Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

March 17, 2008

90 Minutes in Heaven: One Atheist’s Perspective

Filed under: books, religion — Tags: , — codesmithy @ 7:55 am

Upon the urging of one commenter, I read “90 Minutes in Heaven.” I managed to do so in one weekend which again makes me wonder why the people over at the New York Times have not taken the time to review it. It certainly isn’t because it takes too long to read.

I could bemoan the tone and numerous logical fallacies, however to concentrate on those would be a tad unfair. The book is not a polemic like “The God Delusion.” In fact, it isn’t really about 90 minutes in heaven either. At its core, it is about solidarity, hope, and coming to terms with a catastrophic life-altering change.

First, I’d like to talk a little bit about Piper’s experience in heaven. It is less than 10% of an approximately 200 page book. This is actually something to be thankful for, because it reads like two children trying to one-up one another. How wonderful was heaven?  More wonderful than the most wonderful thing you can imagine. Lest I be accused of exaggerating, I’ll let some quotes speak for themselves.

Without the slightest doubt, I know heaven is real. It’s more real than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life. I sometimes say, “Think of the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, the best thing that’s ever happened to you, and everything in between; heaven is more real than any of those things. – Longing for Home pg 194

Age expresses time passing, and there is no time there. All of the people I encountered were the same age they had been the last time I had seen them — except that all the ravages of living on earth had vanished. Even though some of their features may not have been considered attractive on earth, in heaven every feature was perfect, beautiful, and wonderful to gaze at. – My Time in Heaven pg 27

Besides heaven being melodious, luminous, brilliant, beautiful, perfect, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Piper provides one minor tweak to the biblical account.

One thing did surprise me: On earth, whenever I thought of heaven, I anticipated that one day I’d see a gate made of pearls, because the Bible refers to the gates of pearl. The gate wasn’t made of pearls, but was pearlescent — perhaps iridescent may be more descriptive. To me, it looked as if someone had spread pearl icing on a cake. The gate glowed and shimmered. – Heavenly Music pg 34

As is typical of these types of descriptions, it exists in a realm where words cease to have any meaning.

As for the miracles, it is hard to see any. Don Piper was declared dead. Piper therefore makes the logical leap that he was dead. No room for mistakes allowed in this declaration, despite a number of other mishaps Piper acknowledges during the course of the book. However, it remains unclear how thoroughly the police officers following behind the inmate driven semi, or the EMTs dispatched actually checked him.

The EMTs pronounced me dead as soon as they arrived at the scene. They stated that I died instantly. According to the report, the collision occurred at 11:45 A.M. The EMTs became so busy working with the others involved, that is was about 1:15 P.M. before they were ready to move me. They checked for a pulse once again. – From Heaven to Earth pg 37

Dick Onerecker was the first one to notice Don Piper was alive, and apparently prayed that Piper be delivered from “unseen injuries.” What this actually means is left open to interpretation, as its definition changes throughout the book. Piper initially interprets it to mean no brain trauma or internal injuries. Doctors confirm in the book that he had no injuries to his brain or organs in his thoracic cavity. By the final chapter, Piper just repeats the brain trauma portion of the deliverance. To me, it appears to be a post-hoc rationalization and moving goal posts. It is also perfectly consistent with his survival. He was never, in fact, clinically dead.

At the heart of the book is Piper’s personal transformation, his battle with depression and ever constant pain. The backdrop is set against not the life he had before, but actually experiencing heaven. It is exactly those twists in the details that make this story, which is a moving story in its own right and something I can definitely empathize with, fall completely tone-deaf and flat as a commentary on the human condition. On page 107 Piper describes his depression vanishing. Poof. Piper describes it as a miracle. I describe it as a contrivance. It is clear Piper’s depression didn’t just vanish. It came back to haunt him, in little everyday reminders of things he was no longer able to do. This is by far the most frustrating aspect of the book.

Piper faced finding what he describes as a “New Normal.” It is breaking down the barriers of expectations, letting people help you, and finding ways of helping other people in solidarity. Letting go of your expectations and dreams of your former life and finding hope and happiness in your new condition. If anything, I would expect Piper to recognize there is no way life is supposed to be. It is about adapting and changing. Disaster can come suddenly and at any moment, but the recovery is gradual and a constant struggle. Through it all, there is a love of other people, your friends and your family, your community, even a few people you wouldn’t expect who help with your personal adjustment and give you strength to go on. Which is why, when Piper describes his depression vanishing like turning off a switch I am saddened. It is an incomplete metamorphosis. It is a reversion to the expectations and attitudes that he had before the accident. As I described this aspect of frustration to my mother, she pondered whether or not Piper was planning on writing a sequel to address this deficiency. I can only hope that is the case.

In the end, I think most readers will find what they are looking for when reading “90 Minutes in Heaven.” As far as near-death experiences [NDE] go, Piper admits his attitudes in the final chapter.

I have no intention of trying to solve this [NDE] debate. I can only relate what happened to me. No matter what researchers may or may not try to tell me, I know I went to heaven. – The Why Questions pg 201

In the same way, some may not believe my account; they may think it was some kind of wish fulfillment during a point of severe trauma. I don’t have to defend my experience.

I know what happened to me. For those of us whose faith is in the reality of heaven, no amount of evidence is necessary. I know what I experienced. – The Why Questions pg 205

As Piper mentions throughout the book, he is not a particularly introspective person and doesn’t particularly focus on what happened, but rather why it happened.

I’ve devoted an immense amount of time to considering why it happened rather than what happened. – The Why Questions pg 201

In the final analysis, “90 Minutes in Heaven” is a moving story that is utterly hamstrung and incomplete by its reliance on religion and irrational belief. On the one hand, the organization of the church enabled a great deal of the story, especially help to a family going through a crisis. It also enables Piper to help other people who are going through similar struggles. He has lived their pain. However, much like Piper’s accident, the book is a mess, but the heart of it survives if you are willing to use your brain.

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66 Comments

  1. I agree with you… everyone wants to know why bad things happen to good people. But the reality is that stuff just happens, and it’s not always part of a huge cosmic push. It’s how we deal with it that counts.

    There is another book I might recommend that takes a much more rational approach to religion, and doesn’t buy into the ‘everything happens for a reason’ concept. It’s called God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the GreatOutdoors with the Adventure Rabbi (Doubleday; 978-0-385-52049-2; $11.95; on sale April 8, 2008).

    According to Jewish tradition, the wilderness was where God gave the Jews the Ten Commandments and the Torah (known to Christians as the ‘Old Testament’). Their 40-year journey in the desert transformed a group of ragtag slaves into the nation of Israel. Concepts such as our modern court
    system, the ethical treatment of animals, and a weekly day of rest, stem from this time of wandering in the desert.

    The book explores the lessons lost when religion moved indoors.

    Comment by Jeff Finkelstein — March 18, 2008 @ 4:16 am

  2. Are you an EMT? no. he was checked twice for a pulse. He had none. It is absolutely a miracle he had not internal injuries and he was dead. A EMT there would tell you that.

