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Proof of heaven popular, except with the church
They claim that they’ve glimpsed heaven but survivors of near-death experiences face a surprising skeptic: the church.
May 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Proof of heaven popular, except with the church

By John Blake, CNN

“God, help me!”

Eben Alexander shouted and flailed as hospital orderlies tried to hold him in place. But no one could stop his violent seizures, and the 54-year-old neurosurgeon went limp as his horrified wife looked on.

That moment could have been the end. But Alexander says it was just the beginning. He found himself soaring toward a brilliant white light tinged with gold into “the strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen.”

Alexander calls that world heaven, and he describes his journey in “Proof of Heaven,” which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks. Alexander says he used to be an indifferent churchgoer who ignored stories about the afterlife. But now he knows there’s truth to those stories, and there’s no reason to fear death.

“Not one bit,” he said. “It’s a transition; it’s not the end of anything. We will be with our loved ones again.”

Heaven used to be a mystery, a place glimpsed only by mystics and prophets. But popular culture is filled with firsthand accounts from all sorts of people who claim that they, too, have proofs of heaven after undergoing near-death experiences.

Yet the popularity of these stories raises another question: Why doesn’t the church talk about heaven anymore?

Preachers used to rhapsodize about celestial streets of gold while congregations sang joyful hymns like “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” But the most passionate accounts of heaven now come from people outside the church or on its margins.

Most seminaries don’t teach courses on heaven; few big-name pastors devote much energy to preaching or writing about the subject; many ordinary pastors avoid the topic altogether out of embarrassment, indifference or fear, scholars and pastors say.

“People say that the only time they hear about heaven is when they go to a funeral,” said Gary Scott Smith, author of “Heaven in the American Imagination” and a history professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Talk of heaven shouldn’t wait, though, because it answers a universal question: what happens when we die, says the Rev. John Price, author of “Revealing Heaven,” which offers a Christian perspective of near-death experiences.

“Ever since people started dying, people have wondered, where did they go? Where are they now? Is this what happens to me?” said Price, a retired pastor and hospital chaplain.

A little girl’s revelation

Price didn’t always think heaven was so important. He scoffed at reports of near-death experiences because he thought they reduced religion to ghost stories. Besides, he was too busy helping grieving families to speculate about the afterlife.

His attitude changed, though, after a young woman visited his Episcopal church one Sunday with her 3-year-old daughter.

Price had last seen the mother three years earlier. She had brought her then-7-week-old daughter to the church for baptism. Price hadn't heard from her since. But when she reappeared, she told Price an amazing story.

She had been feeding her daughter a week after the baptism when milk dribbled out of the infant's mouth and her eyes rolled back into her head. The woman rushed her daughter to the emergency room, where she was resuscitated and treated for a severe upper respiratory infection.

Three years later, the mother was driving past the same hospital with her daughter when the girl said, “Look, Mom, that’s where Jesus brought me back to you.”

“The mother nearly wrecked her car,” Price said. “She never told her baby about God, Jesus, her near-death experience, nothing. All that happened when the girl was 8 weeks old. How could she remember that?”

When Price started hearing similar experiences from other parishioners, he felt like a fraud. He realized that he didn’t believe in heaven, even though it was part of traditional Christian doctrine.

He started sharing near-death stories he heard with grieving families and dejected hospital workers who had lost patients. He told them dying people had glimpsed a wonderful world beyond this life.

The stories helped people, Price said, and those who've had similar experiences of heaven should “shout them from the rooftops.”

“I’ve gone around to many churches to talk about this, and the venue they give me is just stuffed,” he said. “People are really hungry for it.”

Why pastors are afraid of heaven

Many pastors, though, don’t want to touch the subject because it’s too dangerous, says Lisa Miller, author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.”

Miller cites the experience of Rob Bell, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors.

John Price ignored heaven until he met a woman with an amazing story.

Bell ignited a firestorm two years ago when he challenged the teaching that only Christians go to heaven in “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

The book angered many members of Bell’s church as well as many in the evangelical establishment. He subsequently resigned.

“Farewell, Rob Bell,” one prominent evangelical tweeted.

“It’s a tough topic for a pastor,” said Miller, a former religion columnist for the Washington Post. “If you get too literal, you can risk sounding too silly. If you don’t talk about it, you’re evading one of the most important questions about theology and why people come to church.”

If pastors do talk about stories of near-death experiences, they can also be seen as implying that conservative doctrine – only those who confess their faith in Jesus get to heaven, while others suffer eternal damnation – is wrong, scholars and pastors say.

Many of those who share near-death stories aren’t conservative Christians but claim that they, too, have been welcomed by God to heaven.

“Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones going to heaven," said Price, "and that makes them mad."

There was a time, though, when the church talked a lot more about the afterlife.

Puritan pastors in the 17th and 18th centuries often preached about heaven, depicting it as an austere, no fuss-place where people could commune with God.

African-American slaves sang spirituals about heaven like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” They often depicted it as a place of ultimate payback: Slaves would escape their humiliation and, in some cases, rule over their former masters.

America’s fixation with heaven may have peaked around the Civil War. The third most popular book in 18th century America – behind the Bible and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – was "Gates Ajar," written in the wake of the war, Miller says.

The 1868 novel was “The Da Vinci Code” of its day, Miller says. It revolved around a grieving woman who lost her brother in the Civil War. A sympathetic aunt assures her that her brother is waiting in heaven, a bucolic paradise where people eat sumptuous meals, dogs sun themselves on porches and people laugh with their loved ones.

