A book about heaven rakes in the bucks

March 13, 2011 • 8:28 am

Friday’s New York Times reports on a new publishing phenomenon: a book about heaven written by a young boy who had a near-death experience, and co-written by his father, his mother, and contributor Lynn Vincent, who also helped Sarah Palin with Going RogueHeaven is for Real currently stands at #3 on the Amazon ranking, and has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Seven years ago Colton Burpo, nearly four years old, was hospitalized with a burst appendix (an unfortunate malady resulting from a huge design mistake by the omnibenevolent Creator).  The rest of the story is familiar:

He had died and gone to heaven, where he met his great-grandfather; the biblical figure Samson; John the Baptist; and Jesus, who had eyes that “were just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle,” Colton, now 11 years old, recalled. . .

. . . At first, [Colton’s father Todd] and his wife, Sonja, were not sure if they could believe their son’s story, which came out slowly, months and years after his sudden illness and operation in 2003. The details persuaded them, Mr. Burpo said. Colton told his parents that he had met his younger sister in heaven, describing her as a dark-haired girl who resembled his older sister, Cassie. When the Burpos questioned him, he asked his mother, “You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?” While his wife had suffered a miscarriage years before, Mr. Burpo said, they had not told Colton about it. “There’s just no way he could have known,” Mr. Burpo said.

And the Burpos said that Colton painstakingly described images that he said he saw in heaven — like the bloody wounds on Jesus’ palms — that he had not been shown before.

Nope, there’s simply no way that eleven year old Colton could ever have seen Jesus’s bloody wounds, or other images of heaven, even though his father Todd is an evangelical pastor in Nebraska.  And of course it defies belief to think that Colton could simply make up that his miscarried sister, whom he had never seen, had hair similar in color to that of his older sister.  Ergo Jesus!  Colton could, of course, heard someone else mention the miscarriage, or it could simply have been a lucky guess.  How many other things did Colton say that weren’t credible?

And—doubly amazing—there’s even more stuff that Colton could not have known about without a visit to heaven, like Armageddon, God’s throne (look out, liberal theologians: god really does sit in a chair!) and the HUGE horse that Jesus rides.  From the Amazon description:

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how “reaaally big” God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit “shoots down power” from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton’s own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

It bears mentioning that this was not a death experience, but a near-death experience.  Colton did not actually go to heaven; he was merely anesthetized.  And, as we know, the sleep of reason brings forth monsters—and apparently a lot of money.  Add this to the gazillion near-death experiences that have failed to produce convincing evidence that there’s a life beyond death.   But the credulous and fearful don’t need convincing.  One of those, apparently, is Matt Baugher, vice-president of the company that published this book:

“We all are perhaps desperate to know what is on the other side of the veil after we die,” Mr. Baugher said, adding that his initial skepticism about the Burpo family’s story was short-lived. “This was a very down-to-earth, conservative, quote-unquote normal Midwestern family. We became fully convinced that this story was valid. And also that it was a great story that would just take off.”

Of course!  Had the family been liberals from New York, the story would not be nearly so convincing.

If you can bear it, watch Colton and his dad describe the stuff that could only be known from a near-visit to heaven.  Colton says he saw that Jesus was REALLY BIG:  “He can actually fit the entire world into his hands. ”  And Jesus had a “rough but kind face, sea-blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the heavens.”  Colton also learned that there are no old people in heaven, either—it’s all “young adults.”  That’s great news for those of us who feared being at God’s big chair with our walkers, artificial knees, and Depends diapers.

121 thoughts on “A book about heaven rakes in the bucks

  1. All obvious nonsense. But think of what it says for all the people who are buying it (and not only the book)! What a sad comment on religion today. It’s getting more desperate, and correspondingly more delusional.

  2. Passage by Connie Willis deals with this kind of nonsense very effectively. In it, Willis proposes a couple of hypotheses in the form of a science fiction story – while staying strictly on the rational side. A good read.

  3. I am waiting to see if any of these “near death experiences” will ever come up with info that could not have been obtained through other means.
    The secrets of the next “too big to fail” financial institution would be a good start.