    Comment by Zach — June 11, 2008 @ 4:27 am

    • i have been in a bad car accident and i can tell you one minute you are here and one minute you are not. i believe in angels and have seen them on more than one occassion. angels come in many forms, even an unseen presence to guide a surgons hand. i have seen with witnnesses angels in human likeness. angels saved my children and myself with the shear force of spirit. i believe god uses others to pass on that spirit of unseen angels for his will. not everyone feels the power of god’s love it isn’t for us to know why. it is a matter of faith and if you don’t have it, you will never know what it is or how it feels!

      Comment by cindy waller — March 17, 2010 @ 5:24 am

      • Hi Cindy,

        I find that reality can usually withstand my doubt. It is willful delusion that cannot. When you are capable of distinguishing your “faith” from blind credulity, then we can talk.

        Since you are so familiar with angels, tell me, how many can dance on the head of a pin? Mediaeval scholars never seemed to have come to a definitive conclusion, maybe you could shed some light on the issue for the theologians.

        it is a matter of faith and if you don’t have it, you will never know what it is or how it feels!

        Well, from reading what you wrote, I’m guessing it must feel like a lobotomy.

        Comment by codesmithy — March 17, 2010 @ 7:49 am

      • it is all a matter of faith and if you don’t have it i feel sorry for you. do you sit on that pin top and wait for somebody to write. two years you must be very excited to have someone’s bones to pick. it can be mine so bring it on. you are just a single cell anyway. i look at the whole universe and guess what i see? don’t look like no single cell to me. where’s the starting point?

        Comment by cindy waller — March 17, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

      • Hello again Cindy,

        It is all a matter of faith you say? Again, because I don’t see it addressed in your short reply, how do you distinguish between your faith and blind credulity? Or are you one of those people who hand over their bank account numbers to Nigerians confident that one day you’ll be rich. I see the Pope in his palace and televangelists in their mega homes and churches, but I’ve never seen an angel, a witch, a demon, etc. so color me skeptical. You could be right, maybe you’ll go to Candyland, I mean, Heaven, after you die, and maybe the Nigerians will give you millions if you just give them access to your bank account. How about you organize your entire life around the prospect that Nigerians will make you rich one day? Just believe! Have faith! You don’t know what you are missing out on! I’m sure the Nigerian faithful feel sorry for you, the money is coming in any day now.

        where’s the starting point?

        Whatever the starting point is, it is very unlikely to be a God or Gods, and it is almost certainly not the imaginary friend you try to beam your thoughts to and only works in statistically negligible ways.

        Comment by codesmithy — March 18, 2010 @ 3:46 am

  3. Hi Zach,

    If you read the book carefully, he had numerous “internal injuries,” just no injuries to his brain or organs in his thoracic cavity (chest area above the diaphragm). No doubt some of his injuries were “unseen.“ I’m sorry, that is clearly a post-hoc rationalization. Piper consistently changes definitions to make the ends meet in his narrative.

    I completely agree with you that they checked Piper for a pulse twice, (three times in fact). But you are making the same error in logic Piper makes. Just because they didn’t find a pulse the first two times doesn’t mean he didn’t, in fact, have one. There are without a doubt, numerous factors that contributed in the possible misdiagnosis. Cold weather. Other people involved in an accident. The fact the police officer was most likely shaken up by having an inmate on his watch get in the accident. Some rustiness on the part of the police officer the first time the pulse was checked. The low expectation of finding a survivor in the Escort when it was hit head-on by a semi and the driver was obviously mangled. The EMT checking him the second time was probably told beforehand that Piper was already dead.

    Confirmation bias is a strong psychological phenomenon.

    Even if the EMT used the word miracle in describing the situation, they may not mean it in the same exact sense you mean it, or how Piper meant it. I find it surprising that you speak with such authority on what an EMT who checked his pulse at the scene would tell me. The book obviously relies on the police reports. Have you conducted an interview with either the police officer who checked his pulse the first time or the EMT who checked it the second? Then how do you know what they would tell me with such authority?

    Comment by codesmithy — June 11, 2008 @ 8:22 am

  4. For those who believe no amount of proof is necessary. For those who don’t/refuse to believe, no amount of proof is sufficient.

    Comment by Lisa — July 26, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  5. Hi Lisa,

    You set up a false dichotomy. There are those who can be convinced given a burden of evidence. The burden of proof for a miracle is extraordinarily high, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    In general, I subscribe to the sensibility that Hume gave.

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/hume-miracles.html

    The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), ‘That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish….’ When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened.

    My conversation with believers usually ends when we can no longer agree on something basic. Nevertheless, Piper’s story hides behind a veil of ignorance. There is no proposed mechanism for exactly how Jehovah saved Piper’s life, how experiences of the metaphysical soul are implanted on the brain, etc. These seem to be of little interest to the believer. Which I find paradoxical, since one would think believers would like figuring out the mysterious ways their God works to know him better.

    The only demand made by the credulous believers is that these things happened exactly as they say they did. How about some skepticism? Not denialism, just an honest consideration of the alternative hypotheses and reflection on what is more likely to be true. However, the one thing that I have noticed about believers is their willingness to wholeheartedly adopt the first thing they are told and unflinchingly stick with it.

    Comment by codesmithy — July 27, 2008 @ 12:19 am

  6. Hi codesmithy the atheist,

    Sorry you are so bitter and angry…I will pray for you. I was once where you are but thankfully I am not now… what a miserable place to be. If you have the freedom to believe what you want and probably don’t like people pushing their beliefs on to you then why don’t you just carry on to yourself with your negativity and hatred for religious people. Oh yeah, wouldn’t be that much fun would it. He was mangled up and didn’t bleed to death….Seriously, do you think THREE EMT’s would want to risk their jobs because, “Oh, well duh it’s cold out here, never thought about that messing with his pulse” I am sure this story is scary for you…Don’t let anyone or anything make you miss out on God’s blessings. It’s YOUR choice in the end. God bless you

    Comment by Freedom of Religion — September 4, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  7. Hello Freedom of Religion,

    Don’t feel sorry that I’m bitter and angry, because I don’t feel either as a general rule. However, I do resent liars and “bullshitters” (using Frankfurt’s choice of the term) and that particular affliction is one I wish to keep.

    As for pushing my beliefs on other people, I find it sort of ironic that you bring this up. There is actually a lot of back-story that led me to reading 90 Minutes in Heaven, but basically a commenter came along and challenged me to after I marveled at its place on the NYT bestsellers list. I was perfectly happy not reading it, but he thought it was unfair to level any criticism at the book without having read it first, even if it was as innocuous as calling for the book to merely be reviewed according to the same standard as “The God Delusion” was (since they are both “non-fiction”). Eventually, I relented and wrote the review the NYT didn’t, trying to hold it to the same “non-fiction” standard. As it turned out, there were some issues with doing that, which I acknowledged in the review.

    I never claimed that the EMT’s didn’t check his pulse. I’m just pointing out that not finding a pulse and not having a pulse are, in fact, two different things.

    As for freedom of belief, I don’t necessarily agree with you. For example, if someone denies the Holocaust or global climate change I believe those erroneous beliefs should be criticized, just not censored (i.e. you shouldn‘t be thrown in jail for expressing them). I believe all beliefs should be challenged and held to similar standards, whether people like it or not.