“This was a vision of heaven that was so appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who had lost people in the Civil War,” Miller said.

Americans needed heaven because life was so hard: People didn’t live long, infant mortality was high, and daily life was filled with hard labor.

“People were having 12 kids, and they would outlive 11 of them,” said Smith, author of "Heaven in the American Imagination." “Death was ever-present.”

The church eventually stopped talking about heaven, though, for a variety of reasons: the rise of science; the emergence of the Social Gospel, a theology that encouraged churches to create heaven on Earth by fighting for social justice; and the growing affluence of Americans. (After all, who needs heaven when you have a flat-screen TV, a smartphone and endless diversions?)

But then a voice outside the church rekindled Americans' interest in the afterlife. A curious 23-year-old medical student would help make heaven cool again.

The father of near-death experiences

Raymond Moody had been interested in the afterlife long before it was fashionable.

He was raised in a small Georgia town during World War II where death always seemed just around the corner. He constantly heard stories about soldiers who never returned from war. His father was a surgeon who told him stories of bringing back patients from the brink of death. In college, he was enthralled when he read one of the oldest accounts of a near-death experience, a soldier’s story told by Socrates in Plato’s “Republic.”

His fascination with the afterlife was sealed one day when he heard a speaker who would change his life.

The speaker was George Ritchie, a psychiatrist. Moody would say later of Ritchie, “He had that look of someone who had just finished a long session of meditation and didn’t have a care in the world.”

Moody sat in the back of a fraternity room as Ritchie told his story.

It was December 1943, and Ritchie was in basic training with the U.S. Army at Camp Barkeley, Texas. He contracted pneumonia and was placed in the hospital infirmary, where his temperature spiked to 107. The medical staff piled blankets on top of Ritchie’s shivering body, but he was eventually pronounced dead.

“I could hear the doctor give the order to prep me for the morgue, which was puzzling, because I had the sensation of still being alive,” Ritchie said.

He even remembers rising from a hospital gurney to talk to the hospital staff. But the doctors and nurses walked right through him when he approached them.

He then saw his lifeless body in a room and began weeping when he realized he was dead. Suddenly, the room brightened “until it seemed as though a million welding torches were going off around me.”

He says he was commanded to stand because he was being ushered into the presence of the Son of God. There, he saw every minute detail of his life flash by, including his C-section birth. He then heard a voice that asked, “What have you done with your life?"

After hearing Ritchie’s story, Moody decided what he was going to do with his life: investigate the afterlife.

Raymond Moody revived interest in heaven by studying near-death experiences.

He started collecting stories of people who had been pronounced clinically dead but were later revived. He noticed that the stories all shared certain details: traveling through a tunnel, greeting family and friends who had died, and meeting a luminous being that gave them a detailed review of their life and asked them whether they had spent their life loving others.

Moody called his stories “near-death experiences,” and in 1977 he published a study of them in a book, “Life after Life.” His book has sold an estimated 13 million copies.

Today, he is a psychiatrist who calls himself “an astronaut of inner space.” He is considered the father of the near-death-experience phenomenon.

He says science, not religion, resurrected the afterlife. Advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation meant that patients who would have died were revived, and many had stories to share.

“Now that we have these means for snatching people back from the edge, these stories are becoming more amazing,” said Moody, who has written a new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.”

“A lot of medical doctors know about this from their patients, but they’re just afraid to talk about it in public.”

Ritchie’s story was told through a Christian perspective. But Moody says stories about heaven transcend religion. He's collected them from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.

“A lot of people talk about encountering a being of light,” he said. “Christians call it Christ. Jewish people say it’s an angel. I’ve gone to different continents, and you can hear the same thing in China, India and Japan about meeting a being of complete love and compassion.”

It’s not just what people see in the afterlife that makes these stories so powerful, he says. It’s how they live their lives once they survive a near-death experience.

Many people are never the same, Moody says. They abandon careers that were focused on money or power for more altruistic pursuits.

“Whatever they had been chasing, whether it's power, money or fame, their experience teaches them that what this (life) is all about is teaching us to love,” Moody said.

Under 'the gaze of a God'

Alexander, the author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to fit Moody's description. He’s a neurosurgeon, but he spends much of time now speaking about his experience instead of practicing medicine.

He'd heard strange stories over the years of revived heart attack patients traveling to wonderful landscapes, talking to dead relatives and even meeting God. But he never believed those stories. He was a man of science, an Episcopalian who attended church only on Easter and Christmas.

That changed one November morning in 2008 when he was awakened in his Lynchburg, Virginia, home by a bolt of pain shooting down his spine. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a disease so rare, he says, it afflicts only one in 10 million adults.

After his violent seizures, he lapsed into a coma — and there was little hope for his survival. But he awakened a week later with restored health and a story to tell.

He says what he experienced was “too beautiful for words.” The heaven he describes is not some disembodied hereafter. It’s a physical place filled with achingly beautiful music, waterfalls, lush fields, laughing children and running dogs.

In his book, he describes encountering a transcendent being he alternately calls “the Creator” or “Om.” He says he never saw the being's face or heard its voice; its thoughts were somehow spoken to him.

“It understood humans, and it possessed the qualities we possess, only in infinitely greater measure. It knew me deeply and overflowed with qualities that all my life I’ve always associated with human beings and human beings alone: warmth, compassion, pathos … even irony and humor.”

Holly Alexander says her husband couldn’t forget the experience.

“He was driven to write 12 hours a day for three years,” she said. “It began as a diary. Then he thought he would write a medical paper; then he realized that medical science could not explain it all.”

“Proof of Heaven” debuted at the top of The New York Times bestseller list and has sold 1.6 million copies, according to its publisher.

Alexander says he didn’t know how to deal with his otherworldly journey at first.

“I was my own worst skeptic,” he said. “I spent an immense amount of time trying to come up with ways my brain might have done this.”

Conventional medical science says consciousness is rooted in the brain, Alexander says. His medical records indicated that his neocortex — the part of the brain that controls thought, emotion and language — had ceased functioning while he was in a coma.

Alexander says his neocortex was “offline” and his brain “wasn’t working at all” during his coma. Yet he says he reasoned, experienced emotions, embarked on a journey — and saw heaven.

“Those implications are tremendous beyond description,” Alexander wrote. “My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness; that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us.”

Skeptics say Alexander’s experience can be explained by science, not the supernatural.

They cite experiments where neurologists in Switzerland induced out-of-body experiences in a woman suffering from epilepsy through electrical stimulation of the right side of her brain.

Michael Shermer, founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, says the U.S. Navy also conducted studies with pilots that reproduced near-death experiences. Pilots would often black out temporarily when their brains were deprived of oxygen during training, he says.

These pilots didn’t go to heaven, but they often reported seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel, a floating sensation and euphoria when they returned to consciousness, Shermer says.

“Whatever experiences these people have is actually in their brain. It’s not out there in heaven,” Shermer said.

Some people who claim to see heaven after dying didn’t really die, says Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

“They’re called near-death experiences for a reason: They’re near death but not dead,” Shermer said. “In that fuzzy state, it’s not dissimilar to being asleep and awakened where people have all sorts of transitory experiences that seem very real.”

The boy who saw Jesus

Skeptics may scoff at a story like Alexander’s, but their popularity has made a believer out of another group: the evangelical publishing industry.

While the church may be reluctant to talk about heaven, publishers have become true believers. The sales figures for books on heaven are divine: Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven” has sold 5 million copies. And “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is the latest publishing juggernaut.

Colton Burpo says he saw heaven and describes the color of Jesus' eyes.

“Heaven is for Real” has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 126 consecutive weeks and sold 8 million copies, according to its publisher.

The story is told from the perspective of Colton Burpo, who was just 4 when he slipped into unconsciousness while undergoing emergency surgery for a burst appendix.

Colton says he floated above his body during the operation and soared to heaven, where he met Jesus. Todd Burpo, Colton’s father, says he was skeptical about his son’s story until his son described meeting a great-grandfather and a miscarried baby sister — something no one had ever told him about.

Todd Burpo is a pastor, but he says he avoided preaching about heaven because he didn’t know enough about the subject.

“It’s pretty awkward,” he said. “Here I am the pastor, but I’m not the teacher on the subject. My son is teaching me.”

Colton is now 13 and says he still remembers meeting Jesus in heaven.

“He had brown hair, a brown beard to match and a smile brighter than any smile I’ve ever seen,’’ he said. “His eyes were sea-blue, and they were just, wow.”

Colton says he’s surprised by the success of his book, which has been translated into 35 languages. There’s talk of a movie, too.

“It’s totally a God thing,” he said.

Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to have the same attitude: His new life is a gift. He’s already writing another book on his experience.

“Once I realized what my journey was telling me," he said, "I knew I had to tell the story.”

He now attends church but says his faith is not dogmatic.

“I realized very strongly that God loves all of God’s children,” he said. “Any religion that claims to be the true one and the rest of them are wrong is wrong.”

Central to his story is something he says he heard in heaven.

During his journey, he says he was accompanied by an angelic being who gave him a three-part message to share on his return.

When he heard the message, he says it went through him “like a wind” because he instantly knew it was true.

It’s the message he takes today to those who wonder who, or what, they will encounter after death.

The angel told him:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • God • Heaven • History

soundoff (4,945 Responses)
  1. @OD

    Abraham shuttered his dads idol, and when he told his dad that the idol did it himself his dad said "come on its just a statue he couldn't do it himself..." this is how Abraham proved his dad that idols are not actually alive. So testing religion should be ok because the bible tells us so. Here I go, oh mighty God I have no idea who or what you are, but I have a feeling that your name is Bob and you live in a trailer park, let me know if I got it right, otherwise Ill take it that you don't care what I think. Thanks.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Francisco Decastro

      What do you get from typing a comment like this? Have you ever seen a book as famous as the bible? Have you ever seen a book that changes life of people more than the bible? Can't be a coincedence, because the bible is changing somone's life everyday. It's not coincedence, it's providence.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • @OD

      Francisco, I'm making a point here, now you spoke for god, many people do that including the book that you mentioned . I want to hear God's own opinion.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dippy

      Coincidence...not coincedence. You spell like a typical religie.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • yep

      the only thing the bible changes is that people use it as an escape mechanism, as they use alcohol. That's why AA folks shift to the bible, just another false addiction.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Providence..... maybe the threat of death if you don't believe.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Joy Devore

      You don't think God knows sarcasm when He sees it? God created the platypus. He tried to swear once, and realized He had to swear by Himself. When you actually talk to him from your heart, then He'll listen.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  2. Born Again Equals Being Saved

    "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." - JOHN 3:3 (KJV)

    May 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Athy

      How do you know jeebus said that?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • yep

      jesus was mentally ill,, too bad there were psychotherapist to help him back then

      May 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • @OD

      Hey Jesus, where are you? Say something.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Roger that

      too bad there were (no) psychotherapist to help him back then

      They could have written down what he actually said, rather than the authors of the Bible who never met him.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Some guy

      These responses from atheists are just hilarious. Are you guys just never content with the amount of attention you get?

