Heaven

Just finished Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife by Lisa Miller. An interesting book – lots of interesting tidbits on the history of the idea of heaven in Judaism, Christianity and Islam along with some side journeys (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Swedenborians, etc.). And there is a cultural aspect of the study that is interesting. On the other hand, it’s surely not a dogmatic piece (in the good or bad sense of the term!) and without a level of background knowledge or discernment, it would be easy to lose any sense of a biblical framework (which I as a Christian have some concern for). Liberals and conservatives both show up (it seemed more skewed “progressive” to me, but I didn’t actually count the time in each camp). And of course, that’s not her agenda, so this is more an observation than a criticism.

It’s written in a breezy journalistic fashion – we learn about the clothes, hair, glasses and food eaten by most of the people she interviews. And in the end she is somewhat skeptical, certainly so for traditional or orthodox notions of heaven. But for what it is, it’s an interesting read.

One more thing – I listened to the audio book version and did find it annoying to listen to odd pronunciations. Barth (with a “th” like think) and Tillich (with a “ch” like chill) were annoying enough, but there was an odd accent on the second syllable of “Reformation” that just seemed odd. Perhaps my pronunciation needs, work…but if not, it’s odd no one fixed these.

 

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