    Clifford gives a convincing argument that we a ethical duty to only believe true things on the basis of skeptical inquiry.

    http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/w_k_clifford/ethics_of_belief.html

    Your choice is really between whether you want to fulfill your ethical obligation or ignore it.

    Comment by codesmithy — September 7, 2008 @ 10:13 am

  8. I am an EMT and firefighter. In situations like the one described in Don Piper’s book, I would assume it would be very difficult to get a pulse. You may not understand how hard it can be, but I assure you it is. I often have a hard time finding a pulse on older people who are just sitting in a chair in their home with no debilitating medical condition.

    There is a big difference between ‘clinical’ death and ‘biological’ death. The human body can still maintain itself semi-sufficiently even with the faintest heartbeat. If there were other victims and a limited amount of EMTs, it would make sense that they would do a quick check of Piper and then move on to other patients who had a better chance of surviving.

    Comment by John — September 15, 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  9. before I say what I have to say, i’m Christian.

    I am still a little bit sceptic (sp?) about this book, I mean, wouldn’t he need to have oxygen going to his brain for him to be able to stay alive? and i’m sure getting the pulse can be difficult.

    but who knows…

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Christians it’ll be too late.

    i’ll be sure to pray for you

    Comment by Andrew — October 6, 2008 @ 12:50 am

  10. Hi Andrew,

    The important thing about skepticism is to consider alternative hypotheses. As a start, I would rephrase your statement

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Christians it’ll be too late.

    as

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Muslims it’ll be too late.

    Or,

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Mormons it’ll be too late.

    Or,

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Hindus it’ll be too late.

    Or,

    guess we’ll find out when we die, but then for the non-Pastafarians it’ll be too late.

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    In the history of mankind there have been countless Gods and Goddesses; many abandoned. It is the height of hubris to assume your faith is the right one, especially when the Bible gets things so wrong: from the age of the universe and the Earth being at the center to Jesus coming back within the lifetime of some of his followers. As such, don’t you see how maddeningly parochial your statement is?

    Even in a Pascal’s Wager sense, why would one rationally worship Jesus, if by doing so you would piss off Baal or Zeus or Zoroaster in the process (considering all Gods/Goddesses being of nearly equal probability of existing).

    I also find it ironic that Christians feel it necessary to tell me that they are praying for me. It is as if they believe that is the only way their prayers will have any effect. As such, I have to question how much one really believes in the power of prayer if they feel it necessary to announce it beforehand. It is as if an event can’t be objectively judged as divine intervention, the glasses always have to be tinted.

    So, I guess what I am saying Andrew is that your skepticism needs work.

    Comment by codesmithy — October 6, 2008 @ 4:53 am

  11. I am in the middle of reading this book. Even if Don was never biologically dead, the amount of injuries he was able to pull through in 1989 is truly awe-inspiring.

    I believe in GOD! I believe that God uses events to turn our eyes to him. I truly believe if you seek him, you will find him. No matter your method, God will appear to you.

    Some might get angry when an individual states they are praying for them. It’s not meant to make you feel angry or to think Christians look down on you. We pray for others so that they might experience the relationship that we have with God.

    Good luck with your journey.

    Comment by carrie — October 29, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  12. Ok, some questions:

    1. Why do 95% of people belong to the same religion as their parents?

    I say it is because they are taught to believe that specific theology is right from day one by their families. If you were taught that the Earth was the center of the universe your whole life and were kept around people who all thought that way, isn’t that what you would believe? I’m interested in your answer.

    2. If your religion is correct, then all other religions are wrong. Why do people of these other religions have such strong convictions. They also speak of “words being spoken to them.” Are they lying or mistaken?

    3. If you say that they are mistaken even though they feel so strongly, why can’t you step back and see the big picture and realize you are probably mistaken too. This “being spoken to” is called your moral compass. Everyone has one, it is instilled in you as you grow up through learning right and wrong. The reason you felt you were being spoken to is because you were looking for a “sign.” If you look hard enough for anything you’ll find it. People who sit out and try to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster will eventually see it (they won’t really, it always ends up being a log or something). The point is they think they see it.

    4. Yes the bible says a lot of good things. So does every other religious text. It’s easy to stand up for the golden rule. I want to hear why you support a religion that has scripture laying down rules for slavery?

    Exodus 21:20-21 “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod and he die under his hand he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished for he is his money.”
    These are rules being handed down from god. Pretty much your slave is your money, do what you want. If you strike him so hard he dies they you are in the wrong. However, if the slave can continue working within the next day or two, you are within reason.

    Women, how do these verses make you feel?

    I Corinthians 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silence in the churches for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    These questions aren’t meant to be rhetorical, I actually would like to hear your answers. Thanks

    Comment by Jason — November 14, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  13. First of all, Christianity is a unique religion because Jesus offers personal salvation because of a personal love. Second, the golden rule that Jesus spoke of is different from the earthly golden rule (Matthew 7:12) because Jesus’s is proactive unlike the earthly one which is reactive. Third, the devil will use anything to bring people away from God, including other religions, thus giving the temptation that ALL religions are correct or incorrect. Fourth, Christians need not look for a materialistic sign of truth, for faith is the basis of Christianity and faith is the evidence for things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Fifth, slavery was apart of the Hebrew culture during the events of Exodus. Sixth, Jesus commanded us to feed His sheep (John 21:17b). If we are to be responsible Christians, we must spread the Word, especially to our own children. As for the Scripture about women, the verse was for the women of Corinth. Paul wanted the meetings of the Church to be orderly. And because during this time period, men usually led the service, so Paul is trying to encourage order during the meetings.
    May the Mercy and Grace be with us all.

    Comment by Samic — November 17, 2008 @ 6:39 am

  14. Samic. Thanks for your response. It is my belief that Christians say the bible is the true word of god. The rationalization of some of these verses as being a product of the time they were written seems to imply to me that they were written by MAN not God. After all God is supposed to be all knowing and all powerful. He should not be limited to thinking as men did thousands of years ago. He is of course supposed to be perfect. If he is anything short of perfect he would cease being God.

    Comment by Jason — November 21, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  15. I am an Atheist and I read this book because my mother sent it to me. I come from an extremely religious family and I am fascinated with religion and how people can believe these fairy tales. For those who are “believers” please check out this site I came across. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    Comment by Chris — November 26, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  16. Jason,
    Excellent point! God speaks to people through other people. The Holy Spirit is among us for that very purpose.

    Comment by Samic — December 1, 2008 @ 1:47 am

  17. Here’s a different perspective. Has anyone here ever experienced a high lucidity event during sleep? Well I have and when I read this book, the chapters on heaven reminded me of that (my) experience. In fact it was such a “real” event that I thought I had died in my sleep. I am not here to debate religion and I respect other’s beliefs. What I am trying to say however is that the mind is very powerful, to an extent that we can’t comprehend or control in some cases. Faith aside, there is more data that suggests Piper’s event was in his mind than a visit to heaven.

    Comment by Charlie — December 12, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  18. I am a Christian, and have not yet read the book. However, I have seen God work in my life and believe with all my heart and soul that everything does happen for a reason. God uses even the smallest things to speak to you, and uses scripture to complete this task most of the time. All I can tell you is that we all are on our own journey where we must make independent decisions, and for those of us that have found God on our way, we will gladly inherit his kingdom when our time comes. Until then, I suggest looking for answers in the Bible instead of from man.

