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Point of View: Hoping Heaven Will Be Diverse

Wed, 03/15/2023 - 18:36

Numerically, this is a significant day, often referred to in signs you see in stadiums directing you to John 3:16, to wit, that you’ll get into heaven if you believe in Jesus, or, put another way, you won’t if you don’t.

This, of course, is all very well and good for sincere Christians, but what about everyone else? Cast into the abyss, I suppose. Jesus was super extraordinary, of course, but to say that you won’t get into heaven without believing in him smacks of exclusivity. Is heaven some sort of club, a fraternity? A sorority perhaps? My brother-in-law said he’d only met two genuine Christians in his life. If so, heaven’s population may be sparse.

My wife, an animist, is about as close to my idea of how a Christian should be and act as any I know, and yet she’s not a churchgoer, having been abused by nuns at an early age. (And yet you should have seen her at Chartres!) If you treat everything as charged with an animating spirit — everything, as she does — you’ll not be so eager to destroy, and yet we do.

She’s just reminded me that I do know a Christian, a businessman and athlete whom I’ve long known, and who embodies the spirit of Jesus. He also is my exemplar. When I think, other than her, of a good person, I think of him, especially when the subject of Christianity comes up. It’s evident that the healing spirit is in him.

I say, just as I’ve said in regard to this country’s immigrants, let the Muslims, Jews, Zoroastrians, Rastafarians, Sikhs, Hindus, Shintoists, Taoists, Buddhists, agnostics, and atheists in. Let heaven be diverse, all-inclusive — a diverse, animating place, not an exclusive one.

It’s so vast, the universe, that I find it hard to imagine that there is a reward set aside for the faithful, an Elysian Fields where you’ll lie about sipping ambrosia and doing the crossword, so connect here and don’t worry about the rest.

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