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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

    If only one religion is correct then it means that millions and millions good people who genuinely believe, will go to hell because they believed in the wrong thing, this makes so much sense, if I was god this is definitely how I would run things, a lottery of religions and only the lucky few go to heaven and screw everyone else:)

    May 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Not to mention waiting tens of thousands of years after modern man arrived on the planet (according to the fossil record) to deliver what was supposedly an all-important and exclusive message about how to "be saved".... Not to mention that this "god" only delivered it to a select few people isolated in a Middle Eastern desert when there was no mass-communication. "god" is quite inept!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • lol??

      You do err in yer judgment of dust balls.

      Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Magnus

      Jesus died from a lack of soap. Son of a god? No. Son of a d-bag religion? Yes. He was clueless and died. End of story.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      That would only follow if all religions believed in heaven and hell and all believed that all non-believers go to hell. This is by no means the case.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  2. Ron

    I know that when I die I will go to heaven. For those of you who have that assurance also, you know how awesome that is. Jesus promised eternal life to those who receive Him as their Lord and Savior. My faith is not based on these type of stories, it is based firmly on the Rock, that is Jesus Christ! He who gave Himself for me, that I might live.There is a heaven, and there is only one way to get there. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIfe, no one comes to the Father, but by Me." ...Jesus John 14 God Bless

    May 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • @OD

      Yeah, you should totally take his word for it.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Jesus is a rock? C'mon – you're full of schist!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Ron, I know a guy who supports beating slaves. What an a.ss, hey? His name is Jesus Christ and he was quite clear on the matter. He felt that a slave who scr.ewed something up accidently should only be beaten lightly, whilst one who did so intentionally was deserving of severe punishment:

      “And that slave who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be severely beaten. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of a severe beating, shall be beaten only lightly. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48, quoting Jesus)

      How many slaves do you think he beat himself?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ Colin: Jesus beat off slaves? Well, one learns something new every day!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Magnus

      You don't know jack shit. You say you "know" but really all you are saying is that you believe very strongly.
      You aren't going to see any dead relatives or friends after you die.
      And you will never find out the truth about an afterlife because you will cease to exist, just like Jesus, once you are dead.
      Jesus is never coming back. He is dead forever. Your god never existed.

      Jesus was an ignorant member of an ignorant tribe who declared themselves better than everyone else despite all the evidence to the contrary. Your god is a made-up Jewish medicine-man fantasy used to terrorize people into following directions.
      Are you an "obedient" Christian? Do you think for yourself at any time? I have no idea, but you sound like an idiot.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • wolfRayet

      Considering there is no evidence showing that Jesus ever existed.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I'm not Jewish. Why should I believe in a Jewish "god"?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • lol??

      Who is Jewish?? Maybe you meant not a Jew.

      "Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circu*mcision, which is outward in the flesh:"

      May 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Ron

      G. Zeus, The God of Israel is God. There is no other God. Jesus Himself was born Jewish, and He chose 12 Jewish men to be HIs disciples. He is the God of all nations, but He has chosen to bring about His plan of salvation through the Jewish people. Jesus said: "salvation is of the Jews" .....John 4

      May 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • wolfRayet

      Amazing a Non-Existent person said something that someone reports and you believe them.. Have you head about NAIVE?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Ron: That must be why Jeezus existed in an isolated desert in the Middle East at a time when, oh, say, Native Americans had no way of hearing about this all-important message for 15 centuries? Good going, "god"! Nice plan to save your precious human creation.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • lol??

      Zeus don't care. He's special.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      @G. ZEUS: Obviously you need to become acquainted with the Mormons who have "proved" through their revealed truth that jesus preached and converted the native americans after the "resurrection.

      May 20, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  3. Colin

    Chad, oh Chad..Come on, I know you're out there. Iasked you a question about why the Jews, out of the approximately 200 million people then alive on Earth, were chosen as God's treasured people and why the Bible is all about them and not about the Chinese, Ja.panese, Russians, Sub-Saharan Afriacans, Polynesians, Celts, Mongols Amro-Indians or any other race on Earth at the time.

