I regret reading the book Heaven is for Real. The positive thing I can say about it is that it only took about four hours to read, so I didn't waste too much time.
I started reading the book with a very open mind. I wanted to lay back into something soft and warm and hopeful and just embrace the simple reality of it all. So I read it and allowed myself to be moved by the story. I've had two miscarriages, so the part of the story about the woman's unborn daughter being in heaven gave me a moment of hope and peace and a few tears.
But then I slept, and when I woke up in the morning all I could think was how I had been had. I let this story enter me, and it is obviously a load of crap. I felt like I let my guard down, my intellectual guard, and I had been taken for a ride.
My issue with the story is that I've been around 3 and 4 year olds, and they have wonderful imaginations. The father said again and again that they didn't want to lead him in any direction or prompt him. He said he believed what he had to say because his son answered so quickly and without hesitation. I don't buy it. Any question is prompting, especially since they kept asking and got excited about what he said. He was simply fulfilling their wish. Did he believe it? The line between fantasy and reality at that age is so thin he probably did believe it. He probably didn't even know where he collected all those bits of information. Also, the kid is really into super heros, so it is no wonder that his trip to heaven included a battle with swords. That is what he likes to pretend.
It is amazing that all those little bits, all those details are so accurate with a literal view of the bible. The parents underestimate his ability to glene information from around him. There are so many reasons not to take the book of Revelation as literal. It limits the breathe and depth of the message, but that seems like it should be addressed in a different post.
Some of his details are just wrong. Jesus was Middle Eastern, not white. The holes would not have been in his hand but his wrist. So if he had actually seen Jesus, those details would have been correct. But the information he gathered in his little mind didn't have accurate information, so neither did his "vision".
Did the kid experience something? Maybe. He was near death, never dead. At least we never know if he was actually dead, the family never checks with the doctor. He may have experienced an intense feeling of being surrounded by God. We will never know. Accurate information from a four year old is hard to get, and now it has been drilled into him as reality for so long it is his reality, memory, accurate or not.
So I regret reading this book because I gave money to an idea, a belief system, that I believe is harmful. I also felt taken for a ride.