As an agnostic, I was very disturbed to dream about going to Heaven a few nights ago. After a traffic wreck I found myself at the Pearly Gates and wondered if maybe I was wrong about Christianity after all.
At the gates, I met a unkempt bunch of people, all male, from the Montana Militia, or possibly Posse Comitatas. They wore dirty, unpressed military fatigues and carried automatic weapons but were not very military in bearing. Being an ex-Marine I notice such things. These guys were about the sloppiest bunch of ‘troops’ I ever saw. They were unhappy with me, putting me in a holding cell to be interviewed by God’s lieutenant.
The lieutenant turned out to be Jerry Falwell, dressed in a flowing velvet robe and wearing expensive crocodile sandals, and at least a dozen heavy gold rings with expensive stones, a golden garland on his head, and carrying a golden scepter in his left hand. A sweet young alter boy accompanied him carrying a huge, gilt-edged bible. Falwell asked about my Christianity. I pride myself on being honest, so told Lieutenant Falwell the truth - I don’t believe in god, or christianity.
“What if I can prove God exists, beyond any doubt?” he asked. “And, not only that, but that he is a Christian God, and part of the Holy Trinity and all that stuff?”
“Well, it sure would go a long way towards changing my mind if you can.” I admitted.
“OK, then, here we go.” he said.
“First, God knows and cares about everything that goes on, every person, every animal, every blade of grass, and the very sparrows in the air. His love is like loving hands which cup you and protect you from harm.”
“If that’s true,” I asked. “how come I’m here in the first place? If God loves me, how come I’m dead and standing here with you now?”
“God simply called you home. He could have easily protected you in that wreck and left you on Earth. It was just your time.”
“But, why me?” I wondered. “I’ve always lived honestly and was kind to others. I’ve loved, respected and protected my wife and kids. I ran a business which provided a living for many others, every one of whom I’ve always treated with dignity and respect, and always paid my taxes.”
“Yeah but, did you go to church and tithe?” he asked. “Are you Republican?”
“Well, there you go!” said lieutenant Falwell. “There’s three good reasons right there. I’m not speaking for God, mind you, just saying that might be why.”
“What’s being Republican got to do with it?” I wondered.
“God loves Republicans. It’s easy to scare the bejesus out of them if you’ll pardon the expression. Republicans get spooked like sheep when somebody like me tells them anything. Only Republican politicians go straight to Hell, with no questions asked. And, if you ain’t Republican you get interviewed like you are now.”
“OK then,” I said. “If God protects all the innocents, how’s about an airplane crash which kills everybody on board, even if some are preachers, or innocent little children?”
“God works in mysterious ways and does not give a reason when he calls someone home, even little children. Besides, sometimes God lets an airplane crash and saves everyone on board. That’s an example of his miracles. You recall a crash that happened a couple years ago when a plane went down in the East River at New York City and not a single person died? That was God’s miracle, and proof right there of God’s love. They said people were saved because an experienced pilot named Sullenberger was driving that airplane and knew all the right things to do. But, just why do you think Sully was flying that day?”
“‘Cause he was on the duty roster?” I asked hopefully.
“Well, just why do you think he was on the duty roster?” Falwell quickly retorted.
I could see just where this was going, so changed course. “OK, what about other crashes including airplanes, cars, boats, bicycles, motorcycles and whatnot happening all over the world the very same day?”
“God works in mysterious ways I said. We mortals may not question God who always has his reasons and doesn’t explain them to anyone.”
“Seems like he’s mighty highhanded to me, and that God’s disasters outnumber his miracles about a hundred to one.” I observed.
“I’m beginning to think you’re not good heavenly material.” sniffed Falwell.
“Well actually, I might not be.” I admitted.”What’s Heaven like anyhow?”
“Oh, it’s wonderful!” gushed Falwell. “We visit around with other Christians, play a lot of golf, watch a lot of TV - just religious channels you understand, and sports, and no fornicating, swearing or drinking. We don't allow queers or lesbians either.”
“Doesn’t sound like any fun at all to me.” I mused.
“Well, you can smoke, men can at least. But of course, women aren’t allowed to smoke.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Well that doesn’t deserve an answer if you don’t know that.”
“I guess I don’t.” I said. “I thought ‘all were equal in His sight’.”
“Well, obviously some are more equal than others.” said Falwell. “Women are lucky to be in Heaven at all, and if they won’t submit to menfolk, they can’t be. God doesn’t take any sass or back talk. It’s in the Good Book. And another thing, no Jews or Muslims, or any other of those so-called other religions are allowed. We let in some Catholics and Mexican Christians, but wall them off in their own sections. Everybody’s happier that way.
“Doesn’t God like diversity?” I asked.
“Not particularly, and especially not if it bothers real Christians, which actually means white, American, Republicans.”
“No black people? Lot’s of them are Christians I’ve heard.”
“Nope. Got their own section next to the wetbacks.” he said. “But right now, I’m nearly convinced we need to go ahead and transfer your ass straight to Hell. So before I decide, just one more question: Do you claim to be white?”
“Well, I am Norwegian.”
“Well, by God that clinches it!” he snorted. “Off you go! Even if the devil is raising hell about sending any more damned Norwegians down there. Says they actually like the place.”
“Suits the ever-loving Hell out of me!” I said happily.