    Why does 99% of the human race not even rate a mention in your Bible?

    May 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Colin,

      I see your frustrations and am with you. I believe though, in a Father of all living manifestations. Do you?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • lol??

      You just show you are incapable of understanding scripture, over and over, BTW.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey lionlylamb. I would respond to you, but unfortunately, I hate you and wish you were dead. So, please fvck off and never address me directly again. You presence on this blog is an unfortunate fact we all try to ignore.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • rofl

      Ignore what? I don't see anything. Who are you talking to Colin?

      May 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "Why does 99% of the human race not even rate a mention in your Bible?"

      @Chad "Hmm?
      I see you keep trying to re-phrase the question to avoid doing your homework..

      Answering your specific question this time, 100% of the humans on this planet actually DO rate mention

      Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28

      ======
      Answering the slightly differently phrased question from before:

      Jews are Gods chosen people
      "For you are a holy people to The Lord your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth." Deuteronomy 14

      "Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me from all the peoples, for all the earth is mine" – Exodus 19

      "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you." – Genesis 17

      "And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" – Exodus 19

      "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your ancestors." – Deuteronomy 7

      "You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities." – Amos 3

      ======
      It was necessary to have the Jewish nation and the inst itution of the Law, to demonstrate our need for a Saviour
      For a complete explanation read Romans

      ======
      The Jews were created as a nation to deliver the Messiah, that Savior, who by His atoning work on the cross created a permanent atonment
      For a complete explanation read Hebrews.

      ============
      The reason you dont want to read, is you're simply to lazy.

      ===================

      Un-addressed questions on your part
      1. Why would you be on here day after day criticizing a belief system you know nothing about?
      2. Why are you so steadfast in your refusal to actually learn something about Christianity? What are you afraid of?

      ========
      @Colin "Enlighten me. Don't retreat to mysticism. If you have a point, make it. What do you mean by "the purpose of the law and the purpose of the atoning work of Christ."

      @Chad "A. you clearly dont know what mysticism means.
      B. How is it that you dont know what the purpose of the Lawis
      C. How is it that you dont know what the purpose of the atoning work of Christ is
      D. Why are you on here day after day criticizing a belief system you arent familiar with at all
      E. Given your lack of knowledge of the basics of Christianity (the purpose of the Law, the purpose of Christs atoning work), why would you feel any of your criticisms have any credibility.

      I would say @colins post captures the CNN belief blog atheist in a nutshell.

      May 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Daniel

      Ultimately all of Chad argument falls flat on it's face if there is no inherited sin and no immortal soul so what has convinced you Chad of this immortal force you claim humans have but of which there is zero evidence? What research have you done to make you believe? Read a compilation of books that almost no one agrees on and that half of the planet are almost never exposed to? But it feels right, right Chad? If I had a 2000 year old comic book telling me I am an immortal who will inherit great power if only I can wrestle the imagined demons it told me I have inside me i'd be pretty excited too, but I would hope I could see the difference between science fiction and science fact. I could not ignore the whole of human history that says things like my comic book fairy tale are just that, fairy tales invented to explain unusual phenomenon. There is no inherited sin, there is no immortal soul and we are very fragile mortal beings. Accept it and try to work to build a safer more harmonious planet instead of trying to clear the way for your holy war on the plains of Megiddo.

      May 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think Colin is concerned for you, Chad. A lot of us are. We'd like to see you well-informed. Perhaps see you get a better handle on logic and intellectual honesty. I think you can do it, Chad. You can shed your presupposition of God and examine your beliefs in a cold, hard, honest way.

      May 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @Daniel "Ultimately all of Chad argument falls flat on it's face if there is no inherited sin and no immortal soul "

      =>Yes to soul, no to inherited sin.
      A. Where does the bible say that we have inherited sin
      B. If there is no soul, how do you explain free will(or do you not believe in free will)?

      May 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Colin

      @Chad. RE: Other races. That's the best biblical reference to all the other races of the world that you can come up with, hey, a collective statement that they should all be converted to the laws of the Jewish god? The fact is, there is no indication in the Bible that the Jewish god or Jesus had any idea that 99% of the human race existed. There is no mention of any race not known in the Greco-Roman Middle East.

