Heaven is not for real

A double joke: not nonfiction and neither “real” nor “proof”. From this week’s New York Times bestseller list.  .

Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 12.15.28 PM

Note, too, that both books have been on the list for over a year, and Burpo’s for over three years

What a stupid, credulous species we are!


  1. codemonkeysteve
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Heaven is real, if rotated 90 degrees.

    • noncarborundum
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Heaven is real unless explicitly declared integer.

      • Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, doing so throws an invalid cast exception, and things get pretty hot after that….


        • Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          I have definite proof saying otherwise.

          printf(“%f”, “Heaven”);

          Everything crashes. And don’t even try this with a non typed languange. Even though “Heaven” may output, I wouldn’t want to go to one that isn’t safe for all types.

          • Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            Er…that’s a string you’re printing. Try this, instead:

            printf(“%f”, (int) “Heaven”);

            and see what happens.


            • Posted May 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              I’ll try both as soon as I’m in the vicinity of a compiler. Though I would think my version would attempt the implicit cast to float and result in the same nastiness.

              • Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

                Hmmm…could depend on the language, as well as the compiler. Most of the ones I work with wouldn’t throw an exception; they’d either insert the entire string into the position or they’d convert the string into a number one way or another — such as by making it be zero, or by converting the concatenated ASCII values to an integer, or the like.


  2. Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    It gives self-righteous religious people a reason to look forward to death…

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      …and you thought we had nothing in common.

  3. Dave
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I think this genre could be the next Big Thing in publishing. I’m hoping to cash in with my forthcoming book:

    “Valhalla is Real” by N. Ordic. The true(-ish) account of the near-death experience of a Norwegian chartered accountant who hangs out with Odin and the Valkyries after suffering a heart attack, only to be brought back to life by the prompt attentions of medical staff in an Oslo emergency ward, thereby providing indisputable evidence of the truth of the Prose Edda.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      You could then write one as I. Slam with an account of a near death experience that lasted for some thirty or so days because it took that long to deflower 72 virgins….

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        I thought that the virgins were auto-replenishing?

        • Kevin
          Posted May 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Maybe they are all clones of Mary.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted May 4, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink

            Come on – even Muslims deserve a bit of variety!
            It’d be 72 identical virgins (who lied about it) in Hell. And you’d have to tell them that you loved them. All. Individually. Repeatedly. Every Hellish day of it.
            And impotence for the horny and priapism for the disinterested. Pile it on!
            I could do with re-reading Dante’s Inferno. For ideas.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I’d read that book! At least the Nordic gods are interesting.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      This is so cliche, but I just touched a cup of hot tea to my lips precisely when I came to “N. Ordic. … Norwegian chartered accountant” … and, well, splooey.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        It sort of reminds me of the Monty Python skit with the accountants becoming pirates.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        I’m trying to remember exactly how Heinlein’s “Job” started. Decidedly similar.

  4. Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I don’t know about Heaven, but Paradise is real, and one of my favorite places on Earth.


    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      And so is Hell.

      • Posted May 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        No, I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to Michigan, so there’s no way it could be one of my favorite places.


        • Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          I have lived in Arizona and now reside in Michigan (not too far from Hell). They both have their nice points, but I did prefer AZ.

          • Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Well, we just had our first hundred-degree day today, so I might not object right about now to enjoying some of Michigan’s charms instead….


  5. Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    A Christian friend gave me Heaven is for Real to read, and I did. She knew I was an atheist, and I assume she thought it was proof of her belief that would convince me to change my mind. I read it and my first thought was Burpo was a con man, either intentionally to write a best-seller, or unconsciously to con himself into validating his own beliefs. I thought it telling that the story of his son was shoehorned into also fitting things said in the Bible. That seemed much too pat!

    I found the book disturbing. If it’s true, I’m in trouble. But I doubt it’s true. If it’s not true, it says a whole lot about people’s desires to fool others, or to be fooled by others.

    It’s a tragic world, either a bunch of atheists are going to hell, or most of humanity is delusional.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      For your two points about the tragedy of the world. First, there’s no data about the future of atheists. Second, there’s plenty of data to support the view that most, or at least much, of humanity is delusional.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Actually it is not as complicated as you think, your first thought is the correct one.

      There is a talented, intuitive-marketer who could read the right messages (and when to deliver them / timing) into a (normally) vast and gullible market.

