“I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention”

No one I know would be at all surprised about this revelation that a boy’s story (urged on by his father at least) that he died and went to Heaven before coming back was manufactured. Supernatural-based stories across the board are more fiction than fact.

Boy Says He Didn’t Go To Heaven; Publisher Says It Will Pull Book : The Two-Way : NPR.

Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.

The book is now out of print.

Alex recanted his story by writing to the Pulpit and Pen website.

“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Alex wrote. He continued, “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”

The website explains why they revealed this story:

Also, we are publishing this story because Christian publishers and retailers should have known better. They should have had the spiritual discernment, wisdom, compassion, and intestinal fortitude to not sell a book which contains, along with all books like it, deep theological problems. It also doesn’t help that in what is purported to be a “TRUE STORY” that there are vivid descriptions like which test the limits of how far we are willing to go outside the realm of scripture and accept as having been from God.

It’s alleged that the Lifeway bookstore corporation knew it was a scam and they are being called out on it. Really? They should have known better? Such stores contain a lot of hopeful propaganda that advances unsupported claims about the afterlife. Why is this any different? I sincerely doubt they are going to stop sales of such materials. They sell and they promote the belief which is the ultimate goal. Religion is also good business.

Welcome to the real world kid. What a pathetic story all around. Other Christian retailers of the book aren’t happy about the lies but that does not stop them from continuing to promote additional books about Heavenly tourism and life after death experiences. Recall the success of Eben Alexander’s “proof of Heaven” after it’s clear that his story is less than solid.

The problem remains that a small portion of people who read the book and completely believe it will NOT be swayed one bit by the exposure that it is total fiction. They will continue to believe in their religious tales because they want to. No evidence matters.

There is NO good evidence for the supernatural in any form – God, the devil, spirits, etc. Some people are easily swayed by emotional, dramatic retellings and forget that the stories are hollow and ultimately disappointing. Some people say it’s all BS and we’re not going to believe in nonsense just to feel better about the world.

Note: No one really needs to point out the jokes and logical fallacies in this story regarding the kid’s name and his reliance on the Bible as truth. It’s very obvious. I feel pretty sad for how this kid started his foundation in life and hope he can work his way out of the drama.

Tip: Patricia Hall, Kevin O’Malley

AdditionThe boy who didn’t come back from heaven: inside a bestseller’s ‘deception’  No one wanted to know the truth.

  15 comments for ““I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention”

  1. Edward
    January 16, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    “Anything written by man cannot be infallible.” Like the Bible, perhaps?

  2. Richard
    January 16, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    Anyone who actually READS the Bible (as opposed to listen to preachers, read cherry-picked verses, etc.) knows the Bible is a very fallible document. There are whole chapters in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and verses from Paul (New Testament) affirming and legitimizing slavery, as just one instance. The huge discrepancies (“a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed” – Luke’s Gospel, nativity narrative; except that never happened), and as archaeology and discovery of texts from other contemporary sources demonstrate, a lot of what’s in the Bible either never happened or was edited beyond recognition ….

    The Bible is a book of myths and made up “just so” stories, and no more factual and in most cases no more reliable than the stories about Isis, Ishtar, Marduk, Mithras, Zeus, Thor …..

  3. Richard
    January 16, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    A lot of Christians, especially but not exclusively Evangelical Christians, admit to lying, exaggerating, whatever to “advance the cause of Jesus” and bring in believers. The Near Death Experience people, the Miracle Mongers; at Lourdes it was noted that with the advancement of medical science there were fewer & fewer miraculous healings happening: so the response was not to admit that maybe Lourdes isn’t working, it was to lower the bar of what was regarded as “miraculous” so the “miracle count” could continue (Vatican and Lourdes web pages document this, but of course in formal theological language that makes this seem OK and how they are making “adjustments” for a “more incredulous age”).

    When I was still a believer (in fact I was a Benedictine Monk for 5 years) I found this kind of prevarication highly offensive: in John’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the Life” — anything that is a fraud has nothing to do with Jesus. Christians don’t get that when it comes to defending their faith. Any lie to get people into church and drop money into the collection plate was OK — because it was for a “greater good.” Even if the “greater good” was a lie. It was one of the many causal factors that led to my atheism.

  4. Tom
    January 16, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    It’s fascinating how this “apology”has been framed as a revelation following his actually reading of the bible.
    The whole thing has been framed as yet another confirmation of faith so it is not an abject apology at all.
    The faithful will lap it up as yet more evidence of the power of the bible to convert sinners.

  5. One Eyed Jack
    January 16, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    The Bible is a book of myths and made up “just so” stories

    That’s an insult to Rudyard Kipling. His “just so” stories are much better written and probably a better guide to life.

  6. busterggi
    January 17, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    Looks like the kid just keeps on lying.

  7. busterggi
    January 17, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    And now his audience is primed for his next book.

  8. Russian Skeptic
    January 17, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Well, when I was teenage and started to have migraines, my parents were so desperate as to take me to a ‘new method clinic’ – which turned out to be an alternative medicine clinic. The lady doctor performed some numerology with my birth date and then tried to trick me into admitting that I had astral journeys among stars. I was an honest girl and said: ‘No, I never experienced anything like that’.
    It was only years later that I realized how many children would happily admit that yes, they had. Because children typically want to be more important.

  9. Perry
    January 17, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    Here’s the headline I used for a blog entry where I archived news articles on that story:

    “Parents exploit son’s imaginary return trip to Heaven in book being sold to the gullible as nonfiction”

    http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.ca/2011/03/parents-exploit-sons-imaginary-return.html

  10. Perry
    January 17, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    I commented without fact checking. The news articles I linked to are about a different book, also by a boy claiming to have gone to heaven and back: Colton Burpo, “Heaven is for Real”.

  11. One Eyed Jack
    January 17, 2015 at 11:54 PM

    “Heaven is for Real” was made into a movie last year.

    It’s worth noting that Colton Burpo was 4 years old at the time of his supposed NDE and his father is a Methodist Pastor. Only the most credulous would believe that the experience of a 4 year old wasn’t heavily influence by his family’s beliefs.

  12. Jeff
    January 18, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    I love the type of stories with the publisher, or agent, playing the innocent bystander. Either they were duped by a six year old child recounting an experience about “pie in the sky when you die”, or they were praying that the kid could keep the false story intact while the book was selling. Which would you believe?

  13. Cathy
    January 18, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Many people see stars as their migraine auras. Maybe that was the astral journey that she was trying to get you to admit to. ;-0

  14. Mike
    January 20, 2015 at 5:59 PM

    A little kid lies to get attention. Just like every little kid ever.

    How could people have been sucked in by this in the first place is beyond me.

Comments are closed.