      A saviour sent to rescue the entire human race who is totally unaware of the existence of 99% of it! Not very likely, I'm afraid.

      You said " It was necessary to have the Jewish nation and the inst itution of the Law, to demonstrate our need for a Saviour
      For a complete explanation read Romans"

      ======
      The Jews were created as a nation to deliver the Messiah, that Savior, who by His atoning work on the cross created a permanent atonment
      For a complete explanation read Hebrews.

      Once again, that totally begs the question. Why the Jews instead of, say the Celts, Chinese or Ja.panese?

      The answer is simple, isn't it. The Jews wrote the book and got to choose its plot, so of course they made themselves the center of things, the "chosen people". Ever heard of a culture that chooses the nation next door to be their god's favorite people?

      The fact is, the Judeo-Christian god was created by the Jews. I would have given Moses, Jesus or any other character in the Bible a little more credibility if they demonstrated a knowledge of soemthing – anything – that was not known by the Greco-Roman Jews, but they didn't. Nothing.

      May 20, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Chad

      @Colin The fact is, there is no indication in the Bible that the Jewish god or Jesus had any idea that 99% of the human race existed.
      @Chad “you are simply incorrect, you just have no familiarity with the bible, and you are speculating incorrectly.
      Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit Matthew 28
      Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven… Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome Acts 2
      Etc, etc…

      A saviour sent to rescue the entire human race who is totally unaware of the existence of 99% of it! Not very likely, I'm afraid.

      @Chad " It was necessary to have the Jewish nation and the inst itution of the Law, to demonstrate our need for a Saviour For a complete explanation read Romans" The Jews were created as a nation to deliver the Messiah, that Savior, who by His atoning work on the cross created a permanent atonement For a complete explanation read Hebrews.”

      @Colin “Once again, that totally begs the question. Why the Jews instead of, say the Celts, Chinese or Ja.panese?”

      @Chad “God created a nation, He didn’t attach to an existing nation. He needed to create a nation, to place it under a Law. Again, I’m sorry, but you are simply ignorant of these basics. I have no idea why you are so stubborn about refusing to learn some BASIC Christian doctrine.

      How in the world can you think that anything you say has any credibility without that basic understanding?”

      May 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    High above the celestial boundaries of stellar places, further than mankind will ever see, far from this earthen vessel there lives God. Deeply within the cavernous places of inner space, too small for anyone to envision let alone go there physically, lays the kingdom domains of Gods' sons and daughters. We are physically nothing more then godly manifested buildings wherein God and all of God's families take harborages from in times of trouble. We are God's sons and daughters lifeboats. A place of rest.

    May 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Cool, man! Far out! Hey, pass that J over here, man!

      FFFFtttttt!!!!

      Oh, yeah – that's the good stuff!

      Hey, got any chips?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Sorry but I smoked my last a few days ago,, 😦 🙂 😦

      May 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • rofl

      WHAT? You've been out of weed for days? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
      Maybe you should pray for some more. Oh, you know that won't work, eh?
      rofl

      May 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  5. @OD

    All you non believers, put a piece of bread in your toaster and Jesus shall come. Toasts seems to be the Skype of heavens.

    May 19, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Answer

      If you spread peanut butter on that toast you'll get the virgin Mary. XD

      May 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I put a piece of bread in my toaster, like you suggested, but then there must have been a short circuit, because my toaster blew up!!! The funny thing was, there WAS a face on the toast – but it was Mohammed, not Jesus.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • AB negative

      Bird poop is the blood of Jesus. Rejoice!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Mark

      OMGosh you are so funny. And your time is short!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  6. AllOutForChrist

    @an negative...ditto to you and for wisdom

    May 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ All Out – Can you explain exactly how Jesus paid "the ultimate price"? If you take the crucifixion story at face value, he was crucified (not very pleasant but it happened to thousands of other people), but then he rose from the dead (so he's not dead any more – sounds like a bonus) and then he ascended to heaven – even better!!!

