What's Your View of Heaven?
Heaven Is for Real is a film based on the true story of a 4-year-old boy who reported he visited heaven while under anesthesia during a life-threatening operation. The film has garnered a significant amount of media attention and popular interest. In his review, Edward Cumella reports that the film offers minimal insight into the phenomenon of near death experiences (NDEs) and misses opportunities to discuss scientific information and explore complex questions relating to NDEs. In addition, he reports that the film reinforces stereotypes of psychologists and of scientists.
What is your view about NDEs? Are they a connection with “something greater” (e.g., a heaven), are they merely an artifact of our brain processing material, or are they something else?
Is it possible for movies or books to convince consumers one way or another on the existence of an afterlife? Or, are they simply mechanisms that individuals ultimately use to support their existing bias?
Do movies that perpetrate misconceptions about scientists and psychologists do more harm than good for the field of psychology?
By Edward J. Cumella
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(32)