“Heaven Is For Real”

Apparently a FOX News clip from AthiestMediaBlog:

To say that I do not believe an ounce of this story would be to ignore the bigger picture. Truth of religion, particularly the most personal Truths, aren’t really debatable. Certainly ongoing discussion, soul-searching, knowledge, and the like are critical parts to understanding yourself and your core values/beliefs. So to say this child’s story is a lie says nothing of the implications of this phony news event, exploitative parents, Christian PR packaging meta-packaged as a puff piece, politicizing of religion, and the strip-mining of faith as a capitalistic/nationalistic venture.

I’m going to say the bigger problem lies in the clunky writing, poor delivery, and unchallenged concepts of heaven, God, Jesus, and death as tangible, three-dimensional entities. Could they possibly be those unimaginative, old notions? Sure, Colton even says so. I won’t doubt that. But truth is just as tied to its telling as it is to its veracity. And this story is stale (at worst) and propaganda (at best).

First of all, Colton’s words sound pre-fabricated, stitched together from lame archetypes, modern sunday school mini-hymns, and media coaching. “Well, Jesus… had a rough, but kind face, [eyes dart off-screen, right; speech slows] sea-blue eyes, and a smile [eyes return to camera lens; final words spoken sharply, with confidence] that lit up the heavens.” (Italicized stage directions added.) His actions, physical tics and such, show signs of performance and rehearsal—a shaky early preview of his soon-to-open Broadway revival?

We could add to this Todd’s simple clarifications and mild supervision of Colton. There are numerous moments of Colton checking in with his father as a question is asked, both subjects working over their words not like nervous or considered speakers but as actors running their lines for the first time: eye shifts, long pauses to find the intent, etc.

But it is, after all, FOX NEWS (any news really, not to single out just the conservative outlet), and so taking a soft-news feature story and smearing political war paint across it’s friendly face is not so difficult. Here we have pointed questions & consultant-shaped answers geared to incite asshole athiest bloggers (like me) and galvanize their religious/conservative viewer base against the predictable backlash, all with a simple weak news story that is not about tangibility of God & heaven but about whether or not a child should be treated this way by liberal God-haters (see the YouTube comments page for the video for such people).

It’s a powerful agitprop technique, this über-trolling method. We’re a misguided public pounding our fists and heads against hard surfaces, asserting the existence (or lack) of a Christian god, when in actuality the fact is that facts are useless. The facts in this story are not debatable. The kid says he had this experience. You can not disprove said experience, other than with your own facts, which are only right in that they are part of the hegemony of the logical, non-supernatural America. You can only talk angrily or snarkily in circles while not realizing your indignation and dissemination of such is as valuable to a news network as a ratings.

Perhaps, says the man drawing your attention (non-contextually) to said video clip, you should simply marvel at the terrible story-telling, lack of performative ethos, absence of original plot, clichés-aplenty, and awkward, self-doubting face after awkward, self-doubting face by the body-snatched anchor. Then have a cookie, and find your own Truth in life.

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