On April 1st, 2010, Cathal Kelly reviewed “Heaven” for the Toronto Star:
“St. Thérèse of Liseux was the sort of heedless optimist the Catholic Church could use about now.
“I believe in Hell,” she once said. “But I believe it is empty.”
Of course it is, Sister. Haven’t you heard that Heaven is full to the gills these days?
As Lisa Miller points out in her new book, Heaven, the great party in the sky has abandoned its strict door policy. Everybody’s acting as if no matter how late they arrive, they’re bound to get in.
Nearly 80 per cent of Americans now profess to believe in Heaven. Canada continues to be the careful country cousin — only 58 per cent of us feel similarly, according to Gallup.
But, as Miller explores at book length, what does that mean? Heaven is an idée fixe, rarely thought about, more rarely discussed between those who don’t consider themselves devout.
It is also only one brush stroke in the syncretic blur that divides Jews, Christians and Muslims, particularly on this weekend. Think Heaven’s complicated? Try not to think too hard about the Last Supper — the sit-down that sparked the Passion may in fact have been a Passover Seder. And if so, how many new people has Dan Brown offended?
“It will get more inclusive, and more individualistic,” says Miller. “Heaven will be what you want it to be. If you’re someone who loves yoga, it’s a place you can do yoga … I’m not entirely a fan of that.”
Yoga? For all eternity?
Miller and I have just achieved total harmony across religious boundaries.”