Terri Lynn's Reviews > Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
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Jun 12, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in June, 2012

Yes, I do classify this as fiction because that is what it is. We have a little 4 year old boy who has a serious medical emergency that leads him to have a near death experience. I say "near death" because when you are really, finally dead, you do not wake up. People have often been presumed dead but that is a medical error. Believe it or not, doctors and medical personnel make mistakes and errors every single day of the year. Actually, the hospital has never verified that the child even had a "near death" experience so it is only on the word of a father who has now, years later, decided to try to make a profit off of this made-up story who says so.

While the child is unconscious during surgery, he has dreams. I have had numerous surgeries myself and have dreamed during them. This does not mean I died and actually experienced what I dreamed anymore than anyone else's dreams mean that they died and really experienced what they dreamed of. Again, dreams are NOT real. Dreams of heaven by little boys are not real either. They are just dreams.

Now imagine that we have a 4 year old boy who is the son of a man whose job is to promote christian mythology for a salary. Yes, this little boy's dad is an evangelical preacher and has spent the child's entire life, along with the mother, proselytizing to the child and brainwashing him to believe in christian mythology. I have seen this kind of thing up close and personal and it is like this. From birth on, the child is in church every time the doors open. The parents and the church have the kid praying every single day. Bible stories are read to the child. The child is given christian kiddie books. The child goes to sunday school and children's church and to the special weekly programs and sees bible stories on flannelboard, does bible crafts, sings Jesus loves me and other kiddie tunes, and essentially sees Mommy, Daddy, the grandpas and grandmas and the other adults and kids around him believing in this nonsense. Is it any wonder that when the child dreams, there is Jesus, angels, the song Jesus Loves Me, and all of the made up fairy tale ancient myth stuff in his dreams. There is god who is BIG and is a spirit yet needs a big chair to sit on and Jesus riding a rainbow horse or unicorn, bopping about heaven singing kiddie songs with the angels. Ya-hoo, ride 'em cowboy.

This does not mean that the child died and went to a real heaven and experienced any of this. It was a dream inspired by what the child has had deeply brainwashed into him. If this child was a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Native American, Wiccan/Pagan, or left unbrainwashed and was still the Atheist he was born, his dreams would have been entirely different and starred a different cast and storyline. As for the child "knowing things that happened before he was born" or recognizing photos, who says that happened? Can a toddler really tell us anything about that years later? There is no evidence any such thing happened as his father, who is the one who profits from this book, is the one who says so.

Enter Daddy, the preacher man. With dreams of his own involving writing a book, perhaps inspiring a movie, and certainly gaining fame and fortune like the superstars of the evangelical world, he pushes this story. Keep in mind that the kid is all of 4. Children of 4 are extremely gullible. There have been many studies of kids at 4 who were told that they had experienced something that did not happen and then questioning them and having them insist that they remember these things happening.

What if preacher man Daddy has Rick Warren dreams of grandeur and wealth and decides that he will write a book and tell this tale all about the media. Is this kid going to deny it? And after years of being told by the people he loves and trusts the most- Mom and Dad- that this is something that he experienced, he will never deny it. He will actually "remember" it as if it happened. What do you really remember of a dream YOU had at age 4? See what I mean.

Then there are those who are impressed that the child "met" the miscarried fertilized egg that was his "sister" and another relative who died before he was born. Don't be too impressed. Again, there is no proof of any such thing. It is just what his father wrote in this book and is drumming into the child's head so he will "remember". There is NO evidence that the child ever came up with any such thing. Really, this man could write anything and say whatever he likes just as writers do in novels and movie scripts and that does not make it true! People need to stop being so gullible.

I am sickened and disgusted at the obvious ploy of this father and mother to profit financially from their child like this. I am equally disgusted at how christians are so gullible they will not only believe in a book of myths but will also believe in this nonsense. Hey folks, I have some oceanfront property in the Arizona desert I would like to sell. Interested? I even have a lush garden there with a naked guy, a naked chick, and a talking snake in a fruit tree all added in for free. Geez!

I really need to start a new shelf labelled- Book that Induce Vomiting. This can have the place of honor.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Victor Young You tell him, Terri! Awesome review. If I had a shelf called "Reviews that induced laughter," this would have a place of honour on that shelf. This sleazy dad is counting his money either way, but at least we should justly hold him up to ridicule for this truly exploitative work of, I agree, fiction. The title made me angry every time I saw it in a bookstore.


Terri Lynn Thank you, Mark. As a mom, I hate seeing kids exploited for money no matter how it is done but most especially by a parent trying to fleece gullible people out of their money using his own little boy.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Great review, Terri. I'm curious about what led you to read this book.


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