      HEY I'M AN ATHEIST AND JESUS WAS SOME MENTALLY ILL FOOL. Yeah... I think you should do something constructive instead of posting this on CNN comment pages.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • yep

      he was,, based on the writings. A psychology class used the writings to determine the mental stability of jesus. Results, mentally ill, suicidal and in desperate need of help.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Their Core

      Yes, Some guy, but don't you see that is the very core of Heathen mentality. Since they have nothing else to say that is true and constructive, thus, no real thinking power, they have to resort to these kind of replies. It speaks volumes for them don't you see.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Keith

      Have noticed how the sheep always describe us atheists as, angry, stupid, lazy, disrespectful etc etc etc. Just listen to any religious channel and hear the faithful, insult us, threaten us, disrespect us, HATE US etc etc etc.
      When the faithful start practicing what their bible tells them to do then perhaps they will earn a little respect, the bible tells them to LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and to TURN THE OTHER CHEEK. It does not say that their neighbour MUST BELIEVE IN GOD before they LOVE him.
      The sheep have forgotten that they have carried out an active war of HATE, and VIOLENCE against the atheists for as long as religion has existed. However when we try to defend ourselves the intensity of the VILE HATRED increases.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Revelation 21:8

      Amen.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Guiding You

      @Keith, Perhaps when atheists become more respectful of Christian efforts to help you become Born Again things will change as Christians are only telling you like it is. They are only saying much of what will help to get you Saved though it may fall on deaf ears unfortunately but ultimately it is your choice whether to listen to them or not otherwise pay the Eternal Consequences later on. Believe that or not as you wish but you will find out the hard way one day who was right and who wasn't.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • FaithisSin

      You misinterpret what he said. Translated into normal English: "Jesus replied, "True, but only someone who has been resurrected (ie. born again) can see heaven."

      When you think about it, you have to die first and come back. Is that not an NDE? Hmmmm, something to think about!

      May 21, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  3. Puzzled in Peoria

    I'm always puzzled why it's perfectly accepted to ridicule Christians but not Jews or Muslims. Atheists must be even bigger hypocrites than they claim Christians are.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Dippy

      Because it's the damn christians that bug us the most.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Puzzled in Peoria

      You said, "I'm always puzzled why it's perfectly accepted to ridicule Christians but not Jews or Muslims. Atheists must be even bigger hypocrites than they claim Christians are."
      Only those that put their infantile beliefs on display will be ridiculed, regardless of who their imaginary friend is. Here that just happens to be predominantly christians. If you don't want your delusion criticized, keep it to yourself.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I ridicule evenly across all religions, I do not discriminate between delusions. You just see it more on the christians simply due to the majority of christians here to question.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      PiP,

      One has to have a need for resonating their worded namesakes. The faithless ever will harken upon those whose faiths are centralized in there being but One Father of All Living Manifestations!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Glenn

      Why did the Christians blame Pagans for the state of their own existence?
      In a Christian world has war ended? Are the sins far less? Does the greed of the 1% today not equal those of the old Roman Senate?
      Humanity rarely changes. Even the fight for control goes on. What is in a name but you own brothers.
      A diverse world can only lead to more confrontations. Only freedom, human rights and an unbiased western law can succeed in bringing civility to the world. No one wants it. Only a world as they believe it should be. Not as it truly is.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • lol??

      It's a, "Hear no evil
      See no evil
      Speak no evil" thang, and they're still workin' on it.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • sirhuxley

      Oh! Well, I will be glad to help you out with the answer to your puzzlement.

      Christianity is the reason why Islam exists, Islam was the arab response to the indoctrination efforts of the Roman armies, this is why we don't criticize it as much, also there are no Islamists in the USA trying to set our political agenda.

      Judaism is nearly a dead religion, there are fewer than perhaps 20 million observing jews in the world.

      Christians on the other hand were largely responsible for the election of Corporatist Senators and Reps to the US congress starting in 1980. The fabricated social issues that the GOP is so fond of made good use of the 30 million right-wing Christian voters who have positioned the USA for fiscal failure and endless war.

      We will clean house in the USA and then we will be able to focus on Islam.

      May 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • FaithisSin

      The rules of political correctness state you can't ridicule Jews because of the holocaust. You can't ridicule muslims because they will kill you and burn down your cities. You can still ridicule Christians because they turn the left cheek and often disagree amongst themselves anyway. You can always ridicule an atheist but don't need to because they are already upset. They just need a big hug, lol. I think if you scratch a lot of atheists, you'll find a good soul underneath who feels lied to by religion, abandoned by God, and saddened that this might be all there is.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  4. danny

    that is a publicity of roman catolics because of her collapse ,,roman catholics are not belong to the christianity,,that is a pagans,,,my prove is why the god dont give the key of fountain of life to her leader,,the pope,, why to the christian and hebrew,, ,,and why dont understand of many priest the meaning of heaven ,, and the door of kingdom of the god where is it ,,,,,all that story are lying or false,,, hard to bilieve that story because i know the door of kingdom and i know the meaning of heaven,, and i know what kind is the god and where is it ,, god cant gave me the fountain of life ,, if im wrong or dont understand anything

    May 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      First off...english lessons might help.
      secondly, pagan is defined as someone who is not christian, jewish or muslim...so there a lot that fall into that category.
      third, you believe you know...that is different than knowing.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Dippy

      Danny, there are punctuation marks besides commas. Did you know that?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  5. pshirazi

    What a sham !

