I was talking to the new principal of Bert High about how people born in the West have inherited a beautiful thing:
The thought that human life has value. This is not normal in many places.
I have conversations with highly educated, intelligent people like Ryan exploring the depths of subject titles like “the value of a human life” all the time because I myself am an intellectual (ahem) as long as there are no follow up questions about what an intellectual actually is.
It would be a foreign thought in some of the countries I’ve travelled to and some of the countries Airdrie residents came from, but we place a high value on human life. Have you ever wondered why? Could it be the religious origins of the West?
Not to say bad things don’t happen to people here, but why do we share the social outrage right down deep when it does? Why do we even have thoughts of things being made right in the end? That good should be rewarded and evil punished? Of the afterlife?
I hate to say this to animal lovers but I think humans are God’s favourite creation and I believe he made heaven mostly for us. Theologically speaking I can say with conviction that there couldn’t possibly be mosquitos there because that would be gross (theologically speaking).
I think there will be puppies in heaven, not because they have actual souls but because maybe Erin’s heaven wouldn’t be heaven without animals? You know… the lion and the lamb all cuddled together? Erin would just melt into the pile of fur while I cringe and look for the nearest heavenly hand sanitizer station.
I suspect there would be different versions of heaven for different people, not because I have evidence of this but because I really want it to be that way, which is how most of us approach our view of the afterlife. When asked “Why do you believe what you do?”, most people within three questions of “But why?” Kind of fade into a “Well, I don’t really know why I believe what I believe?” (Sadly it could be noted religious people who haven’t taken the time to wrestle with their doubts do the same).
Believing in the existence of God always seemed to me to require less faith than it would take with the “it kinda happened by accident and we’re not sure what purpose human life really has” approach, but I’m sure very clever people could set me straight if I’m wrong (assuming they can clearly explain why they’re on earth to some satisfaction).
So let’s talk about Erin’s puppy heaven instead because no one gets mad at puppies, even if they eat your favourite shoes.
My idea of heaven is something I’ve been (intellectually) working on for some time that will make a lot of sense to some of you. I think my reward in heaven might involve other people because I’m selfless like that. (You’d have to see me smirk as I write to get where this is going.)
Ever have an argument with someone you wish would have to talk to their doppelgänger with the same ridiculous logic they’re attempting with you? I have. About a thousand times. Being gainfully employed by God as a pastor I have a request of him that may or may not be granted:
“All I want in heaven is to watch people argue with a room full of their own clones instead of me”
Yesssssss. Imagine this! Your wife hasn’t really been listening to you and wants to argue about what she imagined you said but didn’t actually. Twenty minutes later you’ve arrived at where you started but now everyone is mad.
In the next life I’m going to have a red button to press that replaces me with another one of HER, and slides me over on my heavenly couch to watch the proceedings.
“But I don’t think that makes sense Corey”
“What doesn’t make sense?”
“The thing you said about Neela’s birthday”
“I didn’t say anything about Neela’s birthday”
“Yes you did, I heard you”
“How would you hear something I didn’t say?”
“You said it!”
“I said what? I don’t even know when Neela’s birthday IS! Why would I be talking about that? Why are we even arguing when you don’t know what we’re arguing about?”
“I DO know what we’re arguing about, it’s Neela’s birthday”
“NOW it’s Neela’s birthday, but I don’t care about that”
“YOU don’t care about Neela’s birthday???”
“OH MY GOODNESS HOW DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING? JUST PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME!”
“Next time what?”
Just add more Erins for more fun.
All that to say it would make me extremely thankful if heavenly comeuppance is a thing.
But doesn’t this idea of thankfulness come from a much deeper place? As messed up as life gets we still live with the suspicion that a higher something or other is looking out for us, and we desire to know more.
If all we’re thankful for is the advances of human comfort or those we’ve personally benefited from I think we’ll end up in the same cyclic depression that happens when our lives are really only about our lives.
This year I’m thankful that there is a transcendent Other looking over our Canadian shoulders still whispering what he did to our fathers:
Human life has value. As hard as this life seems there is another life coming that is greater.
For some there may be puppies waiting.
I just hope Erin doesn’t wish for a roomful of Coreys to watch argue with himselves…