Heaven won't be dull--despite the disbelievers.

Sydney Harris, USA.

     One of the deep convictions of people who do not believe in Heaven is that if a Heaven exists, it is occupied by dull people. "All my interesting friends," these skeptics smilingly say, "will be in the other place."
     If they were right, then religion would be a farce and a fraud. But they are wrong, for nowhere in the Scriptures will you find the slightest suggestion that dull and respectable people have a pass to Heaven.

     In fact, all the evidence in the New Testament points the other way. Jesus preferred to consort with publicans and sinners rather than sit among those Pharisees who thought it more important to wash their hands than to cleanse their souls.

     Indeed his entire protest against the conformists of his day was that they were smug in their virtues, that they looked down upon thieves and prostitutes, that they were so busy observing the niceties of the law that they neglected to love and succor their less fortunate brethren.

     The Heaven that the skeptic disbelieves in is not a Heaven that ever existed in the Bible--but only in the minds of sentimentalists and ignoramuses.

     There is every indication that Jesus preferred generosity of spirit to scrupulous regard for the canons of piety. In this he was echoing the Old Testament prophets who constantly warned the respectable citizens that religion is a radical thing, that it must penetrate into the roots of a man's nature and change his total behavior.

     Much of what passes for religious education is merely a kind of tepid moralizing. Piety has become identified with goody-goodiness, with primness, with the small, neat virtues so easily practiced by people who think thereby to escape the necessity of genuine brotherhood.

     No man can know if there is a Heaven or not and each man has a right to believe or disbelieve--but what is the point of disbelieving in a Heaven that no thinking person can believe in or want to be in?

     I would not want to spend eternity in a place inhabited by the dull, the unimaginative, the timid and the merely proper--this is not the Heaven of the Bible.

     Heaven, if it exists, is populated by men and women who have learned how to love, widely and deeply and boldly, no matter how reprehensible their actions seem to be in the eyes of "good" people.

     It is worth remembering that only one human being ever received Jesus' personal assurance of going to heaven.
He was a thief!!

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