    God bless and keep you all.

    Comment by Amy — December 21, 2008 @ 6:26 am

    • Hi Amy,

      I am a Christian, and have not yet read the book.

      An uninformed and irrelevant opinion coming from a self-identified Christian, how unprecedented!

      However, I have seen God work in my life and believe with all my heart and soul that everything does happen for a reason.

      Sincerity doesn’t make something true. People will decree with equal sincerity about UFO abduction and religious experiences that don’t involve a zombie.

      Although you may think of science as something from “man”, it is nevertheless special. Planes fly. Computers work. If you care to doubt science, feel free to jump out of a 10th story window at your earliest convenience. Maybe god’s angels will save you like the Roman Catholic officials at Prague in 1618, as they claimed, or maybe you’d better make sure that there is a pile of horse excrement to break your fall.

      Comment by codesmithy — December 21, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

      • If God had told her to jump out of the window, you can be sure His angels would catch her.

        Comment by Lynn — June 1, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  19. Hi Amy.

    Don’t you see that there are billions of people all over the world in other religions who claim that their god speaks to them just as yours speaks to you. And they too, know it with all their heart.

    There are over 6 billion people in the world and only about 2 billion are Christian. You know 100% that you are right, which is a nice way to say the other 4 billion people are all wrong.

    So how is it that all these other 4 billion people claim to be spoken to by their god just as you? Are they lying? I don’t think they are lying, I think they are just mistaken. I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but I would be willing to think you would agree that they are mistaken.

    So, we have determined that 4 billion people believe in gods that are not real. This proves that humans have a predisposition for creating gods and religion.

    So, what is more likely….that 2 billion other people (Christians) are mistaken just like everyone else or that virgins had babies, snakes and donkeys talked, angels and demons exist, heaven and hell exist, and that a sky wizard lives in space and can hear everyones thoughts simultaneously?

    I’m putting my money on the simplest explanation which is that if 4 major religions have it wrong then it is likely that 5 major religions have it wrong.

    Comment by Jason — April 6, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  20. Guys, just take a look around us…I challenge you to take an honest look at the evidence for evolution, an honest look at the evidence for a worldwide flood, the fulfilled prophecy of the old testament, just because there are many “religions” does not mean that Jesus is not the savior of the world…God does not want our religion, he wants our hearts!

    Comment by will — April 15, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    • Hi Will,

      Your comment has very little to do with “90 Minutes in Heaven” or my review of it. Regardless, I have accepted your challenge, and here is my response.

      If you want to reply to it, I ask you (and who ever wants to pursue this discussion) to post your comments there. I don’t mind discussing the issues that you raise, but it is also tangential to original subject of the post and thus better discussed elsewhere.

      Comment by codesmithy — April 16, 2009 @ 6:42 am

  21. I died once and what I seen was creepy. It was a long white tunnel and everybody I knew that died before me was there. The women were on the left and men on the right in perfect order like they were alphabetized or something LOL. They were all wearing white and calling my name. I then got resuscitated right as I was walking towards them.It’s like your walking yet floating yet flying. The scariest thing I seen was something that looked like scorpion from mortal kombat without his mask on with this board that kinda like glued me and he could drag me wherever he wanted. I’m still not religious but I do believe there is something out there now. I still do everything I did before this happened. Also I believe religion should not be taken out of church no matter how communistic that sounds.

    Comment by Eric Savoth — May 4, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

  22. I began reading this book aprox 1 month after my 28 yr old son was killed this year after a New Years Eve accident. He had a head on collision and was ejected through the windshield of his car. He died on January 4th, 2009 from massive brain injury. I began reading the book for some type of comfort. Not even half way through the book, I became so enraged by the christian propaganda that I threw the book across the room and finally in the trash. I believe in God, however I do not subscribe to the christian faith. I was also an ER Nurse for 11 years, and the physiology just does not add up. If the pastor had no head injury and no thoracic injury, what exactly was the trauma that caused his instant death? There is no documented case of clinical death for 90 minutes. The brain injury that occurs after only 6 min without oxygen does not sustain life. The part that made me the angriest is that his life was spared through the power of prayer, I can tell you if that is all it took, my son would be alive today. People all over the world were praying for our son. I found the portion of the book that I read, pompous, arrogant and self-serving and typical of a faith that shows no tolerance or patience for other belief systems.

    Comment by Debra DeFrain — May 7, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    • If life were saved through prayer, no one would ever die. I believe the prayer fit in with God’s will and that is why the pastor was saved. God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. Not for us to decide if God’s Will is right or wrong. If we’re Christian we have to have faith that His will is perfect.

      Comment by Lynn — June 1, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  23. Howdy,

    So I’ve read 90 Minutes in Heaven recently and though we may question as to why some things happened the way they did and not completely understand then that wouldn’t be the work of God. There will be things in our lives where we don’t know why things turn out they do, from simple decisions to life changing decisions. For all ‘Christians’ out there stop questioning and trying to figure things out and just be in awe of our Lord and Savior. Our Lord has, is and will always do things in our world where we won’t be able to completely comprehend but at that point we should just leave it at that.

    Now for the guy of this blog deal or whatever…I was just wondering if you have heard or listened to the Christian Apologist, Ravi Zacharias? I can honestly say that you would talk circles around me as like most athiest you are well read and have carefully thought out your rebutals and all. So I shall not wast my time but if you have a chance go to the library and check-out the book “Jesus Among Other Gods.” I feel that this book will really have you thinking and help you in your understanding of Christ. Then as a follow up there are YouTube videos as studies in which I ask that you view http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk_ivE7CdRs.

    Upon completion of these things, or an honest attempt at least, I would like to hear your response.

    I do agree with you in what you said regarding “…all beliefs should be challenged and held to similar standards, whether people like it or not.” If we as so called, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc. wish to claim that our faith is #1 and ‘The Way’ then we need to back it up and be well informed not only of our own religion but of the other religions and their arguments. So yes, we need to be questioned. Once we stop questioning things, then God’s work is done.

    Take care my friend and I wish you a safe and successful journey in life no matter where it may take you. Also, if given the time I look forward to your response, maybe to just this post, but if you have the time a response to the reading and viewing of the YouTube videos.

    ~God Bless~ Ryan in Russia

    Comment by Ryan — May 28, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    • forgive the run-on sentences, grammar mistakes and all…it’s 3:30am over here in Moscow currently. Though being an ESL teacher there should be no mistakes…haha…

      Ok…well I feel everything is clear…so, tata

      Comment by Ryan — May 28, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

      • I can’t claim to use the best English either. I certainly have had episodes where I wrote a post late at night to find it to be nearly incomprehensible the next day. I would say my worst problem is dropping articles, but I’m sure others would disagree.

        My response to your comment is here: https://codesmithy.wordpress.com/2009/05/30/ravi-zacharias-socrates%e2%80%99-daimonion-and-liberation/

        It is sort of meandering, but I hope underlying point comes through. If you want to continue this discussion, I ask that we do it over at the new post, since I consider it off-topic here.

