Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

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As late as , belief in heaven was declared "dead" in the United States—in a cover article in Time magazine, no less. Preachers weren't talking about heaven, the article said; young men training to be priests didn't learn about heaven in seminary. Even evangelicals treated the topic with something like embarrassment. Besides, who needed heaven when life on earth was so good?

About “Heaven”

In , unemployment hit a year low and the Dow exceeded 7, Titanic was the movie of the year and Celine Dion swept the Grammys. Yet a Gallup polls reports that now 81 percent of Americans say they believe in heaven up from only 72 percent in Why the tremendous upsurge in this doctrine? Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife, by Lisa Miller, the religion editor of Newsweek, attributes the change, in part, to the terrorist attacks of September 11, In the days that followed we imagined the three thousand terrible deaths, one by one, as we read, with tears streaming down our faces, of last phone calls, e-mail messages, voice mails.

The terrorists themselves believed that in death they would be transferred immediately to paradise. Writes Miller, "On September 11, religion left the provinces of American cultural priorities and took its place at the center. Because the attacks caused so much needless and inexplicable death, heaven was always nearby. The title song describes the singer's own version of heaven, as a place where children dance in a bright sky. In her book, Miller traces the history of the concept of heaven as an "apocalyptic" view that began to gain popularity in Judaism.


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Until then, heaven was the home of God — not of people. But history and culture had begun to breed in certain Jewish sects an overwhelming sense of doom; they were having premonitions about the end of history. The Jews who wrote prophetic scripture began to talk about eternal life with God as a reward for those who were 'righteous. After BCE, some of them did.

She also explores Muslim views of heaven, discovering they parallel those of Judaism and Christianity in significant ways. And ultimately, Love Wins. When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery—and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on.

He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

Lisa Miller's Heaven Book Uncommitted to Afterlife, Spiritual Experiences, and Survival of Conscious

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. Heaven Is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child. Heaven Is for Real also is available in Spanish, El cielo es real. Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world.

As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch. This enthralling novel incorporates themes that fans of Paulo Coelho will recognize and treasure. It is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from the master storyteller. This is superior mystery writing in the vein of Kate Atkinson. When private investigator Tess Monaghan literally runs into the crew of the fledgling TV series Mann of Steel while sculling, she expects sharp words and evil looks, not an assignment.

But the company has been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents since its arrival on location in Baltimore: bad press, union threats, and small, costly on-set "accidents" that have wreaked havoc with its shooting schedule.

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As a result, Mann's creator, Flip Tumulty, the son of a Hollywood legend, is worried for the safety of his young female lead, Selene Waites, and asks Tess to serve as her bodyguard. Tumulty's concern may be well founded. Recently, a Baltimore man was discovered dead in his home, surrounded by photos of the beautiful—if difficult—aspiring star.

In the past, Tess has had enough trouble guarding her own body. Keeping a spoiled movie princess under wraps may be more than she can handle since Selene is not as naive as everyone seems to think, and instead is quite devious. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie.

What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.

The Sweet Hereafter

Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same. She is quite simply one of the best crime novelists writing today. Account Options Sign in.

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife | Religion Dispatches

Top charts. New arrivals. Narrated by Linda Emond 9 hr 44 min. Switch to the ebook. Eighty percent of Americans say they believe in heaven, but very few of them are able to articulate anything specific about their belief, leaving only questions. Is heaven a real place? Is it a city or a garden or both?

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Can you keep your body there? If so, can you eat, drink, make love? Are you recognizable as yourself in heaven? Do your relationships continue there? Or is heaven something else?


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  • A radical idea? A disembodied, unconscious existence? A sense of progression toward perfect understanding, justice, beauty, truth? Award-winning journalist Lisa Miller dissects these ancient theologies and their different ideas regarding an afterlife by looking at what the beliefs are, how they have impacted one another, and also how they have reacted to the needs and lifestyles of their followers through the ages.



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