Aww. I don’t know when I’ve been so, so, so almost maudlin with emotion. So nearly overcome. So tempted to soak my delicate silk and lace hanky with tears. So hungry. (Eh? Well it’s past noon, and anyway I’m pretty much always hungry.) Norm is planning to swap anecdotes with me in the great chat-fest in the sky. And he’s chuffed to learn that we’ll both be able to, according to no less an authority than the dear achbish of Canterbury. I do love those guys. So – agile in their accomodation of dreadful beliefs along with less disconcerting ones. Yes, Jesus decides these things, and yes he sorts the sheep from the goats and sends the goats (or is it the sheep) to the The Bad Place – but not to worry! because he’s a mysterious fella (see below) and it could be that some of the sheep (unless it’s goats) will go to the Good Place anyway because – um – because it’s cheerier to think so, and we still get to believe in the magical livestock-sorting abilities of Jesus? Because it’s not so much cheerier as more polite, tactful, acceptable, ‘appropriate,’ multicultural etc to think so and we still get to believe Jesus knows who belongs where? Probably. Very probably, in fact.
I don’t know, though, I think Norm may be taking a slightly optimistic view of the archbishop’s statement. Rowan Williams (I always do want to say Atkinson) did say that Muslims can go to heaven, according to the Telegraph, but he is not quoted as saying that atheists can. I really think Norm may be jumping to conclusions in thinking that if Muslims can then atheists can. I mean, there are limits, after all. Otherwise what’s the point? Right? If atheists can, well hell then anyone can and you might as well not bother having heaven at all, it just becomes ‘that place where anyone at all can get in no questions asked.’ Kind of like, you know, the world, where people just arrive, regardless of quality.
And then, it’s important to note exactly how the archbish phrased it.
Dr Williams said that neither he nor any Christian could control access to heaven. “It is possible for God’s spirit to cross boundaries,” he said. “I say this as someone who is quite happy to say that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except by Jesus. But how God leads people through Jesus to heaven, that can be quite varied, I think.”
You see? Did you catch it? That little ‘I think’ there at the end. That says it all. He doesn’t actually know all this – he just thinks it. Well what good does that do?! I don’t want some guy’s off the cuff opinion about whether I get to sit around chatting in heaven or not, I want to damn well know, don’t I! I mean – what business does he have giving an opinion anyway? What are opinions worth on this kind of thing? What’s his opinion based on? Anything? Just the fact that he thinks things will be more comfortable that way (see above)? Is that the kind of thing that decides how things fall out in the real world?
Okay, I’ll stop. I know it’s silly. One doesn’t go to an archbishop for rigorous or even clear thought. But it’s fun to pretend now and then.