      So, where exactly in that scenario is the "ultimate sacrifice"?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Where is the morality in torturing a human being to absolve humanity of its alleged sins?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  7. blakenaustin

    Good question. Perhaps many churches are focused too much issues related to our 80 years of life on planet earth and too little on our future hope.

    May 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  8. OdWill

    Why did Jesus instruct us to pray in this manner..."Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in Heaven..." Because the Kingdom of God is coming to Earth to rule. No one goes to Heaven. We all should be hoping to partake in the coming Kingdom.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • @OD

      Sounds like a great plan based on solid facts.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Answer

      The christards want their god so badly.

      Poor suckers.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  9. AllOutForChrist

    I ask that all you non-believers to put GOD to the test. And if he don't answer your request, than you can stand firm on your beliefs.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • AB negative

      Pray for God to educate you.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • @OD

      Hey God, tell me what are you?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Very Solid

      Done and done.
      I stand firm on my conclusions of fact and scorn your mis-characterization that they are "beliefs" without any basis in fact like your "beliefs" are shown to be. You are trying hard to use a false-equivalency to bolster your own position, but it won't do you any good.
      Your fake god failed EVERY test EVERY time. Oh, I am very solid here. Very solid.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • One one

      OK, hey god, how about world peace ? If you can manage that, I might start believing you actually exist.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So what you are saying, AllOut, is that your god is nothing more than a convenience that exists to grant wishes?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Check

      AllOut,

      You don't seem to realize that many of us non-believers are actually ex-believers. We asked and prayed for decades upon decades - with no answer, no special sign nor any other response.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • LinCA

      @AllOutForChrist

      You said, "I ask that all you non-believers to put GOD to the test."
      How about you do that? Are you familiar with the game of "Trust"? You ask two friends to catch you, you close your eyes and let yourself fall backward. Your friends will catch you and make sure you don't hit the floor.

      Every believer should put their trust in their god and ask it to catch them.

      I have yet to meet a believer who took me up on this challenge. I guess they don't trust their god too much, either.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  10. AllOutForChrist

    @ Colin, it is my belief and faith. What other religions have you heard, that their God promised us everlasting life. No disrespect, but Allah, Buddah didn't face humiliation and suffering for all people. JESUS paid the ultimate price. And only offer that you trust and believe and accept Him. You don't have to prove or work at it. Once you accept Him, your eyes are open to and the things you done are all past away, because Jesus paid the price for you on the cross. And he promise all things become brand new. What other gods offer that kind of love?

    May 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      @ All Out – Can you explain exactly how Jesus paid "the ultimate price"? If you take the crucifixion story at face value, he was crucified (not very pleasant but it happened to thousands of other people), but then he rose from the dead (so he's not dead any more – sounds like a bonus) and then he ascended to heaven – even better!

      So, where exactly in that scenario is the "ultimate sacrifice"?

      May 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Athy

      "Once you accept Him, your eyes are open to and the things you done are all past away, because Jesus paid the price for you on the cross."

      This is an example of a typical religie sentence. My eight-year-old grandson can write better than this. You might want to learn the difference between "past" and "passed" sometime. That's only one of the glaring errors in you comment.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Colin

      Yo udidn't answer my question. Why did God require his son to go through such a horrific act? Why not just forgive us without requiring the crucifiction? And why did we need forgiving anyway?

      Holding us accountable for things that happened before we were born is ludicrously unjust. What about when we realized Adam and Eve was a myth and there was no original sin? What does it even mean for a god to have a human “son” and then demand him as a sacrifice?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      So you believe in Christ because you get a good deal?

      May 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      C'mon, AllOut – posters re asking you valid questions – how about a response? Why couldn't god do it without pretending to sacrifice himself to himself? And how is that the "ultimate sacrifice"? it's NO sacrifice at all!

      May 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • @OD

      If Jesus told people how important it is to wash hands , millions of lives could be saved throughout 2000 years...oh we'll he had a lot on his mind and he probably just forgot.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So basically, AllOut is a christian because it was the easiest choice. With christianity, AllOut doesn't have to be accountable for his own actions because some innocent guy was tortured to death.

