the Keys to Heaven

I once asked my grandfather, a Baptist minister, if a person who did only good deeds and followed the Commandments could get into heaven.

He told me, “No.” He explained that even the worst sinner in the world could get into heaven by taking Christ into his life. The key to getting into heaven was accepting Christ as your savior, not good works. Nothing about treating your fellow man with compassion or generosity, just that one thing regardless of what or who you were.

That always seemed a bit lame to me even though a large segment of the protestant faiths think that way. It might sound good from the religion’s standpoint but does it make any sense?

In the Satan vs God scenario they pay homage to, anyone doing goods works should automatically be considered on God’s team, wouldn’t they? So what sort of God would cut him loose when the end came?

Because of belief, or faith.

Faith has always been the bedrock of religion. You can sin all you want but if you really repent and take Christ as your savior, you’ll be heaven bound. (Of course, if you’re merely trying to wipe out all your sins at the last moment and hop aboard that train to glory, God will read your heart and transfer you to the southbound line.)

So sinning a lot, expecting to absolve yourself at the end, won’t work. The change has to be a true epiphany.

Anyhow, that what the churches believe.

Personally, I think there is no place below us like Hell and no place above us like Heaven. I think we all recycle down here, like Franklin said, in a newer and better edition.

But that does not remove the Almighty from the equation. If you complete everything and return to Grace this time around, I think you can go home… or stick around and play some more.

Of course, I could be ‘way off base here, and perhaps the heaven you believe in is exactly what you get when you leave this plane behind. In which case, a lot of people are going to wish they had been Muslim so they could finally arrive at the Muslim version where the guy gets nineteen virgins or something. Of course, I always wondered what the woman gets when she goes…

Then again, that may not be her version of Heaven. Perhaps that is her Hell.

If there is only one heaven and it is like usually pictured (clouds and everyone singing God’s praises from now to eternity), I can’t say that I am all that interested. I recall a movie from yesteryear, “Bedazzled” (1967 – NOT the later remake) starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Peter plays Satan and when Dudley’s character asks how he got cast out of heaven, he climbs up on a mail collection box and has Dudley dance around him singing his praises. After a bit, Peter tells him to get more effusive. Dudley complies but after another minute or so says. “I’m getting a bit tired of this. Why don’t you come down and let me sit there awhile?” And Satan replies, “Yes, that’s exactly what happened.”

Many look forward to that sort of heaven in their afterlife and I say more power to them. I hope that is the heaven you find. And I hope we can all find what we are looking for in the afterlife and our sojourn with the Almighty.

Whatever sojourn you prefer.

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