'Heaven Is a Place Where You Are Happy'

Barbara Walters explains what heaven means in different religions, whether she'll go to heaven or not, and what happens there.

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What did the religions that you covered have in common when it comes to teachings about heaven?

First of all, the Jewish religion has a great deal in common with the Christian religion because, as Rabbi Gillman points out in the show, Christianity is based on Judaism. Christ was Jewish. There are religions that are very restrictive or judgmental, perhaps, that say, if you do not believe in our faith, you don't go to heaven. This is very compelling, but it's restrictive. We asked the cardinal if there was sex in heaven, and he said that was one of the questions asked of the Lord. [Catholics] believe that they don't need to have sex in heaven, because there is the joy of the Lord. But for Muslims, everything that they don't have on earth is what they get in heaven. They can drink, they can have sex. All of the forbidden pleasures on earth, you can have in paradise.

All of the religions--with the exception of Tibetan Buddhism, which doesn't believe in a heaven--teach that heaven is a better place. At the end of the program, I say that heaven is a place where you are happy. All of the religions have that in common.


Had you thought much about heaven in your personal life before doing this show?

Barbara Walters on whether she worries about
an afterlife

I think everybody wonders, is there life after death? Recently, when I've been at dinners, I've gone around the table and said, "How many of you believe in life after death?" It's so interesting to see your friends' answers, because sometimes it's very surprising. Sometimes you'll find that husbands and wives disagree.

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