Todd Burpo, the Kansas-based pastor and author of Heaven Is for Real, which spawned a film released in theaters on Wednesday, told The Christian Post recently that while he believes the majority of Americans believe in the afterlife, they likely have given it little thought.
"We put those thoughts off because funerals, lost loved ones and things like that we associate painful memories with that," he told The Christian Post.
Burpo said the glaring lack of human experience on the issue also makes it difficult to start a conversation about what follows death.
"We don't have a lot of factual hard evidence," Burpo, who is also a volunteer firefighter and small business owner, continued. "I think there's scripture passages in the Bible that talk about heaven but they're kind of disconnected and so I think we get busy and we just go on with life and the afterlife is something I would say most Americans probably don't think about until they have to."
Burpo recalled that as a child, he was often bored by his mother's descriptions of the afterlife that overlapped little with what he actually wanted to know about heaven.
"My mother would say [about heaven], 'Well the streets are paved with gold' — something I didn't care about — 'the gates are made of pearl' — I didn't have a gate in my house — there was kind of a disconnected thought," Burpo told CP.
"But the things that I wanted to know about [were] like what do loved ones look like? How do we know each other? Am I going to have fun? Am I going to do something in heaven? What's it going to be like?" he added. "Those are questions that most kids get shrugs from adults, 'Well, we don't know.' With Colton and his experience, he's not just telling children but he's telling adults, that not only is heaven real but you're going to like it and this is what I've experienced."
Heaven Is for Real, starring Greg Kinnear and directed by Randall Wallace, opened on April 16.
Watch Todd Burpo's full interview with CP Newsroom in the video below: