WEST CHESTER, PA—The civilized world was staggered yesterday by Jesus’ off-hand remark that there are roughly 150 people in heaven. That’s 1-to-the-5-plus-0 people. Period. Fewer people than the population of septic fields like Armpit, New Mexico, and Chowder Falls, Wisconsin.
If your brain hurts from trying to cope with the notion that there are fewer people in heaven than there are in Starbucks on a Sunday morning, try coping with this instead: if fewer than one one-bazillionth of a percent of all the people who have ever lived were good enough to get into heaven, you’re probably fucked. You’re going to spend the rest of eternity, however long that is, with your stinking family, most of whom will think at first that you must have gone to heaven because that’s where they are. Wait until you see how ornery they get when they notice the lack of air conditioning.
Unlike American colleges, for example, which admit a number of unqualified applicants each year because they satisfy some half-ass notion of diversity, heaven is a strict meritocracy: you either meet the requirements or you don’t; and apparently the admissions committee isn’t cutting anybody any slack.
If you were meaning to make amends with someone whose wife’s ass you have coveted for the last three years, but on the way to his house you got hit by a runaway truck driven by some hopped-up, gap-toothed inbred, tough noogies, Charlie. Ditto for deathbed conversions. They might make good B-movie fare, but the Pearly Gates Admissions Committee looks at the entire body of a person’s work, not merely his or her last-second pleas for mercy.
Although Jesus would not reveal the names of the all-powerful, seven-person Pearly Gates Admissions Committee, he did say with a gentle chuckle that they are “permanent appointments and there is no appeals process.” He also pointed out that one nay vote is enough to sink an application.
Jesus can intercede on behalf of an applicant, but apart from the time when he “might have pulled a few strings to get my brother Manny in,” he doesn’t second-guess the admission committee’s work, especially since he knows in advance what they’re going to do.
Persons who do not believe in the existence of heaven or hell, are taking delight in reminding true believers, “One hundred and fifty people means that many saints didn’t get into heaven.”
Skeptics are also playing people-you-thought-went-to-Heaven-but-actually-didn’t games: Helen Keller, Mother Theresa, FDR, Martin Luther King Jr., Lassie, Cass Elliot, etc. The list is virtually endless.
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