Do you believe in heaven or hell? If not, why not? If so, who’s going there and how do you know?
It’s a stupid question, because the only sensible answer is “no” and “because there is no evidence for it, nobody has been to either place and come back to tell us about it, and everyone who makes claims about them is using them as a carrot-and-stick to compel you to obey them”. Unfortunately, What the WaPo did was gather a bunch of gullible theobabblers, and it’s a collection of the most absurdly pious garden mulch this side of the Crystal Cathedral. It’s got short essays from the Dogmatic A-hole Brigade (Chuck Colson and Cal Thomas) to a swarm of blithering churchmice who squeak out vacuous promises of eternal love.
It’s uniformly awful, with one exception: the token nonbeliever, Susan Jacoby. She doesn’t believe in either heaven or hell.
But I certainly do believe in purgatory. Purgatory is wondering whether the human race in general, and my fellow Americans in particular, will ever grow up enough to realize that we ought to treat one another decently simply because of our common humanity—not because we are looking forward to being entertained by harpists among the clouds or are terrified of eternal flame.
That’s the only one worth reading in the whole bubble-headed, mindless collection. It’s also the one that gathered the most comments. That should tell everyone something right there—shouldn’t we all be tired of the empty promises and delusional fantasies of the theologically inclined by now?
(via gnosos, who has a shorter summary of many of the articles)