Heaven is hot

Books about what happens after death (so the authors say) are popular.

Publishers are in seventh heaven with near-death memoirs

Do people really see a light at the end of a tunnel when they have a near-death experience? And could that be heaven up ahead?

That light is shining brighter than ever these days. Heaven is hot. Hotter even than that other place. Just ask any bookseller in America.

Folks have been going to heaven with amazing regularity lately. They look around — one even sat on Jesus’ lap — then come back to report on the trip. It’s a lucrative journey.

Three of these tales have ascended to heavenly heights on USA Today’s best-seller list recently, and more are on the way.

Best sellers include “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” by 4yr old Colton Burpo (a minister’s son), Eben Alexander’s “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife” and Mary Neal’s “To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story”. None of these stories are supported by anything other than the tale of the person’s experience. It can’t be studied and it can’t be taken for proof of anything. But stories like this are VERY persuasive to believers. They aren’t at all convincing to scientists.

As the article notes, in uncertain times, people are looking for something reassuring to cling to which may be why these tales of the great beyond are on a roll these days.


  12 comments for “Heaven is hot

  1. January 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I had a good chuckle when I looked at the front cover “To Heaven and Back.” There are guardrails along the ramp leading up to heaven. Presumably, they are there to prevent the deceased from falling off the ramp and injuring themselves.

  2. spookyparadigm
    January 25, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    The first baby boomers hit social security retirement age this year.

    This publishing trend isn’t that hard to figure out.

  3. Chris Howard
    January 25, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    It’s weird, all these books are at the local H.E.B. (that’s grocery store in Texan) behind the pharmacy, next to the bathrooms, on a rotating rack titled “Life Books” or something. I always thought that living in sectarian Texas these books would be up front, near the other books and magazines.

    Maybe it has something to do with sick people ala the pharmacy?

  4. Chris Howard
    January 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I find it funny that people who claim to have faith find it necessary to plumb quotes from scientist, in an effort to prove life after death.

    It’s like they don’t understand what the concept of faith is?

  5. January 26, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    If heaven was so great to these folks why didn’t they stay there?

  6. Haldur
    January 27, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Obviously they’d miss their soap operas and reality TV shows.

  7. randiyes
    January 29, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I am faith filled (sorry y’all) and curious about heaven BUT am a skeptic about others with this same curiousity ‘BELIEF’ who profit in books. Heaven is for Real….author admits to being raised by a bipolar parent…hmmm…claims the child ‘couldn’t have known’ what was said in rooms away from him at the hospital as his first evidence that his story is believable. This ‘remembering’ was years later…hmm I tell people things I said in ‘other’ rooms all the time…”Billy your teacher and I discussed your homework…” This one just doesn’t cut it…Clearly the author “believes”…but his story is a classic of the ‘trickery’ type when looked at closely.

  8. Mike Meyer
    January 31, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Perhaps you could elucidate?

  9. Mike Meyer
    January 31, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    So we arrive at the real truth of the matter by judging the book covers, where the books are located in grocery stores, denigrating the people who you assume are reading these books, and by the demographic of those assumed readers.
    Do skeptics fancy themselves intelligent? Because if I’m making a judgement based on what I find here, this is the place where intelligence goes to die.
    More sheep here than anything else.

  10. January 31, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    You have a point. Some of these above comments were unnecessary. They were generalizing and mean-spirited. But, so was yours. Touche.

    I hope that the original article did not give that impression. Our goal is to be clear about what the evidence says, not to judge those who believe it or not.

  11. Mike Meyer
    January 31, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    You’re right about that. Sorry. Just get frustrated with the off handed thoughtless comments that don’t nearly rise to meet the level of the subject matter.
    It’s the state of our culture I’m afraid.
    While your article was not mean spirited, there is an unmistakable tone of condescension.
    But since this is The Doubtful News, and your tag is ‘idoubtit’, what else would one expect?
    The cheesy CGI of the angel? Really?

    You say that the NDE reports can’t be studied and can’t be taken as proof of anything. That’s probably the truest statement in the article. But only as far as anyone’s personal experience of anything cannot be studied or even simultaneously shared.
    But these books and accounts of NDEs are no recent phenomena. I’ve been reading them since Dr. Moody coined the phrase in his book in 1975. It was a book required as part of a college course in Death Studies I took.

    I can’t say that there was ever a time that we could call ‘certain’ and equally unsure that I would call ‘these times’ anymore uncertain than any other time you could point to. But I would not say that it’s ‘these uncertain times that is driving the interest in these books.

    So while you can say that any individual story can’t be studied and is not proof, the collected accounts over 40 years have been studied and continue to be studied with ever increasing sophistication.
    Kenneth Ring, Pim Van Lommel, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson all have contributed to the understanding that these accounts are consistent, are not generated by brain activity, and point to the strong possibility that consciousness is not located in the brain or body and in fact is not extinguished at death.
    These accounts may not be proof to scientists, but scientists have not disproved them either.
    For me I don’t care any longer to wait for science to get up to speed on this subject.
    So, what does the ‘evidence’ say?

  12. January 31, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Anyone who comes up with a theory (without solid empirical evidence) that goes against the knowledge we already have established about the world (consciousness that continues after death), has a HUGE hurdle to clear. It is not up to scientists to disprove every speculation. We’d get nothing worthwhile done.

    This site practices the process of scientific skepticism. Please read what we’re about before you go on and criticize me as you bemoaned us doing. We gladly welcome dissenting opinions but they have to come with some reasonable support, not just an interesting counter that you might WISH to be true.

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