Lisa Miller Talks about Heaven

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lisa Miller, Newsweek’s religion editor, discusses our enduring belief in heaven and the various notions of what “heaven” means. In her book Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife , she offers portraits of famous and ordinary people as well as experts in religious studies about what they believe heaven is and where those notions come from.


Lisa Miller

Comments [17]

Ed from Larchmont

Leonard Lopate should introduce some of his statements with the phrase 'in my opinion', since several of his statements, like there is no objective evidence or that no one has returned from the dead, Catholics for one would not agree with.

Jun. 30 2010 08:16 AM
Meeg from DC

There's no concept of "hell" in Judaism? What about "sheol"? I think this guest is clearly not a serious religious scholar.

Jun. 29 2010 01:58 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I wouldn't look at it as the idea of heaven developing with the needs of people. It's more that God reveals the truth gradually.
The early Christians didn't do things to separate themselves from the Jews, they made decisions based on what they saw to be true. Jesus is the temple in heaven.
Yes, namely John the Apostle wrote the Apocalypse. 'Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has in store for those who love Him.' Man can't imagine how good it is. So it's no surprise that it's not described exactly. Heaven is outside of time and place, in another and higher dimension of being. It existed before the physical universe was created.

Jun. 28 2010 08:16 AM
linda from Greenwich, CT

Our Bible class decided on the Book of Revelations aka Apocalypse when we meet in the fall. Ms Miller's book will be a great help.

Jun. 25 2010 01:53 PM
peter from vancouver

what on earth are we doing talking about this in the 21st century?

Jun. 25 2010 01:16 PM
Ash in Chelsea

My idea of heaven is not to be around people who believe in such superstitious nonsense... ;-)

Jun. 25 2010 12:55 PM

The author is espousing some serious misunderstandings of Judaism. The Torah never says that G-d lives in the sky. Jewish belief is that G-d is omnipresent. One of G-d's "names" is Makom - meaning Place - because G-d defines space and space does not define Him ie. He is in no way limited by space-time. (I am using the term He as a convenience, G-d has no corporeal being and therefore belongs to neither gender).

Jun. 25 2010 12:54 PM
Rob from Queens

What about Martin Luther?

I am surprised Lisa Miller is not including any discussion of how the famous Protestant attacked the idea that one must earn salvation by good works.

Jun. 25 2010 12:54 PM

Where does the concept of the pearly gates come from?

Jun. 25 2010 12:53 PM
Joginder from India

You should realize that a lot of these concepts are from the time when the stretch of land between Turkey and India were far more culturally connected than later. A lot of this is from an underlying Indo-European layer that is present, very strongly, in India too. In Hinduism too, since way before Buddha (500 BC, before the Greek philosophy really took off in this respect), the concept of Heaven up there is very prevalent.. like in many indo-european cultures, Gods were on mountains : Himalayas. West.. was not born then.

Jun. 25 2010 12:47 PM
Where is hell?

So, you fall off a bridge into a stinking pit. That means Hell is either Jersey or Staten island, right?


I kid because I love.

Jun. 25 2010 12:45 PM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!!!

I remember my Grandma's rendition of Heaven-- which amounted to being in Church singing Hymns to God FOREVER.

I remember thinking that FOREVER was an awful long time to spend sitting on hard wooden pews.

That was when they Lost me.

Jun. 25 2010 12:43 PM
Harvey Wolchan from Yorktown Heights, NY

Obviously, all this talk about heaven is merely an opinion of what we would imagine heaven to be like. In reality no one knows and no living person will ever know what it is like or if it even exists. Similar to man's belief in God, it is a creation of man to ease concerns and help explain the unexplainable. So while it makes for interesting conversation, it is actually only a matter of the opinions of those that believe.

Jun. 25 2010 12:19 PM
Scott from Yonkers, ny

I love the definition of heaven in Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:

"Heaven. Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul"

Jun. 25 2010 12:12 PM
Ed H. from Larchmont

The more exact description from the recent Catechism of the Catholic Church reads:

Heaven: Eternal life with God; communion of life and love with the Trinity and all the blessed. Heaven is the state of supreme and definitive happiness, the goal of the deepest longings of humanity. (p.881)

Jun. 25 2010 09:24 AM
Ed from Larchmont

When Mary appeared to the three children at Fatima once a month for six months, she spoke to them, and they asked her questions. One question they asked was 'Where are you from?' Mary's answer was 'I am from Heaven'.

Jun. 25 2010 08:29 AM
Ed H. from Larchmont

Heaven is not just a place of peace and happiness, it's the place where God lives. And the angels are there - powers, dominions, principalities, etc. And there are other people there: the patriarchs and prophets, all the just who have died, and the saints, and Mary, and Jesus the lamb of God. A cloud of witnesses. The idea of heaven endures because it is a place, though outside of time.

Jun. 25 2010 08:03 AM

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