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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

I also have a fascination with this topic, which made me finally buck up and queue up at the library for Lisa Miller's facinating Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.

What does Heaven look like? Will there be angels singing, will there be gates, or will it be full of virgins? Will be it be in the sky, or will it be in another dimension? From ancient times to present day, many incarnations of this place have dominated with no one really knowing what it looks like or where it is. Pop culture has depicted it, religions have promoted their ideal picture, and literature of all sorts vividly describe it. Either way, the enduring fascination is that we all want some answer as to where we are going when we leave earth.

I believe that Heaven will be an all-inclusive in a Caribbean-like setting. Just so we are clear.

I put this book in my library queue quite some time ago and have always passed by it when deciding what to read next. For those of us who had existential crises in our mid-twenties about what is the purpose of life and what happens when we die (that's most of us, right?), this would seem to be the book to allay fears as to what the answers to those questions may be. It's not entirely, but the book was a comfort in that the understanding of what happens when we go is so varied and so colorful and worth exploring. So yeah, I not only enjoyed the book, but I felt edified in the beliefs of other religions (albeit mostly monotheistic ones) that I may have understood peripherally but can't say that I took the time to know in-depth prior to this point in time.

You would know by now that I am a literary junkie, so I found Miller's approach of looking at references to Heaven in many places including pop culture to be an inviting and attractive one. I found Miller's writing to be accessible and journalistic in the sense that you don't need an advanced degree to read it but you will walk away with information in your brain you didn't know before. I appreciate her even-handedness toward religion and her willingness to be objective in her presentation of the work. It made this book very readable and well worth my bedtime reading.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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