus the bestselling status) but not nearly enough to be convincing to anyone with a sufficiently critical eye.

185 comments:

  1. I neglected to mention it, in the post, but the picture is what Colton says Jesus looks like

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    1. The picture was painted by Akiane Kramarik, who was raised atheist, at age age eight. She painted the picture from memory after a vision when she was three and sat on Jesus' lap. This picture is the ONLY picture that Colton Burpo said truly looked like Jesus.

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    2. Yes, explain that one.

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    3. It doesn't seem to me there's much to explain here. Perhaps I just don't understand your question.

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    4. Why would one believe in a God who is omniscient and omnipotent but who therefor creates man only to see him suffer eternity in hell?

      This is a vicious aspect to Christianity that cannot be overcome by any argument.

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    5. Anon- Unless of course God is nothing like we have come to believe. Perhaps there is a creator of sorts. But we screwed up explaining him so wrongly that OUR vision of him is completely false and non existent. The reality rests in death?

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    6. Yeah, you are an idiot, Heaven is real, God is real. Lucky for you, you shall be with God when you die, because atheists go to heaven too.

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    7. I believe in God, if God ends up not being real, I lose nothing, For those that don't believe and God ends up existing you lose everything...

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    8. To the other Anonymous - don't you people ever get tired of parroting Pascal's Wager? That has been debunked so many times over the centuries, you'd think you would have gotten the memo by now. Is original thinking so difficult?

      Suppose you backed the wrong God? What then? There are only, lemme see, several thousand. So it's way less than a 50/50 chance, more like a tiny fraction of a per cent that you might have got it right.

      Besides, suppose you are right, suppose there is a God, you picked the right one, and you go to Heaven. How impressed do you think God is going to be with a person who believed in him because it seemed like a safe bet?

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    9. I agree with a lot of what you wrote; about them not questioning Colton, this is not true. His father,Todd Burpo, attempted to trip him up with questions like "so did you go home when it got dark" I truly believe he had an OBE, and it was made up of all the stuff he'd heard (possibly subconsciously) in the church, being a pastor's kid.

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    10. I didn't read all "98" comments so I am not sure if it has been mentioned or not, but would it be immature of me to say that, since Colton's father is a Christian pastor, that this could be a clever way to recruit people to his church, and make more money for his church? I find it highly intriguing that out of all the people in the world that this story happens to, it's a pastor's son. I'd probably believe the story if it happened to an average joe who worked at the neighborhood auto shop. But that's not the case. Why is it that this story is the one to explode? People die and come back to life all the time. Everyone that has posted on this, either knows somebody, or knows somebody that knows somebody that has died and came back to life. I just think it's funny that the Burpos are profiting from such a common situation. Can I get some clarity as to why it's the Burpos that are going to profit from this?

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    11. I'd like to add to prior comments referencing Pascal's wager; let's say you don't believe in a god, is it possible to force yourself to believe? And if you do pretend to believe (out of fear, or just to get in heaven), but truly don't, wouldn't an omnipotent being be able to tell? If you are generally good, wouldn't that matter more than a person who pretends to believe in a god, but is a horrible human being? And would you really want to worship someone(thing) that would only care if you blindly believed and obeyed them, regardless of the abhorrent behavior(s) that may entail? (which makes god sound more like a corporation than a divine being)
      To me the idea that "believing is safer than not" is contradictory to the whole mentality of faith. It's a personal discovery, not something that can be forced on someone.
      As a point of disclosure, I don't hold any belief system. I've tried, truly, and it just never fit. I do my best to be as good a person I can. If there is a god and that's not enough, then that god has failed me, not the other way around.

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    12. "I do my best to be as good a person I can. If there is a god and that's not enough, then that god has failed me, not the other way around."

      ^^^This. THIS. A thousand times, this.
      Too bad there are multitudes of "religious" people who don't subscribe to this philosophy, but think that slavish, blind subservience to dogma is what makes them "Good" people.

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    13. John D - most intelligent comment so far!

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    14. I am a strong Catholic, and believe that there is life after death, and I will always believe that. This is an incredible story. It may be hard to believe everyone, but we walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT. God is real, and He wants us to seek Him. He's not going to just "appear" when you want him too. I believe that Heaven is for real, and that I will meet God there one day when His time for me to come home comes.

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    15. I actually just saw the movie based on the book last night and what I got from it is that the child was coached due to the parents money problems....the movie skimmed thru the story and tried to make the kid more believable by keeping him four years old and not drawing out the details over the years...I am an atheist and I have had an out of body experience when I was having a root canal done, I asked for nitrous oxide to not care about the pain and while I was in the chair I remember being fully awake but I lifted out of my body and was actually above the dentist and the assistant watching them work on me... I can recall it was quiet and kinda surreal, then like within seconds I was sucked back into my body and back to normal... when out of my body I didn't hear music, singing, or saw anything other than my body and the people working on me... I believe humans and all other living creatures do have a life force and energy ( somehow somewhere people turned that into belief and a soul) when we all die we do go somewhere ... neither good nor bad ...energy does not die ... I believe we are given life again as another lifeform or maybe our energy is absorbed by all lifeforms... we don't know and we won't know until it happens ... we all have to wait and see...

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    16. "We won't know until it happens.". Quite the contrary. We know now. We know now that being dead is like it was before we were born...nothing. We were dead for 13.8 billion years so we know now what it's like. Once we are dead again it will be nothingness and we will know nothing.

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    17. Everybody has wings? This is a cartoon version, a kid's idea of Heaven. Incidentally, NDE are reported by people of every faith, and, as you might guess, the NDE corresponds to what that person has been taught about the afterlife (Mormons see a Mormon afterlife, Hindus a Hindu version, and I suppose Marxists see a workers paradise;). In short, the kid, growing up in a fundamentalist pastor's home saw what he had been brought up to believe.

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    18. My son began talking in complete sentences when he was 9 months old. At 18 months, he told me that God had asked him to choose his parents and that he was glad that he had chosen us. Our son was born at 26 weeks (806 grams) & did not have the experience of visiting outside our home to gain knowledge nor the maturity to know anything about Heaven or God. I am thankful that God is the great re-teacher. He will provide you more opportunities to gain the sight you need. God bless you, truly. Seek wisdom. Many of the gifts, such as love, can not be realized by "rational" thoughts or poof.

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    19. I believe there is truth to Colton's story. I don't believe that Colton is necessarily lying or that his parents were intentionally coaching their son. However, at some points in the movie and the book it appeared that way to me at first. Now, I watched the movie again and again just as I read the book some more times over to get things straight in my head. I discussed the material over with believers and none believers alike. Everyone of course on both sides had a different opinion. I love debate and one thing I have to say about it is anytime something is in anyway, shape, or form touched by religion, science, or all wrapped up in controversy it begs a question and if begs a question it is therefore debatable. I believe in the outer body experience thing and I know there have been cases of it happening near death and cases of it happening when people are asleep. It can sometimes be induced as well. Now, when Todd heard what his son had to say about his outer body experience he did question it. The man even sought a professionals opinion. After that Mr. Burpo was not entirely satisfied and was left with more questions than answers. Later in the story I believe the tilting point came for Todd. It was when his son told him he saw his father's Pop. Todd questioning what his son was saying showed his boy the picture of Pop. Strangely Colton did not recognize the old man in the picture and the boy's response was, "Nobody wears glasses in heaven." From here Colton stated, "Everyone is young in heaven." Todd did not have any pictures of his Pop as a young man, but he knew a relative who might. Fortunately, this relative did and when Todd received the picture only he and this relative knew which of the young men in the picture was Pop. Colton remarkably was able to pick Pop out of the picture as if he knew what the man looked like. The funny thing is Pop I believe died thirty years before Colton was even born. Now, how could the boy know what Pop looked like when he was a young man? Later came the moment when Colton was talking to his mother and he told her he had two sisters. He mentioned the little girl he met in heaven and how his mother had a baby die in her tummy. Interestingly Colton describes the child to his mother who was doubting everything her son had experienced up until this moment. Nobody besides Mr. and Mrs. Burpo and possibly one or two close relatives knew about the lost of the child. Nothing had ever been said in this family to even hint such a loss. And when asked what this child's name was he said, "She did not have a name because you never named her." I also find it pretty intriguing that Colton identified the man in Arkania's portrait of the Prince of Peace as Jesus Christ. This was the same guy both these children met during their so call near death experience and they had never met before or after Colton experience.

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  2. RA - great review and spot on. I go a step further though and personally believe Colton and his parents are lying and know they are lying. I've watched several interviews with them, and it seems to me when Colton is asked a question, he always gives a look like he is trying to remember what he has been told to say and often looks at his parents who nod and smile in affirmation of his answer. Maybe I'm overly skeptical on this one, but I believe they are lying and know it.

    But even if they really believe it happened, I completely agree with your point about not questioning anything Colton ever told them. I have 3 kids, 2 of which are teenagers now. When they were 3 and 4, they would always tell stories about how they were Superman or Spiderman and fought off the bad guys and on, and on, and on. I even heard a few "I dreamed I was in heaven" types of stories myself.

    On a funny note, a buddy of mine posted a story on Facebook over the holidays. His 3 year old son came out of the bathroom and announced to all of the family gathered for the holidays that his penis had "super powers" (his explanation for having a hard on). While this is a pretty funny story, it just goes to show how a child of that age comes up with creative explanations for things that have very natural causes.

    No doubt Colton had some type of dream. One that has clearly been coached and embellished over time so that his parent's could make a lot of money off of a book.

    That's the way I see it...

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    1. That's a very interesting take on it, thanks for your thoughts Dave.

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    2. I feel sorry for you all. In the9 end, you will certainly know the truth, won't you?

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    3. And I feel sorry for you as well because most likely at the end you won't know anything let alone "the truth" as you'll be dead. The good thing about that is you won't realize you wasted your life believing in ancient baloney.

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    4. The fact that the picture of Jesus is the closest thing to what he saw shows that this can't be legitimate. I don't believe in a Jesus that was the Son of God, but if he did exist, he would've been Arabic and darker skinned, not white. The modern portrait of Jesus as a blue-eyed white man is completely inaccurate considering the setting the Bible takes place in.

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    5. There were a few things that Colton said that struck me as descriptions, pictures he had seen, and information that he absorbed as a paster's son. He could have had an OBE while in the operating room or just dreamed of heaven while he was under. The description of a blue eyed white man struck me as inaccurate too. But when I watched one of the videos the father gave, Colton said that Jesus "had marks". Colton pointed to his HANDS and Feet. But if you've looked into the Shroud of Turin, you will see that the Romans pierced the man in the Shroud through his WRISTS. The hands could not support the body weight of a crucified man for very long, they would tear. It is obvious to me that Colton had seen paintings of the crucifixion and that is where he got that information. I don't know where he found out about his mis-carried sister, or the ability to point out his great grandfather from a picture. It could be a HOAX based on where that came from, rather than a little boy's dream. That would be very sad if true.

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    6. Let's not forget that parents tell their children a lot of things that they often forget about. They may have mentioned a miscarriage off-hand at some point and little Colton picked it up.

      Heck, this happened to me - my mother mentioned she had two miscarriages before me, and that gave me disturbing nightmares. Ten years later, I told her about it, and she was shocked that I knew she'd had miscarriages!

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    7. I am a Christian pastor who has neither seen the movie or read the book. And for some strange reason it doesn't surprise me that one of the best critiques of this story comes from an atheist. Too many Christians lack biblical discernment. They are at the point where they fall for anything because many stand for nothing. I appreciate your respectful and spot on assessment of this story.

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    8. My son began talking in complete sentences when he was 9 months old. At 18 months, he told me that God had asked him to choose his parents and that he was glad that he had chosen us. Our son was born at 26 weeks (806 grams) & did not have the experience of visiting outside our home to gain knowledge nor the maturity to know anything about Heaven or God. I am thankful that God is the great re-teacher. He will provide you more opportunities to gain the sight you need. God bless you, truly. Seek wisdom. Many of the gifts, such as love, can not be realized by "rational" thoughts or poof.

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  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interference_theory#Retroactive_Interference

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    1. Thanks for the link, Mike, I'd never heard of retroactive interference before so I'll do some reading up on it.

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  4. If this kid was a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist or a Sikh or any of many other non Christian religions and he came up with this story it'd be worth discussing. Instead the only possible reaction is to ROFLMAO.