        Comment by codesmithy — May 30, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  24. I caution all Christians to stand strong in their faith while engaging in these types of conversations with lost souls. The Bible is clear that God turns hearts and while we can lead people and be God’s tools, it is up to God to work in people’s lives. Anyone who denies Christ is an antichrist who lives with satan. Satan loves the fact that these people are completely ignorant to the fact that they are slaves to evil and they do Satan’s work. God tells us to not cast our pearls to the swine. Do not waste your time. Strengthen your faith, seek more knowledge of God and lift up your brothers and sisters in Christ. God knows all things and will lead the chosen to his kingdom. Believe in your hearts and confess with your mouths. Be living sacrifices. Do not expose yourselves to this spiritual poison.

    Comment by Joey — July 14, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

    • Although I’m fully aware you might be a troll. I’ll take some time to respond. Even if you aren’t a troll, previous experience teaches that cowards such as yourself, close-minded individuals who rather preach than engage with some one who disagrees, tend to insult and run. I hope for the opportunity to be proven wrong, but given the willful ignorance you explicitly endorse, the realist in me doubts it will ever come to pass. It is the tragedy of any open forum that allows people, such as yourself, to undermine it by spouting such noisome garbage. I, unlike you, believe in freedom. Freedom of thought. Freedom of speech. Freedom of inquiry. You would rather be a slave to what you truly worship, ignorance, than open yourself to the possibility that you could be wrong.

      So, everyone that denies the divinity of Jesus is an anti-christ? Really? I am surprised to hear there are so many, I thought the title of anti-christ was something special. But face it, is it really that hard to doubt that Jesus was the son of Jehovah, who you believe, is the one, true tri-union God, among the vast litany of other gods and goddesses who have been worshiped throughout human history. Jesus, a man who comes from a particularly illiterate and backward part of the “ancient” world. A man, who may have been a decent moral teacher and certainly didn’t deserve to be crucified, but who nonetheless never demonstrated that he had any deep knowledge of the cosmos. He gave no clue to how old, how vast, or how strange the universe we live is. He didn’t seem to know about germs, thought that mental illness was caused by demons, and didn‘t seem particularly gifted at predicting the future. A man who never cared to mention that there was no Garden of Eden, no talking snake, no fall, and no flood. Jesus, a human sacrifice, a scapegoat for our sins, who you believe absolves you of your responsibility for your actions for as long as you are able to believe that Jesus was the son and part of this god and demanded his suffering.

      Was Jesus really born of a virgin, if so, where did the y-chromosome come from or form? Did Jesus rise from the dead or was there just an empty tomb? Did Jesus literally turn water into wine, or is that a metaphor for being the life of the party? Did Jesus manifest more loaves of bread and fish so that everyone could eat to their hearts content like gluttons, or did Jesus show how a multitude of people could show concern for one another, make sacrifices for one another, and be satisfied with what little they had?

      Just like “90 Minutes in Heaven” the stories in the Bible have meaning even if you aren’t a believer. However, I would argue that the myth clouds, instead of sharpens the meaning. It is also incredibly provincial to think that there was some matter of such desperate import that the creator of the universe needed to get involved, only does so under ambiguous circumstances at best, and is certain not to leave a trace of his handiwork behind. But of course, the mere fact that a believer can’t explain something to their own satisfaction is all it seems to take to attribute it to god. But, what really bothers me is the apparent and total disinterest that they pursue the issue. Piper doesn’t examine “how” or even “what” happened, he starts concocting answers for the “why’s?” As if any one could answer the “why” questions he poses any better than answering “how many angels could dance on top of a pin?”

      What we definitely have is each other because we are definitely in this together. So let’s think a little bit less about the gods and the myths that try to attach cosmic significance to our daily trials and tribulations and thank the doctors, engineers, scientists and everyone in between for making my life, and other people’s lives immeasurably better. You know, the people who do the things that make a measurable difference in the world. Because, like it or not, we are in peril. The same tools that advanced in knowledge that enable cars, computers, televisions, toilets, airplanes, etc. now tells us that we are changing the climate of the planet, which could have serious consequences if it isn’t curtailed. In addition, we have developed the technology to ignite mini-suns on the surface of the globe and have built a stock-pile of these weapons. The future survival of our civilization, and therefore the lives of the vast majority of people on the planet, is contingent on the successful resolution of these issues. The potential consequences for being under a delusion have never been higher. It is time we stopped putting hope in scapegoats and divine intervention and started taking some responsibility.

      Comment by codesmithy — July 15, 2009 @ 10:01 am

      • Hey,
        I haven’t read the book nor have I done much studying on different religions, however, I am very convinced that you are a very intellegent person in the area of words and you quote the bible, yet don’t believe it to be true? How can these quotes you have all over your posts be the very thing that you use to negate the God of this universe! I have only one for you. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled, ” Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who ignorant of God – I say this to your shame.

        Comment by Jeremiah — August 4, 2009 @ 7:09 am

  25. I really feel sorry for you, I hope that someday you can work through the pain of whatever made you this way.

    “Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire.”
    ~ Kurt Tucholsky

    Comment by katie — July 15, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    • Hi Katie,

      There really is no reason to feel sorry for me. There are certainly people suffering in the world more than I am. I don’t know why you feel that I rejected the Christian notion of God out of some pain. Of course, the religious making claims they can’t possibly know or support seems to be a common theme.

      Although, I am curious, given that Jesus said certain things would come to pass within the lifetime of many of his followers (Matthew 24:34 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”) Among the things Jesus claimed would happen are that the stars will fall from the sky and the moon will not give its light and Jesus would come back from heaven. Now there are some obvious astronomical issues, such as the moon does not produce its own light but rather reflects sun light. Also, given that we know stars are actually suns millions of miles away, what does it even mean for them to “fall from the sky?” Then there is the issue that Jesus hasn’t returned from heaven. Do you really expect someone like the Pope to come out from his palace one day and declare Christianity can no longer be credibly believed?

      I would find it hard to believe that you don’t have doubts about this also if you’ve taken the time to examine these issues critically. If people have doubts, they usually suppress them by thinking faith is a virtue, that is believing something not only in the absence of evidence but in the face of contradictory evidence. I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation on how that form of faith can be differentiated from blind credulity.

      But alas, the Pope still resides in his palace and “90 Minutes in Heaven” is still 13th on the New York Times non-fiction paperback best seller list, and all I can offer is a little credence to the little voice, for lack of a better term, that tries to tell you maybe what these people are telling you just ain’t so.

      Comment by codesmithy — July 19, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  26. Why has it taken this guy 20 years to write a book about this incident? Could it be that he is just an patient opportunist or did he need more time to get his story straight. In a milk-toast television interview, Piper insists that he saw his own body in heaven and it was pristine, without injury or flaw. Piper either saw himself as one would in a dream or heaven has an abundance of smoke and mirrors.

    Comment by Religulous — July 29, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  27. Fear is misplaced faith.. It’s quite simple.. either you believe, or you don’t. It’s a free country to live the life of temporal inclemency, or not.
    Nothing happens if you don’t believe, and faith is exactly that. One encounters God along the jagged edges of humanity – believe it or not. Those that have felt it here, know exactly what I am talking about. For the rest, it is still early, to seek, live and enjoy this life and the next with our Creator, our Friend, Jesus…

    Comment by Joe M. — August 12, 2009 @ 3:50 am

  28. I would be most interested to hear from the perspective of a neurophysicist his/her opinions on how a disembodied spirit could collect information from another plane of existence (heaven) and imprint it on the gray matter upon reentry to the body.

