Friday, May 9, 2008
One Heaven? One Truth?
Is there really only one heaven? One afterlife for everyone in the world to fit in? If that is the case, how could everyone be happy?
Is there really only one truth? One truth for everyone in the world to accept? If that is the case, how could everyone be happy?
Is Christianity, as I know it, the only truth? Most Christians seem to believe this idea. They believe that the world needs to be converted to Jesus as much as the Muslim believes that the Christian needs to be converted to Muhammad. Christians also claim that in the afterlife people will be taught the “truth” and decide whether or not to “accept” it. But, these same Christians also believe that we are the same person once we die. So, if that is the case, then, honestly, not many Muslims or Jews are going to be “saved” according to Christian standards. How sane is it to believe that everyone is going to have to convert to Christianity AND be happy about it? ...especially if they are the same person in heaven that they were on earth? If you die, and were then taught that some other faith had it all right, and you were wrong-- could you then so easily forget about your relationship with your Savior?**
As the world exists right now, the current religious breakdown is:
Christians 33.32% (of which Roman Catholics 16.99%, Protestants 5.78%, Orthodox 3.53%, Anglicans 1.25%), Muslims 21.01%, Hindus 13.26%, Buddhists 5.84%, Sikhs 0.35%, Jews 0.23%, Baha'is 0.12%, other religions 11.78%, non-religious 11.77%, atheists 2.32% (2007 est.)…..so really, all of these people are supposed to find joy (understanding that my premise for the afterlife is that there might be some semblance of joy and contentment...otherwise, it's hell, and let's not go into what I think about that right now!) ....ahem, as I was saying, all of these people are supposed to find joy in the exact same Kingdom as this white girl from Utah might? Hmmmm, I just don’t think so anymore...it seems a bit absurd.
I recently finished The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. It was a beautiful tale of spirituality, awakening, life and afterlife. The Chinese afterlife is so different from mine, and so lovely. Tan created an unforgettable character in Kwan.
"My sister Kwan believes she has Yin eyes. She sees those who have died and now dwell in the World of Yin...It was Kwan who taught me, if people we love die, then they are lost only to our ordinary senses. If we remember, we can find them anytime with our hundred secret senses." When Kwan is asked by her sister about the afterlife, she gives such a beautiful explanation that resonated with me. She explains that all those who love Jesus, will be with Jesus. Those who love Allah will go to "Allahland" (as Kwan called it!), and everyone will be where their truth resides, and it will be heaven for them.
So, my question--can heaven be as diverse as earth? Or, to truly be heaven, must we all be alike? I rather relish in differences, so I kind of hope it’s the former…just maybe in heaven we will all learn how to love each other for our differences, instead of trying to change everyone to see the truth as we see it.
When you google" "heaven"...here are some of the images that come up. I love the variations.
**Note: Whatever religion you are, I'm not trying to undermine it. Every religion assumes their view of heaven is the only view, and I accept that you, or many of you, may see your religion as the only truth and I respect that.