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  5. PS:

    "Now, I'm not suggesting here that Colton is lying, intentionally, but kids have a way of picking up on the fact that parents are especially interested in a particular topic."

    I can remember several things I got wrong as a kid or didn't do or didn't tell my parents about because I thought I wasn't supposed to. Seems odd now but a lot of what kids pick up they do by osmosis - very poor osmosis.

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  6. But really who is that guy on the picture?

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  7. Is there maybe a way to find the real owner of this picture?Surely he is living somewhere here on earth somewhere.

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  8. It's a portrait of Jesus done by Akiane Kramarik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiane_Kramarik). See http://www.artakiane.com/.

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    1. YoungChristian14 July 2014 at 22:26

      I am a believer and a follower of God. And there is many things I would like you all to think about.
      You should not believe in God because it will get you into heaven. You should believe because he is our savior and creator.
      Secondly the person who said God is vicious for condemning us all to death and potential eternal suffering, stop trying to analyze God. We do not and will not ever know why he does things the way that he does. But rest assured, he has a plan for all of us.
      Lastly, those of you that are atheists I challenge you to try to find God. You might think I'm just some babbling idiot but I beg you to take on my challenge. Read the bible and try talking to God. You will see how he will change your life. I pray that you can find God.

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    2. Learn about the origins. The truth is far better than the ancient stories.

      www.amazon.com/Jesus-Interrupted-Revealing-Hidden-Contradictions/dp/0061173940

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  9. As a Christian, first let me say that I think your name is appropriate. I expected to find nasty or derogatory comments as, unfortunately, is often the case when I read atheist’s blogs to get their take on things. Your review has the tone of somebody who is naturally skeptical about the existence of God and the claims made by people who believe in Him. I don’t mind discussions about this topic and I wish such discussions could stay respectful without insults being thrown. I don’t mean to imply that the insults go only one way; Christians are guilty of name-calling as well.

    In the Bible Jesus warns about false prophets. So, I don’t automatically believe every experience that has been claimed by a Christian. In the Bible Paul challenges doubters to go and speak with the many witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. So here, before I believe the story I’d want some corroboration as well.

    I haven’t been able to fully investigate but, a lot of what I read seems quite possible; the illness itself, the hospital stay, the surgery, the quick (almost miraculous) recovery after the surgery, the babysitter’s interaction.

    As to the “hard evidence” you discuss, I believe that a miscarriage is not something that parents would discuss with a toddler and, even if he overheard it, I doubt he’d understand it enough to incorporate it into a “dream.” As to what his parents were doing, I suppose it’s possible that he could have guessed that his father (a pastor) would probably be praying, but then, why wouldn’t he have guessed that his mother was praying with his father as well? That his mother was on the phone seems too specific to be a wild guess. Lastly, I feel that in a dream, a child would be more likely to remember his great-grandfather the way he last saw him (an old man in a photo), not as a young man.

    I admit that as the story went on, it sounded like a story that a kid, who loves it when “good guys win” would tell.

    Nonetheless, what I feel it comes down to is the same as is always the case between Atheists and Christians. There will never be any evidence strong enough to open your mind to the possibility of super natural explanations for occurrences in the natural world. Even if Todd Burpo had written down or recorded the conversations with his son, you would still give another doubtful retort. If you watched them and believed that they were lying, that’s one thing (I haven’t watched the interviews yet). However, you “believe that they believe” and still you resolutely hold to your position that there is no God.

    Take care.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Adeniyi. I agree that the pieces of evidence you have mentioned here are among the strongest in the book. Remember too though, that experts have clearly proven our *memories* are very faulty and highly prone to various errors. So, even if the Burpo's are not lying, per se, it is certainly plausible that they are recalling the specifics (and timeline) in a manner that sounds much more impressive than was the true reality at the time. And certainly they would be strongly inclined to leave out those things which might cast doubt on the story as well. Our *memories* get altered, by subsequent events/experiences/beliefs, even though we still strongly believe they are just *memories* and insist on their complete accuracy. This phenomenon is discussed and explained in numerous excellent books, including "On Being Certain", by Robert A. Burton.

      I disagree with your statement that *there will never be any evidence strong enough to open (my) mind*. There are in fact many, many things that would convince me I'm wrong. I was once convinced I was wrong (I was an evangelical Christian for more than 25 years), and my mind could certainly be changed back again. For example, if scientific studies on prayer were to demonstrate that Christian prayers are effective (whereas, let's say, the prayers of other religions were not). Or if faith healers were able to grow back missing limbs. I could give numerous other examples, if you'd like me to; those are literally just the first two that spring immediately to mind.

      These might sound crazy to you, but might I suggest that's only because Christians have grown accustomed to having very little to work with, in the way of hard evidence, and they also wrongly believe it to be *enough* to convince any rational and open minded person (but this just isn't the case). Maybe it's the other way around...maybe Christians are just too credulous?

      Does god want all to come to repentance, or doesn't he? If he does, than he knows precisely what it would take to convince the genuine skeptics. Why would he willingly withhold that evidence (does he truly love us?), especially knowing that eternal punishment is at stake. Doesn't this make him a monster?

      (Or perhaps he just isn't real.)

      On a side note, just to clarify, I actually don't hold to the position that there is *no god*. I explain my take on this in the post called "Atheist or Agnostic?" (http://respectfulatheist.blogspot.ca/2012/03/atheist-or-agnostic.html)

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    2. Take one more step, stop thinking there might be a god, there isn't, no god, no magic, no ghosts. In this universe our entire milky way is like a single grain of sand on a giant beach, stop thinking one microscopic planet in this infinite universe has any importance. We are nothing but apes barely down from the trees thinking we know anything at all, but one thing we can know is there is no big foot or santa clause...

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    3. (Take one more step, stop thinking there might be a god) That from a common sense view would be an absolutely closed mind. If a scientist looks for any answers he or she must start with an open mind then view all available evidence and use the best tests before coming to a possible answer. Also since the biggest mystery still unanswered by science is how life started. The1953 stanley miller project to answer life origin did produce a couple of ammino acids that so far,none have been able to produce life. so the question as to whether life begin spontaneously or was created is still unanswered.

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    4. It would seem that you have a misconception of Jesus. You say that he should convince everyone that he's real and then boom everyone would believe and everyone would be saved and go to heaven. If we all truly have free will, then him proving that he's God completely takes free will away. If you believe the earth was flat and you went in space and saw it for yourself... you'd be an idiot to say it wasn't round. So essentially you didn't really have a choice.

      Also, you mention that you were a christian before. If that's true, then I'm guessing you read or heard about when Satan took jesus to the desert and tempted him.

      Math: 4:9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Do you know why he said that? Think about it... Satan knew how much he cared about people. He died for them. So saying he's a monster is an insult.

      You are also trying to make sense of things that you can't saying that if science proves prayer works. So science is going to prove a super natural event? Lets say God exists. You're saying that the one who created us including our tiny little brains. That WE are going to prove something using science to prove something spiritual? When they aren't even on the same playing field....

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    5. I wonder if you have read the story of Nachiketa . It is the story of a Hindu boy whose heart had received the truth about the scriptures, and whose father had given him over to die . Nachiketa accepts his destiny when he says ""Like corn, a man ripens and falls to the ground; like corn, he springs up again in his season" He then spends three nights in the house of the King of Death and receives three boons ,one of which is the secret of eternal life .........Sound familiar.?....... Jesus also recognizes his destiny "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;but if it dies it bares much fruit" ...........The story of Nachiketa was written in the Upanishads some 500 years before Jesus was born .

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    6. Anonymous has way too much time on your hands!!! Whew!!!

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    7. This is towards the anonymous who said 'misconception of Jesus.....would take out free will'. According to the bible God had no problem directly interfering with people like Adam and Eve in the garden or Moses and the burning bush and in the New Testament Jesus performs miracles in front of audiences. So tell me how God/Jesus would be disrupting free will if they interfered with Earth as they supposedly did?

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    8. My son began talking in complete sentences when he was 9 months old. At 18 months, he told me that God had asked him to choose his parents and that he was glad that he had chosen us. Our son was born at 26 weeks (806 grams) & did not have the experience of visiting outside our home to gain knowledge nor the maturity to know anything about Heaven or God. I am thankful that God is the great re-teacher. He will provide you more opportunities to gain the sight you need. God bless you, truly. Seek wisdom. Many of the gifts, such as love, can not be realized by "rational" thoughts or proof.

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  10. Have you ever read this one?

    http://theboywhocamebackfromheaven.com/

    I would like to hear your take on it. Thanks!

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    1. That's a lot of Malarkey.

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  11. I don't see how anybody can take this book seriously

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  12. Look even if this boy had a dream or whatever, why do you have such a problem with it? If it is such a bunch of lies then surely people have the choice to believe what they want?

    Why are atheists so hell-bent on proving there is no God? And why do you always seem to attack Christianity more than any other religion? I never see websites dedicated to proving that Hinduism, Sikhism or Islam is fake. Why?

    Furthermore, there are proud Satanists out there, but people never say to them "Satan is not real." If the bible is fake then why are there Satanists? Why do atheists sit on the fence? Why don't you just admit that you are in fact Satanists?

    If there is no God then there is no right or wrong really. We already have gay 'marriage' and gays claiming to be Christians even though the Bible consistently says that God does not approve of homosexuality.

    Next paedophiles will be saying "I was born this way, I can't help it. It's my sexuality" and people will give children for them to abuse. I am very worried at the way the world is going and feel that we have very little time left, because if there is no God as you say then life is pointless. We are all just random collections of atoms on this earth. Therefore nothing matters. If a child is abused, then so what - they are just a bunch of atoms right?

    So why is it then that when a person cheats in a relationship the other person feels devastated and hurt? Why should they, we are all just a bunch of atoms that will disassemble in a few years right?

    Furthermore, the thing that makes me laugh the most about atheists is that they say science proves there is no God. This is the biggest lie ever. Atheism itself is a religion in the sense that you cannot prove that God does not exist, you BELIEVE that he does not exist.

    Check out this page believers: http://deeptruths.com/articles/big_lie_exposed.html

    I know what they will say next - there is no God, and this has been proven by evolution! Really? So if you cross a horse and a donkey what do you get? A mule. However, if two mules have sex what happens? Nothing! They are infertile i.e. that is God saying this is as far as it goes. Same goes for gays, they cannot reproduce and are in fact themselves the by product of a heterosexual union.

    Just admit that you are boastful Satanists who don't want to admit that you are sinners! Instead you want to believe the original lie of Satan that you can be as gods knowing good and evil, i.e. that you have the ability to discern good from evil and do not need God to do this for you.

    I laugh at the God rejecters as you are just Satan's pawns, and he is just happy to take you to Hell with him. Satan will turn an all those who follow him. He is just using you with your oh-so-intelligent scientific arguments.

    God has already mentioned people like you in the Bible. God has used such a simple concept of salvation to confound those who think they are wise.

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    1. People like you make me ashamed to call myself a Christian. I believe in God and I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, but I hate calling myself a Christian. In the bible god loved all his people, which includes gays. In fact, he even spend most of his time with the outcasts of society. So why is it that Christians are the most judgmental people out there?

      I came to this Site to get as many opinions of this book as possible. I assumed that I would side with the Christians in this debate but I was totally wrong. I don't agree with anything that you said. I believe that the child had an encounter with god and that god was there through his recovery but I do not believe the stories that come along further in the book.

      I think everyone needs to form the own opinions on what you read and not follow everything word for word. People need to keep in mind that the bible was written a long time ago and many things have changed. I could go on and on about my opinions on the LGBT community but to be honest, I don't think you would even take my words under consideration and therefore I will not get into it.

      But anyways thanks for reading my opinions.

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    2. I may be coming in a few months after "Beauty" first commented, but boy oh boy do I feel I need to address this for any future readers.

      1. I don't think Respectful Atheist has a "problem" with this boy's dream/vision so much as he wanted to share his own point of view. Afterwards, yes, people are free to believe.

      2. Yes, some atheists are dicks and attack people of faith. Others are more considerate in their approach, so please don't lump all atheists as one group. The reason most atheists *in America* respond to Christianity is because that is the dominant religion in America. Atheists elsewhere respond to the religions in their home countries as well.

      3. Minus atheists who are dicks, most don't go hunting around for religions to disprove, but they will respond to fantastic claims. There are way more people worshiping God than Satan, so most atheists respond to God rather than Satan. But atheists equally agree there is no Satan.

