Heaven is for real but sadly it’s not for everyone.
That’s the Easter message of 15 year old Colton Burpo, the young man who - as a four year old boy - had a near death experience and afterward claimed to have visited heaven.
His revelations led to a series of best selling I-walked-in-heaven books and now a new film film called Heaven in for real, catnip for anxious souls in search of some world-to-come reassurance.
Burpo appeared on Hannity’s show alongside his father (a religious minister and a radio broadcaster) this week to reflect on the philosophical lessons he had learned as a kindergartener in the afterlife.
Here’s an extract from their conversation:
Sean Hannity: Do you think everybody goes to Heaven?
Colton Burpo: Um…. No. Not everybody does go to Heaven.
Sean Hannity: How do you know?
(You have to admit that’s a good question. Burpo’s answer was that he had been there and noticed that everyone there loved Jesus - clearly inferring that everyone else was out of luck).
Sean Hannity: And they were guarding the gates (of heaven) you said?
So there you go folks, Heaven is a Jesus-centric gated community much like Arizona. Doubtless it will have a governor keen to pass voter ID laws and veto immigration policies.
But viewers who had tuned in to Fox News for a peek under the canopy of heaven were sorely disappointed. It turned out that Burpo’s descriptive language skills could have been culled from a Katy Perry album.
Sean Hannity: What’s the difference… in other words, what did you see? What did you feel? Who did you meet?
Colton Burpo: Well, I saw a lot of stuff… In heaven there are a lot of colors, but there’s even more than we have down here on Earth. Also I got to meet my great grandpa and my sister who was miscarried and… it just feels like home.
Hannity: And she came up to you? Are you there physically or spiritually?
Colton Burpo: You are there physically. You do have your own body.
Hannity: You were there in your body?
Colton Burpo: Well, not my earthly body, they were working on my earthly body.
Hannity: It’s the same? You look the same, relatively speaking?
Colton Burpo: Relatively speaking. If you die an old man or an old woman, you’ll be in your prime, like your late 20s, early 30s.
It’s not hard to imagine how this news was greeted in the Florida retirement communities where Hannity’s main viewing demographic live. They were being told they would be starring in their own version of Cocoon. For those who prefer their hogwash served straight up this must have been irresistible.
Of course in the Christian world Easter is traditionally a time of promise and renewal, but for the nations most conservative Christians that is not the case at all this year.
Instead, to hear them tell it, their faith and beliefs are under unprecedented attack from the growing number of non believers and people of different faiths. Soon it will be unlawful to be a Christian at all, they claim.
Perhaps that’s why the two big Christian movies released this week have such noticeably blunt titles: ‘Heaven is for real’ and ‘God is not dead.’
Are those titles expressions of confidence or defensiveness?