    May 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  6. Ismail Aljazaeeri

    Jesus eyes were probably not blue.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • ggrl

      So true.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • BoogieTwo

      If he was Jewish his eyes were brown because Jews are just bullshltters for the most part.
      If he wasn't Jewish then even more scornful laughter is called for.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Depends on how the word blue is being used.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  7. Chad

    fascinating how powerful the mystery of an afterlife is to CNN BB atheists (who, if they really believed what they claimed, wouldnt even wonder about the possibility of an afterlife)

    Proof that God has indeed set eternity in the hearts of man..

    May 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • midwest rail

      No, not "proof" of anything.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Endless Bible Babble

      Chad has entered the thread. What investigation have you done to reject Chad? None required just a stupid question, more to come from Chad.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chard, I don't think the word "proof" means what you think it means.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Chad
      You'd better get a better definition of the word proof. What you stated was belief, not proof.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Chad

      why would an atheist even wonder about the possibility of an afterlife?

      Without a soul, when you're dead, that's it. The particles that make you up degrade and turn to dirt..

      Can an atheist believe in a soul? How? Where would they think that it comes from?

      If an atheist believes that all there is, is the universe and the laws that govern it (we wont talk about where the universe came from, or why it obeys laws..), what in the world is there physical basis for belief in a soul?

      ==
      Did you ever wonder why you never worry about colliding with your mirror being from our alternate universe?

      If you never wonder about that, why would you wonder about the afterlife? Why does that though enter your mind?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Rachel

      Chad, that's me boy 🙂

      May 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "why would an atheist even wonder about the possibility of an afterlife?"

      Why not? Why not wonder about the origin of the universe?

      You really have a stunning lack of imagination, Chard, as I've noted before. You are simply unable to think about anything in terms other than binary.

      How dull you must be in real life.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • midwest rail

      And yet, none of those questions, or the original post, are proof of anything.....still.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Chad

      Did you ever wonder why you never worry about colliding with your mirror being from our alternate universe?

      why not?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why would I worry about it? Do you? You must or you wouldn't be so obsessed with the notion.

      Really, Chard, when you post this dreck, you look incredibly silly.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "why would an atheist even wonder about the possibility of an afterlife?"

      How many atheists do you know, Chard? How do you know what all atheists think about anything? You never get it right on here, that's clear. Why would you think that a religious afterlife is the only possible sort?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Chad

      "Why would I worry about it? "

      exactly!!!

      Why would an atheist worry about the afterlife when they dont worry about colliding with their mirror being from our alternate universe?

      very interesting question..

      May 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Science

      The Magic Mirror from Ja-pan..................what flavor of JELL-O...........peachy..........Chadie ?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Chad
      I am an atheist. I do not believe in any sentient gods.

      My belief centers more on the energy that is life...that which separates us from the chemicals and electricity that make us up , and is billions of years old, and the sentient life form that is responding to you.

      Law of conservation of energy says that energy is neither made nor lost, but changes energy form, so the life energy mutt go somewhere. I do not think there is life after death, But following scientific principles, that energy goes somewhere, whether it dissipates as the infrared energy of a fire that has expended its fuel, the energy from that fire dissipates, becoming energy in another form. There is no way of knowing if the life energy maintains any form of sentience, but it is unlikely without the corporeal focal point of the body.

      We simply search for information that we do not have Chad....I have already seen the bible proven wrong far too many ways to think it holds any validity. The god of the bible is an impossibility...so I seek truth..which is not in the bible.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Why would an atheist worry about the afterlife"

      Wait. Are you now claiming that all atheists "worry about the afterlife"? Before you said "wonder" about it. Which is it? There's a difference, Chard, or are you less picky about your own posts than you are about others'?

      I don't see any atheists that are "worried" at all. I see some that express the fact that no one knows what happens when we die, if anything.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • mama k

      Chad: "Without a soul, when you're dead, that's it. The particles that make you up degrade and turn to dirt.."

      Chad loves to make ASSumptions about what other posters think. Then he can just carry on an argument with them when they aren't even there! How special!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      He really does, mama. I don't know why he finds it necessary to pigeonhole others. I guess it obviates the need for any critical thought on his part. Life's just so much easier when you tell yourself you already know everything about everyone, I guess.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Richard

      =>ignoring for the moment that the atheist can not provide a natural justification for either sentience (consciousness), or the existence of the laws of nature (such as conservation of energy), How would you distinguish between yourself and a tree? A tree has energy, does that maintain an existence after it dies?
      If not, what's the difference between you and a tree that provides any basis for a belief in consciousness after death?

      How can an atheist possibly believe in a dualist view of mind?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "How can an atheist possibly believe in a dualist view of mind?"

      What makes you think they "believe" in one? Why do you bother to ask questions when you don't really care about the answers?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Chad
      The energy that is in a tree is likely the same form of energy. A tree does not have sentience that we can distinguish, but is nevertheless alive.
      The thing is, it is my opinion, my belief. It is based on every bit of knowledge that we do have, backed by various sciences, but it is changing as we learn more. you seem to WANT to believe what you believe, which is different than me...I want to know what there is to know, and believe what I believe based on what I know. I do not WANT the belief..., I do not choose it, I let fact speak as fact, theory speak as theory and the belief comes out of it.

      You seem desperate to want to label everything, but I know my belief is as unique as I am, and no label really fits.
      All religions try to define things we do not know, such as what is in the bible...it is wrong, far too many times to be believed, so I disregard it as a work of imagination, not reality.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Atheists don't believe in god.
      An afterlife is not god, and there may be some mechanism whereby an afterlife might occur as part of the natural order.
      Therefore, atheists can believe in an afterlife.