      He sent his missile, and wham! People who paid money do not need to be a true-believer (or even a believer!), they just need an internal justification to part with their money, preferabbly a warm and embracing feeling (that might be open for next round of similar ventures).

      Burpo is not even the best in this game, you heard an Indian-sounding name that rhymes with deepity, a person totally against our rational host JC the prof CC? Deepity something .. he wrote the bible for this kind of marketing … not only big best-sellers, he made it into a franchise, like Marvel of the deepities.

      And .. alas, it is also rampant in many parts of the world, billions of dollars (rupees, dirhams, rupiahs, francs, kwanzas) are made …

      And the good news is (you might see this as bad as well), not all of the buyers are as stupid as assumed by the authors (and atheists, for different reasons). They just need that warm feeling of becoming part of a group, like a cup of warm latte … and they know they have to pay to get a cup.

      Let’s despise the authors, those who consciously milking the gullibilities of the consumers, but no need to blame (too much) of the customers ..

      Well, it is complicated. Sort of.


  6. MAUCH
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    This is a perfect example for explaining to people that no science is not a religion, it is simply a methodology used to overcome people’s basic stupidity and bring us true answers as to the nature of reality.

  7. Blue
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Ask anyone who knows and / or works with me: I am so laid back, anymore now, that nothing, absolutely nothing rocks me or upsets me. I imagine that the news of harm or worse to one of my kiddos or grandchildren ‘d do me in for sure; so far, things there are kindly and copasetic: thank … … O say, … … R.E.A.L.I.T.Y.

    This, though ? This of which Dr Coyne recounts re The Reading Public + The Makers of and The Clamoring Masses of Viewers of big – $ films out of Hollywood of this same flavor and genre ?

    This is so disheartening and so nauseatingly disgusting that it is … … O say, … … angering.


  8. Blue
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    And only serves to reinforce inside of me at my core the nearly complete desire I harbor to continue to remain … … a recluse / a hermitess.


    • john frum
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I am practising to be a recluse.
      I live alone on a 200 acre property where the house it at the end of a one kilometre winding dirt road that is unsigned.
      There are two cats though in case I need some company.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        I liked where the old guy lived in Children of Men. That’s the kind of place I’ll have when it all hits the fan.

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:01 am | Permalink

          …and Strawberry Cough.

  9. bric
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Here is a fascinating story about how one Christian book made it to the NYT best-seller list. I doubt it is the only one

    • Hempenstein
      Posted May 3, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I was just about to post that I suspect preachers have been buying these by the carload and handing them out to their sheeple. This dovetails perfectly.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting. I know that Americans tend to institutionalize everything. 😀 ..

      So the Mars Hill Church make it into SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to pump sales of books into best-sellers in NYT, Amazon (!) etc.

      Interesting, but I know that not all franchises are profitable. Do we know if these “marketing expenses” for the Real Marriage book (the one mentioned in the article) actually gave good down-to-earth mammonite monetary-returns (the “good-deed returns” as a better seating arrangements in heaven do not count)?

      The article said not clear, but they suspect that this book is not the only one…

      Well, if they actually managed to use quarter-million of church money, they have won already ..

      clever marketers …

      • bric
        Posted May 4, 2014 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        Well the seed money, whether from tithes or other Church resources would be tax free, so that helps.

  10. Bhagwan
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Date May 11, 2014?

    Is this some publisher thing?

  11. Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    “Stupid, credulous species? You’re too kind. A real diplomat, you are.

  12. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “What a stupid, credulous species we are!”
    I really must echo the comment above. The first thing I thought when reading that was that you are being very very kind and tolerant. Very.
    How about, people who believe that stuff are either stupid, ignorant or insane.

    • Posted May 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      I tend to disagree. The sheeple paid only equivalent of a few cups of Starbucks, and they got the warm feeling like you get when you already hold a sought-after NBA (or superbowl) tickets … that may not be true, but not very expensive for that kind of warm feeling.

      The one we should despise is the perps, the authors, the marketers .. oh then they are doing the same in marketing homeopathic remedies, or kid’s treats, or burgers, or … all consumer products?

      Oh .. we’re duped! The christian god is Mammon!


  13. Posted May 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    But, there is a heaven for cats and dogs.

  14. Derek Freyberg
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    4377 (old calculator joke, rotate 180 degrees) anyone.

  15. Filippo
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink


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