Is Heaven for real?
Human beings have been discussing and debating this question since the beginning of time. In the modern era, this spirited and often contentious dialogue continues to evolve. Earlier this year, the release of a book entitled, "Heaven is For Real" captured the story of 12-year-old Colton Burpo -- a boy who claims he visited Heaven during a near-death experience back in 2003. And now, that boy is taking on famed physicist Stephen Hawking's claim that there is no heaven.
First, let's look briefly examine Colton's claims. While in Heaven, the young boy says he saw Jesus and came in contact with relatives who had passed away before he was born. Perhaps the most captivating revelation stemming from Colton's alleged visit his insistence that he had met a sister his parents never told him about. According to MSNBC:
...the real shocker came when Colton told his mother, “Mommy, I have two sisters.” Sonja told her son that he had to be referring to his oldest sister, Cassie, and his cousin Traci, but he responded: “No — I have two sisters. You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?”
While Colton and millions of other Americans (more than 70 percent) believe wholeheartedly in Heaven's existence, others like Hawking, couldn't disagree more. Recently, Hawking likened the human brain to a "computer" and was quoted as saying:
“There is no Heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
In 2010, when asked by Diane Sawyer if science and religion could be reconciled, Hawking claimed:
"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."
But, while Hawking sees religion as being rooted in "authority," others believe that faith is much deeper than that. And, in Colton's case, his take on Heaven stems from experience and, thus, if it's true -- "observation and reason." Yesterday, ABC News aired an interview in which Colton countered Hawking's views on the afterlife:
Who do you agree with -- Colton or Hawking? For a more complete video that showcases Hawking's feelings about faith and religion, watch below: