Counter-Evangelism: Home > Arguments > Heaven, hell, "love," & "justice" > Quotes on Heaven
Some Thoughts on Heaven
by Ed T. Babinski
Copyright © 2002 by Ed T. Babinski. All rights reserved.
The following quotations are from Edward T. Babinski's work in progress, Hitting Below the Bible Belt (still seeking a publisher). In 1995 his book Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists was published by Prometheus Books. He has also edited an e-zine titled Cretinism or Evilution and has debated hard-line Christian apologists such as Gary Habermas of Liberty University on the resurrection of Christ. More of Mr. Babinski's web-based writings may be found on Secular Web (Internet Infidels). Future projects by Mr. Babinski include a DVD that will contain his short film, "Paper Dolls in Hell;" as well as a CD containing comedy and funny songs; and a second CD containing some of his fingerstyle 12-string guitar pieces. He doesn't like to label himself in terms of religion, but describes himself as "a modern day Job crying out 'Why, Oh God, Why?' But so far I haven't heard God's voice replying to me out of a whirlwind." Mr. Babinski's two main email addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
[Note by Diane Vera: Contrary to the P. J. O’Rourke quote, Satanists do NOT, in general, sacrifice dogs or spend huge amounts of time reciting the Lord's Prayer backwards. Nevertheless, I found O’Rourke's comments to be quite amusing in context.]
HEAVEN Christians believe that the most wonderful thing that can happen to them is to go to heaven, but few of them are in a hurry to make the trip. - Source unknown ____________________________ According to the book of Revelation, Heaven is an eternal praise service; a service of compliment or flattery. God sits on his throne, attended by twenty-four harp-playing elders (Rev. 5:8) and some other dignitaries pertaining to his court, and looks out over his miles and miles of tempestuous worshippers, and smiles, and purrs, and nods his satisfaction northward, eastward, southwards; as quaint and naive a spectacle as has yet been imagined in this universe, I take it. It is easy to see that the inventor of this image of heaven did not originate the idea, but copied it from the show-ceremonies of some sorry little sovereign state up in the back settlements of the Middle East somewhere. - Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth ____________________________ Is it possible that an infinite God created this world simply to be the dwelling place of slaves and serfs? Simply for the purpose of raising orthodox Christians? That he did a few miracles to astonish a few of them? That all the evils of life are simply his punishments, and that he is finally going to turn heaven into a kind of religious museum filled with Baptist barnacles, petrified Presbyterians and Methodist mummies? - Robert Ingersoll ____________________________ Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. - Mark Twain, “Etiquette for the Afterlife: Advice to Paine” ____________________________ My friend Dorothy and I spent a weekend at Heritage USA, the born-again Christian resort and amusement park created by television evangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker. Dorothy and I came to scoff - but went away converted. Unfortunately, we were converted to Satanism. Now we’re up half the night going to witch’s sabbaths and have to spend our free time reciting the Lord’s Prayer backward and scouring the neighborhood for black dogs to sacrifice. Frankly, it’s a nuisance, but if it keeps us from going to the Heritage USA part of heaven, it will we worth it. - P. J. O’Rourke, Holidays in Hell ____________________________ Have you ever been awakened early in the morning by a Jehovah’s Witness? Maybe you’ve been accosted by a crazy street preacher with a megaphone? You turn on your TV, and there’s Tammy Bakker, Jerry Falwell, that Reverend Scott guy who never sleeps. Has it ever dawned on you that heaven might be a very annoying place? My brother Mike has always been - and still is - the most annoying religious person I’ve ever known. He thinks homosexuality is a sickness. He believes that all Jews will burn in hell. He thinks women belong in the home. Mike’s one of those people who has to talk to God, because nobody else can stand him. One Thanksgiving Mike told me, “You know, Ricky, I’m really worried about you! I’m beginning to think that you might not go to heaven!” I leaned toward him very calmly and said, “Mike, I don’t want to go to heaven. You know why? You’re gonna be there!” - Rick Reynolds, Only the Truth is Funny ____________________________ Remember the movie The Last Temptation of Christ? There were people outside with signs that said, “This movie’s not real.” Come here, Sparky. No movie’s real. And they had other signs that said, “You will not get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” I looked at these people and said, “Are you going to be there? If so, then I’m not going.” - Robin Williams ____________________________ The experts on Heaven disagree about which conglomeration of religious believers will qualify, but they always seem to think that they personally belong to that elite group. An eternity with people that conceited seems intolerable to me. - Robert Anton Wilson, “Cheerful Reflections on Death and Dying,” Gnoware, February 1999 ____________________________ THE REVEREND REPLIED… Reporter: What will we do in heaven for eternity? Won’t we get bored? Rev. Spurgeon: Nonsense. We will joyously sing and meditate on the sufferings of Christ that made the miracle of our salvation possible. As for myself, I could sing and meditate on the wounds round Jesus’s head for a billion years. Then focus on the wounds on his scourged back for the next billion. Then the wound in his right hand for a billion more, the wound in his left hand for a billion, the wound in his side for a billion. Then the wounds in his feet, each foot for a billion years. Reporter: So, you’re saying there’s nothing worthy of a Christian’s time and devotion, nothing worth looking at, or singing about, for all eternity, except Jesus and his wounds? Rev. Spurgeon: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Reporter: So, ah...What’s hell going to be like? - E.T.B. (based on actual replies of Rev. Spurgeon) ____________________________ When Robert Ingersoll heard how Rev. Spurgeon planned to spend billions of years in heaven just staring at Jesus’s wounds, Ingersoll said, “I bet he even takes great delight in reading the genealogies of the Old Testament.” - The Best of Robert Ingersoll, Robert E. Greeley, Ed. ____________________________ …The last stop on my guided tour of heaven by Saint Peter was a cloud filled with people singing hymns loudly with bags over their heads. “Make sure to keep quiet as we pass this cloud,” Peter said, “Those are the born-again Christians, and they think they’re the only ones up here.” - Source unknown HEAVEN IS FOR “SNUFF FILM” LOVERS? For centuries, Christians believed that the heavenly few would see and even rejoice at the sight of hell’s multitude being eternally tortured. Augustine, Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, and Jonathan Edwards are just a few of the towering Christians in ages past who argued that such a belief was both Scriptural and just: AUGUSTINE They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness…The saints’… knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted…with the eternal sufferings of the lost. [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22, “What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked” & Book 22, Chapter 30, “Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath”] TERTULLIAN What a spectacle…when the world…and its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? What my derision? Which sight gives me joy?...as I see...illustrious monarchs...groaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophers…as fire consumes them! Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of…Christ! I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors…in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows...What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these? Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination. [De Spectaculis, Chapter XXX] THOMAS AQUINAS In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned…So that they may be urged the more to praise God…The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens…to the damned. [Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article, “Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned?”] JONATHAN EDWARDS The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever…Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell? I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss. [“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738] During America’s “Great Awakening” the popular hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), even set Christians’ feet to tapping with this crisp little verse: What bliss will fill the ransomed souls, When they in glory dwell, To see the sinner as he rolls, In quenchless flames of hell. This “abominable fancy” was based on various Bible verses: The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance. - Psalm 58:10 Let the wicked perish at the presence of God…But let the righteous…rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. - Psalm 68:2-3,22-23 In Isaiah 30:31-33 a human sacrifice takes place (the “man” who is killed represents the nation of Assyria), and the act is accompanied by festival songs, gladness of heart, the sound of the flute, tambourines and lyres. Moreover, “the Lord” performs the sacrifice. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me. - Isaiah 66:24 A man suffering in “Hades” sees another man luxuriating in “Abraham’s bosom,” and vice versa. - Luke, chapter 16 Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. - Luke 13:28 They shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment shall ascend up forever and ever…Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her… And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. - Revelation 14:9-11; 18:20, 19:3 Having such “inspired” verses behind it, this teaching did not grow out of favor with orthodox Christian theologians until the age of the Enlightenment when, for instance, Thomas Burnet punctured it with a prick of irony: What a theater of providence this is: by far the greatest part of the human race burning in flames forever and ever. Oh what a spectacle on the stage, worthy of an audience of God and angels! And then to delight the ear, while this unhappy crowd fills heaven and earth with wailing and howling, you have a truly divine harmony. [De Statu Mortuorum & Resurgentium Tractatus, 1720] - E.T.B.