      And they accuse non-believers of being immoral...

      May 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • Jeannine

      Hello to everyone.

      All of you have excellent questions about the crucifixion of Jesus. Unfortunately, I admit to not being "intelligent enough" to debate the answers with you. I would instead encourage you to go to a church, or pick up a book at a Christian bookstore, and attain the answers for yourself. You don't need to wait for this guy to answer you. The answers are out there, if you truly want to have them. Good luck to you.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @Jeannine

      Many non-believers know just as much (if not more) about your bible than most christians.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jeannine

      You said, "I would instead encourage you to go to a church, or pick up a book at a Christian bookstore, and attain the answers for yourself."
      Most of us did, and we found the answers. The most likely answer is that there are no gods, and that the religious nonsense is just that. Nonsense.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Glenn

      @Glynn – a Christian is a Christian. Why expect bears to fly or dolphins to wander the forests. Many have their origins in the "holy land" and many have a natural predisposition to perceive the world as taught in the bible.
      Just because it has been written does not make it holy to everyone. Accept the other animals as they are. Genetics and mother nature do not care about the opinions of people. It was written by nature.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  11. Happy Christian Woman

    I know it's true. I will pray for all that haven't found Jesus and the Holy Bible. It is the only book you need in life with complete instructions on how to live in order to get in heaven. Just finished a eight month long class on Matthew 24 & 25 Olivet Discourse
    Simply: Go buy a Bible and read it and do what it says. It's not hard to be a Christian if you know what to do.
    Praise God and All His Glory........amen

    May 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Athy

      You wasted eight months on a bible class? Man, that's a shame. You could have learned something useful in that length of time.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Bostontola

      "complete instructions on how to live in order to get in heaven"

      What about how to live to make good use of this life here and now. This life is the gift. Did you read the article, the near death heaven experiences were from all religions and atheists!

      May 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • @OD

      If bible said to wash hands with soap many thousands of lives could be saved throughout history, instead it was a 19th century doctor who realized how germs spread, but of course he could not walk on water.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Dear Happy: I followed your advice – I bought a bible and did what is said. This is what it told me to do:
      Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death."

      Umm, I'm now in jail charged with murder. Could you please send your god down to get me bail?

      Thanks.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • @OD

      So you are trying to be good so that you could get to heaven? And you think this approach will get you there? You know there are people on this earth who do good things just because they want the world to be better not because they want to get to heaven, that would be selfish.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Glenn

      It's not hard if your predisposed to perceiving the world in this manner. What if you are part of a group with a specific psychological perception of the world consistent with the teachings of your religion. What if you were simply being you? Would it be difficult?
      What if your own perceptions were more in line with the ancient pagans. Given today's knowledge and technology would I tend to believe in either. Would people believe if I said most of the ancient pagans have either evolved into atheist or natural pantheists choosing not to have any blind faith in the unseen or are lost in a world of mental illness because of the teachings of the church?
      Would people believe in a common era when Christians and Pagans shared the same physical earth while believing in things quite different?

      May 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • Colin

      Hello Happy Christian Woman, it must be wonderful being a woman who believes in the Bible so fervently. I just have a few questions for you.

      Do you ever touch men when you are menstrating?
      Do you ever speak in church?
      Did you ever have se.x before you were married?
      Would you object if your father ra.ped you?
      Would you consider it bad if the only punishment a man who rap.ed you got was to pay your father 50 sheckles?
      If you became pregnant out of wedlock, would you object to undergoing a forced abortion?

      Because, if you answer "yes" to any of the above, you are acting inconsistently with your beloved book. That is the treatment afforded women in the Bible. Sure, you can cherrypick the nice parts and ignore the bad parts, but if you take it as a whole, that is exactly what it says.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • @OD

      I wish Jesus came to this forum to talk to us instead of appearing on toasts...oh we'll, I guess magic is the way of the bible, I'm sorry I meant to say miracles.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Glynn

      trying to reason with reason with the Christian Neurosis Society is like trying to get through to a child with autism......though actually some autistic cases are now responding wonderfully to modern methods of treatment......Christians – not so much....