  4. I remember a stock breeder who said he had seen wired fences crossing the grassland during his near-death experience.

      1. Darn, I was picturing a great line of wired fences marching across the landscape. That would have been a lot cooler.

  5. Betty Eadie’s book, “Embraced by the Light,” is another example. Someone almost dies, goes somewhere, usually based on previous memories, and returns after having their memory erased of the “amazing” technological advances encountered on the journey.

    Really bad science fiction, mixed in with some religion, or vice versa.

  6. “This was a very down-to-earth, conservative, quote-unquote normal Midwestern family…”

    I’m not sure that holds anymore after selling 1,500,000+ book copies.

    I wonder what believing Muslims, Jews, etc. think about this new proof that Christianity is real (although it isn’t clear which version of Christianity is supported by this “true story”).

    1. PT Barnum borrowed the phrase from another person, a 19th century criminal shyster who preceded him. Name came up in a story about con-men, but I cannot recall the name or source.

      1. So we were in turn conned into believing he invented it! Cool!
        Questions I would ask this boy –
        Did Jesus wear clothes? Was everyone naked? Didn’t he meet the holy spirit? Did he meet Adam? Which Great grandfather was it? What about the other three? Can he describe them? Had the dead sister been baptised to get into heaven? Why is Jesus incapable of healing the wounds in his giant hands , after all he has nothing to prove to those in heaven…?

    2. Well, to be fair, let’s remember that this dictum comes from somewhere in the 1800s.

      … so, based on population growth alone, we’d now expect the rate to be more like one sucker per eleven seconds.

  7. I wonder, how does one view a being so big that he could hold the world in his hands? Was he really close? If so, wouldn’t the boy just see, say, a ridge on Jebus’s fingertip, and maybe that would look like a mountain range? How do you take all that Jebus into your field of vision?

    And if Jebus is that big, what does he need a horse for? I mean, if he wants to go over there, he just steps over there. Boom, he’s there. Come to think of it, what’s over there for him? A glass of that wine he was such a fan of? Would it have ships sailing on it, and little moons orbiting it?

    Does Jebus have his worshippers orbiting him, trapped in his gravitational field? Or do they just fall onto him, and crash on his flowing robes?

    And blue eyes? WTF, must be all that Nordic blood. Bet he had blonde hair too.

    OR… maybe the boy and his promoters just made it all up.

    1. “I wonder, how does one view a being so big that he could hold the world in his hands?”

      Hahah, great question. 🙂

    2. Yes – the nasty Nazis invented a non-Jewish version of the christ figure so that would explain his blue-eyes! It is pathetic isn’t it!

      1. It’s my Facebook image, and I named my blog ‘The sleep of reason’, but then I got too lazy to keep it up.

        1. It’s nice to think it’s been a meme since at least the late 1700’s. OTOH, as an erstwhile biologist, I’ve always kinda regretted that he used owls, bats, and some kind of cat (!) to represent monsters.

        1. Speaking for myself (who else? 😀 )–not very well. [red face emoticon here]

          Have looked through several other of the Caprichos, though–makes one very curious to know more about his thought processes!

  8. Thank Jesus our flying horse is so much bigger than Islam’s flying horse. And this proves that Orel Roberts really was A Man of God when he looked out his office window and saw 50 foot Jesus.

  9. queue stangroom to write another post lambasting you for picking on a child, jerry.

    as far as this book’s claim/story goes, mega LULZ.

  10. After watching the interview, I’m not sure how much the child actually had to do with the story. He looks bored and Dad frequently jumps in to have his say.

  11. “That’s great news for those of us who feared being at God’s big chair with our walkers, artificial knees, and Depends diapers.”

    Don’t you mean under God’s big chair? If you go by the detailed descriptions of heaven we have, all the believers are going to be stuffed under the chair.

        1. Recalling my Catholic upbringing I would be surprised if there were any cushions in heaven; bare wooden church pews seem to be designed to maximise discomfort. Though if the hierarchy of heaven is anything like that of the Catholic Church those at the top giving out orders probably do get all the material comforts.

