Tulane Chris to me, re: this post: "You'll have to add an intro. But you can do that."
Oh I'm sorry. I'm in the middle of making a Chrismukkah list for my mom, watching House and cat-napping. Writing your intro was not on the agenda of slackery this morning, Tulane Chris. So here's a half-baked intro: There once was a boy named Tulane Chris. Tulane Chris was a very smart boy. He had many interesting theories and views. He expressed these views via comedy. Bless his heart. Here are Tulane Chris' theories on various religions and their afterlife. Mazel tov and amen.
Nirvana: Considering how badly I hate group activities, being one with everything – every single Mary Kay company mixer, elementary school talent show, and last call karaoke rendition of “You’re The One That I Want” – is something I could stand to miss.
Muslim heaven: No alcohol, but a lot of virgins? Frankly, it sounds a lot like a Dungeons and Dragons session.
Jewish heaven: Asking Jews about heaven is like asking someone about a conspicuously absent boyfriend. They get evasive, and so you’re left wondering if he’s imaginary or just crummy. I think it’s completely possible that Jewish heaven is one long weekend in a Borscht Belt resort, circa 1956, and that they all know this but don’t want to tip their hand. You know, so when some guest blogger writes about comparative heavens, he doesn’t write something like “God Almighty, and all the Jews just have to keep eating stale latkes and pretending to laaaaaaaugh at Don Rickles…”
Quiet Protestant heaven (Methodists, Lutherans, and similar): I can’t even imagine what that would be. I tried to write something patronizing about the house being clean, football being on TV every day, and roasts always turning out right, but it wasn’t working. I don’t understand quiet Protestants when they’re alive. I can’t imagine what they want from death.
Loud Protestant heaven (Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.): A plate of hot wings and a big screen TV that shows scenes from Hell, re-edited into the FOX format – Hell’s Most Remorseful Sinners, America’s Most Roasted Unbelievers, When Heretics Attack and so forth.
Reincarnation: No one ever points this out, but considering the demographic balance of the world, everyone spends most of their lives as a Chinese peasant. Cleopatra may have ruled the Nile and shattered empires with her charms, but for a long time after that asp bit her she was ass-deep in mud, eating boiled cabbage and trying not to be beheaded by the An Shi rebels / Mongols / Manchu / Taiping rebels / Boxer rebels / Japanese / Nationalists / Communists.
Zoroastrian / Druze / Samaritan / Yezidi / indigenous shamanistic heaven: I like to think that the small religions have the cool heavens, because they haven’t been gentrified by a lot of people converting and then dying and needing a Starbucks to really feel eternally blissful.
Mormon heaven: Supposedly, Mormons believe that when you die, you “get” to be the god of a planet. The Mormon idea of Heaven is enormous, crushing, burdensome responsibility. Live a pure and honest life, and at the end of it, you’re rewarded with a management position.
Atheist heaven: The hope of somehow dying, seeing firsthand the absence of God, and then coming back to tell everyone that you told them so.
Agnostic heaven: There’s nothing wrong with being agnostic. Deep in their little hearts, most people are, but there’s something very ninth grade, I just read The Stranger about calling yourself agnostic. I think that when one of these people dies, he or she goes to a large institutional building that looks like a high school, in which there’s a lot of waiting, but occasional pleasant activities, so they’re never sure if they’re in a crappy heaven or an unambitious hell.
Ancient Egyptian heaven / ancient Greek heaven / Valhalla: Do you think they occasionally notice that no one new has arrived for centuries? “Well, uh… I guess everyone’s here, we can hand out the door prizes…”
Idolater’s heaven: I think if you worship an idol, your punishment is that in the afterlife the idol speaks in Gilbert Gottfried’s voice and knows a shitload of knock-knock jokes.
Orthodox Christian heaven: My closest experience with an Orthodox church was when my mother used to take me to hang out at a Russian Orthodox convent when I was a teenager. Most of the monks seemed to enjoy glaring, being austere, and surrounding themselves with ornate gold things, so I tend to imagine Orthodox heaven as a place that is very beautiful and full of people determined not to enjoy it.
Catholic heaven: You know how you love your grandparents and they treat you well, but you’re always a little out of character around them because you have to behave, even as an adult? Like that, but replace “two old people watching bullriding on TV and making chicken and dumplings” with “He Who Is.”