The Washington Post’s “On Faith” discussion is about heaven. Quite the discussion.
What do you believe about heaven? Whose view below is most like yours?
From Daisy Khan, a Muslim: “For me, perhaps the most profound beauty of Heaven is its plurality and diversity of people. Heaven is dar al-salaam, the ultimate safe haven. It’s a place for all those who have done good deeds – men and women, adults and children, Muslims and non-Muslims, peoples of all nationalities and cultures – to enjoy together and in harmony.”
John Mark Reynolds, professor at Biola and Eastern Orthodox: “What will I see? God, of course, but God is a very big Person and my eyes, even in Heaven, are very small. In Heaven, I will see God through Jesus, the God-man. He is not just an image of God, an icon, but Very God and looking at Him in His human nature will lead me to as much of God as men can see.”
Julia Neuberger, a rabbi: “Heaven is not where God sits upon a cloud, in my view, but the sense of where God belongs, in our hearts, in our heads, in our world and beyond it. I do not believe in heaven as ‘other’, though it has elements of that. Instead, I believe in the capacity of human beings to create heaven for themselves and others here on earth.”
Ramdas Lamb, a religious syncretist: “Heaven, hell, and the afterlife are totally theoretical and any belief in them is based solely on faith. No one can affirm their existence, as no one can prove their non-existence. Practically speaking, then, any belief in the them is only relevant to the extent that it affects the way we live our lives here and now.”
T.D. Jakes: “I have traveled to and preached on nearly every continent and I’ve seen places that are breathtaking. From the crystal Alps of Switzerland’s noble peaks to the empty caverns, caves and craters of Hawaii, there is nothing to compare. No not even the amazing sound of crackling glaciers in northernmost Alaska or the rumbling of running herds of elephants frolicking in the bush of South Africa. None of these earthly wonders measure up to the mystical majesty of the eternal blissful reunion between the soul and its creator! I believe that Heaven will be the absence of all selfish, evil, hateful, vile and unpleasant things, and it will be everything grand, and glorious bringing satiety to the soul and tranquility to the mind. This glorious place is by invitation only. But all who seek Him and trust him are invited. No one who heeds His call need be rejected.”
Karen Armstrong, former Catholic and now religious pluralist: “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.”