Then again, “The Boy Who Was Critically Injured and Spent Two Months in a Coma and Woke Up With No Memory of It” probably wouldn’t have inspired a movie and a guest shot on Oprah.
I get why certain people make up stuff like this: Certain other people, a whole lot of them, hunger for it. The book and movie “Heaven is for Real” made a mint for young Colin Burpo(!?) and his folks. Dr. Mary Neal has done quite well with “To Heaven and Back,” concerning her own self-guided tour of the afterlife. Then there’s neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, whose “Proof of Heaven” has proven more profitable than neurosurgery. If Rick Steves ever has a near-death event, that guide is gonna be pure gold.
Of course, just because Alex and his dumb dad lied doesn’t mean they all did. The beauty of the topic as book-fodder is that it can’t be disproven, since the vast majority of people who physically die stay physically dead. They almost never come back to write books and go on the lecture circuit.
What happens to us after death is anybody’s guess and always will be. Faith suggests one thing, cynicism another. Certainly the faithful view is more comforting. If people take solace in books purporting to prove what should be a matter of faith, maybe that’s OK.
Or maybe it isn’t. To me, there’s something distasteful about reaping material reward for oneself from the spiritual hunger of others. Especially when it’s based on a damned lie. Alex was a kid when he came out of the coma, so maybe he gets a pass for admitting the truth now. His dad doesn’t. In any case, I hope this puts a serious dent in the “heavenly tourism” genre.