Heaven: A Symposium - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Heaven: A Symposium

John Derbyshire
Heavens to Betsy!

Jonathan Aitken
The Road to Heaven

Shmuley Boteach
Heaven Is Overrated

SOME TIME AGO I picked up a small book on a large subject, Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing, by Peter Kreeft. The book had been around awhile, but people still were recommending it to me. It got off to a good start, asking the questions that I sought an answer to: “What is the point and purpose of life? Why was I born? Why am I living?” Have such questions occurred to you? If not you may want to skip this Symposium, but my guess is that you will be fetched by our writers: a skeptic, in fact a disbeliever; a Christian believer; and a Jewish believer, in fact a rabbi.

Kreeft begins strongly, “most people in our modern Western society do not have any clear or solid answer to” these questions. “Most of us live without knowing what we live for. Surely this is life’s greatest tragedy, far worse than death. Living for no reason is not living but mere existing, mere surviving.” What about living in excited anticipation of the next dazzling product from Apple, or the automobile industry, or Hollywood? In our modern world there are such astounding things taking place, surely many people live in anticipation of tomorrow and that is about it. Remember the excitement fomented by candidate Barack Obama’s promise of hope and change?

Kreeft goes on: “Millions all around us are living the tragedy of meaningless life, the ‘life’ of spiritual death. That is what makes our society most radically different from every society in history: not that it can fly to the moon, enfranchise more voters, have the grossest national product, conquer disease, or even blow up the entire planet, but that it does not know why it exists.”

Well, we in America have laws insuring the division of church and state, and those laws presently are moving even further against churches and synagogues, and even simple Meeting Houses. So before we shut off the entire debate as being unconstitutional, or at least in bad taste, we at The American Spectator thought we might hold this Symposium on Heaven. If it is a success, we can go on in a few months to consider an even more outré conception, Hell, uh, or hell.

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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