—   we and our loved ones did not have to die  ?

—   when we and they do, we somehow survived death in an after-life  ?

—   there were a loving God waiting to welcome us into His Kingdom where we would live   with loved ones in eternal joy  ?

The GOOD NEWS, my friends, is that though we have to die, Heaven, reunion with our loved ones and everlasting happiness are not just possible but a promise guaranteed by God Himself.  Let us sing His praises, as the collection plate passes among you.

(That perverse punch-line is too cruel, too cynical.  Religions and their preachers of pie in the sky when you die, are, for the most part, sincere in their belief and in their message. However we must remember that Churches are businesses – no matter how sincere their faith in their propaganda and in the product they sell.)

The BAD NEWS is that the promise of Heaven in an illusion.  Billions of people believe it, as billions of children believe in Santa Claus.  We all had to abandon the childish fantasy about Santa.  But most of us hesitate to jettison the incredible nonsense about life after death.  Not only is there not one shred of evidence for an afterlife – Jesus’ “Resurrection” is, like His other “miracles” just a story, based entirely on faith – but belief in Heaven is, like belief in God’s existence and the Incarnation of His Son, pure wishful thinking.  We want it all to be true so it must be !

As disappointing if not shattering as is the recognition of the blindfaithblindfolly on which religion is based, one can still make the most of life, however short, and its multiple opportunities for happiness, in spite of its slings and arrows and the fact that it ends definitively in death.  Of course, if you prefer the myths, it’s your choice.  But I and countless others have found that liberation from the illusions has given us the comfort and serenity that comes from not kidding ourselves.  I for one could never go back to believing in either Father Christmas or God as our Father who art in Heaven.  Many choose credulity.  I choose lucidity.