Is there religion in heaven?



Religion Dispatches interviews Lisa Miller about her new book, Is There Religion in Heaven?

RD: What inspired you to write Heaven?

Miller: About a year after 9/11, I wrote a Newsweek cover story on heaven. It was triggered by this idea: In a suicide bombing, everyone thinks they’re going to heaven. The bombers are martyrs, according to their beliefs, and are going to straight to heaven to receive the rewards promised there. The victims are martyrs, according to their beliefs, and are also going straight to heaven. So: which is it? Is everyone going to heaven? Is there a different heaven for terrorists and for the people killed by terrorists? This led to a very basic exploration of ideas of heaven: Heaven as a real place, heaven as an idea of something beautiful and perfect but unattainable, heaven as a location somewhere, heaven as a process, heaven as a galvanizing or corrupting influence or an incentive for good (what the Bible calls “righteous”) behavior.

As I dug deeper, I began to see that people have been asking the same questions about heaven since they started to talk about it. While they’re unanswerable, they’re also worth asking.

For the book she asked: What does heaven look like? What happens to our bodies? Who’s up there and what do we do?

80% of those in the US believe in heaven but are unclear on what they believe. What do you believe?

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3 Responses to "Is there religion in heaven?"
  1. I don't think of Heaven as a rule of thumb. It's too confusing and I don't understand concepts of eternity or that I could be an individual after I die. On the one hand I find such thoughts natural and neccesary, but on the other hand, an element of vanity and danger exist' with the unchecked dreams or excessive preoccupation of heaven. I was once very carried away with this metaphysical place where things would just be better. It took a while but I'm focused on what can be good to here and now. Heaven can be a source of comfort to those in deep suffering and I mean no disrespect whatsoever. I think there is a theological concept of bridging the gap between heaven and earth (perhaps Jewish). We christians are a part of building this bridge through volunteering, evangelism, donations, praying, companionship, justice, everyday kindness or mitzvahs. We always need to offer our love to the world, the innocent,helpless,to the sinner and the sin. I wont ponder the mystery of life too much anymore. I have a lot of work in bridging the gap -an atonement of my own sins. I hope you'll join those who strive to create God's Kingdom on earth. I totally trust the Lord with what comes next. God Bless.

    jmh - please sign your full name next time. Thx ed.

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