Little Colton Burpo went through hell, then told everyone he'd been to heaven.
When Colton Burpo's appendix ruptured, he was only 4 years old. He was rushed to the hospital and had a brush with death -- though he was never declared clinically dead during his ordeal -- but he was pulled through thanks to some wonderful doctors and nurses doing what they do best.
In the months that followed Colton's release from the hospital, his family says that he started telling them stories about things he had experienced while in surgery. As the parents listened, Colton began relating what most people would probably have considered to be a dream. But Colton's parents saw it as something else.
Colton said angels had sung to him. He said he had seen Jesus riding a rainbow-colored horse. He said he had seen his long-deceased great-grandfather. He had seen Mary, the mother of Jesus, kneeling before the throne of God. There was music all the time.
His father, pastor Todd Burpo, was convinced: his son had been to heaven.
Since then, Todd Burpo has published a book about Colton's experience, called Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. It was written with, Lynn Vincent, who also co-wrote Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.
Tons of money have poured in. Media outlets flocked to hear Colton's story. He was on the Today Show.
And although church-loads of people walk out each Sunday, having heard of little Colton's experience, feeling more secure in their own assured faith that heaven is waiting for them, many people ask another question:
Is someone using this kid as a money-making prop?
The phenomenon of near-death experiences is nothing unusual. Some even say that all Colton Burpo likely experienced was simply a dream, maybe even medication-induced. They offer the simple explanation that for all 4 years of his life up to that point, little Colton had been surrounded by religious imagery and Sunday school nursery story books with bright, colorful drawings of Jesus walking on water, Mary, Noah's ark, and Pearly Gates. His father was a pastor, after all.
I really wish Colton Burpo would give more detail about what he experienced and saw.
— kylie rupprecht (@KylieRupp) April 17, 2014
They also wonder at how much of Colton's statements originally claimed heaven as the setting. Did he say he saw Jesus? Or simply a man in a white beard on a rainbow horse? Have his young recollections been retrofitted, coached by his father's clarifications and addendum over the years?
But with a new movie out now, based on the book, the money will keep rolling in, no matter what anyone else believes.
Colton Burpo later in life making money from sponsorships and showing up in commercials claiming that "7-11 is real"
— Marxism Mouse (@Hegelbon) April 12, 2014
Image via YouTube