      1. After all, he was a carpenter. (Which apparently is just one of the oldest urban legends. Sorta like the Bible itself…)

  12. “He can actually fit the entire world into his hands.” Apparently he has his middle finger firmly on Japan… so much for all that luuuvvv.

    1. In high school, once we’d mastered enough English, we had a slightly less flattering version (he has a whole world / in his pants).

  13. Christians – making up crap for nearly two millenia. I’m in the midst of reading about the two Norse sagas covering discovery of Vinland recently – the Groenlendiga Saga and Eirik’s Saga. Apparently in Eirik’s, the more recent of the two, written after the 1200’s, a German is poofed into the account, who on landing can return stagger back from reconnaissance to report that he’s found grapes (which the Icelanders wouldn’t know about but which he knew from Germany, see), and this is what Vinland being a place with grape vines is based on, and which I think mis-led search for the actual site in more recent times. This supposedly happened on Leif Eiriksson’s voyage while adrift on returning from from Norway, supposedly commanded by the King Olaf to convert Grenland to Xtianity. Instead, in the Groenlendiga saga, Leif simply sets out from Greenland to explore shores reported by someone else, seen during an earlier voyage while adrift, and the vin in Vinland derives from Old Norse, referring to fields, which were of great importance to the Greenlanders for pasturing their stock. Exactly the terrain of L’ans aux Meadows.

  14. Gar–there are so many questions that humans are trying to find the answers to. For instance, I’m interested in early archaeological explorations of ethno-linguistic groups in Eastern Central Asia. So if this kid came back from his near-death experience and was able to tell his mom and dad that the peoples of the Tarim Basin from 3,000 years ago did in fact speak an Indo-European language, that would perhaps confirm something powerful.

    The fact that so many people are impressed by him confirming religious ideas that he was brought up to believe is absurd. Sometimes I really can’t handle how stupid some people are. It’s really quite sad.

  15. I can see you’re in the mood for just-so stories about heaven and hell. Then I can’t withhold you Mary K. Baxter’s A Divine Revelation of Hell. It’s all online, no need to go to Amazon, though it’s for sale as well.

    I’ll give the opening lines as an appetiser: In March 1976 while I was praying at home, I had a visit from the Lord Jesus Christ. (…) “Behold, My child,” Jesus said, “I am going to take you by My Spirit into hell so that you may be able to make a record of the reality of it, to tell the whole earth that hell is real, and to bring the lost out of darkness and into the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Enjoy! Or not.

  16. This childlike account of heaven is apparently all the more impressive because it comes from an actual child! Imagine how pure and child-like his faith must be! How trusting he is! Don’t we all want to be like this and think like this and be all comforted like this in a world like this?

    What ‘this’ is, is literature of a very high order. The reader obviously finds themselves with a very high bar to reach: to fully participate in the experience, they must suspend not only their critical thinking and worldly orientation, but whatever level of maturity they’ve managed to obtain throughout their life. Religion thus sets such challenging standards, and requires so much discipline.

    Sheesh. A best seller? I though “nobody” believed so literally. Or wanted to. This must be the “religion of the people.”

    1. More than 1.5 million copies sold, yet when atheists criticize such literal, simplistic descriptions of religion we’re told that nobody really believes those things. This must be some more of that sophisticated theology that atheists don’t understand.

        1. Yeah, who’s gonna tear into a little kid? Any publicly expressed skepticism is going to be a delicate matter, come to think of it.

          1. That’s very clever!
            A scammer using a child as a shield against investigation.
            Clever, but not especially moral.
            (Still, priests have been doing it for millennia.)

      1. It’s possible for that to make perfect sense, of course, if the book is simply written as the story of the kid’s experience – because the experience probably happened and he just interpreted it incorrectly.

        1. Oh, yeah, I get that. Still hard to swallow that it’s in the same category as–oh,say, WEIT, for instance. Bleah!

  17. Here’s another one I read while still a Christian: The Burning Within, by Ranelle Wallace. Even then, I still had enough sense to take her account of heaven figuratively. Like this boy’s experience, I’m sure it felt real. I’m just astounded at the mental gymnastics required for these people to dodge all the contradictory evidence to reach the conclusion that it was real.

