... of all persuasions. I do not know what will happen when I get to heaven. I am fairly sure that I will meet my maker. What will happen next? I will suffer an extraordinary pang of monumental guilt for the things that I have done and not done. It will not last a moment. My knowledge of physics makes me sure of that; the chief ingredient of time is limit, and God is beyond limit, so I am sure that when I meet him, it will be outside time. So my pang of guilt will probably take no time at all, though it will equally probably encompass the whole universe. The guilt is there because he knows all that I have done and not done, and I can no longer hide from it. And then, I think, he will welcome me. He will say, "You have let me down, but you can still stay".
So I think. There are quite a few million fundamentalists, Christian, Islamic and of other kinds around the world who are certain that this will not be my fate. They intend to meet their maker, and I will apparently not be there, because I do not share their particular version of certainty. That applies to all sorts, not just to Islamic ones who blow people up because they do not agree with them, but also to Christian ones who murder doctors whose practices they disagree with, and think they have the right to beat their wives, to Jewish ones who flatten other people in their tanks, to Hindu ones who think it is justified to murder Christians, and so on, and so wearily on. So this message is addressed to them. I do not flatter myself that this blog is the first stopping place of those of the fundamentalist persuasion here there and everywhere, but perhaps it will get noticed somewhere by someone, and if I sow a tiny seed of doubt in the mind of even one person of fundamentalist persuasion, then this post will have done its work. Because one thing I am sure of is a lack of certainty in this life and about the next, and those who think they have certainty do not in fact have it. What they have is tunnel vision.
So if anyone of a fundamentalist mindset is reading this post I ask them to think of what will happen when they enter heaven. Virgins to right and left, pots of honey, mango dip, nectar.... Let me just suggest a different possibility. Read on, don't be scared. After all, you know you're right, so what harm can I do?
You will get to heaven. You will probably experience the same monumental pang of guilt as me (after all, even fundamentalists aren't perfect.) And then God will welcome you. But what he will say to you will be different to what he says to me. To you he will say, "What on EARTH did you think you were doing in my name?" Then, I think, you will feel a cataclysmic pang of guilt. He will say, "You can stay", just as he says it to me. He will say, "The virgins are over there". (Fundamentalist heaven seems to be primarily male and therefore one assumes that the virgins are female. But I think the fundamentalists will be surprised to find that the virgins are of both sexes.) "But first", God will say, "I want you to come over here and meet all the people who you killed, and maimed, and executed, and slaughtered, and beat, and tortured, and crippled, and disfigured, and scarred, and made miserable, and blocked in their life, and passed by on the other side, and mocked and belittled, and enslaved all because you did not read my beloved [insert here Bible, Koran, Torah, Veda, text of your choice] properly.
"You tried to trap me in the words. Me. I who exist beyond time and space, beyond language. You were determined to see me in the words. Did you never think to look through the words rather than at them?"
And then, it is my profound hope, you will feel ever so slightly foolish.
God will say, "Go and meet those people now. It will take you a long time. It will take you forever. And ask them, humbly, to share my heaven with you."