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In recent years, memoirs by those returning from the dead with astonishing stories of an afterlife realm have appeared with regularity in bestseller lists, from neurosurgeon Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven to child NDEr Colton Burpo’s Heaven is for Real (which was also adapted for the screen). Some have been skeptical of these claims, and in one case it seems it would have been justified: Alex Malarkey, whose alleged NDE after an accident which paralysed him ten years ago at age 6 became the focus of a bestselling book by his father Kevin (The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven), has this week publicly recanted his testimony.

Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short.

I did not die. I did not go to Heaven.

I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.

It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible…not by reading a work of man. I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient. Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough.

In Christ,

Alex Malarkey.

With the subject matter and the sort of nominative determinism that writes headlines automatically, this news will surely turn up on major news outlets around the world very quickly, giving somewhat of a black eye to the field of NDE memoirs.

There are of course a number of factors at play here though – the mother and father are no longer married, the father appears to receive the income from the book, Alex Malarkey has special needs after the accident. Add to that the complicating factor of his obvious Christian faith – and the sometimes suspicious relationship between Christianity and claims of near-death experiencers – and we may not know the full story behind this. Suffice to say, however, that the testimony in the book will have to be ignored by any serious researchers of NDEs.

(And serious researchers and writers on this topic will be depressed to learn that Malarkey’s statement that the book is made up has made it climb within the top 400 books on Amazon’s bestseller list (at the time of writing). WTF humans, you can’t find a better book on the topic?!

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