Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“Wonderful…. A smart and accessible take on the ultimate question: What is Heaven? Lisa’s book is a good place to begin to find an answer.”
— Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion
“A rare combination of journalism, memoir, and historical research … this smart yet heartfelt book leads us into the center of one of the greatest conversations of all time. And Lisa Miller is the perfect conversation partner.”
— Stephen Prothero, New York Times bestselling author of American Jesus and Religious Literacy
A groundbreaking history of the hereafter, Heaven by Newsweek reporter and religion editor Lisa Miller draws from both history and popular culture to reveal how past and presage visions of heaven have evolved and how they inspire us to both good and evil.
present”: Augustine, Confessions (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), book 11, chapter 13, quoted in J. S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), p. 381. The traditional Christian view: Sparkling walls and gates of pearl are in Revelation 21:19–21; the tree of life is in Revelation 22:2; the light of God is in Revelation 22:5. “And let everyone who hears”: Revelation 22:17. A third of America’s white evangelicals: The Pew Research Center for the People
uncomfortable discussing the specifics of our spiritual lives as we are talking about the honest satisfactions and dissatisfactions of our sex lives. According to polls, most of us say we believe in heaven—and God, and miracles, and angels—but we don’t think very hard about what we mean. Talk about heaven at a cocktail party—raise it as a serious topic—and watch discomfort flicker across people’s faces. We say the word heaven out loud only when we’re murmuring the Lord’s Prayer; when a child asks
Episcopal priest. He is a good friend, and we felt that his love for us would bring more meaning to the service (which he created by melding traditional Christian and Jewish ceremonies) than a priest or rabbi with whom we had no personal connection—and it did. We consider our daughter, Josephine, to be Jewish. We belong to the Reform temple near our house and for years sent her to the school affiliated with that temple; after school, our Pentecostal babysitter tells her all about the Holy Spirit.
outstretched and heads tilted. The circle and the people in it start slowly and go faster and faster for as long as twenty minutes—until finally they stop, almost abruptly. You expect them all to fall down in a pile, like five-year-olds, but they don’t. The whirling is a form of meditation; in the ecstatic state, practitioners describe a feeling of union with god. “Do you know what the whirling is?” wrote the thirteenth-century Sufi mystic and poet Rumi. “It is…opening the eyes of the heart and
England that year. They were so behind, one Pakistani newspaper wrote ‘Bury Them.’ To understand each player’s unique personality and gifts, the harmony between free will and predestination, how it worked, it was like…wow.” Ahmad believes—some would say naively—that heaven consists of the Sunni and the Shia and the Buddhists and the Hindus and the Jews and the Muslims and the Christians getting along. He sees heaven, as he did in 2008 when he performed at a benefit concert for the Muslim Public