      4. Atheists are not devil worshipers, and that is no better than telling a Hindu they must be a devil worshiper too just because they don't agree with you. It's best not to decide what people what they believe in for them.

      6. God is not required for right and wrong. Yes, there are morals in the bible, but they are not exclusive to Christianity. All sorts of cultures have endorsed cooperation, love, justice, an so on for hundreds of years (e.g. Hammurabi's Code, Confucianism, and so on). Morals exists because people recognize they need to get along in order to survive, that killing and stealing and other crimes perpetuate pain rather than stability. This isn't some divine revelation.

      And btw, the same bible that preaches love and happiness has some pretty scary lessons on slavery, sacrifice, trickery, and murdering non-believers by the thousands. And don't you dare say that was only in the Old Testament when Matthew 5:18 clearly dictates that not a single letter of the law of God should be forgotten until the end of time.

      7. What on Earth is wrong with gay marriage? How does it hurt anyone? How has it belittled heterosexual unions? Do you really know how much gay individuals suffer because their love isn't recognized? Men and women who can't get insurance together, care for each others' estate, visit their lover in the hospital and make important decisions, start families, or be together longer than 90 days when they hail from different nations. This bigotry is a crime against anyone who claims to love their fellow human.

      8. Even if pedophiles are born that way, there are laws in place not to discriminate against the way a person is born but to protect children. If a person who is secretly attracted to children never dares touch one because they know right from wrong then by all means they deserve the same treatment as anyone else who follows the law and contributes to society.

      9. Just because people are made of atoms does not mean life isn't precious. You can't judge everything by what it's made of. Atheists love and care just as much as anyone else, and have their hearts broken too. Life isn't just about atoms, it's about experiences, and I don't know why you're putting words in atheists' mouths that I doubt you ever heard anyone actually say.

      Oh, and by the way, Adam was made from dust and Eve was made from a rib, does that mean they aren't worth anything? Jesus in his mortal body was just atoms, was he not worth anything?

      10. Some people have big egos when it comes to disproving God, but the vast majority of atheists are neutral on the subject whether a god exists or not. It's not that science disproves God, it's that we're waiting for a sufficient amount of evidence to prove there is one. It's just like science doesn't disprove unicorns, but we're waiting for evidence that unicorns are real. Science doesn't go around proving negatives, it proves positives which may happen to turn out false with further study.

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    3. cont.

      11. Atheism is not a religion. There may be books written about atheist, and there may be atheist get-togethers, but there is no overarching doctrine that all atheists are bound to follow or else they're not part of the club. Atheists come to their beliefs on their own, and may not always see eye-to-eye with each other.

      12. I checked out your link, I wasn't impressed.

      13. Evolution doesn't go around disproving God. That'd be like saying math disproved genies. Evolution's one and only purpose it to address biology.

      14. I don't know the exact reason mules can't breed, but if God wanted to keep species separate wouldn't horses and donkeys not be able to breed at all? Btw there are hybrids which can breed, like the liger (lion + tiger).

      13. So what if gays can't reproduce? Is that supposed to prove they're not the same species? I mean, straight men can't reproduce either, does that mean two straight guys hanging out is an abomination? What about couples who are infertile, is their love wrong? What about elderly couples who can't have children, are they morally corrupt?

      15. A heterosexual union doesn't strictly mean the two partners are straight. Sometimes men and women who don't want to admit they are gay (or who just really want a baby) have sex. It's not that gay people can't reproduce, it's that they can't reproduce with each other because, you know, biology.

      And btw, just because there happen to be gay individuals doesn't mean heterosexual couples are doomed to disappear. There are plenty of hetero unions which will keep populating humanity for eons to come.

      16. Again, atheist doesn't automatically mean Satanist, no more than being Buddhist or Shinto or Norse means you're a Satanist. Also atheists do not believe in sin. It's not that we don't admit we're not perfect, or that we pretend we're incapable of doing wrong. It's that we don't believe that doing bad things means we need to beg a divine being for forgiveness. Rather we need to make recompense with those we have wronged. Our debt is to each other.

      17. Salvation as it's described by Christianity is a joke. God creates Adam and Eve without the ability to discern good from evil, then gets angry when they do something wrong and rather than teaches them a lesson as a parent might do for their children he banishes them from paradise. He brands Eve with sin that is passed to her children even though they have done nothing wrong to deserve it (like, are the children of murderers guilty of murder?). Then despite the fact he can do anything he doesn't change humanity's ways or help them, but rather kills the entire human race save for Noah's family. Then rather than trying to help he lets humanity thrive and develop sin all over again, and though a bunch of prophets teach some good lessons God commands them to break those laws left and right through war and slavery. Later, his only solution is to manifest himself as a human, teach a bunch of good lessons, and then sacrifice himself to himself in order to break the debt. However he doesn't actually break the debt because people still sin in his eyes anyway and the only way they can free themselves is to worship and thank him, which is what they needed to do from the beginning anyway so the whole sacrifice was a waste. Plus Jesus wasn't actually "sacrificed" because he gets to live in heaven forever and rule the world so his efforts were for his own gain. Of course God could have actually been a loving deity and, you know, forgiven mankind, punished those who are legitimately wicked, and teach the rest of us how to be good without the looming threat of hell which he created and which we're all automatically destined for upon birth lest we praise God for doing absolutely nothing to make the lives we work so hard for day in and day out any better.

      So much for "simple" salvation.

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    4. Everyone is an atheist about somebody's god.

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    5. @ Cosmic Ninja - loved the comment... very interesting and well said. :)

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    6. Atheists usually aren't hellbent on disproving God. I'm agnostic atheist, I'm not really concerned with that, but I am concerned with people like you throwing your cross-shaped wrench into the cogs of society. Religious nuttery like "Heaven is for real" actively affects us in reality.

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    7. "I never see websites dedicated to proving that Hinduism, Sikhism or Islam is fake. Why?"

      It's because you don't speak the primary language of the cultures where these religions are dominant. Absence of proof is not proof of absence, right?

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    8. Never, EVER compare gay people to pedophiles. It's sick, and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being gay. My sister is a lesbian, and the hate gay people receive is tremendous. Just get the fuck over with it.

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    9. Why can't someone compare pedophiles to homosexuals? If you say homosexuality is wrong because homosexuals can't choose who they're attracted to then couldn't that also be applied to pedophiles? Just to be clear I am NOT condoning having sex with children and I don't think there is anything wrong with being gay. I also disagree with Beauty by Isobel almost completely and am not trying to defend that poster. I know its taboo to hold this opinion but I honestly see nothing wrong with pedophilia when you define it as being sexually attracted to children, as long as they never participate in the act. I do of course think having sex with children is completely wrong. You say gays receive a tremendous amount of hate but I'd wager pedophiles receive much much more. This has always irked me because just like homosexuals they can't choose not to be attracted to children. Is it right to demonize them over something that isn't their fault?

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    10. The reason why pedophiles are in the wrong and homosexuals aren't is pretty obvious: homosexuality generally implies mutual consent. If the pedophile wants the child but the child doesn't want the pedophile, it's not fair to the child and therefore wrong. (Which is what happens in most cases) If, for some reason, the child does consent, it'd still be immoral; the age difference is usually immense enough to where the child doesn't know what their doing. (After all, it's illegal for someone over 18 to have relationships with someone under 18)
      As you can see, the reasoning as to why comparing homosexuals to pedophiles is like comparing apples to bank robbers is pretty clear; one is illegal under all developed country's law, and the other is legal under all developed country's law. Moreover, pedophilia is inherently immoral whereas homosexuality isn't. (Under any reasonable standard, that is)

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  13. Oh and just one one thing, I have to answer your bit about scientifically studying prayers! This is hilarious! So you were a Christian for 25 years eh?

    Sounds to me like you did not get a specific prayer answered, and you became angry about it and decided to reject God because he did not answer your prayer.

    However, maybe God did not answer because that prayer might have brought you harm if fulfilled. Maybe you were not asking for something righteous.

    Anyway, how can you scientifically study a prayer? How would you be able to prove where the prayer went and if it was heard. Do you not see the silliness of your ways?

    You said that God has not given proof of his existence and he is cruel for not doing so. Really?

    Here is what God has given us:

    The Holy Bible as proof.
    The earth itself as proof.
    Man and female as proof.
    Gays inability to reproduce as proof.
    Jesus Christ as proof - Jesus is mentioned in contemporary secular history book from Rome.
    Today is 8 February 2012 - the whole world conforms to this date and time - which is based on the BC/AD format - so why has not one country refused to admit that we are in 2013? Why is everyone using a date format from the Bible if it is all hogwash?

    Your faith is very weak. Even if God came down to earth and said to you, I am god you would not believe it. Even if he did miracles you would not believe, as Jesus already came to the earth and did so, and some still chose to reject him and instead believe that he was from Satan!

    Basically what you want is an easy peasy faith - you want God to scientifically prove to you that he exists, so you can then 'repent' and go to Heaven with no doubt in your mind. That is not faith! Even science turns itself out - apparently we humans see upside down and backwards and then your brain sorts it all out, so even if God performed a miracle you would believe it was a hallucination.

    Just accept that you are a Satanist, and be done with it.

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    1. Nice reply. I'm not joking.

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    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

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    3. Btw, the video clip is addressed to Isabel...

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    4. @ Beauty! I think tomorrow morning as soon as you wake up call the psychiatrist. I think it's time for you to start the treatment.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. The bible is proof? Proof enough for you ya mean.

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  14. Seems the cat has got your tongue....

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    1. Nope, but I'm only interested in intelligent conversation

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    2. So you obviously think that God is not intelligent then.

      You are a Satanist and you know it. It is not like parliament where you can say “Yea” or “Nay” or abstain. You cannot abstain from God; instead you place your vote in Satan by default.

      Seems God has become a casualty of your ego.

      So where is your intelligent scientific proof that God does not exist? Instead of ridiculing Christians why don’t you focus your efforts on finding scientifically verifiable evidence that God does not exist?

      If you want proof, then surely a burden of proof is on you as well. You have said that you only want “intelligent conversation” yet every time someone sticks up for God you don’t even answer the questions that they are raising!

      Why do you believe that God has to prove to you that he does not exist? Are you reversing the relationship that he has installed? Is God now effectively your servant, and you are his Lord?

      I note that you describe yourself as an “in the closet” atheist. Why are you in the closet if you are proud of your beliefs?

      Furthermore, if you have ‘seen the light’ and realised that God does not exist I would have thought you would:

      1. Burn all your bibles and scream “yippee!!”
      2. Proceed to get on with your life, and do all the things that you have wanted to do after wasting 25 years of your life on Christianity.
      3. Not bother to convince others as you have the secret satisfaction of knowing that only you are intelligent enough to know that there is no God.

      Instead you have decided to dedicate a large part of your life to debating/proving that God does not exist via your website. So it seems you have decided to waste another 25 years of your life, as you know that you can never scientifically prove that God does not exist!

      Strangely enough, if you believe that there is no God, then why are you spending your life trying to prove the non-existence of someone who you believe does not exist?! This would suggest that there is a part of you that believes that you may be wrong, otherwise this would not bug you i.e. you would accept you conclusion and get on with life.

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    3. Actually, your supposed God is NOT intelligent:

      First, he continuously makes his "revelations" dubious and not UNQUESTIONABLY true, hence both the disbelief and numerous religions that claim to have the unaltered, unfiltered "divine truth." If he is so hell-bent (tee hee) on having people believe in him, why can't he do a better job? He can't blame us, he made us in the first place. Quite a questionable theology, huh?

      Two, God couldn't even create Satan correctly to follow him instead of rebelling (don't bother with the "God gives us all Free Will" BS, as anything that is the product of something else is not responsible for itself. You don't blame the pot for the potter's mistakes, do you?).

      "Why do you believe that God has to prove to you that he does not exist? Are you reversing the relationship that he has installed? Is God now effectively your servant, and you are his Lord?" Okay, it wouldn't make sense for something that exists to prove that it doesn't, but you already knew that I'm sure...

      As for the "scientifically verifiable evidence" for God's nonexistence, it actually depends on your definition of God. In the Biblical literalist sense, the creation story of the universe is false, as EVERYTHING seen throughout the natural world is CONTINUOUSLY created, transformed, and destroyed, as opposed to being a finished product in 6 days. Simple logic, really.

      Science and philosophy have continuously made the Judeo-Christian God concept more and more unbelievable; no "miraculous" events have been demonstrated for those who aren't already convinced that miracles occur, humans still act immorally even after God killed himself on a cross to "redeem" humanity (such a practical and realistic solution, huh?), and no real thing called the Universe has been defined with boundaries to even begin posturing that "It" had a beginning. In short: organized religion, especially Judeo-Christian religion, is designed to satisfy those who don't want truth to be too far beyond the limits of shallow reasoning.

      The time spent to debating/proving the non-existence of God actually has to do with making a case for those who are not convinced of the claims of religion. Since the dogmatically religious continuously strive to force their beliefs down everyone's throats, especially through political action, those who don't share their views have to defend themselves.

      So, you go ahead and continue "believing" in your religious fairy tales, and let others who, after examining the debates, logic, and evidence, can actually take the hint that God just doesn't exist outside of the human imagination.

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    4. I am not a religious person. I don't go to church, I cannot quote you scriptures from the bible, and I believe in science. I also believe in god. I think people are always trying to outdo the next. Its pretty simple in my opinion. God is perfect. Everything is the way it is(in the scientific world)because god made it that way. Science and religion can mix. I don't necessarily believe a lot of stories from the bible, and science seems to back up what what it says, but that's because god made it that way. W ether its creation or evolution, i don't know, but i know in my heart that its gods doing.

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    5. Actually, your supposed God is NOT intelligent:

      Best comment in the whole thread but don't tell the religitards that. They're goin to heaven.

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  15. You are just haughty and hide yourself behind useless never-ending philosophical arguments that are going to get you nowhere. When you are on your death bed, I doubt will get much comfort from these wordy philosophies.

    You have not answered anything I said, because you cannot answer them. You know that you hate God, as your website is specifically dedicated to slandering the Lord Jesus Christ in particular. No Krisha hating or Shiva hating or Mohammed hating, just pure and strong Christ hating.

    You said “Nice try :)” Please do not mistake my post as a plea for you to see the light/repent as it is clear that you have long made your mind up to reject God. You are suffering from an ego issue in that you think that you are special from all other humans and you think that God owes you an explanation of some kind.

    In particular I notice that your biggest bug seems to be the age old adage of the atheist agenda: “If there is a God then why is there so much suffering in the world?! God must be cruel! God must be bad!”

    God made human beings to have free will. A knife can be used to cut meat, or to slay a person. Does that mean that we should ban knives?

    You say that you want scientific proof so what kind of proof are we talking about? Strands of God’s hair? Blood samples? Recordings of prayers going to heaven? A paper list recording all the sins a person made in his life to see whether God was right to punish them? You are applying your limited concepts and understanding of the world to God and that is why you cannot believe.

    You have implied that I lack intelligence, but the fact that you are asking for such silly things seems to imply that you lack intelligence.

    So said that you want proof, so show me your scientific proof that God does not exist! You said that you like to debate, yet you refuse to converse with ‘thick’ people like me. Seems you are clinging to your science based religion now, the same way a Christian clings to God.

    You and I have more in common than you think.

    I read the Bible.
    You read scientific journals, papers, periodicals etc.

    I cling to faith.
    You cling to science.

    I believe that God exists.
    You believe that God does not exist.

    I cannot scientifically prove that God does exist.
    You cannot scientifically prove that God does not exist.

    Therefore we are both following a religion, and no proof is needed on either side. You have simply transferred from one religion to another.

    However, evolution is a big lie and that can be proved!

    Read this article next believers!

    http://www.newgeology.us/presentation32.html

    Praise be to the merciful and amazing Lord Jesus Christ. May his name be hallowed forever and ever. Amen!

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    1. Is it only people like you in heaven? If that's the case, I would MUCH prefer hell. Weather might not be as nice, but at least I won't have to put up with self-righteous dolts such as yourself.

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    2. Beauty by Isobel, you say (of me), "you have implied that I lack intelligence". No, what I meant to imply is you are proving yourself unwilling to engage in intelligent CONVERSATION. Feel free to prove me wrong but, in the interim, I don't intend to converse with you (since it wouldn't accomplish anything constructive).

      Also, just a quick warning...if your tone continues to escalate, I may have to ban you from the site (please don't make me do that). This will be your one and only warning.

      On a personal level, I wish you the best.

      Delete
    3. You must all repent and praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarians KNOW his existence cannot be disproved.

      Delete
    4. what's holding you back...BAN her please...hahaha...before I could waste any more time reading hers...can't really stop myself but read the whole comment though I know where it's goin, and just simply want to SLAP her at the end...

      you might also decide to ban me for gettin harse with her...hahaha...

      Delete
    5. You said: "I read the Bible. You read scientific journals, papers, periodicals, etc." What I heard: "I read a book written 4000+ years ago by tent living desert dwellers who believed the Earth was flat and the center of the universe, who make rape victims marry their rapist, while sacrificing goats to the sky. You read papers written by modern day scientists and scholars, who write about their experiments and observable evidence to prove phenomenons in the universe."

      You said: "I cling to faith. You cling to science." What I heard: "I cling to my complete trust and confidence in an invisible man without any proof or evidence whatsoever. You cling to a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe based on experiments and evidence."

      See how stupid you sound?

      Delete
    6. Beauty by Isobel,

      You have not the foggiest, slightest, remotest grasp of what you are talking about.

      I have to say, it sounds a lot less like faith and more like insanity; but call it whatever you want to. You give religious people a bad name.

      Delete
    7. Beauty, why so angry? God wants you to love everyone. Jesus was very patient and kind to everyone. Stop. Please stop. I'm a Christian and I don't agree with much you said. What is the second greatest commandment? Try to connect with Jesus on a personal level, get in a relationship with your God. He does not want his disciples insulting and fighting with people.

      Delete
    8. The problem is that Isabel hasn't read her bible fore if she had she's be an atheist. Then again, Religitards are famous for cherry picking the parts they like and don't like.

      Delete
  16. As a christian myself, you are never going to get anywhere with people with that tone. I believe that you have some good points but no one is going to listen to someone that is condescending them and we are called as christians to not be like that.

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    1. How to get anywhere with someone who doesn't hold a religious/dogmatic belief:

      Discuss/debate with them using comparatively solid scientific evidence, engaging philosophy, and consistent logic.

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  17. So you are saying that Atheist's are not self righteous?

    So what about Mr 'Respectful' Atheist? Proposing to be respectful to others? Yet his whole website is dedicated to slagging off people's beliefs!

    Here are some of his gems:

    "The preacher focused heavily on the guilt that we all should feel, for having done bad things in our lives, and then moved straight into the "Jesus can forgive you" clincher."

    "My intellect was running way ahead of my emotions."

    "Meyer; namely that she is basically just a glorified motivational speaker."

    "Look again at her words, "the Bible says they spent 40 years trying to make what was an 11 day journey". Wow, it really takes some serious moxie to believe that as pure fact...much less to preach it as such in front of packed stadiums (and with such confidence)! And all of this without the tiniest shred of archaeological evidence to back up the claim. Oh, wait, I forgot...it has to be true because it's in the Bible, and the Bible is "God's perfect word"."

    Hmm, does the 'Respectful Atheist' not sound self-righteous to you?

    So he can ridicule my faith, but I cannot ridicule his? I never claimed to be self righteous, as I am a sinner and have no righteousness to offer God. That is why I love Jesus, because I BELIEVE he has saved me.

    As for me being condescending, I believe that Respectful Atheist is very condescending, and therefore I gave him a dose of his own medicine.

    As for Christians, being called not not be like that, well lets look at Jesus. Yes he offered words of peace, but he often did not mince his words either, and told the world in no uncertain terms about their sins.

    Perhaps you should read the Book of Jeremiah and then come back and read my post, and then see how condescending you think it is then.

    Atheists believe that they are the 'brights' of this world and we are the 'dumbs' of this world. Their religion is based on a false science, so in my opinion they are not better than the Christians they hate.

    I have never claimed that I can scientifically prove that God does exist. I believe that there is evidence to suggest that he did exist, and on the balance of probabilities I have chosen to believe in God.

    An atheist has chosen to do the opposite. My whole point is that we have both made a choice. If you truly believe in God then you will stand up for your religion when it is being ridiculed and portrayed as a comfort blanket for weak minded individuals, who are letting their emotions get the best of them.

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    1. This is not at all what I believe about Christians (or atheists, for that matter).

      Look, are you interested in having an actual conversation, with me, or do you just want to rant? I might be willing to consider the former but, as I said, you need to show that you are willing to engage in rational discourse. Are you?

      Your next move is key.

      Delete
    2. To "Beauty by Isobel" -

      I think you need to look up the definition of "Self-Righteous," because your comments make it obvious that you don't understand what the phrase means.

      Delete
  18. Wow. I feel bad for everyone that makes it this far down the page and has read the rants from Beauty by Isobel. The comments made by this person are so poor that I almost thought they were written by an atheist who was trying to make Christians look bad. Since they are almost completely off-topic, I don't think anyone would blame RA if he deleted them.

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  19. I've been speechless for a good bit now. I could be mistaken, but every intro into one of Beauty's long rants was just taking a line and then distorting it in ways I thought only teenagers could. Who goes on a blow titled ''respectfulatheist'' and then rants about him/her discussing Christianity in a negative way? The sign is on the door.

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    1. Blog, although going on a blow sounds pretty interesting.

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  20. Beauty by Isobel's uneducated claims and statements (especially the claim that atheism is a religion) only go to show what a delusional world people can think themselves into. It's funny (and sad) as well to know just until a few years ago I possessed the same blind faith and didn't understand the burden of proof that that my religion (and all others) carried. I hope that logic and reasoning one day help Beauty by Isobel.

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  21. Someone should submit isobels comments to fudiessaythedarndestthings.
    Isobel...(I place my hand on your shoulder) just go sit down somewhere will you? No one cares.

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  22. Respectful atheist. I too am a former christian turned atheist. Its a lonely existence when you turn to scientific and critical thinking. I live in the bible belt. My friends, family and girlfriend all hold some level of christian faith. I love them, I just can't always talk to them. Yesterday my gf was telling me all about what she thinks heaven will be like. I could only bite my tounge, nod and resist the overwelming urge to be cynical. I'm just looking for an online community where I can share my true beliefs with like minded people, without having to get preached at.

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  23. I enjoyed that. But I slightly disagree with your arguments.

    Firstly, it's normal that his parents start to believe him and then end up not doubting him at all because his parents a christian and believe in heaven. They would've had a hard time believing him if they didn't believe in heaven, but because they had faith that heaven exists, all they had to do is believe that Colton actually went to heaven, not the existence of it. If I were them, I would've believed Colton.

    Secondly, with your second argument that you think Colton picked up on his parent's constant questioning and started to embellish his stories, who are you to say if Colton did embellish or not? You said yourself, "...who am I to tell the Burpo's what did or didn't happen to Colton? "

    Lastly, I don't really see your last argument as an argument, in my opinion though.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed this, even though I didn't completely agree with it. You gave a great summary and it was a fun read.

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  24. I stumbled across your blog tonight as I was taking a break from reading Heaven Is For Real. I am a Christian and although I am only halfway through the book, I have doubts about the authenticity of the story. It almost seems like the child was coached. I've noticed a pattern so far of the father "interpreting" what his son has said versus letting the reader draw their own conclusions. I'm sure I'll have more to say about the book once I've finished it. I am currently on my phone and cannot click any of the links provided. I'm curious as to what made you turn to atheism?
    Tiffany

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    1. Thanks for your comments. Once you're done reading the book, I'd love to hear "the rest" of your thoughts.

      As to what made me turn to atheism, that's a tough question to answer briefly. Have you had the chance to read any of my other posts on this blog? Nearly all of them have something or other to do with why I turned to atheism.

      I guess the short answer is that I lost belief in the core claims of the Bible, one by one by one (ie. that Jesus was born of a virgin, was raised from the dead, and/or was god's son etc. etc.). I also lost belief in the notion that god, if he exists, had anything whatsoever to do with the Bible. There is simply no convincing evidence (to me) of a divine hand at work in its pages (anywhere).

      Obviously, that's an oversimplification. If you wind up reading any of my other posts, I'd love to hear your responses and discuss with you further. Just comment underneath the ones that interest you.

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  25. Dear Respectful Atheist, you say that Akiane painted the Prince of Peace from memory. No, she didn't. She used a model....some guy who just walked in looking for work one day. And that's what bothers me.