      May 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HCW: Are you serious? Really?

      What a horrible thought - shutting off your brain and wasting the one life you get worshiping a myth and dreaming of a unsubstantiated after life. I pity you, and I hope that you haven't reproduced because one life thrown away on this nonsense is already one life too many.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • kamanalono

      Jesus died for MAN’s sins because Jesus was gay and gays prefer males over females.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Happy Christian Woman

      You said, "I will pray for all that haven't found Jesus and the Holy Bible."
      Go ahead, pray. We'll do the thinking.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Glenn

      @Glynn – a Christian is a Christian. Why expect bears to fly or dolphins to wander the forests. Many have their origins in the "holy land" and many have a natural predisposition to perceive the world as taught in the bible.
      Just because it has been written does not make it holy to everyone. Accept the other animals as they are. Genetics and mother nature do not care about the opinions of people. It was written by nature.

      May 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  12. Bostontola

    It's obvious why churches don't use this as proof, it would eliminate their biggest selling point – exclusive rights to heaven.

    Of course a persons internal experience while under intense physical stress doesn't even approach proof.

    Thinking outside the box may be great for an artist but its not what I want my doctor doing.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  13. Odis Williams, LLC

    The bible states that David is still dead and awaiting resurrection. Humans do NOT go to Heaven. The bible never stated that. What will happen is that after Armageddon, there will be a resurrection, Jesus comes back to Earth to rule the Earth with those who were resurrected. They rule for 1000 years on earth, then the 2nd resurrection where those resurrected at that time with be subject to judgment.

    Some will be granted eternal life, some will be sent to the lake of fire where they and the evil adversary will be annihilated. After a short time New heavens and Earth are revealed and the father comes to dwell with us. This all can be proven by reading Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and revelations amongst other books from both old and New testaments.

    No one goes to Heaven. Heaven comes to us.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Answer

      The babble giving you a false sense of authority.

      Christards are so useless.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Actually, the belief you just articulated is much closer to the belief Jesus and Saint Paul had than the idea of "going to heaven" which is prevalent today. One of the (many) ironies of Christianity is that the Bible NOWHERE unambiguously says, "if you live a good life you will go to heaven."

      The book that a billion or so Christians think promises them a life in heaven makes no such promise.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Athy

      Nothing is proven by reading those ancient fables. Get real.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • @OD

      What if its all just written in a book by deferent people throughout many many years and there is absolutely no known direct connections between them and god...oh wait, it is really like that

      May 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      The obvious issue with that concept is that it is very rare for human remains to last more than a hundred years in the ground. So it's unlikely for the dead to rise, even more unlikely for them to unrise millennia later, and most unlikely of all that any semblance of the mind can survive brain death or the passage of time. You have to resort to inventing the idea of a soul, which would be at odds with everything we know about medical science. The entire concept is primitive and requires a complete disregard of modern science and medicine.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • OdWill

      People can't deal with this fact...From dust we came and to dust we shall return. The soul of a man is dirt and God's breath. We don't have "Ghosts" that fly around after we die. We simply die (sleep) until the resurrection.

      Jesus was proof verified by hundreds in scripture and without that God (the Father) has the power to raise the dead. False teacher's concocted lies teaching us we go to heaven if we die...

      What would we be doing in such a place? Eternal life on Earth which was created for us to rule is more believable. Every single one of us know that the only government that everyone will be happy in is one with One Law, and One righteous ruler. Even evil men desire one government and one ruler in their so called "New World Order."

      May 19, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  14. AllOutForChrist

    You right, on my own I can't get into heaven. But believing in Jesus, and that he died on the cross for all us, that we will have everlasting life with him, by accepting Him as my Lord and Savior, I will. And really don't care what you and others believe, but what see and hear.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Colin

      Why do you believe that Jesus' death on the cross forgives sins?

