Top critical review
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For Fundamentalists, only
on November 27, 2012
LITERARY: Not the best writing - there are some errors in grammar and word usage. The most glaring literary problem is the excessive redundancy. I say this with intent. I would not say it is redundant, as that word alone does not convey the many, many times the book repeats information. I felt like I was reading a sermon written for very slow-witted people. Or very young children. It seems Mr. Besteman is trying to give people hope and happiness, but to read the same idea over and over and over and over... it becomes tedious. I did think that he simply did not have enough material for a book, so he and his writer decided to up the word count by battering the reader on the head with truly excessive repetition. It reads at about a 5th grade level, I think.
I read every word, although I felt like tossing it across the room a few times! Wouldn't do that to my Kindle, though.
I've been studying NDEs for decades. I've worked in palliative medicine and have been very interested in the topic. Anyone should be - what happens when we die? That's a big question.
My issues with this book are around Mr. Besteman's own fundamentalist Christianity. My big problem with fundamentalism is that is anti-logic. Anti-THOUGHT. Fundamentalism of any kind is absolutely illogical. It actively BLOCKS rational thinking and logic. That's a problem.
I don't know if Mr. Besteman had an NDE. I DO know that it is much more common for fundamentalists to return from their NDEs and STOP being fundamentalist. They often leave their fundamentalist churches. They say that there actually IS no "true" religion. They say that God is perfect Love and that all enter Heaven.
Mr. Besteman's own theology seems to have interfered with his ability to recall correctly what he experienced. I only say this because of the huge body of research asserting that there IS no "Hell" and no "devil" or any such thing. They stop taking the Bible literally if they had done before. Mr. Besteman reports seeing people in their bodies and recognizing them in their bodies. You almost never hear anything like that; NDEs usually include persons in non-corporeal form and the ability to recognize spirits.
It always strikes me as very strange that there are people with even the most modest level of intelligence who really believe they just HAPPEN to belong to the one true religion. I find the concept so offensive, so narrow-minded, so SIMPLE-minded... I cannot understand how anyone would think this. I have asked a couple of fundamentalist friends how this can be - how can Christianity be the only way a person gets into Heaven? I asked about all the people all over the world who don't live in mostly Christian countries. They told me that if a person has "heard the gospel," and rejected Jesus, they go to hell. If they never heard it, they aren't responsible for that. That's where I have a problem.
At what age does a person get ONE shot at being "saved"?
What if the missionary has a poor grasp of the language and the people only understand 38% of what he's saying?
What if a person is sick that day and distracted by feeling really bad?
How about if that person is worried about something - maybe someone stole his goat that day - or his hut burned down?
What if the missionary is just really bad at talking to people? Maybe has a cold personality or something?
What these and the THOUSANDS of other questions a logical person can ask typically get are ridiculous magical answers. At least, the two people I asked... both told me that God would magically make any such circumstance not matter.
As for age, I think they said early adolescence. Wow. The human brain is physically developing until age 25 or 26. So we can be sentenced to an ETERNITY of suffering by a "loving" God because of a decision we made with very immature brains?? It defies ALL logic.
Mr. Besteman seems like he was a sweet fellow - but he was very simple-minded in regards to religion. I almost envy him that - to not be burdened with LOGIC can be quite pleasant. But if I sat down with him to discuss these things, I would ask the questions. I wonder what he would say.
Also, it appears he loves the book by the FUNDAMENTALIST PREACHER father - Todd Burpo - about his son's supposed NDE. That REALLY put me off. I read that dreadful tome, too. Terrible book.
I would never recommend this book. It is narrow-minded and has just the kind of anti-logical thinking... not just illogical - that would please a fundamentalist Christian. The rest of us - we who are burdened with THINKING - will find it annoyingly repetitive, very simple-minded, and the flavor of Christian fundamentalism that condemns 5 BILLION people alive today to hell - people who were supposedly created by a loving God. That's not love. This is a dreadful book and I'm deleting it from my Kindle.