  18. I had a near death experience once and saw only 71 virgins. I felt slighted and decided not to die yet until they rounded up the missing virgin.

  19. The Barnes & Noble spokesperson (in the NYT report) says:

    “But what was unusual about this book was that it was the story of a little boy. It deactivated some of the cynicism that can go along with adults capitalizing on their experiences.”

    And this doesn’t strike her as adults capitalising on experience?! Give me strength!

    There are simply no controls in this story. The boy had the “experience” 7 years ago! During that time there’s been opportunity enough for the story to develope and take shape. NDEs are as common as dirt. That a child had such and experience, and has had years to allow the story to elaborate itself in the course of conversations with others, especially a fundamentalist father, is clear enough. But that this is obviously something that is being exploited by his father is also evident. I can understand the B&N spokesperson being so gaga over it. After all, think of all the money they stand to make out of it? But itsn’t it a sign of a sick society that these sorts of things should be taken seriously, and courted with so much zeal? And just think — eternal adolescence! What silly nonsense is this?

    1. That this story supposedly has had years to grow is definitely problematic. If it really is the kid’s story, how many times over the last few years would he have come forward with some “new” detail about his experience?

      1. That is quite correct. Slow emergence of ever more detailed events is characteristic of all confabulations (past-life regressions, false memories, etc.)

    2. I wouldn’t even acknowledge that the boy had an hallucination.

      He may have been TOLD by his parents that he did. He may even have woken up groggy from anesthesia and said something like “Daddy, I saw Jesus”. But the entire saga with all of those compelling details?


      True story: I had an endoscopy a couple of weeks ago, and when I was in recovery, the doctor came in and we had a very nice conversation about the procedures, the potential diagnosis, and the short-term recovery prospects.

      Thing is: I don’t remember a word of it. My driver reported this to me later that day; I have no memory of it whatsoever. So, the child may have been zonked out of his gourd, said something, and from such small things great myths are born.

      BTW: We can recreate out-of-body experiences by stimulating certain areas of the brain. It’s not that difficult. So, NDEs are nothing more than brain chemistry.

  20. The blonde newscaster just radiates intelligence, doesn’t she?

    Wouldn’t Jesus, holding the whole world in his hands, be bringing it inside the Roche Limit? And thus the earth would be destroyed by Jesus tides? You know there’s never a miscommunication with those.

  21. Perhaps we WEIT followers should put together our own book from our near or far death experiences – Why Idiots Believe Bullshit.

    1. Actually, Shermer has scooped you, sort of, with his “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things.” I think maybe he was just being more polite. Your book might not sell so well because the answer’s in the title – no mystery! 🙂

    2. That could be fun. I had, well, not a near-death experience, but it was under anaesthetic during tonsillectomy whey I was 12. I remember quite vividly that I felt like I woke up while in the operating room before the surgery started. I “remember” what the room looked like, the gas bottles, the doctors and nurses in masks, the exposed brown brickwork (?) and the fact that the medical staff were completely unconcerned that I was now sitting up on the operating table. I guess their lack of concern was justified, as I don’t remember anything else happening until I woke up the next day.

    3. That is exactly when all my near death experiences have been so far – my blood pressure goes sky high (or so I fear).

      In related news, Ceiling Kitteh bemews the near high jumps of kittehs everywhere:

      – “They are really testing my patience with not getting it done and over with. My paw-tracks *are* mysterious: what were I thinking, giving them so many lives?”

    4. I’ve had several hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations. Those phenomena ought to be good for a few chapters or more…

  22. I had a mere birth experience. It happened when I was quite young so I don’t remember it but it changed my life.

  23. Of course this completely undermines my retirement plan which was to write a book the gullible Christians would find credible and buy by the millions. Back to the work-hard-and-get-rich-slowly scam I fell for in university.

  24. I’m confused. This was a near-death experience. By definition, he didn’t die. He got better. So how is it that the management of heaven got it so wrong, and had this boy up there meeting God et al.? Weren’t they aware that he’d be jolted back to life, courtesy of modern medicine?

    Serious questions need to be asked. Who messed up the paper work and will action be taken over this administrative incompetence? It’s not what I expect from an omnipotent and omniscient deity.