      One possibility, is that the brain produces a seemingly-timeless state for the individual during death. Although the brain ceases to function, the last "thought" is of a timeless existence according to some ideal or principle held dear within the mind. ..

      May 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      And
      i do not believe in a consciousness after death. Again opinion based on observation and known facts.
      I could just as easily be wrong.

      We could very well be inside a speck of dust , on the end of a flower, that is being held by en elephant named Horton, but since I have no evidence to support it, I disregard it until we can get more info. By the way, there is just as much information backing up the Horton story as there is any gods.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • mama k

      As I said yesterday, when I think of afterlife, it reminds me of LL's posts, because I start imagining something more on a sub-atomic natural level. Perhaps on that level there are portals into other planes of existence. But I don't worry about it and unless shown otherwise, I presume that my current conscious state will cease when I die.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Science

      Chard...............

      All for what james...........................The .HORN-Y RED DEVIL ?

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/

      May 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      My sister summed it up in a very elegant simple statement.

      We are the universe trying to figure itself out.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad does not understand basic English words such as wonder, worry, contemplate, consider, discard, believe, etc. He does not understand that that it is possible to think about many things and believe in none of them.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Chad also likes to run away when he can't label people, and when he is getting trounced.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @moby "One possibility, is that the brain produces a seemingly-timeless state for the individual during death. Although the brain ceases to function, the last "thought" is of a timeless existence according to some ideal or principle held dear within the mind. .."

      @Chad "fascinating
      you're claiming it's possible for a thought to exist independent of the body.

      as an atheist, how could you POSSIBLY justify that.

      that's the part I love, showing the atheist that their belief system utterly contradicts what they know to be true.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Chad

      @Richard Cranium "My sister summed it up in a very elegant simple statement. We are the universe trying to figure itself out."

      =>as that is a text example of the "begging the question" fallacy, I completely agree with you. That is indeed a perfect summary of your position.

      Begging the question "assuming the initial point") is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise (the universe is all there is) would directly entail the conclusion(all that exists, is us figuring out the universe)

      May 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  8. JAMESVIVA

    IF THERE WAS A BIG BANG, THEN THAT BIG BANG MUST HAVE A SOURCE WHICH IS GOD, IF TRULY THERE WAS AS YOU CLAIMED IGNORANTLY.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Dippy

      Caps lock off, please.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • translation time

      I don't know therefore God.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      There was a Big Bang...that much has been proven...as to the cause , it is still under investigation. To this point, there is no indication of any gods...jumping to unjustified conclusions does not lend any credibility to the belief.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  9. lol??

    Alexander, the author of proof of heaven, sayz the spirit said to him, "“There is nothing you can do wrong.".

    What kinda fruitcake spirit is that??

    1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • ggrl

      exactly.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  10. ding ding

    The moment we died, our soul will be around up to 40 days, then we will be asleep in the grave-world until the day of judgment. The ghost that we see around are the jinns, the gas-like creatures that impersonate human or animal look alike. Heaven and hell are made of 7 layers each.Most people eventually go the heaven, even though they may taste a bit of hell for punishment. Some will stay in the hell of fire for good. The really pious ones will go straight to paradise. Unfortunately we do not know how pious we are, we just need to hope, pray, try, retry, and ask forgiveness. We have to refer to God's books and the prophets, our role models. Some people, unfortunately, do not understand God's religion. Ability to understand His direction is a gift, our willingness and hard work. Once achieved, it gives us peace and contentment. But again, sharing that knowledge to other fellow people is hard and difficult, as we do not posses the same understanding. Our world on earth is a maze game and short-lived. Good luck.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Athy

      Do you really believe this? Wow, just wow!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • @OD

      Come on, so many people trying to speak for God, including you, but where is he, why she/he doesn't say anything? Come on God, I really want to know what you think. If you are a leader then, well, lead.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Dippy

      I'll believe shit like that when god himself tells it to me. And that hasn't happened yet. Nor will it ever.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • tinkerbelle jayzus

      Whutever yew dew... always beeleeve in Jeeeezus. If you don't believe, he won't come back... Tinkerbelle Jeeeezus. So clap yer hands, clap yer hands and chant: I dew beleeeeve... ahhh dew beleeeeve!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ruby

      Dippy, what is this "never stuff? Sounds like you are trying to speak for God.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  11. The Reality

    They may think they're making fun of God but God is not mocked, be very assured of that fact. Your Time IS Coming when you'll find out!

    May 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • @OD

      Why won't Jesus join the conversation, com on, I bet he got something to say, if he is realy there of course.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • paulm5545

      “He had brown hair, a brown beard to match and a smile brighter than any smile I’ve ever seen,’’ he said. “His eyes were sea-blue, and they were just, wow.”

      How about that! A blue-eyed Middle Eastern man. I've never been to the Middle East so I will turn to this audience to inquire about the rarity of such an individual.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Reality

      You said, "They may think they're making fun of God but God is not mocked, be very assured of that fact. Your Time IS Coming when you'll find out!"
      Until you can provide some evidence that your imaginary friend is anything other than imaginary, it is about as likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy.

      Being religious is a choice. It's a choice to remain blissfully ignorant.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • He Has Spoken

      Actually, @OD, Jesus Has Spoken when He said "Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." - JOHN 14:6 (KJV)

      May 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Which of the thousands of gods that men made do you mean?
      The one true god?...there are hundreds.

