Heaven Knows

“… Humans unlike the animals can ponder their mortality. They do so mostly with fear and loathing. This is due in part to the poor job done by the church and some philosophers,” wrote author Phillip Larkin.”If we were fully conscious of our mortality, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning” – not exactly a warm and fuzzy approach to eternity.

The church has done little to comfort us. Pope John Paul II has determined that “Heaven is a blessed community, which is neither an abstraction nor a physical place.” Religious leaders, as usual, cause confusion by creating bizarre explanations for those of us who are not blessed with clerical insight.

Peter Stanford in his delightful book Heaven makes an interesting observation. “From the time when the first Neanderthal sat next to the lump of dead protein that had been his or her mate and realized that something had to be done about the smell, we have wondered what, if anything comes next.”

Since Darwin has effectively done God out of a job as Stanford suggests, and since we are not going to get out of life alive, I suppose we need answers. Manipulation runs rampant in the Heaven marketing business. The entrance fee has historically been based on behaving ourselves according to the dictates of the Almighty. However, I suspect the famous Ten Commandments held nothing new for those folks lost in the Sinai. Moses simply came down the mountain with the obvious in writing.

Author Stephen Prothero talks about history’s most dangerous idea “that human beings can solve the human problem on our own without recourse to God or divine revelation.”

Rantor William Bond, in 1656 suggested that “we are in Heaven when we are happy and in hell when we are not.” A simple idea but perhaps on the right track.

The love of another human being is conceivably the most cherished feature we will find in life and is possibly the only loss we need mourn during our last days. I imagine even our godless prehistoric relatives had practiced some form of loving and caring so I doubt we require the services of the divine to be fitting humans.

A shroud has no pockets. If we put some value on life rather than focus on possessions, and if we understand that most of us already have what we need to be content, perhaps then Heaven will be within our grasp.

GSG (God Seeker Guy)

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