  25. I would have thought that Jesus’ parable of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” would have ruled out NDEs as legitimate Christian testimony. As follows from Luke 16:27-31:
    “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
    Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
    ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  26. Here, from a review at the Parchment and Pen blog, are some more things about Heaven that young Colton found out:

    He sat in Jesus’ lap
    He met his sister who died in his mother’s womb (whom his parents had never told him about)

    He saw John the Baptist

    There is a coming battle with Satan (he is a futurist!)

    There are thousands of colors we have never seen

    He met his great granddad (who told him things about his father that his father had never told him)

    He saw Jesus’ “marks” on his hands and feet

    All the people had wings of various sizes (including Colton) and flew around (except Jesus who moved up and down as if on an escalator)

    Jesus had the most beautiful eyes, a beard, a white gown, a purple sash, and a crown

    All the people had a light above their head (halo?)

    Jesus sits on a throne at the right hand of God and Gabriel is on the left

    He sat by God the Holy Spirit (who he could not describe) and explained to his dad that God is a Trinity

    It never gets dark in heaven because God the Father and God the Son are the lights

    There were all kinds of animals everywhere

    Nobody is old in heaven and no one wears glasses

    Jesus “shoots” power down from heaven to his father while he is preaching (like I hope he is doing for me while I am blogging!)

    The gates to heaven were made of gold and pearls

    He was actually only there for three minutes (timelessness in heaven?)

    1. He was actually only there for three minutes

      Which must be why he didn’t notice the winged flying ponies playing with kitty and puppy angels on the rainbows.

      Though … that may be mentioned in his teenage sequel, Heaven is For Real, For Sure, OMG.

    2. “Nobody is old in heaven and no one wears glasses”

      Were Hume Cronin and Don Ameche there? Did Jesus say when Wilford Brimley would arrive?

  27. His Dad couldn’t have asked for better luck, right? I’m sure his preaching career is about to take off in a big way, not to mention the book sales. And as someone who is almost certainly pro-life, what a cherry on top to get confirmation that the product of a miscarriage is a fully-formed soul in heaven. Anyone’s BS alarm would go crazy on this one, if the story was not religious in nature, that is.

  28. I didn’t see mention of this – but Susan Blackmore’s book “Dying to Live” pretty much covers this topic…

  29. I’d guess that Dad read about Marjoe Gortner and decided to cash in. The kid’s got a great potential future, but he’s going to blow it if they don’t teach to pitch better than he’s showing in this pitiful little clip.

    1. Didn’t Marjoe eventually see the light (or the dark, maybe) though? And then go on to expose the whole experience for the con it was?

  30. Child abuse, plain and simple.

    The fact that the story didn’t all come out at once but took several years to tease it out of him basically proves, cut and dry, that it cannot be believed. The child had a hallucination that was influenced by what his *pastor* parents told him. They then asked questions and he knew what answers they wanted. They provided information and asked if that’s what happened. His memory of the hallucination was of course “overwritten,” much like what happens when you ask a victim of a crime: Did he have glasses? They then attempt to envision the criminal with and without glasses and they are no longer sure which is the original memory. It goes on and on like this. Total and utter rubbish, abusing a naive kid for money.

    Oh, and like he’d really get to age 11 and it’d be impossible for him to hear from ANYONE in any way about a lost, wanted pregnancy. I was never supposed to know either, y’know! (In fact I found out about TWO ‘secret from the kids’ miscarriages in the family.) He has an older sister for Christopher’s sake! And probably some older cousins, too!

  31. I would like to remind the people promoting this book — like B&N’s Patricia Bostelman — that dozens if not hundreds of children worldwide fabricated testimony in the daycare sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s and early 90s. And I would like the promoters of this book to read some details of the children’s fabricated testimony — e.g., secret rooms (show us the rooms!), abused by a robot (show us the robot!), knife in the anus (with no scars!) — and consider the years the falsely accused daycare providers spent behind bars as convicted child molesters. Now in terms of your intellectual methods, are you saying those 15 years of public hysteria were conducted legitimately? Our intellectual methods have physical consequences. Patricia Bostelman, be happy the morally hysterical mobs didn’t come for you.