    If she saw all these visions, why didn't she paint Jesus from memory? And isn't that what God told her to do?

    Another thing. I found her story on an esoteric website. That raised red flags for me, too. Metaphysics? Reminds me of those Nibiru books by Zechariah Sitchin.

    If we've seen the handwriting of an 8-year old, they're years away from the physical control required for fine handwriting. The same thing would apply to their hand control of a paintbrush. I don't see how that painting could have been done by an 8-year old.

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    1. I don't disagree with what appears to be your bottom line regarding the book, but as for the notion that an 8-year-old couldn't have painted Jesus like that...I read somewhere that fine motor control generally doesn't begin to kick in well until a kid's about 8. And that may or may not be true, but there are child prodigies out there younger than 8 who can play the piano or the violin almost frighteningly well, and it seems to me that to play those instruments well requires a similar sort of fine motor control as you'd need to paint well...representationally, anyway. My point is that there are probably exceptions to every rule about what human beings can do and when they can do it.

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  26. I feel bad for the kid to a certain extent. A harmless child's story has now blossomed into a way of life / full-time employment for his family. What pressure he must be under as he hits adolescence, how trapped he must feel. Can he ever admit the truth and thereby dishonor his family? Tough spot for a kid to be in.

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    1. Good point. It will be interesting to see if he ever retracts his story.

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  27. This entire situation seems to parallel Marjoe's.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe

    Child preachers are cash cows for the parents apparently.

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  28. I only have one comment for this.
    I would have believed it more if the child's dad wasn't a pastor.

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    1. That fact didn't help me either...made it harder for me to believe. When Mary was told she was giving birth to "God's son"--she didn't run around telling everyone.... I think making $$$$ from telling what you saw in heaven makes it less believable. I feel a bit sorry for these children as well...would be very interesting to see how they "turn out."

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  29. Occam's razor: The simplest answer is often the most likely answer. The tale this book tells is at least partially manufactured. First I would be more inclined to entertain this whole thing if the child lived in an Atheist home and had never been in a church. As mentioned above, he lived his 3 short years immersed in the Christian religion as his father was a pastor. As for some of the sticking points of the book, how did he know about the miscarriage, the simplest answer is that the parents, who actually wrote the book, took some creative liberties. Maybe they really do believe this is all real, but they have already pre-supposed this outcome of death and they live it and breath it everyday, and probably always have. Perhaps the kid had some type of experience on the operating table, I have no doubt that neuroscience can logically explain that. He spoke of it in a familiar frame of reference, bible stories. His parents interpreted it in their own frame of belief and faith, and then they all proceeded to embellish it to the point of best-seller and movie rights. Simplest explanation.

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    1. So for the religious that think science is the tool of the devil, I suggest this: stop going to the doctor, they are all about science-- you are probably alive today because of science, don't drive a car, don't fly for sure, don't take any medicine from a pharmacy, don't watch what you eat, don't refrain from painting your house and children's toys with lead paint, start smoking if you don't and continue if you do, stop believing the earth is not the center of the universe, and that's just a micro list of the things that you daily indulge in that are in existence solely because of science and scientific inquiry. Yet you compartmentalize science and choose what to believe and use and what not to believe, Talk about self indulgent hypocrisy. I only hope as you advance in your ability to argue, and you will as you choose to do it over and over; you might eventually come to your beginning and know the place for the first time (apologies to TSE). Then you will see that either you are a liar, or you have no further excuse to believe in things that can't be proven with hard evidence and irrefutable data. You would see that knowledge is the most sacred, not imaginary beings or fiction masquerading as fact....

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  30. This has been an interesting read. These responses to the original post have also been rather thought provoking if not challenging.

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    1. I thought about this book after a mention of it recently in the media and came across this blog in my efforts to learn more about the foundations of the book. Disclaimer: I have not read the book in question, nor viewed videos about this book or interviews the child or his parents. I have only scant reports of its existence here and there on radio, internet, and discussions around the proverbial ‘water cooler’.
      I have read through the various comments/discussions here and I have some thoughts and observations that may or may not be of interest to others about the content of discussion of this particular blog entry.
      My background is highly religious. My family home has shelves full of awards/trophies and accolades from my many years of bible study. Like sporting trophies, these were won in my youth at competitions for the speed and demonstrated understanding of the Judeo-Christian bible. I was a biblical student and competitor and was regarded from a very young age by my biblical teachers as highly unusual in my grasp and understanding of biblical texts and the difficult questions that I proposed to my teachers that they could not answer (my early attempts at a scientific mindset). I also have degrees in fields such as the arts and clinical psychology from a secular university.
      I strayed from my religious studies in my adolescence and was placed in a boarding school run by a major denomination and its priests. Now, before anyone wrongly assumes, I was treated very well and never abused by any church official or others in my time there, so I have nothing but positive experiences from my placement there and no grievances to air or related issues to motivate any of my perspectives lest my comments be taken out of the context in which they are offered by me (I see this is a pattern with some of the readers/commenters where others are ridiculed based on assumed understanding and the resulting belief in the ‘rightness’ of this assumed knowledge).
      First let me apply my 15 plus years of study in clinical psychology to some of the comments I have read. First off there is a tendency toward unsupported assumption in the assertions about what others think or believe. Often when humans engage in this type of behavior they are (clinically) Projecting at worst and at best making over-generalizations based on their own faulty assumptions, emotional responses and beliefs. Generally what is produced is a closed circuit of cognition and a cognitive distortion that makes sense only to the person making the error in processing/thinking and causing others to shake their heads. In psychology we train others (and ourselves) to ‘meta-cognate’ and think about our thinking, evaluate their experiences from an outside-in perspective. One of the most common misperceptions is that of “belief” vs. “knowledge of facts”. Often my clients claim that they “know” what others are thinking or what motivates those around them (seen at its most virulent in conditions such as paranoid schizophrenia). What is actually occurring is their ‘belief’ in this knowledge rather than the knowledge itself.

      Delete
    2. Cont.

      Other common thinking errors are: Personalization, Mental Filtration, Jumping to Conclusions, All or Nothing thinking, Overgeneralization, Labelling, Emotional Reasoning, Magnification and Minimization.
      I mention the above textbook examples (of cognitive errors) here because I see the written expression of these errors throughout several postings in this blog. These are common indices of faulty perceptions, irrational beliefs, and in their greater form, psychosis or losing touch with reality. They are not to be mocked but identified and worked through in clinical settings. I realize this blog is not a clinical setting but my caution remains.
      We cannot “know” what motivates thoughts from the limited data contained in typed blog posts. We can assume and through the processes listed above feel confident in our “rightness” however we may be missing our errors in (logical) thinking.
      I can see how some, by reading any language that appears to disparage their closely held beliefs, can react emotionally to this and engage in irate diatribes that assume much about the commenters or those believed to be like him/her (overgeneralizations in this case about ‘others’ such as “Christians”, “Atheists”, “Satanists” et. al.).
      I, as others here have stated, live in the Deep South “Bible Belt” and a vast majority of my clients, colleagues and their families self-identify as “Christian”. I have little problem understanding their belief system as I myself was raised a devout believer. However it never ceases to amaze me of the highly varied beliefs that are held by various ‘Christians’ but have zero basis in biblical texts (or beliefs that are held in high regard while others seem ignored or outright rejected as unimportant despite their support in religious texts). But I digress.
      In discussions of religion I often find myself choosing not to comment since my position may be seen as either threatening to the believer or may cause me issue with others since there has often been a lot of anger directed at those who do not believe by those who do (and vice versa I’m sure). My beliefs or thoughts on religion are often kept to myself as they may be unnecessary to provide clinically for my clients or in the case with my colleagues may serve to isolate me from them due to our lack of shared beliefs. I would like to discuss these things but it can be very hard when others may attack or feel attacked when I discuss my beliefs or evidence for questioning or concern. In this I can see why someone would be “in the closet” about their beliefs such as a deist, agnostic, gnostic or atheist might in a highly religiously charged area of the world.
      Religions often provide a sense of purpose and relief to their adherents. In my experience there is often no reinforcement of doubt or harboring deeper questions as a positive attribute (though I do not pretend my personal experience encompasses that of all religious persons of any faith). Dogma and (especially) fundamentalist interpretations of any scripture can be quite harmful in both direct ways (wars, bigotry, religiously sanctioned violence, abuses of clergy, genocide) and indirect (policy shaped by belief rather than fact or observable/measurable data). I appreciate that most of the discussions here appear to come from thoughtful persons of varying beliefs and non-belief and I hope to find the time to revisit and read more of the discussions here. I am glad to live in a new age of information. It is my hope that this will lead to a more enlightened discourse over time as we move toward knowledge that our ancestors couldn’t fathom.
      With information also comes misinformation and misinterpretation as with science trails pseudoscience.
      I struggle to make sense of this myself and found a particular book helpful while not bashing anyone’s belief system. The book is “The Demon Haunted World” by C. Sagan.
      Thank you for those that stuck with me and sorry if this response is a bit scattershot.

      Delete
  31. This blog has been entertaining to say the least...informative (as to the views of others) as well. As a bible teacher and sometime preacher I was pleased to find comments from an atheist/agnostic that didn't slam anyone who disagreed with them or paint all believers with a broad brush. (Although one woman posted comments from your previous blog that she feels were disrespectful). I was given the book "Heaven is for Real" by a woman in the bible study I lead and read it in one day. Since the young man's recollections conflict with the bible I had to dismiss most of the book as not being credible. I do believe, as some have stated here, that the 3 year old Colton did undergo something that was unnatural which he interpreted as being a visitation from God. If it WAS a visitation at the time of his being in the hospital to comfort him I believe that that was the end of the matter. His descriptions of Jesus and Heaven seem to be made up stories from the mind of a child. As to the memories of people familiar to his parents...I have no answer. Perhaps he overheard conversations that over time took on a life of their own. The bible is my compass, not just situations like this, but for every other claim that comes along as well. I am a skeptic at heart and have examined claims by many others, some claiming to be believers as well, and whenever those claims conflict with the bible or seem spurious I reject those as well. It doesn't mean it has to be false but if it doesn't pass my litmus test (admittedly biased because of my faith) I have the freedom toss it into the mental wastebasket.

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    1. I would like to respectfully ask you to explain what exactly you mean you you say that you are "skeptic at heart", yet a line before state that "the bible is your compass". I ask because I am not an atheist (by its proper definition) and am very much a spiritual person and spend much of my free time quenching my thirst for knowledge on all subjects humans have explored. I was raised Methodist and live in the south, so evangelical christianity is no mystery to me, but I would also like to make it clear that after I integrated with the world at large to pursue my education and career I made a voluntary decision to reject my association with these groups as my experiences have shown me that they are flawed and not supportive of a world where people can be treated as equals, and generally harbors fear, hate, and oppression. Instead, I have committed myself to seeking knowledge, and hearing discourse, and engaging in dialogue so that I may find my own truths and developed my own personal and relevant relationship with God. I ask because as an inquisitive individual, I must admit that your two statements are rather contradictory in my eyes. I have difficulty allowing my self to be guided by a book that has just as many suggestions on how to oppress, enslave, punish, and kill other humans as it contains valuable insights on being a good human embraced by faith.

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  32. I have many questions I would like to ask the author of this. Can I contact you by email? This is a little personal so I want to keep it private.

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    1. If you give me your address I'll send you an email. Does that work for you?

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    2. Yes. My email account is 51796ar@gmail.com

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  33. By the way. I'm the anonymous user.

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    1. Thanks "Angel R". I sent you an email. Let me know if you don't get it.

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  34. Interesting posts. If the universe was created in the big bang theory where did the hydrogen that fueled the formation of stars come from? Could the whole foundation of science be a myth?

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    1. The current theory is the big bang produced so much energy that the makings of protons, electrons, and neutrons were formed from it and eventually made basic atoms. It more or less relies that energy can transform into matter and vice versa.