    I don’t doubt that if a spirit/soul exists, it should be able to remember things, but the physics behind rewiring the brain’s synapses to store ethereal memories is quite a concept.

    Comment by Erik — November 4, 2009 @ 4:06 am

    • My believer bingo card tells me that the explanation will probably include the word “quantum.” Although, I doubt that explanation will ever be found in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject.

      Comment by codesmithy — November 4, 2009 @ 5:29 am

  29. It’s a good book and Piper should be congratulated for sharing his Near Death Experience. Only readers should be aware of one serious mistake he makes in the book which is to jump from hearing songs praising Jesus and meeting fellow Christians in heaven to religious fundamentalism. Research of Near Death Experiences show that there is no evidence to support that heaven is exclusively for Christians, or a narrow interpretation of the Bible, as experiences of heaven happen in all cultures and religions. Cross cultural studies of Near Death Experiences show that the Golden Rule truly means that we must love our neighbor – even if this person is of another faith – and “hell” is not something we can simply throw around when we disagree with people. If you have not fallen asleep in Christ and want to know what people who have Near Death Experiences truly experience in Heaven, have a look at my book Behind 90 Minutes in Heaven.

    Comment by Rene Jorgensen — November 25, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

  30. I am interested in and study religious beliefs and practices, though I claim none. Too corrupted by man. There is a belief called Swedenborgianism which claims that whatever one believes will happen is what happens in the death experience. Piper has a strong belief in a heaven with pearly gates, and that’s what he got. Why he claims he was in heaven for 90 minutes I cannot understand as he was outside the gates of heaven by his own admission. He claims a glimpse, but not actual entrance.

    Women, how did you feel about his thought process regarding his wife? He says he was the decision maker of the family and his wife was forced into that role by his inability to perform, so God gave her wisdom to make those decisions. Aparently she had none prior to his accident.

    Horrible book. I found it so difficult to believe that it made the best seller list that I looked it up to confirm.

    Comment by Linda — December 2, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

  31. I just googled search tsunami because of the earthquake in Chile today and then I thought about Don Piper’s book, which I’ve read and been to a couple of his public appearances and this website popped up. I don’t even know if you are monitoring these comments anymore, but I’m just curious to know WHAT you believe? You talk about what you don’t believe but I’d like to know what you believe about life after death? Just curious…

    Comment by Lea Anne — February 27, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

    • Hi Lea Anne,

      This is the essential difference. What I believe is not as important to me as why I believe it. I believe truth is not determined by a majority unlike legislators who seem to think that we can change mathematics so the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference is exactly 3.

      I believe the consciousness we experience is a product of the brain. This is supported by analysis of altered states. Analysis of victims of brain trauma. Analysis of people who suffer from cretinism. Analysis of people who suffer from degenerative brain illnesses, like one of my uncles did.

      As such, I don’t see any evidence to suggest that our consciousness can survive brain death. Upon the death of the brain, the consciousness ceases to be, much like the billions of years before our birth.

      People who appear to demonstrate cognitive capacities, such as people who are in “vegetative” states but speak lucidly when their communications are “facilitated” have universally been shown to be fraudulent by a simple experiment: show the supposed communicator something that the facilitator cannot see, and ask a question about it.

      I believe Piper’s experiences can similarly be explained as products of his brain. There is a perfectly plausible, coherent explanation for what he experienced that doesn’t involve the supernatural and the intervention of a particular iron-age middle-eastern deity.

      It really comes down to Occam’s Razor. What motivating evidence do you have to believe Piper’s story the exact way he described it.

      Comment by codesmithy — February 28, 2010 @ 12:03 am

      • okay, I only got through about 1:45 sec of that video. Don’t really know what you said in the above response. You must be super intelligent.

        Why didn’t you answer my question? Do you know what will happen to you when you die?

        If you don’t, would you like to know?

        Don Piper is actually the father in law of one of my best friends brother, so I know him personally. I believe what he says and I believe there is life after death, because I believe the Bible is true and it says that we will live eternally… Either with God, or separate from him. I believe we get to choose our eternal destiny while we are here on earth.

        I just believe.

        You said in another post that if you could be shown where the “Y” chromosome came from for the immaculate conception to happen, then you might believe that it did.

        Can I ask you this? Where did the chromosomes come from in the first place? Who designed the human body to be gender specific and to procreate? Where did the first X and Y chromosomes come from?

        We all came from somewhere, and even if it were through evolution… those chromosomes had to come from somewhere.

        I just believe.

        My faith is founded on the truth of the scriptures. I believe that ever word is true. However, I don’t understand every word and I don’t have to in order to believe that it is true.

        I just believe…

        It’s a great feeling to know there is a God and I’m not it. I love that God loves me and wants me to love him, but I get to choose to do so. He doesn’t make me do anything. I choose to believe.

        Comment by Lea Anne — February 28, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

      • Why didn’t you answer my question? Do you know what will happen to you when you die?

        I thought I answered your question. No, I don’t know what happens after one dies. But one thing I’m convinced of is neither does any one else, because the only way to really know, is to be dead for a while and then come back.

        I know, I know, that’s what Jesus did and what Piper claims happened to him. But we don’t have a first-hand account in the case of Jesus. And there is some evidence that the gospels don’t agree about it either. For example, most Biblical scholars agree that Mark 16:9-20 was tacked on later and the original ending was the women fleeing the tomb and saying nothing to anyone. I’ve already outlined my objections to Piper’s account.

        The best evidence and reasoning suggests oblivion, just like before you or I were born, this is what I believe happens. Just like it could have been for all eternity if circumstances had been different.

        As for your claims about the after-life, I don’t care what you believe. I care about why you believe it. If your evidence is good and reasoning sound, you could convince me of it also. And I’m willing to have that discussion with you, but with conditions. 1) You are willing to listen and educate yourself as much as you preach. 2) You play by the rules of empiricism. Such as, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If we are to chose between miracles and misapprehension, we chose misapprehension if all the physical evidence of the miracle can be explained by natural processes and a reasonable amount of chance. 3) You operate in good faith at all times. For example, you are honest in your objections and questions. You don’t special plead. For example, you don’t say that devil gave us dinosaur fossils to trick us.

        If you accept these rules, maybe we can get somewhere instead of me answering questions you don’t seem the least bit interested in understanding my answers to. Look, I understand many of the things I’m saying are coming out of left field for you. I understand your incredulity. All I ask is that you be willing to honestly consider what I am telling you. I wouldn’t expect you to turn on a dime, but I also expect you not to be completely close-minded.

        Can I ask you this?

        Sure.

        Where did the chromosomes come from in the first place?

        Chromosomes are organized structures of DNA and protein. It is safe to say chromosomes originally came from smaller stretches of DNA. Our 23 pairs of chromosomes probably came about from a long history of chromosome fusion, duplication and subsequent mutation as a result of billions of years of evolutionary history. We know these mutation, duplication and deletion events happen because many disorders are caused by missing or duplicated chromosomes. Down’s syndrome is caused by having an extra copy of chromosome 21. Some females are born with three X chromosomes and are generally indistinguishable from normal females with 46.

