Ten years after Christian pastor Todd Burpo of Nebraska shared the near-death story of his then three-year-old son in The New York Times #1 bestseller Heaven Is For Real, Hollywood is putting the story on the big screen. But even months before the film's release, atheists and Christians are already fighting over it.
A trailer for the "Heaven Is For Real" movie starring actor Greg Kinnear, due in theaters on Easter 2014, reveals some stunning dialogue from the movie reflecting young Colton Burpo's "heavenly" experience.
For instance, the child actor playing Colton tells his mother about the sister that "died in your tummy," which no one had told him about.
"In heaven, this little girl came up to me. She told me she died in your tummy," said the boy to his shocked parents in a scene made more dramatic by a haunting soundtrack.
The trailer, released just under a month ago, has triggered reactions so hostile toward Christian believers, however, that some people have called for the comments section on the video to be disabled.
"This is a disgusting piece of religious propaganda...Christian organizations have been pushing the book that this movie-for-idiots came from for a few years now. This kid's dumba** parents should be ashamed of what they have done, putting this garbage in his head and onto his innocent tongue...RELIGION IS A DISEASE OF THE MIND...together we can find a cure," wrote Mark Marsh on the trailer's comment section where Christians and atheist have been attacking each other online.
"The kid was 4, and stated things that no 4 year old would know that are biblically true. Who cares if his dad was a pastor? Kids aren't into that stuff a majority of the time. They only care about play time. If you don't believe it, shut up and let the rest of us enjoy this film," wrote Ryan West.
Some comments, which were too vulgar to be reprinted in this publication, dismissed the concept of going to heaven and returning to earth as unbiblical, but even that criticism was hotly debated.
"Actually, even the Bible talks about people going to heaven and coming back to speak of it. Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 of one such case. 'I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know - God knows. And I know that this man - whether in the body or apart from the body I don't know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell,'" wrote Karen Smith.
"This boy being in heaven is not unbiblical at all. Our body is just one creation of God's. He is not limited by any of His own creations. If He wishes for someone to see only a few things from heaven that will touch many lives, then He is not confined by our unwillingness to believe or by our interpretation or misinterpretation of His Word. I had a dream of meeting someone on the outskirts of heaven. There were things I saw and layers of knowledge and feelings that I have never experienced here on earth. I still cry when I even think of that dream," she noted.
"Comments for the movie trailer should be disabled. Too many nasty comments by ignorant folks. I have read the book. It's excellent and I will probably go see the movie when it comes out. Peace," wrote Cassie Wonderalke.
Others, like Glennis Cannon, said he is just looking forward to see the movie: "Cannot wait to see this show, to be able to share the story of this young boy who sees and speaks with spirits is just wonderful."