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    2. Dear Chris Cate, I hate to break this to you, your comment has exposed the fact that you not only are woefully misinformed on the current state of affairs in reference to the current research currently being conducted on the origin of of matter but that you also neglected to perform any due and necessary attempt to educated yourself on said topic before you posted this ludicrous comment in which you not only imply that the intellectual study of physical science and mythology are in anyway related, but also discredit the life works of history's great minds in a way that suggests all of the progress humans have made through the ages is somehow a ruse to confuse and mislead people in a grand coordinated conspiracy. I am not going to sit here and give you a graduate level discourse on the vast numbers of independent theories that are currently being explored on the origin on the universe, but when you make any comment that minimizes such a complex field of study by starting with "If the universe was created in the big bang" I can tell you right now that this statement does not even begin to scratch the surface or come close to being relevant to anything. In fact the idea that the big bang "came from nothing" or started as a singularity is not even the currently supposed model that is used anymore. In today's world the "big bang" has merely come to be understood as a consequence or result of some other dynamic that we are just now beginning to question and explore. As such, if you would kindly do you homework, you will see that hydrogen has never been considered a fundamental particle, and the conditions and environments required to synthesize molecular hydrogen as well as the dynamics regulating how this occurs from things that we know (through repeated laboratory reproduction) are fundamental particles i.e quarks, gluon chromodynamics have be understood and proven empirically over and over and over for over 100 years now.

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  35. Religion has a history of profound violence and hate. Which christian are we talking about? The one that stood at the guillotine waiting to drop the cleaver on another christian that did not convert to his form of Christianity. As Thomas Jefferson was penning the declaration of Independence he knew that the greatest threat to Democracy was not the invading British but the invasion of religion in politics.

    I have never heard of an atheist blowing himself up in a market, killing women and children or engaging another atheist in a heated exchange about whose a better atheist.

    Lets use the words of Jefferson to guide us all "but it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

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    1. LOL. You have never read qu'ran, haven't you? Allah does not have a son! Allah does not begat.
      Muslims believe that their good work save them. Christians are the only ones who believe that salvation by grace through faith. ☺

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  36. http://www.xtremerealitycheck.com/Reality_Check.html#anchor_1360
    http://youtu.be/5MMOAV-xYFs

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    1. I'm shocked that you even posted these laughable links.

      For starters, the first web link, has got to be one of the most unprofessional, nonacademic, childish attempts at web development that I have ever seen. I mean there are so many free website creators out there that at least format your content automatically so that one doesn't need binoculars to read the text and become distracted by the brightly clashing background dead space overwhelming your page. According to your google plus profile Mr. Tominus you work for TMF Group? I hope this a lie, because TMF is an international business services firm and its pretty scary to think that with your lack of skill in creating something as simple as a personal propaganda page you could possibly be gainfully employed there. Ultimately I am in no way surprised that the contradictory nonsense that is polluting valuable server space somewhere by hosting that insult to intelligence and common sense came from someone who can't even click "increase font-size" or apply standard formatting to plain text. My faith in humanity just died a little after reading your "theories". My favorite part of your page has got to be the bottom where the reader is informed that all of you information was gathered from what is listed as "Vol. 1 of and I kid you not....a document titled A REVOLUTIONARY COMMENTARY ON THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE- an epiphany concerning UFO's, Angels, Big Foot, the Bermuda Triangle, Reincarnation, Bible codes, the Anti-Christ, the End of Time, the After life, and God." There is of course a link that one may click to purchase this gem. I didn't know that patients had access to computers in the loony bin.

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  37. Like to see there is still a thread going, sad you haven't written any posts lately =( Recently stumbled on your blog, enjoy it very much.

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  38. Colton says all the angels (except Jesus) had wings in heaven.There is no mention of angels having wings or halos in the Bible. Artists added them to identify them as immortal divine beings, as opposed to mortal earthbound humans. The Roman Council of Nicaea didn't approve of this depiction of angels until around 325 AD.

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    1. angels acctualy do have wings The most common image of an angel is essentially a human being with wings. This is not Biblical. The Bible often presents angels as appearing as human beings. However, this does not indicate that angels in their essence resemble human beings. Further, the Bible vary rarely describes angels as having wings. However, there are definitely two types of angels mentioned in the Bible that have wings: Cherubim (Exodus 25:20; Ezekiel 10) and Seraphim (Isaiah 6). Cherubim and Seraphim are two types of angels, possibly the two highest orders of angels. So, this much is clear, some angels do have wings.

      The Bible tells us that angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). The descriptions of the Cherubim in Ezekiel chapter 10 and the Seraphim in Isaiah chapter 6 are highly unusual. It is clear that Ezekiel and Isaiah were having trouble accurately describing the amazing visions they saw of Heaven and the angels. As spirit beings, it is unclear as to why the angels would require wings. A spirit being does not need wings in order to fly. The angels are not bound by the laws of the physical universe. So, do angels have wings? Yes, some angels do have wings. However, we should not limit what the angels can or cannot do based on our limited understanding of the wings angels possess as described in the Bible.


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    2. You realise that you're (I assume) a fully-grown human who believes in the existence of angels? Doesn't that seem a little silly and childish to you? I mean, angels. Really?

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  39. Its funny that when you go to this family's churches website (http://www.crossroadswesleyan.org/) that the first, largest, most featured, and most highlighted feature on the page is a giant media plug for the book and the movie.....I'm sure that this that has nothing to to with trying to make money or gain attention and that the Burpo's genuinely care about humanity, stewardship, community service, good will towards others, and helping individuals navigate the deeply personal spiritual journey experienced by society since the beginning of time in all cultures and corners of the world. If you have any doubt's about the "sincerity" of Colton or the rest of the Burpo's I recommended youtube-ing Hannity's interview with Colton from last night and paying special attention to Colton's answer when asked whether or not all people go to heaven.
    Sarcasm aside, this book(considered non-fiction?? LOL)/movie/Crossroads Wesleyan church is just another intolerant, evangelical ploy to prey on the sensitive and fearful emotions of poorly educated lower middle class Americans in order to exploit them for $$$$$ and fame. The concept of using "messianic revelation" during times of struggle supported by unverifiable, over-dramatized accounts of "miracles" (even in the face of alternative and easily demonstrated medically validated explanations), is the oldest trick in the book of social manipulation for selfish gain.

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  40. -continued
    One obvious fact that to my knowledge has never been discussed about this whole scam is that fact that in pediatric surgery the drug ketamine is and has been the universal (in all but the most extreme, complex cases where severe per-existing and usually terminal conditions are present) inducing anesthetic/maintenance anesthetic used. This holds true in everything from pediatric dental extraction to major open surgery. Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic and works by primarily functioning as a NMDA receptor antagonist. By definition dissociative anesthetics induce anesthesia by altering the patients state of consciousness through dissociation. That is to say it literally separates the conscious mind's concept and understanding of reality from the physical body thus allowing other wise lethally painful (by means of systemic shock) procedures to be performed successfully. Typically drugs such as ketamine are notorious for producing amnesia, however as the drug is administered and metabolized from the body, and even as the drug maintains anesthesia the patient almost always drifts in and out of different levels of dissociation. The results are well documented and studied, and always the same in patient recall of the experience. Things such as the sensation of "not being in one own body" or believing they are floating above and watching their own surgery, feelings of comfort/euphoria/calm, spiritual/religious contact, intense saturated color and patterns, "meeting" relatives or other long dead people they may not have been aware the knew about, etc. are all the archetypical classic symptoms of being under the influence of a dissociative such as ketamine. In fact these experiences are so commonplace (especially in pediatrics) that they are typically expected and usually made known to the parents prior to the surgury (but Mr. Burpo has already shown that he is very selective in what details he chooses to share in his book). If you honestly still don't believe me I recommend a google search for the very famous youtube video "David after Dentist", which shows a child named David recovering from ketamine anesthesia (filmed by the child's father) after having a tooth extracted. My favorite quote from little David is when in his dazed awe-struck confusion humorously exclaims, "Is the real life? Is this gonna be forever?". I rest my case. Finally, I would like to add that during my college years where I like most 18-25 year olds was trying to "find myself" experimented with ketamine MULTIPLE times, and I can tell you from first hand experience that even though most of the specifics of those journeys are hazy at best, I left my body and "went to heaven" many times, "saw how big god was" and watched Jesus ride around on a rainbow horse no doubt.... I would also like to point out for anyone else that still doesn't believe this is scam, that a drug known as Phencyclidine hydrochloride a.k.a. PCP is another dissociative anesthetic that is a structural analog (chemically and functionally) of ketamine that decades ago was more common in emergency medicine than ketamine, but has since fallen out of favor due to the elevated risks of cardiovascular events. Rest assured, the compound is still very available (albeit illicitly) from your friendly street corner recreational pharmacist under the name "Angel Dust". Ever wonder why it got that name? Now you know.

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    1. Thank you for the information about ketamine and PCP. That explanation makes more sense to me than any other.

      Delete
  41. -continued
    Despite the fact the a ruptured appendix is a serious medical emergency, the reality is that for many decades it has been considered a rather routine and easily treatable situation, meaning that even though Mr. Burpo (who is a evangelical pastor from rural Kansas, a place where creationism is still taught as scientific fact in public schools, and has zero medical training) insists his son "almost died", there is no evidence or convincing testimony from any real medical professionals present during the surgery that suggests Colton was ever in serious risk of his life. That right there should tell you something folks. Another thing I would like to point out is that the appendix does not spontaneously rupture out of no where and that it is a result of appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix). In this modern age the tel-tale signs of of acute appendicitis are essentially "common knowledge" and anyone that has an elementary level of education and common sense would recognize them.....especially in their own children. The fact that Colton was not brought to the ER until his appendix had already ruptured seriously calls into question the competence of his parents and in my opinion dangerously borders on child neglect. I hope that Colton was a unique case of "spontaneous exploding appendix syndrome", but I fear the reality is that his aloof parents, caught up in there own religious fervor as a result of their own personal fears and ignorance of the world around them, neglectfully caused their son a great deal of undue suffering and trauma by not recognizing the necessity for early medical treatment, instead deciding to "pray on it" and leave his recovery in the "hands of god".

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  42. Thank you for this assessment. I am a more recent convert from Christianity (in the last year or so) and so many of my friends still have faith, making it difficult to wade through the hype about this book and get a serious, logical analysis of the story. Curious as I am, when I come across a story with claims of grandiose implication, I like to snoop around a bit and find the reason in it (provided, of course, there is any to be found).

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  43. It's sad that there are parents out there that feed their childrens minds and tell them what to say. What's worse is that those parents get away with it.

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    1. As an atheist from a younger age (14), I would like to share some of my opinions. Growing up my mom always forced me to attend her Christian church each Sunday. Although I had no issue with volunteering at the food pantry, I began to question the existence of a so called "God". After surviving countless arguments with my mother, I grew farther apart from any idea of a church. Honestly, I believe people who pray to be forgiven for their wrong doing are simply lifting these actions off their mind without facing the real issue. Additionally, My mother also forced me to attend a church camp for multiple weeks during the summer "to cleanse my soul" when I confessed to being an atheist. Week after week I was forced to repeat sayings such as "God is good all the time. All the time God is good." I was miserable during sermons of pastors ranting on and on about their God. Any time I spoke out against a story, I had to say five prayers of forgiveness. I still remember I questioned the story of Job where "God" murders his family and makes his life a living hell to prove a point to the "Devil". Even if there was a "God" and the Bible is true, he murdered millions of people while the Devil killed what 10 people? (I had to read the Bible during my camp) Anyways, what I'm trying to say to any religious parent. DO NOT FORCE YOUR BELIEFS ON YOUR CHILDREN. My mother and I have a very broken relationship now and I only stay at home to sleep. Finally, one last thing about the book. When people die, the brain panics and releases a plethora of chemicals that could cause hallucinations. Here's the link if you want to read more.:P http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/08/130814-near-death-brain-life-after-death-bright-light/

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  44. And as Christian I fully respect your opinion, though I may not agree with it. Why can't people with and without a God get along? This is one reason why wars start, some Christians are asshole, and some Atheists are asshole. Sure, we all have our right to our opinions, but that doesnt mean we should degrade other peoples religion. Atleast we should all have one thing in common and that is pushing our problems to the side and actually get along.

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    1. A war a never been started because atheists and the religious could not "play nice". Fact. MANY (most) wars, including those being fought today are because one religions god demands the destruction of the followers of another religions god. Fact. Your move believers.

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  45. As a Christian I want to thank you for being real and honest where you are. I have not read the book (yet) but I plan to. I am doing some research before I buy the story as Paul said to test the spirit which is a wise thing to do. However, I have a question if you don't mind answering: you were in the faith for 25 years and you also said that you were convinced of many things. Paul talks about the Spiritual gifts and I want to mention Prophecy. I had two dreams this past week about two different things that came to pass.