      May 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bakacha Fu

      Then you won't mind if I tell you that I shit on your religion, on your Jesus, on your opinion, because I have zero respect for you, your opinion, your bullshit religion, and your filthy piece of shit god who can't manage to ever do anything real.
      If your imaginary Jesus were alive today, I'd gladly kick him to death with a size 33 boot and shit on the remains and then set them on fire. The smell would be similar to what your religion smells like to me. Just wanted you to know the same way you wanted to tell us how you felt.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • @OD

      Why didnt Jesus told people to wash hands? Do you realize how many lives this would save? Would it hurt him to explain to people about germs? You know there are people who can't walk on water but they go to Africa and saving countless lives by explaining to the natives how germs spread.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Ron

      Colin, to answer your question, it is because the entire BIble speaks of this "great transaction" that is the atonement of Jesus, the Son of God for the sins of the world. The old testement prophets spoke about it looking forward, and the new testament writings speak of His atonement for us, after it had occured. Pick up the Gospels and Read them. Thats the message. God Bless

      May 19, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Mark

      Backacha...your time is short.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Colin

      OK Ron, I understand. You believe it because the bible says so. You must therefore believe in food (or manna) falling from the sky, people living to be hundreds of years old, unicorns, witches, superhuman strength, a man living in a whale’s belly (or a fish’s or sea monster’s) for a few days, a talking donkey, giants, a talking snake, a Worldwide flood, a stick turning into a snake, a river turning to blood, the Red Sea splitting and a dry rock spewing forth water.

      You must also believe that God:

      • Forced friends and family to kill each other for dancing na.ked around Aaron's golden calf.
      • Burned Aaron's sons to death for offering him strange fire.
      • Burned complainers to death, forced the survivors to eat quail until it literally came out their noses, sent "fiery serpents" to bite people for complaining about the lack of food and water, and killed 14,700 for complaining about his killings.
      • Buried alive those that opposed Moses (along with their families).
      • Burned 250 men to death for burning incense.
      • Rewarded Phinehas for throwing a spear though the bellies of a mixed-faith couple while they were having s.ex.
      • Ordered, assisted in, or approved of dozens of complete genocides of competing tribes, Canaanites, Philistines and Amalekites.
      • Accepted human sacrifice in the cases of Jephthah's daughter and Saul's seven sons.
      • Helped Samson murder thirty men for their clothes, slaughter 1000 with the jawbone of an as.s, and kill 3000 civilians in a suicide terrorist attack.
      • Smote the Philistines of several cities with hemorrhoids.
      • Killed a man for trying to keep the ark of the covenant from falling and 50,070 for looking into the ark.
      • Approved when David bought his first wife with 200 Philistine fo.reskins.
      • Killed King Saul for not killing every Amalekite as he told him to do.
      • Slowly killed a baby to punish King David for committing adultery.
      • Killed 70,000 because David had a census that he (or Satan) told him to do.
      • Sent a lion to kill a prophet for believing another prophet's lie, another lion to kill a man for not smiting a prophet, and some more lions to kill people that didn't fear him enough.
      • Killed 450 religious leaders who lost a prayer contest with Elijah and burned 102 men to death for asking Elijah to come down from his hill.
      • Sent two bears to rip apart 42 boys for making fun of Elisha's bald head.
      • Killed 27,000 Syrians by having a wall fall on them, sent an angel to kill 185,000 sleeping soldiers, and interfered in human battles to kill a half million Israelite and a million Ethiopian soldiers.
      • Killed King Ahab for not killing a captured king, and then sent King Jehu on a series of mass murders to kill all of Ahab's family and friends who had ever "pis.sed against a wall."
      • Killed Jehoram by making his bowels fall out.
      • Killed Job's ten children in a bet with Satan.
      • Killed Ezekiel's wife and told him not to mourn her.
      • Killed Ananias and Sapphira for not giving Peter all their money.
      • Killed King Herod by feeding him to worms.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • lou

      colin

      because blood sacrifices are still in vogue with most deities.

      May 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  15. Steve Johnson

    Sorry I don't believe in magic power, invisible worlds, gods, any of it.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Colin

    Well, there is a sleight of hand going on in this article. It is where Moody claims he's collected after death stories “from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.” The article continues: “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 Ja.pan about meeting a being of complete love and compassion.” This is then suggested as universal evidence of the existence of a Christian type heaven.

