What sounds like the beginning of a very bad joke is actually the title of a collection of short stories by author Anthony Horvath. The stories draws from what is publicly known about three notable persons and places them in the presence of God. Antony Flew famously disputed the existence of such a being, Richard Dawkins- the only one of the three still living- infamously derides the notion, and Mother Teresa wondered at God's absence. In their stories they each get a chance to ask their questions and speak their minds.
In 2012, two new stories are added in light of the reaction the series has attracted. The author of the stories gives himself the same treatment he gave to the other three people, one on the assumption that atheism is true, and one on the assumption that Christianity is true. An introduction is added and forewords to the two new stories are provided as well.
Mother Teresa Goes to Heaven
Antony Flew Goes to Heaven
Richard Dawkins Goes to Heaven
Anthony Horvath Goes to 'Heaven'
Anthony Horvath Goes to Heaven
Excerpt from Mother Teresa Goes to Heaven:
“It is not enough to save you.”
Teresa heard the words with horror. She had heard the entire conversation and she trembled throughout it. Each utterance was burned into her mind so deeply that she could recount it accurately in her mind's eye, over and over. She remembered the man’s demeanor before he entered the room: cool, calm, confident. In the quiet conversation between those that remained in the waiting area, it was shared by all that surely this man, of all of them, would go on through the great wooden doors.
She recalled the man’s interview in her mind. The chamber doors had been closed, and though it had been silent for a time, the interview escalated so that the whole of the grassy waiting hall could hear both sides of the conversation.
“I have devoted my life to God!” the man was exclaiming in exasperation.
“But not your whole life,” came the answer.
“I have experienced God many times,” the man countered.
“It is not enough to save you.”
Excerpt from Antony Flew Goes to Heaven
When the man opened his eyes the first thing he beheld was a garden. It was the assault on his being that alerted him to this fact. His sensory scouts went out and scoured his surroundings and came back with the report- first from the nostrils: here were delicate scents of flowers and dirt; and then the eyes: there were well ordered paths with ivy crawling up rocky walls; now touch: he realized he was lying on his back with blades of grass tickling his ear and when he flexed his fingers into the earth there was that soft moistness you always associated with good soil; the ears came announcing: birds here, birds there, birds everywhere, and somewhere yet unspotted a fountain, detected by alternating gurgles and tinkling; taste came back disappointed, as it had nothing yet to disclose.
He returned to the patch of soft grass that he had been lying when he had first awoken. There seemed nothing else to do. So he sat. ... It was the cool of the day, and suddenly the man knew that he was not alone.
Excerpt from Richard Dawkins Goes to Heaven
“You know what sounds like ‘hell’ to me?” Richard asked the accompanying angel, a current of sarcasm carrying the question along.
“I know you’ll tell me,” the angel replied serenely.
“Heaven. Heaven sounds like hell.”
Excerpt from Anthony Horvath Goes to Heaven
"Will you forgive this man?"
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