    The first dream was about a friend who confessed a very specific sin to me. - I don't dream about her or dream about people confessing sins to me, but I talked to her a few days after and share this dream with her. She confessed to me about that sin and I was very taken back that it was true. My second dream was about an ex-friend and this is not the same as last time. I don't remember what was happening, but I was watching him using the computer. I woke up and a second after my eyes open a friend text me- it was about my ex-friend (whom I dreamt). None of our friends knew he was in the city until she received a fb msg and txt me.

    Again, testing the spirit about these dreams. I know there are other supernatural things that can cause others to have dreams, but what do you say about prophetic dreams (Daniel and Joseph) and/or prophecy? Are/were you ever convince of any prophecy spoken to you that were true and believe God remembers you (or even that he exist)?

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  46. What should you know about Heaven Respectful Atheist ? Maybe you should study your doctrine up. You are not respectful ! Get your facts straight and maybe read the bible a few times

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    1. my favorite parts of the bible are the ones that validate slavery, give instructions on how to beat your wife, show the proper way to condemn others to the fire and brim stone, and scare you into blindly following a dude named Jesus with threats of torture and eternal damnation.....sounds like a super way to live out your life. The best is how the Bible starts out in Genesis with god kicking the "first humans" out of Eden after making ONE FRIGGIN mistake, then a little while later just as humans are starting to do their own thing, get pissed of again and commits genocide via global flood on a Biblical (LOL) scale, sparing only one family, BUT only after making the old patriarch Noah build a massive arc by himself in an unreasonably short period of time. Then to repopulate the world.....lots and lots of incest. Sounds like god is bi-polar, a psychopath, and a sexual deviant.

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  47. Ok, so, I'm Catholic, and I know a lot of people think thats about as corrupt as you can get, but hear me out. A lot of Atheist vs Christian threads soon descend into chaos and people start pointing fingers and saying, "read the Bible" or "don't force religion down my throat." But my church has taught me that rather than faith vs reason, we should have a policy of faith and reason. The two complement each other. If you believe in God, then you should believe that however the world was created was His intention. You shouldn't argue creationism vs evolution, especially when evolution has abundant scientific evidence, as well as being observable. Christians need to learn a lesson from ex-Christian/Atheist's stories (speaking in this sense only about a few, not all). Many complain that religion was forced down their throats. Some say that as soon as they told their family they were atheists, they were attacked by their loved ones. If we are to be true Christians, then we need to live the teachings of Christ, and practice what we preach. If someone doesn't believe in God, that does not free us from our obligation to reach out with love. We are still obligated to forgive and forget, to be kind even if people will hate us for it, and to give to those less fortunate to the point where we have almost nothing for ourselves. Christians are not called to attack atheists, they are called to show them the same love they would to their fellow Christians. Both Christians and Atheists need to learn to be respectful. Oh, and by the way, Akaine Kramarik is a child prodigy, and her work is beautiful. She has hundreds of paintings, and her artistry should not be questioned any more than Michelangelo's. Don't bring her into this. Pax.

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  48. Continued from above... As for those who don't believe in God because they don't understand how an almighty, omniscient, all-loving God could punish people in Hell, know that your take on the concept is twisted. God doesn't send anyone to Hell. Hell is what happens when you purposefully remove yourself from God's love, even given circumstances where all the facts are presented accurately, and you are free to make your own choice. By this logic, for those who became Atheists because the faith was not explained to them properly, or because they were introduced to ideas that contradict logic, we can reasonably hope that many Atheists could be saved. Still I cannot put myself in God's shoes, and I cannot say who will or will not be saved. I suggest that if you yearn for the truth, read, research, and look for it sincerely. Look for hard evidence of either side, and come to your own conclusion. For myself, there was a period in my life where I didn't know what I could believe. But I wanted to know the truth, and I searched for answers, and now I am cemented in what I believe. God's will be done. Pax.

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  49. As sinners we have all been judged guilty. The only way to heaven is by having faith that Jesus Christ the son of god, lived, died, and rose again on the third day. It was prophesized in the old testaments by the prophets of the Bible, and the promises are throughout the new testaments. Jesus was the final sacrifice for us. He is true man and true God. The bible says in the gospels (good news) "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but, have everlasting life" John 3;16. Believing is faith. Pure and simple. We are saved by faith, not works. A reflection of our faith is seen by what we say and do. Answer to your question is something Jesus said on the cross to the criminal that was being crucified next to him on the right that Friday. "Today you will be with me in paradise" Luke 23:43. Indeed we are all sinners and doomed to judgment by God, but because of Christ we have the promise that He died, and just as importantly, rose again on that Sunday morning almost 2000 years ago. Those that chose not to believe...well that's the rest of the story.

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  50. As is so often the case, by the time I got to the end of these comments, I felt depressed about the human race, lol.

    I don't understand why there's so much Christian outrage here. The position Respectful Atheist took is not inherently antagonistic to Christianity. The doubts that he has expressed are doubts that many Christians would probably bring to the Burpos's account. There is nothing in that account that requires Christians to give assent to it in order to continue being authentic Christians.

    As a side note, it depresses me that so many Christians feel compelled to get their licks in about atheists' ignorance of the Bible when they so clearly misunderstand the Bible themselves. For example, the assertion that "homosexuality is clearly condemned in Scripture" can only be made if the person making the assertion is utterly oblivious to the literary and cultural context out which those eight putatively anti-homosexual passages arise, and without which those passages cannot be correctly understood. When Christians display that kind of ignorance with an attitude that they know Scripture, it disinclines me to read anything else they have to say. It would be as if a Flat-Earther sincerely believed his ignorance of earth science and astronomy was in fact the best, most accurate cutting-edge science, and the people who'd spend their lives as professional scientists were grossly wrong. They're claiming expertise in the Bible when clearly, not only do they not have expertise, they don't even have a reasonable layperson's grasp of it.

    Beyond that, it disheartens me to see atheists and agnostics in this thread equate that kind of "religious ignorance" with religion itself. But given that religious commenters themselves equate that sort of ignorance with "the Christian viewpoint," I can hardly blame them. In reality, there are many Christians who find the portrait of faith made by the faithful in this thread repellant and inaccurate, just as there are many Christians who find the whole Burpo story far from credible.

    Finally, Respectful Atheist is right on the money regarding kids' tendencies to embroider. When I was a first-grader, I told my parents a whopper about being taken to the principal to receive special commendation for being such a good boy! I was a parent-pleasing kind of kid, and I thought this would make them happy. And the more questions they asked, the more I embellished. Of course, at the first Open House night, my parents asked my teacher about it, and the aftermath was not pleasant...My point is that kids do this kind of thing. It's not a mark of antagonism toward faith to suspect that this little boy shared something for any number of possible reasons that kids make things up, then sensed his parents' excitement about it, and embellished as he went. Not out of malicious intent, but simply because he was a little kid.

    I'm also a Christian, by the way.

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  51. Athiest has way too much time on their hands - whew!!!! Scary!!!

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  52. My son is an atheist and as I have tried to truly understand why, as we have talked, I finally realized it's all in logic. Now it makes sense to me: if a person looks at life only in terms of logic, then atheism can be one conclusion. Faith is believing without seeing........many do believe/have faith because of an undeniable witness to them from God above/Spirit testifying to their souls. I know people, including children, can have heavenly experiences. To me, it is another reminder from God that He is indeed real. As end times come upon us, the revelation in the scriptures that people will lose faith and belief in the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, IS now happening. A Godless society is coming rapidly upon us, the world will be fooled into believing a huge lie and be forced to bow to it. Fooled......forced......that is NOT God's way, that is the way of an impostor who will be so convincing as to convince most humans. But before that time, the stage must be set by taking away faith, and worshipping logic. A few will not fall for these lies and will be persecuted for not going along with the new, wonderful, peaceful world........ on surface.......underlying a great hoax to control humans and make them think they are truly finally free. Sad times ahead that will look so great and believable. In the end, Christ is the true freedom, way, and salvation. Let it play out. God never forces, He offers us the true freedom of choices. Law is universal, so though we do get to choose, we are NOT in charge of choosing consequences/results.....those come with the path chosen. Ponder this LAW.........every choice has a set result/blessing/consequence. Each one of us can look at our life and choices and see that truth. There are universal truths and God is over all of them. "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve". Don't be fooled, if you say you don't choose to serve the God who made you, you are still serving, but instead of God, you are serving self.

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  53. Something that makes me sad is how easily many disregard the experience of this family. I don't belong to their church, but that doesn't mean I have to be readily suspicious of their motives. They are just a regular family in a small town trying to make it through life like anyone else. Read the book, give it a fair chance. I watched carefully as I read, for any signs of sensationalism and found none. This is a family telling their experiences, amen.

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  54. I knew an atheist once. He gave it up when he realized he didn't even believe himself anymore.

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  55. I simply love how he managed to slip an anti-abortion argument and a refreshing bit of misogyny! Gee, this book has everything!

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  56. Believing in Jesus and asking Him to save you is the ONLY way to get to heaven. God will not let you into heaven because you're a "good person", because frankly, none of us are perfect and only perfection is allowed in heaven. Imperfections (sins), no matter how small, deserve death and hell. Thankfully, God sent His perfect son, Jesus, to take the punishment for our imperfections (sins) by dying on a cross. Now, by putting your faith in Jesus, you are made perfect in God's sight and therefore allowed into heaven. There is no other way.

    ~ D. L. M.

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  57. Hello,

    Regarding of what beauty by Isobel said about atheist not believing in god even if god himself descended from heaven and talk to them, reminded me a question raised in another forum, for christians:

    What would you do if on Judgement Day, the one and only God descended from heaven with all his glory and his angels, and he tell you "My son, my Word have been corrupted through time, christianity is false. Islam is truth, you must convert and follow me to be saved from hell"?

    What would a christian do?

    My guess is such a god would be discarded by christians as it doesn't fit to what they have been indocrinated.
    That would be a false god to them, even with the physical, spiritual and supernatural proof in front of them.

    So at least atheists beliefs are based on proof, on science, not on something someone is telling them to believe blindly.

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  58. Wait -- Jesus is Kenny Loggins? Hallelujah!

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    1. Why couldn't have been Kenny Rogers? Then they could sing up to date material like "Lady" in heaven.

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  59. No, that painting looks exactly like Jim Caviezel as he portrayed the character in Mel Gibson's movie.

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  60. I'm not an athiest, but a Bible believing follower of God and I want to apologize on behalf of all of those who call themselves Christians, for this story. What a ridiculous book. Sorry about that. Money is a big motivator for a lot of people and it motivated this author. And everybody knows that angels don't sing. They speak.

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  61. I am a Christian and I believe in the afterlife. However, I have some issues with this story myself. First, as a lifelong Christian and a person who has read the bible, I know that the bible does not tell us everything there is to know about God and heaven. Christian teachings do not possibly know every detail about the afterlife. There are so many mysteries about God, Jesus and heaven. So, the first red flag is that this boy met Jesus, saw angels and went to heaven and did not come back with any more details about anything? I'd think if someone really goes to heaven or met Jesus, they would suddenly have a wealth of knowledge that is not covered in the bible. Even if it was expressed in the language that a 3 year old would use, he would have something to add. They would know things that humans cannot possibly know without having been there. The second red flag for me was that this is the child of a pastor. No doubt this child has had simple bible stories read to him all of this life and has been indoctrinated, as much a you can indoctrinate a 3 year old child. As he starts to recount his experiences, which aren't profound at all, we are supposed to believe that none of this came from what his family and church had been teaching him since he was born? He may not have had much of an understanding of Jesus and Christianity as a young child, but I know that young kids who go to Sunday school are told that Jesus loves children. There are songs about it that little Christian kids sing. It's the one thing that all major Christian faiths teach kids over and over and over again. Lastly, it was my understanding that this family was having financial issues. I'm sure the medical bills from the kid's emergency surgery didn't help. It find it very convenient that this kid begins telling stories about going to heaven and the parents see a way out of their problems by getting a book deal about a story that most bible thumping Christians would eat up. I don't know what happened to this kid, but what I do know is that this story seems fishy to me. I'm sure this kid saw something, I just don't think it was heaven as much as just a dream about the things he had been taught. I'm sure he believes it but I'm also sure the parents saw an opportunity for financial gain and exploited it as much as they could.