        Who designed the human body to be gender specific and to procreate?

        It doesn’t require a designer. We evolved. Not individuals, but the lineage. It is written all over us. From our appendix, to our blind spots, to our fused tailbone to the lanugo we grew while in the womb, to our 95% DNA similarity with chimps and much, much more.

        Where did the first X and Y chromosomes come from?

        There probably was no discrete transition. Just like there was no first human, or first mammal, or first fish.

        We all came from somewhere, and even if it were through evolution… those chromosomes had to come from somewhere.

        They did, from something simpler over millions of years and generations. What they didn’t do was poof into existence from nothing. It is too improbable, it would be like a hurricane going through a junkyard and assembling a functioning 747.

        As for your final remarks, I don’t believe I get to choose what to believe. I feel I have a moral obligation to believe true things, not to believe things that are false, and to withhold judgement if I can’t come to a conclusive opinion on a matter. To do this, I submit myself to a process of skeptical and critical inquiry guided by evidence and reason. I would rather not know than believe things that might be wrong, and because I agree that the unexamined life is not worth living.

        You might live your life to an alternative set of values. Fine. I won’t stop you. But understand when you are being assailed by facts that don’t agree with your beliefs, your problem might be with reality.

        Comment by codesmithy — March 1, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  32. I just suffered through that complete 9:32 video. I think that is absolutely ridiculous. Have you actually read the bible?

    What about the evidence of prophesy? What about the fact that there is the fulfillment of that prophesy from the old testament with the new testament.

    Isaiah 53 has about 30 things that was prophesied about the Christ that was fulfilled in Mark chapter 15 alone. How about that evidence? What other kind of evidence does one need accept the written testimony from all those that recorded the events of Jesus’s life? That is evidence. That fact that you choose not to believe that evidence is your own disbelief… It’s not because it didn’t happen. So why make such a big deal about something if you don’t believe that it happened?

    Why go to the trouble of trying to disprove it happened or to change other peoples’ belief’s that it did happen?

    Why not just sit in you disbelief and die in your disbelief?

    It has to be something that is killing you to find out the truth…
    You are probably tormented in your need to be proven right…

    I’m at peace in my belief…

    Comment by Lea Anne — February 28, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

    • Have I read the Bible?

      Cover to cover, no. I tried it once when I was younger, I think I made it to Numbers and found it too boring with all the “from x, y son of z.” I have read good chunks of it though. For example, I am familiar with the story of Jephthah which many Christians seem unfamiliar. I also won’t insult you by quoting Timothy either.

      What about the evidence of prophesy?

      I find Biblical prophesy unpersuasive for three reasons. One, I accept Thomas Paine’s assessment that he gave in “The Age of Reason” that many of the passages gospel writers used “are not prophecies of the person called Jesus Christ.” Secondly, it wasn’t like the prophecies referenced in the Gospels were double-blind. There is evidence that the gospel writers massaged the narrative to match the prophecy. A good example of this is the “virgin” birth that the Old Testament doesn’t really predict.

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/virginprophecy.html

      Basically, it is inconclusive whether the Old Testament meant “virgin.” Although, the New Testament is very clear that Jesus was born of a virgin. The difference between the two can be understood as s cultural and language mismatch between the Greek tradition versus the Hebrew.

      The third reason I find it unpersuasive is that I just don’t count the ones that came true, I also count ones that didn’t come true. Mark 13:30 – “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” The stars haven’t fallen from the sky, and it is unimaginable to see how they could, given that they are actually distant suns millions of miles away. The sun hasn’t darkened. The moon never had a light to begin with, but rather reflects sunlight. These predictions didn’t have the benefit of hindsight so I count them with greater weight. Given that many are actually incoherent with what we know about the cosmos, I don’t see any evidence that the Bible was a product of communication with a superior intelligence that possessed super-human insight into the future.

      So why make such a big deal about something if you don’t believe that it happened?

      How is reading a book and writing one post making a “big deal” out of it? It isn’t like I’m going door to door.

      Why not just sit in you disbelief and die in your disbelief?

      Because reality matters to me. Because I still haven’t heard that apology for Hypatia on the tip of every Christian’s tongue. Because I believe no one deserves to be burned alive. Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as a witch. Because I don’t believe demons cause mental illness. Because I believe children shouldn’t be mauled by bears for making fun of a bald man. Because I believe a man shouldn’t be stoned to death for picking up sticks on a certain day. It is because I believe those things and many more, that I have to inform people who have been indoctrinated by their parents not to take a book that sanctions those actions literally.

      I’m at peace in my belief…

      Now that is something I don’t believe.

      Comment by codesmithy — March 1, 2010 @ 2:30 am

      • I think I like you!

        I’m smiling just reading your response.

        Wow.

        How do you know all that you know?

        Did you read it somewhere?

        I’m curious to know where all this expertise comes from?

        I’m just a regular person who goes through life, living in abundant joy and peace. I have a website that I actually write what I feel the Lord is teaching me. Now I know that it is based on my life and my thoughts, but it is how I live my life. I invite you to read some of them.

        I’m not as educated as you are, but I love my life…

        hope you check it out.

        Comment by Lea Anne — March 3, 2010 @ 1:41 am

      • Since this was getting a tad off-topic, I created another post for this discussion. I hope you don’t mind.

        https://codesmithy.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/responses-to-lea-anne/

        Comment by codesmithy — March 6, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

      • the “Big Deal” that I was talking about was the fact you don’t believe there is a God, not about the book. You’re whole website is devoted to disproving that God is real.

        I still believe.

        Comment by Lea Anne — March 3, 2010 @ 2:32 am

  33. I talked to this waiter one time at a restaurant. It was strange how the conversation turned to God. But it was lent and we asked why the restaurant was kind of empty. He said because of Lent and then he made a comment how people could do anything they wanted in the week, then bam, on Friday… Oh I can’t eat meat… All that to say he was a little condescending about it.

    We just got to talking about our faith and I told him a story of how we had just come through a financial loss, and he listened then he said, I’ll give you a B+ on that story.

    I never convinced him to believe the way I did, but it was good talking to him and hearing him talk about his disbelief. I like talking to people. I would like to talk to you.

    Perhaps I don’t have the words you’d like to hear, but I have the truth as I know it. As I live it. Daily. I’d love to share with you how Jesus is REAL to me and how he reveals himself to me in little things. That’s the only truth I need. That’s the only proof I need to know it’s truth.

    Let me know if you’ve read any of my blog.

    Comment by Lea Anne — March 3, 2010 @ 1:50 am

  34. And by the way, Jephthah is a horrible example of arrogance and premature boasting… He made a stupid vow and then took the life of his only daughter… What an idiot…

    That story is in the Bible for a reason and that is to tell us to guard our vows. God takes them seriously. We should be very cautious about what we vow and we should also not rashly speak out. What do you like about Jephthah?

