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EVERY NOW AND then, usually when I’m waiting for something on which a great deal turns, like the Israeli election result, or the British Supreme Court decision on Bozo’s see-through prorogation of Parliament to try to smash through a hard Brexit, I find myself wondering, if I died today, what would happen to me?
Of course, I know the answer: I’d go back to wherever I was for all time before I got here and I’d remain there, in that other place, wherever the firetruck it might be, for the same period, i.e., the rest of all time.
So, in truth and in fact, Nothing (with a capital en) would happen to me.
Hell of a thing, Nothing.
You really don’t want to think about it.
You, who saw so much for so long, who went to the Grand Canyon and Hi-Lo, who heard Satisfaction when it was released, who loved beautiful women and drank cold beers with your best friend every Friday evening for half-a-century, you who witnessed wonders, and worked them too, and fell and got up and jumped up and wined down so low to the ground, you who saw the aurora borealis and read Waiting for Godot on Grand Anse Beach, you who did almost every-firetrucking-thing… will now do nothing.
And be the same.
No thing at all.
It’s hard to contemplate, that almighty blank, and most of us would rather not even look at so bleak a reality, far less examine it closely.
And it’s all those Gods, or at least all those Heavens their human worshippers promise, that I start to think about when life on Earth gets to be too much, like when you’re waiting for Brexit judgements, or for your wife to come back home after two months away, or a friend to invite you to dinner to spare you another Jerry Seinfeld Diet supper of corn flakes.
Purely escapist times like those, I wonder: if I died today, what Heaven would I go to?
Of course, it’s a purely academic exercise in my case because I wouldn’t get in to any heaven at all. I’m the sinner every religion has in mind when they threaten me with eternal damnation if I don’t accept Jesus as my personal saviour (or Allah as Allah and Mohammed as his prophet or Papa Legba as the guardian of the crossroads or Mother Lakshmi as the goddess of wealth, or Mother Mary as the virgin mother of Christ, or Tanti Whoever as Whatever).
I know I’m consigned to Hell because I deliberately, without a care for my immortal soul, ignore the warnings of all the priests of all the gods – and then I go farther.
Since my own children were born and I understood that Mother Nature imbues every parent, from wolf through wombat to woman, with the instinct to sacrifice itself for the sake of its child, I steups at any god – which is to say, all of them – who demand the sacrifice of a firstborn, or any, son.
Every time Pentecostals proudly, piously, tell me I should admire Abraham for being ready to kill his own son for God, I steups; and tell them that I wouldn’t want to spend eternity with the kind of God who would torture me for eating a bacon burger when I was 17 or for failing to grasp that women are servants of men and Sean Hannity and Moscow Mitch McConnel are beloved by the same God that hates fags.
So, even if there were a life after death as imagined by religions, there’s clearly no life after death for me.
But I often wonder which Heaven I would not get into.
Because it is a necessary part of the punishment for failing to believe in Sugar Candy Mountain that you must be taken all the way to its summit, the better to fling you callously into the pits of hellfire raging at its feet. God, who punishes you for all eternity because he didn’t give you the faith to believe in him, wants you to know what you’re missing.
For verily I say unto you, what sense is it having a VIP section without also having people you can sneer at from the cool side of the velvet ropes? In God’s almighty plan, I am the most necessary mofo there could be (except, perhaps, for Judas Iscariot).
And God alone knows why anyone would want to spend a long weekend, far less all eternity, with a God like that; it would be like being stuck in an elevator with Donald Trump forever. Heaven, or at least the version of it peddled by the Pentecostals, would be Hell, for me.
Would that be enough to get me in?
But, if I died today, which heaven would the good lord take me up to, to show me how fantastic it was, just to rub salt in my wounds and rub my face in what I would be missing?
Would it be Catholic Heaven I wouldn’t get into? Or would it be Taliban Heaven from which I would be cursed and cast?
If God spare life – and we know he never will, because his intelligent design doesn’t last long, like modern rubber bands – I’ll come back to this topic sometime.
And this is what all heaven is going to be like, isn’t it?
And no firetrucking delivery.
BC Pires is a sinner but a red meat, in-with-both-feet, no surrender, no forgiveness one