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Published:September 12th, 2008 16:12 EST
Islam

Heaven To Me

By Jon Lee

My favorite book of all time is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This book only just recently, as in three days ago, dethroned The Catcher in the Rye in my mind. However, if I had read this book anytime other than this summer it might not have held the significance that it did. Because I had read The Power of Myth not long before I decided to read The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I was thinking deeply about my religious beliefs and what I thought was the afterlife. The Power of Myth was written by Joseph Campbell and is a book concerning the myths and religions of the world and how they affect life. Maybe I failed to read closely enough, but The Power of Myth left me wanting more in terms of information about death. Joseph Campbell had walked over, flipped my religious views upside down, and left without telling me what happens when I die. Do I float up to heaven to live with God forever? Or do I break from the wheel of life and join the Supreme Consciousness?

Islam

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is Albom`s interpretation of what heaven may be like. He writes that heaven is whatever makes you, and not God, the happiest. He writes that heaven is a chance for us to reflect on our earthly lives and come to terms with what our lives mean in the great scheme of things. However, the brightest token of wisdom I took away from Albom`s book is that heaven is completely up to you. I sincerely hope that when I depart from this mortal coil I can talk to God and tell him exactly how I want my afterlife to be. I don`t want to spend eternity in heaven if all I will be doing there is basking in the glory of God, and I don`t want to be stripped of my individuality by being absorbed into some sort of sacred hive mind. If heaven is truly paradise, then it only makes sense that it should be exactly how I want it.

Albom never seems to state that only people of a certain religion are allowed into his heaven. One of my biggest complaints about Christianity is the belief that only those that have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will go to heaven. The non-believers will be cast down into the fires of hell, regardless of the quality of life led. The Power of Myth showed me that all the world`s religions and myths are very much the same. Even the three major western religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, share the same God and many of the same holy places and myths. This leads me to believe that the whole world is, and has been, praying to the same God, only in different ways. It is both illogical and unfair to believe that only one religion leads believers to heaven. And besides, what kind of state would we be in if one of the major religions killed off the RIGHT religion long ago?

Heaven is a place where all should be admitted, regardless of religion. Most people would define heaven as paradise and a true paradise would not have a bouncer at its doors accepting some and turning others away. Heaven is also a place where people should be able to decide how they want to spend eternity. Eternity is a very long time and heaven had better be able to suit my every want and need if it wants me to stay there forever. All my friends had better be there too, even the atheists.