Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife
A religion editor for Newsweek explores the idea of heaven, including its religious history and treatment from pop culture. Lisa Miller includes interviews with people from several different faiths and outlines common beliefs about what heaven is like, who gets there and how. She even makes reference to cultural figures as varied as Dante and Homer Simpson. Miller is herself something of a wishful skeptic, unorthodox in approach to both religion and the afterlife and writes in a way that allows readers from all different religious (or non-religious) backgrounds to enjoy her book.
I couldn't stop reading this book--I even took it with me to a coffee shop with the hope that I could get a few pages in before my friend met up with me. Its draw is in its journalistic approach--it presents heaven in an objective way, making use of quite a lot of interviews. I loved learning about the approaches of different religions to this subject, and was most fascinated with Miller's delve into the historical start of the idea of heaven. I did feel that some of her finer theological points were presented in a biased way (for example, she talks as if Christ's resurrection were merely a story started by his followers), but the general descriptions of religion were very interesting.
If you're curious about exploring your own notions of heaven, which may have been influenced by anything from Plato, to Dante, to The Simpsons according to Miller, grab this book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not obligated to write a favorable review. These opinions are my own.