Heaven: what, where, why is it?

In the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog some notable writers and thinkers answer the question, “What (or where, or why) is heaven?” What’s your answer?


What (or where, or why) is heaven?

In the Washington Post’s “On Faith”

What is your vision of heaven? What images – from Scripture, tradition, culture or your personal experience – best describe heaven for you?

Martin Marty wrote:

It did not take a Karl Marx to see that dreams of the afterlife could be an “opiate of the people,” an enslaver instead of an inspirer of work and, if need be, of revolution. Just as often hope of heaven, however, has challenged people to endure prisons and death camps or take risks which benefited others.

Karen Armstrong wrote:

I personally think it best not to try to imagine what we call ‘heaven’, because it can only be some kind of projection or wish-fulfillment. We can become so fixated on ‘getting into heaven’ that all our good deeds become purely selfish – as irreligious as paying into a retirement annuity for a comfortable life in the hereafter. Religion is supposed to be about the loss of ego – not fantasies about its eternal survival in optimum conditions.

Jack Moline wrote:

What we really mean when we ask if there is life after death is this: is there personal consciousness after death. Will I know that I am me, and will others be able to distinguish me when my mortal journey has ended? With confidence and relief, I acknowledge that I don’t know and that it does not concern me.

Read the rest at “On Faith”

What about you?

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2 Comments
  1. John B. Chilton

    I notice that the responses Peter quoted don’t answer the questions so much as answer this question: what does it mean for us today.

    If I understand the dogma correctly, upon our death we go into suspended animation until Jesus’ return. Then the gates of heaven open.

    My guesstimate is that the return is way off in the future. Since I discount the future, heaven – whatever it may be – has virtually no benefit to me today (as an opiate or comfort) nor does it influence my behavior.

    My own personal heresy is that heaven is the Kingdom of God. And the process of bringing it about is an enterprise that requires God and us. And when we, as individuals participate in that project we are speeding up the arrival of Kingdom of God for all.

    What seems wrong to me about my view of heaven is highlighted by what Martin Marty says: “Just as often hope of heaven, however, has challenged people to endure prisons and death camps or take risks which benefited others.”

  2. tgflux

    LOVE will be All in All.

    …beyond that, I make no claims, projections, wishes, etc etc!

    JC Fisher

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