      Why your god and not the others?

      May 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @He Has Spoken

      You said, "Actually, @OD, Jesus Has Spoken when He said "Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." – JOHN 14:6 (KJV)"
      "But I am the Chosen One" – Harry potter

      May 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Only One Way

      Actually Jesus has spoken many times. Here's just one of those times. "Jesus saith unto him, I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." - JOHN 14:6 (KJV)

      May 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Fact of the Matter

      The fact of the matter is, @LinCA, that only when You and your fellow Heathens can disprove the fact that there is a God, will others be convinced. Until you or others provide that evidence, wait for the consequences of your disbelief.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Truly Fictional

      @LinCA, what is really fictional is your Harry Potter character. Of that, there can be no doubt even from atheists!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Fact of the Matter

      You said, "The fact of the matter is, @LinCA, that only when You and your fellow Heathens can disprove the fact that there is a God, will others be convinced."
      So, you require proof of absence before you give up your belief? That must mean that you have an unwavering belief in Thor, Zeus, Mithra, The Tooth Fairy, Santa and millions of other imaginary creatures. Without evidence for your god, it is no more likely to be real than any other imaginary creature. Belief in it, without evidence, is irrational.

      You said, "Until you or others provide that evidence, wait for the consequences of your disbelief."
      You may want to look up Pascal's Wager.

      You are free to remain blissfully ignorant, and cling to your infantile beliefs, just don't expect me to treat them with any more respect than a belief in the Easter Bunny.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Truly Fictional

      You said, "what is really fictional is your Harry Potter character. Of that, there can be no doubt even from atheists!"
      I never claimed it to be real. Harry Potter is exactly as likely to be real as your god.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • The Reality

      @LinCA, I think what is so truly sad about you is the way you go all out to dig a deeper hole for yourself against having any prayer of a chance for your salvation. Of course, you have just proved to everyone that you do not at all care about being saved after you expire and the regrettable fact is that God is listening and will certainly grant your wish based on your beliefs.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Reality

      You said, "@LinCA, I think what is so truly sad about you is the way you go all out to dig a deeper hole for yourself against having any prayer of a chance for your salvation."
      If there way any rational reason to believe there is any truth to the concept of "salvation", I might be persuaded to give it a second thought. There isn't.

      You said, "Of course, you have just proved to everyone that you do not at all care about being saved after you expire and the regrettable fact is that God is listening and will certainly grant your wish based on your beliefs."
      If there way any rational reason to believe there is any truth to the concept of "gods", I might be persuaded to give them a second thought. There isn't.

      If your god is real, it knows who and what I am. If it is real, and the bullshit stories you believe about it are real, it is a monster beyond compare if it decides to fry me for not accepting the obvious nonsense about it.

      If your god is real, I'll gladly accept an eternity in your hell than to have to spend a day with it and its followers in your "heaven". I'll pass, thank you very much.

      Your imaginary friend exists nowhere but in your mind.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Why do you think you need to be "saved"? Saved from a threat that god created and already knows I'm supposed to go there simply because I do not believe the stories, while the christian god loving Hitler goes to heaven as long as he repented in his final moments? Your god certainly seems to have a strange sense of justice.

      Your god created heaven and hell allegedly, he also knows all from the beginning of time to the end of time, so there is no free will. it could not possibly matter what I do in this lifetime, since god already knows the outcome.

      You can either have free will, which immediately discounts an all knowing god, or t you have an all knowing god, and there is no free will.

      You cannot have both...that is an impossibility.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  12. box1813

    Give me non-anecdotal evidence of any portion of this religion's dogma and I'll start listening. Until then, please stop trying to drag the world back into the crusades.

    May 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  13. FactsAreFun

    People have always been fond of false prophets. And what could possibly sell better than "news" that death is not the end?

    May 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  14. Believe Is Key

    "He that believeth on Him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the ONLY begotten Son of God." - JOHN 3:18 (KJV)

    May 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Practice being fictional for a while. You will learn that fictional characters are as real as people with bodies and heartbeats.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Believe Is Key

      "But I am the Chosen One" – Harry potter

      May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bottom Line

      We have to be ever cognizant of the fact, Donald, that we are speaking to Heathens who prefer to remain unsaved, thus condemned though they are being told how to avoid that. But then we try to throw pearls to the swine and the swine remain muddied in their beliefs and thoughts thus, their funeral.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      Yeah yeah, anyone who doesn't agree with you is a "heathen" and a "swine". Real nice Christian morals there.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Bottom Line

      You said, "We have to be ever cognizant of the fact, Donald, that we are speaking to Heathens who prefer to remain unsaved, thus condemned though they are being told how to avoid that. But then we try to throw pearls to the swine and the swine remain muddied in their beliefs and thoughts thus, their funeral."
      Until you can provide some evidence that your imaginary friend is anything other than imaginary, it is about as likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy.

      Being religious is a choice. It's a choice to remain blissfully ignorant.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Whats Your Answer

      @When Cows Attack, which one are you? Are you a Heathen, thus, a non-believer in Jesus Christ or are you a Believer in Jesus Christ? Because there are no other ways but those two. You have to fall into one or the other category.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Whats Your Answer

      You said, "Are you a Heathen, thus, a non-believer in Jesus Christ or are you a Believer in Jesus Christ? Because there are no other ways but those two. You have to fall into one or the other category."
      Are you a believer, thus, a fucking dimwit or are you a realist? Because there are no other ways but those two. You have to fall into one or the other category.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Believe Is Key

      @LinCA, actually the proof with providing evidence to the contrary that there is no God lies upon you and those who think like you. Think you can provide that!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Your Answer

      Well, LinCA, we already know what you are and repeating it would make the devil very happy!

