Heavenly comedy

Consider how big the cosmos is. The universe is a big place: both in volume and in mass our Earth is a dishearteningly insignificant infinitesimal fraction of it, with no central place in the scheme of the solar system, the galaxy, the local cluster or any other part of the whole. That’s a whole lot of set decoration. (I’d have gone with just a dome of stars myself, had I been God.)

And consider the timespan: billions and billions of years pass; then the solar system forms and so does the Earth; a billion years pass, and life forms; over three billion years of one fucking crawling thing after another pass, and then a hominid somewhere in Africa is mysteriously implanted with a soul. (And looks at its parents and thinks: “Fuck, I’m descended from monkeys. The Thanksgiving dinners are gonna be hell.”)

That is what I call overkill, if making a scene for mankind was what God wanted to do.

Well, this is all assuming we’re all that God is interested in: could be we’re the retard children of God, and he has some better project in some more fashionable arm of the galaxy. But as God hasn’t bothered to mention anything like that, either he’s going for the overkill effect, or then He just doesn’t talk to the microbes on the dish all that much.

This leads to the following question, though: Is Heaven xenosegregated? Or are there giant slimy green things playing harps there, too? What if they outnumber humans million to one because of their vastly longer history?

“And who are you, o immense globular thing?”

“I am the planet intelligence Aum-Gaia, the formerly living biosphere of the planet Hackery III. After eight trillion years of life the death of my sun finally brought on that of mine; and thanks to the sacrifice of the Squid-Christ of Hackery II, of which I had frequently heard, for what Stellar Mormons came to me I absorbed unto myself, I am now here, in Heaven. How about you, you bipedal carbon creature? Of the trillion kinds and species here, from the nude hairless dog-men of Tzeenth to the noxious methane-breathing floaters of Crapopol, I have not seen one as sickeningly pink as you before.”

“Well, I’m a human; a massively minority species, yeah. Oh, have you seen the Big Boss already? Because I’m nervous. I’m frankly full of dread, because everyone’s saying ‘created us in his/her/its image’. Even the tentaclopods of Urotsuki-VII who remember things from the end to the beginning, and eat their young.”

It’s difficult to think what kind of a Heaven that would be, since no-one seems to have a good idea of what Heaven’s supposed to be like — though since Jesus said there will be no marriage in Heaven, it’s probably some kind of a hippie commune. Or a monastery — segregated, sexless, cheerless, humorless and totally devoted to daily praise of the Dear Creator.

Oh, wait; it’s not cheerless because there’s no further need for self-mortification; there’s cheer everywhere but you just don’t have the part in you that wants to fornicate and stuff. Just a hole in your scrotum, or not even that if the saints don’t pee. Which would be a shame, because dropping bricks and yellow is kinda pleasurable, and that pleasure’s not sinful… as far as I know. There’s probably someone who’s applied self-mortification to that too, but I don’t want to know.

Supposing Heaven’s a place with no harm and no hurts, I’d expect that after a few centuries people of a certain type would climb high towers and leap down — not suicidally, but just because of the rush of it. (This hangs — and speaking of hanging, I’m not even going to mention autoerotic asphyxia — this all hangs on the theologically vague point of whether in Heaven a) no-one wants to harm anyone, him- or herself included, b) no-one can conceive of harming someone, c) there’s insta-regeneration, or d) all surfaces are padded.) Actually, never mind the towers — just talk to an angel, and get him-her-it to lift you some thousand miles above the surface (er, clouds?)… and then drop you. Whee!

After all there’s nothing to fear in falling if the hitting won’t harm you.

Ah, I can imagine Heaven now: the constant thudthudsplash… thud… of the saints enjoying the thrills of eternity. Not to even mention the thrills of self-mutilation with insta-regeneration.

Unless your skin is suddenly all Superman-like, and knives bend when you stab yourself; you’re totally invulnerable. That would explain the whole long beards, long hair thing — can’t cut them — but what about your nails? And speaking of body images: do you stay the same age as when you died, forever — imagine the horror of a million-year-old toddler — or do you sort of fluctuate back and forth?

And, though this may be too progressive theologically, could you kind of be of a different sex for a while?