    1. Yes. Some kids also reported being flown to a distant location and placed into the belly of a freshly-killed horse. They described the smell of the opened carcass and the intestines bulging out. This was taken as convincing detail, since the children “could not” have known these facts.

      Turns out the kids had seen The Empire Strikes Back, specifically the part where Luke gets lost in a frozen wasteland, and when Hans’ horse-creature dies of cold, Hans slices its belly open and puts Luke inside to warm up. The smell of the opened carcass and its intestines bulging are realistically depicted.

      So much for children’s inability to confabulate.

  32. ” like the bloody wounds on Jesus’ palms”: it’s an often overlooked technicality but the nails go through the wrists and ankles otherwise the cruxified falls off the cross!

  33. Nope, there’s simply no way that eleven year old Colton could ever have seen Jesus’s bloody wounds, or other images of heaven, even though his father Todd is an evangelical pastor in Nebraska.

    Ah, that explains why his father talks like a professional phony in the interviews I’ve seen. He actually literally is a professional phony, well-practiced in the art of hoo-haw. Now it all makes sense…

  34. My aren’t we having fun with this one…
    It’s sad(for the boy)…Poster 41 mentions this.
    After looking at the body language and eye movements in the “Dad And The Lad Show”, as well as their personal interaction in the above vid, I would think that any child would be able to reconise that something was being fabricated…
    I’m wondering about the demographics and geographics of the book sales…

  35. One other thing about “he couldn’t possibly have known” about the miscarriage… I do not believe for one instant that the parents had an event like that and never once mentioned it in front of their children. When they say, “We never told him,” they probably mean that they never told him directly, and only talked about it in front of him when he was (they thought) too young to understand, or in indirect terms.

    But you’d be shocked what even very young children can pick up on. My first son was 22 months old when a very close friend died at the end of last year. He’s not just too young to understand; he’s too young for us to even attempt an explanation. But he knew pretty quickly who we were talking about, and he knew we were upset. Even weeks later, sometimes if we started discussing it in front of him, even if there was nothing obvious in our tone or body language that showed we were upset, he’d start going, “No no no no no no no no!”

    If the kid was 2 or 3 at the time of the miscarriage, it’s totally plausible that he might have overheard some adult conversations that the parents assumed he wouldn’t understand, and that he picked up enough fragments here and there to have a vague recollection of his mother losing a baby.

    You can probably say something similar about the recollections of the great-grandfather. Hell, in that case they might have even told him directly and don’t remember doing so. My parents didn’t remember telling me I had a great-great aunt or something who died of a spider bite, and were rather surprised when as a teenager I mentioned this information. But I remember clear as day when my mom offhandedly told me about it (it kind of scared the shit out of me as a little kid, heh) Family lore has a way of getting into kids’ heads without anybody really realizing it.

  36. Very reminiscent of the ‘balloon boy’ here in Colorado – attention-craved parents using their children to chase their dreams of fame and fortune.

  37. His daddy Todd will now pack’em in every Sunday and pass the plate. The book will soon be forgotten.

  38. “So many people will want to know what you now know.”

    Hey, I saw this movie! The one with Ricky Gervais, right?

  39. I might be the only one to disagree here but I’ve read the book in one sitting and was really taken by it. Even if you don’t believe in God (I do) I’d still recommend it for people to read just as a story. I thought it was powerful.

    I read it a few weeks ago and found out now it’s on top of Amazon’s list. I’m not surprised, it deserves to be there.

    So, yes, a book about heaven rakes in the bucks. But at the same time, this post doesn’t necessarily convince me (through generally dismissing the book) or tell me why evolution is true.

  40. How evil do you have to be to use your own child to make money? This guy is nothing but a pimp.

    And it took them about 10 years to get the whole story straight? Well, straight enough to convince morons.

    So his fetus sister is in heaven as a young adult? Everyone is a young adult. Has this kid read Benjamin Button?

    It’s funny but very sad at the same time. Exploiting your children for profit. You would think that someone who does that would be scared of going to hell. So obviously the father is not a true believer or he would be scared of being punished for his sins.

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