    Comment by Lea Anne — March 3, 2010 @ 2:03 am

  35. Dear codesmithy the atheist,
    I’ve read all of these blogs AND your responses. It is apparent that YOU will have to come to grips with the truths of Jesus Christ and His blood by measures only known to God; Our Father loves His children and will work in whatever way He can to bring them (you) into His fold. Your responses are ignorant and come across ‘flat’ … no savor, no salt. How sad. How sad…for you.

    Comment by helen — March 3, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  36. […] Filed under: Education, meta — codesmithy @ 10:23 pm Lea Anne was a commenter on the “90 Minutes in Heaven: One Atheist’s Perspective” post. I decided to answer in another post because it was getting off-topic and to give it more […]

    Pingback by Responses to Lea Anne « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — March 6, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  37. Hi codesmithy,

    Trying to explain the presence of God to an atheist is like trying to explain what it’s like to be in love to someone who’s never been in love…all words would fall short. And just as you can’t just say to someone, “Go fall in love today,” you can’t just say to an atheist, “Just believe in God today.” It’s nothing you can plan, it’s just something you feel, nothing you can explain and nothing you need to physically see.

    Comment by Chris — March 23, 2010 @ 3:09 am

  38. Hi Codesmithy!

    The way you write and the concepts you speak of lead me to believe that you are someone highly skeptical of any less-than-logical ideas. Good! If I could write my own philosophy there would be a big part about never EVER accepting someone else’s beliefs or values as their own -without further investigation. You know what? You should seek the truth! I’m not sitting here and saying THIS is the truth. (period) end of story. No. Seek it for yourself. Find out for yourself. But, if you want to find out for yourself and you want to know if this “God” thing is for real, you have to try it first. Challenge for you: Pray to God every day for a month. See what happens. (I should just note that if you’re praying, it isn’t just words… when you pray, open yourself to God, keep an open mind and an open heart. if you close yourself to it, then you’ll never reach a connection with God). I should also mention that with even a teeny tiny bit of faith God can do a whole lot, so hey what’s the worst thing that could happen? You might as well try it for yourself.

    Stay Cool! -Liz

    Comment by Liz — March 25, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    • Hi Liz,

      I was raised in a Christian family. I went to Bible school during the summer and Christian camps. I was part of youth groups. I prayed earnestly for years. The first clue something was wrong was that the people who went to church on Sunday were the same on Monday. I couldn’t reconcile the Jesus’ teachings with the ways many Christians actually acted, especially the ones who claimed the greatest piety. For a modern example, look at the priests who have molested kids. Let that sink in. Priests, people who have dedicated their entire life to the church. Prayed every day. Gave righteous sermons. Performed countless rituals and sacraments. They molested children.

      I have no wish to believe there is an all powerful overseer who sat back and watched that happen and I’ve already concluded the Christian God is an intellectual dead end. So try giving me some objective evidence for your God, because at this point it is me beating a dead horse.

      Comment by codesmithy — March 26, 2010 @ 10:46 am

      • Countless people who aren’t priests, christians, or have any sort of belief system commit crimes all the time. Horrible, inconcievable acts. Here’s the thing. We’re all the same. Just because someone is a christian doesn’t mean that he doesn’t sin anymore. It doesn’t mean he isn’t tempted anymore. It doesn’t mean he’s above any other person, or loved any more by God. I don’t know any of those people. I don’t know their heart. Maybe they were christians, and they fell away and committed awful acts. In those instances where they were hurting those kids, they weren’t representing Jesus. They weren’t spreading God’s love. Who knows if they ever regretted it, or if they’re just absolute hippocrites. I’ll tell you something, “the church” is full of hippocrites. I’m not naive. That’s why I don’t base my belief on people- what a sucky thing to do. No. God is my belief.

        As for evidence. It started with faith for me. I had enough faith to have a true geunine experience with God. I feel His presence when I worship Him. He comforts me and brings me peace when I’m stressed. None of this is evidence enough for you- I know this. You can’t disprove my experience with God, and I can’t prove it. So we’re at a standstill. No one can give you evidence of God. It starts with faith. You have to experience God for yourself. You have to gain your own evidence. When and if you do, you won’t be able to prove it to others. As christians, it isn’t our jobs to prove God to non-christians. It’s our job to tell them about God. It’s up to the non-christians to take the next step.

        Comment by Liz — March 26, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

      • I agree with Liz, you cannot base your belief on what men say, but only by God’s word. Their are many hypocrites in the church, but there is always righteous souls as well. The reason why some of these things happen is because there is sin. The world has got so sinful, people turning away from God’s word, teaching false testimony, hyprocrites…ect. The guy who molested those kids is a hyprocrite.

        Comment by Jayden — April 1, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  39. Hello,
    Not everyone is going to believe in God, but I just happen to be one of those people who do. I believe in him, and I know he is real. In the bible in specifically talks about people like you. Do you know what Jesus went through to pay for our sins, just think all the pain, suffering, and strife he went through? He got spit at and whipped, nails hammered into his hands, for our sins, including you. The holes that were left in his hands are reminders of our sin, and how much he loved us, his enduring love, he loves, and if you look to him for guidance he will hold you safely in his hands. He specifically says in the bible that people would be like how you are, it is as plain as day, so why can’t you see that. Bad things happen because of sin, if you respond I can tell you more about it. Bad things happen to people all the time, but God stands by the ones who believe, God helps them stand firm to ground, and the ones who don’t believe fall. Please consider what I am saying. I don’t mean to come off rude or anything, but I am trying to help you see.

    Jayden.

    Comment by Jayden — April 1, 2010 @ 2:15 am

    • Jayden, you know the Christian God is real? How did you obtain such knowledge? Do you really not see how, if the circumstances of your life were different, how you might not believe in the Christian God at all, but maybe Zeus, Thor, Zoroaster, or Krishna?

      I’m aware of the torture that Jesus went through. I abhor it. But I also abhor other people that have been tortured and killed, Hypatia being another example. I would also a abhor tyrant who tortured people for as long as he or she could. You are the one that praises what you believe to be an all powerful tyrant who at least allows, if not condones, torturing people forever; I don’t. You are the one who sings the praises of a tyrant who demands human sacrifice: not just Jesus’, but Jephthah’s daughter also. And how many people have been burned at the stake for heresy in the name of your dogma, are you incapable of empathy for them?

      Your God helps those who believe in him? So, He is helping the Pope, bishops, priests and cardinals who institutionalized the rape and torture of children as opposed to the people who lost their faith because of the abuse.

      I know you can’t help being rude because your beliefs are odious, but you could at least try discussing Don Piper’s book instead of having a conversation in the clouds about your God that won’t go anywhere.

      Comment by codesmithy — April 1, 2010 @ 5:07 am

  40. *edit by Codesmithy huge copy and pasted comments from elsewhere*

    Comment by Jayden — April 1, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    • You are a joke Jayden. You didn’t think I would notice that you didn’t address Hypatia or Jephthah’s daughter at all. You didn’t think I’d notice that was a lot to write in a short amount of time. Do you have such a low opinion of me that you think that I didn’t how to use google and notice that large tracts of it were copied and pasted from elsewhere?

      Please. You make me sick you dishonest fraud.

      All assholes like you want to do is preach and preach. You never want to listen, you never want to have an honest discussion. Wallow in your ignorance elsewhere.

      Comment by codesmithy — April 2, 2010 @ 5:10 am


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