“I say ‘s not fair; the nude hairless dog-men of Tzeenth can change sex at will! Why can’t I? Please Jesus, please pretty please. Or given that that Einstein guy’s not here — curse his meek semi-atheist soul — could I look like him? He’s cool. Well, hot now. Or David Hasselhoff? You don’t want plastic surgeons with kryptonite knives, do you, O Lord?”

But speaking of jumping: Sooner or later, someone’s gonna divebomb the throne of God himself. I hope he has a sense of humor. (“My Lord, here I cooooooo— whadunk!” — “Do you mind? I’m here to gaze adoringly at my Lord, not to see a high-velocity Texan embed himself in his great and godly bulk!”)

(If he has no sense of humor, well, the jumper falls and a hole ringed with fire opens in the clouds below — and then it’s nine days and nights of falling until he hits quite a different place.)

Oh, one more. Nowadays the churches are keen to say homosexuality isn’t a bad thing.

Well, most churches.

Well, many churches.

Okay, some churches.

One shouldn’t go around burning the gays or the like; that’s what I hear.

I wonder how this reflects in admission into Heaven — am I supposed to think that open gays get in now, but didn’t some thousand years ago? (How’s that received by those burning in Hell? Or those snuffed out, if God Annihilus is your choice?)

How about those that a thousand years ago faithfully did as the church taught and their bishops told them, and put a fire to the minority? Are those types in Heaven or out as far as that deed’s concerned? Because if the standards of admission change, there’s going to be some interesting crowd inside.

And if our modern standards of decency and Not Burning People Alive have always been how to get in, there’s going to be a whole lot of Popes and Church Fathers and the like that are going to be either terribly disappointed or outright damned.

“Sorry, bub, but the official Christianity that’ll be good enough to get people into Heaven won’t be around for another five centuries; just the most extremist liberal heretics get in right now. Meanwhile, down the hallway past the Fig Tree of Eternal Damnation and then to the left to the Misogynist’s Hell — Paul’s waiting for you already. He’ll be thrilled to see another Pope.”

Or then there’s the possibility that the earlier ideas, say those of the tenth century, were the correct ones: sorry, no-one getting in because you didn’t burn Sylvia Browne, that fey consulter of wicked spirits, on a stake.

(I can borrow a stake if you need one.)

One can’t help wondering whether the churches are supremely clueless about what God wants, and God isn’t inclined to give them a hint either (er, sorry for two millennia of persecution, gays; this just in: God doesn’t hate you after all); or if God just can’t make up his mind. Or if these all-Christianities-are-okay people are right, maybe you will burn forever in Hell if you’re a gay Brimstone Testosterone Evangelical, but that’s not a biggie if you’re in the All-Male All-Love Church of Christ.

Which raises the question of whether the various theological controversies will continue, sans atheists, in Heaven — that’s alright, since an eternity of theo-bickering would be a hell for an atheist anyway. Not even to say anything about the giant floating Divine Eye making snide remarks, and stuff.

It’s probably the best if I don’t mention all those people that deservedly went into the electric chair but got a sudden attack of spirituality just before that — people might not want to think they’re aiming for that company. (“Ted Bundy’s my roommate in Heaven”?) And if it’s enough to believe in a God, and if you get in if you’ve honestly done your idea of God’s work to the best of your admittedly imperfect understanding of the thing, well, one day in September some years back I suppose there was a handful of very alarmed bearded young men edging quietly away from the general mass of planeloads of people at the Gates of Heaven. (“What’s this? People, if it’s white raisins and not young virgins, I’m going to scream. I’m going to scream for ever. And what are all those thud-splat sounds from the inside?”)

Ah well.

“Welcome to Heaven, Mr. Brown. Here’s your roommate. Alfonso was in the Spanish Inquisition and tortured seven young girls to death trying to find the unfortunately imaginary Witch of Madrid; he was stabbed to death by the eighth, a relative of the sixth, for which that vixen is now burning, and forever will. Alfonso, Mr. Brown was a lawyer.”

“A lawyer in Heaven? Goodness, how unexpected!”

“Do you mean anyone expects the bloody Spanish Inquisition?”

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