    But, if one accepts these other personal experiences as evidence, one has just accepted evidence of a lot of different gods/religions. He mentioned a few (Jews/Muslims/atheists). But there’s a lot more. Hindus tend to have after death experiences with Brahma, Vishnu or Krishna, for example and Jains with Devas. These “experiences” cannot be shanghaied and shoehorned into being evidence for the Christian god or heaven.

    Further, if we were to accept these personal experiences as evidence of any god, we would believe in a lot of deities. We would also believe in the various spirits of Native Americans, the Dreamtime deities of the Australian Aboriginals, the gods of the Aztecs and Incas along with a couple of hundred others.

    Every culture has its gods and a proportion of its population will always claim personal experiences. It might be evidence if we all had the same experience across faiths. If Buddhists, Hindus and Jains regularly experienced Jesus or Mary. They don’t. Only young Christian women seem to experience Mary, especially around puberty. The other faiths are busy experiencing reincarnation or their own deity(ies) or other post mortem expectations.

    It might also be evidence if a bystander ever witnessed the near death “experience,” but they tend to always be internal.

    David Koresh and Charles Manson had innumerable personal experiences telling them they were the messiah, while Mark Chapman had experiences telling him he was Holden Caulfield. Thousands of people also believe they have had personal experiences with angels, sprits, “presences” or ghosts, with aliens who abduct them or with devils that torment them.

    Unfortunately, the internal, subjective experiences people honestly believe they have, around death or otherwise, are not at all probative of external reality.

    To think otherwise would be as silly as accepting the word of a three year-old or four year-old. Oh wait…..

    May 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Glenn

      It could be a reaction to death. The old televisions with the vacuum tube used to show a light after being switched. The electrical charge probably played a significant role in that.
      Does the brain wave pattern change at the time of death?
      Would a person experience things outside their own culture at the time of death?

      May 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  17. Donald Shimoda

    If you don't want to have problems in your life, just imagine them gone.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
  18. AllOutForChrist

    Churches do speak about Heaven, you have to go often to hear the message. But so many are going down the wrong path that leads to destruction, that you have to remind people that hell was made for the devil devil and his counterparts. It wasn't intended for us. But if we are not living a holy and up right life that is pleasing to God, we will end up in hell. And hell is horrible ed and a place of darkness. And people think it won't be that bad or God wouldn't let that happen. But God give us a choice, choose life with him or death (hell). examine yourself.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow. How can a normal person believe such babble? You have been thoroughly biblewashed.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Answer

      Spam your fears out.

      You'll never be able to get yourself into your heaven.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Answer

    It makes feel good doesn't it? To have someone come along and tell you with assurance that there is a heaven...

    To find a small crevice in your mind of comfort that you won't just be dead.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Chad

      you dont believe in a mind, a subjective self, do you?

      that's the great thing about atheism.. the atheists refute it themselves.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Answer

      @Chard

      Once again trying to define an atheist to your own useless way of thinking.

      Fail.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  20. ms jackson

    There is no heaven in the bible. There is a kingdom on earth after armageddon and most people who die will indeed be rendered nothing more than "dust to dust". If you are going to make noise about the human brain's last confused signals before death, please dont use gods name in vain while doing it. Read and understand your bible for yourself. As it is, everyone who ever died is now blank oblivion and some will be resurrected when kingdom comes. Most won't because of their fearfully blasphemous distortions of the word. There will be no people who practiced catholocism in the kingdom for this reason. There is a hell. Youre living in it and the devil is your king until Jesus returns.

    May 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, no one will be resurrected when kingdom comes (whatever that means). It's all bullshiit.

      May 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The Lord Christ Jesus has returned! He is IN Me! He has made my embodiment as being His buildings from which to rule over all the cellular suburbs in me and all of Life's celled-in manifestations!

      May 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The Lord Christ Jesus has never left us! He is IN Me! He has made my embodiment as being His buildings from which to rule over all the cellular suburbs in me and all of Life's celled-in manifestations!

      May 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
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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.