      May 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Believe Is Key

      You said, "actually the proof with providing evidence to the contrary that there is no God lies upon you and those who think like you. Think you can provide that!"
      Bullshit.

      You and your ilk are making the outrageous claim that there is some magical creature. You assert, without any substantiation, that your god exists. The burden to support your claim is entirely yours. Without evidence your imaginary friend exists, it is completely unreasonable to assume it does. Without evidence for your god, it is no more likely than any other imaginary creature.

      Don't get me wrong, you are free to remain ignorant and cling to your childish beliefs. It simply is not the job of the grown-ups to prove you wrong.

      May 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Your Answer

      You said, "Well, LinCA, we already know what you are and repeating it would make the devil very happy!"
      Your devil is just as real as your god or the Tooth Fairy. Sweet dreams.

      I do have a question, though. Do you manage to tie your own shoes in the morning? Or do you have to use Velcro?

      May 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  15. ggrl

    I'm sorry, but the last bit in this article is just a bogus lie. "There is nothing you can do wrong."

    Would you say that to the man who kidnapped and abused the three girls in Ohio? Would you say that to the Boston Marathon bomber? Any chance I had of believing that this was a message from God is nil after that statement. Sometimes these stories feel all warm and fuzzy, but come on – we need to use our brains here.

    I strongly believe in God -He is the whole reason for how I live – but I can't put a whole lot of stock in someone who has some kind of touchy-feely experience like this and then thinks they have some knowledge that no one in history has ever had before.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Gino

      I totally agree with you. The last testimony is a white lie!!! Even the statement “Any religion that claims to be the true one and the rest of them are wrong is wrong.” IS FALSE!!! Even from a neutral position, its still false coz if they are all religions are right, then we have a million and one gods and the COW happens to be one of them. Who believes that a cow created the sun the moon, the earth and all living beings, the universe at large??? Seriously a cow???

      May 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      @gino

      You should really pick up an actual book about other religions...nobody believes a cow created everything. They believe the cow is a sacred animal- not the creator.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  16. The Report

    For eye-opening and brilliant information on the afterlife, get Dr. Victor Zammit's Friday Afterlife Report each Friday which is free at http://www.victorzammit.com Even skeptics will sure have to reconsider their skepticism once they read this report.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  17. Michael Bob

    The problem with this, is none of these people were actually dead. Their hearts just stop for a few minutes so they were "clinically dead". So during that "death" experience, their brain was functioning just fine. They just lost consciousness, like somebody who passes out from lack of oxygen, but nothing more. Otherwise, if their brain was left "dead" too long, they'd have woken back up a vegetable. Sounds more to me like they were just dreaming, or having some kind of drug-like experience.

    So until someone is actually dead for at least a full day, not just minutes or an hour, and comes back from that, then I can't see this as proof of after life, because they were never completely dead. They're nothing more than people who passed out for a few minutes.

    Also how come only westerners who have near-death experience ever speak of angels, Jesus and heaven. You never hear anyone in India, Asia, or other cultures who had near death experience, mention the same things westerners claim they see.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Daniel

      I agree.

      May 19, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  18. Donald Shimoda

    Practice dreaming for a while. Soon you will understand the power of the mind.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  19. Jon

    As a Mormon this is an odd read because all we do is talk about heaven at church. http://www.mormon.org has a bunch of good stuff on the topic.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Mormonism: New, improved Christianity, now with extra added bullsh¡t!

      May 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Colin

      The belief that an infitely old, all-knowing sky-god, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, will cause people to survive their own phsical deaths and live happily ever after in heaven, if they follow some random laws laid down in Bronze Age Palestine = Judaism.

      Judaism + a belief that the same god impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule he himself made = Christianity.

      Christianity + a belief that aliens from other planets mated with humans who will one day be gods, that Jesus and Satan were brothers, that the Israelis colonized America and that magic underwear will protect you = mormonism.
      I sometimes wonder if we really are advancing as a species or just layering our silly superst.itions

      May 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  20. Emanuel

    Mr Blake, where is your research that pastors and churches don't like to talk about heaven or NDE? You state this repeatedly as a fact in your article and yet you don't back it up with any polls or surveys. Maybe liberal churches don't talk about heaven since they'e normally skeptical to begin with, but from my experience evangelical and many conservative churches do. In fact, I'm an evangelical pastor and I have been sharing NDE stories with my congregations since the 1990's. Indeed, I share one new NDE story (usually an account from a published book) at least once per year in a non-funeral service. I have also shared from the pulpit NDE stories shared by my church members as well (some of them have amazing stories to share). I also know for a fact that Don Piper has traveled across the country sharing his "testimony" in churches across the nation. He was even here in Amarillo a few years ago at a big church in town and the place was packed with thousands of active church goers. This is true not only for Don Piper but for other Christian NDE accounts as well. Again, it might be that liberal churches are not as opened to this as many of them tend to be deists in their theology. In either case, I did enjoy your article but wished that you had backed up some of your claims because I found them questionable and not supported by any evidence. Thanks for the article, though, since it was interesting and intriguing.

    May 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      "claims backed by evidence"....oh the irony.

      May 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Again, many people have reported NEAR-death experiences, which happened over a time span of 5-20 minutes.
      I'm still waiting for tales of a POST-death experience, where somebody came back a DAY or 2 later.

      May 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.