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  62. https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/7602323712/hF3C9C35C/

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  63. http://greyleonard.com/du/loggins.jpg

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  64. I pray for all of you!

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  65. Respectful Atheist, Thank you for your blog. It did the job of any great blog. It generated a discussion. There were many intelligent posts on here. Unfortunately there were quite few that distracted from the conversation.

    It seems like most of the claims made by Colton were properly addressed in the comments except for the claim Colton made about seeing his unborn sister. I may have just missed it in the comments, but the author (father) clearly states the un-divine explanation, although maybe unintentionally. He points out that the parents never told Colton about his unborn sister. Then he goes on to say that they talk about it with their oldest child. Isn't it quite obvious that the big sister told her little brother stories about their unborn sister. I'm sure when her parents told her about it, they also told her that the unborn child was in Heaven.

    Thanks again for you blog.

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  66. God knows your heart through and through...he knows what you actually believe...I'm sure he goes by that

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  67. Hello,

    Nice respectful review, i didn't have time to read all the posts but i would like to share this link to an atheist's journey to christianity. I myself have had a phase where i blamed God for everything. It is an interesting read. Cheers!

    http://www.bethinking.org/is-christianity-true/from-atheism-to-christianity-a-personal-journey

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  68. I feel that most people posting here are trapped in a Chrstian / non-Christian frame. Seriously, some people who call themselves atheists should instead call themselves non-Christian.

    If one believes Colton is a lier, than there is not much more to talk about. If not, the debate here is much more than the usual 'God does/does not exist,' or 'what kind of monster would...' but rather 'what exactly happened?' Personally, I think RA's point that children's memories sometimes change or are framed in certain way is spot on, and add to this that Colton was only 4 years at the time - there is no need to adhere to (disprove) the Christian world view.

    Why does the God that Colton saw have to be the Christian, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God? My information on the book and the movie are all secondhand, but since what Colton describes may not 'all' be true, so give me a little leeway, then for all I care that God he saw could actually be a Buddhist Bodhisatva and the story would still hold.

    When pondering what the reality is, I think the atheists should really try to detach themselves from the Christian worldview that's still engraved in their minds.

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  69. Hi respectful athiest! your article is interesting, I think you make a lot of credible points. I haven't read the book yet, I'm thinking about it, now that the hype is dying down.
    I'm a Christian (I love Jesus) and I have to say, I'm hesitant to completely believe this heavenly experience. I have a four year old, and he's told me some real crazy stories, like about the man named tamerlan who lives in my bathroom. Its not that I don't think he may have seen Jesus or had a vision of some sort, but I agree it seems strange if the parents NEVER question anything he says.
    Ive had some personal spiritual experiences, and as a Christian, believe them to be God, and true, so I'm not going to throw it out completely lol

    I appreciate your respectful approach and thoughts on this. :-)
    I know as a Christian to be careful not to get caught up in any kind of thing that may deter focus on Christ and His teachings, including visions or teachings that may take away from his glory or dont line up with His teachings. I DEFINITELY know that Christians are just as human as everyone else, and need Jesus just as much!!! I hope this boys experience isn't being used to make money.

    Thanks again!!!! :-)

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  70. Just with little research, you can find that many folks in different countries have had NDE (near death experiences) similar to this boy and have seen their own versions of heaven and angels. Not necessarily blond-hair and blue-green eyed Jesus or winged angels. My own grandfather had one NDE a few hours before he passed away. It was very different.

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  71. I feel sad when i get started reading all the comments about existence of GOD.....

    All people in the world losing FAITH NOW????

    Have we wonder what happens now???? What happen in the WORLD now???????


    Full of hatred

    Plsss People don't forget to pray and don't lose FAITH.....

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  72. Some portions FROM QURAN "Holy Book of ISLAM" talking about Jesus, Heaven, God and "Al-Kursi - The Chair"

    Surah An-Nisa

    157. And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ]:

    158. But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.

    Surah Al-Ghaashiyah

    10. In a lofty Paradise.

    11. Where they shall neither hear harmful speech nor falsehood,

    12. Therein will be a running spring,

    13. Therein will be thrones raised high,

    14. And cups set at hand.

    15. And cushions set in rows,

    16. And rich carpets (all) spread out.

    Surah Al-Insan

    12. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.

    13. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise there is no sun and no moon).

    14. And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach.

    15. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal,

    16. Crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes.

    17. And they will be given to drink there a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger, etc.),

    18. A spring there, called Salsabil.

    19. And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls.

    20. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion.

    Surah Al-Baqarah

    255. Allah "God"! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter . And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi "The Chair" extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. [This Verse 2:255 is called Ayat-ul-Kursi.]

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  73. Some portions FROM QURAN "Holy Book of ISLAM" talking about Jesus, Heaven, God and "Al-Kursi - The Chair"

    Surah An-Nisa

    157. And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah," - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ]:

    158. But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.

    Surah Al-Ghaashiyah

    10. In a lofty Paradise.

    11. Where they shall neither hear harmful speech nor falsehood,

    12. Therein will be a running spring,

    13. Therein will be thrones raised high,

    14. And cups set at hand.

    15. And cushions set in rows,

    16. And rich carpets (all) spread out.

    Surah Al-Insan

    12. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.

    13. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise there is no sun and no moon).

    14. And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach.

    15. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal,

    16. Crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes.

    17. And they will be given to drink there a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger, etc.),

    18. A spring there, called Salsabil.

    19. And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls.

    20. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion.

    Surah Al-Baqarah

    255. Allah "God"! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter . And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi "The Chair" extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. [This Verse 2:255 is called Ayat-ul-Kursi.]

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  74. Personally, I think that it's even more important to be good and moral if there isn't any God or Heaven. If there's an all-powerful God ready to clean up any sort of mess I make and punish me for what I do wrong and comfort those I've hurt in Heaven, my responsibility to others is actually lessened. In that case, I go to Hell, presumably, and in the long run, I'll be the only one that has to pay for my actions. If there isn't a God or a Heaven, this is as good as it gets, and our actions here, mine included, will be the only things making the world bearable in any sense of the word.

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  75. The world is unreal. We are of two minds: the unreal mind (ego, false self, Satan - whatever the phrase of the culture) and the real mind. We are free after the awakening of all (or battle if some want to call it that). What most people don't realize is that we are already in the real world and have actually never left. Nothing we see means anything except Source or God. The unreal is pure fear. (only Love is real). When you try to awaken though, you'll have a brutal fight on your hands. That's why most people stay trapped, even if it means prolonging their suffering here - they are too afraid to fight pure fear and too afraid to accept pure love.

    1. Buddhism - A) The Anatta is described as the UnSelf and that all objects are Unreal. Buddha taught the only way to escape the false or "relative" world or Samsara (Cycle of Life) was to perceive the real or "absolute" world - "recognizing all things as illusion".

    2. Hinduism - Advaita Vedanta represents the understanding of Maya (the illusion or the delusion) - "Under the influence of the three gunas, the soul is (1) misled by matter, and (2) subsequently entangled and entrapped. This tendency is termed maya (illusion)." The Braham is the Ultimate Reality (God) and Atman (Real Self or Soul) are one.

    3. Eckhart Tolle talks about "The Illusory Self".

    4. In the 'Tao Te Ching' by Lao Tzu, some of his messages are - "There is no illusion greater than fear." and "Die without perishing, and find the eternal."

    5. Quantum Physics states matter is an illusion - A) "The belief that a physical, Newtonian material universe that was at the very heart of scientific knowing was dropped, and the realization that matter is nothing but an illusion replaced it." and B) "You could fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube

    6. Bible speaks of "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)." If God is pure light (pure love) and that's all there is, then how does Fear (darkness) exist? It doesn't, that's the illusion.

    7. Near Death Experiencers are always talking about the other side as "that was more real than me sitting here with you right now" and referring to the physical world as "the illusion". They describe the REAL world "Vibrant Colors", "no body", "oneness", "indescribable unconditional love", "fearless"…

    8. The Matrix - Morpheus: "Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"

    9. Alan Watts “All Life Is A Magnificent Illusion. There Is Absolutely Nothing To Be Afraid Of.”

    10. Marianne Williamson "We're hallucinating. And that's what this world is: a mass hallucination, where fear seems more real than love. Fear is an illusion. Our craziness, paranoia, anxiety and trauma are literally all imagined.”

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  76. A couple of weeks ago I was in a dark period in my life, the man I love to bits had gone off with someone else, that was when I was told about this Esango Priest. Well he told me he could see that we would get back together that gave me hope, and he was right, because this week we have moved in with each other and we are so happy. A big thank you to Esango Priest. If you are in need of an angel please get in touch with my Esango Priest via email:esangopriest@gmail.com

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  77. I try to be faithul to my religion; I really do but Science also has me thinking otherwise. I am going to try and continue to believe in God and Jesus Christ and will proudly do so. However for those in this blog who believe we cease to exist after death; well you are wrong. Heaven? Hell? I dont know but I do know there is an afterlife of some sort. First of all, I am the biggest skeptic until something drastically happens to me personally. My wife's brother committed suicide about 12 years ago. A few years afterthat my wife and I divoreced and later I entered into a new relationship. My ex-wife and kids all swore we had ghosts in our house and granted...I thought they were full of shit. Any way I started to experience several I guess you would call it paranormal activities in my house to the point of even hearing voices. I know you are all thiniking I'm nuts but thats what I thought of my ex-wife and kids too. After about a year of unexplainable things happining, I decide to put in a few video cameras and two voice activated recorders. Nothing came out ever on the video but the first time I played back the voice recorder the deepest chill ran down my spine. I should note that before I turned on the devices I unplugged all radios, tv's, etc... as well as appliances so there was no other noises and no way for someone to be able to debunk something should I get something on audio or visual. Back to the chill going down my spine....When I turned back on the voice activated recorder...all I heard was "Are we having fun yet?" That voice and saying was my Brother in law who had committed suicide. That was his catch phrase. I got in touch with my ex-wife and just told her to listen to something I recorded a couple of days earlier.. As soon as I played it she started crying and said the same thing, it was her brother, with out a doubt it was her brother's voice.
    So, heaven? Hell? I dont know but after that experience I knew there was an after life and that is what keeps me believing. Hope I didnt bore you all. I just wanted to let you know there is something out there.

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  78. It is exciting to read, you can sense the feelings of the parents in the live drama and the testimony of the child as it was collected from fragments of his memory.
    View this site for Kiwi fruit Green & Gold information

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  79. This just in:

    Alex Malarkey, author of **The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven** says he made up story.

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  80. This just in:

    Alex Malarkey: author of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven says he made up story.

    His story is similar to the subject of this blog. We can only hope all the others who've taken the road of creating stories of these sort for the sake of profit and publicity be sincere enough to voice out about their dishonesty.

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  81. I have seen many of my atheist friends ,wen they were on the bed of death,calling for God for help.They are such hypocrite people i hv ever seen in my life.They just want to prove to the world dat they are intellegient n know things better dan believers.

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  82. I have never understood why Atheists get SO angry at a belief in God or Jesus Christ. If you don't believe, why such anger. For all you ATHEISTS out there, try to figure out why you are so upset? The name of Jesus strikes at the heart of all man-kind, whether you believe it or not..... Respectfully, Dr. Dan Robinson

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  83. Jesus Christ is My Savior & Lord

    Amen,

    -Dusty Arnold

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  84. Thankfull heart is a fortable heaven which you bring everywhere
    gedeprama|bellofpeace.org

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  85. Thankfull heart is a fortable heaven which you bring everywhere
    gedeprama|bellofpeace.org

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  86. Thankfull heart is a fortable heaven which you bring everywhere
    gedeprama|bellofpeace.org
    S

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  87. I'll pray for you. You are loved by God too.

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  88. I'm a Christian. Thankfully I have been blessed with a great church and fellowship that do not bash other's beliefs. My 6 year old daughter came up to me one day and told me "Dad, you know that God doesn't like what gay people do but he still loves them..just like he doesn't like how I fib but he still loves me too". I thought to myself, wow..she's absolutely right. A sin is a sin, none is any better than the other. We are all sinners confused in this world, we cope with our actions and beliefs in a way that best suits us. I'm sure that God can tell a good confused heart from a bad confused heart. Nevertheless, we are all confused but loved

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  89. ,If u find no heaven on earth, look deeper into your heart
    www.bellofpeace gede prama org

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